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Promotion of alternative fuels, such as ethanol and hydrogen, as a solution is a fraud.

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AdHocSolver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-23-07 05:49 AM
Original message
Promotion of alternative fuels, such as ethanol and hydrogen, as a solution is a fraud.
There is only one real, viable, market-oriented solution that will simultaneously solve the problems of high gasoline prices, greenhouse gas emissions, global climate change, and so-called peak oil - that solution is to drastically reduce oil consumption. This will automatically reduce demand, which will reduce the price of oil, which will reduce the pumping of oil, which will preserve the oil that is still in the ground for future generations, which will reduce pollution, which will reduce global warming, and which will help prevent (hopefully) catastrophic climate change.

The technology exists today to begin implementing such a solution without the need for any expensive research and development project that would take years to implement. Implementing this solution is neither technically difficult, nor economically impractical as the oil and the auto companies would have you believe. Implementation requires a political solution.

In fact, the solution of reducing oil consumption was successfully implemented some thirty years ago and was demonstrated to work extremely well using then current technology. It worked surprisingly quickly and without any significant economic dislocations or great cost.

This solution was implemented in response to the so-called Arab oil embargo of the 1970's, which had caused "artificial" oil shortages, high gasoline prices, and long lines at the gas pumps. What was this one-step solution? Congress passed CAFE laws mandating increasing fuel efficiency standards for automobiles. The auto companies were "encouraged" to improve gasoline mileage for all new cars - which they did over the next five years (as the law specified fines for the auto companies should their fleet average miles-per-gallon not comply with the law.)

The result was that within five years, the cars on the road were achieving significant increases in miles-per-gallon which reduced gasoline consumption, which reduced gasoline pollution, and gasoline prices stabilized. Oil imports were reduced by as much as twenty percent.

There is more good news. In the 1990's, California mandated the development of zero emission vehicle (ZEV) prototypes by the auto companies. General Motors developed the EV1 electric car in response to this mandate. About 1,100 cars were produced between 1996 and 1999. These were leased to selected Californians to test drive.

The people loved these cars so much that many wanted to purchase them. This popularity proved embarrassing to GM which claimed that they couldn't sell such a vehicle due to lack of demand. So GM took back all of these EV's and destroyed almost all of them (a few were given to museums.} (This episode was documented in the movie "Who Killed the Electric Car?")

The oil companies keep saying that ethanol and similar biofuels are the answer to our energy problems. However, this argument is self-serving and false. Growing and processing corn to produce fuel means you are still at the mercy of the oil companies to be able to use your car. If gasoline mileage stays the same, you will still be paying $3.00, $4.00, or $5.00 a gallon for fuel, whether oil or corn based, and you will still be producing the same greenhouse gases that cause global warming as before. Moreover, diverting corn output from food to ethanol production will produce supply "shortages" and the cost of food will rise significantly. Replacing oil with ethanol won't solve any problems for the people. It will just provide oil companies another way to make huge profits.

The auto companies are touting hydrogen fuel cells as the way to go. This is also a fraudulent "solution". The technology to make hydrogen fuel cell vehicles that work and are economical to operate is ten years or fifteen years away, maybe more. It won't save fossil fuels as hydrogen is made from oil or natural gas. It won't save money as the cost of production will be high and the infrastructure to produce, store, and distribute this fuel will ensure huge profits for the oil companies.

There is only one way to reduce pollution, alleviate global warming, reduce cost to the consumer, save oil for future generations, and reduce the incentive for wars-for-oil: the only solution is to reduce consumption and reduce demand for energy. The efficacy of such a solution was demonstrated in the 1970's with Congress mandating fuel efficiency standards. It works. The technolgy to do this exists today. Hybrid electric cars, like the Prius, and all-electric vehicles, like the EV1, are viable and marketable. People like them and economies of scale can reduce the costs of production.

