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

« More on a Mitsubishi MIEV | Main | Mitsubishi i MiEV Single Motor EV (rev. 10/15/06) »

October 10, 2006



Really, if you're going to do a hybrid drivetrain, there's no reason not to use the most efficient possible small turbodiesel engine at the front end. Especially if it's an all electric design where the engine can be used only at its most efficient speed.

And, seeing as Mitsubishi has seen the light about in-wheel power..


James in saying "Another claimed advantage of this model is that the big-oil companies might be interested in it and could provide the necessary capital investment and development know how, because of the scale of size and because they can add prorietary technology to the BTL process."

You are spot on. The chemical (and petrochemical since both are interelated)industry are highly conservative in their outlook.

One comment made to me recently by and un-named eminent academic in chemistry - responding to some issues on Biomass related technologies was:
"The problem is the chemical industry are highly conservative in their outlook. Everyones interested ... but no one wants to build the first one they are waiting on others to do that"...

This somewhat illustrates the paradoxical relationship between R&D who want to do everything because they can, AND industry who won't do anything unless they have to!

James, as usual - love the blog.

Mark C R


How do small turbo-diesels compare to gasoline engines in terms of cycling on and off?

Mike @ HCVN

A diesel hybrid-electric plug-in is like the grand unification theory for hybrid vehicles, and needs to continually be lifted up as a goal. Kudos to Mr. Benet! To get there, though, we'll probably have to go through a period of diesels or hybrids (which, unfortunately, the US hasn't hit yet) followed by diesels or plug-in hybrids, and the finally the diesel plug-in hybrids.

Alex - There is a reason: there's still a price premium for diesels compared to gasoline engines. The diesel premium plus the hybrid premium is still a bit much to expect buyers to absorb. You're going to have to give it a bit more time for mass-production scales of economy to kick in.


david foster

Just watched the video--interesting. He seems unsure about whether the claimed 10:1 energy balance ratio for BTL includes the consumption of petroleum-based fertilizers.

Anyone have any insights?

mike shurtleff

Mr. Benet is a good speaker. Even got my wife listening. Energy efficient argument based on bio-diesel use of C14 to C18 chains was very clear and informative. So bio-diesel has large energy advantage over bio-ethanol. (Although you should check out what Monsanto's Dr. Robert Fraley has to say at www.biofuelreview.com) I'm left wondering what the effects of nitrous oxide pollutants would be if we have a lot of these diesel PHEVs? What would the effects be when 80% or 95% reduction in fuel use is calculated in? (I think 95% reduction is very possible given longer all electric range possible with new batteries coming to the market and double the mph using lighter weight carbon fiber bodies.) Some points on the talk:
1. Mr. Benet touches on the importance of weight in improving mpg, but then seems to forget about this. He points out it took 100 years before lighter metal made automobiles possible. New battery technology along with lighter, stronger carbon fiber bodies makes EVs possible and gas/diesel unnecessary for light trucks and cars.
2. Current HEV technology is described in terms of nickel-metal-hydride battery technology. They are all moving to Lithium Ion technolgy with twice the energy density AND twice the power density. This means double the all electric range AND freeway compatable accelleration, respectively...if composite carbon construction can be made cost effective this is disruptive tech.
3. Yes, it is true that current PHEVs don't have sufficient payback on fuel savings...BUT consider that Toyota is targeting 100 mpg using Li Ion and planning to reduce the price. This will be true for all automakers, big and small, that jump into the game with current technology. Also, don't forget "the lesson of the Prius": Build for the small market ahead of time and you have a proven product when demand increases. There is a PHEV/EV market out there at premium prices. Environmental wackos, like me, will purchase these cars at a premium. Besides us environmental wackos, there's probably individuals who lost relatives in 9/11 or Iraq who would purchase one of these cars at a premium just to get off the oil.
(I'm not rich enough to purchase a Tesla Roadster at $100,000 but might consider the sedan Tesla is working on for $50,000...especially if they make it a "true" or "series" hybrid. Looks like Mitsubishi will make a "True" PHEV in the near future.)

