Wasting days and wasting nights

I wonder what the actual energy and resource cost is to put this recycled plastic solar powered expedition together? Thank goodness they are saving the planet. The hobbies of rich people.~ctm

Here is their expedition website.  

Let’s not wish any misfortune upon them.


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December 16, 2018 2:04 pm

A solar powered vehicle in a place where it’s dark 6 months out of the year.
Are you sure you have thought this plan through?

Reply to  MarkW
December 16, 2018 2:42 pm

Solar doesn’t work in the dark???? 🙂

Reply to  Sheri
December 16, 2018 3:21 pm

Of course it does, all you have to do is turn the lights on….D’OH ! : )

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Marcus
December 16, 2018 4:34 pm

You would have to start the diesel generator first, like they did in Spain.

Reply to  Marcus
December 16, 2018 6:42 pm

This is now illegal in Spain… reasons.

Andy Pattullo
Reply to  Sheri
December 16, 2018 4:54 pm

I believe some folks in southern Europe solved this problem with diesel generators and scored some very generous government support in the process.

Neil Jordan
Reply to  Sheri
December 16, 2018 7:24 pm

Solar works in the dark in Spain, or at least it used to:
“After press reports, it was established during inspections that several solar power plants were generating current and feeding it into the net at night. To simulate a larger installation capacity, the operators connected diesel generators.”

Reply to  Neil Jordan
December 16, 2018 8:33 pm

The light falls spritely in the nights inspite.

Reply to  Neil Jordan
December 17, 2018 10:36 am

The blame on Spain for the game went mainly down the drain.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Sheri
December 26, 2018 2:53 am

Don’t forget about polar lights. Energy dreaming.

Reply to  MarkW
December 17, 2018 7:54 am

“A solar powered vehicle in a place where it’s dark 6 months out of the year.
Are you sure you have thought this plan through?”

What they are “going on about” is RenderWorks. The remarkable ability to take “waste” and render it to something useful.

It’s 101 for artists — sad, scientists never get creative training in Design!

Reply to  John
December 17, 2018 8:08 am

“actual energy and resource cost”
The idea “cost” is a notion. Benefit is the key….

December 16, 2018 2:06 pm

I am sure that we will be hearing from them again when they need to be rescued from the cold and snow.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
December 16, 2018 3:05 pm

Rescue efforts should be restricted to solar powered vehicles.

December 16, 2018 2:07 pm

Waste is raw material.
These guys believe they are the first to realize this????

Industry has been doing this since Og made the first hand ax out of flint.
The only criteria is, that the cost of recovery has to be less than the value of the recovered materials.
Any who, the stuff in the dumps isn’t going anywhere, should we ever need it, we can turn the dumps into mines.

Reply to  MarkW
December 16, 2018 2:18 pm

Junkyards have been “extremely high grade iron mines” for more than a century. (Less so now, probably, but still valuable.)

Reply to  Writing Observer
December 16, 2018 2:43 pm

More so now. Not less.
And when it comes to waste disposal, any scheme to divert only has to save money over what it costs to dispose of under current practice.
It costs money to get rid of trash, and costing less is all that it needs to do.
If people were more cooperative in sorting before disposal, costs could be reduced tremendously, saving tax dollars.
If it ever became truly valuable enough, no one would throw away plastic…they would sell it.
In the video, if sheet plastic ever became digestible in mixed form, companies would bid for the right to collect waste. The basic problems is scalability and the fact that certain contaminants destroy the process.

Reply to  Menicholas
December 17, 2018 1:42 am

In the UK most of the costs (landfill tax) are artificial – much like carbon taxes and renewable subsidies they are already an attempt to make people engage in uneconomic activities. A useful amount of bio electricity generation in the UK used to come from landfill gas tapping, now almost gone because landfill has decreased so much.

Plastic is so cheap it makes no sense, financially or economically to recycle it. Forcing people to waste water and energy resources in the grossly inefficient individual washing/sorting and then wasting fuel to collect and transport it, is bad for emissions and the environment.

Since the plastic actually has low/no value, the market has been taken over by criminal gangs and fraudulent practices.

In the UK the sorted waste is stockpiled, then regularly goes up in flames in the storage area, or the company vanishes and the taxpayer pays to clear the ground. China etc. have stopped taking our plastic waste because all they were doing was dumping it at sea or it was going to landfill anyway – because it has no value – and their game has been rumbled.

Individuals sorting and recycling plastic waste has been one of the most time wasting pointless and environmentally ruinous policies ever imposed.

The only sensible approach is automated removal of high value materials, then incineration for electricity generation and waste heat use. The ash can then be processed to remove residual valuable metals etc. and used in construction.

Reply to  MrGrimNasty
December 17, 2018 1:43 am

……..financially or environmentally……… I meant.

A C Osborn
Reply to  MrGrimNasty
December 17, 2018 4:37 am

Totally agree, especially the last part.

Ben of Houston
Reply to  Menicholas
December 17, 2018 9:12 am

Menicholas. Recycled paper and plastic are the lowest grades available. Even “scrap”, which plants lose money in selling, is miles above the quality of anything recycled. The problem is that plastic breaks down on a molecular level over time. For lack of a better term, it “rots” due to exposure to sun. This is why hard hats and car seats have expiration dates. Making stuff out of plastic is like making it out of particle board. It’s just an inferior product with unreliable properties.

Combustion is actually pretty good, but environmental regulations make it non-economical to burn plastic.

Sorry, but no one wants recycled plastic. Anywhere.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Writing Observer
December 16, 2018 4:38 pm

I have kept many an old clunker going with junkyard parts. My 1974 Hillman Imp for instance. Although I did once have to buy some brand new parts for it in the early 80’s. And then where would we be without the great TV shows like Scrapheap Challenge and Junkyard Wars?