It is time to stop giving credibility to the nonsense from the auto and oil companies about letting the "private sector" and "market forces" magically solve these problems. The private sector's aim is to maintain its monopoly and its profits. Workable solutions are available now. It will take political action to see that they are implemented.
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greenman3610 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-23-07 06:47 AM
Response to Original message
1. I agree with most of what you say
GM's CEO now says killing the EV1 was the biggest mistake they ever made.

People make a big mistake if they think that biofuels will save us, absent
enormous increases in fuel efficiency.
Other folks will tell you that electric cars just displace the pollution to
coal and nuclear plants. That is incorrect.

Plug in vehicles will be replacing petroleum with (currently wasted)
"spinning reserve" power by charging mostly at night, during
off peak hours.
Work is already in progress to take advantage of millions of
battery powered cars for exactly the electrical storage we
need- to support the grid during peak demand,
to take better advantage of solar and wind.


'Vehicle to Grid" technology, already demonstrated, will
make possible a doubling of potential wind/solar contributions
to the grid.

This will cut the need for more power plants by shaving the
top off the need for "peak power' units, which are notoriously
expensive and ineffecient.

Result: Utilitities can make more money, which they like, while building fewer
conventional plants, electric bills can be reduced, and
plug in owners may be able to get PAID for providing
grid support while their cars are plugged in,
up to 2-4 thousand bucks a year.

This gives us a "twofer", by decreasing pollution and
CO2 in both the transport, and power production areas,
potentially addressing 2/3 of the carbon problem.

read more at:
http://www.greencarcongress.com/v2g/index.html
http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0729/p17s02-stct.html
listen to lecture number 3 at
http://www.rmi.org/sitepages/pid231.php

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Jonathan50 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-23-07 07:03 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. GM's CEO is an idiot..
Killing the EV1 wasn't their biggest mistake by a long shot.

It was getting complacent and allowing their customers to become their quality control unit.

Despite fairly intensive efforts to improve quality, American cars are still perceived by many consumers as being of lower quality than foreign, particularly Japanese, cars even when they are not.

Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me is the operative meme here. Many consumers simply will not buy American cars any more because they have been burned in the past.



"plug in owners may be able to get PAID for providing
grid support while their cars are plugged in,
up to 2-4 thousand bucks a year."


I honestly don't see the logic of this, if plug in vehicles are mostly plugged in at night, then they are going to be consuming electricity when demand is low, not providing electricity when demand is high in the daytime.

At what point will plug in vehicles supply electricity when demand is high?
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greenman3610 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-23-07 07:29 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. the average car is parked 96 percent of the time
23 out of 24 hours.
Cities like Austin Texas, and Sacramento, with
municipal utilities, are already looking into and
preparing for the time when plug ins are common, to
establish widely available charging sites around the
city, where battery vehicles can be plugged in to the
grid, providing back up power, and, theoretically,
generating revenue for the owner.
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Jonathan50 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-23-07 09:00 AM
Response to Reply #5
8. Let me get this straight...
You drive an EV, which already has a limited range, to work.

Then you plug it in to provide power to the grid during the day, further reducing the already limited range.

Frankly, it doesn't make much sense to me..

I suspect that a lot of people would end up stranded on the way home.

And you can't hitchhike to the electricity station to get a can of electrons either.

Getting stranded *will* require a tow.
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greenman3610 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-24-07 05:25 PM
Response to Reply #8
36. maybe if you followed up on the reading that I have suggested
Edited on Sun Jun-24-07 05:35 PM by greenman3610
you wouldn't have to puzzle about some of these basic
concepts.

I'm telling you that serious utilities like Austin, Texas,
Sacramento Municipal Utility district, and PG&E,
as well as BART are looking into this and
running the numbers.

