Civia Hyland commuter bicycle

Here is a mid to high end commuter bicycle from Civia in the United States.  It comes in three different versions all built around Civia’s frame and Shimano’s Alfine componentry. The base model has a SRAM i-Motion 3-speed hub, the standard build uses a complete Alfine drive train (8-speed hub) and brakes and the top of the range incorporates a Rholoff 14-speed hub. The Hyland web page has full specifications and prices.


Civia: Hyland

Needless to say I’m dreaming about the high end version with the Rholoff hub. Having had a bike with one of these I can attest to the wonderful simplicity of riding with 14 perfectly spaced gears. Other nice features on this bike are the hydro-formed frame components that enable cables to be routed very cleanly (check their web site to see what I mean) and good quality components all over. You can even get Civia branded panniers to go on the nice sturdy rack.

The good news from Civia is that they are in the process of establishing an Australian distributor. I don’t know who that will be yet but I will update this when I find out. PJ from Civia told me they are expecting the first bikes to arrive in Australia in June 2009. If you are at all interested in these bikes I suggest you look around their web site. You’ll find lots of interesting information about Civia and their bikes, some video footage showing you how to do things like remove the rear wheel or adjust the chain and plenty of nice pictures.

The Civia mission sums it up for me:

To spread our passion for bicycles as fun and responsible transportation through our products and actions.


Australian Conference on Life Cycle Assessment

Thanks to Tom Worthington at Net Traveller for the following:

The Sixth Australian Conference on Life Cycle Assessment is in Melbourne from 16 to 19 February 2009. Life cycle assessment (LCA), assesses the environmental impacts of products and services. Unfortunately many people will not find out about this worthwhile event, due to the poor web site, so I have extracted some details below to make them more accessible.

From the Conference Program:

One aim of the conference is to build bridges between different environmental assessment methods that have a sustainability focus. This includes:

  • Life cycle assessment • Life cycle costing • Ecological footprints • Materials flow analysis
  • Triple bottom line accounting approaches • Energy and greenhouse life cycle studies
  • Input Output analysis • Uncertainty analysis in environmental assessment

The conference also aims to provide a forum for sharing LCA experience in different sectors such as:

  • Building applications
  • Waste Management
  • Water issues
  • Food and Agriculture
  • Energy and fuel production system
  • Products and packaging manufacture

Keynote Speakers

Andreas Ciroth studied Environmental Engineering in Berlin, Germany; his dissertation (Dr.-Ing.) in 2001 was on error propagation in LCA. Since
then, he has worked as a consultant and software developer, mostly in scientific projects. …

Stefanie Hellweg is Associate Professor for ecological systems design at the Institute of Environmental Engineering of ETH Zurich (Switzerland). …

Hongtao Wang College of Architecture and Environment, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China …

Bo Weidema has more than 30 years of experience in environmental issues, since joining the emerging environmental grassroots movements in 1972. …

For more information see the full summary at Net Traveller

Victoria to get a new biodiesel storage and blending facility

According to the Victorian Government their citizens will soon have better access to biodiesel. The Government has given a $2 million grant for a new Melbourne-based blending and storage facility to Biodiesel Producers Limited (BPL) for the construction of a $4.3 million BPL biodiesel facility in Melbourne. The new facility will be based at a major fuel distribution terminal.

Until today I hadn’t heard of BPL so I’m guessing you haven’t either unless you are a Victorian. They are based in Barnawartha, 20km south of Albury-Wodonga, and are producing biodiesel mainly from tallow and smaller quantities of used cooking oils and canola oil.

Biodiesel plant

BPL: Biodiesel plant

The BPL plant uses technology acquired from Austrian company Biodiesel International AG to produce 60 million litres of biodiesel per annum, all of which meets the rigorous Australian, European, US and NZ Biodiesel Standards.

Source: The Premier of Victoria and Biodiesel Producers Limited

NSW Maritime warns on ethanol blends in marine engines

On the back of the NSW Government announcing mandatory use of  ethanol blended fuel (previous post) NSW Maritime has released a statement advising all boat owners to check with a local dealer about the suitability of ethanol blend fuels for their marine petrol engines.

