energy and transportation in a strong global economy

Energy Related Transport Issues

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

New hope in Africa’s railways

A new revolution in African railways is starting to take place, we are seeing major railway equipment manufacturers and leasing companies begin to focus on the continent. For many some as a new land of opportunity see it.

Drones Soaring as Oil & Gas Monitoring, Safety Tool

The days of conducting an aerial inspection on a pipeline right-of-way, either by helicopter or a fixed wing plane, are coming to an end as pipeline operators around the world are increasingly using drones to check, diagnose, keep up and provide security for networks and installations.

Privatising the race to space

It’s been five years since the last Space Shuttle thundered off the pad at Kennedy Space Center and NASA is turning some of its facilities over to commercial entities. We look at the transition from government launch base to a commercial spaceport.

Drones for the deep

Increasingly it is a common sight see drones operating in the sea, usually at work constructing subsea pipelines, oil and gas wells, monitoring pipelines and telecom cables. Increasingly, drones are being used because many of the new offshore oil and gas wells are in waters too deep for divers to safely operate in.

Virtual pipelines a solution for small scale LNG

Never heard of virtual pipelines, well I had better explain they are scheduled shipments of oil and gas transported by barge, ship, rail or road tanker to customers located beyond existing pipeline networks. Here is a snap-shot of some of the market developments and innovations worldwide concerned with virtual LNG technologies.

How tough is off road transport?

Across Africa, we are seeing more and more people seeing off road pickup trucks as the solution to their problems of delivering goods and materials. For Africa, such vehicles have to be tough to meet conditions where there is a little-developed road to networks outside cities. Even where there are road networks, often the quality of maintenance is something to be desired.

Sailing the seas

Today, around 90 percent of the world’s trade in goods, is carried by sea. According to Shipping Intelligence Weekly, there were approximately 58,000 cargo carrying ships operating in June 2012.

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.