December 16, 2018 2:13 pm

In the years I spent in the high arctic, there was a healthy number of adventurers trying to get to the North Pole. They were mostly pathetic and unsuccessful. The expeditions mostly ended with the aviation company telling them they had one more trip and it was out. Communication was by HF radio so everyone in the high arctic could hear what was happening.

Max Dupilka
Reply to  commieBob
December 16, 2018 2:40 pm

I used to do weather forecasting for the Canadian Arctic. Every spring we would get the requests from the lunatics who were setting out for the North Pole from Alert. They tried to walk, ski, snowmobile, drive, dog sled, etc. Most were ill informed as to what the terrain is like up they. Many though it was a nice flat walk. Invariably they would get stranded a short way into their trek and had to be rescued, which cost a lot of money and time.

Reply to  Max Dupilka
December 16, 2018 2:47 pm

Hi guys, …I to worked up there…Eureka (’79-’80) and yes, we had the idiots back then too.!

Max Dupilka
Reply to  Lance
December 16, 2018 3:13 pm

I did the forecasting for the Arctic from ’80 – ’89. We did it from the weather center in Edmonton, Alberta. Maybe you used some of my forecasts.

Reply to  Max Dupilka
December 16, 2018 7:00 pm

Possible….pretty limited ‘teletype’ updates back then!

Coeur de Lion
December 16, 2018 2:21 pm

The Antarctic terrain is rough. Even at the summer solstice you ain’t getting much sun altitude at Lat 0 South. Hope they have rescue organised

Reply to  Coeur de Lion
December 16, 2018 2:35 pm

Coeur de Lion

It’s the BBC. Everything will be laid on.

They couldn’t possibly risk losing a presenter, far less a female presenter.

Reply to  Coeur de Lion
December 16, 2018 2:49 pm

They need to find a route without any nearby mountains. Putting their “craft” into the shade, even if it’s just a few hours a day is going to really cut down on their average speed.

Reply to  MarkW
December 16, 2018 5:53 pm

Putting their “craft” into the shade, even if it’s just a few hours a day is going to really cut down on their average speed…
Commentator…and the Solar Voyager is slow…at 4KM per hour…
Also note the Muscle Plane that delivered the Farcical Solar Toy to the Iceland site.
How about we organise a race between Solar Voyager, The Solar Impulse Plane, The Hare and The Tortoise….
For 6 months a year…plus any hills or valleys…inevitable breakdowns…storms…a bit of shade…Penguins in the way on the flat section…the race still belongs to The Hare and The Tortoise…unless the one (or two people) in the Solar Toys get out and walk. That would have worked better for The Solar Impulse Plane…
Happy Urban Mining to everyone! In Melbourne Oz we used to collect thrown away soft drink bottles and exchange the deposit for pies, ice creams or drinks…maybe this new fangled Urban Mining is an example of all those new Green jobs the activists keep promising…another would surely be Rescue Services to account for all the DumbCluck renewable ideas that are being sponsored and enacted by DumbCluck Renewable Devotees.
In the 4 minutes it took to compose and send this post The Solar Voyager has travelled about 267 metres…anyone know how fast a Golf Buggy, a ride on mower or a mobility scooter can travel on flat land if you open them up?

Reply to  RobbertBobbertGDQ
December 17, 2018 10:31 am


At that rate, even if they acheive the maximum speed 24 hours per day, can they make it to the pole and back before the sun goes down for 6 months?

Reply to  Coeur de Lion
December 16, 2018 4:35 pm

” Even at the summer solstice you ain’t getting much sun altitude at Lat 0 South.”
I presume you mean lat 90S. But, counter-intuitively, at that solstice the S Pole actually gets more TOA irradiance than anywhere else on Earth. The sun isn’t overhead, but it’s there 24 hrs a day.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 16, 2018 5:27 pm

Yeah Nick, but they are not at the TOA…they are at the bottom, as I am sure you are aware, and the sun has to shine through a lot of atmosphere at that angle.
And shadows are very long.
And the panels must be pretty much upright.
Now, that looks like a sail to me.
Good thing Antarctica is not a real windy place, or those panels may actually cost them fuel due to fighting the wind most of the time.
It would be convenient if there was a sort of Antarctic trade wind and prevailing westerly arrangement that would put the wind ever at their back.
Is that the case…or will the wind likely make the panels worse than useless?
(Honest question…I do not know)

Reply to  Menicholas
December 16, 2018 6:44 pm

“And the panels must be pretty much upright.”
The formula is for incidence on a horizontal surface. Of course, pointing the panels at the sun will do better.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 16, 2018 10:11 pm

Go to 5:30 on the video up top.
That is nearly as far from horizontal as it can be .
Hard to readily find the formula for optimum angle in Antarctica, but they do look like they are adjustable, so presumably they will be directed as close to perpendicular to the rays of the sun as possible.
At the pole, that is a max of 23.5 degrees from vertical at noon on the solstice, even more upright at all other times.
They are leaving from Union glacier, which is very close to 80S latitude, so add ten degrees for noon sun at that location.
It should never be more that 33.5 degrees from vertical on the trip, and that only at the beginning, if it is undertaken on the solstice.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 16, 2018 10:20 pm

And at the solstice, that is time of most sunny days in that part of the world, McMurdo is partly cloudy 58% of the time, and mostly cloudy 42 % of the time.
And there is very little calm weather there…it is almost always breezy to extremely windy I think.
If they get unlucky they may not see a ray of sun and could have high wind the whole time.
But what is the difference…there is barely enough sun gathering capacity on that thing to power even a small fraction of the trip if it was sunny and calm the whole way.
On a flat sunny desert in low latitude Summer, a vehicle built like a recumbent bicycle can gather enough Sun to power itself handily.
That huge thing?

Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 17, 2018 6:51 am

How are they heating it?

Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 17, 2018 10:33 am

Nick, the more atmosphere the sunlight has to travel through, the less of it eventually reaches the ground. TOA is nice, but like most of your facts, it is also irrelevant.

Reply to  Menicholas
December 16, 2018 6:45 pm

Panels need to be within a temperature range to work too. Pretty sure “arctic” is not warm enough.

Reply to  Prjindigo
December 16, 2018 7:53 pm

“not warm enough”
Not really. Panels are more efficient at lower temperatures (heat sink). Here is the datasheet for a Panasonic panel. Temperature Coefficient (Pmax) is -0.258%/°C, ie 0.258% more efficient for each ° below 25. And it is rated down to -40°C (or F). This is a general purpose panel, so I expect that could be improved.

Reply to  Menicholas
December 17, 2018 12:52 am

Although the panels can be tilted, it looks like they are always pointing sideways, so poorly aligned with the sun for much of the day.

Reply to  Menicholas
December 17, 2018 6:53 am

The panels need to tip not only in the vertical, but also the horizontal as the sun moves around the horizon during the day. Twice a day, the sun will be either straight ahead or straight behind. When it’s straight behind, only the last panel would get much sun. When it’s straight ahead, the first panel is still being shaded by the cab.

Reply to  Menicholas
December 17, 2018 8:10 am

“Now, that looks like a sail to me.”

One could angle the “sail” and vehicles course like a sail boat. If the wind was from the rear you could put up a para sail and gain about 40km/h. LOL…

One question I have is regarding the printed plastic parts durability in the cold.

December 16, 2018 2:22 pm

I wonder what the actual energy and resource cost will be to rescue the expedition when things go bad.

Also the resource cost when they have to abandon everything.

I’ll wish them well and every success though.

Reply to  Greg
December 16, 2018 2:38 pm

See my reply to Coeur de Lion above.

As for materials and equipment, it’s the BBC so Other Peoples Money.

Meanwhile, 56% of programs on BBC1 and BBC2 this festive season will be repeats.

I no longer watch mainstream TV but still pay the licence fee as my family does.

Richard Patton
Reply to  HotScot
December 16, 2018 4:03 pm

I don’t understand why you Brits put up with a tax just to be able to use what you have purchased. I believe you are the only people in the world who have to pay for the right to use a radio or TV. Have they started you yet to send text messages? (The FCC here in the US came down hard on Califorinia’s attempt to do that.)

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Richard Patton
December 16, 2018 5:48 pm

Most countries get taxed for their state tv & radio. The UK is unique in that it is at least voluntary.

I never watched TV in my own home, had a tv for watching videos, but no outside input, so I didn’t have to pay. Here in Australia I do the same, but have to pay the hidden tax anyway.

Reply to  Richard Patton
December 17, 2018 2:48 am

To be fair, the TV Licence fee (which covers radio broadcast as well) would be excellent value for money @ less than £200 a year for several TV channels and numerous radio stations.

What I object to is the whole place being infested with the left wing, skewing everything including their website to report things from the left. Their science and economic journalists are contemptible as they refuse to acknowledge any benefit from increased atmospheric CO2, unquestioningly publish the nonsense from the IPCC and COP conferences and never question the vast expense of renewable energy.

Now I recognise all these things I just can’t watch it any longer. I do listen to the radio and grind my teeth at the news but thankfully they are just short bulletins.

Reply to  HotScot
December 18, 2018 11:51 am

This shindig is nothing to do with the bbc.

December 16, 2018 2:26 pm

An army of children toiling to gather plastic waste and clean and sort and chop it must have been a huge investment of time and hence work that might have been spent doing other things.
In the recent past, this stuff was gathered by municipalities and most sent to China for recycling, but China has recently cut way back on what they will accept. As labor has increased in value there, the cost to sort has begun to exceed the value of the material, for all but the cleanest of presorted plastics and other waste streams.
Automatic sorters exist that can read the plastic number code (the little number next to or inside the triangle logo) at high speed on a conveyor, and jets of air direct each piece into separate piles. This allows the system we have here in Lee County, FL: Collection of mostly unsorted recyclable materials. Places such as Lee County redirect most of the waste stream away from landfills, which is the most expensive and land intensive method of disposal. Although even landfills are now methane producing bioreactors, whatever can be resold or burned in trash to steam plants saves a load of money in tipping fees at the landfills.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Menicholas
December 16, 2018 3:02 pm

I think grinding plastics to powder and mixing with pulverized low-sulfur coal might prove economical for base load power plants which import coal by rail or barge from distant sources. Provided that scrubbers are compatible with that fuel additive.

CC Visnesky
Reply to  Menicholas
December 16, 2018 3:31 pm

their PR project stunt had to have kids (they are the future!) initially, or puppies- maybe as dog sled companions & backup? Subaru of America is doing so well with dog-only commercials that the car’s product features are unecessary to sell. Advertising has run on “babies & dogs” as attention getters for 80 years.

I would SKIP the hunan powered washing and cutting, etc..and just use a massive ‘solar forge’ to melt all the plastic in quick order.

