Energy Related Transport Issues

A list of some of the energy transport related articles I have written.

Renewables on track

Today it is a rare sight to see a train steaming away from a station; usually, you have to visit a tourist railway to see a historic steam train. However, less than 50 years ago, it was commonplace in Europe to see steam trains. Certainly many famous films are based on trains, especially steam trains. For instance, Murder on the Orient Express, the star of the film is the steam train. Nowadays, trains are powered by diesel or electricity.

Powering Trains

Elsewhere, trains are using the power to brake to be stored in a battery for use to help the train move off again. Elsewhere, engineers are looking at powering trains using LNG, hydrogen or even on board nuclear power. However, one thing is certain, the train you see running past your office will have an interesting story to tell about how it is powered and the energy sourced.

Fuel from algae

Nicholas Newman EniDay 31 July 2015

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have discovered a way to turn a small mixture of algae and water into a kind of crude oil in less than an hour. What this technology is about?

Are we ready for green buses and trucks?

Nicholas Newman African Review April 2015.
Africa, with 16 % of the world’s population and  rapid economic development  relies on  cars, trucks, vans and buses to keep  people and goods moving. Sales of new buses, trucks, and light vehicles  in Africa  reached nearly three-quarters of a million in 2014. The transport sector here, as elsewhere,  predominantly relies on  petroleum.

Will the GCC railway network  be ready for the World Cup?

Nicholas Newman – Technical Review Middle East – Issue Four 2015.  The question being asked by the region’s football fans is – “Will it be possible to take a train from major cities – such as Kuwait City, Riyadh or Abu Dhabi – to see the World Cup in Qatar in 2022?  The Gulf Coast Countries (GCC) planned regional rail network linking all six countries is due for completion in   2018 but,  according to  Srinath Manda, Programme  Manager  Transportation & Logistics Practice, Middle East, North Africa and South Asia,  of Frost and Sullivan, the project is still in the design stage for the overall route linking Kuwait to Muscat . Each individual GCC member is currently planning or scheduling the execution of their individual    country railway networks, which will form part of the GCC-wide rail network.


 Drivers for tanker design

Around 90 per cent of the world’s trade in goods is carried by sea. According to, there were approximately 58,000 cargo carry ships operating in June 2012. It has been calculated that maritime shipping is responsible for emitting over 1 billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year accounting for over 3% of worldwide CO2 emissions in 2007. The world oil tanker fleet was responsible for some 12 per cent of total CO2 emissions by global shipping, reported the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in 2012. Currently, the global maritime industry’s ships and tankers rely on engines fuelled by heavy bunker oil and diesel. However, a combination of rising oil prices and ever stricter environmental regulations have raised operating costs driving ship owners to demand greater fuel efficiency, lower emissions and faster turn-around times in port.

Power-train plans

Modern trains can be powered by a wide variety of fuels including nuclear, biofuels, solar, batteries, hydrogen and gas. However, the most dominant fuel source for powering the global railroad industry today remains diesel and electric – although coal or wood-burning steam trains still exist on some tourist lines as well as in remote parts of China. Nicholas Newman reports on some of the latest fuelling developments in this sector.