Technology: Energy & fuel
Olís kynnti í dag fyrst íslenskra olíufyrirtækja díselolíu blandaða með VLO, eða vetnismeðhöndlaðri lífrænni olíu. Um er að ræða hreinna og umhverfisvænna díseleldsneyti en þekkst hefur og framleiðsluaðferðin gerir hana gjörólíka annarri lífdíselolíu. VLO virkar fullkomlega eins og önnur díselolía en hún mengar minna. Olís hóf í dag sölu á VLO díselolíunni og stígur með því enn eitt græna skrefið en félagið hefur um árabil unnið skipulega að umhverfis- og uppgræðslumálum hér á landi.
VLO er blönduð í díselolíu Olís sem hlutfall af seldu magni í samræmi við reglugerðir í Evrópu. Slík reglugerð hefur enn ekki litið dagsins ljós hér á landi en mun væntanlega gera það innan skamms. Þetta íblöndunarhlutfall skilar í heildina 5% minni koltvísýringsútblæstri díselbifreiða. Hægt er að nota 100% hreina VLO á díselvélar en með íblöndun vill Olís stuðla að því að gera VLO samkeppnisfæra í verði á eldsneytismarkaðnum. Íblöndunin hefur engin áhrif á lítraverð, eykur ekki eldsneytiseyðslu en dregur hins vegar úr koltvísýringsútblæstri og losun gróðurhúsalofttegunda.
Hægt er að nota VLO á allar venjulegar díselvélar án þess að breyta þeim eða endurstilla á nokkurn hátt. VLO er afar kuldaþolin sem kemur sér vel á norðlægum slóðum. VLO er með hærri cetan-tölu en önnur díselolía, brennur því betur, bruninn verður hreinni og fer þar af leiðandi betur með vél bílsins.
Mjög fjölbreytt hráefni
Vetnismeðhöndlun er nýstárleg aðferð við framleiðslu á lífeldsneyti fyrir díselvélar en hún er afrakstur öflugs vísinda- og þróunarstarfs hjá finnska olíufyrirtækinu Neste Oil. Við framleiðsluna er notað endurnýjanlegt lífeldsneyti, svo sem ýmiskonar jurtaolía og dýrafita, og vetni notað til að fjarlægja súrefni úr sameindum brennslufitu olíunnar. Þessi aðferð, þ.e. vetnismeðhöndlun lífrænnar olíu, hefur skilað hreinni og umhverfisvænni vöru sem er laus við þau vandamál sem fylgt hafa annarri lífdíselolíu, eins og botnfall, þránun og bakteríumyndun. Ekki hefur þótt ráðlegt að blanda lífdíselolíu nema u.þ.b. 5–7% út í venjulega díselolíu, en VLO má nota allt að 100% á allar díselvélar.
nVið framleiðslu á VLO er notast við afar fjölbreytt hráefni úr umhverfinu án þess að það bitni nokkuð á gæðum eldsneytisins, t.d. margar tegundir af jurtaolíu (sojabaunaolíu, repjuolíu, sólblómaolíu, pálmaolíu o.fl.) en einnig margvíslegan dýrafituúrgang frá veitingahúsum og sláturhúsum, sem annars yrði hent. VLO hefur verið notuð víða í Evrópu um nokkurra ára skeið með góðum árangri. Neste Oil hefur einnig haldið úti víðtækum prófunum á VLO í Finnlandi, Þýskalandi og Kanada undanfarin ár. Þessi olía hefur erlendis gengið undir nafninu HVO, Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil eða vetnismeðhöndluð jurtaolía.
Sigurður K. Pálsson
4. March 2013 11:31
Origin: Olís - Olíuverzlun Íslands hf
Á næstu þremur árum verður fyrsta samhæfða vetniskerfi Bretlands byggt upp í London. Miðpunkturinn í kerfinu verða nokkrar áfyllingarstöðvar fyrir vetnisbíla, þar sem vetni af endurnýjanlegum uppruna verður afgreitt með 700 bara þrýstingi. Jafnframt verða eldri stöðvar uppfærðar í 700 bör til að mæta fyrirsjáanlegri þróun vetnisbíla. Uppbygging kerfisins er samstarf nokkurra aðila, en verkefnið gengur undir nafninu London Hydrogen Network Expansion (LHNE). Í verkefninu felst einnig útvegun vetnisbíla, m.a. fólksbíla af Hyundai-gerð og Revolve sendibíla. Með tilkomu kerfisins verða vetnisknúnir flutningar að raunhæfum möguleika í London. Aðstandendur verkefnisins vonast til að það nýtist sem sýnidæmi og fyrirmynd annarra vetniskerfa sem byggð verða upp í Bretlandi og annars staðar í Evrópu í framtíðinni.
