Blogroll Review: VW, Food, and $100 Billion

by Frank Ling

The People’s Car

With the price of gas exceeding $4 per gallon in the US, there is surging interest in vehicles with higher mileage. It may not be until we see $5 or $6 per gallon that we see mainstream transition to hybrids and plug-in electric vehicles.

Several efforts at high mileage have already made the news. Here is another one. This one coming from our friends in Germany.

Volkswagen plans to introduce a 230 mpg car by 2010. It is described as a cross between a VW Bug and a bobsled.

Hank Green at EcoGeek writes:

The car’s technology comes from it’s unique shape and it’s ultra-light body. The frame is actually made of magnesium, an extremely light metal, and the outer skin is reinforced with carbon fiber. The one cylinder engine is made of aluminum and sits on top of the rear axle. The car is only a bit more than three feet high and weighs less than 700 lbs.

Volkswagen says the design has been around since 2002 but because of it’s design and perceptions over its safety, they have not marketed it. With such a low weight, it is thought that the car would lose out in a crash with a heavier vehicle.

Finish Your Dinner

In the UK, a new report says that by reducing food wastage, the country could prevent 18 million ton equivalents of CO2 emissions each year or nearly the amount emitted by one in the five cars.

David Erhlich at the Cleantech Group says:

According to the study, $2 billion worth of wasted food is still “in date.” The group said it costs local authorities $2 billion to collect and dispose of all of the wasted food.

But there are answers, and WRAP said of the 6.7 million tonnes of food per year that’s wasted, 4.1 million tonnes is avoidable.

UN: Renewable Investment Hits $100 Billion

In what is a financial milestone, the UN reports that global investment in renewable energy has exceeded $100 billion for the first time last year.

From Greentech Media:

“The finance community has been investing at levels that imply disruptive change is now inevitable in the energy sector,” says Eric Usher, Head of the Energy Finance Unit at the UN. Usher said the UN’s “report puts full stop to the idea of renewable energy being a fringe interest of environmentalists. It is now a mainstream commercial interest to investors and bankers alike.”

Frank Ling is a postdoctoral fellow at the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL) at UC Berkeley. He is also a producer of the Berkeley Groks Science Show.

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