Reply to  CC Visnesky
December 16, 2018 3:59 pm

When it comes to recycling plastic, it is the sorting that is the main hurdle.
Mixing different polymers together makes a very un-useful blend of polymers that have little value. Such material can be melted and extruded into a sort of lumber substitute, and park benches and stuff which does not need to have a specific property, but even this has limits.
If it is going to be burned, there is no need to do anything but chop it in a way that will not clog machines or get wound around spindles and such.
But separated into batches of pure single type plastics allows it to be remade into many useful products.
The problem is, each polymer and polymer blend has specific properties that are required for a specific usage, but mixed polymers do not.
The chemical binds and polymer subunits are different, and so the process for reusing one kind an be ruined by impurities of a different kind of plastic.

Jim Whelan
Reply to  Menicholas
December 17, 2018 12:00 pm

“Such material can be melted and extruded into a sort of lumber substitute, and park benches and stuff” I don’t know about interior uses but outdoors park benches and “stuff” made of such material tend to degrade and warp much more quickly than actual wood.

Reply to  Menicholas
December 16, 2018 5:27 pm

I remember the good old days . . . when child labor was illegal.

Rhoda R
Reply to  Gamecock
December 16, 2018 7:13 pm

We could put the welfare recipients to work.

December 16, 2018 2:44 pm

A fairly standard BBC programme.
‘It’s worse than we thought.
‘You must make sacrifices – either give up plastics, or the hurricanes will come to Europe.
‘But folk abroad are fixing things.’
No mention of Fishy Filaments [I have a very small amount of the equity] who are also recycling plastics like the Californian Entrepreneurs [normally a Boo-word for the BBC!] from Bio-Converters (IIRC).

Yes, plastic pollution is a problem; it is recognised now, at least in the West.
So the Armageddon the prresenter closed with will never [and probably can never] happen.


Reply to  auto
December 16, 2018 3:11 pm

Actually we in the West are very good at not polluting.

Just 10 rivers are carrying 90% of the plastic entering the oceans, a study has found.

Two of them are in Africa – the Nile and the Niger – while the others are in Asia: the Indus, Ganges, Amur, Mekong, Pearl, Hai he, Yellow and Yangtze. link

We have a very definite theme going on. We are told that it is imperative that we, in the West, act now to prevent, pollution, CO2, wildlife extinction, etc. When we check the facts, we find that all those things are mainly going on elsewhere in the world. Whatever we do locally will have approximately zero effect on the actual problems. We’re the ones acting responsibly but we’re the ones expected to give up our lifestyles and crawl back into the caves.

Reply to  commieBob
December 16, 2018 4:50 pm

And much of the balance would come from those SE Asian nations which don’t behave any waste processing systems and use the ocean as a dump (where there is no convenient river).

I’ve so often seen wheelbarrows and drums of waste carted down jetties and tipped into the ocean as we might go to the dump.

Yet somehow it’s all the fault of the developed nations.

Reply to  auto
December 16, 2018 10:49 pm

What I find amusing is that I am now charged for a supermarket plastic bag so I bought hessian ones.

All well and good BUT what goes in them contains far more plastic than the bags ever did.

Just about everything that is ‘packaged’ is done in steel cardboard or paper or PLASTIC.

My milk comes is a plastic container heavy enough to make 20 bags out of. Same for cream, sour cream, yoghurt soups and anything of a ‘dip’ flavour. Smae fotr almost all non alcohol.ic drinkables.

ALL the preserved meats and all of the fresh meat comes pre-packaged, or wrapped at the counter, in plastic.

Even ‘fresh veg. comes in freely supplied plastic bags. And yet the cognitive dissonance is massive of those who support the ‘bag ban’ . As if the only plastic that counted was supermarket bags.

Oh and you can’t get a free coffee any more unless you bring your own (plastic) cup!


One day some bright student will do a thesis on ‘raising awareness is not a solution to a real world problem’.

And get refused a PhD for ‘extreme right wing views’

Pop Piasa
December 16, 2018 2:47 pm

Who will be safe from the onslaught of fear mongering by the media.
“If we quit buying it, they’ll quit making it”.

Reply to  Pop Piasa
December 16, 2018 2:52 pm

At least that’s a step above the average eco-loon, who wants to just ban the stuff, without any thought or consideration of what will be used to replace it.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  MarkW
December 16, 2018 3:06 pm

I meant if “we the people” quit buying the media’s products, they’ll quit producing unconsumed kool-aid.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Pop Piasa
December 16, 2018 3:09 pm

Or will they just change flavors?

Reply to  MarkW
December 16, 2018 3:25 pm

Don’t know if you caught this. Another DOH! moment for the greenies replacing plastic with paper.


Pop Piasa
Reply to  icisil
December 16, 2018 3:42 pm

Yikes! Is that the law of unintended consequences, or just karma?

Timo Soren
December 16, 2018 2:55 pm

This looks like they will not survive this.
Very sad actually.

December 16, 2018 3:00 pm

“If wishes were horses, beggars would ride”

Reply to  u.k.(us)
December 16, 2018 4:28 pm

If wishes were dragons, all Pern would fly.

December 16, 2018 3:04 pm

It’s the new class of “hero”. Everyone wants to be one.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  n.n
December 16, 2018 3:19 pm

Every eco-warrior would like to be one for sure. Most everyone else figures it’s better to be a live coward than a dead hero, just like the folks rescued from several recent polar expeditions who didn’t opt to go down with the ship.

December 16, 2018 3:18 pm

Will they leave the plastic behind to pollute the Antarctic when they are rescued ?

steve case
December 16, 2018 3:19 pm

Recycling plastic and producing useful items makes sense. Joyrides for econuts that no doubt will have to be rescued does not.

John Bell
December 16, 2018 3:19 pm

How much petrol to fly it there just to start? Absurd the whole thing, those wheel struts are precision steel parts, tell me they fished those out of a dump.

Bruce Cobb
December 16, 2018 3:45 pm

This has just made my heart feel so blue somehow.

