It has been an interesting experience visiting the Tesla Forum. Throughout the etcgreen.com website and on our blog posts there, we salute EV’s as a viable solution to reduce our dependency on petroleum and (if the energy source is not coal) reduce emissions. The purpose of our articles is not to attack EV technologies, rather it is to provide buyers accurate information that they can better filter through the EV marketing hype that we all constantly encounter. Our shared and ultimate goal is to reduce our dependency on petroleum and emissions with an immediate and economically viable solution.
It might surprise the readers to understand that our core research group came together 7 years ago in the then, Emerging Technology Center, which was a Research Group at a major university funded by the DoE, DoD and a private trust fund. The primary mission of that group was to develop technologies for the advancement of Electric Vehicles. For 3 years we brought together scientists, engineers and economists to help define opportunities in this amazing new market. We developed an Internet crawler feeding a massive database to help us process all the information, papers, articles, product specifications, etc. We used this information to develop models – engineering, logistics, environmental, economic, geo, … The next generation of that crawler found the specific Tesla Forum post which I understand has created a flurry of responses – over 100.
Within the first few years at the university, we came to realize that even a 50% migration to EV light fleet vehicles in the U.S. would require decades and that this technology was not sustainable at large scale due to the required manufacturing materials. Also, the cost of the new infrastructure necessary to support these vehicles would cost tens of trillions of dollars. It was then we decided to change our mission from EV’s specifically to a shorter term solution – 5 years. We focused on how to eliminate the need for OPEC petroleum purchases, boost the economy rather than to sorely impact the economy as with a massive EV roll-out, lower emissions by over 30% – all without compromising vehicle safety, comfort or capacity – this has evolved into the U.S. Migration.
The responses to the various blog posts on the Tesla Forum have been less than informed about rare earth and heavy metal usage – even per the usage in the Tesla vehicles (particularly concerned about the individual who is claiming that solar modules do not use rare earths). While there were some posts that help share biodiesel issues, no one on the blog seems to have taken the time to understand the incredible opportunity we have today with biodiesel from 2nd generation feedstock.
While there is a great deal of information all over the net – 2nd gen feedstock by definition does not use lands suitable for food production. In 2008 a Nobel Laureate and his research team genetically engineered a nut tree to increase its oil yield by a factor of 4 to 850 gallons/acre/year. We have identified 18M acres of suitable lands in the U.S. for this purpose and have control orchards now growing in 3 states and 2 foreign countries. Current U.S. petroleum use for transportation is at about 150B gallons/yr. Calculating at 25% improvement in efficiency with advanced diesel engines, we can be completely off OPEC oil in 5 years and run B20 in the U.S. within 10 years. The great state of Minnesota has already passed legislation for B20 starting in 2015 and there are 7 other states that currently have biodiesel mandates in place.
Today, in the U.S. we have over 50M acres of prime U.S. farm land dedicated to the production of 1st generation feedstock for low efficiency biofuels. These lands need to be returned to food production. At the same time, we believe there are over 200M acres of appropriate lands and water in the U.S. to grow 2nd generation feedstock that would actually exceed our current total transportation fuel needs and do so at below $1/gallon at the pumps + tax with no government incentives. And what type of cars can this fuel power? Here is one of our favorites: Trident Supercar
The Emerging Technology Corporation has 4 Divisions – Renewable Energy, Aerospace, Communications and Mining. We operate 37 mining claims and mills (rare earth and heavy metals) in 4 states today. To show our support of Tesla’s efforts and EV’s in general, we will offer to support Tesla’s mineral needs at far below market rates (currently their rare earth and heavy metal minerals are sourced primarily from China). We have never attacked or criticized Tesla or the great work they do – they are moving the human race forward.