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Glenribbeen Eco Lodge

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Glenribbeen Eco Lodge is happy to announce that we have a special offer for all members of the British NHS.

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http://www.ihacom.co.uk/

gite, charming rental and luxury holiday rental book direct with owner” target=”_blank”>IHA.com : Holiday rentals, bed and breakfast and  self catering accommodation book direct with owner
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Pig on a Spit at the Towers

August 19, 2012 all day – The Towers, Ballysaggertmór, Lismore Co Waterford Pig on a Spit – a fund-raiser for the KMD-V Waterford. A new community group to help promote the Southside of the Knockmealdowns for sustainable tourism and citizen health. Organized by Peter O’Connor | Type: bbq, nature, walks, ‘n’, talks, and, medieval, fancy-dress.

See Heritage Week for more details.

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Glenribbeen (S)chic

t’Ante Beth settles with newborn. Renamed Kippie.

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I got into a ‘discussion’ with someone who insists that the Irish are a Celtic nation – which flies in the face of language and DNA tests. In fact I seem to be arguing a lot about it recently even with my fellow Irish who have swallowed the British spin without question. In fairness so did Pearce, Yeats and many more. However modern science has now proved the Celtic-family crowd to be a rabble – literally.

There’s a great radio-interview with Bob Quinn the first person to direct a feature-length Irish language film on the subject. Very interesting and very clear – without hyperbole and with very few figures to worry about.

Celts never settled in Ireland in any numbers. There is simply NO evidence of Celtic art or workmanship on the Island of Ireland except what was brought in by way of trade. Recent DNA finding’s of Trinity College’s microbiology dept. and a book by Oxford scholarship (Celtic from the West. edited by Barry Cunliffe and John T. Koch)  have proven beyond any doubt that our common Y chromosome comes from Spain & Portugal and before that North Africa. Celts were mid-European peoples and not as dark as the Irish. We would have traded just as much with Spain/Portugal as with France or Britain. Most of our dance may come from flamenco and our early art has far more in common with Arabic than anywhere else. Our music particularly Sean Nós is readily acknowledged as ‘theirs’ by people in W Turkey and countries such as Iran and Iraq.
The whole interview and some great examples of Sean Nós. He brings in art, music, dance, sailing boats (pucáns) and more
http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/rn/podcast/2012/03/bay_20120316_1021.mp3

Shows how the Irish language is closer to Berber, Arabic and Hebrew as evidenced by the fact that in Irish (and English as we use it) the verb comes first. e.g. I’m after being to the doctor ! When I sailed on the Nile in a traditional boat I did so as if it were a hooker (using my back and leg muscles to steer) and was rewarded with a knowing grin from the captain. It’s another link. According to Bob Quinn “When North African universities develop their genetic analysis I think we’ll find a lot of distant cousins down there”.

We Irish were ‘brought into the Celtic family’ by a Welsh spin-doctor Edward Ward Lhuyd (lloyd) 1660 – 1709  that ‘invented’ the term.  (Wikipedia;  In 1707, having been assisted in his research by fellow Welsh scholar Moses Williams, he published the first volume of Archaeologia Britannica: an Account of the Languages, Histories and Customs of Great Britain, from Travels through Wales, Cornwall, Bas-Bretagne, Ireland and Scotland. Lhuyd noted the similarity between the two Celtic language families: Brythonic or P–Celtic (Breton, Cornish and Welsh); and Goidelic or Q–Celtic (Irish, Manx and Scottish Gaelic). He argued that the Brythonic languages originated in Gaul (France), and that the Goidelic languages originated in the Iberian Peninsula. Lhuyd concluded that as the languages had been of Celtic origin, the people who spoke those languages were Celts. From the 18th century, the peoples of Brittany, Cornwall, Ireland, Isle of Man, Scotland and Wales were known increasingly as Celts, and are regarded as the modern Celtic nations today).

“Celtic Nations” arose again in a Queen Victoria government attempt in late 1870’s to try fuse Britain and Ireland as a whole. The term Gael/Gaelic was frowned upon as it resembled Gaul (French) too much. It was at a time when the English were really trying to show a more cohesive face to the world – as they by then straddled it. Ironically it argues diametrically against the writings of Edmund Spenser who wrote (when not penning The Faery Queen) that all (clan) heads of Irish families should be killed and the O and Mc/Mac be denied to any Irish name. Spencer lived in Lismore Castle at the time . He married Lady Cork and became the ancestor of Dianne Spenser mother of the two current English princes .