(Sjá frétt EDIE 30. janúar).
Grafík: Þrír grænir bílar, Guðrún A. Tryggvadóttir og Signý Kolbeinsdóttir.
31. January 2013 22:22
Víðir sem hallast, t.d. vegna stöðugs vindálags, getur gefið af sér allt að fimmfalt meira lífeldsneyti en sams konar tré sem vex upprétt. Þessi aukna framleiðni er erfðafræðilegur eiginleiki sem mörg víðitré virðast búa yfir, og er virkjaður ef trén eru neydd til að vaxa skáhallt. Hallinn leiðir til þess að trén framleiða meira af sykrum í stofninum í viðleitni sinni við að rétta sig upp. Víðir er víða ræktaður sem orkugróður og því getur þessi uppgötvun haft verulega þýðingu fyrir framleiðslu á vistvænu eldsneyti. Uppgötvunin er afrakstur samstarfs breskra vísindamann á þessu sviði.
(Sjá frétt Science Daily 18. janúar).
Ljósmynd: Reklar á víði, Guðrún A. Tryggvadóttir.
23. January 2013 23:09
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The most commonly used fuel, petrol and diesel, release a great amount of CO2 and it is therefore of great importance to find and develop new sources of energy that are more environmentally friendly. For many years now the development of more efficient diesel and petrol cars, hybrids (electric- and petrol fueled cars), methane cars, hydrogen cars and electric cars has been underway. In recent years a race has begun for the next generation of buyers; a generation that will demand ever more efficient, economic and less environmentally harmful cars.
Changing the usage of fuel from one type to another
Changing the type of fuel being used in transport is no easy matter, and apart from the production and distribution of the energy, the fuel has to be adjusted to the motors being used today. It is best if a new source of energy can be adapted completely to older types of vehicles, here ethanol and biodiesel can be mentioned. It is a worse option if older vehicles have to be changed to a large extent. Thus it can be mentioned that the use of methane demands large gas containers which are costly and which diminish the functionality of the car. The methane is easier to use for newer cars because then the car as a whole can be designed with the gas containers in mind. The worst option is when a new energy option is introduced requiering new motors. Here both hydrogen and electricity can be mentioned. Such large changes cannot be carried out except over tens of years and only if the new energy and the new motors are very much cheaper than the energy that preceeded them.
Biodisel is the organic environmentally friendly fuel which has the greatest possibility of becoming reality today. Biodiesel is made from vegetable oil or from animal fat but the greatest hope lies in the production of biodiesel from algae. Experimental projects have been carried out on behalf of Siglingastofnunar by cultivating rape in order to produce biodiesel in this country but N1 started importing Biodiesel in 2007 and sells it in three service stations at Hringbraut, Skógarsel and at Reykjavíkurvegur. The advantage of using biodiesel is that it can be used on any diesel car whatsoever. However practical problems have hindered further development but they are being solved as they arise.
Ethanol is being produced by fermenting biomass. Bioethanol E85 is available at the Olís fuel station at Álfheimar. Brimborg has marketed ethanol cars in Iceland. Ethanol has been fermented from sugar cane or from corn but there are intensive experimental projects going on related to producing ethanol from cellulose.
Methane is a renewable source of energy formed by the decay of organic material. It is hoped that the use of methane as a car fuel will increase in the future as it can be considered environmentally friendly in two ways. Firstly it’s burning releases no CO2 and secondly it consumes methane which is an especially harmful greenhouse gas. It is therefore much better to use the gas to fuel cars instead of using petrol or oil.
Metan Ltd. Is a company that has for a few years now produced methane gas but there is still only one refueling station in the country which does not really motivate people to buy methane cars. There are, on the other hand, hopes that this will change in the coming years as the supply of methane cars is increasing considerably. It is worthwhile to note what methane cars are available as dealerships are fast becoming green. Only a short time ago it was almost impossible to get any dealerships to sell methane cars so the development is certainly going in the right direction.
It is possible to convert normal cars into methane cars and Borgarholtsskóli started teaching that kind of conversion in 2007. Vélamiðstöðin ehf., MeGas ehf. and Einn grænn ehf. offer the onversion of normal cars into methane cars today and the number of cars using methane as fuel is rapidly increasing.
Methane cars are usually hybrids, with one tank for methane and another smaller one for petrol. That way it is possible to drive long distances and use petrol to some extent where there is no methane available (the gas tank tough, can be as small as 15 liters).
Hydrogen has relatively insignificant environmental effects as long as the energy to produce it is derived from water, wind or solar power, unless of course the plants environmental impact is significant (i.e Kárahnjúkavirkjun). The problem tough, with hydrogen cars is that their development is still under way and its results are still unsure, and it is also unsure when it will be possible to produce enough hydrogen cars to make a difference. Iceland can safely be called a hydrogen country as it has invested substantially in projects connected to the development and promotion of the hydrogen idea.
