Welcome to the Energy Blog

  • The Energy Blog is where all topics relating to The Energy Revolution are presented. Increasingly, expensive oil, coal and global warming are causing an energy revolution by requiring fossil fuels to be supplemented by alternative energy sources and by requiring changes in lifestyle. Please contact me with your comments and questions. Further Information about me can be found HERE.



After Gutenberg

Clean Break

The Oil Drum


Blog powered by Typepad

« DOE Selects Six Cellulosic Ethanol Plants for Funding | Main | House Energy Bill Would Double U.S Automobile MPG, Expand Ethanol Distribution and Build Mass Transit »

March 01, 2007


Kit P.

While agree that we need further research in biofuels and batteries, from an environmental standpoint this analysis is rather shallow. The important concept that jumps out of LCA of biomass to energy products is that the most valuable product is animal food and soil food (compost).

Therefore, I think biofuels have great promise. However, various forms of EVs are a dead end like H2 fuel cells for the same reasons. Batteries create more problems than they solve. Not that this problem can not be solve, but recycling batteries will be harder spent nuclear fuel.

The next problem is who is going to plug EVs into the socket. The easiest solution to petroleum use is simple driving less. Those that drive to Starbucks because they are too lazy to make a pot of coffee, are not going to bother with plugging in a car. To be really harsh, I see very little difference between muscle cars and EVs. Toys for boys.

Where is the electricity going to come from? I have been asking this question for 30 years. While I get different forms of an irrational answer, either the answer is a carefully crafted lie or just or just clueless. Making electricity requires planning ahead.

Greg Woulf

Kit, Lead batteries are recycled at almost 100% now.

The same recycling system can be used, and improved for Lithium, or whatever material we end up with. There's more Lithium on the earth than Lead, even though some new extraction techniques may be needed. Lithium batteries are not considered hazardous by our government. The trace elements they have are contained even if some do escape.

The National electricity could be produced right now, without any technological advances. Wind, solar, wave and geothermal all exist and just have to be tapped. Right now they're not being pursued because it's not financially advantageous.

If there's enough of a shortage of energy people will find energy. The U.S. uses almost no alternative fuels, but in other countries it's being actively implemented. Look at Germany or Iceland for implementation.

EV's being plugged in won't hurt the system, they'll help even out the load.

It's great that you want to walk everywhere, and I support your right, but you're wrong about batteries and energy in general.

Kit P.

Greg, thanks for providing an example of an irrational answer. Do you have a LCA comparing recycling batteries and making electricity with renewable energy is better than tapping the off shore reserves of oil and natural gas off the west coast? I am not wrong about energy or batteries based on the present realities and the laws of physics. At least one of those will not change in the future.

Since I have looked at a LCA for windmills off shore in Denmark, I can tell what the environmental impact is a project the impact and cost off the California coast. However, if drilling off the left coast is banned what makes you think an energy farm will be allowed.

Some loon who wears flip flops all year wants me to move to North Dakota to make electricity for him. Not going to happen, why do you think 'it's not financially advantageous'?

While I support that will give us the data to make the best choice, I expect the answer to not support non-biomass renewable energy as am energy supply for transportation. The high cost of tapping 'free' energy is a good reflection of the environmental cost.

If Greg or other EV advocates, would like to speculate on how many will bother to plug in a car to save $2/day I would be very interested in thoughts on this. One disturbing trend I have noted is using cell phones to start theirs cars so that the car will not be too hot or cold when they get to their cars. Plugging a car could allow the same feature. This would not reduce total energy use but would encourage a shift of pollutions from cities.


Kit P...

RE:"Those that drive to Starbucks because they are too lazy to make a pot of coffee, are not going to bother with plugging in a car."

Are you for real??? The people that drive to Starbucks (I am not one of them.. I'm not a coffee drinker) don't do so because they are lazy, they do so because it's freaking good coffee and they are willing to pay a premium price for it. As far as the not bothering with plugging in a car... I think even a caveman (no disrespect to the employees at Geico) should be able to realize it's alot easier and takes less time to plug your car into a wall socket than it is to actually fill up a tank of gas.


Thanks for the overview. The more I think about our energy problems... the more I come to the conclusion that the silver bullet we are looking for is a diversification of energy sources. More in point, one bound by regional differences. Wave and current generators for coastal regions... hydro for regions close to applicable river systems... solar and wind for desert regions... ethonal for the corn states (localizing will fix the transportation issue of ethanol but I don't personally believe in ethanol alltogether), I think you see my point... and you can stick the bio refineries, nukes, and other alternative energy solutions where ever the demand is needed barring cost efficientcy. But this is just my opinion.

Kyle A

Kit, I'd love to hear what you propose we do. Your 2$ in savings per day by plugging an EV in? Wow how insightful! 2$ in savings versus conventional gasoline, right? Because the price of gasoline certainly won't be increasing, or hasn't dramatically in the last couple of years, and it's not like gasoline emissions are polluting, right? OK, enough of that. People are going to continue to drive cars whether you like it or not. I know you don't advocate hydrogen, so if not EVs then I'm confused about what you think realistically will work for this planet's population who, like it or not, have grown quite attached to automotive transportation. Keep combusting fossil fuels at an astronomical rate? Convert completely to biomass liquid fuels? See, the nice thing about EVs, and the partial reason why I think your $2/day of savings laughable, is that as grid technologies improve, plugging into the grid during the day to supply power to the grid during peak load times can land the owner a hefty financial return. Eventually by plugging into the grid, owners aren't going to just be saving money from the going rate at the pumps, they will actually be making a profit all while likely never having to pay for their transportation energy. If people are currently willing to drive to gas stations, insert a nozzle into their car (similar to plugging a car in, no?), and lose money on the transaction, people will certainly be willing to plug their car into an outlet to actually be paid money. You wonder where the energy is going to come from? Off-peak charging and on-peak discharging will do wonders to even out the grid. No significant increase in energy production is needed if any. The transmission infrastructure will have to be improved, but from the point of view of power companies it will be well worth it if they no longer have to import really expensive power during peak times as we currently do in Ontario. Seriously, what do you think we should do? All biomass?


