Fuelishness! -- The FuelClinic.com Blog

The Quiet Energy Revolution

Source: The American

The 20th century was the century of oil. Wars were fought over it, and the outcomes of the century’s biggest conflicts hinged on the stuff. In World War I, for instance, Churchill’s conversion of the British Navy to oil gave the crown’s ships supremacy over German vessels. In World War II, when the Nazis and Japanese each failed to secure supplies of oil, they were doomed. Later, President Ronald Reagan, CIA Director William Casey, and America’s Middle Eastern partners manipulated global oil production to bankrupt the Soviet Union and win the Cold War. In the first half of the century, oil policy served as the catalyst for military victory. In the second half, oil helped propel the greatest economic expansion in the history of the world, and liberated mankind from the tyranny of immobility.

All hail oil! But not too much, because the 21st century won’t be defined by oil. It is more likely to be defined by a different fossil fuel: natural gas…

…Natural gas may also change how we drive, and enable ordinary consumers to break oil’s monopoly on transportation. As my colleague, Peter Huber, notes in a recent Manhattan Institute report, “Gas-handling technologies [have] improved quite enough to make natural gas a practical alternative” to oil. After all, gas is cheaper than gasoline and diesel per unit of energy. That’s why large stationary power plants that used to run on oil switched to natural gas long ago.

The chief obstacle to developing a natural gas infrastructure capable of supplying service stations and highway rest stops is regulatory. If that is removed—and here we do need government action—we could expect to see trucks, buses, and cars running on natural gas in a relatively short period of time. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions would be considerable.

We may also see continued inroads of gas into the electricity-generating sector (which can also affect transportation as we move to hybrid and electric vehicles). Gas emits about half as much carbon per unit of energy as coal. With worries about long-term gas supplies allayed, expect regulators and utilities to favor construction of new gas-fired power plants over controversial coal plants, which are more expensive to build anyway. This same thing happened during the 1990s, and gas shot to a 20 percent share of America’s electricity economy as a result.

Read the whole thing… then add your comment below, or over at our Facebook page. What do you think – is LNG a viable transportation fuel, or will it always be relegated to highly controlled and well-maintained systems like power plants – venturing out on the roads only in bus fleets and corporate utility companies?



BREAKING: Tesla Motors Files S-1 Registration Statement for proposed IPO

Tesla Motors has filed the S-1 Registration Statement with the SEC for a proposed public offering of it’s common stock – the first such IPO from an American auto manufacturer since Ford went public in 1956.

While the filing is an exciting sign of growth at Tesla, there’s a bit of bad news buried in the paperwork for Roadster fans… apparently the current Roadster we’ve all come to love will not be built after 2011… possibly to be replaced with a new Roadster after Lotus re-tools their plant in England.

The Model S coupe is expected sometime in 2012.

From AutoBlogGreen:

For the first time in more than fifty years, a U.S. automaker is holding a public offering. Henry Ford made shares of Ford Motor Company public back in 1956. Tesla, the Elon Musk-owned Silicon Valley electric car company, filed to do so today. There’s no word as to when the shares will be available for public consumption, nor any word as to how much each share will cost…

The press release from Tesla Motors starts…

PALO ALTO, CA. – Tesla Motors, Inc. today announced that it has filed a registration statement on Form S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a proposed initial public offering of its common stock. Tesla Motors designs, manufactures and sells high-performance fully electric vehicles and advanced electric vehicle powertrain components. The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the offering have not yet been determined…

But Wired Autopia Blog finds some discouraging news in the IPO filings, Tesla Motors say they’ll stop building their popular Roadster sometime in 2011. Here’s why:

Wired’s Autopia was digging through the papers filed by Tesla to the Securities and Exchange Commission for its IPO and came across with this nugget:

“We do not plan to sell our current generation Tesla Roadster after 2011 due to planned tooling changes at a supplier for the Tesla Roadster.”

As everyone’s aware, the current iteration of the Tesla Roadster is built in Hethel, England by Lotus using Elise/Exige underpinnings. Judging by the quote above, that means the Elise/Exige is due to be replaced by a new model (good news for enthusiasts), but that leaves Tesla up a creek without the proverbial paddle.

The other telling line is this:

“As a result, we anticipate that we may generate limited, if any, revenue from selling electric vehicles after 2011 until the launch of the planned model S…”

Read the rest…

Exciting days ahead for the EV enthusiasts for sure.



Fuelishness! Feed: Lessons in Fuel-Efficient Driving; Txting and driving film; New battery could change the world; Ethanol faces challenges ahead

  • Lessons in Fuel-Efficient Driving — One of the interesting features of our Prius is that it keeps a running tab on your current gas mileage. You can see both the mileage at any given moment or the average over your trip. Having such easy access to this information while you’re driving subtly teaches you how to drive more efficiently. Here are a few things we’ve learned.
      
