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Welcome to Lord Copper

Opinions about lots of things - mostly related to the worlds' metal markets

Summer Holiday Thoughts

15 August 2018

It’s still holiday time for me, so I’ve got no more than a couple of random thoughts this week.

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Changing Standards

08 August 2018

When cars with internal combustion engines began to appear around the turn of the twentieth century, one of the obvious issues for the adopters of the new technology was the availability of the petrol necessary to make the things go. Fuel had to be transported around the country, stored in big tanks and those tanks connected to pumps - originally manual ones - to get the fuel into the vehicle’s operating system. That was a pretty serious logistical challenge, but one that had to be overcome in order for the new vehicles to realise their potential.

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2018 Letter from France

01 August 2018

Just a short article this week, as I’m on holiday, enjoying driving my German petrol/electric hybrid car down almost - by UK standards - empty French autoroutes in beautiful bright sunshine. Remind me again - why do we need Brexit?

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Farnborough - a place where aviation's past is alloyed to its future

25 July 2018

The most memorable stand at Farnborough this year consisted of a map on the back panel of an exhibition stand and a young man dressed as a 1919 aviator. He was there to recreate the memory of the £10,000 prize offered for the first successful flight from London to Darwin in less than 30 days. The map showed the 23 stops the aviators took in an open-cockpit Vickers Vimy aircraft.

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Australia First

18 July 2018

Oh dear! Poor old mother country. Over the years, we’ve got used to Australia handing out Ashes whitewashes, the Wallabies putting us out of the Rugby World Cup, Kylie Minogue topping the pop charts, and the country having a stable government.

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Factoids and Asteroids

11 July 2018

It would appear that wherever I go the subject of mining asteroids follows me like a stalker. My short answer, if anyone is listening, is that we need to get mining right on earth first. But this is not enough to satisfy the prospectors and, literally, lunatics, who are working to nudge an asteroid into a lunar orbit and get to work.

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Energy Density and EVs

04 July 2018

One of the simple bits of physics that even I - a definite non-physicist - can understand about electricity versus petrol as a means of powering vehicles is the issue of weight against power. That is heavily slanted in favour of petrol, which is a point the battery industry will at some point have to address fully. We know progress has been made in reducing the overall weight of batteries, and that lithium-ion cells are kilo for kilo substantially more effective than lead-acid, for example, but the reality of current physics is that the energy density of refined crude oil is many, many times better than the most efficient of today’s batteries. That impacts directly on the range of EVs.

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