Thank you Mr. Benet for an informative talk AND thank you Jim, your blog is excellent!

mike shurtleff

Sorry, that should say improve mpg, not mph, when using composite carbon fiber construction. (mistake is in two places)


In Europe, we have a lot of small diesels, but the NOX issue isn't that much of a problem - I think because of diesel catalytic converters, which are mandated by the emissions standard. (An interesting side effect of the rise of the Peugeot, Volkswagen and Ford Europe TDIs is that most European oil refineries were built before them, so we have a surplus of petrol as opposed to diesel - which is what we exported to the US after Katrina.)


"(I think 95% reduction is very possible"

I think it is too. Especially if one substitutes a fuel cell/microturbine for the internal combustion part of the PHEV.

Some people, who almost always drive to destinations within battery-alone driving range, say 50 miles, could use no fuel at all.

And if those who do use fuel get 5 times the efficiency and MPG of an ICE with this fuel cell, this level of reduction in fuel use might be possible overall for cars.

For trucks and buses and long distance driving electromagnetic charge strips under special lanes could keep fuel use down for long distance PHEVs.

The next radical step is to call for the extinction of the ICE vehicle entirely. With battery electric drivetrains and the fuel cell backup.

Savings in production costs by dumping the ICE and all it's complex systems, should pay for the transition. Fuel cell/microturbine generators have only a few moving parts, like wise with EV drivetrains.

The management of the different elements is very simple compared to the planetary gear computer controlled setup in ICE hybrids.

In the EV with fuel cell generator the electric motor is in drive or regenerative braking mode and the generator is either on or off depending on the charge state of the batteries and the anticipated trip length.

Picture the thousands of moving parts in the standard PHEV ICE and transmission with computer control deciding how much of the driving power is from the ICE or the electric motor or wether the motor is in drive or brake mode. Are there more chips in one of these hybrids than your PC? Probably. And we all know how reliable our pCs are.

As in WW2 war production where the government held a contest to come up with the design for the famous jeep, we need a leap over the old technology right to electric cars with fuel cell backup power. It's the best way to stop these oil wars from turning into WW3 and fossil fuel emissions from destroying our human friendly, relatively calm climate.

And biodiesel for these vehicles can come from algae, what could be better? An instant charging battery with the same energy density as liquid fuel.

It's not here yet, but with nano tech and room temperature superconduction converging it may just happen soon.


according to a recent sept 06 sci. american article (not online yet)
bio-diesel compared to ethanol
41% more energy gain for (cornbased) ethanol
energy produced - less energy invested
93% energy gain for (soybean based) biodiesel

12% greenhouse gas emissions for cornbased ethanol vs. fossil fuels
41% ghg emissions for biodiesel vs fossil fuels. (univ. Minnesota study)

if you have a biomass to liquid plant that sequesters the co2 - this would actually reduce the amnt of co2 in the atmosphere.
(but youd have to have a carbon tax or cap and trade system in place to add incentive)

bio-diesel plug-in hybrids sound great - why not add a solar roof panel for all the time the vehicle is parked outside in the sun - to help recharge the batteries and possibly sell extra power to the utilities.


correction that should be
12% FEWER GHG emissions (ethanol)
43% Fewer GHG emissions (biodiesel) vs fossil fuels


Tremendous diesel performance can be gained through chips, tuners, exhaust, intake and other mods as well as 3-5mpg increases in diesel fuel economy. I get 22mpg on the highway in my truck.


It's good to hear BP & GM talk about alternative fuels, but 50 years to implement is too long.


Perhaps this link will spark more attention:


It is GM's electric concept car the Chevy Volt. If more people begin to demand alternative fuel cars, we should be able to speed the rate at which the technology is developed.

We have started an Investor Forum where Investors can meet and discuss topics like this:


run your car on water

this is such a cool car. i am looking into one.


Photobioreactors are most commonly computer controlled by well qualified professionals and experts. It automatically regulates inlet gas mixture and online analysis of the exhaust gas by a chromatograph. By utilizing this system, it is easier and more accurately possible to investigate and optimize hydrogen production process of the wild-type and genetically engineered cyanobacteria and sulphur derived green algae biomass.

The comments to this entry are closed.

. .

Batteries/Hybrid Vehicles