REVOLT News 145

12/06/2003

Text Version 

 REVOLT News 145

1. Snips from Angela Ovenston's web scan on fuel cells:

(a) Hamburg utilities company HEW introduced its first fuel cell for heat and power supply in a private household. The co-generation system includes a 4.6-kW PEM fuel cell designed by Vaillant and its U.S. partner Plug Power.

(b) The United States will lead a $1 billion, public-private effort to construct FutureGen - the world's first fossil fuel, pollution-free power plant, which will serve as a "living prototype" of new carbon sequestration technologies while producing both electricity and hydrogen.

(c) The U.S. Department of Energy has submitted a report on the status of fuel cells in response to a request by Congress.
 < http://www.eere.energy.gov/hydrogenandfuelcells/pdfs/fc_report_congress_feb2003.pdf >

(d) Plug Power Inc. and partner Vaillant GmbH have installed 13 proton exchange membrane fuel cell heating appliances during the past three months in Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Luxemburg, producing up to 9 kilowatts of heat and 4.6 kilowatts of electricity to multi-family homes and small businesses. < http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/030430/nyw067_1.html >

(e) The European Union's High Level Group on Hydrogen and Fuel Cells has released a preliminary draft of a "vision" for hydrogen and fuel cells, pending a final report at a conference in Brussels June 16-17, 2003.

 <http://europa.eu.int/comm/research/energy/nn/nn_rt_hlg3_en.html>

(f) Wiley has published the four-volume "Handbook of Fuel Cells: Fundamentals, Technology and Applications." <http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0471499269.html>

(g) The Eighth Grove Fuel Cell Symposium in London, England, on September 24-26, 2003 will feature over 100 exhibitors; more at <www.grovefuelcell.com>  or contact <sm.wilkinson@elsevier.com>. 

2. Further to news144.2(d) on a UK launch of Danish micro-CHP, Professor Ray Walls writes: Hi Mike, You may have missed the announcement by Centric ( British Gas ) to trial this technology later this year and make them available to individual households in 2004. By the end of the decade it is estimated in the market forecast that in the order of 1,000,000 will be in use in the UK. Developed by Microgen a subsidiary of BG uses boilers built by a Japanese company Rinnai. Cost about £2000. - Ray.

3. Roger Coghill writes: Mike, You might want to tell your members that we are launching Asphalia, a melatonin-rich food supplement for radioprotection of people living near masts. Further details from our website <http://www.cogreslab.co.uk>.  Best, Ro

4. The WHO has issued a "Clarifying Statement" on its work on the precautionary principle (PP) for electromagnetic fields (EMF). It explains that its EMF working group (of which I am a member) has led it first to produce a generic approach to precaution, applicable to other exposures and potential risks, as a first stage, to be followed by a second stage of specific application to EMF. A draft generic Framework is now at <http://www.who.int/emf>.  That is fair enough. At the working group meeting in February in Luxembourg, WHO made very firm statements to the effect that the evidence now justifies invoking the Precautionary Principle to EMFs (both from powerlines and from mobile phones; see revolt news141.6). My response to the Clarifying Statement is at Appendix 1 below.

5. An NRPB study just published in the British Journal of Cancer, 88(12), is roundly criticised by Alasdair Philips of Powerwatch and Children with Leukaemia (APPENDIX 2 below, see also <www.powerwatch.org.uk>.  The wrong kind of fields and the wrong kind of exposure! The spin and distortion are lamentable. In my view the study hypotheses are poorly formed and not relevant to the growing health concerns and the consistent world-wide statistical association with childhood leukaemia. Or else they were cleverly formed to mislead. One plausible mechanism for leukaemia is through the suppression of the anti-carcinogen melatonin, which would require whole person studies with nocturnal exposure to the right kind of EMF. Well, people living with power supply exposures do that, and they DO show a clear association with childhood leukaemia. The NRPB study is worthless and its presentation to the media is dishonest.

