There’s something in the wind…

Amidst all the excitement of “Particulart: Up in the Air”, let’s not forget our origins, critiquing the Incinerator. In the 16th July edition of Express & Echo, there was a short update on Recycling in Exeter.

2015-07-16 E&E p44

Diana and I couldn’t let this pass. I was particularly struck by the nonsensical “contributing 3MWh per hour of operation to the National Grid”… which just means the Incinerator’s generation capacity is 3MWe, and tells us nothing about the number of hours of operation and how much electricity it has actually generated. Diana is currently trying to get hold of some data for generation and operating costs. In the meantime, I have compared it with the capacity and cost of wind generation.

OK, so according to its communications, the Incinerator was expected to cost £45m, and has a capacity of 3MWe. That’s £15m per MWe. The cost of generating each kWh is to be determined.

Let’s take offshore wind, which the UK is quite good at. Each turbine in the London Array, commissioned in 2012, has a capacity of 3.6MWe. At the moment, the average cost of capacity is 2.5-3.0 million Euro/MW, or up to £2m per MWe; and the average cost of generation is 161 euros ($208) per MegaWattHour, or 11p/kWh.

So the Incinerator has a smaller capacity than one wind turbine, and costed 7.5 times as much per MW!!

Here’s the Incinerator equation for garbage in, garbage out:

(carbon content of waste + rest of waste) + oxygen + other reactive gases
   → carbon dioxide + other flue gases + flyash

Some estimate the carbon content to be 27% of the total waste, which means that incineration of 1 tonne of waste would produce approximately 1 tonne of carbon dioxide. Others put the carbon content at nearly 50%, which means 1 tonne of waste in, nearly 2 tonnes of carbon dioxide out.

The Incinerator is designed to accept up to 60,000 tonnes per year of waste. That means 60,000 to 120,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year. Exeter has a population of about 120,000. Ignoring the carbon footprint of building the Incinerator and offshore wind, and of other operations such as waste delivery, flyash removal and maintenance…

The Incinerator adds 0.5 to 1 tonnes of carbon dioxide to every person’s annual carbon budget. Offshore wind is zero carbon.

Furthermore, that is 60,000 tonnes of waste that has not been reduced, reused or recycled. It is not very surprising that recycling rates in Exeter have gone down, since the Incinerator needs feeding.

Now let’s turn to Diana’s main concern…

Food waste makes up about 36% of the waste input to the Incinerator, and it could instead be be composted or processed more efficiently in a anaerobic digester to produce biogas. The point about the garden waste scheme is not relevant regarding food waste, as the scheme really does only collect garden waste.

Diana thinks the point about the cost of food waste collection is a cover up for the fact that Exeter City Council’s negotiations with Teignbridge and East Devon District Councils on food waste collection have recently collapsed.

Here’s another article from Monday’s Express & Echo, which makes the arguments over the cost of collection academic.

2015-07-20 E&E p7

So if food waste is rightly diverted away from the Incinerator, where will all the waste to feed it be sourced?


Photos – “Up in the Air” set-up

Clare managed to get in to the Glorious a couple of days early, so has already set up. Difficult to take photos of the whole room with only a smartphone – need a proper camera with a fish-eye lens! But hopefully these give a flavour of the transformation of the gallery into the Earth’s atmosphere and a 3-dimensional graph via the medium of knitting and chemistry!

Up-in-the-Air-1 thumbnail
Up-in-the-Air-2 thumbnail
Up-in-the-Air-3 thumbnail
Up-in-the-Air-4 thumbnail
Axes thumbnail
Up-in-the-Air-6 thumbnail

The Earth surrounded by knitted representations of greenhouse gases.

A peek into the games niche, and from left to right: nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, methane.

Comfy cushions and 3 or 4 games for you to play!

A view of some of the info posters, and from left to right: HFC-134a, CFC-11, HFC-23, sulphur hexafluoride.

The knitted greenhouse gases were hung in the 3D space according to 3 pieces of data. Here are the x,y,z axes.

The as-yet empty comments book. Come and have a look!


Knit-your-own carbon dioxide workshop

A5 leaflet - Up websiteAs part of the Up in the Air exhibition, Diana Moore of Particulart and Knit-Stop will run a free knit-your-own carbon dioxide workshop.

It will be held on Saturday 18 July from 10am-12 noon, in the gallery on the second floor of the Glorious Art House at 120 Fore St, Exeter EX4 3JQ. Refreshments will be available for purchase from the café.

Materials will be provided, but do bring your own needles and yarn if you would like. You can view and download the patterns used to create the particles in your own time.

Places on the workshop are limited, so please let us know you’re planning to come.