The "conventional wisdom" (an oxymoron)that you cite Kit, and that Greg corrected, is the reason the true picture on batteries needs to be publicized.

With the quick charge nano-tech batteries in production right now a plugin hybrid could average over 200 mpg, with a battery pack that costs under 2k (for an economy car)and at the same weight and performance as a comparable vehicle powered by a gasoline engine.

How is this possible? The average daily trip is around 23 miles. So if a plugin hybrid has a battery large enough to cover that average trip, without using any gas, most driven miles will be on electric power. Of course any trip over that distance, without stopping to recharge, will use gas.

These nano-tech batteries have 15 minute recharge, so recharging at work or in a parking lot is also feasible. Overall mileage will be very high and as the plugin hybrid drivetrain takes over from ICEs it will reduce gasoline use.

Average mileage now is around 20 mpg, boost that over 200 mpg and 90% of gasoline use can be curtailed. That would lower demand and stabilize gasoline prices. Without higher prices ethanol and other farmed fuels cannot compete with gasoline.

That would destroy those investments in ethanol refineries and additional corn acreage. And render taxpayer funded subsidies useless.

With tax dollars to invest in anything in these troubled financial times all borrowed from nations like China, it is imperative that government target any subsidies wisely.

And with the looming GHG climate crisis and still more wars over oil and nuclear proliferation on the horizon, only plugin hybrids can cure all of these ills simultaneously.

The fact is that with the huge US government debt and deficit, the only way to remain a super power is an unprecedented economic boom. High gasoline and energy prices will not allow that. And now fuel farming is boosting food and even beer prices!

This inflation is dangerous. The recent stock "correction" (crash) was actually caused by the largest downward revision in economic growth figures in 10 years. Inflation plus stagnation? "Stagflation", a problem the fed cannot easily correct. Lower rates, inflation worsens, raise rates stagnation worsens.

Only productivity increases will pull US out of this mess. And the move to plugin hybrids and renewables can provide that increase.

As the inevitable end of oil wars (we simply can't afford them in terms of debt and troops)nears, the middle east will fight a huge battle over the oil fields. Oil producing nations will need to maximize production of oil to buy munitions and in the case of Saudi arabia, mercenaries too (without US soldiers to fight their battles for them).

That maximized production of oil will break the back of OPEC. if the leader of OPEC, Saudi Arabia, cheats on quotas, the rest of OPEC will too. If plugin hybrid efficiencies coincide with that increased production a serious drop in oil prices will result. Investments in fuel fartming will tank with cheap gas.

Fuel farming using corn, soy, sugar cane, or cellulose can't compete with cheap gas. And it destroys
conservation reserve land that sequesters carbon.

15 to 30% of current US CO2 emission is sequestered by conservation land.

Liquid biofuel from algae grown in solar collectors can eventually replace oil as the source of that 90% reduced liquid fuel use. But meanwhile oil reserves will last a lot longer, and even domestic oil production will last for over a decade, long enough to get both much better batteries (maybe ultracapacitors)and algae biofuel solar collector systems into mass production and installation.

Skip fuel farming altogether, it's a financial and environmental disaster, now in the process of happening. Stop it now, cut off all subsidies. It's a very bad investment of very scarce capital.

Greg Woulf

Kit, there's no need to insult.

Let's hear these problems with batteries that you have.

Let's hear why there's no hope for solar, when I sit here in a house 100% powered by solar.

Let's hear why wave power, geothermal and nuclear are completely impossible.

Give us some reasons why your point of view is more valid than mine. I'll totally ignore the insult and just ask that you in some way validate your point of view with data.

Just because one wind farm got cancelled doesn't mean a thing. When they have to choose between driving a vehicle and walking or the wind farm they may put one in the same place that just got rejected.

Ken Potter

This is an excellent article. It has one omission. While light rail is an expensive dead end, there is a new effective technology that can replace most auto trips, much freight and some plane travel. This technology is PRT (Personal Rapid Transport).

In regards to biofules, Planes, and many large trucks and farming will need liquid fuel. It is far better if this fuel is biofuel. We need to save the oil for other uses. In addition, we need to stop buying oil from other countries. Even it that means propping up the price of fuels.

Jim Holm

Don't fret. Peak oil is an urban myth. There's at least 600 years of oil out there from unconventional sources plus from the "Air and Water" process and the cost won't be much different from today. NuclearOil.com


Keep Kit talking and insulting Greg. These spokespersons against renewables and plugin cars are our best allies.

The less sense they make and the more insulting they are, the better. It makes our position appear even more reasonable.

Our founders were wise indeed in instituting freedom of speech!

Call us flip flop wearing loons more often Kit! Good work!!


Better to hyperlink this. Jim.

The length makes your blog very hard to read. It is a good thing if the voting public reads as many of these wild nuclear ideas as possible.

Have you any entries on nuclear powered buses? Great stuff to convince people that nuclear power ought to be mothballed.

