The Ecologist


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Hydrogen produced from renewable energy is already finding a market as a 'green' fuel for cars. But its future potential goes way beyond that, as a vital storage mechanism for surplus wind / solar electricity on the grid, to provide power on demand. Photo

The hydrogen economy is much nearer than we think

David Thorpe

26th August 2016

Hydrogen made from renewable electricity is already fuelling vehicles at affordable prices, writes DAVID THORPE. But now the 'green' fuel is set to go from niche to mainstream - powering not just cars, trucks and buses, but storing surplus renewable energy on sunny and windy days, then to be burnt in gas turbines or fuel cells to supply the grid with reliable power on demand. more...
New 'solar leaves' will be able to produce ethanol directly from sunlight - the perfect liquid fuel for automotive use - with just enough methanol to stop you drinking it. Photo: Eric Roy via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Goodbye gasoline: we can Get It From The Sun

Keith Barnham

21st July 2016

Traveling in the US by boat and train visiting solar laboratories and environmental groups, Keith Barnham found many successful community initiatives in renewable electricity, and brings news of progress towards the ultimate renewable challenge: a solar fuel that could eventually replace gasoline in cars, trucks, buses, trains and aircraft. more...
Replace your halogen GU10 with an LED version like this one, and cut power demand from 50W to just 5W. Photo: Nicolas von Wilcke / KlaresLicht via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

The urgent case for an mass switch to LED lighting

Chris Goodall

7th June 2016

LED light bulbs are cheap and energy efficient, writes Chris Goodall. A crash programme to replace all the lights in the UK with LEDs would cut electricity bills, reduce carbon emissions and other pollution from coal and diesel generation, and reduce the risk of blackouts. more...
The Zaporozhye nuclear power station seen from the 'Nikopol' bank of the river Dnieper, Ukraine. Photo: Ralf1969 via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

Thirty years after Chernobyl, what chance of a post-nuclear Ukraine?

Jan Haverkamp & Iryna Holovko

26th April 2016

The Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe may have scared most of the world off nuclear power, write Jan Haverkamp & Iryna Holovko. But mysteriously, not Ukraine, where the reactor meltdown actually took place. Thirty years on more than half of Ukraine's electricity is still nuclear, while the power sector is dominated by powerful oligarchs. So what are the chances of a post-nuclear Ukraine? more...
The Xindayang D2 at its launch last June. Photo: Geely Holdings / Xindayang.

China's electric vehicle boost drives global transport revolution

Kieran Cooke

10th March 2016

Improved technology and falling costs are moving electric car sales into the fast lane as manufacturers seek achieve significant economies of scale, writes Kieran Cooke. And now China is leading the EV charge with its plans for 5 million plug-in vehicles by 2020. more...
This wind farm in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern allows the entire state to run on 100% renewable energy. Photo: Clemens v. Vogelsang via Flickr (CC BY).

Dispelling the nuclear 'baseload' myth: nothing renewables can't do better!

Mark Diesendorf

10th March 2016

The main claim used to justify nuclear is that it's the only low carbon power source that can supply 'reliable, baseload electricity', writes Mark Diesendorf - unlike wind and solar. But not only can renewables supply baseload power, they can do something far more valuable: supply power flexibly according to demand. Now nuclear power really is redundant. more...
Photo: K.H.Reichert via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

The cheapest way to scale up wind and solar? A US-wide high-tech power network

Christopher Clack / NOAA

16th February 2016

Not only can the US save money on its electricity by moving to a 48-state power network based on high voltage DC power lines, writes Christopher Clack. It's also the key to increasing the penetration of renewables as the lowest cost energy source, with wind and solar delivering 55% of the nation's electricity demand - and a 78% reduction in carbon emissions. more...
Graphene's ultra-high conductivity makes it the perfect material to improve energy storage and delivery devices. Image: courtesy of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Graphene unlocks super batteries for a greener future

Mark Douthwaite

5th September 2015

A new generation of energy storage devices is on its way, writes Mark Douthwaite: small, lightweight, efficient, long lived. Just what we need to unleash the potential of renewable energy, electric cars and a decentralised power grid. And it's all thanks to graphene. more...
Bryony Worthington gives her reaction to Ed Davey's keynote speech at a Green Alliance meeting. Photo: Green Alliance via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Why we really do need nuclear power

Baroness Worthington

9th June 2015

Faced with the task of decarbonising our electricity supply, it would be foolish to rule nuclear power out of the mix, writes Baroness Worthington, in her reply to Dr Becky Martin, whose open letter was published in The Ecologist. more...
The Tesla Roadster - pictured here in Ventura, California - is a great car. But even though it creates no pollution when you drive it, its manufacture leaves a heavy toxic footprint. Photo: Wendell via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

The green energy revolution is exciting - but don't forget the pollution!

Caleb Goods & Carla Lipsig-Mumme

3rd June 2015

Boading, dubbed China's 'greenest city', is the world's biggest maker of solar panels and wind turbines, write Caleb Goods & Carla Lipsig-Mumme. But it's also has the country's worst pollution. Green energy, electric cars and the batteries that power them are great, but with the heavy toxic footprint they carry from mine to factory, we must not delude ourselves that they are 'sustainable'. more...
Women in India preparing to dry their farm produce using Sunbest equipment. Photo: Ashden.

