From Denmark, via Sullivan:

According to the Next Web:

For those who might consider it a fake, I’d think twice, it’s actually a well planned event by Arriva (a European bus company). They’ve done a number of these style events to make a better work enviroment for their bus drivers in Copenhagen.

48 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Happy Birthday Mukhtar”

  1. Seattle continues to lag behind The Technology.

    Linde Opening Fast Fueling Hydrogen Stations in San Francisco

    “Large industrial specialty gas company Linde has announced that they will be opening two new fast filling hydrogen stations in the San Francisco area (Emeryville and Oakland) to accommodate AC Transit fuel cell buses.”

    1. Hydrogen is an incredibly poor energy storage medium. Better to just directly burn the natural gas used to make it.

      1. San Francisco and London are building a hydrogen infrastructure, but Pierce Transit “figured it out”.

        UK’s largest on-road test of hydrogen cars kicks off in 2012

        “The city of Leicester will kick off the UK’s largest on-road test of hydrogen vehicles in 2012. At a whopping 30 vehicles, largest is certainly still small in relative terms, but it’s a start. “

      2. There are no hills in Vancouver. Were these Hindenburg-buses used in West Van or to go up to Grouse Mountain?

      3. Beware the anti-Hydrogen astroturfer.

        Unmasking Astroturfers

        “Call me paranoid, but there are certain topics that, when I post an opinion on the Internet, it invites what almost seems like an instant canned response.

        Again, the paranoid in me envisions these boiler rooms of AstroTurfers data mining for keywords and ready to offer a canned response. Case in point, I often post pro Hydrogen and pro fuel cell items in many comments and blogs. I swear that within 5 minutes of posting, some person will then write that “hydrogen is not a fuel. It is a storage medium”.

        I just recently thought, am I reading things? Or do I keep hearing this phrase over and over again. What does Google think?

        63,900 for “hydrogen is a storage medium”

        317,000 for “hydrogen is not a fuel”

        I’m not sure who pays these guys, but they really should change their talking points (memes).”

      4. John nobody pays people to refute hydro heads. People like me do it all the time for free:

        “But unlike oil and gas, hydrogen is not a fuel. It is a way of storing or transporting energy. You have to make it before you can use it — generally by extracting hydrogen from fossil fuels, or by using electricity to split it from water.”

      5. John, it isn’t astroturf, it is basic physics.

        When you take natural gas or electricity and turn it into hydrogen you lose energy as part of the transformation. When you move that hydrogen from the point of production to the point of use you use still more energy (and the distribution network isn’t as efficient as the ones for natural gas or electricity). Then there are further losses as hydrogen is transformed into electricity then mechanical energy.

        The losses are enough that CNG vehicles make much more sense than using hydrogen made from natural gas.

        Similarly electric powered rail or ETBs make more sense than hydrogen made from electricity and water.

        Even battery electric vehicles make more sense than turning electricity into hydrogen then back into electricity.

        Remember the laws of thermodynamics:
        1. You can’t win.
        2. You can’t break even.
        3. You can’t get out of the game.

      6. “Sun Catalytix makes hydrogen direct from sunlight”

        But at what cost? Nobody denies that Hydrogen is an great fuel. The problems are cost as well as difficulty in transporting it. In a world with ultra-cheap electricity to hydrolyze hydrogen from water, Hydrogen would be great. Trouble is, there isn’t enough cheap hydro energy out there – except in places like Iceland. But not even there do they have extensive Hydrogen powered vehicles. Maybe someday, but for now, Natrual Gas to liquids or possibly a biodiesel made from algae is a better bet.

      7. I’m not an engineer, but I have always wondered why they just don’t set up giant solar generating facilities in the middle of Nevada (or somewhere like that) whose only purpose is to yank the “H” out of the “H2O.” I understand the inefficiency, but theoretically couldn’t something like that pump out an endless supply of hydrogen without huge environmental costs until the sun stopped working? The giant cost seems offset by the fact that you never have to worry about pollution or running out of the raw material (which is from a domestic source).

