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Welcome to the latest update from the Energy Institute (EI) Knowledge Service, your hub for energy information.

Going digital – Explore 28 years of energy history in our magazine back issues

The evolving energy world has been reported over many years in the EI’s magazines, Petroleum Review and Energy World. It’s now possible, following a digitisation project, to delve into our back issues online dating back to January 1991. Many themes recur over the years – in particular around the steady march towards improved environmental standards. Here are a few stories to whet your appetite: 

A cleaner electricity mix

In 1993 the debate over the existence of climate change still “raged on” (EW April 1993 p15). The oil industry had started to acknowledge the need to address it (PR March 1993 p114); and low-carbon electricity generation was encouraged in the UK via the Non-Fossil Fuel Levy, primarily used to support nuclear power (PR May 1993 p217).

Meanwhile the fortunes of coal and natural gas rode a see-saw; the future of British coal was in doubt due to cheap coal imports and electricity imports from France (EW March 1993, p6), while gas was simultaneously under threat from potential coal subsidies (PR March 1993 p130). In the end, the Government did support gas-fired generation to meet increasingly stringent environmental legislation (PR May 1993 p209). The Kyoto Protocol climate agreement of 1997 seemingly cemented this direction of travel (EW April 1998, p18), though the potential for low-emission coal via carbon capture and storage was already being considered  (EW June 1998, p20). 

Early renewables progress was slow (PR May 1993 p217), but after a decade of to-and-fro, the downward UK emissions trajectory was finally formalised by The Climate Change Act 2008, introducing the five-year carbon budgets still guiding emissions reductions today (EW January 2009 p6).

Cleaner road fuels

Unleaded petrol was widely available by the early 1990s, and motorists were told leaded fuel would be phased out across the EU from 1 January 2000 (PR November 1997 p526). Fuel quality across Europe was being toughened up with the Fuel Quality Directive (PR May 1998 p34). The Vapour Recovery Directive of 1995 reduced emissions at petrol stations – and denied future generations the enjoyment of filling station eau de petrol (PR February 1995 p56).

The environmental benefits of diesel-powered vehicles were touted back in 1993 (EW October 1993 p15), and in 1997 London’s red buses were “turning green” with the adoption of ultra-low sulfur diesel (PR March 1997 p120). Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) was seen as the automotive fuel of the future (PR June 1997 p271) and the potential for fuel cells in transport was already recognised (EW July-August 1998 p12). Fast-forward to today’s concerns about the air quality impacts of diesel emissions, and the formerly “green” diesel buses are being replaced by the “greenest” buses – efficient diesel and hybrid diesel-electric (EW February 2017). 

An area of more dramatic movement is electric passenger vehicles; the EI’s magazines continue to cover everything from battery technology (EW June 2016) to smart charging  (EW April 2018 p28).

Scroll through back issues of Energy World here and Petroleum Review here

Get up to speed on topical issues with Energy Insights 

Over the past few months we have added several new topics to our Energy Insights which, along with the Energy in Conversation series and the Energy Barometer provide a current outlook on what is happening in energy.

The latest Energy Insight on Electric Vehicles in the United Kingdom examines a variety of factors impacting the take-up of electric vehicles today. Other recent topics covered in Energy Insights include:

Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the Republic of the Congo
Venezuelan oil
Solar panels and solar roof tiles; and
Decarbonising transport in the United Kingdom

The Library and its collections

Offering, as we do, quiet work space in Central London, we have welcomed many visitors to the library over the past months. Remember we have a huge collection of energy related material available both here in hard copy and, as we are only able to open during office hours, an even larger collection accessible through our eLibrary. For those involved in any research, this is an invaluable resource providing a vast collection of both journal and book material, much of it full-text, open 24 hours a day, every day, anywhere. 

Recent additions to the eBook collection:

We add to this collection twice each year: in spring and autumn. What subjects or titles would you like to see added? Let us know!

Below is a selection from our 16 recent eBook additions, amongst over 170 in total in our collection; please see the full list of eBooks here.

Ansari, Nirwan. Han Tao. Green mobile networks: A networking perspective. Wiley. IEEE Press. 2017.

Bajpai, P. Third generation biofuels. Springer. 2019

Dinçer, İbrahim, et al.  Optimization of energy systems. Wiley. 2018

Dincer, Ibrahim. Ezan, Mehmet Akif.  Heat storage: A unique solution for energy systems. Springer. 2018

Gardner, Daniel K. Environmental pollution in China: what everyone needs to know. OUP. 2018.

Thomas, Andrew R. American shale energy and the global economy: business and geopolitical implications of the fracking revolution. Springer. 2018

Hardcopy resources

We have added a few new hard-copy items to the library since the last newsletter:

IEA. World Energy Outlook 2018. 643pp. 2018
The IEA’s annual look at the world’s energy situation, divided as usual into 3 parts:
• Global Energy Trends which includes:
o Energy and sustainable development goals
o Outlook for oil, natural gas, and coal
o Energy efficiency and renewable energy
• Special focus on Electricity
• WEO insights

Duxbury, Graham. A guide to energy forecasting: part exercise in smoke and mirrors  Matador. 2017. 247pp.

And two very useful pamphlets from the Petroleum Economist:

Africa oil and gas report: how will the sustainability agenda impact development in Africa? 2018. 14pp

Decommissioning in the North Sea: fundamentals and financing. 2018. 5pp.

Support from the Knowledge Service team

Not sure where to start?

The Knowledge Service team can direct you. We’re available by online chat, phone (+44 (0)20 7467 7114), email info@energyinst.org or in person during library opening hours (M-F 9am-5pm). 

Pressed for time?

Send us your research questions or data requests and we’ll do the work for you (charges apply for longer queries).

Contact details are available on the knowledge website. 

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