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Found 16 results

  1. Solar Roof, Power Wall and EV Charging, is it worth the Cost? When I came across this story, I wondered just what the cost was for having this all in a home and would it be worth the cost? The setup is as follows: 2000 sq foot house with Tesla Solar roof - $55,000 Powerwall 2.0 for 5 kWh storage - $8,500 to $16,000 depending on where you live. 240V home charger average cost is from $403 to $930 dollars depending on charger features, median cost is $663 Working from the high side of cost, you have $55,000 + $16,000 + $930 = $71,930 and then you have various rebates from federal and state levels that can run from a low of Federal rebate only of $7,500 up to $15 to 20 thousand dollars including state rebates on top of federal depending on the state you are in. As one can see, a Tesla solar roof is a very clean natural looking roof that can produce considerable amount of power especially in sunny climates to the south. This house and installation is in San Jose california where home costs are very high and as such, the cost of this roof with powerwall and home charger works out to 24 yrs to a break even point and yet over the 30 year 100% efficiency guarantee for the solar shingles, it will pay the customer $14,000 back. As comments on the story does state, traditional shingles with traditional solar panels would be considerably less cost. Yet in an area with you have strong sun 5-6 months of the year, the amount of power produced can easily out weight the cost benefits when you have high usage due to AC, EV charging, along with normal home electric usage. I will say that I looked into a solar roof here in Washington state for my 2000 sq ft house and came up with an installed cost of $30,000 with a break even of 20 years. Due to other factors, I had to pass on doing this at the time, but am looking to get back into the solar roof option due to the efficiency rates having gone up so much more in the last couple of years. LG, Panasonic and Sun Power all produce solar panels over 22% efficient compared to Tesla which in a story back in 2016 stated they would be between 22% to 24% efficient and yet no updated info today from Tesla on the actual production efficiency of a Tesla solar roof tile. Many reviews say that due to the small footprint of each tile and the thin nature, that getting a roof to be over 22% efficient will be very hard for Tesla. End result is in farther north states, it might be hard to justify for some the cost of a solar installation with powerwall. Yet that said, if you are in a northern state that has high electric rates, humidity from warm summers, a solar option with fixed rate of electricity might be a smart way to go especially if you experience brown outs where the powerwall can help keep you up and running in comparison to your neighbor who is out and unable to keep their food cold. Over all in the story that started me writing this up, clearly the guy in San Jose California benefits as he returns plenty of power to the grid in a state well known for brownouts and high energy demand. In cooler states with less sunshine, this might be harder to justify unless you are a very green individual that wants to minimize your footprint on the planet. End result is if you do a solar option, it seems to make sense to include a storage system on top of the net metering back to the grid where available as not all states will take your excess power you produce or pay you for it. West coast states fully support the net metering of buying back power you produce. If you choose to have an electric commuter auto, then you also gain from minimizing your pull from the grid. States that have higher electric rates benefit more than states with cheap electric rates, but everyone still wins having a home charging system with solar and storage for efficient use of electric power. Insideevs.com story energyusage.com story energyusage.com solar panels solarreviews.com story homeadvisor.com story energy.gov site fortune story
  2. G. David Felt - Staff Writer Alternative Energy - www.cheersandgears.com Daimler Scales back Hydrogen, Focuses on EV! According to the story from Autoblog, Daimler has chosen to scale back R&D into Hydrogen auto's and focus on EV auto's. This will not stop them from rolling out a Hydrogen GLC in select markets around the world where Hydrogen fueling facilities are available according to Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche. According to Daimler, pushing out 10 EV models by 2022 will help with reducing the emission pressure on their ICE product line allowing them to minimize the pressure and costs of transitioning from an ICE product producer to one of alternative energy, be it EV or Hydrogen, only the future will tell. Yet, this is telling in more ways than one might expect. Yes GM and Honda have teamed up to bring in their next generation of Hydrogen auto to a global market, but you have Daimler, Toyota, VW, Ford and even Hyundai which sells their Tucson Fuel Cell move R&D dollars to the EV world as seen by the Ioniq Trio. Does this indicate vindication for Nissan Leaf and Tesla S / X? Daimler has decided to change the Smart label to a pure EV label. So just how far will the MB product road map change after 2022? Could by 2025-2030 ICE truly reduce to 50% or less of worldwide sales versus EV?
