Easy to digest environmental information
Backed up by raw data

The World’s Most Powerful Wind Turbines

Published August 14, 2019

Worldwide there are over 200,000 wind turbines operating and the wind generation capacity doubles about every 3 years. Wind power is accounted for 9% of the global renewable energy consumption in 2017 and it has the second fastest electricity generation growth after solar PV. Wind power has an important role in combating global warming. During its entire lifecycle a modern wind power plant produces 41 times more energy than it consumes.

Source: https://www.iea.org/renewables2018/

Worlds Largest Wind Turbines

4. Enercon E-126 7.58 MW

Enercon E-126 7.58 MW

The E-126 is the world’s highest performing onshore wind turbine manufactured by the German company Enercon. The 7.58MW model was introduced in 2011 and up until 2014 it was the largest wind turbine when the Danish company, Vestas, came out with their V164-8.0 model. The total weight of this massive turbine is 6,012 tonnes.

Rated power: 7.580 kW
Rotor diameter: 127 m
Hub height: 135 m
Total height: 198 m

Source: https://www.enercon.de/en/products/ep-8/e-126/

3. Siemens Gamesa 8.0-167 DD

Siemens Gamesa 8.0-167 DD

A larger rotor installed with the new 81.5 meter long aerodynamic blades results in 20% more energy produced annually compared to the predecessor. Simplified production means there will be 1,000 SG 8.0-167 DD offshore wind turbines produced by the beginning of 2020. A more powerful model is in the pipeline as well, the SG 10.0-193 DD with 10 MW power in 2022.

Source: https://www.siemensgamesa.com/en-int/products-and-services/offshore/wind-turbine-sg-8-0-167-dd

2. MHI Vestas V174

MHI Vestas V174

Vestas has taken the proven 9.0 MW platform and upgraded it to 9.5 MW. It currently has the largest commercially proven rotor size – 174 meters. Each of the blade on this offshore wind turbine weighs 35 tonnes. The swept area of 23,779 m2 is more than double the area of the London Eye. A single turbine can power up to 9,000 average homes in the United Kingdom.

Source: http://www.mhivestasoffshore.com/innovations/

1. GE Haliade-X 12 MW

GE Haliade-X 12 MW

GE Renewable Energy has introduced the world’s largest and most powerful wind turbine, the Haliade-X. It produces 12 MW power, has a 220-meter rotor, and a 107-meter blade designed by LM Wind Power. It’s also claimed to be the most efficient offshore wind turbine to date. It can generate up-to 67 GWh annually, which can power 16,000 average European homes. 63 of these giants would be enough to give energy to a million homes.
While all these numbers are impressive, currently this model is being tested in the Netherlands and commercial use is supposed to begin in 2021.

Source: https://www.ge.com/renewableenergy/wind-energy/offshore-wind/haliade-x-offshore-turbine

Wind Turbines are 50 times more powerful than 20 years ago

The average rated output of a wind turbine in 1990 was just 50 kW. In 2016 the same number was 2848 kW. The most powerful wind turbine, the GE Haliade-X, starts operating in 2021 and it is rated at 12,000 kW. That’s a staggering 240 times more power than an average wind turbine in 1990.

Wind turbine from 1997 compared to the 2021 GE Haliade-X record holder wind turbine.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Growing_size_of_wind_turbines.png

 

Electric and ICE Cars Fuel Efficiency

Published July 19, 2019

Electric cars are known to be very efficient when it comes to fuel consumption, but how much exactly? We compare the best selling new petrol cars on the market with the most popular electric vehicles that you can buy now in the USA. Which one you should consider and why? We take a look at the numbers in depth.

Source: https://www.fueleconomy.gov/

Ford F-150 is the best selling car in the USA. There were 909,330 units sold last year of this model. We compare the standard model with the 2.7 Liter engine and 2 wheel drive to other SUV’s and sedan cars to see how far a single gallon takes you with these vehicles.
MPGe stands for Miles per gallon gasoline equivalent to be able to compare ICE (Internal Combustion Engine), hybrid and fully electric cars. An interesting fact to add to the list is the EV1 car that was produced in small numbers in the late 90’s by General Motors had a record high 205 MPGe. No mass produced car has come close to this figure to this date.