Lhuyd. Edward; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Lhuyd

WHO ARE THE IRISH? :   “The Atlantean Irish”
(NOW REVISED AND REPRINTED)

THE Atlantean Irish book and films show that the island of Ireland was never a remote outpost on the fringes of Europe. From the hunters and fishermen of the megalithic age to the crooked investors, carpetbaggers and drug smugglers of the modern age, from Eastern monks fleeing persecution to 19th century prosletysers, from the Mediterranean to the Baltic, the island has always been regarded as a lucrative trading post and a desirable residence.

(Supported by the Irish Heritage Council – NEWLY REVISED AND REPRINTED 2011)

Available from Lilliput Press, Brandon Books and bookshops.

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Available from Lilliput Press, Brandon Books and bookshops.

App launched by BandBIreland for smart-phones

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Great new Apt for B&B seekers launched just in time for 2011 Summer season. A neat new Apt that’s a cross between a book and a website seems to be the reaction of anyone I’ve shown it to. Very easy to use and decent view-ability with the possibility of of using photo albums and  adding even more functions. Instead of seeing one static photo of a B&B when looking for a bed-night now one can view lots of photos – even video and go directly to websites and book – all from the comfort of home, car, castle, restaurant or wherever one finds oneself.Provides phone Nr (link to phone directly), e-mail – again directly and full website. More to come such as search by speciality (eco-accommodation, outdoor-sports/dog friendly) etc. To be recommended.

B&B Ireland Free iPhone App

B&B Ireland Launch Free iPhone App

  

B&B Ireland are pleased to announce the launch of their Free iPhone App, Ireland’s first B&B App in existence!

 

Click to Download Free B&B Ireland iPhone App

Use this App to find and book that perfect Bed & Breakfast in Ireland right from your iOS device. With over 1,100 fully Irish Tourist Board approved Bed & Breakfast properties in town, city, farm and country locations to choose from, we are certain that the app will have something to meet your accommodation needs. The app makes the perfect companion to assist you in planning your trip to Ireland. If you live within Ireland this app gives you access to 1,100 quality B&B’s right in your pocket no matter where you are on your travels!

 

 

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B&B Ireland Free iPhone App Features

  • B&B Ireland iPhone App is FREE to download.
  • Search and Book over 1100 Failte Ireland Approved B&B’s in Ireland.
  • Ability to book a B&B there and then, directly through the app.
  • Or telephone B&B’s on your iOS device directly from the app if you prefer.
  • Email our B&B’s directly from the app.
  • Visit the B&B’s website for more information.
  • View B&B photos, descriptions, facilities, GPS (sat nav) locations, customer submitted reviews and Irish Tourist Board approved star ratings for each B&B (approved, 3, 4, or 5 star).
  • Search by map – allows you to find a B&B by location on the map. The app can show you all B&B’s within a radius of 25km, 50km, 75km or 100km of your current location.
  • Filter and sort B&B’s in your searches
  • Add a B&B to your favourites to allow you to quickly retrieve your favourite at a later stage.
  • The app provides useful information on Festivals and other events that are happening all over the country.
  • Full help section on the app to guide you through the entire process, making it easy to find and book your bed and breakfast.

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Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter

View our photos on flickr View our videos on YouTube

Thank you from all the team at B&B Ireland

Canoeing in Blackwater/Glenribbeen

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From Catherine Mack in ”’The Southern Star” Sat 21st May 2011

Best kept secret
Another recent discovery
from a canoe was the River
Blackwater in CoWaterford. It
was the recommendation of
the owner of charming, ecofriendly Glenribbeen Lodge
(www.glenribbeen.com), and
what a top tip it was. The afternoon on the water drifted by in
the delightful company of Cappoquinman, DennisMurray of
Blackwater Boating
(www.blackwaterboating.ie)
who, having spent his life on
the river, knows every bend,
bridge and building on it. His
gentle charm totally engaged
us all, my eight-year-old included, regaling us with history
one second, and heron spotting
the next. Usingmore traditional Canadian canoes this time,
this river must be one of Ireland’s best kept secrets, and no
better man than Dennis to
show it at its best.

All Things Transport

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March 08 2011

China to beat US to electric vehicle rollout

According to a new report by Accenture,  could actually be ahead of the US when it comes to the rollout of electric vehicles and deploying disruptive new transport technologies.