  3. G. David Felt Alternative Fuels & Propulsion writer www.CheersandGears.com EPA Apps and Tools for Alternative Energy The EPA is working hard to allow people to find Alternative Energy stations via their first smartphone app. Support from the Energy Department, the Alternative Fueling Station Locator app provides information on more than 15,000 stations across the country. This was developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The app allows users to select multiple parameters such as if the station is open to the public, what form of payments they take, hours of operation, address, phone numbers, etc. This app allows for the search of the following fuels: stations that offer electricity, biodiesel (B20), natural gas (compressed CNG and liquefied LNG), ethanol (E85), hydrogen, and propane. The Alternative Fueling Station Locator app is available for the iPhone and iPad at no cost from the Apple App Store. More information can be attained here : http://energy.gov/eere/articles/energy-department-launches-alternative-fueling-station-locator-app?utm_source=+WW+Clean+Cities+News+Digest+--+November+26%2C+2013&utm_campaign=Weekly+News+Digest&utm_medium=email One thing that every business owner wants is to be able to see what the ROI (Return on Investment) point would be for Alternative Fuels. Clean Cities and the Argonne National Laboratory has taken data and created a spread sheet that allows people to plug in specific information so that they can get the following information: 1) Simple Payback Calculator 2) Total Cost of Ownership Calculator, 3) Fleet Energy and Emissions Footprint Calculator Using multiple sources of data, a well to wheels approach allows one to figure out their carbon footprint based on what types of auto's they drive, type of fuel used and type of work done to estimate ones carbon footprint. The AFLEET tool's spreadsheet and user manual can be found here: http://greet.es.anl.gov/afleet_tool Full story by Green Fleet can be found here: http://www.greenfleetmagazine.com/news/51780/feds-develop-alt-fuel-analytical-tool?utm_campaign=topnews-20131122&utm_source=Email&utm_medium=Enewsletter&utm_source=+WW+Clean+Cities+News+Digest+--+November+26%2C+2013&utm_campaign=Weekly+News+Digest&utm_medium=email
  4. dfelt

    What will it Take?

    G. David Felt - Editorial Staff Writer Alternative Energy - CheersandGears.com What will it take? Oil started the year at over $100 a barrel and now hovers around $94 a barrel. Oil may fluctuate but continues to stay close to $100 a barrel. Refined Gas production being sold overseas keeps the average consumer paying $4 plus a gallon and people continue to complain about Green House gas emissions and the lack of being able to afford the gas cost. Natural Gas on the other hand continues to increase in production keeping prices right at $4 per thousand cubic feet or about 30 cents per gallon before government tax's giving one a range from a low of $.60 a gallon to $1.85 per gallon. As one who fuels at his own house and pays 85 cents per gallon this does make one wonder "What will it take?" What will it take to get people to switch to CNG or Compressed Natural Gas? What will it take to get someone to consider buying a CNG auto? What will it take to make a dynamic shift in the type of fuel people use in the US? In today’s news there has been states making huge moves to incent residents to change their autos. Perfect example is Colorado that just renewed their credits of $6000 to go on top of the federal government’s $7500 credit. This give a resident of the state of Colorado a $13,500 rebate off the price of a all-electric, plug-in hybrid or compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. Dealerships in Colorado are heavily advertising this with clear signs of let our finance department get you your rebate on your new car. According to the State of Colorado: “With the tax credits available (through 2015 currently), Coloradans would pay an additional $275-$2,400 for a PEV instead of a comparable internal combustion vehicle (ICE). By 2017, the price difference without taxes is expected to be $3,600-$11,000. The tax credit defined in this bill helps consumers to purchase cars they otherwise might not. As a consequence, they can recoup the savings on gasoline by approximately $1,319 per year, and a savings of $244 per year on maintenance costs. According to one survey, if the PEV purchase price were the same as a comparable ICE vehicle, 60 percent of consumers would consider purchasing the PEV. When that purchase price is higher, only 26 percent would consider purchasing the PEV. The financial impact for the new Colorado incentives from the tax credit extension is estimated by the state at $2.4 million in fiscal year 2012-13, $5.2 million in FY 2013-14, and $5.9 million in FY 2014-15.” Is this a wise use of state tax dollars? With 27 states and Washington D.C. offering some form of incentive, should the local governments be doing this to push consumers towards the Green revolution of autos? With North America having the largest natural gas reserves in the world, should we shun the rest of the world and make the full switch to CNG as a stepping stone to a greener country and towards pure electric auto’s some day? Currently Colorado, California, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Mexico, Oregon, South Carolina and Washington State provide some form of rebates, credits or exemptions. Nine other states offer non-financial incentives for hybrids or alternative energy auto’s. As a person who sells Fuelmaker Home (CNG) compressed natural gas fuel systems, I do have a financial interest in seeing things move to natural gas. Not only is CNG 50-75% less greenhouse gas producing. It allows auto’s to still cover long distances something a pure electric auto is incapable of. They burn so clean that the engine itself has a much longer life give one to have to change oil less often, the maintenance is much lower on a CNG auto. I do admit the upfront cost tends to scare some with the basic home fueling system running about $5000 installed. Yet with 257 million auto’s on the road with average age of 11 years, one looks at close to $30,000 in fuel cost over 11 years versus $4000 for natural gas based on an average 15,000 miles driven. So is the estimated $21,000 dollars savings not a good enough reason to move to natural gas on top of the up to two thirds less greenhouse gas production? So this comes back to my original question, what will it take to change America? Sound off on your thoughts about this area of the auto industry?