December 16, 2018 3:46 pm

Does this pass the pub test ? They travelled 94km in one day and generated 4.8 kw. Through snow they used 0.05 kw per km. Somehow this looks like BS to me. Power is coming from somewhere else.

Rainer Bensch
Reply to  Gary
December 17, 2018 4:06 am

Get your units right. Otherwise it looks like: “They travelled 94km in one day using 94 horses. Thats 1 horse per km.”

John Robertson
December 16, 2018 3:47 pm

Went to the site,down below in the updates there is an article in german,that starts out “Mayday,mayday…”
So are they off to a promising start or is it an unrelated piece?
Any German speakers able to check it out?

Reply to  John Robertson
December 17, 2018 12:27 am

I don’t know where you are looking but the link takes me to a site in English.

Try https://www.clean2antarctica.nl/en/updates/mayday-mayday-how-will-solar-voyager-communicate for what you are probably talking about.

John Robertson
Reply to  BillP
December 17, 2018 9:14 am

Thank you,that looks like it.
I wonder what kind of emergency they will invent,that cannot be helped by their diesel powered support/camera crew?

Rud Istvan
December 16, 2018 3:56 pm

I did an in depth analysis of this for an as yet unpublished paper. Conclusions w/o any support (as is too complicated for referencing a mere comment).
Recycling steel almost always makes sense, and is done. (The almost relates to unsacavengable alloy contaminants like copper in stuff like shredded cars, which results in acceptable rebar but not cold rolled sheet). Aluminum (cans) always make sense, since aluminum is just congealed electricity). Certain classes of paper always make sense (cardboard, newsprint) although allowances have to be made for weaker shorter recycled fibers. Other paper, nope, because already too short fiber.

Plastics are the most complicated, depend on type and the sorted purity, and frequently are better as hydrocarbon boiler fuel. Soda bottles (PET) make great park bench planks when a UV protectant is added. And soda bottles are easy to air jet mechanically sort out.

Glass is the big conundrum. In theory, glass cullet remelted uses about 1/4 the heat energy of melting new glass from raw materials. But, bottle glass unbroken is very high volume to weight so very inefficient to transport any distance. The transport fuel costs outweigh any remelt energy savings. But, crushed glass is very heavy, so only a little can be transported legally per haul, so again transport (fuel) costs outweigh remelt energy savings T any distance. And for both buts, there are not lots of local glass furnaces. And this simplistic glass analysis ignores the types of glass (clear, brown, green… that have to be manually sorted.

Kevin McNeill
Reply to  Rud Istvan
December 16, 2018 4:06 pm

Glass is sand basically, crush it and sell it to those using sand, cement plants etc.

Rhoda R
Reply to  Kevin McNeill
December 16, 2018 7:19 pm

A lot of recycled glass is used in tar and concrete road surfaces as well as in the reflector strips. At least according to the Corning Glass gurus.

Reply to  Rhoda R
December 16, 2018 10:56 pm

The term “a lot” is relative.
Compared to the volume of waste glass generated?

Reply to  Rud Istvan
December 16, 2018 4:18 pm

Trash has to be collected anyway, and once the investment is made to collect, sort and divert recyclables, the savings over what it costs to landfill them are huge.
I think there are plants making glass bottles pretty much everywhere, since as you point out, they are bulky and expensive to transport once made. And food and beverage manufacturing is similarly widespread for many of the same reasons.
I think there are machines for sorting the different colors out, which again means once the money is spent for the process to be put in place, the more that is collected the greater the savings.

It is unambiguous…landfilling is the most expensive way to get rid of anything, so any diversion from landfills saves money, and sometimes a lot of money.
A well run program can make waste disposal almost free for a locality…when prices for fuel are high and demand for recyclables is as well.
These factors tend to run in cycles, although for a while it seemed it was bound to be nothing but ever-more expensive.

Reply to  Menicholas
December 16, 2018 7:51 pm

“the savings over what it costs to landfill them are huge”

Landfills: you dump it on the ground, then roll it under with a bulldozer. Where is the cost . . . “huge” cost . . . to be saved?

Reply to  Gamecock
December 16, 2018 10:48 pm

Tipping fees.
That is not how landfills are constructed anymore in the US.
They are highly engineered structures.
They must be above ground, have pipes throughout to capture methane and leachate…
This aint the 1950s.
For one thing, when they are full, you need another one, and good luck getting a dump permit for a new landfill just about anywhere near a population center, where all the trash is generated.
Transportation. Trucks and drivers and bulldozers and fuel are not free these days.
Tipping fees in the US averaged about $46 per ton in the US in 2015 and rise at a rate of about $1.25 to $1.50 per year.
But rates vary widely.
In the northeast US, it is upwards of $80 a ton. And climbing.
Philedelphia pays $140 per ton, and the total cost for disposal of waste in 2016 was projected at $367,000,000.
For one city.
In 2013, the US generated 254.1 millions tones of municipal solid waste, and that total is not going down any.
And those prices are just the tipping fee…it is nowhere near the whole cost of solid waste disposal.
Meanwhile, there is a multi billion dollar international trade in every sort of waste and scrap material that can be named.
Paper in various grades, plastics, metals…all have a long list of prices per pound paid, and the price is very low for mixed materials, and can be fairly high for sorted clean materials.
Any more questions or silly statements of how waste is disposed of in the US these days?
Anyone remember the Philadelphia garbage incinerator ash that travelled around the world for several years and wound of costing tens of millions of dollars to get rid of in the end?

Reply to  Menicholas
December 16, 2018 11:09 pm

I should not have used the word silly to characterize your statement, gamecock, but it is not like you describe at all.

