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George Furey
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Zebra batteries have an energy density of around 160Wh/l as compared to lithium ion with an energy density of 250-620Wh/l. The battery in the chevy volt has an energy density of around 400Wh/l. Sodium sulphur batteries have similar specific energies and densities. Now if the Volt requires an enormous battery to go 40 miles, I can't begin to imagine how big and heavy the battery required to power a bus would have to be.
@Davemart All your points are valid, but the overall point I was trying to make is that switching to a Biogasoline that is compatible with current vehicles allows any owner to simply make the choice to fill up with biogasoline when the price becomes competitive (continued research is required before we get to that point). That way the speed at which it is adopted is purely limited by how fast biorefineries can be set up or old refineries retrofitted, along with the conversion of non-arable land to algae farms or other technologies. I agree this data may be off, but I was trying to demonstrate that even if it was off by a factor of magnitude its still predicting very small amounts. EVs and PHEVs are an immediate solution, because the infrastructure is already developed, but adoption is very slow due to the fact that consumers arent replacing cars that fast even if every single vehicle sold is electric. Overall what I'm saying is that drop-in biofuels have the potential to penetrate the current fleet much faster than EVs once competitive, and by effect can reduce oil consumption quicker. Thus I feel that more research should be put into drop in fuels to help them scale up the processes faster. EVs and Biofuels are both solutions to our current situation, and we need all of them.
"critical temperature" without pressure does not describe the cessation of phase boundary - which is EP's apparent interest in methanol fuels. This is true, but isn't autoignition temp still a different thing altogether? "But the germane discussion is the plausibility of using either methanol or ethanol as a renewable additive." Guess I got a little off track here, I was just wondering if M85 was actually more toxic than the gasoline it would be replacing. Don't take offense but the main reason I challenged the topic was that it tends to get hard data posted, and through that data (667ppm @ 10 min) you have now convinced me that methanol is pretty toxic as an additive, especially considering how readily it evaporates in the atmosphere.
If its 45 grams all at once for a fatal dose for a 60 kg person you'd have to drink 57 cc of pure methanol. Thats around a 1/4 cup. I would imagine drinking 1/4 cup of gasoline wouldn't be so good for you either. B. Acute Toxicity Ingestion of 80 to 150 mL of methanol is usually fatal to humans (HSDB 1994). From Now that I have more accurate data it is now showing it would take at least 1/3 cup to kill you, way more than youd ever experience at the gas station.
"It will be good to have award winning European economy engines in the US." Without a change in emissions standards, the Fiat engine mentioned in the article if imported to the US will have to be detuned to pass our emissions, and will as a result run much less efficiently
"Its time to relax our air pollution standards a bit" I absolutely agree with this statement. What the public doesn't understand is that EPA vehicle pollution standards inhibit the fuel efficiency of our cars. Many people I know tend to group these two together, when in fact there is an inverse relationship between the cleanliness of an engine and its efficiency. For example, some friends of mine work at Cummins Diesel. In the dyno test cells, they can change the ECU programming to bypass all emissions equipment and obtain incredible efficiencies. I would love if they could offer this to the public, but because of emissions standards they cant run the engine lean because of the NOx it produces. Our high emissions standards are one of the primary reasons our engines over here (for the equivalent amount of displacement) don't get nearly the MPG that european cars do, and is also the reason diesel cars arent competitive over here like in europe. Making engines run dirtier is certainly not a good thing, but if they are burning less fuel to begin with, then overall the increase in emissions should not be much greater.
Oh and Davemart, even if every single state in the US was as large as California, and bought as many electric vehicles as California is projected to buy, electric vehicles would only represent 2.27% of vehicles on the road or 1 in 44 vehicles by 2015. 5,600,000/246,000,000 = 2.27% or 12 times what is actually predicted
So the study is saying that by 2015, roughly 0.19% of vehicles on US roads will be electric. Calculation: Amount of electric vehicles/total vehicle fleet = 469,000/246,000,000 or 0.19% So after 4 years, some of the best Automotive researchers are predicting electric vehicles will make up 0.19%? That means that by 2014, 1 out of every 525 cars on the road will be electric, that is a very small amount! My impressions on electric vehicles are that owners of EVs know that they themselves have changed there Oil usage to zero, but don't quite understand how small of an effect that is on the nationwide scale. These figures demonstrate the importance of drop-in biofuels (biogasoline and biodiesel). They are not the best fuels from an environmental standpoint, but I see them as the only current solution that will have a noticeable effect on our usage of oil. Because almost all current vehicles could accept biogasoline and biodiesel, the conversion could happen much, much faster than if using new fuels that require new cars to be bought. For reference the US replaces only 4.9% of vehicles each year. So it would take at least 20 years of vehicles being sold 100 electric or whatever other alternative fuel to replace to fleet, a situation which is highly unlikely. Now, biofuels pose their own problems, ie. fuel vs. food debate, usage of petroleum based fertilizers, water usage, and many other problems. Drop in biofuels must be done in an organized fashion such that they do not rely on subsidies (corn based ethanol) and that they do not require large tracts of prime farm land. However, I do see the potential light at the end of the tunnel with advanced biofuels such as Algae and others, which if done correctly can be grown in the middle of the desert, utilize a small amount of water (recycle loop) and require much less land than corn (7-30x per acre density).
