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John L.
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@kelly : "First, oil barons must obey the law like the rest of us." Humph. Oil barons WRITE the laws through their client Congresscritters -- quite unlike the rest of us.
"Stan is half right this time. Fukushima prefecture will not be abandoned." In case anyone is still reading this thread... I never said that Fukushima PREFECTURE will be abandoned, that's a huge piece of real estate. It's 14,000 km^2. I was suggesting that around ten percent of that, 1,500 km^2, may be abandoned. Meanwhile, it has been nine months, and the news continues to be bad. The most recent reports I can find indicate that the Japanese government will spend $13 billion and a number of years to clean up some as-yet undetermined portion of the abandoned land.
HarveyD and DaveD, let me join your chorus. I have always said it was a better idea to simply tax petroleum, rather than playing with CAFE standards. Doing so would not only reduce a hidden subsidy for over-sized vehicles, it would reduce a hidden subsidy for suburban sprawl.
Purification looks easy! Isobutene is a gas at room temperature, and condenses to a liquid at -7 Celsius. Any word on whether / how the catalyst can be poisoned in real-world situations?
The i8 looks like an Asics running shoe! :^)
I knew that I would see at least a few hints of the following, specious reasoning in some peoples' posts: Shutting down nuclear power plants in the US would have significant (negative) economic and environmental consequences; therefore, expanding nuclear power plants in the US would have significant positive economic and environmental consequences. @ToppaTom: Japan may lose few lives over Fukushima, but it's starting to look like hundreds, to perhaps 1,500, square kilometers of land will be rendered economically unusable for decades to come. Tens of thousands of people will be permanently displaced. Just like Chernobyl. "Dead zones" are a very significant consequence of a nuclear accident. @ejj: I agree with you. Don't rush to close existing nuclear plants, but neither should they be expanded. To that I would add, start expanding renewable energy RAPIDLY.
It would be interesting to offer an X-Prize style competition for the most innovative plan to build an integrated multi-source grid in Hawaii. e.g. Primary electric generated by geothermal (constant energy source) and supplemented by wind, solar and tidal/wave. Hawaii is trickier than it might seem at first glance. The Big Island's geothermal resources have remained largely undeveloped, in part because because traditional Hawaiians consider the volcanic sites to be sacred. So you need to supply base-load electricity, but you may not get all the geothermal that you would like. How else might you do it? Well, a German study implied that a mix of solar, wind, biomass burning, and bi-directional hydroelectric would work in their country. However, volcanic soils are extremely porous. Can you even build reservoirs in Hawaii? This is where I think that Altair's battery bank fills an important need. A third option for Hawaii that is not easy to implement elsewhere is ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC). You need a deep, tropical ocean. A demonstration OTEC generator was built near Kona quite a few decades ago, and as I recall it works quite well. I don't know how well the technology would scale up.
The shape of this vehicle reminds me of my favorite plug-in hybrid two-seater, the Riley XR-3. http://www.rqriley.com/xr3.htm I prefer the look of the XR-3 to the EX1, but I don't mind the EX1 at all.
I agree with the general conclusion made by the UC Davis researchers. I don't think that the short-term PHEV goals advanced by various agencies and interests are sufficiently modest. The GM Volt is overkill, and it appears that its price will reflect that fact. They are making the perfect the enemy of the good. Sometimes I wonder if it's intentional -- just like those people who say "the wind doesn't always blow, and the sun doesn't always shine" as an argument against expanding renewable energy. Anyway, I bought my Prius in 2004, and my home solar PV system in 2005. I would really like to do a little driving on sunshine, so to speak. (I'm grid-tied, so technically the electrons I use for driving might not be "my" electrons -- but you get the idea, I hope.) I've stated a number of times on this forum that I would buy the NiMH-based, PHEV-7 Prius that Toyota has already demonstrated, for a $2,500 incremental cost. I would buy this today if I could get it. That's very much on the low side of the agency targets. Plug-In Solutions (I'm not affiliated with them in any way) offers a 20-mile blended-mode Prius conversion using a 4 kWh, LiFePO4 battery. You don't have to modify the car's suspension, and you still have a spare tire. Plug-In Solutions charges $7,000 for that upgrade. That's a bit rich for me, but not by much. Getting it down to $5,000 would put it in the "buy it now" category for me, assuming that I can take that "life of vehicle" promise about the battery at face value. link: http://www.pluginsolutions.com/products/
Wow, I went away from this discussion for a long time... anyway, Stan Peterson wrote: "Taxes raise gas prices to the equivalent of $8-$9 per gallon in the EU. So what is the sales rate of Hybrids in the EU? Is it 25 35 or 45% Hell No. It's less than in the US. All gas taxes do is reduce consumer's disposable income, making people keep old gas guzzlers longer and prevent the adoption and benefits of new improved designs." Wait just a minute, you ignored one huge part of the picture. What is the market penetration of MASS TRANSIT in Europe? Many, many times what it is in the United States. I have a friend in San Francisco who just retired a 1970's BMW model 2002. It was old, and of course it got miserable gas mileage. She kept that car for over 30 years! However: for the past twenty years, she put maybe 3,000 miles per year on that car. If she wants to travel around San Francisco, she uses the extensive light rail and bus systems. My friend lives like a European: NOT married to her car! I think she competes favorably with me in the Green department. I have a 2004 Prius, but I live out in the suburbs and put 12,000 miles/year on my car.