Solar heat - transforming rural enterprises around the tropics

Anne Wheldon

4th June 2015

Solar energy is not just about electricity, writes Anne Wheldon. It's also about heat - and three innovative projects highlighted by the Ashden Awards are showing how solar heat can dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of food processing and farming, while helping agricultural businesses increase profits more...
Greenpeace Energy, Germany's largest energy co-op, installing 21,132 photovoltaic modules with a peak power output of 3,800 kW on the 80,000 square roof of Stuttgart Exhibition Planet Energy. Photo: © Dirk Wilhelmy / Greenpeace Energy eG.

Green power! Civic energy could provide half our electricity by 2050

Stephen Hall

6th March 2015

With the Green Party's spring conference kicking off today, Stephen Hall presents a vision of a future energy system for the UK that embodies 'green' in its technology, politics and economics: low-carbon, networked, locally accountable and cooperative. Big Six, move over! more...

electric car: 1/25 of 60
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Low carbon? No way! The planned Hinkley Point C nuclear power station would have carbon emissions well above the Climate Change Committee's recommended limit for new power generation. Picture: HayesDavidson.

False solution: Nuclear power is not 'low carbon'

Keith Barnham

5th February 2015

Claims that nuclear power is a 'low carbon' energy source fall apart under scrutiny, writes Keith Barnham. Far from coming in at six grams of CO2 per unit of electricity for Hinkley C, as the Climate Change Committee believes, the true figure is probably well above 50 grams - breaching the CCC's recommended limit for new sources of power generation beyond 2030. more...
Look - no gasoline! A Tesla Roadster charging up outside the company's Palo Alto HQ, California. Photo: Windell Oskay via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Goodbye oil! Soon all cars will be electric - because they are better

Chris Goodall

10th February 2015

78 records didn't come to an end because the world ran out of shellac, writes Chris Goodall. And today's cars won't be made obsolete by a shortage of oil, or even climate change. The transition will be driven by falling prices, long range, clean air laws, and the superb style, performance and driving experience they offer. more...
The Government displaces small farmers, imposes outsiders, robs our resources, divides our peoples - leave us in peace! Photo: Asoquimbo.

El Quimbo, Colombia: Enel-Endesa's 'low carbon' hydroelectric racket

Philippa de Boissière

13th January 2015

For the world's multinational corporations, the climate crisis is just another business opportunity, writes Philippa de Boissière. One example is Enel-Endesa's 'climate friendly' 217m high El Quimbo dam in Colombia - a huge exercise in expropriation at taxpayer expense, backed by police violence against strong local resistance. more...
About half the world's coal is being produced at a loss, as buyers turn away. ALCOA Anglesea coal mine, Australia. Photo: Takver via Flickr.

Tide turning against global coal industry

Chris Rose / DeSmogBlog

2nd October 2014

King Coal's reign is coming to an end, writes Chris Rose, at least as a fuel for generating electricity. Following a price collapse half of all production is being sold at a loss - and major coal users like China are still moving away from the high-carbon fuel. more...
Where this Renault Dauphine electric car led in 1975, hundreds of thousands are now following every year. Auto World Museum, Fulton, Missouri. Photo: JeromeG111 via

Electric car numbers double in one year

The Ecologist

15th April 2014

There are now more than 400,000 electric cars on the world's roads - twice as many as a year ago, and on current trends there will be a million by 2016. Leading the market are the USA, Japan and China - while Europe trails behind. more...

Norway: electric vehicles lead the car market

Sophie Morlin-Yron

4th February 2014

In Norway, electric vehicles are out-selling conventional cars, giving the country the world's highest rate of EV ownership, writes Sophie Morlin-Yron. more...

Greening the car: can we really do it?

Gavin Haines

17th December, 2012

Motorists have been slow to embrace electric vehicles, but gradually they are starting to find their way onto the roads. Gavin Haines asks whether battery powered cars have finally turned a corner or whether their unpopularity thus far is surpassed only by their disappointing eco credentials? more...
Electric car charging at charging point

Oxford charges up new electronic car sharing scheme

Paul Creeney

12th July, 2012

Environmentalists living in and around a 50-mile radius of Oxford can now opt into the country’s first-ever electric car-sharing scheme. The Ecologist’s Paul Creeney reports more...
How green is your fuel?

How green is your fuel?

Andrew Simms

12th April, 2012

In an exclusive extract from 'Ampera We're Electric', Andrew Simms takes a closer look at what powers our cars and asks whether motoring has a greener future to look forward to more...
Five of the best…electric cars

Five of the best… electric cars

Ruth Styles

29th March, 2012

If you can’t use public transport, the electric car is the next best thing – provided of course, you power it up with renewable electricity. We round up five of the most planet-friendly more...
Pedal power: how ‘e-bikes’ are changing the way we commute

Pedal power: how ‘e-bikes’ are changing the way we commute

Ben Martin

1st March, 2012

Greener than cars and healthier than the tube, the ‘e-bike’ looks set to become one of 2012’s top travel trends more...
Vauxhall Ampera

Electric cars: could the new Vauxhall Ampera really make driving greener?

Ruth Styles

22nd July, 2011

From fossil fuel generated electricity to unreliable batteries, electric cars haven’t always lived up to the hype. But with the launch of the Vauxhall Ampera, could all that be about to change? Ruth Styles reports more...
Save our Solar campaign

TAKE ACTION to save the UK's solar industry

Matilda Lee

8th June, 2011

Solar could provide one third of the UK's electricity demand. So why has the government recently slashed the feed in tariff? more...


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