Category: News

11
May

Riversimple Beta Test begins in Abergavenny, Wales

The Riversimple Beta Test began at the end of April and, in true Welsh fashion, it was a very wet afternoon! Four early-stage Beta Testers kindly agreed to preview the Beta Test process – Jeremy, a retired engineer; Roland, an IT Manager; Harriet, a solicitor; and Jayne, a national programme manager. They drove the Rasa Beta on various circuits through and around Abergavenny. 

Beta testing is a term coined by the software world to describe real user, real world testing before public release of a new product or update.  In our case, we are Beta testing both our cars and our service with members of the general public, with a view to refining designs before kicking off volume production.  It is an ambitious goal for a car company and has been a long time coming; technical and Covid-related delays played havoc with our original timing for this all-important trial.

We were pleased how quickly our Beta Testers became familiar and confident with the vehicle, but even more pleased that the Rasa was fun to drive; even though the speed is capped at 60mph, the design of the Rasa Beta made Harriet feel “like a racing driver”,  Jayne described it as “really exciting”. 

As well as engaging with individuals, the Beta Test will include households, car sharing clubs and public organisations such as Monmouthshire County Council as part of their workplace fleet. Our concurrent research into fleets confirms that carbon reduction is high on organisations’ agendas and hydrogen powered vehicles could have a very important role to play.  As the government pushes for the banning of new petrol and diesel  cars, we want to make sure that there is a zero emission choice for those who can’t accommodate or don’t want a battery powered electric car.  Right now it seems that there are still reasons to hesitate, as this research from the AA indicates.

The waiting list for our Riversimple vehicles is growing– from individuals to organisations, there is a real and lively appetite to help Riversimple shape the sustainable driving of the future. 

We look forward to sharing the fun and pleasure of driving the state-of-the-art Rasa Beta with more Beta Testers throughout the year both in Abergavenny, where the test is supported by OZEV (the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles) and in Milford Haven, as part of the Milford haven:Energy Kingdom demonstration of smart local energy systems, supported by UKRI (UK research and Innovation Council).

06
May

Leon Kamhi joins Riversimple as Investor Custodian

We are thrilled to welcome Leon Kamhi as our new Investor Custodian.  In this role, he will represent our investors’ interests clearly and vocally alongside our other Custodians and help to oversee the delivery of our strategy, using his expertise to guide the Operating Board as we scale up. Our many individual investors voted him into office unanimously.

Leon is Head of Responsibility in the international business of Federated Hermes, a global leader in active, responsible investment with billions under management. He drives the responsibility integration programme across the group, ensuring investment teams are aware of and integrate ESG performance in investment decisions – as well as leading several corporate and public policy engagements.

From Leon’s perspective Riversimple is an innovator in this field; “Riversimple’s innovative and environmentally-friendly approach to personal transport and unique, stakeholder-focused governance structure is sustainability in action. I am excited and privileged to join this progressive enterprise as the Investor Custodian”.

Society as a whole has a stake in Riversimple.

Our Future Guardian corporate governance structure is radically different. We have a total of six Custodians, one to represent the interests of each of our critical stakeholders, namely Investors, the Environment, Staff, Community, Customers and Commercial Partners.  They hold the only voting shares in the company and it is the Board’s fiduciary responsibility to balance and protect the benefit streams of each one.  We are fortunate to have Estelle Clark, who has been advising the IoD, ISO and UKAS on new approaches to corporate governance, to act as Steward.

Nobody is happier to have Leon’s wisdom focused on Riversimple than FD, Chris Foxall, himself an investor in the first instance: “I’m very excited not only to be working in a professional leadership capacity with Leon, whose experience in the area of investor stewardship and corporate responsibility at Federated Hermes is truly impressive, but I’m equally encouraged as an investor that my interests of people, planet and profit will be championed and assured through his role as Riversimple’s Investor Custodian.”