  • This film that will stop you txting and driving — Gwent police is proud to have helped Brynmawr filmmaker Peter Watkins- Hughes in the production, which stars local drama students Jenny Davies as Cassie, and Amy Ingram and Laura Quantick as her friends, Emm and Jules. The film is a sequel to a previous documentary called ‘Lucky Luke’, made 14 years ago, which showed the devastating consequences of joy riding. It is hoped the film will become part of the core schools programme across Wales and ultimately the UK.
       
  • New battery could change world, one house at a time — It promises to nudge the world to a paradigm shift as big as the switch from centralized mainframe computers in the 1980s to personal laptops. But this time the mainframe is America’s antiquated electrical grid; and the switch is to personal power stations in millions of individual homes.
      
  • Ethanol faces challenges ahead — New technologies, supporting infrastructures, and greater demand will be needed to meet the country’s ambitious mandate to increase biofuel use. 


The EU’s 20/20/20 Energy Efficiency Targets

The EU has a plan know as 20/20/20 – binding targets on greenhouse gas emissions reductions (-20%) and increasing share of renewable energies (+20%)  to be accomplished by 2020. 

There is  a new publication available from IEA Energy Efficiency Indicators Workshop describing, in general terms, the EU’s  20/20/20 energy efficiency targets, the importance of improving energy efficiency in reaching those goals, and the difficulties they face collecting reliable energy efficiency metrics.

eu-20-20-20

Energy Savings Indicators for Policy Development in EU

Energy efficiency is a top policy priority in EU. They have binding targets of reducing greenhouse gas emissions (-20%), increasing share of renewable energies (+20%) and a politically endorsed target to save 20% primary energy in 2020 compared to projections. 

eu-20-20-20_2

 

Document available at Energy Savings Indicators for Policy Development in EU, more information about the European Commission involved is available at Directorate-General Energy and Transport.



Fuelishness! Feed – Who will buy green cars, Geothermal energy, more…

I’ve recently found a good source of links to main stream energy-related commentary and opionions at the OpinionSource.com website.  This edition of Fuelishness! Feed will include some of the best discussion material from the past few weeks.

  • NYT Op-Ed: But who will drive them? …with gas below $2 a gallon and recession-ravaged consumers hanging tight to their wallets, even the cheaper hybrids have to compete with cars that run on boring old internal combustion engines. The Prius was the flavor of the month when gas prices soared to $4. But in December, Prius sales plummeted 45 percent compared with the same month a year earlier — more than the 36 percent drop in all car sales…
     
  •  Honda Unveils a Cheaper Hybrid Challenger to Toyota’s Top-Selling Prius – It is smaller and less fuel efficient than the Prius, but it is expected to sell for as little as $18,000, about $4,000 less than the Prius. “It’s the first direct competitor to the Prius,” said Tom Libby, senior director of industry analysis at the Power Information Network of J. D. Power & Associates. “And it’s from Honda, so I think it’s going to be a major success.”
     
  • WaTimes Commentary: Oil and the economic crisis –  Saudi Arabia said recently that oil prices should be at $75 per barrel, an idea other OPEC members have welcomed with enthusiasm. So when the group met recently, it decided to reduce output again, this time by more than 2 million barrels daily. However, the Saudis clearly did not want to assume all the reduction and insisted other producers, including Iran and Venezuela, not only approve the new cuts, but also implement them, which will lead to additional pressure on Venezuela’s already dwindling export volumes.
     
  • ABG: First stage of Nevada algae biodiesel completed successfully –  Researchers at the University of Nevada-Reno have been testing a pair of outdoor algae ponds to evaluate the viability of growing fuel algae in the region. The first phase was a success with algae growing in a pair of 5,000 gallon ponds even with overnight temperatures in the 20s.
     
  • NYT Op-Ed: Geothermal future – [Can we replace coal with geothermal plants? -ed.] In 2006, a panel led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology surveyed the prospects for electricity production from enhanced geothermal systems. Its conclusions were conservative but very optimistic. The panel suggested that with modest federal support, geothermal power could play a critical role in America’s energy future, adding substantially to the nation’s store of renewable energy and more than making up for coal-burning power plants that would have to be retired. 

As always, your comments are encouraged and appreciated.



Russian Diplomacy: Energy Weapon

January 9, 2009 · Filed Under Oil & Politics, Oil Industry, Power-Grid · Comment 

Another example of why you don’t want to rely on your adversaries for you energy supply.

Russian PM Vladimir Putin has said Moscow will resume pumping gas to Europe once independent monitors are in place to check the flow to EU markets. Ukraine, whose dispute with Russia over pricing led to the crisis, said it would guarantee transit to Europe. The Czech EU presidency said monitors would check Russian gas entering and leaving Ukraine but it was unclear if a firm deal had been agreed.

