Connect with us


UEA expert alert – Dr Konstantinos Chalvatzis: EU’s ‘engine’ stalls in Volkswagen scandal



Plummeting consumer confidence in diesel cars will benefit hybrid and electric vehicle sales, according to an expert in energy technology at the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Dr Konstantinos Chalvatzis, a senior lecturer in business and climate change at UEA’s Norwich Business School, said the fallout from the Volkswagen emissions testing scandal will cause a lack of faith in diesel engines, “which has been earned over the past decade in Europe.”

Dr Chalvatzis said: “It is important to consider the environmental angle since this is really a scandal about vehicle emissions that will impact the debates about diesel/petrol and electric mobility.

“While in the past diesel engines were valued for their dependability and modest consumption, during the last decade they have grown to be very powerful and at the same time very efficient. This claim is now in doubt and this will be a huge advantage for manufacturers that have invested in hybrid and electric vehicles.

“The timing is also quite crucial at a time when numerous European cities, including many in the UK, have started looking into ways to discourage diesel vehicles. The VW scandal will only give them new arguments.

“VW has secured sales in a very aggressive market by providing false emissions and consumption data and putting its vehicles at an unfair advantage over those of competitor manufacturers. It is safe to say that other manufacturers will be looking into their legal options on this issue, including requesting compensation for lost profits.”

With other German auto makers – including VW Group’s Audi, Porsche, Seat and Skoda – feeling the knock-on effect, Dr Chalvatzis said the scandal could dent the country’s reputation for reliability and dependability.

“The German automotive industry provides directly and indirectly no less than 20 per cent of the German industrial income. Germany is arguably the ‘engine’ of the EU economy and any impact on Germany exports can damage the EU economy as well. For the UK, there will possibly be winners in competitive manufacturers.”

Dr Chalvatzis said VW will need to pay approximately $18 billion in fines – and that’s “without estimating compensation costs for consumers and other litigation costs from other manufacturers.

“The automotive industry should for sure be braced for heavier regulations, especially with regards to the way issues of air pollution and fuel consumption are being monitored and controlled. Some manufacturers, particularly Japanese, may stand to win customers, especially if they have not relied as heavily in diesel sales.”

Dr Chalvatzis, who is UEA’s representative to the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, is also a visiting scholar at the University of Maryland, USA. He is interested in energy technology and industrial innovation, including transport, and the impact on business and the environment.


A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon




energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

Continue Reading


IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”



IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

Continue Reading