Green Transport

I have some broader green links on my renewable energy page. In the UK, more energy is used to power transport than anything else but most of the energy is just wasted as heat. Driving a typical European car each day uses more energy and pollutes many times more than home energy use. American truck driving is even worse for everyone in every way. An electric bicycle or tricycle is the most efficient way, the cleanest way and the healthiest way to transport anything, especially in a city.

Cars take up plenty of space and resources but do nothing most of the time and most cars run on a fuel which is under some other country's control and about to become much less available so everyone in rich countries will need to change their transport expectations soon, probably to something like The Netherlands or Asia where cheap two wheel transport has always ruled. Cycling is not just a good way to get around, it is the best way to stay healthy. The most surprising calculation that I have read recently is that extracting and refining petrol uses more electricty than an electric car would to cover the same distance and obviously then finally burning the petrol when driving causes yet more pollution. Cars cause so much congestion, so many problems, cost so much, carry so few people and are still stuck on 2-Dimensions, they are unable to travel directly point-to-point or over soft ground or water.

Ideal Environmental Transport Solutions

Electric buses and electric aeroplanes work well over middle distances leaving electric bikes, scooters and taxis to get around within towns. I designed a version of the Opener Blackfly with tandem wings at 45 degrees back in 2016 but never built it. The Opener Blackfly plane is brilliant and would be very welcome flying betweeen the 7000 islands of The Phillipines. Another obvious use for electric aircraft would be over mountains and a two stage electric airplane with a powerful but heavier robotic booster pack with a pusher propeller detaching and flying back to the launch airport once the passenger vehicle reached ten thousand feet altitude. A well designed passenger aircraft module would have a 25:1 glide ratio and only need sustainer power which is ten times less than any VTOL power requirements. Lower power means cheaper, safer and more efficient. Short take-offs using a powerful but heavier robot push booster are a really beautiful solution to crossing mountains or flying between islands - costs are reduced and efficiency increases so it is a commercial and environmental win win solution. Separating heavier batteries from the passengers at ten thousand feet brings other advantages.

Transport Options

Cars make you fat, poor, unhealthy and kill people directly or cause pollution or congestion everywhere they go or park. Poor countries like the Philippines have public transport like tricycle taxis which are cheaper, more manoeuvrable and much more convenient than car-based taxis and the Bangkok tuk-tuk might be the greatest vehicle ever invented except for the bicycle. For short city journeys, public transport, walking, cycling and electric scooters are the fastest, cleanest, cheapest or healthiest options. For long distances over water, ships and aeroplanes are the only options. For long distances over land, trains, diesel buses and soon electric buses and planes are the best for fast travel. For medium distances travelling from one suburb in one city to another with a big family, then cars, especially electric cars can work fine, if you are rich. Finally, if you live in a country with bad weather and sparse lonely suburban towns and vast road networks, then electric cars and motorbikes might be the best option. Anything else is just temporary fun making noise and pollution. All modern cars seem to be designed for extremely high German autobahn speeds with huge crumple zones, air-bags, bumpers and heavy safety cages but then they spend most of their time in congested cities or suburbia unable even to turn tight corners, park or travel at an average speed of over 20 Km/h. Driving a huge BMW SUV in a little old English village centre is a sad failure of human intelligence in so many ways. Walking and cycling are much easier, cleaner, cheaper and faster ways to the village shop or school and much more sociable, sustainable and tend not to kill anyone too. Open body vehicles like tuk-tuks, Philippine tricycles and London Routemaster buses are much easier for one-way journeys in cities. However, I understand that driving an extraordinary racing vehicle like an 1980s Audi Quattro on a rally stage is about as much fun as anyone could ever have on four wheels, at least until 2023 when they will be able to buy a 2nd generation Tesla Roadster and then stab the accelerator into hyperspace!

Freight always used to be transported by wind power by great clipper ships but now Maersk is switching to green methanol made from captured carbon dioxide for more reliable shipping scheduling needing fewer sailors and fewer risks.

Green Transport links



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