  5. G. David Felt - Editorial Staff Writer Alternative Energy - CheersandGears.com What will it take? Oil started the year at over $100 a barrel and now hovers around $94 a barrel. Oil may fluctuate but continues to stay close to $100 a barrel. Refined Gas production being sold overseas keeps the average consumer paying $4 plus a gallon and people continue to complain about Green House gas emissions and the lack of being able to afford the gas cost. Natural Gas on the other hand continues to increase in production keeping prices right at $4 per thousand cubic feet or about 30 cents per gallon before government tax's giving one a range from a low of $.60 a gallon to $1.85 per gallon. As one who fuels at his own house and pays 85 cents per gallon this does make one wonder "What will it take?" What will it take to get people to switch to CNG or Compressed Natural Gas? What will it take to get someone to consider buying a CNG auto? What will it take to make a dynamic shift in the type of fuel people use in the US? In today’s news there has been states making huge moves to incent residents to change their autos. Perfect example is Colorado that just renewed their credits of $6000 to go on top of the federal government’s $7500 credit. This give a resident of the state of Colorado a $13,500 rebate off the price of a all-electric, plug-in hybrid or compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. Dealerships in Colorado are heavily advertising this with clear signs of let our finance department get you your rebate on your new car. According to the State of Colorado: “With the tax credits available (through 2015 currently), Coloradans would pay an additional $275-$2,400 for a PEV instead of a comparable internal combustion vehicle (ICE). By 2017, the price difference without taxes is expected to be $3,600-$11,000. The tax credit defined in this bill helps consumers to purchase cars they otherwise might not. As a consequence, they can recoup the savings on gasoline by approximately $1,319 per year, and a savings of $244 per year on maintenance costs. According to one survey, if the PEV purchase price were the same as a comparable ICE vehicle, 60 percent of consumers would consider purchasing the PEV. When that purchase price is higher, only 26 percent would consider purchasing the PEV. The financial impact for the new Colorado incentives from the tax credit extension is estimated by the state at $2.4 million in fiscal year 2012-13, $5.2 million in FY 2013-14, and $5.9 million in FY 2014-15.” Is this a wise use of state tax dollars? With 27 states and Washington D.C. offering some form of incentive, should the local governments be doing this to push consumers towards the Green revolution of autos? With North America having the largest natural gas reserves in the world, should we shun the rest of the world and make the full switch to CNG as a stepping stone to a greener country and towards pure electric auto’s some day? Currently Colorado, California, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Mexico, Oregon, South Carolina and Washington State provide some form of rebates, credits or exemptions. Nine other states offer non-financial incentives for hybrids or alternative energy auto’s. As a person who sells Fuelmaker Home (CNG) compressed natural gas fuel systems, I do have a financial interest in seeing things move to natural gas. Not only is CNG 50-75% less greenhouse gas producing. It allows auto’s to still cover long distances something a pure electric auto is incapable of. They burn so clean that the engine itself has a much longer life give one to have to change oil less often, the maintenance is much lower on a CNG auto. I do admit the upfront cost tends to scare some with the basic home fueling system running about $5000 installed. Yet with 257 million auto’s on the road with average age of 11 years, one looks at close to $30,000 in fuel cost over 11 years versus $4000 for natural gas based on an average 15,000 miles driven. So is the estimated $21,000 dollars savings not a good enough reason to move to natural gas on top of the up to two thirds less greenhouse gas production? So this comes back to my original question, what will it take to change America? Sound off on your thoughts about this area of the auto industry? View full article
  6. Toyota declared in September that it’s watering down its battery electric vehicle (BEV) plans by cutting back the production of the small Toyota eQ (known as the Scion iQ stateside). You will find some interesting information as Toyota moves forward with Fuel Cell's rather than pure electric auto's. Sales of Plug in Vehicles, North America (2011 & 2012) Type - 2011 ------ 2012 (YTD)--(Since 1/1/2011) Cumulative HEV----268,807---322,516--------591,323 PHEV--8,272----- 25,944----------34,216 BEV----9,966----- 6,802-----------16,768 Source: Pike Research Most BEVs skirt the edge of a 100-mile range, stretching up to the $100,000 Model S, from Tesla, which can go nearly 300 miles on a single charge. EV advocates and battery manufacturers have long insisted that a battery breakthrough on the horizon will triple battery ranges while drastically reducing battery costs. Regardless of how far the BEV can go on a full battery, however, it still takes hours to recharge instead of the minutes it takes to refill a conventional gas vehicle. Toyota’s hydrogen vehicles can already achieve ranges and refill times comparable to conventional gas vehicles. For more info go to: http://fuelcellswork...ember_181315269 View full article