12
Jan

JUERGEN MAIER BECOMES A RIVERSIMPLE CUSTODIAN

We are delighted to welcome Juergen Maier CBE, the former Chief Executive of Siemens UK, as Riversimple’s new Commercial Partner Custodian Director.

Having retired from Siemens only a year ago, Juergen has exceptional experience in collaborating with commercial partners in a wide number of fields, so he comes to this role – as the guardian of their interests in their relationships with Riversimple – with a great depth of understanding.

Riversimple is pioneering a Future Guardian™ governance model, a modern multi-stakeholder corporate governance structure.  Riversimple’s key stakeholder groups are represented by the six Custodian Companies, companies limited by guarantee: Investors; Staff; Environment; Community; Commercial partners; and Customers.

Like everything else at Riversimple, our corporate governance has been designed from a clean sheet of paper to align the interests of all parties and keep our eyes on the Purpose. Founder and MD Hugo Spowers explains, “The company was founded to address the enormous environmental damage created by personal transport and the original intention was to serve the ‘basket of interests’ so often referred to by economists. Shareholder value has primacy in UK law, so we felt that the simplest way to deliver that without a conflict of interests was to make the Environment and other key stakeholder groups shareholders, but without equity rights.”

An Operating Board runs the company with the same autonomy as in any company, but the Board’s fiduciary responsibility is to pursue the company’s Purpose whilst balancing and protecting the benefit streams of all six stakeholder groups, rather than maximising the value of one. The Custodians have a direct influence on the company’s strategy, which they have to approve annually.

Juergen explains his interest in taking on the directorship of Riversimple’s Commercial Partner Custodian company: “ My 33 year career has been characterised by technology disruption creating exciting new industries, supporting technology’s role in creating a more sustainable world, and all of that having a positive societal impact.  I can’t think of another company that embodies all of this as well as Riversimple.  I’m very much looking forward to working with an incredibly ingenious team, creating a new revolution in zero-carbon transport, and creating prosperity for society through that”.

 

02
Nov

A CUSTOMER FIRST IN THE RASA

“Just like a normal car”

There was a chorus of hoorays round our HQ in Llandrindod when we heard this from the first ‘normal person’ to drive one of the Rasas built for the Clean Mobility trial. We had no hesitation in inviting Andrew Davis, our Customer Custodian, to be the first behind the wheel and he took the Rasa for a 45 minute tour of the conurbations of Surrey on a blustery, rainy Tuesday 27th October.

Andrew has been a very important influence on Riversimple for the last 10 years. His role has been to represent customers’ interests and he is one of the six voting shareholders to sign off the strategic direction of the company on an annual basis.

As a borough councillor for Elmbridge in Surrey and the founder of Environmental Transport Association (ETA), Andrew has been very clear about where the priorities of good service lie, and has insisted that we bake those into our service design.  A good car is an important start.

Andrew’s verdict:  “Even with all the talk of Riversimple’s groundbreaking ideas over the years, nothing beats actually driving the Rasa.”

H2CXAnot so normal

The Rasa’s number plate sums up the role of this vehicle – H2 for hydrogen, CX for customer experience – but is also a form of protest about our number plate system.

Age-related number plates are a mechanism for building obsolescence into the marketplace for cars.  The age code is changed twice a year, mimicking the spring and autumn seasons in fashion, and triggers an artificial upsurge in car sales. The effect is to stimulate resource consumption, the opposite of what we are trying to achieve.

At Riversimple, we are designing cars to last.  We will be maintaining, refurbishing and upgrading throughout the life of our vehicles so that an older car will be as good as a new one.  This is not unusual in aeroplanes.  We heard recently about the Boeing 747s retiring after 40 years in the sky – how come cars need to be replaced every 3 years?

So we’re not going for normal number plates.  Our plates reminds us that customer experience is key and we’re delighted with our Customer Custodian’s reaction:

“I must say that when we drove the Rasa back into my drive, I got out and looked back at it, I didn’t want you to take it back because it was clearly now mine”.