However, when it comes to creating new innovations across several platforms, including advanced combustion engines, electric and advanced  that can be integrated into the existing infrastructure the US is thought to have the edge.

The authors state that China should win the race in terms of supporting alternative energy and allocation of funds to research and deployment, meaning it should reach its targets faster. However, the US is more likely to generate a breakthrough solution despite being slower in development.

China’s competitive advantage comes from its domestic supplies of lithium and current battery production capabilities. The rise of new fuel technologies should also allow both countries to enjoy greater energy independence with the reduction in the US potentially reaching 22billion gallons per year by 2030. This would reduce crude oil imports by one billion barrels per year; while China, which imports over half of its petrol demand, could reduce crude oil imports by 676million barrels by 2020.

The increase in new fuels will however, have a negative impact on the US refining industry with the blending of biofuels expected to replace more than 30 per cent of US petrol and diesel demand by 2030 compared to 2010. However, in China there should be no losers because car ownership is expected to triple between now and 2020 creating growth across the biofuel, electric vehicle and oil industries.

 

February 15, 2011: TheGreenCarWebsite.co.uk

News from th automotive industry.

Toyota to reveal iQ electric car

Toyota is to give its iQ-based EV prototype its first European unveiling at the Geneva Motor Show next month.

Based on the current model of its tiny city car, the EV prototype is designed to showcase the car maker’s vision for short-range, urban-friendly, zero emission transport.

Toyota iQ EV

The vehicle successfully integrates an all-electric powertrain into the existing iQ package. A newly developed, flat and compact lithium-ion battery has been fitted beneath the vehicle floor, and slots in without compromising loadspace or passenger accommodation. It provides enough charge to give the car a range of up to 65 miles, Toyota expects.

The new EV prototype is being put through testing on European roads this year, with a potential market introduction through a leasing programme in 2012. The Japanese car maker has already announced plans to bring the car to market in the USA and is also considering its viability in other regions.

The EV prototype will be featured on the Toyota stand at the Geneva Motor Show alongside three models making their world-first appearance: Yaris HSD, Prius+ and FT-86 Concept II.

The 81st Geneva Motor Show opens to the world’s press on March, 1 (when we will bring you all the news and highlights), while a public show begins March 3 and runs until March 13, 2011.

Toyota develops battery with high discharge capacity

The highly skilled team at the Advanced Battery Lab of Toyota Central Research and Development Laboratories has developed a new advanced gas-utilising battery with a discharge capacity nearly three times that of a non-aqueous li-air battery.

Using a mixture of O2 and CO2, the new battery has to be a primary battery because of its difficult electrochemical decomposition in the cathode. However, its high discharge capacity offers the potential for an alternative energy source with the use of a CO2-rich gas and this could be extended to non-lithium systems.

The theory behind the concept was published in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Chemical Communications and suggests that because of its potential very high energy density, li-air chemistry is a promising candidate to meet the demands of future vehicles.

The oxygen reduction at the cathode in particular is the most important process in the battery. It is well known that O2 can be captured by CO2 and the reaction has been applied to CO2 sensors and molten-carbonate fuel cells. This series of reactions was noted to slow down the precipitation speed of the discharged products.

The unique point of the battery is thought to be the rapid consumption of the superoxide anion radical by CO2 as well as the slow filling property of the Li2CO3 in the cathode.

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US DOE: Plug-in electric vehicle target achievable

Is it realistic for the US to meet President Obama’s target of placing one million plug-in electric vehicles on the road by 2015? According to the US Department of Energy, the goal is in sight.

In its report entitled One Million Electric Vehicles by 2015, it outlines that the goal is ambitious but also achievable based on the steps already taken as part of the Recovery Act and the proposed additional policy initiatives such as improving existing consumer tax credits, strong support for research and development and programmes to help cities prepare for increased demand for electric vehicles.

The report outlines that conventional hybrid electric vehicles have been on sale in the US for more than 10 years and in 2010 new vehicle hybrid sales were approximately 2.5 per cent. To reach the one million vehicle target, plug-in electric vehicles will need to average just under 1.7 per cent of sales through 2015.

Production capacity should be sufficient to achieve the target with auto manufacturers including Chrysler, BYD, Coda, Honda, Mitsubishi, Toyota, Volvo, Volkswagen and Hyundai all having announced or expected to introduce electric vehicles over the time period.