The whole nuclear cogeneration powered refinery idea is very profitable and dangerous as well. Good work publicizing it!

Joel Lewis

Jim(right name?);

What about zinc-air(and similar technology) batteries? Maybe not(quite)current/next-gen, but surely worth a mention as it

a:) Is most definitely a fuel-cell re-
lated technology with substantial
promise for mobile applications

b:) Would highlight that concerns about
the rise of a 'lithium cartel' to
replace/stand beside OPEC are not by
any means necessarily a show-stopper

c:) Shows that with alternative energy
in general and consumer tech-related
technologies in particular, where so
many advances are being made for so
many enabling technologies, it's
perhaps a bit short-sighted to be
overly concerned about a single
limitation of current-gen technology
(i.e. a recent episode of futurecar
opined the major advantage of hy-
drogen over electric long-term was
charge time(come on-a123 is on the
market and tested by now! *growl*


Stephen Boulet

Hi Jim. Great comments. One big omission is Zenn cars and EEStor. Almost as if though one were hesitant to bring it up. ;)


Joel Lewis

Hi Stephen! :-)

Just to clarify, my name(my comments
above you)is Joel; I was addressing my comments TO Jim, which I sincerely hope is
the name of this site's blogger!:-/

Yeah, I don't blame him for not bringing up EEStor;it's still a bit of a wildcard for
now, but Zinc-air etc. is well-established now-unless there's something I don't know. *shrug* :-/


Nick Pugliese


We need to break our oil addiction now... And the sad truth is that we have the technology today to break the addiction.

I suggest using a collection of different methods to address our enduring and emerging energy needs. Specifically:

1. Provide significant incentives, in the way of tax relief or release, to companies that can produce alternatives. (Results equals Rewards)

2. Increase research funding by 500% in the areas of energy collection & storage (batteries) and energy production (Algae/Ethanol/Clean Burning Coal/Hydrogen perhaps) using non-traditional methods.

3. Remove all energy subsidies and divert funding to wind and solar exploitation. I am generally against subsidies of any type but we must bring all elements of national power to include economic to mitigate.

4. 35 more nuclear power plants.

5. In transition from Middle-Eastern, Kenyan, Russian, and Venezuelan oil, facilitate oil exploration and exploitation domestically...an place on the fast track. Yes, this means ANWAR, coastal waters off of California, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico among other sites.

6. Make hybrid vehicles a 1/1 dollar tax write-off with minimum standard of 50/50 MPG. Spend 25K on a hybrid and get a 25K tax write-off. This does not mean free cars, but it does mean a mean savings of 28% for avg Joe-Six Pack. It could also mean a tremendous savings for business as they replace vehicle fleets. 2nd/3rd Order effects result in a boon for the financial market, platic & composite industry, high capacity battery storage industry, some in the auto market (Hybrid, PEVH). That said, organized labor will be decimated when/if they resist evolutionary pressures. In order for the big three to re-tool, capital that Ford, GM & Chrysler lack will have to come from concessions from labor. Labor will resist into extinction.

7. Elect politicians who support an aggressive timetable….5 years would be nice...in the spirit of Marshall or Manhattan. I am a red state guy but I am tremendously disappointed in the RNC, the former leadership in the House and Senate, and the President. We trusted them for 6 yrs and they got nothing done...especially on the energy front despite having power in all three branches of Govt. And now we are over-exposed to another 1974 scenario.

Disturbing is that we currently fund the very countries that actively pursue and pray for our demise. A reduction or elimination on our reliance of foreign oil will crush the very regimes that are hostile to Americans and our way of life. We don’t have to kill all of our enemies…we just have to drive them to their knees…financially.

Diversification is the key....there is no silver bullet.

Nick P


Jim - a very reasonable round up of future transport technologies. The good thing about PHEVs and BEVs is that with the appropriate controllers they can be part of the solution rather than a problem to solve. As you mentioned in your post V2G cars can contribute massive benefits to the grid. They can form an energy/transport system. Ethanol can perhaps supply the PHEVs with liquid fuel as long as the balance was something like 30% PHEVs and 60% BEVs with 10% being liquid fuel vehicles. With the vast majority of cars being BEVs it drastically lowers the amount of liquid fuel needed and lowers the environmental damage that making fuel from biomass can cause.

Even now KitP there is sufficient surplus power in off peak generation to charge most of the present car fleet if they were BEVs with no increase in generating capacity. Recycling nuclear fuel is 10 orders of magnitude harder than the simple recycling of batteries. We cannot supply our way out of trouble and nuclear is not a silver bullet as Jim Holm seems to think - there are no silver bullets. BTW Peak Oil is not an urban myth - why not visit the Oil Drum and read some of the quality posts there.

The energy/transport system we can create with cars and renewable energy will need some changes. Firstly we need to conserve as much energy as we possibly can. This means fewer cars trips, more efficient cars, more efficient appliances, less air conditioning and so on. Secondly we then need to greatly expand wind, solar, geothermal, tidal, wave all the things that do not release any CO2, then connect them with new HVDC transmission lines. Eventually these new lines can be superconducting and link the new local microgrids with greater energy stores if and when they need them. V2G cars and other storage will provide the spinning reserve, the grid stabilisation etc and smooth out variation from renewables. This energy/transport system can be underpinned by the vast potential of Geothermal power or perhaps gasified and sequestered coal/biomass or even accelerated thorium reactors where no alternative can be found.

The first thing, in my opinion, we must do is conserve first. Lets make the problem smaller, not bigger and the solutions will hopefully become easier not harder.

Nick P said it "Diversification is the key....there is no silver bullet." Very very true.


