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Issue #38 - Pipistrel Miniliner fuel-cell aircraft, 30% US tax credit for E-bikes, stuff isn't nearly as easy to recycle as you think, and arguing with the National Grid

The EV Musings Newsletter
Issue #38 - Pipistrel Miniliner fuel-cell aircraft, 30% US tax credit for E-bikes, stuff isn't nearly as easy to recycle as you think, and arguing with the National Grid
By Gary Comerford • Issue #38 • View online
Just a reminder: No podcast this week as we are on our inter-season break. Back in two or three week’s time.
This week does mark the release of the Patrons-only episode of the podcast which reviews last season and takes a look at what’s in store for people next season. Are you a Patron? Why not head over to the Patreon web site and see if one of our packages might entice you?

This Week's Podcast.
No new episode this week. Might I suggest a previous episode? :
The EV Musings Podcast: 60 - The Price of Charging
Top Five EV/ Renewable Stories.
BP and Chevron have become part-owners of Eavor
The Canadian start-up offers unlimited, on-demand renewable energy anywhere in the world through an innovative deep-geothermal solution. This tech seems really, really, interesting. By drilling vertical holes in the ground, then going horizontal, looping back and heading to the surface they can create a closed-loop. Water is placed in pipes in the hole. By a process known as a thermosiphon, it will automatically pump warm water to the surface and cooler water underground where it will warm up. The cycle repeats itself and the movement can be used to drive an electricity turbine. However, I can’t help but feel that, perhaps, there is some linkage to fracking as an issue. With fracking, holes are drilled in the same way, and liquid is pumped in and pumped out. How is this different and how will it work without creating the same seismic activity?
Pipistrel Unveils Miniliner Fuel-Cell Aircraft
One of our favourite zero-emissions aircraft manufacturers, Pipistrel, has unveiled a new fuel-cell model. The Miniliner is a new kind of zero-emission aeroplane in the 20-seat size class, capable of operating quietly from runways shorter than 1 km, including grass airstrips at small aerodromes. These aeroplanes have therefore the potential to disrupt aerial mobility, connecting currently unserved populations at 200 to 1,000 km range, but also catering for micro feeder services from small airports to large hubs.
The beauty of this kind of aircraft is that they reduce operating costs by a third or more, still provide an almost identical experience to what’s currently experienced (albeit with fewer emissions) and can act as a springboard to bring clean aviation to communities.
With short-haul flights such as this making up a huge proportion of commercial miles flown this is an opportunity for a solution to a pressing problem.
As long as the hydrogen for the fuel-cell is green not, black or brown.
New 30% US Tax Credit Introduced for Electric Bicycle Sales
If the E-BIKE Act is eventually signed into law, it would offer a 30% tax credit of up to $1,500 for buying an electric bicycle. To qualify, the electric bicycle would have to be priced below $8,000. The vast majority of electric bicycles sold in the US are priced well below that level and thus would qualify for up to a $1,500 tax credit.
Tax credits as a way of increasing uptake are always a good idea - as long as they are not seen as ‘the only way this is taking off is because of tax credits. As soon as the credits stop the buying will stop’. With Tesla, this made no difference whatsoever in the US. The UK is approaching the end of its PICG quota and I’m hoping this won’t change things drastically - especially with the government looking to phase out new fossil fuel sales in a little over 8 ½ years.
For e-bikes, a 30% tax credit will absolutely increase the uptake. This will be especially apparent in populations where an e-bike would be incredibly important and useful (such as in lower-income groups) but where the higher price of purchase will put people off.
Having just checked the price of some E-bikes at a local retailer I was absolutely shocked at how expensive they can be. Perhaps this is something the UK government needs to start looking at?
The Stuff You Buy Isn’t Nearly as Recyclable as You Think.
There’s a huge discrepancy between how consumers believe recycling and composting work, and the system that actually exists.
Like many people, the phrase ‘compostable’ indicates the ability to put it in your compost bin with the rest of your food and paper waste and the thing will break down naturally… However, compostable plastic breaks down only under the specific heat and moisture conditions of an industrial composting facility—a fact that only 22% of people surveyed were aware of. Toss a compostable plastic bag into a landfill or composting bin, come back a year later, and you’ll find … plastic
This is horrific! People are buying and using compostable plastic thinking it can literally be placed on a compost pile. In reality, it needs specific conditions which are generally only found in an industrial composting facility (I never even knew these existed)
In fact, the whole recycling industry needs a thorough review. approximately 25% of all waste sent to recycling is rejected for various reasons. Thes include: not being clean enough, not being recyclable or - as indicated above - needing specific recycling facilities to work appropriately.
“Yes, the grid can handle EVs. I wrote the report!”
Had to laugh reading a Twitter thread from some anti-EV person questioning whether the grid could handle all these EVs the government is talking about. He was banding about documents written by the National Grid saying there would be problems. The report authors themselves joined in the conversation to tell him he was wrong and that’s not what the report was saying. He was trying, unsuccessfully, to use their documents against them. Not sure he really knew who they were. But still, he doubled down on the arguments even when he knew he was beaten. Quite hilarious!
A cool EV or renewable thing
No cool thing this week due to the podcast being on the inter-season break. However, if you want an example of a cool thing from a previous episode might I suggest this video recommended in Episode 41 - The Zealots
Keeping your EV healthy during the coronavirus lockdown | Plug Life Television Episode 15.
Something To Think About.
Your Environment Shapes Your Decisions
Finally...
The recent power outages in Texas due to the cold weather have had some people questioning a move to renewables. After all, the wind turbines froze and solar panels don’t work when snow is on them, right?
Naturally, the situation is a lot more nuanced than that.
Next week’s newsletter will probably include some thoughts on why this situation happened and what needs to be done to prevent it from happening elsewhere.
As always, if you’ve enjoyed this newsletter please share with someone you think might benefit from it.
Until next week…
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Gary Comerford

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