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alternatives to fossil fuels

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jennifer leiper

Location: Scotland

Monday 29 January 2007 1:20:11 pm

alternatives to fossil fuels

I bought a diesel car so that I could run it on bio-diesel. As far as I am aware, bio-diesel emits no pollution and certainly no CO2. Unfortunately it's not available from garages on the West Coast (some garages on the East coast sell it).

What can we do to encourage garages to stock bio-diesel, and to encourage the public to use it?

John Woodham

Location: Scotland

Tuesday 30 January 2007 9:29:46 pm


It's surprising that the supermarkets haven't started providing bio-diesel as they seem to be jumping on the eco bandwagon. I wonder what an enquiry about this to their public relations dept would elicit?

Does the engine need to be modified to accept bio-diesel, if so, I would suggest some kind of incentive scheme to the region's largest employers (NHS, council) to encourage staff to modify or purchase suitable vehicles. The request to fuel suppliers for provision of eco-diesel would then have a stronger appeal.

I don't think this is a long term solution however as the acreage to produce enough fuel would be enormous. (I wonder what area of oil-seed rape would be required to fuel a vehicle for a year?)

jennifer leiper

Location: Scotland

Wednesday 31 January 2007 7:21:54 pm


Most diesel car engines, particularly the newer models, require no modification to enable them to run on bio-diesel. You just fill it up as usual. It would be interesting to find out what both the supermarkets and the major oil companies are planning with regard to supplying alternatives to fossil fuels. I understand that some of the oil companies are now starting to invest more of their research & development funds in this area, which is promising.

I agree, John, that bio-diesel is not the answer per se, as growing enough crops to produce the oil would be problematic (and would probably add to rainforest destruction, along the lines of the beef growing industry). However, I do think it is a move in the right direction.

jennifer leiper

Location: Scotland

Wednesday 31 January 2007 7:31:21 pm

Pylons 'v' local energy schemes

Are massive pylons being planned for the Highlands? How unattractive to locals and visitors alike! Much worse than windmills. Not to mention costly and inefficient.

Why don't those whose job it is to plan for mass scale energy production think small, instead of big? Local energy systems are far less obtrusive, they cause less environmental damage & upheaval and the are far more efficient than the current trend for large, distant power plants.

A significant amount of the electricity produced is lost through cables in transmission and when there is a breakdown in supply due to, for instance, inclement weather, thousands of homes are affected. Small, local schemes avoid these problems.

So why not support this alternative?

Hamish McTavish

Location: Scotland

Friday 02 February 2007 9:02:47 pm

Pylons in the Highlands

This proposal to build a line of pylons to the south from Beauly raises a few questions:
1 with Dounreay now off-line surely their is ample spare capacity on the existing network - I was under the impression that thousands of windmills are required to produce the equivalent energy of a nuclear power station.
2 As you say it is more efficient to produce electricity close to the point of use - since the point of use is the central belt then it seems logical to cover the Pentland hills, Campsie fells and the Pennines with windmills - is this happening?
3. Has the possibility of offshore windfarms for Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee etc been explored?

I like the idea of local production of energy using whatever resources are available in that particular area - sewage, chicken pellets etc can give methane; sawdust, wood chippings, straw bales can be burnt; windy localities can have their own winfarms; rivers can be used for hydro power; if houses were built with multi fuel stoves and chimneys then all these fallen trees wouldn't be left to rot but could be used for heating etc

Ben Palmer

Location: Scotland

Tuesday 06 March 2007 4:15:19 pm

Electricity production

As the highland region is 100% self reliant with renewable energy with its use of hydro power, why are highland council hellbent on destroying our hills and glens with windmills of mass destruction which cause no reduction in coal burning whatsoever at Scotlands only 2 coal fired power stations - Longannet & Cockenzie.
Each turbine needs 2000 cubic metres of reinforced concrete for their bases - this will never be removed.
With blades tip speeds approaching 200 mph we will have the blood and guts of some of our most magnificent birds spread all over the hills.
It is time to call a halt to this desecration in which the only purpose is corporate greed.

David Moreland

Location: Scotland

Saturday 10 March 2007 3:07:21 am



Sorry to disappoint you, but biodiesel is carbon based and certainly does emit carbon dioxide very similar to that for normal diesel. I also know some folks who tried it and had a thousand dollar repair bill as a result. It may have been a result of switching from regular diesel, but I would be cautious. I would be interested your results.

By the way, it is possible to make biodiesel yourself from waste cooking oil. Just talk to you local fish and chips establishment, where you can probably get it for free. Numerous web sites give instructions. I'd be interested in hearing your experience.

For other discussion about biofuels and other alternative energy topics, visit my blog at:



jennifer leiper

Location: Scotland

Sunday 01 April 2007 8:13:31 pm

bio diesel

Max, It looks like i'll have to do a bit more homework on bio-diesel. I thought the main point of it was low emissions! I still think this is an option worth pursuing as a shift away from oil companies in my view is a positive thing in terms of ethics and social responsibility if not for environmental reasons. Until i can be secure in the knowledge of having a regular supply of bio-diesel i shan't be converting; i'm not ready to rely on my local chippie just yet. I'll have a look at your website for other ideas.

martin lee

Location: Scotland

Sunday 08 April 2007 2:17:27 am

Pylons in the Highlands

Hamish is asking why the capacity of the trasmittion network in the North of Scotland is not sufficent now that Dounreay no longer generates. Dounreay only had a capacity of 250MW, in Scotland today there are wind farms with a total capacity of 1,007MW a further 561MW under construction, 1,011MW which have recived consent to build but have not yet started construction and 5,290MW which have applied for consent but are still waiting for local councils and/or the Scottish Executive to decide if consent will be given or not.

Given that more than 50% of Scotland is north of the proposed interconnector it is not surprising that the capacity required for wind farms is not avialable in the existing system.

A typical wind turbine installed in Scotland today would be in the range 2 to 3MW so perhaps 100 wind turbines would be required to produce the same maximum output as Dounreay. However this is not the whole story. Nuclear power stations often run at an average output of over 80% of rated capacity over their operational life while wind turbines run at around 30% so to replace the total output from Dounreay had it operated as a comercial reactor would take around 270 wind turbines with a total capacity of 675MW

On windy days this power has to be transfered to where it is needed.

The total output of all the wind turbines noted above would be 7,869MW and would replace the generation from around 3,000MW of conventional power stations, this is more than all the nuclear power stations in Scotland if we chose not to replace them.

Martin Lee

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