CO2-based parking permits approved

Richmond, a borough in southwest London, has approved a parking-permit pricing scheme based on the carbon-emissions profile of the vehicle being parked. “The new plan would cut charges for owners of compact cars and raise them for drivers of larger vehicles,” according to a report from Bloomberg News. “London Mayor Ken Livingstone is considering a similar pay scale for the city’s traffic-congestion charge zone.”

Hey Toronto, what about testing this out here????

I first wrote about this back in October, when Richmond council was first considering the new sliding-scale parking fee. It’s nice to see that they followed through.

Water: A glimpse of the future?

The Australian state of Queensland, which is battling the worst drought in a century, says it has been forced to pursue a strategy that involves recycling water from sewage. And it’s expected other regions of Australia will follow. Could this be a sign of things to come as the world’s climate continues to change?

The good news is that we have such options, and that the technologies do exist to extract pure water out of raw sewage. It might not sound so appealing, but hey, let’s not kid ourselves: the stuff we get out of our tap every day undoubtedly has disgusting origins.

Reality check on lithium-ion hype

My Clean Break column today looks at all the attention being given to lithium-ion battery technology, which by most accounts is the technological answer to electric transportation and North American energy security. But is it sustainable?

William Tahil of France-based Meridian International Research doesn’t think so. He believes there aren’t enough lithium reserves to support a full-fledged lithium-ion-based EV revolution. He also argues that if we do proceed down the lithium-ion path, we may find ourselves switching from a “peak oil” problem to a “peak lithium” problem, with the latter more likely to come sooner.

An interesting twist to the battery debate… worth a read.

UPDATE: Tahil has given me permission to provide a download link to his study. Click here.

GE Energy to supply co-gen/CO2 fertilization system

GE Energy is supplying a Jenbacher C02 fertilization and co-generation system to a tomato greenhouse in Ontario. The 12-megawatt system will feature four gas engines that will supply power and recovered heat to a 55-acre greenhouse facility located about 350 kilometres west of Toronto. CO2 from the engine exhaust will be diverted, purified, cooled, then fed back into the greenhouse to accelerate tomato growth. About 10 megawatts of power will be sold into the provincial grid under a 20-year contract signed with the Ontario Power Authority, which recently awarded six other co-gen contracts.

Construction on the new system will begin in May and is scheduled for completion in December 2007. This is an important deal for GE Energy. While such a system is common in places such as the Netherlands, this particular project will be GE’s first in North America and the company plans to use it as a reference case for other sales. Pretty cool stuff.

The press release comes out later today, so I’ll post a link when it becomes available.