However, the main stumbling block to achieving the goal is to further drive innovation, reduce costs and spur consumer demand. Currently the strategy from the Obama administration includes making electric vehicles more affordable with a rebate up to $7,500; advancing innovative technologies through new research and development investments; and rewarding communities that invest in electric vehicle infrastructure.

Hybrids to recoup energy as air

A new method of recuperating energy could lead to the production of cheaper hybrids, according to scientists at a Swedish university.

Air hybrids-or pneumatic hybrids-store braking energy as compressed air, which can be used to then provide extra power to the engine when the car is started and save fuel by avoiding idle operation when the vehicle is at a standstill.

Not currently in commercial production, air hybrids could quickly be market ready, Per Tunestål, a researcher in Combustion Engines at Lund University in Sweden says.

“The technology is fully realistic. I was recently contacted by a vehicle manufacturer in India which wanted to start making air hybrids”, he says.

The technology is particularly attractive for jerky and slow driving, for example for buses in urban traffic.

“My simulations show that buses in cities could reduce their fuel consumption by 60 per cent”, says Sasa Trajkovic, a doctoral student in Combustion Engines at Lund University who recently defended a thesis on the subject.

Sasa Trajkovic also calculated that 48 per cent of the brake energy, which is compressed and saved in a small air tank connected to the engine, could be reused later. This means that the degree of reuse for air hybrids could match that of today’s electric hybrids. The engine does not require any expensive materials and is therefore cheap to manufacture. What is more, it takes up much less space than an electric hybrid engine. The method works with petrol, natural gas and diesel.

For the research the Lund researchers worked with the Swedish company Cargine, which supplies valve control systems.

The idea of air hybrids was initially hit upon by Ford in the 1990s, but the American car company quickly shelved the plans because it lacked the necessary technology to move forward with the project. Today, research on air hybrids is conducted at ETH in Switzerland, Orléans in France and Lund University in Sweden.

The researchers in Lund hope that the next step will be to convert their research results from a single cylinder to a complete, multi-cylinder engine. They would thus be able to move the concept one step closer to a real vehicle.

BMW aims to make power systems breakthrough

It could be out with copper and in with aluminium if BMW has its way.

Scientists from the Technische Universitat Munchen (TUM) are teaming with engineers from BMW in an effort to replace copper with aluminium as a conductor in on-board power systems.

Copper is heavy and expensive when compared to aluminium and with electric power becoming increasingly important, a switch to a cheaper option is preferred.

If aluminium is to be used however, then a number of technological issues must be addressed. For example, when temperatures are high aluminium often displays a distinct creep behaviour and conventional conductors could not be used as they would become loose over time. Even using aluminium based elements in cables and copper-based elements in connection areas would also cause issues because of the high electrochemical potential between a copper contact and an aluminium cable.

To counter these difficulties the aluminium based LEIKO concept was invented. It includes a sheet metal cage that enhances the mechanical stability of the plug and means there will be long-term support of the contact pressure spring. In addition, the researchers have come up with a special wedge-based geometry for the aluminium contacts so the aluminium creep now leads to the two contacts snuggling closer and closer over time to only enhance the electrical connection.

The addition of on-board cables arises because aluminium has a lower electrical conductivity. However, this may be addressed because aluminium is very pliable and the standard values for copper cable processing could still be applied.

Now researchers are looking into the ageing process in an effort to determine the suitability of the concept by 2012 – initial results indicate that material substitution will boost weight, cost and emissions.

Sol Mates: Bike Path Makes Clean Energy From Flat Surfaces

Posted: 12 Feb 2011 10:00 AM PST

[ By Delana in Art & DesignEnergy & FuelTechnology & Gadgets. ] 

Solar power could be the ticket to clean, renewable energy for future generations, but getting a solar energy infrastructure up and running is no small task. The TNO Research Institute, in cooperation with the Province of North Holland, Imtech and the Ooms Avenhorn Group, has come up with a novel way to collect solar power while encouraging commuters to use emissions-free transportation: they are building a solar cycle path.

The bike path is scheduled to be constructed in the town of Krommenie, which is near Amsterdam. It is called SolaRoad, and it will combine the best aspects of earth-friendly transportation and eco-friendly energy. The modular bike path will be made of concrete blocks measuring 1.5 X 2.5 meters and topped with crystal silicon solar cells. Atop the solar cells is a layer of clear protective glass that will let the sun shine through.