There is logical discussion here. But there is unwarranted concern too. We do need to address the limited fossil fuel supply but the CO2 concerns i.e. global warming is rather a joke. The finite fossil fuel supply will run it's course, the earth will warm up somewhat and no logical person cares. If it were cooling then there would be more cause for more concern.

There is no reason to expect our future requires a reduction in life style. I would take odds that the future will bring ever better life style. I predict you will be able to drive farther and pay even more for your coffee..haha. Life will be easier and your kids will live longer. Anyone want to bet?

The doomsday prophets have been preaching one collapse after another for centuries. Bunk I say! The end of fossil fuel is nothing more than a great opportunity for man to create ever better replacements. AND it is happening... just read this web site and skip the doomsday negative forecastors. Life on earth is getting better, cleaner and longer all the time. JohnBo


JohnBo - "global warming is rather a joke"

I do not know why you would imagine that this is true. Reducing energy use and switching to renewables is so important primarily because the threat of global warming induced climate change is real. We cannot predict what the effects will be and perhaps at the moment the doomsayers, as you call them, might be wrong however there is the danger that they are spot on. No-one can prove it either way.

"The doomsday prophets have been preaching one collapse after another for centuries. Bunk I say!"

Perhaps thats what the people of Easter Island or the last Emperor of Rome might have said as well. The signs are there and the jury is still out about whether humanity is wise enough to avoid such a collapse. I certainly would not put money on it.


Kit P., I've noticed a certain thread that runs through each and every one of your prolific posts. In terms of technical expertise, intellectual rigor, and soundness of judgement, you are absolutely batting a thousand.

Harvey D.

The economic viability of biofuel plants (and associated industries) will have to be protected.

If a country can justify a $0.54/gal import duty on Brazilian ethanol, why couldn't it impose (to protect the environment + local biofuel industries) a progressive import duty of up to $1.00/gal on crude oil?

An equivalent progressive sales tax on fossil fuels could achieve the same results. Application could be more selective and give politicians a more important role.

Kit P.

Greg, no insult intended. I think PHEVs are a good idea as with many of the other technologies you noted. Here is my rational approach to PHEVs. There are at least 3 barriers.

2.Environmental concerns
3.Widespread public acceptance

I am hopeful that the technology will be practical someday. It is unlikely that PHEVs will ever become a better environmental choice. If you have a LCA to support a different position, I would like to read it. PHEVs will not improve our dependence of on foreign sources of energy until we build 30 to 50 new nukes.

For PHEVs to have a meaningful impact widespread public acceptance is needed. When I move back from Europe in 1986, I brought a machine to a decent cup of coffee. Now we have drive true cappuccino and water in plastic bottles is all the rage.

For the record, I have developed successful marketing plans for renewable energy. My business plans show that the projects are economical. I have a killer power point presentation showing that the incremental economic risk of renewable energy energy is less than billion dollar projects.

However, the road from good idea to producing energy is long and filled with barriers. If Greg sits in a house that is 100% solar, maybe he can explain why everyone is not doing it.

What I am really interested in is realistic ideas about how we can get PHEVs to be used.


Conversion kits around 5000 dollars that power the rear wheels of a front wheel drive car. Bolt on wheels with internal motor/regenerative braking and a charger, controller, battery pack in the trunk.

Mass production would reduce the cost to compete with the 9000 for a hybrid upgrade to plugin.

And cheap used cars could be quickly retrofitted with these motor/generator wheels.

People WOULD use them, to pay back the 5k investment with gasoline savings. They could charge up at home, work, or parking areas with plugins. Eventually inductive charge strips and pickup coils under the vehicles could recharge them in special driving lanes. 15 minute charge is now possible.

In fact stationary parking spots could be outfitted to use the induction system, that way plugging in would be unecessary. The power would be charged to your credit card account, all electronically, no matter wqhere you plugged in.

This is why internet over the power lines is such a great innovation. Managing the kwh exchange finances and distributed storage and distributed generation sources.

It will all be connected to the utility control romm computer. The operator can turn on or off 500 vehicle storage batteries or 1000 heat pumps for heat/cold storage in freezers and building mass. All as needed on an automatic computer trigger that adjusts supply and demand.


Kit P...

RE: "If Greg sits in a house that is 100% solar, maybe he can explain why everyone is not doing it."

Why must you insist on pointing out things that really doesn't need explinations. I would guess we all know why the people in Seattle WA aren't 100% solar. I would guess that most of us aren't financially in a situation like Greg, although I am speculating that Greg is more financially well off compared to the avergae American. To me it seems like you are searching for a "one liner" approach of debate.

As far as your 3 barrier points I can only agree on one of them... the acceptance of the masses. The technology is here, just not cost effective. Environmental concerns... if you can't see the advantages of how electrification of the auto industry, whether it compliments an internal combustion engine or does away with one altogether... well I'm going to say "no comment"!!! As far as the acceptance of these vehicles, it's funny how you say it's a barrier but in your original comments you say BEVs are just "Toys for boys." How does one expect to break such a barrier when there are people out there like you who like to give negative views on a possible alternative energy solution... at an alternative energy solutions blog site???

But please keep talking... DocX is right... HAIL FREEDOM OF SPEECH!!!

Kit P.

Being an advocate of renewable energy does not mean that I am required to be delusional. While I can see the benefits, I also see the problems that must be overcome.

As long as BEV and solar are just toys for the rich, let me suggest that they are not sources of alternate energy but just what they are toys for the rich.

