Sunday, 18 March 2007
Many folks have touted electric vehicles and bio-diesel as clean alternatives to fossil fuel based transportation and I have more than a passing interest in the subject, yet there was always a niggling doubt about their eco credentials.
Let me state up front that I'm a big fan of backyard bio-diesel as using a waste resource appeals to the scavenger in me, but there are only so many fish and chip shops around and true waste oil is a limited resource
Commercial bio-diesel was comprehensively debunked by George Monbiot last year and the Toyota Prius outdoes the Hummer in environmental damage, neither is morally or environmentally acceptable in the long term or as a transitional technology
I understand and accept that the personal car has a limited use-by date but what of those areas with no public transport, how do small towns and remote communities cope with an oil embargo or similar shock? My guess would be localised adaptations using local resources and the one resource that most areas can count on is woody bio-mass.
Wood gas powered over a million cars, trucks, buses and trains during and immediately after world war two when fuel was severely rationed and can do so again. I'm not advocating it for "business as usual" but I do see it as a useful and doable response to a petroleum emergency as it
A- uses biomass from marginal landscapes and so does not compete with food for our arable land
B- can be built by any competent workshop using scrap gas cylinders
C- can be adapted to any motorised transport so that it
D- uses existing rolling stock instead of using more resources
I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is and will post more on this in the near future