SolaRoad is still in development currently, and many criteria need to be met before such a project can be successfully rolled out for the public. The path would have to be sturdy enough to deal with constant traffic, yet effective as a solar collector. The prototype path being built in Krommenie should be completed in 2012 and will teach the project’s coordinators about the needs and challenges associated with the undertaking.

(all images via: TNO)

Once successfully installed, SolaRoads can be used to power street lights, traffic lights and even homes. They can produce up to 50 kWh per square meter per year, so the more bike paths constructed, the more clean energy will be available to a city. It’s a winning prospect for everyone involved, so the hope is that the prototype in Krommenie will be just the beginning of a whole system of solar energy-producing roads, bike paths and other flat surfaces.

File under Re; Cycling   🙂 I used to work near Krommenie.  Jijn fietzers zat daar!

What to expect in 2011 – E-Cars.

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What to expect in 2011. The Green Piece

 

Electric cars: The key questions, answered. The Green Piece.

June 28, 2011.  Column.

For every blog and article written hyping the virtues of electric cars as the transportation method of the future, there are just as many belittling their credentials – and with  announcing the end of production for its Roadster (see article) last week and  maker Think driving straight into bankruptcy (see article) it appears critics have had more emission-emitting fuel poured on to their fire.

Think

So are electric cars all hype and no hope? Here we address the three key often posed by the naysayers to determine their future.

Question one: Are electric cars really better for the environment?

Electric cars are often promoted as “zero emission” vehicles – which critics jump on as false advertising, because while they produce no harmful  at the exhaust pipe, the clean air benefits are limited based on how the electricity is sourced.

According to estimates from the MIT Electric Vehicle team, an electric vehicle charged from the existing US grid emits about 115g/km of carbon dioxide (CO2) on a well-to-wheel analysis, compared to a conventional US-market petrol car that averages 250g/km. However, in Europe, where many of the most efficient cars have emissions below 115g/km, the advantages are much more limited.

Perhaps the crucial element that critics overlook is that the goal is to produce electricity from renewable sources – for example, in France, which has a clean energy grid, well-to-wheel CO2 emissions from an electric car would be just 12g/km. Only in a worst case scenario would incremental electricity demand be met by coal – in reality, it is much more likely that the electricity we use will continue to get cleaner and so the environmental advantages of electric cars will only expand further.

Question two: Will electric cars drivers money?

As much as many of us might like to think we are environmentally motivated, in these tough economic times it’s hard not to think about our budgets and so it’s no surprise that many potential drivers are put off by the high price tags associated with electric cars.

It’s true that electric cars are generally more expensive than petrol cars primarily because of the high cost of batteries. This is a major stumbling block with a survey undertaken by Nielsen for the Financial Times showing that 65 per cent of Americans and 76 per cent of Brits are not willing to pay more for an electric car than for a petrol car. However, there are signs that electric car prices could come down – the Renault Fluence ZE, for example, will be priced at less than $20,000.

Affordable? Fluence Z.E

However, perhaps the most important consideration is long term costs. Nissan estimates that the five-year operating cost of the LEAF electric vehicle, for example, would be $1,800 – this compares to around $6,000 for a comparable petrol car.

Question three: Will electric cars run out of charge before I reach my destination?

Ah, range anxiety. Surely this is the biggest stumbling block towards the progression of electric cars – and who will ever forget that infamous, and controversial, image of the Tesla Roadster running out of power on the Top Geartest track?

Cars with internal combustion engines can of course be considered to have an indefinite range because they can be refuelled so easily and quickly. By contrast, many electric cars have been targeted on the statistic that the average American drives fewer than 40miles each day and so they have been developed for urban driving. However, there are a number of electric cars with a far more substantial range. The Tesla Roadster, for example, can travel 245miles per charge.

Range aplenty: the Tesla Roadster

The key of course, is the development of electric car infrastructure. DC Fast Charging Stations are being implemented across the US and it is hoped that by 2013 they will cover the entire country. There are similar developments elsewhere too, with Australia recently placing itself at the forefront of the electric car race thanks to an agreement with battery swap station supplier Better Place (seearticle).

Our verdict – Electric cars have the answers

The image of electric cars is slowly changing and with it, the doubts surrounding their future appear to be disappearing.

The questions raised are certainly justified. Electric cars with limited range and high price tags will struggle to appease consumers; but these issues are being addressed because as more vehicles come to market prices will fall, and ranges are already expanding even with so little infrastructure so far in place.