The Full List

  • Ford F150 Pickup 2WD 2.7 L – 22 MPGe (10.69 l/100 km) or 0.65 mi/kWh (1.00 km/kWh)
  • Mazda CX-5 4WD 2.5 L – 26 MPGe (9.05 l/100 km) or 0.77 mi/kWh (1.20 km/kWh)
  • Hyundai Kona AWD 1.6 – 27 MPGe (8.71 l/100 km) or 0.80 mi/kWh (1.29 km/kWh)
  • Volkswagen Golf 1.4 L – 32 MPGe (7.35 l/100 km) or 0.95 mi/kWh (1.50 km/kWh)
  • Honda Civic 1.5 L – 36 MPGe (7.35 l/100 km) or 1.07 mi/kWh (1.72 km/kWh)
  • Toyota Corolla 2.0L – 36 MPGe (7.35 l/100 km) or 1.07 mi/kWh (1.72 km/kWh)
  • Toyota Corolla 1.8L Hybrid – 52 MPGe (4.52 l/100 km) or 1.54 mi/kWh (2.50 km / kWh)
  • Audi E-tron – 74 MPGe (3.18 l/ 100km) or 2.20 mi/kWh (3.54 km/kWh)
  • Jaguar I-Pace – 76 MPGe (3.10 l/100 km) or 2.26 mi/kWh (3.64 km/kWh)
  • Tesla Model X Long Range – 96 MPGe (2.45 l/100 km) or 2.85 mi/kWh (4.59 km/kWh)
  • Tesla Model S Long Range – 111 MPGe (2.12 l/100 km) or 3.29 mi/kWh (5.29 km/kWh)
  • Nissan Leaf – 112 MGPe (2.10 l/100 km) or 3.32 mi/kWh (5.34 km/kWh)
  • Kia Niro – 112 MPGe (2.10 l/100 km) or 3.32 mi/kWh (5.34 km/kWh)
  • BMW i3 – 113 MPGe (2.08 l/100 km) or 3.35 mi/kWh (5.39 km/kWh)
  • Kia Soul – 114 MPGe (2.06 l/100 km) or 3.38 mi/kWh (5.44 km/kWh)
  • Volkswagen e-Golf – 119 MPGe (1.98 l/100 km) or 3.53 mi/kWh (km/kWh)
  • Chevrolet Bolt EV – 119 MPGe (1.98 l/100 km) or 3.53 mi/kWh (km/kWh)
  • Hyundai Kona – 120 MPGe (1.96 l/100 km) or 3.56 mi/kWh (km/kWh)
  • Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus – 133 MPGe (1.77 l/100 km) or 3.95 mi/kWh (6.36 km/kWh)
  • Hyundai Ioniq – 136 MPGe (1.73 l/100 km) or 4.04 mi/kWh (6.50 km/kWh)

    * 1 gallon of gasoline = 33.7 kWh

Petrol, Hybrid or Electric?

Strictly from an energy efficiency point of view the answer is simple. Electric is always vastly more efficient and it will take you further on the same amount of energy. As an example, Hyundai produces petrol as well as full electric version of the Kona. When we compare the two, we see that the EV is 4.44 times more efficient than its petrol-powered counterpart.

We have also established in another article that electric vehicles are less polluting even if the energy production of the country mainly comes from coal burning.

What about the range? Modern electric cars such as the Tesla Model 3 have a range of over 300 miles. The latest V3 rapid chargers of the company are able to charge at a rate of 75 miles in just 5 minutes (250kW charging). As the technology further progresses we can expect more range and quicker charging times.

 

Number of Animals Killed for Food

Published July 16, 2019

In this article we visualize the number of domesticated animals that we kill annually for their meat. The data is from 2017 and it does not include the number of animals killed for their skin or by indigenous people.
The numbers are staggering. In the year of 2017 alone, over 66 billion chickens were killed, that’s about 8.6 times the whole human population. Less known fact that there are nearly 3 million camels killed annually for food as well.

Reference: http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/QL

Number of Animals Killed For Food in 2017:
Chicken: 66,566,725,000
Pig: 1,485,986,756
Turkey: 663,605,000
Sheep: 567,720,570
Goat: 464,598,299
Cattle: 304,414,858
Horse: 4,772,356
Duck: 3,011,798
Camel: 2,842,851
Rabbit: 971,951
Donkey: 439,415

Meat consumption has been steadily growing in the past century. Since 1960’s humans eat nearly double the amount. 24.2 kg of meat / person in 1964 and all the way to 41.3 kg in 2015. Additionally the world population has more than doubled since adding to the size of the meat industry and the number of animals we kill to sustain the growth in demand.

