May 5, 2011

2011's Hottest Hybrids: Cadillac, Porsche & BMW

Admin
4 min
 

 

What’s hotter than getting a new car this year? Getting the hottest hybrid. Mercedes, Porsche, Honda and even Cadillac debuted their eco-friendly versions at this year’s motor shows. Today, worldwide retailers anxiously await these new additions, and 2011 is expected to be a great year for the luxury hybrid – cars providing better fuel efficiency with the same speed and style as their predecessors.

Porsche 918 Spyder hybrid supercar
You’re saving the environment, but you won’t save much on dough as this revolutionary Porsche masterpiece costs about $600,000 to make. The Porsche will inspire all those green geeks just enough to keep them from gawking at the price tag.

The 918 Spyder hybrid was one of three new Porsche hybrids that premiered at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show providing the perfect mix of lavish living with an environmental twist. Rumors circled for months, and when it finally appeared, the Porsche 918 Spyder was said to emit more than just 70 g/km of CO2. Porsche is going to remain the leader in the industry with consumption at 3.0 liters per 100 kilometers and speed from zero to 62 in 3.2 seconds.

Mercedes Benz S400 Hybrid
The S Class defines all what a luxury vehicle should be, so as we welcome 2011, it isn’t surprising that with the New Year comes a new definition of a Mercedes Benz’s classic. The S400 Hybrid will still suit the traveling businessman while offering an environmental touch courtesy of Hollywood. Robert Downey Jr. picked up the new hybrid for the final shots of his film “Due Date.”

The S400 Hybrid produces 296 hp from its 3.5 liter V-6 engine to tear up the asphalt when you hit the gas, and comes with the start-stop technology of traditional hybrids. The Mercedes Benz S400 Hybrid is the first lithium-ion battery for a production hybrid, allowing it to zoom off at 30 miles per gallon on the highway while still giving 46 percent better fuel economy than your average V8 powered ML550 model.

BMW ActiveHybrid 7
BMW’s ActiveHybrid 7 premiered at the 2009 Frankfurt International Motor Show IAA, but is only just now showing its true colors – because as we all know, everything else BMW touches has to be about perfection. Their BMW ActiveHybrid Technology introduces a plug-in hybrid with a three cylinder turbo diesel with hybrid synchronous motor at the front axle and full hybrid engine at the back.

The ActiveHybrid 7 is already an early award winner with its 99 grams per kilometer CO2 emission rating and low fuel consumption – making that number unique in the market. The eight speed automatic transmission and V8 gasoline engine hardly counts for anything after you get a whiff of the acceleration numbers – rocketing from zero to 80 in under five seconds.

Cadillac Escalade Hybrid
Sure, the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid premiered last year, but after several months on the market, we still don’t think this humdinger of an automobile has earned itself enough press. It’s the notoriety and class of the Cadillac Escalade with the environmental focus of a hybrid. What more do you want?

Contradictory at best, the $75,000 artillery tool might garner more than just a Ludacris lyric or camera time during another Michael Phelps’ DUI case, but without the equipment running it, few rap stars or athletes would be as impressed. The small amount of press isn’t surprising, considering the Escalade sells itself with its name and appearances throughout popular culture. With a Gen IV 6.oL V8 engine, LIVC with Active Fuel Management and seating for eight, your whole crew can ride green.

Honda Jazz Hybrid
At nearly every car show this year, Honda strutted its stuff in the hybrid department. At the Paris Motor Show, it was the Jazz Hybrid, where Honda introduced a new, shapely figure for the practical hatchback. Offering the familiar IMA hybrid technology, characteristics of which are also available with the Insight and CR-Z Hybrids, it featured the spacious and famous “Magic Seats” and serious boot space.

In Honda tests, this spicy number has Co2 emissions at 104 g/km with a combined fuel consumption of 4.4 l/100 km. Europe will get to hear the Jazz first, with the rest of the world trailing not far behind. Still featuring the clean look of the Honda Jazz from around the world, this hybrid version will put a spotlight on the average, petrol-electric hybrid in no time.

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Jul 28, 2021

Industry movement with heat decarbonisation

Gas
Renewables
Heatnetworks
Decarbonisation
Dominic Ellis
6 min
As SGN and Vital Energi announce 50:50 joint venture, the heat decarbonisation market is seeing some welcome movement

It is estimated that the heat network market requires approximately £30 billion of investment by 2050 to meet the UK Government’s net zero targets, and the decarbonisation of heat has been highlighted as a particular challenge.

The Climate Change Committee’s Sixth Carbon Budget states the UK should target 20% of UK heat demand through low-carbon heat networks by 2050 - but as with most discussions surrounding mass decarbonisation, even reaching that target won't be an easy task. In the UK approximately 40% of energy consumption and 20% of GHG emissions are due to the heating and hot water supply for buildings.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimate that globally, around half of all energy consumption is used for providing heat, mainly for homes and industry.

Source: Heat Trust

This week saw some positive movement, however, with gas distribution company SGN and UK renewable energy solutions provider Vital Energi announcing a 50:50 joint venture, which will create an Energy Services Company (ESCO) representing utility infrastructure and heat network providers. 

This includes delivery of heat to developments planned by SGN’s property arm, SGN Place, and the local vicinities where there is a demand for low-carbon heat.

The objective is to supply new and existing residential, industrial and commercial facilities and development activity is already underway for two projects in Scotland and the South East, with another 20 in the pipeline. SGN is looking to develop alternative heat solutions alongside its core gas distribution business and expand into the growing district heating market, recognising the future of heat is likely to include a mix of technological solutions and energy sources.