Íslensk NýOrka is a front-liner in Icelandic hydrogen research. Hydrogen cars have still a long way to go to become a real choice for the average consumer and furthermore hydrogen is not considered by all to be any solution as it is not really energy in itself but rather a carrier of energy. A few such cars are now in Iceland in connection with various projects and the car-rental agency Hertz will for instance be able to rent out hydrogen cars within a short while, which is a significant step as this will be the first time in the world the public gains access to hydrogen cars. The operations of the cars have though been troublesome for various reasons. One of the reasons is that there is only one refuelling station for hydrogen at Ártúnshöfði in Reykjavík.
EVEN/Northern Lights Energy now works hard on introducing electric cars into Iceland, but electric cars are by many considered to be the most feasible solution for the long term future, not in the least for Iceland where electricity can be produced in a more environmentally friendly manner, than in many other places in the world. Possibly the electric car is the dream solution, - only if we were not facing again those practical problems. Rare Earth metals are used for the motors, and the control system of the electricity. It has to be taken into account that producting those metals is a highly polluting business. Most hopes are placed on Li-ion batteries which are capable of storing large amounts of energy compared with weight. But how much Lithium is available on Earth or in the Solar System for that matter? Will there be enought Lithium for the car-fleet of the world? For Iceland it would be awesome to drive pollution-free and silently on electric cars, but then the highly polluting production process is maybe forgotten, because we will never notice it. There is no rose without thorns.
If the choice is between a diesel- or a gasoline car, it is ampt to keep in mind that a diesel car spends around 25% less fuel than a comparable gasoline car. However around 16% more carbon dioxide is created by burning one liter of diesel oil than gasoline. This means that when choosing between two cars the diesel car has to use 16% less than the gasoline car in order to be comparable to a gasoline car. To this is added that diesel cars produce more aerosol, NOX and PAH´s* than gasoline cars even though diesel car engines are always improving.
The economic aspect of diesel cars is best revealed during long distance driving. It is more difficult for the diesel car to be economical in city and short distance driving. The same goes however for gasoline cars. A cold gasoline engine spends a lot of fuel until it has reached operational temperature. Here we should consider the advantages of an engine heater. Using an electric engine heather, the motor reaches normal operating temperatures much sooner, polluting less and spending less fuel. Also the car becomes warm and cosy in a few minutes. Not bad on a cold winter morning.
PAH´s are poly-aromatic-hydrocarbons which are known carcinogens.
Náttúran er / Einar Einarsson / Guðrún Arndís Tryggvadóttir
22. January 2013 09:20
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Theoretically it can be said that only a little amount of all solar energy that reaches the surface of the Earth could meet the energy needs of mankind as a whole and thus there should be no shortage. The problem is that we have not yet reached the stage of technological development where solar energy can be harnessed in an ecologically and economically benign manner. Therefore fossil fuels are still being used (gasoline, diesel oil and coal), for electricity production, space heating and transport.
Around 90% of all Icelanders are fortunate enough not to require fossil fuels for space heating or for electricity production. Nevertheless the annual emission of greenhouse gases is around 18 tons/per capita in Iceland which is similar to the US, and energy usage per capita is amongst the highest in Europe. These greenhouse gas emissions are mainly caused by a large fishing fleet and by aluminium smelters and other heavy industrial plants. Even though electricity in Iceland comes mainly from hydropower dams, it does not mean that Icelanders can allow themselves to waste energy. Firstly, electricity costs, secondly hydropower has certain negative environmental consequences and thirdly Icelanders could export more energy than they do today, or use it more creatively if resources were spared and hydropower dams were used more carefully.
All heavy energy intensive industry involves the indirect export of electricity. Electricity is always the product of other energy sources such as hydropower, gasoline, oil or in other countries even nuclear power. If Icelanders were to diminish their usage of energy they could save enough energy to produce hydrogen fuel which hopefully will be used along with other fuels such as methanol and methane for transport in not too many years. This is only a simple example to show how all things are environmentally interconnected. Saving energy in the home not only saves money but also saves the environment for future generations.
Lowering the heat indoors
A common indoor temperature in Iceland is 23-25°C, but research shows that 20°C is optimum temperature indoors, with regard to air quality and comfort of the residents. It should be kept in mind that the cost of space heating goes up by 7% if the indoor temperature is raised by one degree. It is unnecessary to heat as much on sunny days and easy to lower the temperature before going on holiday or leaving the house.
It is a good idea to use the warm waste water from the space heating system to heat up the garage. The cooling effect caused by the garage has to be assessed and then especially how well insulated the garage door is. In some cases it may be unnecessary to heat up the garage at all.
8. January 2013 09:36