"For one thing, the critical temperature is only 293°C." "Here he has gotten his facts wrong: the temp for autoignition of methanol is 385C." I'm not siding with either one of you here, but these are different values because they are measuring different things. Critical point, also called a critical state, specifies the conditions (temperature, pressure and sometimes composition) at which a phase boundary ceases to exist. Source: The autoignition temperature or kindling point of a substance is the lowest temperature at which it will spontaneously ignite in a normal atmosphere without an external source of ignition, such as a flame or spark. Source:
Does anyone here have data comparing toxicity to humans of methanol vs gasoline? Also I agree with Scott, people are always looking for the next fuel out there, which is good and all, but what good does it do if there are no fuel tanks to put it in? The annual turnover rate for vehicles in the US is very low, and it will take at least 15 years for the new fuel to make a noticeable dent in the overall fuel usage of the US fleet. Researching drop-in fuels has the potential to allow us to get off oil MUCH faster, because consumers will not have to make any changes. Is gasoline really THAT bad, considering it is produced from biomass through an efficient process (Not MTG? Yes I understand it produces more GHG than other fuels, but isn't that effect partially mitigated by the fact that the plants from which it is produced absorb GHG during growth?
I agree this truck is definitely overdone and overcomplicated, but I also know the truck market is very different from the car market. With this design your going to get an increase in fuel mileage, and even a small bump in mileage on a truck makes a huge difference. In addition you'll get additional torque from the motor, something RAM could use as a selling point vs other trucks. From my experience torque ratings are one of the largest selling points on a truck. And lastly you get the ability to use the truck as a 240V capable power station for contractors. I could see many contractors liking the ability to pull up to the jobsite with equipment in the bed, and being able to power everything from a drill to a 240V welder with their truck. This could definitely increase its saleability as a fleet vehicle. In all, the truck isnt optimized for fuel efficiency, but I do feel it is optimized for the market it will be sold in.
"George, some engines run a diesel engine using mostly natural gas, with a small amount of diesel to initiate the combustion." @3PeaceSweet: I was not aware of this. Sounds like a great way to get diesel-like efficiency while also reducing emissions. Also I agree, series hybrid (a-la diesel locomotive) when applied to buses, definitely makes sense when compared to a power split architecture.
This sounds like it has a similar advantage as Algae based biofuels. 1) A higher energy per acre density. (Although not quite the 7-30x claimed by algae companies) 2) A lower requirement for water and fertilizer 3) Ability to grow on "semi-arid, degraded, NON-cropland" meaning that with the right incentives it will NOT compete with food. I am quite surprised this is the first I have heard of using agave for biofuels.
Chokepoints such as this scare the crap out of me. Just look at what Russia did when they wanted to teach Ukraine a lesson. "The dispute reached a crescendo on January 1, 2006, when Russia cut off all gas supplies passing through Ukrainian territory."
Toggle Commented Jan 31, 2011 on The Suez chokepoint at Green Car Congress
"the use of good corp land" "It will probably be the same with Agave." Somehow I get the feeling that people aren't even fully reading the articles posted on GCC anymore, or they just make wild assumptions.
Good to see someone finally found a good way to apply diesel locomotive technology to buses. Now you have a simplified engine that can be tuned to run optimally at a set RPM with varying loads. Mahonj, can you elaborate on efficiency advantage of CNG? It is my understanding that diesels run more efficiently, especially at low RPM when compared to a spark ignited engine.
Electric power steering poses several problems of its own. Even in small applications heat buildup is an issue due to the fact that the motor is sealed and not continuously spinning to allow a cooling fan. I would assume they are going with an electro-hydraulic system for larger applications to prevent motor burnout
One of the main reasons the ecoboost maintains such high efficiencies at partial load is that is utilizes an "Ultra lean burn" mode when not at max throttle. Fuel is injected at the later stages of the compression stroke, rather than during the intake stroke, causing a locally rich region near the spark plug, inhibiting detonation, whilst having a globally lean mixture. You can imagine it as a miniature explosion near the center of the piston rather than a flamehead that moves across the entire piston face. A direct injection engine is not by itself going to get much better efficiency than other engines at maximum load, however, by combining DI with variable valve timing, turbocharging, and engine downsizing, ford has come up with an engine that is exceptionally efficient at any RPM and throttle position.
There are plenty of reasons besides government that make it hard to import diesels into the US. For example, over here we have much tighter emissions standards for diesels, 0.07 grams per mile of NO2 versus 0.29 in europe. For this reason the entire emissions system would have to be reworked on european cars, which often leads to a reduction in efficiency. See Here:
Edit: I meant to say low voltage, high current electricity on the order of 300 Kilo Amps
"In fact, the reverse is true: A glass bottle requires 1.4 times as much energy as an aluminum can when virgin materials are used and 20 times as much energy when recycled materials are used." Im pretty sure this has been misinterpreted several times in the comments thread. I believe they are comparing the energy differences between aluminum vs glass bottle manufacturing in two separate situations, virgin and recycled materials. Thus you can not directly compare virgin glass vs recycled glass cost directly from this statement. All its saying is that with recycled materials either aluminum is cheaper or glass is more expensive. From a manufacturing perspective, I would assume that most of the difference between using virgin and recycled materials is that virgin aluminum has to first be extracted from bauxite using the Hall–Héroult process, an extremely energy intensive process involving electrolysis using high voltage carbon electrodes. The main difference here is that recycled aluminum only has to be remelted and purified, which explains why you can get money for it at the recycle center. Hope this clears things up
I believe what makes this technology so viable is its scalability. There are not many parts of the system, ie microbes or catalysts, that are sensitive to changes in size. More plasma torches and more after treatment systems = more garbage processed and more energy produced. I envision a time when most large municipal waste processing plants have a unit like this installed. If enough of these are built we could significantly reduce waste to landfills, recover the slag and byproducts for use in new materials, create biofuels, and generate electricity all at the same time. Provided the thermodynamics of the system work out (meaning it produces more energy than it uses) I can't see many roadblocks to scaling the technology.
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Feb 8, 2010