      8. Capital cost of all those panels aside, the recurring financial and environmental cost is getting all that water to the middle of Nevada.

      9. I say “Sun Catalytix makes hydrogen direct from sunlight”

        You say “But at what cost”

        How about…at the cost of sunlight?

      10. You say: “I’m not an engineer, but I have always wondered why they just don’t set up giant solar generating facilities in the middle of Nevada (or somewhere like that) whose only purpose is to yank the “H” out of the “H2O.”

        I say: Read the Sun Catalytix site…that’s exactly what their technology does.

      11. You say: Capital cost of all those panels aside, the recurring financial and environmental cost is getting all that water to the middle of Nevada.

        I say: Did you read the Sun Catalytix site? It’s not solar panels. It’s direct conversion. And something like a quart of water can power a home for a month.

      12. Amortize the capital cost over the life of this system and tell me how much that hydrogen will cost per unit of energy equivalent to a gallon of diesel. Me thinks it’s going to be a heck of a lot higher than ~$3.

        Frankly, the whole site reeks of the kind of wording that .com’s used in the 90’s to attract investment capital for good, but ultimately unprofitable ideas.

        Hey, I’m not saying it’ll never work. I’m just saying that it’s probably a safe bet that Metro will be buying another generation or two of diesel Hybrid, or maybe CNG, buses before I’ll need to go through training for dealing with a Hydrogen leak on my bus.

  2. From Larry Phillips:

    As I have written previously, Metro Transit’s trolley buses are reaching the end of their useful life and will soon need to be replaced. Metro conducting a Council-requested study of the costs and benefits of the various transit technologies available before we make an investment to replace the trolley buses. More information about the study is available online at this link:

    Metro Transit is holding a public open house regarding this issue on June 22, 2010, from 5-7 pm, at Plymouth Congregational Church at 1217 6th Avenue in Downtown Seattle . I hope you can attend, as this is a great opportunity to hear more about upcoming plans, and to share your perspective with Metro.

    As you know, I too am a big fan of our electric trolleys as a clean, quiet technology that works well in Seattle’s hilly urban neighborhoods, and have heard from many constituents on Queen Anne and Capitol Hill who support continuing trolleys on neighborhood bus lines.

    Larry Phillips, Councilmember

    1. Yes… also seen on Orphan Road

      The ETB decision is going to take years so I’m going to create a google group if there isn’t one already.

      Speaking of electric buses, anyone else see this disturbing article on cyclists inhaling more pollutants due to breathing harder?

      I’m not overly concerned since a small increased risk of asthma or heart trouble is probably offset from increased exercise, but this is good info for deciding policies. The article also mentioned “Diesel vehicles emit far higher levels of pollutant nanoparticles than petrol engines” which unfortunately includes the vast majority of our bus fleet.

      1. Yeah, diesels are terrible on particulates and a whole lot of other terrible things… like NOx and SOx compounds. That is after all why they stink. They do however great less carbon dioxide, which while required for life on earth to continue to exist is a green house gas. They also produce more useful energy per barrel of oil which I guess is both good and bad. The technology exists to really clean up diesel emissions. They can now meet CA clean air standards. It’s not cheap but probably less expensive in the long run.

      2. AND… tomorrow there’s a Seattle City Council brownbag on the ETBs.
        If anyone can go to this please do! Naturally I have prescheduled
        meeting at that time…

        SUBJECT: Council brownbag to focus on Seattle’s electric trolley system
        6/14/2010 4:08:00 PM FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
        Laura Lockard (206) 684-8159

        Councilmember Tom Rasmussen

        EVENT DATE: June 16, 2010

        Council brownbag to focus on Seattle’s electric trolley system

        The Seattle City Council’s transportation committee will hold a
        special meeting on Wednesday with a focus on Seattle’s electric
        trolley system.