Earlier, talks between the EU, Russian and Ukrainian officials stalled. Ukraine, whose dispute with Russia over pricing led to the crisis, earlier said it would guarantee transit to Europe. The EU presidency did not specify when the monitors would be in place or when gas supplies would resume.

“This deployment should lead to the Russian supplies of gas to EU member states being restored,” the EU presidency statement said.

The talks in Brussels on Thursday were aimed at ending the row that has seen supply to Europe cut off. Ten of thousands of homes in Europe have been left with no heating, a situation which the European Commission has described as completely unacceptable.

Read More…



Dude, Where’s My [Electric] Car!?!!

Another great find tonight, and I can’t believe this one snuck past me. Thanks to the guys at PowrTalk I think I just found my next car. And it’s already monogramed for me!

milesev_11081.jpg

Ready to hit the American market in 2010, Miles Electric Vehicles 4-Door Sedan is the first practical, affordable, 4-door, high-way-speed rated, all-electric vehicle you can buy (if you can still get a car loan…)  for around $35K USD.

According to the Miles EV website:

“In early 2004, concerned by growing environmental problems linked to micro-carbon emissions, Miles Rubin set out to make a difference – by developing a line of safe, affordable, all electric vehicles that produce zero emissions. He centered the company’s activities in Tianjin, China, where the battery industry had expert manufacturing experience. Since then, Miles Electric Vehicles has begun importing low speed vehicles and is working to develop a highway speed, all-electric, midsize sedan.”

“The MILES XS500 prototype sedan currently under development will top 80mph and travel over 120 miles on a single charge  — for about the cost of a gallon of gas.”

“Miles Electric Vehicles is owned by Miles Automotive Group, Ltd, and headquartered at the historic Santa Monica Airport in Santa Monica, CA.”

Hopefully I can get in touch with my local rep for some additional information and to arrange a demonstration. I’ll keep you posted.



Solar + Splitting H20 + Fuel Cell = unlimited 24/7 electrical power

August 3, 2008 · Filed Under Electric Vehicles (EV), Fuels, News & Reports, Power-Grid · Comment 

Some exciting news out of MIT, as published in Science Magazine and reported around the world online in the last few days… years away from being a commercial product, but an exciting development for the future of solar energy. 

Source: Guardian UK

Daniel Nocera, a chemist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has developed a catalyst made from cobalt and phosphorus that can split water at room temperature, a technique he describes in the journal Science. “I’m using cheap, Earth-abundant materials that you can mass-manufacture. As long as you can charge the surface, you can create the catalyst and it doesn’t get any cheaper than that.”

…At night, the hydrogen and oxygen could be recombined in a fuel cell to produce an electrical current to power a home or recharge an electric car. “So I’ve made your house a gas station and a power station. It’s all enabled because we can use light plus water to make a chemical fuel, which is hydrogen and oxygen.”

With Daniel Nocera's and Matthew Kanan's new catalyst, homeowners could use their solar panels during the day to power their home, while also using the energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen for storage. At night, the stored hydrogen and oxygen could be recombined using a fuel cell to generate power while the solar panels are inactive. Graphic / Patrick Gillooly, MIT

With Daniel Nocera’s and Matthew Kanan’s new catalyst, homeowners could use their solar panels during the day to power their home, while also using the energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen for storage. At night, the stored hydrogen and oxygen could be recombined using a fuel cell to generate power while the solar panels are inactive. Graphic / Patrick Gillooly, MIT

Source: Physorg.com

Requiring nothing but abundant, non-toxic natural materials, this discovery could unlock the most potent, carbon-free energy source of all: the sun. “This is the nirvana of what we’ve been talking about for years,” said MIT’s Daniel Nocera, the Henry Dreyfus Professor of Energy at MIT and senior author of a paper describing the work in the July 31 issue of Science. “Solar power has always been a limited, far-off solution. Now we can seriously think about solar power as unlimited and soon.”



Prototype Generators Run on Garbage

June 22, 2008 · Filed Under Alternative Fuels, Fuels, Power-Grid · Comment 

There are two prototype garbage-chewing generators helping power Camp Victory in Iraq. They’ve been in operation since early May, and run on a pseudo-propane that is created by burning plastics and fermenting food wastes. 

It still requires some diesel fuel, but only 5% of a conventional powerplant, and allows the military to save fuel, reduce the need to transport fuel, reduce the amount of garbage that needs to be disposed of, and reduces risks to troops and contractors by reducing the frequency of convoys trucking fuel and garbage around Baghdad. 

tger_on_station.jpg

About 50 percent of the diesel that the military burns in Iraq is devoted to transporting more fuel. And about half of that gets poured into generators and stoves. Which is not just a huge waste of time, money, and effort. It’s also a security issue. “Those convoys that carry fuel are also known as targets,” Army biotech scientist Dr. James Valdes tells a group of bloggers. “So our logic was that at a forward operating base, could we use the garbage to make fuel and thereby get rid of the garbage and help to keep the convoys off the streets.”



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