In particular, the lecture by lovins does a good job
explaining.

try
http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-03-30-austinca...
and
http://pluginpartners.blogspot.com/2007/04/wall-street-...
as well
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AdHocSolver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-23-07 01:22 PM
Response to Reply #2
17. Hybrid electric cars having an onboard engine and generator to recharge their batteries...
will be able to supply power back to the grid during peak demand. All electric, battery-only, cars will not.
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Jonathan50 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-23-07 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. Ummm.. I've been thoroughly flamed on this board
For suggesting that internal combustion autos are more efficient than are electric ones.

I'm quite surprised that no one has jumped down your throat about your statement.
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greenman3610 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-24-07 05:33 PM
Response to Reply #17
37. battery powered cars will of course have intelligent
systems that will not allow batteries to be
discharged beyond a certain point.
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Orsino Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-23-07 12:55 PM
Response to Reply #1
15. Yet they're claiming a lack of battery technology...
...for the GM Volt. Just another excuse not to sell electric cars.
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greenman3610 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-24-07 05:37 PM
Response to Reply #15
38. GM just assigned an additional 400 engineers to the Volt
and hope to bring it out in 2010-11.
In the Auto industry, that's tomorrow.
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Orsino Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-25-07 08:36 AM
Response to Reply #38
43. If it happens, I will be impressed with the rapid development.
Point is, they already had batteries that worked. If they really wanted an electric car on the road, they could bring back the model they killed off. If they're holding out for something better, well, it had better be a lot better, to excuse their foot-dragging.

Until they decide on batteries, though, they simply can't promise a release.
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-23-07 07:24 AM
Response to Original message
3. While I agree with you that conservation is a needed thing, there is a fuel source out there
That will fulfill all of our fuel needs, pollutes very little, is renewable and cheap. That is biodiesel. We can grow enough oil bearing algae, to use as biodiesel feedstock, within 15,000 sq. miles of water surface<http://www.unh.edu/p2/biodiesel/article_alge.html >. Much of this needed space can come from wastewater treatment plants where algae is already being used as a first step in water treatment. Algae isn't an energy intensive crop, and with proper set up of ponds, can be even less energy intensive.

Biodiesel is clean fuel. It emits 90% less than normal cars, and the waste products from refinement are water and glycerin(which can be used in soap making and other areas). Biodiesel itself is non-toxic and biodegradable(hell, I've even drunk the stuff). And using biodiesel in an engine will lengthen the engine life, thus requiring less energy to be devoted to manufacturing engines.

It would also be a boon to the small farmer. Almost all of them have a farm pond that they could grow on, thus providing them with another crop to sell, one that isn't energy or chemically intensive.

I agree, conservation is a good thing, and we need to pursue it vigorously. But even with the most rigorou conservation regiment we're not going to eliminate the need for transportation fuel. Rather than continue to burn fossil fuels, let us turn to a renewable resource like biodiesel. I think that it is the ideal solution for our fuel needs.
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glitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-23-07 11:13 AM
Response to Reply #3
13. If I had any money at all I'd be investing in this. Thanks for posting. nt
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AdHocSolver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-23-07 02:12 PM
Response to Reply #3
19. My post was meant to explain how the oil and auto companies are using specious arguments...
to confuse the public and distract it from pressing for solutions that will simultaneously reduce our dependence on oil, reduce pollution and greenhouse gases, save us lots of money, reduce global warming, and preserve limited fossil fuels for future generations. The answer to ALL these problems is to REDUCE CONSUMPTION.

The "downside" is that the oil and auto companies will lose their stranglehold on your life and their ability to make huge profits at your expense. Buy an all-electric plug-in car and never have to set foot in a gas staion again. Buy a hybrid electric car and get a thousand mile range on a ten gallon fill up (of whatever fuel is used to charge your battery).

Big oil and big auto will lose, and you will save money, beyond using less oil. Electric motors require no oil changes, no tune-ups, no complicated cooling systems, and no complicated transmissions. They require no catalytic converters, no mufflers, and the pick-up and speed capabilities are comparable to internal combustion engines.