6. Landowners on the Picton - Shipton line have been informed by NG that power will be switched on later this month (June). The first connection joins one of the circuits on the old Norton-Picton line to one on the new Picton-Shipton line. Later on, the second circuit will be joined up. It remains to complete the new Lackenby-Picton line and to connect it up with the old Picton-Osbaldwick (near York) line. That may take some months as temporary diversions of the old Lackenby-Crathorne line are needed. In the interim, all the power normally going down the old Norton-Osbaldwick line will be diverted onto the new Picton-Shipton line, but it will still only be operating at a fraction of its capacity. When both lines are in operation, they will share the power so will each be loaded at only half that fraction, showing just how unnecessary the new lines are.

7. Angela Kelly, Chairman of Country Guardian, presents a good summary of the chaotic effects of windfarms and their threat to electricity supply, with serious lessons to be learned from the increasing problems they are causing in Denmark. It is in her response to Cambria Magazine at APPENDIX 3 below. The main problem is having to dump surplus power on the market at the wrong time, and then forcing the diseconomy of part- time operation on conventional power stations for back up when wind power is reduced or off. No one is facing up to paying for this diseconomy of part-time back-up, so it won't be done and the system will fail. It seems a bit like the dome, politicians striving to make a name for themselves over visible images of green power but relying on wishful thinking more than engineering and economics.

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APPENDIX 1 - response to WHO Clarifying Statement

The statement seems a fair reflection of part of the working group's position. Perhaps the description of the Framework as a comprehensive framework for risk management is a slight exaggeration, but it is a generic approach to considering precaution in RM.

Like others, I have been contacted by Microwave News and may be quoted. My response was on the declared position of WHO and not on the detailed work of the group, nor on the draft generic paper, as they seem to me to be internal matters for the group until they become firm enough for publication. Perhaps the draft generic Framework has reached that point if it is now on the web site for consultation.

I should add that I personally supported the movement in the group away from the use of the emotive word "invoke", and towards the more universal consideration of precaution, while at the same time supporting the WHO declared position to invoke (i.e. apply) PP for EMF.

I would hope that the position correctly described in the Clarifying Statement would not negate or reverse the declared WHO position of accepting that the evidence on EMF has reached a point which warrants some form of commensurate precaution. That implies a definite change from the status quo, particularly in the UK.

MJOC 11.6.03

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APPENDIX 2 Powerwatch and Children with Leukaemia response to NRPB study in BJC

Urgent Press Release from Alasdair Philips, Scientific Projects Advisor CHILDREN with LEUKAEMIA 51 Great Ormond Street WC1N 3JQ

Our comments on the new EMF bio-effects paper by Hone, et al, in the latest issue of the British Journal of Cancer, embargoed until 18:00 hrs today, 10th June 2003. [British Journal of Cancer, Volume 88, Number 12]

We are most concerned about the inappropriate spin in both the Cancer Research UK and the NRPB Press Releases which say that this study will allay public fears.

In fact this study is not relevant to the issue. We see it as a deliberate attempt to confuse people about this issue, funded by the electricity industry's EMF research charity, using simplistic EMF exposure (linear and not rotating fields) at exposures very different from those implicated with an increased incidence of childhood leukaemia.

Firstly, cells in vitro subjected to one 12 hour exposure are not the same as cells in a living being (human or animal) subject to EMFs over many months.

Secondly, most of the epidemiological studies showing positive associations between EMF exposure and childhood leukaemia incidence have shown a relationship with distance to an overhead power-line rather than with measured AC magnetic fields. One likely reason for this is that overhead powerlines produce elliptically polarised fields with the field vector rotating in space. Work on reduction in melatonin levels have shown that rotating fields have a much stronger effect. This paper reports on work with a linearly polarised field in a solenoid and this does not represent the characteristics of the magnetic fields found near power lines.

Thirdly, most positive EMF bio-effects have been found to show both frequency and field level 'windows' where effects occur and others where they do not occur. Higher fields often DO NOT mean a greater effect - indeed the subtle effects often go away as cells recognise the insult and induce protection mechanisms such as 'heat shock' protein production. All of the 'positive EMF association' papers have found that the level associated with a doubling in incidence is around 0.4 microtesla. This level is correctly stated in paragraph two of the paper. In order to test this, a range of exposure levels around 0.4 microtesla should have been used; say 0.2, 0.4, 1.0 and 2.0 microtesla. This research used field levels of 230, 470 and 700 microtesla - all about 1000 times too large to test the hypothesis.