        WHEN: 12 – 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, June 16, 2010

        WHERE: City Hall, Council Chambers, 600 Fourth Ave, Second Floor, Seattle, 98104

        Representatives from Seattle’s Department of Transportation and King
        County Metro will be on-hand to provide an overview of the past,
        present and future of Seattle’s electric trolley system.

        This discussion will include the origin, benefits and proposed transit
        plan updates, as well as the operational aspects of our current
        trolley fleet, which is approaching the end of its operational life in
        2014. In order to meet that date, Metro must decide on a replacement
        choice by 2011.

        The program will be followed by questions from councilmembers and the audience.

        I also posted a draft of a formal letter to the County Council asking
        them to create an updated report from last years audit but using more
        realistic fuel efficiency numbers:

        If I’m not mistaken this would erase the “savings” from replacing the ETBs
        with hybrids. Even County Council members who have no trolleybuses in their
        districts should be concerned with wasting taxpayer money…

    2. After the oil spill, it seems like arguing for higher oil consumption shouldn’t be a very politically popular position…

  3. Commie Danes at it again. But Glen Beck told me that they live in a repressive dictatorship!

    More coverage here:

    Arriva ( is more than a “bus company”; they are also a large operator of trains and were just bought out by German Rail (DB).

    The song they are singing is a traditional Danish one for birthdays and translates roughly as:

    Today is Mukhtar’s birthday
    Hurrah Hurrah Hurrah
    He certainly will get the gift,
    that he has wished for this year
    and delicious chocolate cake.

    How he smiles, when he is happy,
    Hurrah Hurrah Hurrah
    But this day is also nice,
    for at home wait Mom and Dad
    with delicious chocolate and cakes

    And when he goes home from the Bus
    Hurrah Hurrah Hurrah
    So will he go home and throw a party.
    And those who come as guests
    will also get delicious chocolate and cakes.

    Finally we shout loudly in chorus,
    Hurrah Hurrah Hurrah
    Wish Mukhtar long life
    and his unfulfilled wishes few
    and delicious chocolate cake too.

  4. The public transit agency in Copenhagen and the capitol region is Movia, although the private tendering company might be Arrivia.

    1. The Danish Island that went Carbon Negative

      “Danish scientists, working at a research center once devoted to nuclear energy, are again on the cutting edge of hydrogen production. On the Danish island of Lolland wind mills are producing 50 percent more power than the people consume, so the Lollanders are electrolyzing water to produce hydrogen and oxygen, which is used to speed up the treatment of the island’s sewage.”

  5. Anyone know what happened to Northwest Hub? For a while it had posts practically every day and had great news roundups, but now you’re lucky if they have one post a month. I really liked all the news it had, any chance that it could get started up again?

    1. They had a bunch of paid staff, but they got liquidated. Now it’s a hobby blog and there isn’t much drive to keep it great.

    1. A pro-privatization article written by an economics student? How shocking! ;) Gotta love the “Socialist Stockholm” bit in the headline, too, though I would peg that one on an editor. I wonder what her colleagues at the “University of Stockho” have to add to this discussion.

      I do appreciate the mention (and lack of denouncement) of the farebox recovery rates. But this article is seriously lacking context and depth.

      1. Some may read the article and assume the transit companies turn a profit off of farebox recovery. That is not what subcontracting is about. Subcontracting is a tool to keep permanent labor unions from forming and bargaining directly with the government employing them. The taxpayers still heavily subsidize the service.

        The companies running each piece have to bid every few years for the right to continue running pieces of the transit system. One company may win a new piece, and lose its current piece. When that happens, employees either have to pick up and move, or face much longer commutes than they have before. The claim that the system is “clean” ignores the carbon footprint of getting employees to work much longer distances every few years. At least, that is how it has worked for paratransit here in King County. It is a deterrent to keeping professional operators and encourages those trying to build a career to do so in some other industry.