Once economies of scale are achieved, an electric car should be cheaper to produce because much fewer parts are needed to build it. The auto companies will no longer be able to make money by selling you parts as electric vehicles don't use most of the ones needed by the current cars.

One reason electric cars are so much more efficient is that when you are stopped at a red light or in rush hour traffic, the gasoline engine is still running and burning gasoline. The electric motor just turns off. The gasoline or biodiesel engine used to recharge the battery only needs to run when turning the generator to charge the battery. It can be much smaller and designed to run more efficiently so as to provide the equivalent of fifty to a hundred miles or more per gallon.
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-23-07 03:14 PM
Response to Reply #19
25. I would suggest that if you wish to continue pursuing this line of thought
That you go out and do some nuts and bolts research on it. Your knowledge on the subject of engines and motors is sketchy at best, and it shows. For instance, between every motor and the drive wheels, every vehicle needs a transmission of some sort to effectively use that energy to propel the car. This includes electric cars. Electric cars may not be less expensive to manufacture, even at scale. The price of copper is one huge reason why. And another item, outside the engine, there is little difference in the number of parts used on a car, no matter what runs that car. And you will still need to buy many of the common parts, brakes, rotors, tires, rims, shocks, etc. And yes, if you build big electric motors to run cars and trucks, you are going to need a cooling system of some sort. Hell, I'm sure that you've felt the heat coming off of small electric motors, increase the size, increase the heat. And finally, that electric vehicle is not energy nor pollution free. When you plug it in to recharge it, the draw on current will require more fuel to be consumed by your(usually coal fired) electric plant, which will also produce extra pollution. In addition, any battery tech that we use, from lead acid to lithium, is an enviromental nightmare. Full of toxic chemicals, made out of heavy metals, each car will be a rolling toxic dump.

There is no free lunch in this game, no magic bullet. The best that we can hope to do is minimize the overall impact of our transportation useage. Yes, we need to reduce consumption, but before we make any great leap to electric, biodiesel, or anything else, we have got to honestly consider the overall impact of each sort of vehicle, both the known and the hidden costs. Electric looks good at first glance, but if you look closer you'll see a lot of hidden costs that could come back to bite. That's why I think that biodiesel is, at least for now, the better way to go. The costs are known and up front, and if compared to the full costs of electric vehicles, might actually come out ahead.

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AdHocSolver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-23-07 04:47 PM
Response to Reply #25
30. I have been repairing my own cars and those of my family and friends for many years.
I worked repairing electrical and electronic equipment for many years. I have lots of hands-on experience in both areas. The gasoline engine produces little torque and needs to run at high RPM to prevent itself from stalling. The purpose of the transmission is to convert the high RPM to a higher torque at lower RPM. This is why you have to start the engine in neutral or park with the engine disengaged from the wheels - to prevent it from immediately stalling.

A transmission used with an internal combustion (IC) engine requires clutches, many gear ratios, and in the case of the automatic transmission, hydraulic fluid, oil pumps, and a connection to allow the transmission fluid to circulate through the radiator to allow it to be cooled. It is complex, and wastes gas in its operation.

A transmission for use with an electric motor can be much simpler as its power output (torque and RPM) can be controlled electrically by varying the current and voltage. When the vehicle is stopped at a light or in traffic, the electric motor can be shut off. You don't have to run the engine continuously like a gasoline engine wasting fuel. This is why the Prius gets good gas mileage - when the car is stopped, its gasoline engine is shut off. When you press the accelerator, the electrical motor gets it moving.