Reply to  Gamecock
December 16, 2018 11:05 pm

Landfill design and construction requirements:


For every ton of waste dumped, a larger volume of soil must be compacted on top of it.
The whole thing is a huge and expensive operation, and getting permits for a new one is very difficult.
In some places, there is simply no place to put a new one anywhere close to where they need it.
Southeast Florida for example.
God luck with dat.

Reply to  Gamecock
December 16, 2018 11:33 pm

An example of prices for scrap plastic:


Easy to see if it costs upwards of $50 a ton if landfilled, but can be sold once sorted for as much as $0.42 per pound or more, it is worth doing if the volume is high and sorting costs can be effectively managed.

December 16, 2018 4:09 pm

As the use of plastic is not juts its use in shopping bags and the wrapping of food products, but its now a major part of our life style.

So can our scientists make a plastic of the sort which either ends up in landfill or the rivers and sea be able upon exposure to light to degrade.
But would the chemicals used in the making then become a danger to life in the sea ?


December 16, 2018 4:17 pm

Regarding the costs of salvaging our waste material, I think that is a cost that has to be born by the community. so who pays, the manufacturer or the user.

Its a bit like waste products from us human , shit for example, once way back we just tipped it out of the window, today we know that there has to be a better way, but it costs money.


Dave Bufalo
December 16, 2018 4:38 pm

A prerequisite to embarking upon this trip should have been to read the book, “Mawson’s Will” – a true story of survival in the Antarctic.

Joel O'Bryan
December 16, 2018 4:56 pm

You have to go to this page on their website to understand how they plan on getting away with using “solar powered” trucks.


“Arctic Trucks has already driven more than 277.000 kilometers in Antarctica and have a wealth of information about the terrain and circumstances. Of course they’re not very clean (yet)… they drive with diesel. That’s not only bad for the environment, but also very costly. While a barrel of oil in the Netherlands costs € 40, – the same barrel in Antarctica costs € 4000,-.

They might use fossil fuel, but driving with ‘normal cars’ rather than a ‘tank’ with caterpillar tracks, they’ve reduced the CO2 emissions by 80%!

During the expedition the Solar Voyager will be literally and figuratively followed by Arctic Trucks. They’re a part of our expedition, because that’s how our film crew will be able to come along. ”

So, they will be followed by diesel powered trucks that will have the film crew… and undoubtedly be able to act as backup to haul them out of danger when the Solar Voyager batteries die from lack of charge (either too cold, or not enough direct sunlight).

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
December 16, 2018 5:21 pm

It is a fake!
In addition to being 100% pointless.
I was stuck on how they talk like no one has ever recycled plastic and it all just gets dumped in the ocean.

John MacDonald
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
December 16, 2018 6:55 pm

I spent some time on the Arctic Trucks website. Fancy design that prevents you from really learning about the vehicles. The goal seems to be to make a phone call happen.
They could learn a lot from the web sites of Ford, GM, Toyota, etc that will actually show you options and tech specs and prices.
They use standard Toyotas and add monster tires. Presumably they up-option a lot of other systems, but the web site doesn’t tell you much of that.

John Runberg
December 16, 2018 5:19 pm

How about being blown over? Lots of sail area to help going sideways. Other question for people in the know. How will their plastics hold together at typical Antarctic summer inland temperatures?

mike the morlock
December 16, 2018 5:26 pm

Thirty 3-D printers used continually for 6 weeks, just for the plastic parts.
I wonder if they used the 3-D printers for the metal parts. Melt the recycled mat’l and run it through a printer.

Mind you this is getting expensive – electricity costs.
Did they use a home built metal foundry as well as a plastic wire fabricator. Scary. The fumes can be very unhealthy.
I have worked in many machine shops, press-rooms & foundries. I don’t like the sound of this. I would pass on working on working on this project.


December 16, 2018 5:46 pm

So how did they get to Antarctica? By Ilyushin jet plane.
And their expedition is backed up with diesel trucks and their film crew!

Ronald Ginzler
December 16, 2018 6:07 pm

Their mission, as they state on their website, is to go from a linear to a circular society. I find this disturbing, on several levels. A circular society goes in circles, i.e., nowhere. (They didn’t provide a better definition.) If what they meant was no waste, there will always be waste heat. Perpetual motion machines are impossible. Even primitive hunter/gatherer societies had the sense to move on to new areas when one locale provided diminishing returns, or, more crudely, when defecating in one spot became intolerable. The idea that we can live in harmony with nature forever in a sort of mediocre paradise isn’t real, and science fiction writers have long predicted that Man will exhaust Earth’s resources and invade, er, strike that, I mean colonize, no, not politically correct, I mean explore, other planets which have unintelligent (as we define it) life. So that’s hundreds, or maybe thousands of years off, given the current state of technology and the willingness of governments to invest in space exploration. But a circular society here on Earth? Dream (or nightmare) on…

Reply to  Ronald Ginzler
December 16, 2018 6:43 pm

We known of exactly zero other planets with any life at all, and the same huge number of other habitable planets to which we might move.
And even if we manage to spot some in other solar systems, good luck getting there.
Luckily the earth is big, with lots and lots of all 92 elements in huge supply down there somewhere… and the entire universe, including Earth, is awash in energy, which is the only thing preventing 100% infinite recycling of everything.
Nothing we use is every destroyed or sent off planet and lost to us, except space probes which do not come back.
Even nuclear bombs do not create or destroy any nucleons…they simple release nuclear binding energy, not exactly the same as converting mass to energy as is often portrayed in literature and even scientific writings.