Vital Energi is seeking to expand into asset ownership opportunities to complement its core design, build and operations businesses. The complementary skillsets of both organisations will offer a compelling proposition for developers, commercial and industrial users and public sector bodies seeking low-carbon heat solutions.

SGN’s Director of Commercial Services and Investments Marcus Hunt said: “Heat networks are likely to play an increasing role in the delivery of UK heat in the context of net zero. The creation of this joint venture with market-leading Vital Energi enables us to build a presence in this emerging market, delivering new heat infrastructure and supporting decarbonisation.”

Nick Gosling, Chief Strategy Officer at Vital Energi, said: “Combining the resources, expertise and know-how of both organisations will allow us to play a major role in delivering the UK’s transition to low and zero-carbon heat.”

In March, the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) starting collaborating with Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) to decarbonise heat and power at Kirkwall Airport through green hydrogen technology. 2G Energy was selected to deliver a CHP plant which generates heat and electricity from 100% hydrogen.

Heat decarbonisation options 

The Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) highlights the following options for decarbonising heating. 

Electrification

Use renewable electricity to generate heat in the home. As power sector emissions fall, emissions associated with electric heating are decreasing rapidly.

Low carbon gases

Replace natural gas that most homes use for heating with hydrogen, which releases energy but not carbon dioxide, the only waste product is water. Biomethane is also an option as it produces less carbon than natural gas over a full lifecycle.

For hydrogen to work, the pipes in the national gas grid would need to be replaced and home boilers would need to be adapted or changed. This is possible but could incur considerable cost. 

Biomethane is chemically identical to methane from natural gas, so is suited to existing infrastructure and appliances. It is unlikely, however, that it can be produced in sufficient quantities to replace fossil gas entirely.

Hybrids

A hybrid system combining both electrification and hydrogen is a third option. Here, heat pumps could be used to meet the majority of heat demand, with a (low carbon) gas boiler taking over in extremely cold weather. Advantages of this approach include helping establish a market for heat pumps while hydrogen is developed to displace natural gas in the hybrid system eventually, and the ability to call on hydrogen when heat demand is at its very highest.

Heat networks

Heat networks connect a central heat source to a number of buildings via a series of underground hot water pipes, and are popular in countries such as Denmark, where heat networks supply 63% of households. The Government expects the heat networks market in the UK to grow quickly to supply up to 20% of heat demand over the next decade or so, investing £320 million into its flagship Heat Networks Investment Project to help get this underway.

Heat networks work particularly well in built-up urban areas or industrial clusters where there is a large and concentrated demand for heat. Over time, it is thought that if the central heat source can be low carbon, then there is the opportunity to ensure that multiple homes and buildings are decarbonised at once.

Biomass

Biomass can be used to reduce emissions when used instead of more polluting fuels like oil in off gas grid properties. Support for biomass boilers has been available since 2011 via the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), but take-up has been low.

Supply constraints also restrict the role that biomass – burning solid material such as wood – can play. In any case, according to the Committee on Climate Change, this resource may be better used in other sectors of the economy such as construction, where it provides carbon storage without the need for CCS and reduces demand for carbon-intensive materials such as steel and cement.

The Energy Transitions Commission (ETC)'s latest report sets out how rapidly increasing demand for bioresources could outstrip sustainable supply, undermining climate mitigation efforts and harming biodiversity, unless alternative zero-carbon options are rapidly scaled-up and use of bioresources carefully prioritised.

"Alternative zero-carbon solutions, such as clean electrification or hydrogen, must be developed rapidly to lessen the need for bio-based solutions," it states.

The overall decarbonisation of industry is another major challenge, especially among four sectors that contribute 45 percent of CO2 emissions: cement, steel, ammonia, and ethylene, according to a McKinsey report. 

The process demands reimagining production processes from scratch and redesigning existing sites with costly rebuilds or retrofits. Furthermore, companies that adopt low-carbon production processes will see a short- to mid-term increase in cost, ultimately placing them at an economic disadvantage in a competitive global commodities market.

Next steps

Ken Hunnisett is Project Director for the Heat Network Investment Project (HNIP)’s delivery partner Triple Point, which is the delivery partner for the government's Heat Network Investment Project, which is responsible for investing up to £320million in strategic, low-carbon heat network projects across England and Wales.

He is calling for the urgent need to invest in the development of new heating infrastructure to support the nation’s decarbonisation effort. So far £165m of HNIP funds have prompted £421m CAPEX, providing more green jobs as the UK economy eases from the lows sustained from the pandemic.  

Decarbonising the UK's heating infrastructure is critical if we are to reach our net-zero goals and it’s crucial that progress is made in this decisive decade, he added. 

"Heat networks are a part of the lowest-cost pathway to decarbonising our homes and workplaces in the future but are also the bit of the jigsaw that we can be putting into place now," he said. "Penetration into the UK market is still low, despite heat representing 37% of UK greenhouse gas emissions, the largest single contributor by some way. Funding needs to be urgently directed towards reducing the environmental impact of the residential sector, particularly given the slow pace of the decline in residential emissions in comparison to those of business and transport."

Currently, just 3% of UK buildings are serviced by heat networks. "Further investment in this industry, using public and private funds, will not only drive wider sustainability targets but will boost the economy by providing more green jobs as the country emerges from the pandemic," he said.

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