  7. Toyota declared in September that it’s watering down its battery electric vehicle (BEV) plans by cutting back the production of the small Toyota eQ (known as the Scion iQ stateside). You will find some interesting information as Toyota moves forward with Fuel Cell's rather than pure electric auto's. Sales of Plug in Vehicles, North America (2011 & 2012) Type - 2011 ------ 2012 (YTD)--(Since 1/1/2011) Cumulative HEV----268,807---322,516--------591,323 PHEV--8,272----- 25,944----------34,216 BEV----9,966----- 6,802-----------16,768 Source: Pike Research Most BEVs skirt the edge of a 100-mile range, stretching up to the $100,000 Model S, from Tesla, which can go nearly 300 miles on a single charge. EV advocates and battery manufacturers have long insisted that a battery breakthrough on the horizon will triple battery ranges while drastically reducing battery costs. Regardless of how far the BEV can go on a full battery, however, it still takes hours to recharge instead of the minutes it takes to refill a conventional gas vehicle. Toyota’s hydrogen vehicles can already achieve ranges and refill times comparable to conventional gas vehicles. For more info go to: http://fuelcellswork...ember_181315269
  8. G. David Felt Staff Writer Alternative Energy - CheersandGears.com September 25, 2012 Alternative Energy, what is the logical next step for America Part III? Join me as I write about the various forms of alternative energy and how I see them stacking up in today’s market place. Hydro, Geothermal and Wind While excellent in being renewable energy for use by homes and businesses, Hydro, Geothermal and Wind lack the ability to drive an auto by itself. When combined with alternative forms of creating energy, these three renewable forms of energy can truly make a difference. Hydropower, water powered cars or hydrogen/oxygen powered cars using 100% water as fuel is real. Splitting water by electrolysis and creating hydrogen/oxygen gas or Hydroxy gas, the molecules are bonded together positively in a ortho hydrogen state. Due to the power of this gas, you do not store it so it must be made as you drive. The special alternator generates amps to run the special stainless steel cell that allows this gas to be created and used to run the engine. One can research Stan Meyer’s Water Powered Dun Buggy to see what this technology is capable of. Yet with all the potential possible, either we have a true conspiracy from the oil companies with this technology being killed off or a solid scam. You decide! Now you have the alternative Hydrogen powered cars that rely on tanks, a hydrogen stations and what most engineers call the PEM (polymer exchange membrane) fuel cell. The PEM fuel cells have the advantage of being light and small. They consist of two electrodes ( a negatively charged anode and a positively charged cathode), a catalyst and a membrane. Hydrogen is forced into the fuel cell at the anode in the form of H2 molecules, each of which contains two hydrogen atoms. A catalyst at the anode breaks the molecules into hydrogen ions (the protons) and a flow of electricity (the electrons). The ions pass through the membrane, but the electricity has to go around. While it's doing so, it can be harnessed to do work. Just as hydrogen is forced into the fuel cell at the anode, oxygen is forced in at the cathode. The protons and electrons reunite at the cathode and join with the oxygen to form water, most of which become the fuel cell's exhaust. Fuel cells are designed to be flat and thin, mainly so they can be stacked. The more fuel cells in the stack, the greater the voltage of the electricity that the stack produces. Fuel cells have two major advantages over fossil fuels. First, they don't deplete the world's finite supply of oil, which helps us preserve the existing supplies and they could also reduce our dependency on foreign oil. Second, the only byproduct from a fuel cell's operation is heat and water, which means fuel cells don't produce pollution. This is vitally important in a time when carbon emissions from cars are believed to be promoting global warming. Perhaps a more important question is how the hydrogen itself will be produced. Given that hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, constituting roughly 90 percent of the atoms in existence, you'd think that this wouldn't be a problem. Well, think again. Hydrogen is also the lightest element in the universe and any uncontained hydrogen on the surface of the Earth will immediately float off into outer space. What hydrogen remains on this planet is bound with other elements in molecular form, most commonly in water (H2O) molecules. And there happens to be a lot of H2O on the surface of the Earth. But how do we separate the hydrogen molecules in the water from the oxygen molecules? And if we don't use water as a hydrogen source, where else can we get hydrogen? The simplest way of getting hydrogen from water is the one that Sir William Grove knew about more than 150 years ago: electrolysis. If you pass an electric current through water, the H2O molecules break down. Similar to fuel cell operation, this process uses an anode and a cathode, usually made from inert metals. When an electric current is applied to the water, hydrogen forms at the cathode, and oxygen forms at the anode. Although this process is slow, it can be done on a large scale. An alternative source for hydrogen is natural gas, which consists of naturally occurring hydrocarbons. A process called steam reformation can be used to separate the hydrogen in the gas from the carbon. At present, this is the most common method of industrial-scale production of hydrogen and would likely be the first method used to produce the hydrogen for fuel-cell