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The Energy Blog
Columbus, Ohio
A little science, a dab of physics, a bunch of facts, and a large helping of opinion. That's The Energy Blog.
Interests: Electronics, Mechanics, Science, Physics, Energy, Alternative Energy, Woodworking, Home remodelling, Airplanes, Military, Politics
Recent Activity
I just read an enlightening article about a new source of potential energy, It seems that scientists at the University of Illinois have developed a process for converting raw pig manure into crude oil. They go on to say that with further development, the process may even yield biodiesel. Now the actual research was published in 2006. It apparently has taken this long for someone to put this newfound technology to use – making roads. Continue reading
Posted Apr 16, 2010 at The Energy Blog
Amidst all the scientific studies, academic research and political rhetoric, the debate continues on how much effect converting to electric cars – powered from our existing electrical grid – will have on the emissions of greenhouse gasses – CO2. Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2010 at The Energy Blog
The internet, as well as the local coffee shop, is full of claims of super secret gadgets that will make your car get 200mpg, or 300. The story is always that the only reason we don’t have these fantastic high mileage cars is that “Big Oil” has somehow managed to suppress every single company who has ever tried to make one, or has “bought out” every device that could magically do this to your car. Well, All of them except for ONE - the person peddling it. Well, As I have said many times on this blog (and in the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2010 at The Energy Blog
I was trying to follow a lecture about energy needs the other day, and make sense of the speaker's numbers. I know most energy statistics, but his numbers were not adding up. I started wishing I had an energy "crib sheet" with simply the big numbers to help me understand. So, I made one. Here it is. This is the amount of energy the US used in October of 2009. I did not make any correlations between units or types, these are the raw figures. Here is this country's overall energy use: U.S. Energy use for the month of October... Continue reading
Posted Mar 11, 2010 at The Energy Blog
While energy can be an abstract concept, in our particular context energy means the potential (or ability) to do work. Work is what shifts energy from one system to another. Energy can exist in two general forms potential (stored) or kinetic (in motion). Gasoline contains potential energy. It is just “sitting there” taking up space. Once that energy is shifted to the mass of your car, by doing work – acceleration - the mass of your car then contains energy in the form of kinetic energy. It will contain exactly the amount of energy that was transferred to it. Continue reading
Posted Mar 6, 2010 at The Energy Blog
It does not take long to realize that there are more varied predictions on how much Natural Gas this country has, than there are flavors in your local store’s Ice Cream freezer. And, unlike that Ice-Cream, many of the natural gas numbers leave a sour taste in the mouth. Which numbers are correct, which are biased towards an agenda, and which are just plain old pie in the sky – (a-la-mode)? Continue reading
Posted Mar 4, 2010 at The Energy Blog
Well, the Bloom Box – Now called the Bloom energy server – was formally revealed on Wednesday. Most of the technical details are now on their website. So, naturally, after all my previous commentary, I must comment once more. Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2010 at The Energy Blog
Well. If you tuned into part one, you will know there are basically three things that determine the amount of energy a vehicle needs. The mass (or weight) of the vehicle, (which is only important when it is changing speed or direction), friction drag from the drivetrain - predominantly the tires, and aerodynamic drag – how much the air “pushes back”. Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2010 at The Energy Blog
A vehicle (your car) uses an enormous amount of energy to get us and our stuff around. Some seem to be confused about what those energy requirements are, or how that energy is used. So I thought I would try to clear the air on that subject. I will try to stay away from excessive math. I will also ignore some small details. They are not important to your understanding. My purpose is to explain the concepts. To keep the length under control, this article is in two parts. First we will look at what affects the energy needs of the vehicle. Then, in part two, we will look at the actual numbers, and real world implications. Ready? Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2010 at The Energy Blog
Bloom Energy, and their magic “Bloom Box” appear to be all the buzz at the moment. While it may be true that they have achieved a method to reduce the cost of fuel cells, or increase their efficiency, what is being presented in the news is mostly a lot of spin. Much of it has come out of the Sunday Night (2/21/10) segment on CBS 60 Minutes. A segment that provided little actual information, and very shallow depth along with it’s spin. Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2010 at The Energy Blog
I just watched a segment on CBS 60 Minutes about the “Bloom Box”, made by Bloom Energy, and promoted prior to the segment as a box that “creates” electricity. As I normally do with mass market news stories covering a technical topic, I had some problems with the presentation. Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2010 at The Energy Blog
I was having one of “those” conversations the other day. You know the ones that sound silly at the time, but make you think about it later. This one was about driving with your headlights on during daytime. A number of people had reasons they refused to turn on their headlights until it was too dark to see. I argued then that the reasons were unfounded, but I decided I should prove so. This is only “sort-of” about energy, but… Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2010 at The Energy Blog