Source: http://www.fao.org/3/Y4252E/y4252e05b.htm

Why is this Important?

1. Land Requirements of Livestock

Domesticated animals require vast lands. 26 percent of the Planet’s ice-free land is used for livestock grazing while 33 percent of croplands generate food to feed them. That’s a total of 59% land without ice that’s needed to produce meat. Nature and humans remain with 41% and due to the increase in farmlands this number shrinks every year. We lose 13 billion hectares of forest each year because of this.
According to Global Environmental Change Volume 47, a shift towards plant based diet would result in a 64% reduction in land use, and 73% reduction in GHG emissions.

Source: http://www.fao.org/3/ar591e/ar591e.pdf
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378016306872

2. Water Consumption of Livestock

A cow drinks an average of 32 liters (8.5 gallons) of fresh water a day (at an average of 15.5 Celsius (60 Fahrenheit). Multiplied by the number that are killed annually that’s 9,741,275,456 liters (2,573,372,730 gallons) of daily water consumption of the cows alone (not counting the dairy cows which have much higher need of water, nor any other species).

Source: http://extensionpublications.unl.edu/assets/html/g2060/build/g2060.htm

 

Electric vs. Diesel Vehicles Climate Impact

Published July 03, 2019

We take a look at the full life cycle of electric vehicles climate impact (CO₂ emissions) in different countries in the European Union to compare them with diesel vehicles. EU state member countries have largely different supply mix of electricity, which directly influences the BEV’s (Battery Electric Vehicles) carbon footprint. A common theory surrounding electric vehicles is if the source of energy is mainly from coal burning power plants then they are creating more greenhouse gases than diesel or petrol cars. We can see from this research that it’s not the case, not even in Poland which is the worst offender when it comes to dirty energy generation in the EU.

Reference: https://www.transportenvironment.org/sites/te/files/publications/TE%20-%20draft%20report%20v04.pdf

Electric vs. Diesel Vehicles Climate Impact

What is a Life Cycle?

We count all environmentally significant processes throughout the life cycle of vehicles
– Raw material extraction
– Production of parts
– Assembly
– Transport
– Vehicle use (including fueling)
– End-of-life treatment

Data

– The units ‘gCOeq/kWh’ are grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated
– Life time driven distance of 200,000km
– Glider (vehicle body without the powertrain) weight is 1200kg
– Electric car has a 30kWh LMO battery and 20 kWh/100km real-life energy consumption. 1,5 battery replacement is calculated during this 200,000km period.
– Diesel car emits 120 gCO₂/km on NEDC which translates to 162 gCO₂/km real-life emission.

Are Electric Vehicles Cleaner Than Diesel Vehicles?

Electric vehicles are cleaner even in the least eco-friendly country in Europe. The current EU average of carbon footprint is 300 gCO₂/kWh, which is expected to drop significantly to 200 gCO₂/kWh in 2030 and 80 gCO₂/kWh in 2050. This means that electric vehicles will get cleaner by time and they are already the greener alternative to vehicles with ICE (Internal Combustion Engine).

 

Greenest Airlines in the World – An Eco Ranking

Published June 26, 2019

The aviation industry is growing each year and it is expected to have double the number of passengers within 20 years. We have multiple choices of airlines to select from and this could directly influence how much kerosene is discharged in the air. Therefor increasing or decreasing the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. We take a look at the best, the largest and the worst airline in the world.

Ranking of the Greenest Airlines in the World

Ranking of the Largest Airlines in the World Based on Efficiency

Sources: https://www.atmosfair.de/wp-content/uploads/aai2018-englischfarbe_final_mn.pdf
https://www.iata.org/publications/store/Documents/WATS-toc.pdf

Which airline to fly with?

The obvious answer would be the more efficient on the list the better it is. However there is a factor which is more important in most cases. Which one has the least amount of changes? The more direct the flight, the less changes, the less emissions. The combination of the most efficient airline with the least amount of changes gives the greenest option.

