Few realise that trains have about the same fuel
efficiency as cars, and that high-speed trains are about
as fuel efficient as jet aircraft; but that these
numbers are crucially dependent on how full the vehicle
is. However, in principle, electric trains could run
today on carbon-free electricity (nuclear and wind)
which cars and planes can’t. Ground transport today
needs liquid fuels, and aircraft need high density
liquid fuels (e.g. not ethanol nor first generation
biodiesel). Can we really grow enough biofuels to make a
significant difference (yes), but can we make enough to
“solve” the ground transport problem ?
speakers on the subject were:
- Roger Kemp FREng, CEng, FIET, FIMechE is
Head of the Engineering Department at Lancaster
University. Prior to joining academia in 2003, he
spent almost 30 years in the rail industry except for
two years as Development Manager for the Lucas
Electric Vehicle Project. He was Engineering Director
of GEC Transportation Projects where he was
responsible for projects as diverse as the Class 91
locomotive, Docklands Light Railway and Seoul Subway
Line 4. After the merger forming Alstom, Roger moved
to France and spent two years as Directeur des Études
d’Ensemble in the Paris head office and was Project
Director of the consortium building Eurostar.
Subsequently he worked on projects in Australia and
Taiwan and, from 1997, was UK Technical and Safety
Director for Alstom Transport. At Lancaster he is a
member of the sustainable energy group.
- Gail Smith, did her PhD in Cambridge, and
after working as a postdoc here, she joined Unilever
where she started work on coconut in vitro
propagation. She then moved into coconut and oil palm
plant breeding, selection, agronomy and environmental
aspects of agriculture; including working on-site at
several tropical plantations. She has since worked on
other tropical and temperate crops, farming systems
and supply chains and is now one of the leaders of the
scientific programmes for Unilever’s sustainable
agriculture project, working to improve the social,
environmental and financial sustainability of major
food supply chains. Oil palm is one of the 5 'key'
crops in the Unilever programme.
- Simon Harris is an entrepreneur and
technology investor. He is a director of Lysanda Ltd.,
a local business with a novel method for monitoring
vehicle emissions. The technology enables the
monitoring of toxic and greenhouse gas emissions from
motor vehicles, in real time. It records values of
individual pollutants and builds an accurate profile
of the vehicle’s environmental performance. The data
gathered is transmitted to a data management centre,
and enables commercial fleet operators to control fuel
and running costs and demonstrate a clean bill of
health. The system is now fitted to a demonstration
vehicle, and field trials are taking place with a
commercial goods fleet.
refreshments were provided before and a buffet meal
with wine after the event. Attendance was free, but space
was limited and registration was required.
meeting was held in central Cambridge on the
Sidgwick Avenue / West Road site with registration at
16:30 and the talks beginning at 17:00.