BEVs will not reduce ghg nor will it help energy independence. In the US, BEVs will increase ghg and increase imports of fossil fuel. France is different because they get almost their entire off peak power from hydro and nuclear.


Kit P - "I also see the problems that must be overcome."

Just because there are problems that does not mean it can be done. There are problems with any road we take - we have to decide which is the best one.

"As long as BEV and solar are just toys for the rich, let me suggest that they are not sources of alternate energy but just what they are toys for the rich."

This is begging the question. You are proving what you are saying by your original argument. Yes while BEVs and solar are toys for the rich they will not be much of the solution. However what needs to be solved is the right combination of taxes and subsidies to make them more widespread.

"BEVs will not reduce ghg nor will it help energy independence. In the US, BEVs will increase ghg and increase imports of fossil fuel. France is different because they get almost their entire off peak power from hydro and nuclear."

I am not sure what sort of renewable energy advocate you are but this is just plain wrong. Even right now a 85% efficient BEV running off 36% efficient coal emits less CO2 than a less then 15% IC combustion car. If that same car is charged off a 55% efficient
co-gen gas plant then the emissions are drastically less. Finally if a home has some sort of solar or wind then the car at home can be charged from renewable sources.

In the near future when a small amount of V2G cars come on line then they can start providing spinning reserve allowing off line coal plants to be shut down rather than running and producing nothing. This will produce even greater saving even when there are not that many V2G cars on the road.

You really seem to be focused on the problems and not on the solutions.

Kit P.

No, ender, I am not wrong. In the future, I may be proven to be wrong. This is why I am an advocate of renewable energy research.

V2G is at least 15 years away if that is what you mean by near term. In any case, coal plants would not shut down but run at a higher capacity and at a possible higher efficiency.


Kit P. - "No, ender, I am not wrong. In the future, I may be proven to be wrong. This is why I am an advocate of renewable energy research."

If you are not wrong then you will not proven to be wrong will you? I wish I was as assured that I was not wrong as you are.

"V2G is at least 15 years away if that is what you mean by near term. In any case, coal plants would not shut down but run at a higher capacity and at a possible higher efficiency."

V2G cars are ready today. You can buy one for $75 000 from AC Propulsion. Widespread adoption of V2G is 15 years away however for spinning reserve and other ancillary functions only 3% or 4% of the car fleet need to be V2G.

"This article began with a broad comparison of two immense energy conversion systems, finding them surprisingly complementary. The electric grid has high capital costs and low production costs; the automobile fleet is the reverse. Electric generators are in use 57% of the time, automobiles only 4%. The electric grid has no storage; the automobile fleet inherently must have storage to meet its transportation function. Based on the contrasts between these systems, we lay out management strategies, business models, and three steps for a transition to V2G.
We suggest that in the short-term, electric-drive vehicles should be tapped for high-value, time critical services—regulation and spinning reserves—which can be served by about 3% of the fleet. As those markets are saturated, V2G can begin to serve markets for peak power and storage for renewable electric generation. Envisioning a longer-term role for V2G, with perhaps one-fourth to one half of the fleet serving as backup generation and storage for renewable energy, leads us to the following reconceptualization of the entire energy system."

Vehicle-to-grid power implementation: From stabilizing the grid to supporting large-scale renewable energy
Willett Kempton ∗, Jasna Tomi´c
University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, USA
Received 12 November 2004; received in revised form 8 December 2004; accepted 8 December 2004

I am not sure how you think that taking over spinning reserve can lead to coal plants running at higher capacity - perhaps you can explain this.

Kit P.

ROFLOL, Ender of course you do not understand. Rube Goldberg machines require energy too.

Okay, assuming Ender really does not understand why coal plant will burn more coal I will explain at the risk of talking down to him. When a EV is plugged into the grid to charge the battery, more coal is burned to make the electricity to charge the battery. The whole idea of PHEV is to make use of cheap coal generated base load power.

The second aspect that increase coal use the inefficiency of the storage system.


Kit P - To talk down to someone usually implies that the person talking down is above the person being talked down to. I don't think that this is the case here other than in your imagination.

My question was with V2G cars taking over spinning reserve how does that increase coal plants output? You do know what spinning reserve is?


Kit P. wrote:

BEVs will not reduce ghg nor will it help energy independence. In the US, BEVs will increase ghg and increase imports of fossil fuel.

The United States is a net exporter of coal.

It is often called "the Saudi Arabia of coal".

If the United States were to switch overnight to only Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV's) -- and if a large-enough proportion of the oil used in the United States currently serves transportation needs -- it would also switch to being a net exporter of oil.

Oil - production: 7.61 million bbl/day (2005 est.)

Oil - consumption: 20.73 million bbl/day (2004 est.)

Kit P. wrote:

France is different because they get almost their entire off peak power from hydro and nuclear.

Base-load in the United States is 25% nuclear. Therefore, a typical BEV charged overnight in the United States would be 25% nuclear powered. In addition, electric vehicle energy efficiency is typically estimated to be equivalent to 70 MPG.

Kit P.

Nucbuddy, I can see you have done your homework. Go look at the EIA discussion on on the world coal outlook. You will see that the projections indicate that the US will become a net importer of coal even with optimistic development of renewable energy and nuclear power. Since none of the US nuke plants operate in a load following mode, additional load from charging batteries will have to come from some place else. This will never change in the US because new nuke plants will reduce the demand for LNG. This will reduce the cost of NG or gasified coal using CCGTs which will then be used to charge batteries. Investors will stop building nuke plants when they are not an economical choice.