Rhoda R
Reply to  Menicholas
December 16, 2018 7:25 pm

Something else to consider: If there is a plant that could support our kind of like why is everyone assuming it doesn’t support an intelligent life form as well. Uninhabited planet? Sure.

Reply to  Rhoda R
December 16, 2018 10:55 pm

It barely matters.
The journey would take hundreds of years at a minimum, and that if there was one relatively close by. and there would be no way to know for sure what will be found upon arrival.
No one will be building a ship that could make that journey and keep people alive in space all that time, even if we knew where to send it.
And how many could be sent?
I would be very surprised if they get a person to Mars alive in the next 40 years, and coming back alive?
They have no idea how to shield a person from the deadly radiation outside of the Earth’s magnetic field. That journey takes years for a small unmanned probe. The delta vee is humongous.

December 16, 2018 6:15 pm

+100 (from an Anne McCaffrey fan)

Reply to  RicDre
December 16, 2018 6:16 pm

Oops, that was supposed to be a reply to Hivemind on December 16, 2018 at 4:28 pm

Juan Slayton
December 16, 2018 7:01 pm

With the first solar-powered expedition to the South Pole and a sailing think-tank….

What would a bunch of sailers be messing around with solar for? Their current reported wind speed is 7.3 m/s. Assume that means meters/second, figures out to 26 km/hr. Get a good sail on that thing; outfit it with skis. Ought to go faster than 3.9 km/hr on what looks in the picture like pretty level ground.

Willis, what do you think?

Bill Thomson
December 16, 2018 8:11 pm

I work with plastics. It is not an easy task to choose an appropriate grade of resin that will meet all the technical requirements of even a simple application. Making an antarctic rover is not a simple application.

When molding pure virgin resin there is normally some scrap. This scrap can be ground up and mixed with virgin resin to make it go farther, but normally only to a limit of about 20% regrind. After that the degradation to the polymer from being through the molding machine a second time starts to show up as significant degradation of the finished part. It usually shows up as brittleness. Using 100% recycled plastic in a technical application is, in my opinion, foolhardy.

Most plastics become brittle at cold temperatures. They are using 100% regrind of unknown origin and properties. Scary.

They are also using fused deposition modeling (FDM) for their 3D printing process. FDM parts are never as strong as equivalent injection molded parts. They rely on melted plastic sticking to previously deposited solid plastic. If the melt temperature and other conditions are not exactly right it is easy to get very brittle parts.

An engineering imperative for this application is that the parts must be light weight so the low power solar panels can actually move the contraption. With all this brittleness they would have to make the plastic parts extremely thick and heavy to offset the inferior quality of the material.

Conclusion: It makes absolutely no sense to build an antarctic rover out of recycled plastic.

Oh well, at least they can stay warm by burning the rover while they are waitinv to be rescued.

mike the morlock
Reply to  Bill Thomson
December 16, 2018 8:52 pm

Bill Thomson December 16, 2018 at 8:11 pm

Hi Bill. “brittle” The same problem if they are using the 3D printers on any metal parts.

There is something else missing, food. The trip was to take 40 days. Not much pantry space on that contraption. Water you can melt but that takes electric power.
Can anyone tell me if Domino’s delivers at the south pole?

Reply to  mike the morlock
December 16, 2018 11:47 pm

They do but you have to tip the driver like 300,000,000%.

Reply to  Menicholas
December 16, 2018 11:55 pm

Or, they wait for the wind to be onshore at around 200mph, and get some frisbee experts on the top of coastal mountain with a stack of frozen pies (flash freezing is surprisingly cheap in Antarctica), and…

Reply to  mike the morlock
December 17, 2018 12:45 am

They are carrying freeze dried food and plan to use the sun to melt snow. That say they will carry the waste packaging from the food, but there is no mention of the human waste they will produce.

Alan Tomalty
December 16, 2018 11:34 pm

Since this article is about Antarctica, I can assume i’m not that much off topic here. There was an article at WUWT by Dave Middleton in April 12, 2018 about the above study.

Apart from the headline of this relatively new study , making us all scratch our heads as to why?, I have another important question. In the abstract there is this interesting quote.
‘There is growing evidence that the AIS(Antarctic Ice Sheet) has been losing
mass in recent decades, while mass gains are predicted under future climate warming scenarios.”
A 2015 study by NASA shows that Antarctica has been gaining ice.


now there have been other studies that say Antarctica is losing ice mass: To quote one study “The actual number of metric tons lost of ice between 1992-2017 is around 2,720 billion tonnes, and the actual total mass of Antarctica is 24.5 million billion tonnes (metric). =.01% lost per year or .000111”
Not very scary and also the error bars are so large as to dwarf the amount of loss claimed.

So obviously the 1st part of the above quote that I surrounded with *s , is subject to a lot of debate and indeed was debated heavily in the WUWT articel quoted above. However I want to concentrate on the 2nd part.
Can some one explain from 1st principles as to how mass gains of snow and ice are predicted under global warming scenarios over the Antarctic when even in the summer time it never gets above zero except in very very few spots around the coast. Appreciable global warming (even if it was possible) would never affect the Antarctica. To have much evaporation , you need either warm waters or you get warm air masses delivering moisture to colder land masses . Most of Antarctica is over ice frigid land and there is little evaporation. To quote Wikipedia: “Most of Antarctica is a polar desert, with annual precipitation of only 200 mm (8 in) along the coast and far less inland.”