I think we can say that the Rasa is like a normal car but much more than normal, and of course Andrew, while representing normal people, is much more than a normal person.  Andrew is now stepping down after more than 10 years of supporting the development of Riversimple as Customer Custodian.

Thank you, Andrew.

09
May

THE WONDERFUL STEWART DOW

We are all deeply saddened to have lost Stewart Dow, our Commercial Partners Custodian, to COVID-19. Stewart brought great experience and wisdom to Riversimple.

Stewart worked for BOC, part of the Linde Group, where he was immersed in the field of hydrogen for many years.

2008

He was a catalyst for Riversimple’s early successes, supporting the bid for funding of the LIFEcar project with the Morgan Motor Company which was shown at the Geneva Motorshow in 2008, and then encouraging us to approach the BOC Foundation for support for the Hyrban, which was shown in 2009.

2009

 

Riversimple has a unique corporate structure based on multi-stakeholder governance.  Six stakeholder groups  (Staff; the Environment; the Community; Commercial Partners; Customers and Investors) are represented by ‘Custodians’ who quietly mentor the company and make sure that we are balancing and protecting their interests.  Stewart, representing our commercial partners,  generously made time for this and gave us the benefit of his commercial wisdom.

Steadfast in his belief in what we were doing,  Stewart brought a balanced view to all conversations. His resting face was a smile.  He will be sorely missed by us all.

May he rest in peace.

19
Feb

15 years: the countdown to clean cars

The UK Government announced at the beginning of the month that they intend to bring forward by 5 years  to 2035 their ban on the sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans, and this includes hybrids.

The news hasn’t pleased everybody – the Society of Manufacturers and Motor Traders are up in arms about ‘changing the goal posts’. Of course, 15 years in ‘car years’ is very little time, and in practice this ruling might well kill the market for most new internal combustion engined cars well before 2035 – who would be investing in a new petrol or diesel car in 2030?

At Riversimple we are delighted.

Riversimple is the only manufacturer in the UK building hydrogen cars for everyday use.  The Rasa, our lightweight eco coupé, is planned to be our first vehicle – the trial we are kicking off this spring in Monmouthshire is designed to optimise the whole customer proposition and, providing that we hit our funding targets, we could be in full volume production in two years’ time with light, super-efficient, clean, zero emission electric cars powered by hydrogen – good news for anyone who lives in a house or apartment that doesn’t lend itself to overnight charging of a battery electric vehicle.

If truth be told, the infrastructure is very patchy for both battery and hydrogen electric cars at the moment – but we are convinced that service stations are just waiting for hydrogen cars to arrive to switch over a couple of pumps on their forecourts, and we are happy to oblige.

Consumer appetite for clean, hassle-free mobility is voracious. We have thousands of people signed up to be potential customers, and from all over the world: Tim in Chicago wants the first yellow Rasa; Pasi in Sweden would like to trial the Rasa in the snowy conditions in Swedish Lapland; we have queries for a test journey in the Rasa through the Alps; and the rare car importer in Tokyo, who passes three hydrogen pumps on his daily commute – we hear you, and we can’t wait to see our cars gliding quietly, and cleanly, on roads around the world!

20
Nov

Interest surges in clean solutions to transport

In the last few weeks, clean mobility, and hydrogen as part of it, has had a crescendo of interest and Riversimple has been very involved in the zero-emission conversation, from award nominations to media coverage, new events and podcasts. As concern about the climate crisis escalates, people are seeking alternatives to the status quo – and that definitely includes clean personal transport.

It’s wider than just the vehicle itself. Our business is truly disruptive, and that resonates with a growing public interest in new ways of doing things: usership not ownership; circularity instead of take, make, dispose; longevity not obsolescence.

In October’s edition of The Manufacturer and in this piece in November’s Autocar, Riversimple founder Hugo Spowers highlights the necessity for both hydrogen electric and battery electric vehicles:

“Some demands are met better by BEVs and some by hydrogen. We need both these technologies; we don’t argue over solar or wind turbines winning the energy race.”