As for the being equivalent to 70 MPG, when determining energy used the correct answer is only achieved when the correctly defining boundaries. If you goal reductions in oil from people we do not like, fine. However, it is not reducing the amount of imported fossil fuel used or reducing ghg.

Yes, Ender I do know what spinning reserve is. If you would like to explain your 'reconceptualization,' I will again explain this is not how grid is presently maintained stable and how your future ideas will use more fossil fuel.

Thomas Pedersen

KitP and Ender. You seem to be (deliberately?) misunderstanding each other.

At night there is spinning reserve of coal power running at low efficiency because it is not feasible to shut plants down completely. This spinning reserve can be tapped for EVs. The result will be more coal use, but higher efficiency because coal fired power plants operate at higher efficiency at higher loads.

V2G can reduce the spinning reserve because power plants that are spinning uselessly at night in order to supply peak power in daytime can be shut down due to reduced peak demand.

Two different subjects.

Paul Dietz

My question was with V2G cars taking over spinning reserve how does that increase coal plants output?

Well, if V2G levels the diurnal variation in demand (not the same thing as spinning reserve, I admit), it would move generation from peaking units, mostly natural gas fired, to baseload plants, of which many are coal fired.


Thomas - "At night there is spinning reserve of coal power running at low efficiency because it is not feasible to shut plants down completely."

Spinning reserve are generators spinning at almost full speed but at just above or below synchronous speed so they produce no electricity. It is legislated that power companies always have a certain amount of spinning reserve to maintain the grid in the event of a generator failing without warning. In this case the spinning generators are almost instantly brought to synchronous speed taking the place of the generator that has failed. Without this the grid could fail causing widespread damage when the inevitable failure occurs.

V2G cars can provide this instant capability without the need for a huge generator spinning and producing nothing. Revenue for this capability is charged firstly on a per MW capacity available and then on MWh used. V2G cars can earn revenue even without actually being drained of power as they would be paid just to be on standby.

With V2G cars taking over this spinning reserve coal plants that are not needed can be shut down as the storage can provide power for the time it takes for baseload power to ramp up again if it is needed. Further surplus power from wind that is now wasted in dump loads can be stored for future use in V2G cars and other storage. This makes wind far more despatchable and increases its value. Surplus solar power can be also stored during the day to be used at night.

Levelling the demand does not mean more coal plants. What it does mean that solar, wind and tidal/wave become far more useful and with enough storage can become 24X7 power. Baseload is a type of power station that cannot vary it's output quickly so it is better to run it flat out all the time. Renewables are not classified as baseload because their output, with storage, can be very quickly varied to meet demand. Renewables with storage become intermediate or peaking power like co-gen natural gas power plants. In this case they are far more valuable as it is unnecessary to build peaking plants to back up thermal coal and nuclear which are baseload.

Kit P.

Actually spinning reserve is more like your car running on cruise control maintaining a constant speed going up and down slight grade. As passengers are transported (beam me up Scotty) into the car, more fuel is used to carry the increased load. However, when there is no extra passenger capacity, another car must be brought on line.

Solar will always be useful because it supplies power during the day in hot climates. The renewable energy except hydro will always be listed 'other.' These are interesting but insignificant sources of electricity.

The best way to maintain the grid stable is to build an adequate capacity of reliable generation. I see problem with geothermal or biomass. But get real please, the same NIMBYs that that say a nuke or coal plant is not needed, do not like anything else either.


Well, they could always use biomass to generate electricity.

Assuming you used Direct Carbon Fuel Cells, in combination with Algae Biomass, (Which then connects back up to the CO2 coming off the DCFC)

Best part is.
It'd be peak following, and baseload.

And if you want to follow more specifically on peaking. Could always make the algae into biodiesel. (Which apparently can also be produced directly from certain types of DCFCs)

Would be the perfect "glue" to hold Wind, and Solar together.


Whats more, Berkeley's early cost figures show DCFCs capital costs could be competative with conventional coal, and nuclear per KW.

Especially if you scrap the need for expensive air toxics emmisions controls, by using just biomass.

Al Roderick

One thing that really must be considered is that even with a carbon-neutral, renewable fuel like algae-derived-biodiesel, there is no way that it is ever going to be as cheap as petroleum has been in the past, and our capacity to produce it will never beat the capacity of the oil industry to simply suck it out of the ground. So, improving the fuel economy of our vehicles through plug-in hybrid technology is necessary, even if the fuel is not harmful to the environment.

Big freight trucks (like the one I drive) represent a huge fossil fuel consumer - even though the MPG-per-ton is better than a Prius by a long shot. One of the best ways to reduce this consumption is to reduce the number of trucks on the road. By using electricity as a replacement for part or all of the liquid fuel in a vehicle, you get some potentially explosive tanker trucks off the road, and put that hauling capacity towards something more indispensable. Don't worry about putting the drivers out of work; demand for drivers outstrips supply by a big margin, they'll land in new jobs.


Good point Al, less tanker trucks from less liquid fuel use.

And large trucks can be converted to plugin serial hybrid too. Railroad locomotives and mining equipment are serial hybrids already. They have diesel generators driving electric motors without transmissions.

For long haul trucks add induction pickups and charging lanes, that way an hour or so driving in the charge lane can recharge the batteries. Also fuel cell/turbines instead of diesel generators, 3 times more efficient.


Why would batteries need to charge for hours?

We already have batteries that charge in under 10 minutes, and can drive for hundreds of miles.

Rather than so much focus on needless infrastructure.

Focus more on how to decrease the costs on those batteries.


