The forgotten future of the stationary bicycle

I couldn't pass up this article forwarded to me this morning, without sharing it in its entirety here...

Pedal powered farms and factories: the forgotten future of the stationary bicycle

by Kris De Decker

Pedal powered hydraulic log splitter

If we boost the research on pedal powered technology - trying to make up for seven decades of lost opportunities - and steer it in the right direction, pedals and cranks could make an important contribution to running a post-carbon society that maintains many of the comforts of a modern life. The possibilities of pedal power largely exceed the use of the bicycle.

One way to solve the large energy losses of pedal power generators is not to produce electricity at all but power devices mechanically, whenever possible. Another way - the only way for devices that cannot be powered via a direct mechanical connection because they do not rely on rotary motion - is to make the generation of electricity more efficient. This can be done by building a pedal powered generator from scratch instead of using a road bicycle, or by ditching one or several electronic components in the power transmission chain. All approaches can be combined, resulting in a pedal power unit that can power a multitude of mechanical devices and generate electricity comparatively efficiently. » Read more

Peak Oil on National radion:Dr Fatih Birol of IEA interviewed on Radio NZ

Listening to Nine to Noon on National Radio this morning I could hardly believe my ears when I heard the words "Peak Oil".

Kathryn Ryan interviewed the chief economist for the International Energy Agency (IEA) Dr. Fatih Birol.
This available at

Interestingly this was followed immediately by a discussion with Australian correspondent Ray Moynihian on climate change and responses to it it Australia. » Read more

Inflinite growth paradigm meets end of cheap energy

As a non-economist I don't often pay much attention to graphs of economic activity.

However, I saw an article that really caught my attention, so have posted this on my blog

I apologise, I wasn't able to work out how to bring the article with the graph over to this site.

Nuclear Fission: Not Our Vision

Nuclear Fission: Not Our Vision

Jeff Angus
22 Feb 2008 » Read more

Leave the coal in the hole - James Hansen coming to NZ

I went to a meeting of concerned citizens tonight.

It was advertised as a strategy discussion to see how we might get the most value from a visit by James Hansen, author of “Storms of my Grandchildren”, who is coming to New Zealand in May next year (11th - 21st).

I wasn’t sure what I expected, it was more one of those invitations I had responded to out of a hunch. There were some good people on the invite list and I felt I may be able to serve in some way, perhaps by taking information and seeding it into some of those wonderful overlapping networks that seem to spread and cover the country.

While we had some good discussions about the visit, the ‘highlight’ if you can call it that, came from Jeanette Fitzsimons, past co-leader of the Green Party - recently retired, but not idle.

She spoke about the energy direction that New Zealand is being taken down, if unknowingly. A cooperation of influential parties in Government and business is taking us on the path of digging up more coal. » Read more

Government consulting on energy policy

Hon Gerry Brownlee 
Minister of Energy and Resources

22 July 2010

Media Statement

Government consulting on energy policy

Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee today released a Draft New Zealand Energy Strategy (NZES) and Draft New Zealand Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy (NZEECS) for public consultation.

The strategies have been updated to align with current government energy policy priorities and to reflect a stronger focus on economic development.

“The NZES sets the strategic direction for the energy sector and the role energy will play in the New Zealand economy.  The government’s vision is for the energy sector to maximise its contribution to the economy,” Mr Brownlee said.

» Read more

Nicole Foss: A Century of Challenges

I don’t know what I don’t know, and what I heard from the Stoneleigh presentation by Nicole Foss at the Transition Conference, were a lot of things that ring true for me. I can only offer a modest summary here, but if after you listen to Nicole’s presentation and follow her slides, you think she is too pessimistic and overlooking something, I would love to hear from you.

The title of her presentation begged I find a quiet moment to sit and take it all in. So I stoked the fire, got comfortable and settled in. Not being one to run from bad news, I prefer to embrace it and let it make me stronger and more resolute to act in ways that I intuit may soon not be a choice. I can choose to cut my wood with a bow saw and know that I am building a bodily fitness, that may become needed, if not to cut logs by hand, but to work the land to grow food that is no longer being shipped many miles from energy intensive practices on farms persisting with industrial farming methods. In the future I’d like to think I may still have such choices, but to understate it, I’m not confident it will be the case.

Nicole begins by telling us that while her background is very much in the energy field, she and her partner have chosen to focus on the financial picture, because on the scale of time it moves much faster. However, she opens by acknowledging the energy-poor future we are heading for, and goes on to offer clear, concise data and interpret it in ways that seem to be inherently obvious. I know we can’t predict the future, but we can have fun trying, and I could find no fault in her logic.

Combine such factors such as increasing demand for energy in oil producing nations, just when production is falling and you have a recipe for a more rapid decline of available liquid fuels – the most used form of energy we have. A faster decline than is commonly shown on a Hubbert’s Peak diagrams. Onto that add an incredibly low EROEI (energy return on energy invested), and you’ll see the bio fuels and renewable energy sources can’t compete.

  » Read more

Lloyds Report - A case for Transition

Thank's Rob Hopkins, for spotting and sharing this just-released report from Lloyds Insurance and Chatham House, which "does an amazing job of putting the case for Transition to a business audience."

It states that any business seeking to be successful in the future will need to be prepared for ‘dramatic changes in the energy sector’, and that energy dependency will become a key vulnerability.

Here are the conclusions from the report:

» Read more

Amory Lovin's strategy for reshaping the US transport sector

Hi All,

I was trawling through the TED talks yesterday and I came across a very interesting talk by Amory Lovins on work he has done to ween America of foriegn oil. » Read more

Technological solutions for global warming

I believe I've found a way to immediately cool the Earth cheaply and simply, profitably turn CO2 from coal-fired plants into fuel, de-acidify the ocean with a practical mechancial method, and produce cheap, clean, abundant  power portably: » Read more

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