Hugo also outlines hydrogen’s role as a convenient storage vector for intermittent renewables:

“Electricity and hydrogen are very complementary. You can make electricity more efficiently from some sources and hydrogen more efficiently from others. For instance, producing electricity from wind is far more efficient than hydrogen. But when there’s excess wind, you can’t store electricity but you can store hydrogen. On the other hand, hydrogen is made more efficiently from biogas than electricity.”

Auto Futures is a recently-launched Thomson Reuters platform all about the rapidly-evolving automotive industry – and we attended their stylishly executed event, Auto Futures Live, in London at the end of October. We truly enjoyed being amongst a very informed and forward-thinking bunch.

Watch Hugo in their fascinating Fuel of the Future debate with: Helen Lees from Groupe PSA; Ricardo Martinez-Botas, Professor of Turbomachinery at Imperial College London and ClientEarth’s Dominic Phinn.

The BBC’s Fergus Nicholl covered us in this piece which is largely about hydrogen electric cars from the consumer’s perspective – ‘Behind the wheel of a hydrogen car.”  Fergus took the Hyundai ix35 out for a spin and found it a quiet, clean experience.  “But this is a sector in which the upstart start-up can claim a modest place too,” he says. “Outside Llandrindod Wells, a small market town in central Wales, Riversimple aims to lease, not sell, its futuristic hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to a strictly local market.”

“The Riversimple business model – a three-year fixed price lease aimed at short-distance local drivers – is designed to negate the biggest problem affecting hydrogen cars: range anxiety.”

Hugo himself has also been in focus this autumn. In the era of the cult of personality, his dogged pursuit of Riversimple’s goal – personal mobility with zero environmental impact – has attracted attention. He can be little unreasonable at times. Or, possibly, the most unreasonable of people… Hugo was presented with the London Business School’s George Bernard Shaw Unreasonable Person Award on 14 November!

Hugo with Jeff Skinner and Justin Birkinshaw of LBS. Hugo was both the judges’ and the people’s choice for this award “for an individual who has shown enormous tenacity and stubbornness in pursuing an idea, despite the difficulties encountered along the way”.

Other recent coverage includes this BBC World Service business report on hydrogen cars; this article in French business magazine Challenges; this brilliant Fully Charged podcast, which explores aspects of our atypical business model; and most recently this film on CNBC, featuring Head of Powertrain Dr Nico Sergent.

 

03
Jan

“Where do you get the hydrogen from to refill your cars?”

Motorway nodes or local hubs?

This blog post has been inspired by the thoughtful input from the Riversimple Design Forum on the topic of refuelling. Having received a plethora of comments and queries from all over the UK and Europe we thought the question of hydrogen infrastructure, often cited as the main barrier to the uptake of hydrogen vehicles, deserved a Riversimple explanation.

First, some context; there are currently 17 active hydrogen refuellers in the UK with a further 5 in the immediate pipeline. Behind these projects are a mixture of universities, manufacturers and fuel providers. Most new projects are being built along motorways and trunk roads with the aim of linking towns and cities together, supporting intercity driving and, by default, longer journeys. As if to prove the point, Toyota drove one of its Mirais the length of the country refuelling at 4 different locations. Great. There is undoubtedly a need for these types of journeys, whether a UK based holiday or a job that requires a lot of driving, but with the average car journey lasting only 22 minutes (DfT, 2017) the majority of journeys are not catered for in this model.

While any additional hydrogen refueller is wholeheartedly welcomed, we believe that the key to eliminating the environmental impact of personal transport is closer to home, providing for the 94% of all journeys that are under 25 miles. When asking our Design Forum their refuelling habits, 79% said that they timed refuelling with other regular activities such as shopping or commuting and 70% used the same one or two stations. In contrast only 1% of people reported refuelling at motorways ‘often’ whereas 86% of people said they would ‘never’ refuel at a motorway or ‘only if they had to’.