Of course electric cars would defeat their own object if they were more harmful to the environment than the petrol cars they replace – but most analyses suggest that they are already ahead of their counterparts and that the electricity they use should only get greener as time goes on.

So perhaps it’s time to stop asking questions and start embracing the future – and for governments to take the steps that are necessary to make electric cars the norm and no longer just a niche alternative.

Tuesday 4 January 2011. The Green Piece Column. Original Piece.

So what is your New Year’s resolution – to join a gym, to quit a bad habit, or maybe even to go green?

If you’re thinking of doing your bit for the environment in 2011 then getting behind the wheel of a green car is a great option and over the next 12months you’ll have more choices available than ever before. However, 2011 is also a year when we’ll see more exciting concepts make their debut. Here is a preview of some of the green car highlights you can expect in the year ahead.

Audi to debut hybrid A6

The next generation Audi A6 will be available from early 2011 in Europe and later this year in North America. The car is expected to grow marginally in size with the wheelbase increasing by around three inches and the width by 0.7inches; however, a range of new engines should make the A6 more fuel efficient than ever. These will include three diesel engines – a two-litre four cylinder engine and two 3.0litre turbocharged engines; as well as a hybrid variant featuring a two-litre TFSI 211hp engine with a 45kW electric motor.

Chevrolet brings Aveo to North America

Its indicative of General Motors’ revised approach to the North American market that the Chevrolet Aveo will finally make its US and Canadian debut this year (seearticle). The vehicle will be known there as the Chevrolet Sonic and is said to indicate a new era for the small car segment.

Hyundai lines up fuel cell car

The Geneva Motor Show may not take place until March, but that hasn’t stopped several car manufacturers from announcing new concepts for the show ahead of time. Among them is a fuel cell vehicle from Hyundai (see article), to be known as the Tucson iX FCEV. The third generation model has a full tank range of 404 miles, representing a 76 per cent improvement on the previous generation; and has petrol-equivalent fuel efficiency of 73mpg.

Opel to bring plug-in hybrid to Geneva

Another reason to keep your eyes locked on our coverage of the Geneva Motor Show in March is the debut of the Opel Flextreme. The car was first introduced as a Saturn model back in January 2008, but will now make its first appearance in Europe as a diesel plug-in hybrid concept car believed to achieve around 153mpg and CO2 emissions of 40g/km.

Nissan LEAF heads to europe

The all-electric Nissan LEAF is scheduled to begin its roll-out in Europe at the beginning of the year. In March, the vehicle will reach the UK at a price of £23,990 after taking into account the Plug-in Car Grant of £5,000 from the UK government and the new 20 per cent VAT rate. Unfortunately, this still makes the vehicle around £4,000 more expensive than the Toyota Prius and with recharging infrastructure relatively limited it could take a while for the Nissan LEAF to enjoy real sales success.

Renault to debut four electric cars

There is no car manufacturer set to be more active in 2011 than Renault, which will bring four of its eagerly-anticipated zero emission models to life. The Renault Fluence (see article) is a family car with a resemblance to the Megane that will include three battery charge options: standard, rapid and a quick drop battery exchange; the Renault Kangoo ZE (see article), an all-electric version of the company’s popular van; the Renault Twizy (see article), an all-electric vehicle designed for city dwellers with a top speed of 47mph; and the Renault Zoe (seearticle), a four-seat super-mini with a 100mile range.

Think begins US production of electric vehicle

Norwegian electric car maker THINK will break new ground in 2011 when it produces around 2,500 of its THINK City electric vehicles for the US market (seearticle). The car can maintain speeds of 70mph and can travel up to 100miles on a single charge.

Toyota to unveil Prius MPV

The North American International Auto Show in January will mark a new era for what many see as the ultimate green car – the Toyota Prius. The hatchback will gain an extra row of seats and achieve fuel economy in the region of 70mpg, but there are said to be no plans at present to bring the MPV version of the Prius to life outside North America.

Volt to make European debut as Ampera

The Chevrolet Volt finally made its debut in the US at the end of 2010, but European-based green car enthusiasts have had to wait a little longer for their version of the model. However, the wait is nearly over with the Opel Ampera due to debut this year with its electric-only range in the region of 50miles and an extended range of around 360miles to remove “range anxiety” fears. UK readers will have to wait until 2012 for the Vauxhall-badged model of the car to officially be made available – the vehicle will debut here in January next year at £28,995 if the Plug-in Car Grant is still available (see article).

