autobahn

One way or another, Germany of the future will have hushed autobahns traveled by millions of purring electric cars and e-car recharging hubs as ubiquitous as gas stations are today. Yet, of the one million e-cars that Chancellor Merkel insists will be on Germany’s roads in 2022, there are only 5,578 today. Germany’s e-cars are still in the factory. What’s the problem?

The problem is that German carmakers, heavy-hitters like Volkswagen, BMW, Daimler Benz, Audi, and Porsche, would rather sell the hefty luxury models they’ve made their names on – and fortunes with – rather than flyweight, plastic two-seaters run on a suitcase-sized battery. Indeed, Germany’s world-renowned auto industry is posting record profits.

This is why the Scandinavians, as well as Californians, are out in front of Germans on electromobility. This isn’t to say that German carmakers aren’t in their labs working hard to beat out American and Asian competition. But they haven’t expedited the flow of e-cars to Germany’s streets.

There are other reasons for this, too, such as the high costs of current models, the absence of charging stations, and the still imperfect technology of batteries.

As dispiriting as this state of affairs is, there is progress being made elsewhere while the R&D units get it right. Cities in Germany like Munster, Freiburg, Karlsruhe, and Hamburg, as well as their peers to the north in Scandinavia, are well-known “smart” or “green” cities boasting state-of-the-art sustainable urban concepts, including transportation. These metropolitan areas and others have their own carbon targets predating the Energiewende. These green cities take pride in their highly subsidized public transportation, traffic-free downtowns, road pricing, bike lanes and highways, rent-bike programs, car sharing, and other environmentally-friendly endeavors.

Take, for example, the pretty western German city of Munster, near the Dutch border. There, hybrid Mercedes-Benz buses compose part of the city’s fleet. The Munster bicycle station is the largest underground bicycle parking facility in Germany, housing 3,300 (guarded) bicycle stands, as well as a maintenance workshop, a bike wash, a bicycle shop, and even lockers. Munster is considered one of Europe’s easiest cities of its size (280,000) to live in without a car, and for this reason among others was voted the world’s most livable city in 2004.

Or there’s Freiburg, in Germany’s southwesternmost corner, which has converted a former military area into a green, traffic-free suburb. One of the primary goals of the Vauban district was to create environmentally-friendly traffic. In addition to a two mile-long tramline to central Freiburg, the city council created a car-sharing system, 350 miles of bicycle paths in Freiburg and Vauban, and 5,000 bicycle parking spaces.

Will every city in Germany look like Freiburg and Munster in ten years’ time? That’s the idea.

 

Renewable Energy World article

Advertisements

About kingstonrenewableenergy

Kingston Renewable Energy (KRE), Hydropower products, wind energy, renewable energy products, We manufacture, supply and install. Richard Kingston KRE is the home of Fluxy, a beautiful Irish made wind turbine designed to last several life-times, and a host of other Hydro products branded under KRE hydro. KRE HYDRO- KRE are currently installing a range of Hydro products including high head low flow systems and low head high flow. These are pelton and Turgo types for high head, crossflow Banki turbines for medium to low head and Powerpal for Ultra low head. We also plan to introduce a custom timber/steel/aluminium waterwheel service for those of you who are lucky enough to have disused mills on their land and who would like to restore them to their former glory (and make a healthy profit in the process). All hydro installations are custom designed. This is necessary because everybody's land and water resource is different and to benefit from the highest efficiency and lowest payback time the hydro system must be customized according to what flow, penstock length required, and what head is available. Hydropower is currently by far the most cost effective renewable resource in Ireland under the existing Feed in tariff structure and export rate of 9c per unit (wholesale rate for bigger systems is €0.087/kWh). It is surprising how much energy is to be harvested from even a small stream and we are offering 4 to 7 year payback times on average and high profits thereafter. KRE FLUXY- It has been a long journey from when I originally set out to buy a wind turbine to power my own house in 2007 and discovered that the existing machines on offer in the market failed to meet my desires as a customer; that is, to possess an aesthetically designed machine with a low embodied carbon footprint and a long design lifespan. This led to my resolve to make this a possibility as I knew there were other like minded folks out there who had the same needs when buying into renewable energy. I have always been a keen environmental activist and had a strong understanding of engineering and material sciences which enabled me to see failings in the high tech electronically controlled machines commonly available today. These weaknesses come from over complicating the wind system with servo motors, sensors, gear trains, relays and logic circuits; fine for large utility scale turbines which are constantly monitored and have continual maintenance on site but not for a small wind turbine in the back yard to run the house. I could see that wind turbines needed to be brought back to a less complicated yet modern design that would withstand time and the turbulent and violent winds we see in Ireland and fulfilling the old engineers adage of ‘KISS’ or ‘keep it simple stupid’. With less component parts, there are less things to go wrong. My vision was to create a machine that offered the benefits of being an economic investment, a positive for the environment and also to be a design piece that our customers are proud to have flying in their grounds. And so, I present you with the fully mechanical Kingston Renewable Energy Fluxy wind turbine. Please feel free to contact us at any time if you have any questions or think you may have a good wind site. We will happily do a site assessment come rain or shine. Stay posted for the monthly blogs from our inspirational team here at KRE. Check out our latest installments in our crusade to get higher feed-in tariffs in Ireland so that we can compete with the rest of Europe in the micro-generation stakes. The Hydro section of our website will be updated shortly to show our newest installations and showcase our products. Yours sincerely, Richard Kingston

One response »

  1. Pretty! This was a really wonderful post. Many thanks for providing this information.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s