One of the benefits of a hydrogen electric vehicle such as the Rasa is that it can be refuelled in the same way as a conventional petrol or diesel car.  Just a simple pump on a forecourt, hydrogen refuellers have the opportunity to be located in familiar locations such as supermarket car parks and local service stations. Our data shows that convenience is king and convenience means local; local to your home, your work or your supermarket. A 300 mile range means that you only need a reason to come into town once a week or so and  you’re sorted – in fact, with the Rasa you fill up and drive away without paying!

We have installed the 17th hydrogen refueller in the UK (2nd in Wales). We chose the location in Abergavenny because it is located in the town’s main car park, next to the bus station and a short walk from the train station. It is in the middle of the town which offers a weekly market and a well stocked high street (yes, they still exist), a supermarket and theatre. Most of the people participating in the Riversimple Clean Mobility trial already pass within 5 miles of the refueller weekly, if not daily.

We believe that this model of smaller units based in local communities offers a solution to the chicken and egg problem – which has to come first, cars or filling stations? The motorway pumps will hardly ever see a car (there are currently only 93 hydrogen cars on the roads in the UK), whereas the Riversimple pump will have a captive fleet of 20 vehicles all refuelling approximately once a week. Let’s see the new filling stations being supported by the government going into the heart of the community and build up a nationwide network of vehicles and filling stations hand in hand.

If you would like to join the Riversimple Design forum and be part of the discussion then please register HERE

29
Nov

TRANSFORMATION – ENABLERS AND CONSEQUENCES

Hugo Spowers was invited to address the 2018 annual conference of the European Investment Bank on 28th November

Good afternoon. I am Hugo Spowers, from Riversimple and I used to be an engineer designing racing cars but for the last 18 years I have been developing hydrogen fuel cell vehicle technology and, more importantly, the strategies and business models necessary for bringing them to market in a truly sustainable manner.

The key barriers are not technical but to do with people, politics and business inertia. I, or we, have been doing this independently because it is such a step change that it is much easier to do from a clean sheet of paper than trying to shoehorn hydrogen technology into a vehicle architecture, a manufacturing model, a distribution model and a culture that has been shaped by combustion engines.

And this step change goes beyond cars. We’re going through an industrial revolution and it is only possible because of the power of digital.

Technology deployment is mainly driven by those who stand to make money from it and nobody ever made money from NOT doing something. For instance, we are resigned to the inevitability of autonomous vehicles but nobody is really asking how they should be deployed appropriately – to maximise the benefit to society rather than short term profit – despite numerous potential negative unintended consequences. Technology is never bad in itself – it’s how we deploy it and we don’t have a great track record. In 1973, the Chief Economist of the UK’s National Coal Board – EF Schumacher – made a cautionary observation that “A society’s leisure time is inversely proportional to the amount of labour saving technology it employs.” We need a wisdom filter for the application of technology.

And transformation is not just about technology; the scale of transformation we are facing is utterly dependent on new systems and business models and these will have impacts as profound as the new technologies themselves. Business models, like living systems, are shaped by the constraints within which they operate. The business models of yesteryear treat natural capital as infinite, an understandable assumption when we were but a pinprick on the side of the planet, but the key drivers of today – climate change, energy security and peak resource issues – were simply not on the radar when these models evolved. We HAVE to take a bold, long view – because less unsustainable is still not sustainable – and it is much easier to design new business models to suit these conditions than to try to tweak business models that were designed to do something fundamentally different.

Because of these constraints, we are moving from a linear economy dominated by the sale of product, that directly rewards the maximisation of resource consumption, to a circular economy that rewards resource conservation. Or at least I hope we are, because I don’t see how we can ever have a sustainable industrial society based on rewarding industry for the opposite of what we are trying to achieve.

I am going to explain our model, the circular value network that we are building at Riversimple.

This is our first low volume production model, to be provided to customers under a sale of service contract that covers all costs, including insurance and fuel.