Of course this is just scratching the surface of what’s to come in 2011. Automakers are also keeping a tight lid on several new concepts expected to debut this year as well as updated versions of exciting designs such as the Audi A1 E-Tron, the BMW Concept ActiveE, the Citroen DS High Rider, the Peugeot SR1, the Porsche 918 Spyder Plug-In Hybrid and the Tata Nano EV. As the motoring industry in general steers itself in a new direction you can expect plenty more green cars to whet your appetite over the next 12months and beyond.

Faye Sunderland

Enter the strong silent type – Irish Times LINK

    • NICK HALL; Irish Times

In a market filled with tantalising promises of wonders ‘to come’, here is a viable electric car that you can drive away right here, right now

EVERY MANUFACTURER turns out to motor shows with a whole fleet of electric cars that we should be able to drive “soon”. Soon hasn’t really come soon enough: bar a handful of limited production cars and the Nissan Leaf, we’re largely stuck with hybrid power and promises of what we’ll have “tomorrow”. Yet, alongside Leaf, there is a firm in Britain called Liberty Electric Car Company that has an electric Range Rover you can buy right now.

It might seem a flight of fancy, particularly given its price tag of £160,000, but it’s a grown-up luxury car that can handle the weekly commute, which is what an alternative fuel car is all about.

After all, the only way the world will feel a tangible difference from the electric car is when rush hour traffic in the world’s biggest cities and beyond runs on the lightning rod and we have real cars with zero emissions.

Electric cars, even the groundbreaking Tesla, have notoriously short ranges. This inevitably leads to nervous glances at the power gauge, or a night by the side of the snow covered road.

Liberty’s Barry Shrier and Ian Hobday are already thinking beyond simply selling a car. They have targeted whole cities with plans for taxi fleets charging up on plates mounted in the rank and buses charging as they traverse the route. They already have an order from China for the buses.

But we’re here to test their new Range Rover, which Shrier claims can manage 300km on a single charge, more than enough for the average daily grind and enough to banish range anxiety to Room 101. It should also be enough to tempt fleet business, early adopters and perhaps even the odd Hollywood star to take the plunge. And the Range Rover image might better suit some of these starlets than either the Leaf or the Mitsubishi i-Miev supermini.

For now the firm is targeting company fleet business worldwide, as major savings could be made on company car taxes with this zero emissions machine.

The potential market is huge. In Norway, for instance, this car costs exactly the same as a standard Range Rover, thanks to luxury car taxes, and savings are made the moment someone places an order. It does carry a hefty price tag, but there are still people out there with the money for such an SUV and the desire for a clearer conscience.

It drives, more or less, like a standard Range Rover. The gearbox works in forward and reverse only, but all the torque comes from an electric motor anyway so the car scoots off the line. It’s as fast as the base car at lower speeds and, while the petrol-powered Range Rover takes over as they head towards triple figures, does that really matter on the weekly commute?

It’s a little eerie getting used to the silence in such a big SUV as it moves towards 100km/h in seven seconds with the help of 1,000Nm of torque – more than almost any sportscar you could mention. The electric powertrain will take time to fully get our head around, but with far fewer losses in the actual drivetrain itself, electric is way more efficient and has the potential to be faster. You can’t really ask for more than the top speed of 180km/h either, unless you want to sacrifice your car entirely and spend a few months on the bus.

There’s a muffled electrical whine and the noise of the tyres on the road, even the suspension rattles, breach the peace. But that all happens in the standard car – it’s normally drowned out by engine noise – and turning the stereo up would cover it.

The storage space isn’t taken up with ill-fitting batteries. Liberty E-Range has buried them in the floorpan to keep the handling sharp and to ensure the car keeps its passenger and boot space. It’s a big car that an executive should feel at home in. The standard interior, with no discernible impact from the batteries, offers little room for improvement.

The batteries are made of 96 cells, rather than the hundreds many others have adopted, which allows for a lightweight battery pack that weighs in at less than 500kg and powers separate electric motors in each wheel. It sounds a lot – it is a lot – but the whole base drivetrain is gone and some of the other components have been lightened too, to scavenge back some of the weight.

Regenerative braking comes courtesy of a capacitor and the car can be tailored to your own style: snappy and aggressive or like the gentle coasting of a car in gear if you don’t like the resistance that can occur in other cars.

