eMission control – Focus: Airways

Global air travel is not receding. In fact, in several places triple-digit percentage increases are not uncommon. Katherine Rowland in OnEarth magazine in “Infographic: Flying the Friendlier Skies,” writes: “In emerging economies, the growth has been dramatic: between 2007 and 2010, passenger volume in China increased by almost 50 percent — another 84 million fliers. … Read more

CATS: Grand Canyon Railway a ‘Lean, Clean and Green’ machine

Number 14 in the Clean Air Technologies Series. If I mention the National Park Service (NPS) what draws to mind? Conjured up images of environmental sustainability? How about awards presentation? Probably neither, correct? First order of business here is the subject of environmental stewardship. I ask: is it not the preservation of open spaces, scenic vistas and the … Read more

CATS: Piezo-electric transducers – one more renewable resource

Number 12 in the Clean Air Technologies Series. I don’t consider myself to be an inventor or designer, but in the late 1980s I came up with what I thought was a feasible idea: make use of piezo-electric devices to generate electricity. The specific application I was going for was in the railroad realm whereby … Read more

The renewables challenge: Fifty percent reliance by 2050?

PBS’ America Revealed series presenter Yul Kwon, in 2012 remarking on Thomas Edison in “ELECTRIC NATION,” in no uncertain terms, said: “In 1931, Thomas Edison confided to his friend Henry Ford. ‘We are like tenant farmers, chopping down the fence around our house for fuel, when we should be using nature’s inexhaustible sources of energy: … Read more

With renewables, what’s not to like?

Estimates are America has nearly 250 million vehicles, the bulk of which are fossil-fuel-driven. That’s a lot of cars, buses, motorcycles, trucks, etc. To keep not only these vehicles on the go, but the bevy of stationary internal-combustion-engine-powered motorized machines, too, takes fuel – and lots of it. While it’s no surprise the fuel available for … Read more

CATS: Diesel-electric versus pure electric train operations – pros and cons

Number 10 in the Clean Air Technologies Series. When it comes to powering a locomotive, electricity wins hands down, or does it? Before going any farther, a brief review of 20th century U.S. transportation history is in order. I was born in the age of the diesel loco. Steam as locomotive propulsion power, although reaching a zenith right around … Read more

Electricity use, air pollution and the robotics revolution

A segment of the Jan. 13, 2013 installment of the CBS 60 Minutes television program covered robotics. Given that I have now had plenty of time to digest what I have watched, my take is, robots, with their ranks apparently increasing, I can only imagine the effect on the electric grid supply and the environment. The presumption, of … Read more

California high-speed rail looks to renewable resources for electricity supply

In “Trains prove their worth in helping improve air,” I offered, “In the final analysis if the growth in passenger train ridership is to continue, then additional service will be necessary. ….Electrified California high-speed rail service, on the other hand, expected to break ground later this year, when built and operational, will provide a viable alternative to meet … Read more