Electric motors produce much less heat than IC motors. Air cooling would be feasible in many cases. Moreover, current IC powered cars are already a toxic dump. Electric vehicles would be less so.
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Pavulon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-23-07 03:10 PM
Response to Reply #3
23. Bingo, Biodiesel and westinghouse.
reactors. This should be supported by every politician regardless of which isle. Proves., to me at least, that the petro lobby needs to be put in check.
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-23-07 03:17 PM
Response to Reply #23
26. Are you speaking of Westinghouse nuclear reactors?
If so, then I would have to say that we shouldn't go down that road again. As always has been the case, the problem with nuclear is two fold, the first, what to do with the waste, the second, how to eliminate human error. Until we fully solve those two problems, we shouldn't use nuclear, especially when wind has the power to run this country if we would only tap into it.
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Pavulon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-23-07 03:21 PM
Response to Reply #26
27. US Navy
has used reactors without incident for many years as power for prime movers. The problem is that nuclear technology is stagnant. The government messed it up. Use of fast breeder reactors that produce fissile material as a byproduct are a great technology.

Time to ramp up production of modern reactors and begin off lining the old stuff.
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-23-07 03:34 PM
Response to Reply #27
28. I worked at a nuke plant myself for a number of years
And even with fast breeder reactors, you're still going to have the same problems, waste and what to do with it. I'm not talking just about the spent fuel, as you should well know there's tons of other radioactive waste, from paper swipes to aluminum cans to that dropped tool to the containment vessel itself. We don't have any current way of disposing of all of that waste that doesn't endanger humanity and the enviroment, in either the short or long term.

And while you may not have heard of any accidents in the Navy, that doesn't mean that there weren't any. I know a few ex Navy in the HP dept and elsewhere who bought a lot of Rems due to accidents. And if you do some digging, you'll find that human error is rife in the nuclear industry, no matter the reactor, no matter the use. Accidental radioactive steam discharge, radioactive ground water contamination, radiation exposure, etc. etc. The vast amount of it doesn't rate all that much in the news, but it still happens.

Why should we strap ourselves to such a problematic technology when wind power can provide for all of our electrical needs? Wind is cheaper, safer, and renewable. It is a much better option than nuclear anyday.
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Pavulon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-23-07 07:15 PM
Response to Reply #28
32. Acres of Wind can not generate
near the output you can get from one reactor. Bury it in yucca. the impact is less than the petro industry. No warming.

There have been no catastrophic failures of navy reactors. On millions of hours of operational time. It is not perfect, but a viable alternative. France uses the technology extensively.

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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-24-07 07:05 AM
Response to Reply #32
35. Acres of wind may not be able to match nuclear output
But it is still more than enough to power this country. A 1991 DOE report found that there is enough harvestable wind energy in North Dakota, Kansas, and Texas alone to power the entire US, including growth,through the year 2030. That's how much wind we have.

As far as Yucca Mt. goes, that's a disaster waiting to happen. A few years back the EPA did dye tests in Yucca Mt. They found that the dye went through cracks in the floor, and wound up showing up in Las Vega groundwater within two weeks. Ooops. And look at what they store a lot of that waste in, steel barrels that will rust wide open within a generation. Again, passing the problem on to the next generation.

I'm not talking about catastrophic failures, you don't need a catastrophe to dose up. And still, the question isn't a matter of if, simply one of when. Sure, France has gone this far with no catastrophes(though there have been plenty of "incidents"). But how far will they be able to go? How far will the US.

Sorry, but we have better alternatives to nukes, we should use them.
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greenman3610 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-24-07 05:51 PM
Response to Reply #35
40. Not to mention wind available on the continental shelf
far enough off shore to be invisible, close enough to population
centers to have a cost advantage for transmission,
enough, again, to power the whole country.
safe for birds by the way, that study has been
done.
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philb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-23-07 07:26 AM
Response to Original message
4. Lots of viable technology available; don't lump other with ethanol(corn)
Edited on Sat Jun-23-07 07:27 AM by philb
Be careful not to assume one thing won't work because of experience with another. These various things have nothing
to do with each other.

Electric vehicles are viable now and much more fuel efficient, while providing reasonable performance for urban users.
New durable and cost effective batteries are still under development, but plug-in electric and plug-in hybrids
are technically viable now, and cost effective. The extra capital cost can be offset by the much higher fuel efficiency.