The battery is developed from military and medical applications, and Hobday maintains it should last 10 to 12 years. The hope is that, by that time, a system will be in place to use these packs – and those from other electric cars – as storage devices for alternative fuel sources such as wind energy.

Of course, in coming years batteries will get lighter, last longer and charge faster. The rapid speed of development is something Liberty thinks counts in its favour. Manufacturers have long turnaround times, and they feel this gives them the edge to hone the product and to offer an ever-improving fleet option to companies, cities and even governments.

But that lies in a indeterminate future. Here is an electric Range Rover that works, that you can buy right now. It is a viable choice for the well-heeled who need a little more practicality than sports cars offer but don’t want a small electric saloon.

The Irish Times – Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Irish music breach the final frontier.

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Molloy’s flute to help Irish music breach the final frontier

DIARMAID FLEMING

TO BOLDLY play where no Irish traditional musician has played before – that will soon be the proud boast of American Nasa astronaut Catherine “Cady” Coleman who blasts off today from Kazakhstan for a six-month stint on the International Space Station (ISS) orbiting the Earth.

Packed with her space suit and gear for the voyage ahead is a priceless traditional Irish concert flute, given to her by a man who is considered to be out of this world himself by traditional music lovers.

Matt Molloy of The Chieftains and Planxty got to know the Nasa astronaut more than 10 years ago after playing a gig in Houston, Texas.

“We had done a concert and as always we had a tune afterwards with local musicians,” said the Westport-based musician. “It transpired she played the flute and we have been friends ever since.”

A veteran of two space shuttle flights with 500 hours in space behind her, the former US Air Force colonel – who has a doctorate in science and engineering to boot – is a huge fan of the Ballaghaderreen man’s music. On a previous trip into space, she packed his Shadows on Stone CD in her space suit.

“Cady told me: ‘Your music always brings me to a special place, so I thought I’d bring yours to one’. I was really moved,” said Molloy.

For her first voyage to the ISS, however, she has gone one better.

“She told me she was going to be heading there for six months and asked me if I had a flute that she could play while on the station.” While joking that his response may have been “a moment of weakness”, Molloy gave her one of his most prized possessions, his E-flat flute. He played the instrument on his landmark first solo album made with Dónal Lunny in 1976.

“It was made in the late 1890s or early 1900s and I couldn’t possibly put a value on it but it’s very special to me. Cady is a fine accomplished flute-player, so it will be in good hands,” Molloy added.

Along with Russian cosmonaut Dmitry Kondratyev and Italian Paolo Nespoli, Ms Coleman blasts off from Baikonur today to dock with the ISS where they will join two Russian crew and another fellow American.

Funny cartoon of “May I join the Irish Music session” Someone buys a bodhrán and feels they have the right to join in because “You guys seem to be having so much fun”.

http://www.youtube.com/v/nk5XdLZGzPA?fs=1&hl=en_US

A few videos of the family at play;

Gerry, Eilish and Dónal (Gerry’s eldest son); http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UD1eqDIQvz8

Gerry, Paul McSherry and Martin O’Hare  ; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpAkgNhImjU&feature=related Lovely set of jigs.

Creating Diesel from CO2 and sunlight.

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Creating Diesel from CO2 and sunlight. LINK

There have been some fairly remarkable accomplishments in the push for renewable fuels, but the latest innovation from Joule Unlimited is one of the most jaw-dropping yet.

The company has just been awarded a US patent that covers its conversion of sunlight and waste carbon dioxide directly into liquid hydrocarbons that are fungible with conventional diesel fuel. It is the first company to achieve and patent a process for the production of hydrocarbon fuels that require no raw material feedstocks.

Its first patent is called “Hyperphotosynthetic Organisms” and relates to an engineered photosynthetic micro-organism for fuel production; while the second patent is titled “Methods and Compositions for the Recombinant Biosynthesis of n-Alkanes” and is focused on the use of engineered photosynthetic micro-organisms for the direct synthesis of diesel molecules.

The micro-organisms from Joule work as biocatalysts and use only sunlight, waste CO2 and non-fresh water to produce diesel range hydrocarbons. These are chemically distinct from biodiesel and compatible with existing infrastructure.

This achievement clears the path for large scale renewable fuel production while addressing issues over cost, resource constraints and energy intensive steps that are associated with biomass growth and harvesting. It produces more net energy than it consumes and yields ultra-clean and sulphur-free diesel.

Joule is now expected to begin pilot production by the end of 2010.