 

Energy Efficiency in Transportation

Published June 13, 2019

Different means of transportation range in energy consumption
substantially. Firstly, this set of data needs careful examination as the use of power depends on a wide variety of factors. Secondly, in our case we take an ideal circumstance for public and private transportation where cars are occupied by the maximum number of allowed people and metro, tram, trains, buses and airplane operate at their peak capacity. As a result this shows an upper limit of efficiency of these transportation modes.

Energy Efficiency in Transportation Infographic

Efficiency based on occupancy

When the occupancy rate drops of the different transportation modes, the efficiency changes dramatically. For instance, a car with seats for 5 passengers will became 5 times less efficient from the moment it’s solely occupied by the driver. Airplane efficiency can drop to half if the plane is only 50% full, and the same can be said for trams, trains, or buses. Therefore walking, biking or taking an electric scooter will most likely be the most efficient way of transport in real world scenarios, as the the occupancy and peak occupancy rate is always the same: one person.

Energy used for production

Another factor to take into consideration is the energy that is used to create the transportation vehicle that will move people from A to B. This is not incorporated in the infographic shown above, however it’s an important aspect. Walking does not involve any vehicle, while the power required to produce an airplane compared to a bicycle is exponentially bigger – just think of a 10 kg (22 lbs) bike and an 80,000 kg (175,000 lbs) aircraft.

You are what you eat

Your choice of food also determines how big your ecological footprint is, hence how much pollution the calories you intake produce. The food you choose has substantial impact on harmful emissions. This means the better food you eat, the less pollution you cause by walking or riding a bicycle.

Which transportation mode to choose to reduce your carbon footprint?

The occupancy rates are not always ideal in the real world, as well as the energy spent on production therefor the safest bet is to walk, ride a bicycle or an electric scooter. Walking is the most environmentally friendly considering there is no need for a vehicle and it’s the healthiest option as well.
In urban environments choose electrified means of transportation: metro, tram or electrified buses. Long distance travelling is the most eco-friendly on trains. Try to avoid driving a car alone and flying.

References:

  1. Electric Scooter
    An electric scooter going at 18 km/h https://blossoms.mit.edu/sites/default/files/video/download/Scooter.pdf
  2. Metro
    Bombardier T-1 Subway at peak capacity with 315 passengers
    http://adl.stanford.edu/aa260/Lecture_Notes_files/transport_fuel_consumption.pdf
  3. Tram
    Siemens Combino at peak capacity with 180 passengers
    http://adl.stanford.edu/aa260/Lecture_Notes_files/transport_fuel_consumption.pdf
  4. Electric Bus
    BYD K9 fully electric bus at peak capacity with 58 passengers. It has a 1.41 kWh/km average energy consumption (annual average) in heavy city traffic
    https://www.nordicenergy.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/3.-Test-of-large-charged-electric-buses-in-Copenhagen-Victor-Hug.pdf
  5. Train
    TGV Atlantique train, 220 km/h max speed at peak capacity with 485 passengers
    http://adl.stanford.edu/aa260/Lecture_Notes_files/transport_fuel_consumption.pdf
  6. Cycling
    64 kg person biking at 15 km/hr speed on a 10 kg bicycle: http://www.tribology-abc.com/calculators/cycling.htm
  7. Electric Car
    Tesla Model 3 Long Range, riding with 5 occupants
    https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/PowerSearch.do?action=noform&path=1&year1=2018&year2=2018&make=Tesla&baseModel=Model%203&srchtyp=ymm
  8. Maglev Train
    Transrapid train in Shanghai riding at speeds of 300km/h at peak capacity with 440 passengers
    http://adl.stanford.edu/aa260/Lecture_Notes_files/transport_fuel_consumption.pdf
  9. Walking:
    64 kg person walking at an average speed of 5.63 km/h https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15570150
  10. Bus
    Diesel bus operating in Vancouver, Canada, at peak capacity with 90 passengers on board
    http://adl.stanford.edu/aa260/Lecture_Notes_files/transport_fuel_consumption.pdf
  11. Car
    VW Golf 1.9 Diesel Automatic, with 5 occupants inside the car
    http://adl.stanford.edu/aa260/Lecture_Notes_files/transport_fuel_consumption.pdf
  12. Airplane
    Boeing 737, peak capacity (JetBlue Airline at 83.2% load factor) with 137 passengers on board
  13. Sports Car
    Porsche Boxster S (3.2L, 5 speed Tiptronic) with 2 occupants
    http://adl.stanford.edu/aa260/Lecture_Notes_files/transport_fuel_consumption.pdf
 

Most Efficient Aircraft in the World

Published June 05, 2019

Today, aviation is responsible for about 2 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. That’s 12% of the CO2 emissions from all transportation sources. Newer airplanes use sophisticated technology to reduce fuel consumption. Which aircraft should you choose if you can have a choice?

Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_economy_in_aircraft

Worldwide there are 3,759 airports. The 1,303 airlines are operating a fleet of 31,717 airplanes. 4.1 billion passengers were travelling by air in 2017.

Source: https://www.atag.org/facts-figures.html

A return flight from London to New York generates as much emissions per passenger as the heating of an average home for a whole year in the European Union.

Source: https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/transport/aviation_en

While the other means of transportation are getting greener thanks to the battery powered electric vehicles, airplanes are too heavy to adapt this technology as of yet. This is leading to a major problem for the aviation industry. Biofuels that are too costly compared to kerosene for a widespread use and therefor their foreseeable use is unrealistic. Technological breakthroughs often take decades to be implemented in commercial use and their gain in reducing the fuel consumption is being overshadowed by the immense surge in demand for commercial flying. The increase is expected to be 700% by 2050.

Source: https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/transport/aviation_en

About 80% of the most pollutive flights CO2-wise are flying a distance over 1,500 km’s (932 miles). At these long distances there are little to no alternatives in transportation. Few train routes offer comparable travel times as of now. One example is the Beijing connection with Hong Kong. The eye-watering 2441 km’s (1517 miles) distance is covered in under a respectable 9 hours time. Flying takes 3 hours and 40 minutes. Considering the travel time to and from the airports as well as the security, it’s about 35% times quicker than the train.

Source: https://www.atag.org/facts-figures.html

 

Global Plastic Production

Published May 29, 2019

Leo Baekeland invented the first fully synthetic plastic in 1907 in New York. It was not until the 1960’s that this new product went into mass production. Currently factories around the world produce over 400 million tonnes of plastic every year. At the current rate production doubles every two decades.

Reference: https://ourworldindata.org/plastic-pollution

As of 2015, around 6300 million tonnes of plastic was produced and only 9% was recycled. 79% of the plastic waste ended up in landfills and in nature.

Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5517107/

Currently 8 million tonnes of plastic is entering our oceans each year.

Source: http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_The_New_Plastics_Economy.pdf

What can we do about it?

In short: quite a lot. Think about the daily activities that involve the use of plastics and read our list of tips on how to reduce them:

  1. Drinking – instead of buying disposable plastic bottles, try multi-use water bottles. You can have one for water, one for coffee and one for juice and still save a lot of plastic waste by eliminating the single-use bottles from your life.
  2. Shopping – Buy reusable shopping bags that you can use each time you go for your groceries. There are multi-use bags for vegetables and fruits that can save additional single-use plastic waste. Plastic bags can take up-to 1000 years to degrade.
  3. Packaging – Go for products that involve the least amount of plastic packaging. If it’s a razor, take the one where you can replace the blades while keeping the handle.
  4. Plastic Straws – If you really need to use straws, buy multi-use bamboo or metal straws. They are perfect and eco-friendly. Refuse straws in bars and restaurants if they are plastic.
  5. Chewing Gum – Avoid if possible. Chewing gum is essentially flavored plastic.
  6. Food Containers – Buy reusable food containers instead of single use ones. Use it when you go to restaurants for take-away food.
  7. Food Ordering – Unless they provide re-usable containers that you can send back at your next order, limit food ordering. It creates a lot of waste.
  8. Smoking – Give up smoking and help yourself and the environment. Cigarette buds are made of plastic, a non-biodegradable cellulose acetate. On top of that they contain toxic chemicals such as
    acetic acid, hexamine, arsenic, and chromium that poison our waters.
  9. Diapers – Billions of diapers are discarded every year. Try to use cloth diapers, they are less convenient but more eco-friendly.
  10. Furniture – Wood or other natural materials are better in the long term. Make sure that the wood used for the furniture comes from a sustainable source.