I came across this unit recently, and it caught my interest. It would appear that it solves a lot of problems related to small-scale wind power. It is aesthetically “pleasing”, easy to install, self contained, and claims to produce a significant amount of power. Unfortunately, like many of its peers, it does not live up to the promise. Continue reading
Posted Feb 7, 2010 at The Energy Blog
As it was with the snake oil salesmen, and often is with our politicians, we are being sold a bill of goods, and a panacea solution to a very real problem. The problem is our insatiable thirst for energy, and the solution is The “Hydrogen Economy”. While it is being sold as a “futuristic way” to solve our energy problems, I am going to offer my opinion here that it is deflecting our vision and efforts from more serious and realistic goals. Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2010 at The Energy Blog
As the below article shows, other countries, such as China, are pulling out all stops to be the suppliers of alternative energy systems and equipment - in this case Wind Turbines. As we start reducing our dependency on foreign oil, will we just re-direct those dollars overseas to supply our new energy structure? Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2010 at The Energy Blog
It is my opinion that a key part of our conversion to renewable energy will be the improvement and enhancement of our national electrical grid. In it's current form, our grid is incapable of managing, or utilizing, a large amount of energy developed by wind, solar, or other alternative means. This paper is an excellent overview of both our existing electrical distribution, how smart grid will change it, and the effects that change will have. It is not light reading, but, once you get past the introduction, I think you will find it interesting and informative. Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2010 at The Energy Blog
In fact, over 85 percent of ALL our energy came from non-renewable, finite, fossil fuels. Only 7% came from renewable or replaceable sources. The rest came from nuclear generated electrical power. It is simple common sense that we cannot go on like this, even without the average annual 3.4% growth in energy consumption. Find out the ten steps necessary to secure our energy future. Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2010 at The Energy Blog
In 2008 this country used 23.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Of that 2.9 trillion cubic feet was imported, primarily (90%) from Canada. Here are the pertinent figures from the EIA (Energy Information Administration). Natural gas - production: 582.2 billion cubic meters ( 20.5 trillion cubic feet) Natural gas - consumption: 657.2 billion cubic meters (23.2 trillion cubic feet) Natural gas - exports: 28.49 billion cubic meters ( 1.0 Trillion cubic feet) Natural gas - imports: 112.7 billion cubic meters ( 3.9 trillion cubic feet ) LNG – Imports: 416.8 Billion Cubic Feet. The United States is the Number... Continue reading
Posted Jan 28, 2010 at The Energy Blog
According the EIA (Energy Information Administration), in 2008 our homes accounted for 21% of all natural gas use in this country. 29% went to generating electricity, and another 29% went to industry. The rest went everywhere else. Fortunately, it would appear that our efforts to improve the efficiency of our homes and heating equipment is paying off. (It may also appear that our winters are getting warmer, but, that is so much another topic for another day). According to the EIA data on residential use of Natural gas, our residential consumption has stayed nearly constant since 1966. In fact, in... Continue reading
Posted Jan 28, 2010 at The Energy Blog
Recently the Obama Administration announced an “investment” of 8 billion dollars in Hi-Speed passenger rail. A few months before, Warren Buffett announced his investment of 26 billion bucks in Class 1 Intermodal Freight Rail. (Burlington). I wonder which one will be the best investment? Both? Neither? Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2010 at The Energy Blog
Not everyone has a chance to visit a Federation Starship. So I thought I would give a brief description of how they generate and use energy. Naturally, this is just a brief description. If you are interested in learning more detail, you would do well to peruse the many official Federation Documents available on the web, Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2010 at The Energy Blog
Interesting - The ARTI Biogas generator. Size of a refrigerator, costs $200 USD. Uses 2 kg of waste and 2 gallons of water to produce 500 liters per day of methane (17 cubic feet - equivalent to 1/7 gallon of gasoline/). This would supply my hot water tank for about 15 minutes. Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2010 at The Energy Blog
Electricity is not a source of energy. It is a transport mechanism, and way to move energy from one point to another. Along the way, the energy gets converted many times. Each time, there is a little energy lost. Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2010 at The Energy Blog
Another “Fuel for thought”. A few days ago, we were discussing some of the “hidden” costs of Electric vehicles and Plug In Hybrids. One of those costs is the battery pack. It will likely need to be replaced during the vehicles lifetime. And, they are not cheap. Below is just a snippet of information about the costs of two vehicles. One, and EV – The Tesla, the other a series Plug-in – The Chevy Volt. There is much more to this discussion, but, this will get it started. Now, talk amongst yourselves… The Tesla battery pack is claimed to last... Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2010 at The Energy Blog
Another energy blog. How mundane. Why should you be excited to find THIS ONE? There is a lot of misinformation, many myths, some sleight of hand, and plenty of political rhetoric surrounding energy. My most important task here will be to "open the curtains". Inform, educate, and maybe even entertain, as I present the facts, dispel those myths, and shed light on the rhetoric. Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2010 at The Energy Blog