We see this paper as industry funded PR spin, with the experimental design almost guaranteed to show 'no-effect'.

If you run with this story we hope that you will point out our comments on the problems with the experimental design making the study irrelevant and misleading with respect to the issue of childhood leukaemia and EMF exposure from electrical powerlines.

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APPENDIX 3 Country Guardian response to Cambria Magazine

<www.cambriamagazine.com/comment/c2.htm>

I would like to thank CAMBRIA for affording the public an open platform for the much needed Wind Debate.

An important article "Flere Vindmøller Skaber Kaos" by Niels Sandøe was published in the Danish newspaper, Jyllands Posten, on 4th June 2003. I have received an English translation which I have forwarded to the author and Jyllands Posten for their permission to publish. This article from Denmark absolutely confirms the message that the Royal Academy of Engineering has been trying, in vain it would seem, to put across to our government. The Institution of Electrical Engineers and the Institution of Chemical Engineers have also been forecasting an energy crisis and potential blackouts if their warnings go unheeded. Unless the UK learns from the Danish experience we shall be landed with a far greater problem than that of Denmark.

Denmark trades power with Norway (hydro) and Sweden (hydro & nuclear) so that wind surges can be exported to these countries while providing firm back-up when there is no wind. Comparatively, the UK has very limited back-up. The more intermittent windpower we use in the UK, the more fossil fuel is needed for back-up: this has to be constantly available and inevitably increases CO2 emissions.

The Jyllands Posten article concerned is entitled ?More Wind Turbines Cause Chaos? which gives a pretty good idea of the trouble being caused by intermittent windpower!

Herewith is a short summary of the content of the article:-

Electrical power supplied must balance the power demand plus transmission losses at every second of the day. If this balance is not achieved either there will be an automatic disconnection of either supply (to prevent physical damage to generating plant) or of loads (blackouts). Conventional plant has to be run in conjunction with the unpredictable wind generators and their output varied in order to provide a cushioning effect. When large changes in wind power occur beyond the capability of such conventional plant to compensate, then the assistance of neighbouring systems has been called upon. With excess wind power the surplus has to be dumped somehow. Help is secured from Germany, Sweden or Norway who accommodate Denmark by accepting zero priced electrical energy. Unfortunately it appears that Germany has, at times, the same problem because of its own wind turbine concentration in the same region.

When the wind blows strongly the problem for Eltra is to dispose of the excess of the prioritised wind electricity. Hence the price drops accordingly which is why Denmark has been known to export electricity at zero economic benefit. What is very interesting in this article is the statement that because the turbines in Northern Germany and Denmark operate at much the same time and rate there is keen competition between these two countries to sell power to each other! Hence the frequent big falls in price. Both need to get rid of their uncontrollable excess of wind electricity at whatever price they can get!

Re pricing, Eltra is the Transmission System Operator, and is an entirely different company from Elsam, the main electricity generator. Both companies are trying to optimise their operations, so when the supply of electricity from wind, coal and gas generators is suddenly reduced by a deficiency of wind, the other (coal and gas fired) generator companies, such as Elsam, must be on-line to take up the demand and charge a premium for this service.

The whole system is crazy, and could only operate because Denmark has neighbours who are only too willing to receive cheap electricity, and the previous "green" government was willing to support the vast costs involved! The present Danish government is trying to sort out the mess!

Is it credible that the UK government is going to ignore the Danish lesson which has now been spelt out in the clearest terms possible?

In the light of this irrefutable evidence it is of the utmost importance that our decision-makers are made aware of the potential havoc that could be wreaked with our electricity supply if the proliferation of commercial wind power stations is allowed to continue apace.

Please make sure that they all have access to the article ?Danish Lessons? available for download on:-

http://www.countryguardian.net/  and:- http://www.viewsofscotland.org/ 

No doubt the land-wreckers will, once more, try to plaster over the cracks in their spurious ?green? arguments as they writhe in their relentless efforts to dump their hardware on our beautiful land. It beggars belief.

Yours sincerely

Angela Kelly Chairman, Country Guardian

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Mike O'Carroll

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