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Let's not take our eye off the ball. Our goal should be to completely get off of fossil fuels, so while becoming more energy efficient is admirable, it is not the end goal.
Since we should really get completely off of fossil fuels, we should look for solutions that completely eliminate fossil fuels. In the niche of home heating, air-source heat pumps and ground source heat pumps run off of electricity. If you produce the electricity without using fossil fuels, you have carbon free solutions for home heating for most houses in the US.
If you are going to advocate a carbon tax, it should be revenue neutral with all the fees collected returned to US citizens (if implemented nationwide). I am sure the readers of this website can come up with thousands of ideas to spend the revenue that would be good for the environment. How to chose? Better to have a progressive carbon tax and let the marketplace figure it out. 10/10 would sound good to me, start at $10 per ton and increase it 10% per year. $10 per ton would raise the price of gasoline $0.10 per gallon, and result in about $150 per year rebate to each citizen at current emission rates.
If their costs and lifecycle are correct, this is great. If each kwh of storage costs $20 and lasts for 5000 cycles, that is $20/5000 = $0.004/kwh. This would make it viable to store wind generated electricity for use later. Probably not viable for solar yet in many locations. If solar is $0.12/kwh, it is competitive with daytime rates, but I have overnight rates of under $0.03/kwh, so probably not feasible to store solar generated electricity for overnight use, at least not yet.
Axion Power claims 2500 cycles to failure with 100% discharge. Firefly Energy has 10000 cycles to failure with 30% discharge. Since weight and volume generally are not a huge issue with grid storage, put in massive quantities of Firefly's battery.
Why not just run the engines on hydrogen? We can use any carbon free source of electricity to electrolyze water and have clean hydrogen. There would be a range penalty, but that seems a small price to pay to keep from destroying the planet.
Hydrogen production could be done by just about anybody, though it may not be cheap. Production cost for the energy equivalent of a gallon of gasoline is 50-70 times your electric rate. I have overnight rates of $0.02/kwh, so the equivalent of a gallon of gasoline is $1.00 - $1.40. That is production cost only, not cost of buying and maintaining the equipment or profit. Fuel cells are about twice as efficient as an ICE, to my understanding.
Wherever we get a H2 infrastructure, I would urge tax credits to convert existing ICE vehicles to run on hydrogen. I am sure it would be much less expensive for me to convert my 12 year old truck to run on H2 than to buy a new vehicle.
I think the real motivation is that high level management at Audi realizes, and other realize, is we have to slash our carbon emissions. Basically, in the long run, coal, oil, natural gas have to become worthless. We have to become carbon neutral.
My only problem with this is we really need quit looking for the ideal solution and take a "Anything But Carbon" attitude. I do not think we can afford to rule out any energy source if it does not produce GHG's. We need a strict cap-and-trade, or progressively increasing carbon taxes, and let the rest of the fights be local. While in an ideal world we would not have nuclear power, I also hate to think where we would be today if the current nuclear reactors had been coal fired power plants. There has to be an absolute urgency about climate change, and just about everything else is insignificant.
Toggle Commented Apr 2, 2011 on Time for Humility at Coming Clean
1 reply
I am curious as to why Stan believes that CAGW has been shown to be a hoax. Overnight lows in Minneapolis in January are 9 degrees warmer than 40 years ago (National Weather Service, 1960-1967 versus 2000-2007). I have yet to hear an explanation of this other than a build up of GHG's. I did my investigation because my premise was that people who live in warm places wonder what the fuss is, summer's have not changed much. July highs are 1 degree warmer, certainly not enough to notice. July overnight lows are 4 degrees warmer, but who notices overnight lows in the summer? January highs are 6 degrees warmer. Winters are drastically different. I also had to make sure that my memory was not playing tricks with me.
I still wish someone would build a 'contractor special PHEV pickup'. Use lead acid batteries from Firefly Energy and use part of the bed for batteries. You could have a PHEV for under $20000 after the tax credit, maybe closer to $15000.
I do not know what the cost of a FCV will be, but Stanford did a study on the operating cost of driving a FCV, using a best case, worst case for various factors using wind generated electricity to produce the hydrogen via electrolysis, and they came up with a cost of driving a FCV of the equivalent of gasoline being between $1.20 and $3.20 per gallon. If the cost of the FCV becomes reasonable, it will put the oil companies in a bad position. As for other green technologies not related to cars, I heat my house with a geothermal heat pump and buy only green electricity from our local "WindSource" program, and my heating bills are considerably less than they would be for a comparable house with the best furnace available.
I calculate that about 4 of Firefly's Oasis battery are equivalent to the Toyota battery pack. I hope someone would look at using a portion of a pickup truck's bed for lead-acid batterys and make a phev truck. Throw in a few outlets and call it a contractor special--use your power tools plugged into your truck.
Well, I am not in the energy industry, but I bet if they gave the same type of subsidies to electricity from waste heat using the organic rankine cycle as they do to solar panels, they would get a much greater reduction in CO2, but energy efficiency is not 'sexy' whereas solar panels are.
Stanford did a study on the cost of driving a FC vehicle using wind generated electricity, a bunch of best case-worst case stuff, and up with it being equivalent to gasoline between $1.20 and $3.20, or close to those numbers.
We can put a halt go GHG emissions growth within 2-3 years using the organic rankine cycle and waste heat from industrial process (first) and waste heat from existing power plants. This would be a stop gap measure until the geothermal is a bit more mature. This could be put into effect worldwide with a forceful push by the current administration, since they would have no problems getting the Europeans to go along with it.
It appears that Firefly Energy has a pretty good battery. Could someone tell me if there is something wrong with Firefly's battery?
Here is what I wish they would build because I think it would sell like hotcakes, what I call a 'contractor special' plug-in hybrid pickup truck using lead acid batteries from Firefly Energy. Use a small portion of the truck bed for batteries, maybe 1 foot back and 1 foot high. The batteries would be cheap, maybe $1000, and a purchaser would still get a substantial federal tax credit(up to $7500). I call it a 'contractor special' because they should also put in a few 110V outlets so a person can go anywhere and use their electric tools.
Microgeneration is a very good idea if done correctly. The leaders appear to be Ceres Power in the UK and Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd. CFCL has announced a product that at 1.5 kw has an electrical efficiency of 60%, and recovering the heat will boost overall efficiency to over 90%. This relieves load on the grid. In northern climates, pairing a micro-CHP with a geothermal heat pump makes a lot of sense. The waste heat from CFCL's system would in some cases make it possible to reduce the size of a geothermal heat pump. My house is an example of that. Following the Canadian Office of Energy Efficiency guidelines, my house should have a 36,000 btu/hr geothermal heat pump. Our local manufacturer, Econar, has 33,000, 43,000, and 54,000 btu/hr forced air geothermal heat pumps. Currently, I would have to choose between being a bit too small, 33,000 or too large, 43,000. With the waste heat from a 1 kw fuel cell, a 33,000 btu/hr geothermal heat pump could be installed, with the subsequent savings of $2500-$3000 for installing the heat pump(mostly due to one less vertical borehole).