vehicles. Unfortunately, this process uses fossil fuels -- the natural gas -- so if the point of building cars that run on hydrogen is to avoid depleting fossil fuel reserves, natural gas would be the worst possible source of this fuel yet with North America having the largest reserves in the world we have a 150-200 year step to the eventual holy grail of renewable energy with almost none if not truly no carbon footprint of green house gas. Some experts have suggested that it might be possible to build miniature hydrogen plants that will fit in the average person's garage, so it won't even be necessary to drive to the local fueling station to fill up the car's hydrogen tank. The most extreme form of this idea has been the suggestion that electrolysis could be performed inside the car itself, which would make possible the astounding idea of a car that runs on water! However, the power for the electrolysis has to come from some sort of battery, so a water-powered car would need to be periodically recharged. Your three biggest challenges to a Hydro car is cost of developing the hydrogen technology. Platinum is the most widely used catalyst in fuel cells leaving one with a 100K fuel cell cost. Storage is a thorny problem. Hydrogen is a gas that likes to spread out so compression into a reasonable size while dealing with expansion issues from warm days means that your tank would vent out and in a couple days you would have no fuel to run the car if it was sitting for days, this on top of the explosion factor due to being highly flammable. One only needs to remember the Hindenburg. Fortunately, hydrogen fires are not as hot as gas fires and less likely to start a secondary fire. Third challenge, Hydrogen is it really nonpolluting? A fuel cell only produces heat and water as exhaust but the process to create the hydrogen in not necessarily clean. Electrolysis uses electricity and that electricity will often come from plants that burn coal, a highly polluting source. And when hydrogen is extracted from natural gas, it produces carbon emissions, which is exactly what we're trying to avoid by using hydrogen in the first place. Geothermal Think back to your grade school science class about using the heat lying deep beneath the Earth’s surface. As we look to alternative ways to reduce our dependence on Fossil Fuels, it is not uncommon that every potential energy source is being considered as a replacement. How can geothermal power your car? Geothermal energy resources include an array of earth-sourced energy, including heat found below shallow ground, hot water and rock found a few miles deeper, and even the extremely high-temperature molten rock known as magma, lying deep beneath the surface of the Earth, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Although it has garnered more attention of late, heat from the Earth, or geothermal energy, has been warming water that then seeps into underground reservoirs since the beginning of time. With temperatures reaching extremely high levels, from 225 to 600 degrees F, these reservoirs form a usable source of energy that can then be used to produce electricity. In fact, the U.S. has used geothermal energy from reservoirs such as these to generate electricity at power plants for the past 50 years. As research continues on how to extract and use this renewable energy, expect geothermal energy to continue to become more competitive on a cost basis with fossil fuels. As supplies of fossil fuels dwindle, geothermal technology will already be in place to shoulder the energy needs. Currently, three types of electric generating plants have been developed to utilize geothermal energy. Used since 1960 as a replacement fuel for coal and other fossil fuels to generate electricity, technologies relying on geothermal energy have been developed primarily in three ways to power electric generation plants. One of these is known as dry steam. In this technology, steam from underground wells is used to turn a turbine that then activates a generator to produce electricity. However, due to a lack of underground steam resources, the only dry steam plant generation in the U.S. is at The Geysers in California. In binary cycle technology, heat from reservoirs of temperatures between 225 and about 350 degrees F is used to boil a working fluid that is then vaporized in a heat exchanger and used to power a generator. Water from this process can be injected back into the ground to begin the process again. But the most common kind of geothermal-powered electric plant is the flash steam plant that makes use of water from reservoirs of high temperatures, brought up through wells where it boils into steam and is then used to power a generator. Leftover water and steam can be returned to the reservoir for reuse. Geothermal resources are geographically favored. Although geothermal heat pumps can be used throughout the country, electric generating plants and direct-use systems are limited in the western states because geothermal resources are geographically concentrated in the western U.S. Part of the reason for the geographical limitations are that drilling technology is current limited to development of geothermal resources from shallow water or steam-filled reservoirs, which again, are found primarily in the west. So while this has enormous potential for clean power generation to power electrical cars, we have multiple limitations at this time for being a favorable source of fuel. One is the charge time for electric cars; two the distance an electric car can travel and three is the current state of development of geothermal power. For these reasons this is