In the car is a fuel cell from a fuel cell manufacturer; in the fuel cell are Membrane Electrode Assemblies, or MEAs;

and on the membranes is platinum.

In our model, all these components stay on these respective balance sheets whilst the customer has the car.

The customer pays Riversimple a monthly direct debit with a fixed monthly base rate and a mileage rate – it is the only transaction involved in having the ‘usership’ of a car. We don’t buy the fuel cell – we pay for installed kilowatt hours of electricity. We are in discussion with two fuel cell manufacturers and it’s a complex transaction with multiple elements, such as a monthly inventory charge, a charge for the hours of running time as this degrades the fuel cell, and a payment for the efficiency with which our hydrogen is converted into electricity.

In turn, the fuel cell manufacturer doesn’t buy the MEA but pays on a similar contractual basis, as the membrane is where the degradation happens; in discussion with one supplier about this, their technical director immediately suggested that they would increase the platinum loading because that improves efficiency and they know they will get it all back – an example of how profoundly the business model affects the product design.

And in this model, they would not even buy the platinum, but lease it from a mining company, and at least one mining company has expressed interest in this model. There are obvious environmental and social benefits if a mining company can decouple its revenue from new raw material inputs.

The fuel cell is only a fraction of the whole. To enable these various levels of selling service, there are multiple payment calculations for each component in each car. Just last week, I was in Copenhagen working on a project funded by the EU’s Climate-KIC programme with Denmark Technical University and a tyre company on the micro contractual elements of paying for tyres by the mile and the impact that has on the design of the tyre and its environmental performance.

For a large fleet of cars, this is a mind-boggling number of calculations and it’s ONLY possible through the power of blockchain to automate trust and deliver a frictionless solution to enable a truly circular economy.

The two key features that maximise the competitive advantage of this model are a) that the asset is retained on the same balance sheet from a clean sheet of paper to End of Life and b) that all operating costs are internalised. And there are many benefits, but I will just pick out 4.

First is the alignment of interests

–           It puts everyone on the same side of the fence, including customers – if a supplier sells a component, their financial driver is the highest acceptable price and the shortest acceptable life whereas in this model, all parties have a shared interest in the cheapest way of providing a mobility service to customers for the life of the car.

–           This creates an ecosystem of cooperation and is a much stronger foundation for a collaborative working relationship.

Second is the driver towards quality

–           If selling a product, another major interest is the lowest possible cost, a structural driver towards low quality and shorter life – think no further than modern fridges.

–           When selling the service of a component or a car, a higher quality, longer lasting component, at a marginally higher cost will generate revenue for a much longer time, so it is more profitable at the same price to the customer – a structural tendency towards high quality.

Third, it makes efficiency profitable

–           It costs more to make a more efficient car but, if you sell cars, customers will never pay a premium, so it just reduces margin.

–           However, if selling the service of the car, we the manufacturer pay for the fuel for the life of the car which justifies investing in efficiency – because we reap the benefit.

Finally, it lowers the economic barriers to bringing new Low Carbon technology to market

–           In this model, being competitive is not dependent on the build cost of the car, but the lifetime cost.

–           The paradox is that by internalising all associated costs, we benefit from lower operating costs, end of life value recovery and much longer revenue streams, all of which offset the higher build cost and eliminate the entry barriers faced by new, low carbon but low volume technologies.

The transformation that I am describing here is a system level change but our culture, our businesses and our institutions are not attuned to system level change. Culturally, we regard it as prudent to change one thing at a time.

When any radically new idea is proposed, all the conversation goes straight to the reason why it can’t be done – and these reasons are generally true, but they assume that the context remains the same. The old idea co-evolved with a network of relationships and it is these connections that are the reasons why ‘It won’t work’!

If instead, we are prepared to start afresh and co-develop a new pattern of relationships, all those reasons disappear and the new idea can suddenly look much more attractive – starting again from a clean sheet of paper lowers both risks and barriers.