Likewise fuel cells are rapidly improving and costs are coming down rapidly. Fuel cells are already cost effective
for many combined heat and power applications, where using the waste heat can provide efficiencies over 80%.
For info on cost improvements see the DOE SECA program web page. They have had a major program to improve technology and
bring down manufacturing cost, that seems to have been very successful.

For cars, Honda or Toyota plan to have fuel cell vehicles on the market by 2009. These will be more efficient than most current cars,
and produce less pollution. But one still needs to have a source of hydrogen for them.
One can get hydrogren from natural gas, sewer gas, landfill gas, agriculatural waste gas or biogas, propane,etc.
DOE and Florida Solar Energy Center have major programs to develop technology to produce hydrogen from coal.
IGCC power plants already use coal as a catalyst to produce hydrogen from water resulting in syngas (H2 + CO) rather than burning the coal. One more similar step produces mostly hydrogen gas. FSEC has a more effecient processs to remove carbon from fuels like coal, ending up with hydrogen and carbon. The economics of that process depend on finding cost effective uses for the carbon to offset the energy losses from not burning the carbon. But carbon does have major economic uses, carbon black and carbon filaments used in car and airplane bodies, and other such high strength/low weight applications.

But new technology is also coming to produce hydrogen from water.

Solar PV prices are coming down, with concentrators and thin film solar cells major factors in this.
Desert area solar thermal is also a possibility. Honda has a solar/hydrogen system pilot project for producing hydrogen. See the
"fuel cell seminar" website. It also has info on the Honda home energy unit, that provides electricity and HVAC for a home, hot water, while providing hydrogen for fuel cell cars.

And ocean power alternatives are rapidly advancing both to supply electricity for the options above, but with
ralated technology capable of supplying potable water and being used to convert water to hydrogen.
See SeaDog, Verdant Power, OPT, etc. Over 11 commercial or pilot projects current under construction in the U.S.
and about 20 others in permitting or planning stages. Many of the pilot programs have worked better than projected.

You are right that the main impacts of hydrogen are perhaps 10 years in the future, since infrastructure development and a sorting out of the best ways to produce hydrogen have to be worked out, but a lot of these options will be contributing
significantly before then. and many of these options have the potential to be part of the beginning of a whole new energy
era.




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AdHocSolver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-23-07 02:52 PM
Response to Reply #4
20. Fuel cell technology won't save fossil fuels, won't help the environmentt, and will cost you more...
money. That is why the oil and auto companies are pushing it. The book "The Hype about Hydrogen: Fact and Fiction in the Race to Save the Climate" by Joseph J. Romm spells out why using fuel cells in cars is technologically very difficult, won't help the climate, and will be very expensive. The technological difficulties in producing, storing, transporting, and distributing hydrogen safely and economically are more than ten years away.

A better use of fuel cell technology would be to generate electricity for stationary buildings. He cites an example where a bank was losing money due to power outages at its data processing center. The bank installed fuel cell technology to produce electricity and kept right on processing despite brown outs and black outs on the electric grid. He wonders why more companies aren't looking into fuel cell technology for this purpose.

Joseph Romm worked at the Department of Energy during the Clinton Administration.
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Pavulon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-23-07 03:14 PM
Response to Reply #20
24. Fast Breeder Reactor
time to put money into biofuel and advance nuclear power. The silly argument surrounding the use of breeder reactors by a nuclear super power is dead. Use the technology.

The ability to reprocess is there and output is inly limited by the existing grid.
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GeorgeGist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-23-07 08:53 AM
Response to Original message
6. Since the Sun runs on hydrogen ...
you are dead wrong.
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jmowreader Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-23-07 09:22 AM
Response to Reply #6
10. Are you suggesting solar?
Now, solar's an interesting technology. I actually prefer it for heating (a HUGE consumer of energy) over electric generation, but the nice thing about solar is you can do both with it.