not a replaceable form of fuel for petrol. Wind The idea of a wind-powered car is nothing new. Back in the 1960s, Douglas Aircraft engineer Andrew Bauer allegedly created a working prototype of a "directly downwind faster than the wind," or DDWFTTW, vehicle. However, no official records exist exploring whether it was faster than the wind. Today you have an engineer Richard Jenkins who dreams of creating a vehicle that can use air to power a auto and in the process set his own land speed record. You can find much on the Greenbird built by Richard yet while the autos are propelled and driven by wind. There is still the large scale production of such a car and the need for constant wind to make them a reality. The issue of cars powered by wind electricity is less one of supply and demand, and more one of sociological and cultural shifts in habits and thinking. Going from miles per gallon to kilowatt hours per mile means more than plunking a battery where the gas tank used to be. It's about changing driving habits, travel habits and even our concept of working and commuting. But when (and if) these cultural traditions are changed, wind power would still come up short on supply. Sure, it could generate the necessary power, but only if there were enough wind farms and only if there were enough ways to distribute the power -- if and if and if. But the wind is a fickle beast, despite modern forecasting techniques. Wind is seasonal, wind is dependent on storms and wind is variable and changeable -- much more so than human behavior. The best bet on wind is where wind is a constant, so that wind generators can create the electricity that can go into charging auto’s this can have a very small carbon foot print and yet we still end up with the shortages of an electric auto. What we need to be asking ourselves and demanding for US independence is as follows: What is the logical next step to remove our dependence on Oil from other countries while allowing us to move to the next better fuel for auto’s? View full article
  9. G. David Felt Staff Writer Alternative Energy - CheersandGears.com September 25, 2012 Alternative Energy, what is the logical next step for America Part III? Join me as I write about the various forms of alternative energy and how I see them stacking up in today’s market place. Hydro, Geothermal and Wind While excellent in being renewable energy for use by homes and businesses, Hydro, Geothermal and Wind lack the ability to drive an auto by itself. When combined with alternative forms of creating energy, these three renewable forms of energy can truly make a difference. Hydropower, water powered cars or hydrogen/oxygen powered cars using 100% water as fuel is real. Splitting water by electrolysis and creating hydrogen/oxygen gas or Hydroxy gas, the molecules are bonded together positively in a ortho hydrogen state. Due to the power of this gas, you do not store it so it must be made as you drive. The special alternator generates amps to run the special stainless steel cell that allows this gas to be created and used to run the engine. One can research Stan Meyer’s Water Powered Dun Buggy to see what this technology is capable of. Yet with all the potential possible, either we have a true conspiracy from the oil companies with this technology being killed off or a solid scam. You decide! Now you have the alternative Hydrogen powered cars that rely on tanks, a hydrogen stations and what most engineers call the PEM (polymer exchange membrane) fuel cell. The PEM fuel cells have the advantage of being light and small. They consist of two electrodes ( a negatively charged anode and a positively charged cathode), a catalyst and a membrane. Hydrogen is forced into the fuel cell at the anode in the form of H2 molecules, each of which contains two hydrogen atoms. A catalyst at the anode breaks the molecules into hydrogen ions (the protons) and a flow of electricity (the electrons). The ions pass through the membrane, but the electricity has to go around. While it's doing so, it can be harnessed to do work. Just as hydrogen is forced into the fuel cell at the anode, oxygen is forced in at the cathode. The protons and electrons reunite at the cathode and join with the oxygen to form water, most of which become the fuel cell's exhaust. Fuel cells are designed to be flat and thin, mainly so they can be stacked. The more fuel cells in the stack, the greater the voltage of the electricity that the stack produces. Fuel cells have two major advantages over fossil fuels. First, they don't deplete the world's finite supply of oil, which helps us preserve the existing supplies and they could also reduce our dependency on foreign oil. Second, the only byproduct from a fuel cell's operation is heat and water, which means fuel cells don't produce pollution. This is vitally important in a time when carbon emissions from cars are believed to be promoting global warming. Perhaps a more important question is how the hydrogen itself will be produced. Given that hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, constituting roughly 90 percent of the atoms in existence, you'd think that this wouldn't be a problem. Well, think again. Hydrogen is also the lightest element in the universe and any uncontained hydrogen on the surface of the Earth will immediately float off into outer space. What hydrogen remains on this planet is bound with other elements in molecular form, most commonly in water (H2O) molecules. And there happens to be a lot of H2O on the surface of the Earth. But how do we separate the hydrogen molecules in the water from the oxygen molecules? And if we don't use water