        Nor can the government subcontracting the transit service easily make cuts in such service in the middle of a contract.

        And what if one of the companies shuts down in the middle of the contract? Sorry, Stockholm. That’s what you get for cheaping out on your work force.

    2. It will be interesting to see how many private companies start operation along Highway 99 in Snohomish County on Sundays. It might provide a good test as to the profitability of private operation.

  6. Since this is an open thread, I will take the opportunity to boldly suggest something that I don’t think has been suggested before.

    With Sound Transit saying it needs a $34 million TIGER grant in order to break ground on 200th St Station, and the application unlikely to succeed, some re-prioritizing may be in order.

    Of the three southern stations funded by ST2, only one is really, really important in the long-term Link routing. That would be Des Moines Station. A look at the map shows why. It provides the best gateway to the valley (while 200th St Station has no connectivity to the valley). It is the closest station to I-5, enabling the best pull-off stop for the 570 and 590 series routes (or, better yet, the best interim point of truncation while waiting for Federal Way Transit Center Station). It will serve the largest stand-alone destination between the airport and downtown Federal Way: Highline Community College.

    If Sound Transit can only afford to build one more South Link station in time for the opening of Husky Stadium Station, why not make it Des Moines Station?

    Indeed, why not then postpone or cancel Star Lake Station, and proceed with extending the line to Federal Way Transit Center Station without waiting for ST3?

    The two additional in-between stations are mega-expensive projects with marginal utility, adding an additional few minutes of travel time for Tacoma-to-Seattle riders. Cancelling these lesser-utility stations would enable faster speed and help justify the aerial routing.

    1. Brent, ST can’t build south of 200th until they complete the NEPA process for that segment. The line to 200th is covered by the Central Link EIS and is pretty much ‘shovel ready’.

      Besides, extending the line to Des Moines would be more expensive than building to 200th, even if they skipped a station at 200th.

      1. Given the extreme unlikelihood of ST getting a TIGER grant for 200th St Station, can’t the station design be pared down to something more functional and less “Taj Mahal”ish, to save $34 million in construction costs?

        Plan for ST to go it alone on 200th St Station, but get the next station built sooner rather than later. Waiting for a grant that isn’t coming is just going to drive up construction costs more.

    2. It would take a lot more money and a lot more time to get all the final design ready down to Des Moines Station. They should not cancel those extra stations as they provide valuable park-and-rides, can spur a little bit of walkable development in the suburbs, and already the station spacing along there is very wide, every couple miles. To have the greatest utility, it needs to stop at least that often.

  7. Cnr presents H-Bus, the hydrogen-powered buses

    Advanced Energy Technologies “Nicola Giordano”, CNR, in addition to the bicycle pedal assisted hydrogen-powered, has built a prototype hydrogen buses for urban use. H-Bus, the name of the vehicle with zero emissions, is a “powertrain” hybrid electric batteries and fuel cells, integrated with a storage system and hydrogen power.

  8. “TUESDAY, JUNE 15, 2010
    H2 Ya Like Me Now?
    Koreans forge ahead with fuel-cell model

    Seoul – Korea’s largest automotive group, Hyundai-Kia, aims to be at the vanguard of hydrogen-powered mobility and will launch a fuel-cell model of an existing vehicle within the next two years, UK-based Autocar magazine reports.”

  9. With advanced sensors, cars become increasingly capable of driving themselves

    Ultimately, that means bypassing the fallible humans behind the wheel — by building cars that drive themselves. Alan Taub, vice president for research and development at General Motors, expects to see semi-autonomous vehicles on the road by 2015. They will need a driver to handle busy city streets and negotiate complex intersections, but once on the highway they will be able to steer, accelerate and avoid collisions unaided. A few years later, he predicts, drivers will be able to take their hands off the wheel completely: “I see the potential for launching fully autonomous vehicles by 2020.”

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