SJC: the mountains of Santa Cruz are not far off, there is some logging there. Also, there is a plentiful supply of rice straw in the nearby Central Valley. I'm sure they can do a decent industrial-scale pilot project in Mountain View. I for one hope that it works, and that it proves to be reasonably economical. Then -- if for nothing more than a little PR -- I hope they open an on-site gas station which sells their bio-butanol blend. Prius drivers like myself will go a few miles out of our way to fill our tanks there! :^)
"The HPM is small enough to be manufactured en masse and transported in its entirety via ship, truck, or rail..." ...which means, it's only a matter of time before somebody steals one for mischief.
"There are many hidden FEAR taxes imposed on nuclear power..." Ah, but nuclear power also enjoys some pretty incredible subsidies. Notable here in the United States is the Price-Anderson Act, which says that the liability of the nuclear power industry for an accident is capped at $50 million. Anything bigger than that, and the government steps in. Repeal Price-Anderson. See if any private insurer wants to underwrite nukes. Then let's talk.
Well, I see one encouraging trend. It's smaller than I would like, but still positive. Gasoline is about $1.00/gallon cheaper this year as compared to last year. Still, the percentage of all vehicles sold which were hybrids climbed significantly. It was barely over 2 percent last year, and this year it's close to 2.5%, with two months left to go. Like many other people who post here, I would like to see a petroleum tax in the United States -- both to cover the huge costs of the hidden subsidies to petroleum users, and to encourage a reduction in petroleum use. Hybrid technology would surely benefit. That tax is probably a political non-starter for a while, because of the recession. After the Federal Reserve feels it is safe to start raising interest rates again, we should talk about a petroleum tax. I suggest phasing it in -- say, $3.00 per barrel every three months for two years, and then see what happens from there.
Isobutene has a boiling temperature of -7°C, and is insoluble in water. That's an elegant way to separate the hydrocarbon from the fermenting organism. Cool. Can anyone provide references to reactions which transform isobutene into a readily-combustible liquid fuel? I'm guessing that a full polymerization to butyl rubber is undesirable (unless you're rebuilding the rocket motor from Space Ship One).
"O’Brien also referenced a recent Synovate study that found the average additional amount consumers would pay for 15-20 miles of electric range is $1,700—far below the cost of batteries that deliver that kind of range." That's a shame, people don't understand the value. Speaking for myself, I would pay a $2,000 premium for 7 miles of electric range on a Prius II. So, I'm not an average consumer -- OK, no surprise there. I have solar power, too... Are there enough of us above-average consumers to get the PHEV market started? Ten years ago, almost no one would buy a hybrid. That didn't stop hybrids from being built and sold. Why do I choose a comparably modest seven miles of range? Because, so it's said, Toyota has already tested a minimally-altered PHEV version of the Prius which provides that range. I have read some speculation that they designed the car for PHEV in the first place, though they ultimately decided not go through with it. It is my understanding that there's an empty place next to the existing NiMH battery which would accommodate a duplicate of that battery. The primary electric motor in the Prius is in fact oversized for the battery's maximum output, so more batteries would translate into more all-electric acceleration and higher cruising speeds. I don't even think that Toyota even needed to switch to lithium batteries to obtain PHEV-7 performance. I recall that it was done with NiMH. I've done a quick analysis of my driving habits. I would obtain about 85 MPG with a PHEV-7 Prius.