NSW Maritime cites the follow risks:

  • Ethanol can affect some fibreglass fuel tanks because of its potential to act as a solvent;
  • Ethanol can affect older fuel lines, seals and gaskets; and
  • The fuel can separate into the petrol and ethanol components if condensation forms in the tank or where the fuel is stored for extended periods.

Whilst some boat owners have tried to do the right thing in their quest to reduce their carbon footprint by choosing the greener option, NSW Maritime advises boat owners to check with their engine and boat dealer about the appropriate fuel choice.

Source: NSW Maritime

Natural Fuel to supply biodiesel to Europe from Singapore

Natural Fuel, the Western Australian biodiesel company, has signed a 12 month contract for the supply of biodiesel to an unnamed European oil and gas commodities trading company. Under the contract Natural Fuels will supply up to 50,000 tonnes of biodiesel per month from its Jurong Biodiesel Facility in Singapore. Producing 50,000 tonnes per month will result in the Jurong facility being at maximum production.

Source: Natural Fuel via WA Business News

Reading: Fuel for thought

While digging around the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) web site I discovered Fuel for thought, a publication by the Future Fuels Forum 2007. This June 2008 publication informs us how the Future Fuels Forum thinks transport fuels will pan out in our future with modelling from now to 2050.  It is an interesting document and I suggest you read it if you are at all interested in the future of transport fuels in Australia. Click the cover page below to download the PDF (1.5Mb).

challenges and opportunities (PDF)

CSIRO 2008: Fuel for thought - The future of transport fuels: challenges and opportunities (PDF)

Apart from being relatively easy to read and informative for those of us without a scientific or economic background it provides great insight into the conservative information upon which our governments are making decisions that impact your future and mine. It isn’t all conservative mind you. The modelling for a continuing rise in demand for oil and a sharp decline in supply shows we could pay as much as $8 per litre for petrol in the not too distant future and the authors do stress the urgency with which alternatives for oil must be found.

While the document was written before the global financial crisis really started to bite the bulk of it remains relevant. If you do read it I’d like to know what you think so please leave a comment.

Advanced Engine Components is doing good business in China

Following on from its December 2008 deal with Tata Motors in India (previous post), Perth based Advanced Engine Components (AEC) has recently announced a $1.2m order for their Natural Gas Vehicle System (NGVS) kits and associated engine components from Aussen Engine (Aussen) in China. Aussen is building compressed natural gas (CNG) engines for buses and trucks. The buses are for Wuhan Public Transport. Wuhan, with a population over 9 million, is the capital of Hubei Province. The trucks are for the Guizhou Province.

Separate negotiations for delivery of a further $600,000 worth of NGVS kits to Wuxi Xilian Diesel Engine Manufacturing (Xilian)  is in final stages of negotiation with delivery expected by 30 April 2009. The CNG engines, to be built by Xilian, are for the Nanjing Xincheng Bus Company. Nanjing is the capital of Jiangsu Province. Nanjing Xincheng Bus Company has been running fifty buses delivered in April 2008 that were built by Chongqing Hengtong Bus Company with Xilian AEC CNG engines. Xilian has also taken delivery of twenty two ACE NGVS kits for liquefied natural gas (LNG) bus engines for Haikou Public Transport Company. Haikou is the capital of Hainan Province.

Xiamen Kinglong Bus Company in Shaoxing has purchased and taken delivery of ten Weichai WT 615 LNG engines from AEC. The buses are for Hangzhou Public Transportation Company. The order follows extensive trials in a competitive tender situation.

Guiyang Public Traffic Company has purchased forty buses from Huanghai Bus Company in Dandong. The buses have FAW DDE 230 hp AEC LNG engines. The purchase follows eight months of competitive trials against other LNG engines.

At 31 December 2008 there were approximately 400 natural gas vehicles, using the ACE NGVS, in active service throughout China. The above sales are certain to at least double that number.

Source: Advance Engine Components (PDF)