as a hydrogen source, where else can we get hydrogen? The simplest way of getting hydrogen from water is the one that Sir William Grove knew about more than 150 years ago: electrolysis. If you pass an electric current through water, the H2O molecules break down. Similar to fuel cell operation, this process uses an anode and a cathode, usually made from inert metals. When an electric current is applied to the water, hydrogen forms at the cathode, and oxygen forms at the anode. Although this process is slow, it can be done on a large scale. An alternative source for hydrogen is natural gas, which consists of naturally occurring hydrocarbons. A process called steam reformation can be used to separate the hydrogen in the gas from the carbon. At present, this is the most common method of industrial-scale production of hydrogen and would likely be the first method used to produce the hydrogen for fuel-cell vehicles. Unfortunately, this process uses fossil fuels -- the natural gas -- so if the point of building cars that run on hydrogen is to avoid depleting fossil fuel reserves, natural gas would be the worst possible source of this fuel yet with North America having the largest reserves in the world we have a 150-200 year step to the eventual holy grail of renewable energy with almost none if not truly no carbon footprint of green house gas. Some experts have suggested that it might be possible to build miniature hydrogen plants that will fit in the average person's garage, so it won't even be necessary to drive to the local fueling station to fill up the car's hydrogen tank. The most extreme form of this idea has been the suggestion that electrolysis could be performed inside the car itself, which would make possible the astounding idea of a car that runs on water! However, the power for the electrolysis has to come from some sort of battery, so a water-powered car would need to be periodically recharged. Your three biggest challenges to a Hydro car is cost of developing the hydrogen technology. Platinum is the most widely used catalyst in fuel cells leaving one with a 100K fuel cell cost. Storage is a thorny problem. Hydrogen is a gas that likes to spread out so compression into a reasonable size while dealing with expansion issues from warm days means that your tank would vent out and in a couple days you would have no fuel to run the car if it was sitting for days, this on top of the explosion factor due to being highly flammable. One only needs to remember the Hindenburg. Fortunately, hydrogen fires are not as hot as gas fires and less likely to start a secondary fire. Third challenge, Hydrogen is it really nonpolluting? A fuel cell only produces heat and water as exhaust but the process to create the hydrogen in not necessarily clean. Electrolysis uses electricity and that electricity will often come from plants that burn coal, a highly polluting source. And when hydrogen is extracted from natural gas, it produces carbon emissions, which is exactly what we're trying to avoid by using hydrogen in the first place. Geothermal Think back to your grade school science class about using the heat lying deep beneath the Earth’s surface. As we look to alternative ways to reduce our dependence on Fossil Fuels, it is not uncommon that every potential energy source is being considered as a replacement. How can geothermal power your car? Geothermal energy resources include an array of earth-sourced energy, including heat found below shallow ground, hot water and rock found a few miles deeper, and even the extremely high-temperature molten rock known as magma, lying deep beneath the surface of the Earth, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Although it has garnered more attention of late, heat from the Earth, or geothermal energy, has been warming water that then seeps into underground reservoirs since the beginning of time. With temperatures reaching extremely high levels, from 225 to 600 degrees F, these reservoirs form a usable source of energy that can then be used to produce electricity. In fact, the U.S. has used geothermal energy from reservoirs such as these to generate electricity at power plants for the past 50 years. As research continues on how to extract and use this renewable energy, expect geothermal energy to continue to become more competitive on a cost basis with fossil fuels. As supplies of fossil fuels dwindle, geothermal technology will already be in place to shoulder the energy needs. Currently, three types of electric generating plants have been developed to utilize geothermal energy. Used since 1960 as a replacement fuel for coal and other fossil fuels to generate electricity, technologies relying on geothermal energy have been developed primarily in three ways to power electric generation plants. One of these is known as dry steam. In this technology, steam from underground wells is used to turn a turbine that then activates a generator to produce electricity. However, due to a lack of underground steam resources, the only dry steam plant generation in the U.S. is at The Geysers in California. In binary cycle technology, heat from reservoirs of temperatures between 225 and about 350 degrees F is used to boil a working fluid that is then vaporized in a heat exchanger and used to power a generator. Water from this process can be injected back into the ground to begin the process again. But the most common kind of geothermal-powered electric plant is the flash steam plant that makes use of water from reservoirs of high temperatures, brought up through wells where it boils into steam and is then used to power a generator. Leftover water and