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Recursion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-24-07 06:57 PM
Response to Reply #10
42. Pretty much all energy is solar
Some is directly solar, some is solar stored as fossil fuels, some is solar stored as biofuel, some is solar stored as wind, etc.
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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-23-07 08:56 AM
Response to Original message
7. hydrogen from coal is gasification=partially burning coal/carbon sequestration - it sucks n/t
n/t
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rucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-23-07 09:03 AM
Response to Original message
9. I like what you're saying. Any links?
to read more about it?
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AdHocSolver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-23-07 03:54 PM
Response to Reply #9
29. Wikipedia has information on vehicle technology.
I did a search on Wikipedia for EV1 to refresh my memory on that issue. A search on Internal Combustion will get you a lot of information about that technology. I scanned it and discovered that the average mechanical efficiency of the typical internal combustion engine is 20 percent. About 36 percent is dissipated as heat in the cooling system, and about 38 percent goes out the exhaust pipe.

The book "The Hype about Hydrogen" by Joseph Romm explains why fuel cell technology hyped by the auto companies is many years away, won't save fossil fuels (if there are any left by the time the technology finally becomes useable), and it will cost as much or more than gasoline does now.

Another interesting read about how we got to this state of affairs is documented in Edwin Black's book "Internal Combustion". Back in the early 1900's, electric vehicles outnumbered gasoline cars. In 1912, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford had partnered in a venture to develop and mass produce electric cars. They envisioned people recharging the batteries at their homes or when they parked their cars. Each parking place would have a device containing a socket to plug in your car and a coin slot for you to pay for the electricity. A mysterious explosion and fire destroyed the laboratories where the prototypes were being developed and Edison and Ford abandoned the project.

Another part of the book details how General Motors, in particular, worked very hard to takeover mass transit systems in various cities and put them out of business. This was an early example of "privatization" at work.

The only downside to the book is the chapter near the end where he buys into the "hype about hydrogen". I didn't even read it. I had already read Joseph Romm's book.
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greenman3610 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-24-07 06:02 PM
Response to Reply #29
41. there is a another piece called
"20 myths of Hydrogen" from
Rocky Mountain Institute (http://www.rmi.org )
that makes a compelling case for h2.
might be worth your time.
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zeemike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-23-07 09:28 AM
Response to Original message
11. It is bait and switch game
the reason for bio fuels is to keep the people buying the internal combustion engine as a source for there transportation.
But there are some mistaken notions about electric cars;
One is that they are expensive to produce and that is not the case. With the electric motors in the wheels there is no drive train of transmission which eliminates a lot of weight as well as expense in building the car.
And next is that it burns coal to charge the batteries. The ultimate goal should be to have solar panels on your roof and during the sunny times it would power a fuel cell that stored the energy as hydrogen to be used when needed, to charge your car or to run the washing machine when you need too. And in fact it could put your whole house off the grid completely.
Another misconception is that fuel cells are new. they are not and were developed in the 60s for use on the space craft, but strangely never made the jump to use in the country. Oil was easier and more profitable.
And lastly Mas transportation is all but forgotten even though a mas transit system was purposed by National Geographic Magazine that would have made the auto obsolete and reduced the cost of transportation dramatical. Now no one is even talking about it or even remembers it.
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glitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-23-07 11:12 AM
Response to Original message
12. We won't have a single solution. We will improve efficiencies, conserve and develop alternatives.
Biofuel from algae (see Madhound's post above), solar and wind are the most attractive alternatives to me.
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dragonlady Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-23-07 12:22 PM
Response to Original message
14. Kick
:kick:
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Radical Activist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-23-07 01:04 PM
Response to Original message
16. Absolutely correct.
We hear a lot about ethanol because agribusiness wants it. Reducing consumption is the only real way out of this problem.
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chaska Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-23-07 02:53 PM
Response to Original message
21. To anyone who thinks that we'll be driving into a hydrogen future...
read Alice Friedemann http://www.energybulletin.net/4541.html and get back to us.