The little snow that does fall in Antarctica comes from the katabatic winds that form cyclones off the coast of Antarctica. Antarctica is the highest of all continents on average 1.4 miles high. In the winter Antarctica doubles in size due to the sea ice. Antarctica has no trees or bushes, so Michael Mann can’t use it to get his hockey stick. As to the summer time, there is some evaporation from the Antarctica waters, but the Antarctic waters circulate cold water around the land mass in a clockwise direction that actually presents a barrier to the more temporate ocean waters much farther out to sea. Of course this conveyor belt of cold water is thousands of km in width. To quote the following web site:

“The heat that is transported into Antarctica is largely from low pressure systems that form out to sea between 60 and 65°S in an area known as the circumpolar trough. The large temperature difference between cold Antarctic air masses and mild maritime air masses from the mid-latitudes creates a frontal boundary in the atmosphere over the Southern Ocean that causes frequent storms to develop which move east and south-east due to the prevailing winds. Not only do these storm systems take moist air towards Antarctica, but they also account for the notoriously rough seas encountered in the Southern Ocean.”

So I repeat how in the HELL are you going to get more ice mass in Antarctica under a global warming scenario? The climate scientists have predicted this because the models say so. This then proves that the climate scientists don’t know what they are doing. The models have been programmed to affect the Gulf stream and other airborne conveyor belts by as much as 25% under global warming scenarios so that all the bad effects will happen in the models which will then be blamed on increased CO2 effects. Who knows how much they tinkered with the ocean water conveyor belts under global warming scenarios? These models are not only warmanistas but cock a doodle doo istas. 97 % of Climate science is such a farce.

Reply to  Alan Tomalty
December 16, 2018 11:52 pm

If the ocean warms evaporation will increase, and on average this will likely lead to higher humidity levels.
If the air advecting to the interior is even slightly more humid, snowfall rates will increase, if all else remains equal.

Reply to  Menicholas
December 17, 2018 6:27 am

Yes Menicholas: This is exactly how it works in a steam plant. Turn up the heat and the power output increases as the cycle speeds up . All done at CONSTANT TEMPERATURE.!!
The atmospheric Rankine Cycle runs to the same principles.

December 17, 2018 5:27 am

They made the vehicle especially light, so the puny electric motors could power it. So this thing will be on its back, at the first breeze.

Do they know how much force a ‘wing’ like this creates? A 15 m2 wing will give 700 kg of lift at 60 knots. One of these panels is about 8 m2. Presumably they place them horizontal (feathered) in windy conditions. But if you are not careful, that may be the best aerodynamic position for creating lift (up or down). And that could lift these carts off the ground.


Reply to  ralfellis
December 17, 2018 11:14 am

They seem to have found out about wind, see https://www.clean2antarctica.nl/en/updates/blog-antarctica-turbulence

Note the guy lines to stop the contraption blowing over.

I am wondering what the cable going off frame to the bottom right connects to. A nice big diesel generator perhaps.

December 17, 2018 6:09 am

remelt/extrusion/3dprinters…lotta embodied energy there
wonder if that got counted?
the following diesel trucks is a hoot.
the cost to get the thing there as well

all a stageshow for the daft /gullibles /feelgood inanity

plenty of people recycling plastics for myriad uses
and you could heat it using the lenses from discarded tvs projection sort
Ive seen those melt tube steel rather well
and rocks n glass

i dont have to wish them bad cess
they’ll find it all by themselves i reckon

December 17, 2018 9:38 am

I’ve read the mission statement and goals multiple times and I still don’t understand what the purpose is. What is gained by driving a solar powered vehicle to the South Pole? Is there a science part to the mission that I’m missing?

Richard A. O'Keefe
Reply to  Marcos
December 19, 2018 10:18 pm

It is quite simply a publicity stunt. A fake event made to get media attention.

Reply to  Richard A. O'Keefe
December 19, 2018 11:53 pm

No not a fake event. Just more hypocrit champagne socialists being defeated by mother nature and basic physics. Allegedly their car doesn’t work when it’s a bit cloudy and windy hence they are on their way home already (either that or once they couldn’t get Google maps to connect to the internet they were doomed 😂). These folks keep me entertained all year round. Only another 6 months until the Northwest passage brigade starts again.

Ivor Ward
December 17, 2018 10:51 am

The fact that they are unnecessarily poluting the Antarctic environment by making a pointless expedition followed by diesel trucks and camera crews says it all for me. Just another version of that stupid solar powered aeroplane that took two years to go round the world and was supported by kerosene powered jet transport planes. The stupidity of it all in the name of virtue signalling is unbelievable. I hope they do not die, but when they are rescued and all their trash is left behind I hope they take a serious look at what they are doing.

mike macray
December 18, 2018 7:07 am

Splendid, informative and entertaining thread! One of the best thank you CTM.
An after thought if I may be so bold:
Nick Stokes and the excess round-the-clock solar irradiatiance at the TOA which Menicholas correctly noted was not where the Dutch device was collecting its solar energy.
Most of that solar irradiance especially the UV stuff is busy filling up the Ozone Hole generated in the Antipodean winter months when the sun was busy melting ice in the Arctic instead of making Ozone over Antarctica.. and the cold dark dense ozone rich air mass was descending over the Southpole heading North in every direction as the katabatic wind, leaving behind the Ozone hole, on its way, with a little help from Signor Coriollis, to the Southern circumpolar vortex.
Sorry if I oversimplify but we have some STEM challenged followers… Griff and Ivan come to mind.
Merry Christmas to all

Reply to  Andrew Wilkins
December 19, 2018 7:20 am

AHH, beat me to it.

December 19, 2018 7:19 am
Reply to  2hotel9
December 19, 2018 9:45 am

Think the best bit is that having been thwarted within the first few days, rather than wait for the weather to clear and have another go they are going home and NEVER coming back. Don’t worry though there are not going to throw-away their throw-away “vehicle/plastic milk float” they are donating it to a museum to gather dust and for them to throw it away in a few years.

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