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By Lorene

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Alternative green transport solutions

It is no secret that the more we exploit our natural resources and pollute our environment, the more we put our planet in danger. For starters, we can all play a proactive role in changing this by using alternative green transport solutions.

Even though ‘green transport’ is not yet a major priority of The Department of Transport and Public Works, they have started taking practical steps to address the growing demand for renewable resources. They recently published a document (July 2011) entitled Provincial Land Transport Framework, which outlines the planning, coordination and strategy for transport over the next four years and suggests that, “by 2050, coal and oil will be significantly less dominant as energy sources, and will be largely replaced by renewable alternatives.”

The Department of Transport  is working in partnership with Environmental Affairs, around driver training and improving skill levels directly related to eco-driving, (especially in the metered taxi industry), so that drivers become more environmentally aware and, as a result, use more economical and fuel efficient options.

Biodiesel is made from used cooking oil, which preserves natural resources and doesn’t compete with food crops. In other words, you don’t have to sacrifice a sunflower field to make oil. Unlike crude oil which has a finite lifespan, oil for the production of biodiesel can be grown and is infinitely renewable. Moreover, Biodiesel is non-toxic, non-flammable, non-hazardous and biodegradable and reduces the CO2 emissions from diesel vehicles by up to 80% and exhaust smoke emissions from diesel vehicles by up to 75%.

GreenCab is a Cape Town based taxi company that uses greener fuels, like Biodiesel and Liquefied petroleum gas or LPG (a flammable mixture of hydrocarbon gases) to limit carbon emissions and fight global warming. “LPG burns more cleanly than petrol or fuel-oil. At high-loads, such as taxi, limousine or shuttle services, LPG can achieve Co2 savings of up to 12% compared to normal petrol vehicles.”(source www.thegreencab.co.za).

GreenCab is also the only taxi company in SA to provide green tourism transport solutions. That’s why it was chosen by the City of Cape Town to transport the 2014 World Design Capital (WDC2014) judges around the city recently. “We are catering for an educated international tourist so we have to provide appropriate services. In tourism there is a growing awareness about the need to go green but it’s very much a middle class issue. It’s not a grass root concept yet.” says Amiene van der Merwe, Marketing Director of GreenCab.

Every diesel vehicle and engine from  forklifts, to cars, to trains, to aeroplanes can now use Biodiesel. That’s because Green-Diesel, a company based in Bellville, has created the first biodiesel filling station in South Africa, making biodiesel accessible to the public. And unlike any other petrol station, you can even order biodiesel online, at http://www.green-diesel.co.za and they will deliver your order directly!

Electric cars on the other hand produce zero emissions and are now as design-centric and powerful as many other cars on the road. Optimal Energy, based in Cape Town, is leading the electric vehicle industry in South Africa and has designed and produced our first electric vehicle called the Joule. “It is approximately five times more energy efficient than petrol or diesel vehicles, with substantially less pollution and green house gas emissions in an urban environment”(source www.optimalenergy.com).

The Joule works with a battery and can be plugged in at home using a normal 220 Volt outlet and its onboard charger. With a full battery, the Joule has a 300km autonomy. The car will be available in 2015 and cost between R250 000 and R300 000.

Alternatively still, the best way to reduce pollution and preserve the planet is to walk or use a bike !

Share with us your ideas or solutions about green transport.

GreenCab : http://thegreencab.co.za/about/the-green-ladies/ GreenDiesel : http://www.green-diesel.co.za Optimal Energy : http://www.optimalenergy.com/

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2 User

  1. In the effort to transform our communities into some-thing healthy, electric cars or cars running on biodiesel change very little. They are a tempting and time-wasting diversion when wasting time is a real danger to the Earth’s rapidly degenerating life systems.
    Lesson number one: Batteries don’t power electric cars, coal or nuclear power plants do. A battery is a gas tank for electrons. The electric car does not magically create its own energy. The electric car will continue dealing death and destroying healthy urban arrangements. It is better than the gasoline car in one way only, and only if the new energy source really is healthier for us than the one we are using now, which is oil. But is it?
    Lesson number two: Biodiesel is produced from agricultural crops that involve additional land use, as land area is taken up and various agricultural inputs with their environmental effects are inevitable. Switching to biodiesel on a large scale requires considerable use of our arable area. Even modest usages of biodiesel would consume almost all cropland in some countries in Europe! If the same thing is to happen all over the world, the impact on global food supply could be a major concern, and could make some countries being net importers of food products, from their current status of net exporters! It could so happen that most lands on the planet are deployed to produce food for cars, not people!
    Lesson number two, the lesson of ecology: Transportation is but one of the many subsystems in a city that connect like organs in a living being. Only problem is, our present city, town and village are disastrously misshapen, thanks mostly to cars, and in the case of South Africa, apartheid. Without understanding this, you will come up with more wrong answers to our environmental and energy problems, and many other problems. The real solution to the energy and environment problem is to not only use alternative fuels and hybrid technologies, but to reduce the fuel consumption of our vehicles.

    An imaginary interview:

    Zukisani Jakavula (curiously): “If automobiles went onto the electric grid, how much more energy would we need?”
    Electric Car (confidently): “We wouldn’t need any more energy at all because electricity for automobiles would be generated at night when the cars are in their garages and when electric demand is way down.”
    ZJ (keenly): “You mean that would not require more water pouring over the dams, or burning more oil, gas, coal or nuclear fuel, more power lines from wind farms? You can’t collect solar energy at night, can you?”
    EC (uncomfortably): “Well, of course we would need more electric energy, but we would be using generating equipment more efficiently.”
    ZJ (persistently): “So, you mean power plants and turbines would wear out twice as fast? They would have to be replaced twice as often? Three times as often?”
    EC (blankly): “Umh….).
    ZJ (back to the original question): “So how much more electricity would be required, then?”
    EC (flustered): “We don’t have any figures on that.”
    ZJ (ending the conversation): “Don’t you think that’s the most important piece of information we need?”

  2. Ronit Ramdam Bk says:

    In my view, Mathematically transportation need no net energy. As the net work by the body neglecting air friction is zero. But we cant do imply the fact really. For it we need an adiabatic system that could manipulate kinetic energy without relating itself to environment, I.e. No need of land, water or air for reaction force and on top of it if we could manipulate kinetic energy then we could create flying machines more effectively. We can create gravity brakes which allow us to hold the fact that on hovering no work is done, and hence no energy should be loss, also as system is unrelated to environment we could make system move the in any direction of space, even vertic!l to ground, and even in vacuum. It would be an revolution in transportation, the next generation of science friction space ship would be reality and we do will open the gates of tomorrow. After two years of failure I did designed a mathematically valid prototype which can behave exactly same by converting the energy from and to electrical energy unrelated to environment also I have no links to collaborate my idea safely. I do say that it still have some issues but the main theory on it is motivation for such device and if I have to count on it I would, but we do need to think about the loss of energy by friction and other, which would decrease its efficiency which is the top in issues list.

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