For the lazy amongst us: it ain't gonna happen. Not in a million years.

There are no technofixes. We are going back to the age of wood. End of discussion.
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Pavulon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-23-07 03:08 PM
Response to Original message
22. I really Disagree.
Hydrogen should be made with nuclear generated power. France generates 60% of its total power from reactors. Most cars there are diesel. Diesel cars last longer, and can be just as clean. They get great millage and run on renewable resources. This is viable now. Blutec technology makes diesel meet 50 state standards.

The PRIMARY benefit of biofuel is REDIRECTION of wealth. Let the distribution network stay in place, and distribute any natural oil based fuel. So ADM becomes the new exxon. I dont care. The radical states collapse.

Wealth is redirected into american pockets for grains and soy(etc). The byproduct will be a spike in grain prices. We have massive capicity to grow grain. Lots of petro states do not. Our ability to sell grain at a massive price in exchange for a devalued petroleum would be remarkable.

So a full adoption to use biofuel and hydrogen in 15 years would pretty much turn tables on every petro state.

Biodiesel is a cleaner burning source of energy, coupled with hybrid technology (electric only and traditional motor), you can get 150mpg or more.

Everybody wins, except the oil pimps.

The Prius is an example of private sector demand driving technology.
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-23-07 05:21 PM
Response to Reply #22
31. And when ADM realizes that it pays more to make fuel with their acres of farmland...
than food. How many people will starve? Please bear in mind that petro-chemicals are the ONLY reason why we have a food surplus right now, remove those, and we could be in a food deficit, a fancy way of saying worldwide famine.
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Pavulon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-23-07 07:17 PM
Response to Reply #31
33. We can absorb the hit
our customers can not. Petro funds the radicals. I will pay more per gallon to see my dollar to go to the midwest.
Brazil can do it, we can as well.
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-24-07 06:46 AM
Response to Reply #33
34. You seem not to care about practicalities...
First, about 426,476,800 acres of land in the United States is arable, i.e. you can grow crops on it. Ethanol(from corn) produces a grand total of 18 gallons per acre every year, leading to a grand total of about 7,676,582,400 gallons of Ethanol produced a year, IF you use ALL that land to grow fuel only, we don't need to eat, after all. :eyes:

Seems like a lot of fuel, until you realize that the U.S. consumes over 20 million barrels a day, 1 US gallon equals 0.0322580645 barrels. So that means a total of 247,631,690.1987648 barrels of ethanol is produced a year, that's almost 150 days, now where do we get the OTHER half the the year's worth of oil?

Please bear in mind that these calculations assume that all petroleum derived herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers are used to grow this fuel, in contrast all machines on the farms happen to be perpetual motion machines.

The fact of the matter is that it really isn't fair to compare us to Brazil, considering they have HALF our population and about half of our automobile ownership, per capita, which means, overall they would burn at most one quarter of the fuel we do. Just like you can't say we should adopt Iceland's "hydrogen only" policy, simply because Iceland happens to be in a damned near unique position of having near unlimited free energy(geothermal), hence Hydrogen is economical there, but practically no where else.

In addition, yes I know that other fuels/plants are better at providing fuel per acre, however many of the highest yield plants happen to NOT grow here in any quantity, so we would have to import the fuel in the first place, or they only grow in limited areas, or are energy intensive to grow and extract the oil. In addition, you can't really sacrifice too much of our food production, we could suffer from mass starvation, and that is no exaggeration. That is NOT a hit we can absorb.

There is no free lunch, there is no magic bullet technology, the FIRST, and BEST thing to do is to CUT CONSUMPTION, period, end of story. If Americans have to give up their cars, so be it, its not like we will have any choice in the near future anyways.
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-24-07 05:49 PM
Response to Original message
39. actually, thermal depolymerization is the answer. Communities turning their garbage into fuel.
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