When there is a step change in external conditions, a new solution always emerges from a surprising quarter – not an evolution of the old solution – dinosaurs were not replaced by better dinosaurs. Climate change and peak resources, in a world with growth both in population and affluence, are presenting us with just such a step change in external conditions. Incremental solutions cannot solve these problems – You can’t cross a chasm in 2 leaps.

We all KNOW that we need radical solutions -the word on everybody’s lips, the thing everybody is seeking is Innovation – but from the perspective of one proposing such radical solutions, the resistance is overwhelming.

Our cultural leaning towards incrementalism, being prudent, obviously extends to our businesses, to investment and to our institutions, so they are not well suited to recognising innovation or fostering system level change. If we think in terms of a Bell curve, the really interesting innovations are at the edges of the Bell curve.

Understandably, for reasons of accountability and transparency, independent assessment is required for allocation of support but these independent experts are drawn from the incumbent industry. There is no conspiracy in what then happens; the experts tend to be very capable and to understand their industry and its constraints very clearly. However, from within their industry, their own constraints are seen as absolute and they simply cannot take off those blinkers and see the possibilities that exist if their constraints are lifted. The result is that the bulk of support goes towards incremental solutions.

Which brings me back to productivity and harnessing technology innovation. We need to challenge the bias towards incrementalism if we are to match the agility of China and other Asian countries. The devil may be in the detail, but God is in the system and we need to embrace new patterns of relationship.

Thank you.
20
Oct

Green GB?

We had the privilege of meeting Claire Perry on Thursday at Cardiff University and she loved the Rasa – the innovation in it, its efficiency, the fun it offers.  She was there to mark the first Green GB week, led by the Government and UK R&I, with the aim of engaging the British public on the importance of tackling climate change and ensuring clean growth.

While it would appear perfect timing for us – the first Rasa Beta is rolling off the production line here in Powys, Wales – we cannot overlook the irony that this week a whole new fossil fuel industry has lurched into life with the blessing of this government, just days after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued their sobering report on the global climate situation.  Addiction is always hard to break but, if we are addicted to fossil fuels, fracking really is trawling for the dregs, analogous to the stereotype of tramps drinking methylated spirits!

It is causing us some cognitive dissonance.  How can we believe in the government’s sincerity about championing Clean Growth while they are supporting the opposite?

Less unsustainable is still not sustainable

This week Cuadrilla started fracking for shale gas.  The UK Government are stating that shale gas has the potential to provide the UK with greater energy security, economic growth and jobs, and could be an important part of our transition to a low carbon future.  Literally undermining our national parks is hardly a bridge to a low carbon economy – it’s a very circuitous route at best. Any distraction from the real work of getting our renewable energy sector off the ground is very shortsighted – why not take the high road and invest directly in renewable energy?

Divesting and investing

Last month the Mayors of London and New York made a public appeal for cities to divest from fossil fuels.  In a joint statement they said, “We believe we can demonstrate to the world that divestment is a powerful tool and a prudent use of resources.  And that, together, our cities – New York, London and many others around the world – can send a clear message to the fossil fuel industry: change your ways now and join us in tackling climate change.”

Scottish Power announced their own divestment this week – that they are turning to 100% wind power shows what can be done.

Our refueller installed in Abergavenny

We are often asked where the hydrogen for our cars comes from.  Right now, hydrogen is reformed from natural gas for a large number of industrial processes; it is also a byproduct of many.  While it’s more efficient to generate hydrogen than electricity from natural gas (70% rather than 49% – p.147, DUKES 2018), and we are making the most of any hydrogen we use – you can go 200 miles on a kilo of hydrogen in a Rasa,  as opposed to 66 miles in a Toyota Mirai – we are looking forward to plentiful green sources of hydrogen.  Electrolysis from green electricity, photo catalysis, waste from methane-eating bacteria … bring them on!

Now that would be something to invest in, Minister!