steam can be returned to the reservoir for reuse. Geothermal resources are geographically favored. Although geothermal heat pumps can be used throughout the country, electric generating plants and direct-use systems are limited in the western states because geothermal resources are geographically concentrated in the western U.S. Part of the reason for the geographical limitations are that drilling technology is current limited to development of geothermal resources from shallow water or steam-filled reservoirs, which again, are found primarily in the west. So while this has enormous potential for clean power generation to power electrical cars, we have multiple limitations at this time for being a favorable source of fuel. One is the charge time for electric cars; two the distance an electric car can travel and three is the current state of development of geothermal power. For these reasons this is not a replaceable form of fuel for petrol. Wind The idea of a wind-powered car is nothing new. Back in the 1960s, Douglas Aircraft engineer Andrew Bauer allegedly created a working prototype of a "directly downwind faster than the wind," or DDWFTTW, vehicle. However, no official records exist exploring whether it was faster than the wind. Today you have an engineer Richard Jenkins who dreams of creating a vehicle that can use air to power a auto and in the process set his own land speed record. You can find much on the Greenbird built by Richard yet while the autos are propelled and driven by wind. There is still the large scale production of such a car and the need for constant wind to make them a reality. The issue of cars powered by wind electricity is less one of supply and demand, and more one of sociological and cultural shifts in habits and thinking. Going from miles per gallon to kilowatt hours per mile means more than plunking a battery where the gas tank used to be. It's about changing driving habits, travel habits and even our concept of working and commuting. But when (and if) these cultural traditions are changed, wind power would still come up short on supply. Sure, it could generate the necessary power, but only if there were enough wind farms and only if there were enough ways to distribute the power -- if and if and if. But the wind is a fickle beast, despite modern forecasting techniques. Wind is seasonal, wind is dependent on storms and wind is variable and changeable -- much more so than human behavior. The best bet on wind is where wind is a constant, so that wind generators can create the electricity that can go into charging auto’s this can have a very small carbon foot print and yet we still end up with the shortages of an electric auto. What we need to be asking ourselves and demanding for US independence is as follows: What is the logical next step to remove our dependence on Oil from other countries while allowing us to move to the next better fuel for auto’s?
  10. Alternative Energy, what is the logical next step for America? Join me as I write about the various forms of alternative energy and how I see them stacking up in today’s market place. Green Fuel Ethanol / BioMass Touted as the answer to our high gas prices, ethanol is an alcohol based fuel derived from fermenting and distilling crops that are broken down into simple sugars.Ethanol fuel is mainly produced in the US by a company called Archer Daniels Midland, an agricultural giant with years of experience and investment in the Ethanol industry. This industry is supported by Billions of approved tax dollars and the legal requirement that Oil Company MUST buys a percentage of Ethanol and mixes it into regular gas.Ethanol was touted as a cheaper form of fuel with an acceptable smaller amount of energy per gallon or BTU’s.The problem with Ethanol production or the issue is that ethanol production is supported by energy produced with Coal Power, which is the dirtiest form of energy. The question asked then is why is a clean fuel being hailed as such a wonder when it has to use the dirtiest form of energy production to produce it?The EPA has recently in the past few years had to tighten down restrictions on Ethanol plants due to the excessive spewing of chemicals that are dangerous to the environment and known to cause cancer in humans. Sadly the EPA since 2004 has Ethanol listed as a major source of Pollution. This has been pushed down into the bowls to be seen only by people driven to see testing results for alternative fuels production but the details are on the EPA web site.It is clear that in our search to move away from oil dependence and find new green fuels that we are polluting in new ways or at least other ways when it comes to production. So where do we stand when it comes to Ethanol? Does the subsidy really make sense to pay these companies billions to make a fuel that now on average costs $2.13 a gallon but without the subsidy would cost equal to gasoline and has less power and pollutes equal to if not greater when you factor in the coal power required to make it?This does not take into account the added cost put on Corn as a food source since a required amount of corn must be sold and used for production of Ethanol. Currently a bushel of corn is over $8 per bushel and a We have a problem on our hands and it is time we step up and truly move to an alternative form of Green Energy. Is it algae, fruit based ethanol, Biodiesel, CNG, Solar, Electric, Hydrogen (Cold Fusion), wind or just what is the next logical step for the US to take? Over the next few months I will attempt to review both renewable and non renewable energy!

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