Tuesday, March 30

304-306 London Road update (Woolworths building)

Work at the old Woolworths premises continues. I recently found a planning application at Havant Borough Council to approve the two units to be separated and for the smaller unit to be extended at the rear.

But having had a peek into the two premises, one would think they are doing the opposite and combining the two into one!

I guess the owner of the property (Aaron Wright?) believes they will get more in rents for two properties rather than one big one. Or they might be considering selling up?

Monday, March 29

Wildlife local events for April

Some interesting events organised by Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust for April:

12th April, 7.30pm - John Goodspeed gives an illustrated talk of the wild life of Portsdown Hill and Surrounding Area. Costs £2.

21 April, 7pm - Explore the Bedhampton Shore and Streams looking for birds and flowers.

25 April, 9am - Bird watch at Farlington Marshes.

28 April, 6.30pm - Wildflowers at Gunner Point, Hayling Island. 4km circular walk.

More info about these events at www.hwt.org.uk/events.php

Wednesday, March 17

Tidal and Wave energy projects

Good news this week with the announcement of a large number of full scale tidal and wave energy projects in the Pentland Firth, Scotland. I mentioned a few months ago UK companies are largely at the front of the pack when it comes to this new technology.

This week some of the companies I mentioned are starting the process of planning and building large farms of tidal and wave devices that will produce some 1.2GW of electricity (the equivalent of a very large power station). However this hides a small added bonus, which is the fact that tidal energy device (and possibly wave) will provide more power (watts of energy over time) than a similarly rated wind turbine. So 1.2GW of tidal and wave energy will produce more power than the same capacity wind farm.

This bodes well for future UK marine engineering (assuming they are fabricated in the UK) since other farms will be built around the world, as well as more UK farms.

Examples are in India where one district is considering a 1.2GW farm and in Korea where UK company Lunar Energy are developing a 300MW farm.

New Energy Focus

Tuesday, March 16

Warning about Scottish Power

Currently Scottish Power appear to be sending sales reps to the doorstep in the area. Although they wear a badge and clothing for identification, they don't mention why they are visiting and the way they talk gives the impression that they are giving some sort of general information about reduced tariffs.

The reality is of course that they are trying to get you to switch to them. That of course is fine if you have all the information available to you. However such doorstep hard selling is likely to result in poor research and possibly the wrong deal.

Monday, March 15

Local Politicians Climate Question Time

Interesting event is planned for 16th April. The main political parties in Havant Borough are going to be participating in a Climate Question Time organised by Havant Friends of the Earth.

Anyone can turn up and pose all sorts of questions to the politicians, before the election gets under way.

Details are:
Date: 16 April 2010
Start time: 7.30pm
Place: The Spring, East Street, Havant.

Sunday, March 14

PassivHaus course this week in Portsmouth

There is a one day course on the 19th March about the PassivHaus system of home design.
I think there are still places available (it is free to people living in the SE region), but you have to book first. Details available at the Sustainable Building Association - Carbon Lite courses web page. The course will be at the Rees Building, Portsmouth University, starting at 9.30am.

Added: Oops forgot the date! It's on the 19th March, this Friday.

Is Hydrogen really a 'fuel'?

Oh dear. Watched Top Gear on BBC2 for the first time in about 2 years this evening and by coincidence they reviewed a Tesla (electric/batteries) and a Honda FCX Clarity (electric/Hydrogen fuel cells). It always amazes me that the BBC actually produces this programme at all.

What did the team of jerks on Top Gear get wrong? Just about everything. They conned the viewer into believing Hydrogen was a miracle 'fuel'. Ironically in the same programme they implied battery powered cars had no future partly because the electricity came from coal guzzling power stations.

The point they (tragically) failed to make is that Hydrogen has the same problem! In fact Hydrogen is an energy carrier like a battery, it is no different at all. They managed to convince the viewer that Hydrogen has to be 'scraped' off other atoms or molecules. Any physicist will tell you that requires energy and the energy has to come from somewhere. It can be produced from a high carbon or low carbon energy source, but that applies to charging batteries as well.

So just how good is Hydrogen? Well as an energy source it is rubbish, it has a net negative energy ratio. That means you put more energy in to produce it than you get out of it afterwards. This is why it is termed an 'energy carrier'. You have the same problem with batteries, you get less out than you put in.

Saturday, March 6

Update on Nature Paint

I had thought that I might have to replace the Nature Paint I used on the walls in the kitchen. But it seems reasonably stable right now. This maybe partly because I am controlling the steam/condensation better than before. I have quite a lot of the paint powder left, so I think I'll probably just use the remainder to patch up the walls when required.

Meanwhile the Earthborn emulsion is doing really well in the other room. Performing far better than I imagined it would do.