Another thing I'm suprised more people aren't tossing around is Vehicle-to-Grid-to-Vehicle. Sure quick charging vehicles would need a bunch of charge coming seemingly from nowhere.

However if they leverage peer-sharing of electric capacity. Much like peer-sharing of computer files, you can achieve a lot of bandwidth with distributed capacity.


As for converting existing diesel vehicles and infrastructure to electric?
No.. Thats not going to happen.
Unless you replace the whole thing entirely.
Which isn't likely to happen.


"Why would batteries need to charge for hours?"

Because slower charge batteries are cheaper and quick charge electric "gas" stations are problematic. Lead acid foam batteries are slower charging, but much much cheaper.

"Focus more on how to decrease the costs on those batteries"

That is at the whim of monopolies. it won't happen very fast. Government will not help out with mass orders for government fleet vehicles or tax credits for consumers who buy electric cars.


As long as ICE generation is the norm for hybrids this is very inefficient. Solid oxide fuel cell/microturbine backup generation would make this option fly. But this is another path blocked ny monopolies.

"No.. Thats not going to happen.
Unless you replace the whole thing entirely"

Bolt on conversions are practical. And mass assembley line conversion of existing cars and trucks using mass produced parts would be cost effective.

Only 17 million new vehicles are sold in the US each year. Even if they were all serial plugin hybrids that will take too long to head off GHG climate change.

In a conversion, an electric motor replaces the regular engine and transmission, simple bolt on adaptors acomplish that. A battery pack, charging system, and motor/battery controller are added.

Then a backup generator. Pretty simple really. The rest of the vehicle remains original.

lemuel j. miravalles

good day!
can i ask if you have any knowledge on the purification of glycerin from the manufacture of biiodiesel?can you please give me any internet site that we could infer from? thanks a lot..i badly needed it in our project study

lemuel j. miravalles

Since the trend today is toward the use of biofuel, specifically biodiesel,it is inevitable to have that by-product called glycerin together with a lot more impurities. This has pre-empt us to conduct a project proposal regarding this matter.

Our study is entitled, "A Design Modification of an Economically Feasible Process on the Purification of Glycerin as a By-product of Biodiesel." Our main problem is the different techniques that the country, Philippines, is adapting today. We would like to like to ensure that whatever design process we could develop would suit the local conditions here in our community and at the same time,is economically feasible. Can you help us with this? Can you refer us to any internet source where we could get any information regarding the purification of glycerin?

This is part of our curriculum, since i am a graduating BS Chemical Engineering student of Central Philippine University (CPU), Jaro, Iloilo City, Philippines. I am hoping for a positive response. You can also contact me through my e-mail address.

Thanky You Very Much adn More Power!

ID # 03-2065-48

Terry (the car finder) Bolton

"We currently import nearly two-thirds of our oil. This is increasingly being viewed as a strategic problem"

if you ask me this is more a problem to them than to us ..

yes we import alot of our fuel from these countries but we also export them the same feul after it is manifactured into plastics , services and other goods and we sell it with a great benifit ,

i dont disagree that we need to save our feul but we must understand that the real problem is pollution and global warming not economy


paul  bowlin

interesting company i got email

America's answer to soaring foreign oil costs...American-made bio-fuel at $42 per barrel!

Texas company, Sustainable Power Corp. (PK: SSTP), perfects bio-fuel breakthrough...creates crude oil equivalent at a fraction the cost of conventional processes.

This is how you can take stock in America!

Our farmers grow the feedstock and Sustainable Power Corp. produces bio-fuel on American soil...at a fraction the cost of prevailing technology.

* 60% lower cost in bio-fuel production
* One small bale of hay can produce a gallon of oil
* Explosive share price potential
* Process can be replicated and mass produced

Initial fuel output, 6,700 gallons of oil equivalent, is reported to be on target for production of 24,000 gallons per day by year end, equivalent to a stunning 571 barrels of oil per day, which at $100+ oil prices totals over $21 billion annually! This amazing process is not only efficient, it's clean. Every component of the bio-oil output...fuel, gas and organic fertilizer...can be fully utilized. There are no harmful byproducts or effluents.

To the Opportunity-Driven Investor:

America is on the brink of an economic meltdown. And thanks to OPEC, the cost of oil is skyrocketing and there's little we can do about it...except perhaps make our own!

That's the promise of this little-known Texas company, Sustainable Power Corp. (PK: SSTP)... an endless oil supply at less than half the cost of OPEC oil!

Sustainable Power Corporation (PK: SSTP) is ready to strip OPEC of its stranglehold on US oil supplies using its proprietary bio-fuel production technology proven to produce over three-times more bio-fuel from almost any biomass.

In the coming months, expect to see landmark announcements of the company's fully-developed bio-fuel manufacturing process that produces crude oil equivalent at a production volume three times more efficient than conventional bio-fuel processes.

It's equivalent to $1 per gallon in oil produced...$42 per barrel

This news will strip the smile from all the oil sheiks!

The Sustainable Power process can be used to produce biodiesel, gasoline, and natural gas equivalents from virtually any biomass resource. This could be the first technology that fulfills the promise of bio-fuel efficient as a significant energy resource for America's energy future.

Americans must get behind this breakthrough technology. By early summer, gasoline prices are projected to reach $4.50 a gallon. Diesel fuel will pass $5.00!

The need to get behind this process is critical to America's future of energy independence.

Click Here to Learn More about Sustainable Power Corporation

It took Mother Nature 200 million years to do what Sustainable Power Corp gets done in 8 minutes!

The processes that produce oil from organic materials (biomass) are no secret, it just takes naturally occurring oil millions of years to get it done.