Knitting exhibition shows climate change to be ‘Up in the Air’

Download the press release as a pdf

Knitting exhibition shows climate change to be ‘Up in the Air’

Embargoed until Tuesday 7th July 2015

An innovative art installation goes on show this week to bring alive the greenhouse gases that are causing climate change [1]. Local artist Clare Bryden has been knitting larger than life versions of the particles and making card games. The exhibition [2], which will be on display from 11-24 July at the Glorious Art House in Fore Street Exeter, is designed to be a playful way of sparking people’s interest in the science and issue of climate change.

Clare said: “This year is vital, as governments are meeting in Paris in December, and hopefully they will come to a ground-breaking agreement on the climate [3].

“Exeter is home to two world-class climate research centres at the Met Office and the University. They are advising the government on how human activity is changing the climate, and what reductions in greenhouse gas emissions we need to make to avoid dangerous climate change.

“The government also needs to hear the concerns of the ordinary person in the street. But because the climate is changing over such a long time-scale and the potential impacts are so huge, it’s difficult to talk or even think about it [4].

“Climate change is happening up in the air, and the outcome of the negotiations in Paris is up in the air too. Knitting and making card games are my ways of bringing it all back down to earth.

“I wanted to appeal to the different ways that different people take in information, both through words and numbers, and through the senses of sight and touch.

“This exhibition is a creative way of getting a serious message across. I have knitted carbon dioxide and methane amongst others and I urge people to come along and have a play! We will even be holding a workshop [2] where you can knit your own carbon dioxide.”

‘Up in the Air’ is supported by a Small Arts Grant from Exeter City Council and sponsorship from the Diocese of Exeter.



[1] The Met Office has produced an infographic exploring the difference between weather and climate, what drives our climate and how our climate is changing – see

[2] ‘Up in the Air’ is running in the gallery on the 2nd floor of the Glorious Art House in Fore Street, Exeter from Saturday 11th to Friday 24th July. There will also be a knitting workshop run by Diana Moore of Knit Stop from 10am-12noon on Saturday 18th July. For more information and booking, please see

[3] “Everything you need to know about the Paris climate summit and UN talks” at

[4] “Why your climate conversations always go wrong, and how to make them better”
[Now at]


Clare Bryden
07794 505707

Co-founder Clare is ‘Up in the Air’

On 3rd July, Clare jumped out of an aeroplane in aid of Hospiscare, Exeter. Fellow co-founder Diana made the link between the skydive and Clare’s forthcoming Particulart exhibition ‘Up in the Air’.

Clare writes: “It was touch and go, as my doctor’s form didn’t have the proper stamp, which meant panicked form-refilling and scanning and emailing and stamping and signing and scanning and emailing and printing and stapling. But anticipation gradually took over from stress, and then there was the spiral up to the jump height, the shuffling forward on the benches towards the gaping door, and the moment of sheer panic as I knelt on the edge and was tipped forward into oblivion… and then we levelled out and I could enjoy the sense of freefall for an all-too-short minute.”

If you would like to, it is still possible to sponsor Clare at

“Particulart: Up in the Air” opens on 11 July!

GloriousBuy a coffee and cake from the Glorious café on the ground floor, and wander up to the second floor gallery for 3D knitted molecules floating in the Earth’s atmosphere! Interactive card games! Cushions! Data about greenhouse gases! Something for everyone, in fact, including your inner or not-so-inner geek.

The Glorious Art House is at 120 Fore St, Exeter EX4 3JQ. The opening hours are currently Mon-Sat 8am-6pm and Sun 10am-4pm.

Material – Fair Weather Friends

Here is the Fair Weather Friends game from the “Up in the Air” exhibition material. You can also use these cards to play snap. The exhibition material includes two other games: Wordsearch and Turn Up Trumps.

Download the full deck of cards as a pdf (3MB), and you can print and make your own. Here are the cards as images:

Fair-Weather-Friends-1 thumbnail
Fair-Weather-Friends-2 thumbnail
Fair-Weather-Friends-3 thumbnail
Fair-Weather-Friends-4 thumbnail
Fair-Weather-Friends-5 thumbnail
Fair-Weather-Friends-6 thumbnail
Fair-Weather-Friends-7 thumbnail
Fair-Weather-Friends-8 thumbnail
Fair-Weather-Friends-9 thumbnail
Fair-Weather-Friends-10 thumbnail
Fair-Weather-Friends-11 thumbnail

Material – Turn Up Trumps

Here is the Turn Up Trumps game from the “Up in the Air” exhibition material. The exhibition material includes two other games: Wordsearch and Fair Weather Friends.

Download the full deck of cards as a pdf (2MB), and you can print and make your own deck. Here are the cards as images:

Turn-Up-Trumps-1 thumbnail
Turn-Up-Trumps-2 thumbnail
Turn-Up-Trumps-3 thumbnail
Turn-Up-Trumps-4 thumbnail
Turn-Up-Trumps-5 thumbnail