After 20 years of research and testing, Sustainable Power Corp's lead scientist and CEO, John Rivera, has collapsed the process to a mere 8 minutes!

His work lies on the threshold of revolutionizing bio-fuel production...making it more affordable and with significantly less impact on food crops for fuel.
Text Box: Source: BigCharts Volume up and rising share price suggest a major breakout in SSTP shares. Early investors will be set for major profit potential. The time to get in is now!
Volume up and rising share price suggest a major breakout in SSTP shares. Early investors will be set for major profit potential. The time to get in is now!

More fuel, more food!

The promise of bio-fuels has come with a costly trade-off in food commodities. Due in large part to the demand placed on these crops for the production of ethanol, E85 and bio-diesel, the prices of almost all food crops has skyrocketed.

That pressure on prices has created an unsustainable imbalance between competing forces for fuel and food.

Not only is the Sustainable Power Corp process more efficient than commonplace bio-fuel production technology, it produces products that are more usable. Sustainable Power produces a gasoline equivalent that can be mixed 50/50 with conventional gasoline. And the company's biodiesel can be used 100% in place of petroleum-derived diesel!

What's more...the Sustainable Power technology produces its own "natural gas" for use in the fuel production process. There is almost no external energy input. Compare that to ethanol production, which by many accounts requires more external energy input than is gained from the ethanol output! At the very least it is an enormous energy consumer.

Superior oil at lower cos

Here's what an independent testing lab, AmSpec Services, confirmed to Sustainable Power Corp regarding the company's bio-fuel production process

1. "Amazing results" as 20 lbs of soybeans produced 10.69 pound of liquid oil, 3.77 pounds of gas, and 5.54 pounds of agricultural fertilize

2. One bushel of soybean feedstock [or about one bale of hay] produces 5.7 gallons of liquid oil.

3. The liquid oil was used to produce biogasoline, marine fuel, gasoline replacement gasoline, and oxygenated diesel fuel that meets or exceeds ASTM specs for on-road diesel.

Click Here to Learn More about Sustainable Power Corporation

Already finding international market

Soaring energy prices have put many smaller countries into a deep hole. Sustainable Power technology could pull them out, meeting up to 100% of their energy needs from their abundant biomass feedstocks.

Case in point. The Dominican Republic, which now imports 42.6 million barrels of oil per year, sees Sustainable Power technology as THE solution to their energy needs.

"I felt like [the Sustainable Power technology] was the solution for one of the Dominican Republic's largest problems, which is energy production and consumption," said Director of the Dominican Republic National Energy Commission.

Revenues from an order that meets just a fraction of Dominican needs could yield tens of millions of dollars for Sustainable Power...and logically, shares of SSTP should reflect this.

There's more.

In a Feb. 29, 2008 press release, Sustainable Power announced that Borneo Oil purchased a $2 million equity stake in SSTP. Sustainable Power and Borneo Oil are working together to commercialize the SSTP process in Malaysia.

Earlier in the month, Feb. 1, a press report published in a local newspaper, The Baytown Sun, the paper said in reference to the bio-fuel process,

"...the department of engineering of Central American Parliament were impressed with what they saw going on at the Baytown facility - so impressed they were willing to contribute $4 billion for [the company to move the project to a bigger scale right away."

In Haiti, a deal has already been struck. Haiti is one of the poorest counties in the world, yet still consumes $4.3 million barrels of oil per year.

Sustainable Power will install, and train in the operation of, 20 bio crude reactors. SSTP will most likely start with a well known feedstock that grows fast and easy in Haiti named Jatropha, then will ultimately use other feedstocks including Algae.

Sustainable Power is on the path to establishing itself with a significant international presence in bio-fuel production.

Click Here to Learn More about Sustainable Power Corporation

Stealth moves internationally set the stage for explosive sales in North America.

With international sales growing, a proven performance record of the Sustainable Power technology will greatly enhance its U.S. sales potential

The United States is already a net importer of 13.6 million barrels of oil per day...571 million gallons! The potential for U.S. sales is simply staggering!

Within the next year, Sustainable Power intends to bring its local oil production to 208,000 barrels per year. The company's local bio-fuel production will initially be used to generate electricity for the region.

In the broader markets, Sustainable Power will be selling its technology for implementation throughout the United States. Again, the sales potential is simply staggering.

There is little doubt that with data such as these, the profit potential in SSTP shares is absolutely phenomenal and worth researching for yourself...if for no other reason than this may be the first promising technology that puts America on a commercially viable path of energy independence.

This is not drawing board technology...it's real and it's in use now.

Company: Sustainable Power Corporation

Eco Eagles

I am apart of Embry Riddle's Eco Eagles club. We are Embry Riddle's branch of the EcoCar challenge. We work to design, build and integrate solutions into an existing production vehicle. Solutions such as hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell drive train technologies will be explored. For further information visit www.ecoeagles.org

Eco Eagles

Our vehicle uses a battery pack to help run our car. I am apart of Embry Riddle's Eco Eagles club. We are Embry Riddle's branch of the EcoCar challenge. We work to design, build and integrate solutions into an existing production vehicle. Solutions such as hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell drive train technologies will be explored. For further information visit www.ecoeagles.org

CGS intake

Researches are great. They develop new technology for the development to protect the environment. One problem I found and am quite familiar though is that release of technology is quite fast and tend to make previous models obsolete so quickly. The demand in the market and regulation is high too, so how can we afford these new technologies quickly?

The comments to this entry are closed.

. .

Batteries/Hybrid Vehicles