Blogging on the Tesla Forum

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...

Does Cycling Reduce Petroleum Usage?

I love cycling.  Year after year I have put more miles on my bike for transportation than on my ICE vehicle.  However, cycling is not a solution to our petroleum problem.  Actually, for most individuals, it is exactly the wrong direction based on the required energy conversion – particularly when factoring in emission levels. I worked in a Human Performance Research Center for 2 years in college.  I hold a college minor in Human Performance and have competed in about 500 Tri’s, Bi’s, Marathons, Ultra-Marathons, 10K’s, etc.  Several times in my athletic career (which included several years of training for Olympic competitions) I stopped training as I could not afford the cost or felt too guilty consuming 12,000-15,000 calories/day (6′-4″/265lbs).  That volume of food could feed 2 families of 4 in most countries. The amount of energy necessary to power a bicycle is based on the efficiency of your metabolism and a list of other lessor variables.  Even if we calculate energy conversion based on the highly efficient levels of a world class athlete (which is a memory for me at this point), the amount of petroleum required to produce and secure the additional food needed to human power a bicycle the same distance is greater than simply powering an ICE vehicle.  Seriously, a modern diesel powered vehicle that weighs 3,400lbs with start/stop technology, only uses about 2.3 fluid oz – less than 1/2 of 1 cup of fuel to move 1 mile.  To plant, grow, harvest, process and transport enough food to power a human body to move a bike the same distance of 1 mile is likely...

EV Tech – Postmortem

The phrase “Who Killed the Electric Car” has been in the press again lately with the recent release of the documentary, “Revenge of the Electric Car”.  While it is our dire desire to be rid of all dependency on petroleum for our transportation needs, current generation EV technologies are still far from viable per a list of issues… economically, environmentally, safety, human health, longevity, scalability and sustainability.  These high-tech vehicles simply do not make sense for the vast majority of American drivers.  Per our exhaustive evaluation, we consider the EV “dead” to the general American public until the various technologies surpass a long list of reasonable thresholds.  The following is the postmortem report on the current generation of EV vehicles. Every emerging technology needs early supporters and if you can afford to pay $1-$2/mile to operate a small vehicle that offers extremely limited range and you plan to operate your EV in grid areas not powered by coal plants, then the current EV manufacturers and future EV technologies will benefit from your support and we salute your commitment to this emerging technology.  It has a very real potential at some point in the future (20-30 years) of being more environmentally friendly than other current options.  If you have limited financial resources and still need to drive a private vehicle as is the situation with the vast majority of our nation’s population, we strongly suggest you join the U.S. Migration. Each of the following issues below have been the core message of related articles.   While any one of these problems makes a convincing argument not to drive an EV,...

MPPG

Everyone today seems so focused on MPG, yet this unit of measure is outdated.  If the fuel is scalable, economically viable, environmentally friendly and truly sustainable, then MPG is actually not that important. Petroleum is a finite resource. Focusing our resources to double or even triple the Miles Per Petroleum Gallon (MPPG) for vehicles is wrong headed in that this direction only delays the depletion of this finite resource.  The correct focus is sustainability.  We must migrate to sustainable fuels as soon as possible to reduce the impact the end of the petroleum era will have on our economy and on all our lives. If we stay on the current track, auto makers will spend several trillion dollars in R&D over the coming decade trying to increase MPPG for a fuel that will likely no longer be sold in the U.S. commonly within 10-15 years.  Also, emissions from any vehicle running on petroleum sourced fuels – including gasoline powered hybrids such as the Prius and Volt – have no life-cycle emissions off-sets.  As compared to petrodiesel, biodiesel from 2nd generation feedstock has radically reduced emissions: use of preferred sourced B100 completely eliminates lifecycle carbon dioxide emissions (CO2), it also reduces emission of particulate matter by 40-65%, unburned hydrocarbons by 68%, carbon monoxide by 44-50%, sulfates by 100%, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) by 80%, and the carcinogenic nitrated PAHs by 90% on an average. The biodiesel molecules are simple hydrocarbon chains free of the aromatic substances and sulfur associated with fossil fuels. So to calculate the MPPG – take the MPG and figure in the biodiesel blend % – B5,...

Japanese Announce Source of Rare Earths

The Japanese have been searching for an alternative to Chinese rare earth minerals for more than a year and claim to have found it with this recently published paper. It has long been known there were high concentrations of minerals on the ocean floor – this accumulated mud is the decomposing biomass of a gazillion micro algae that have built up over eons mixed with the emissions of ocean floor vents.  We (ETC) have discussed this possibility at length within our own group and Crude – The Incredible Journey of Oil the 2007 Documentary, shows this process in the scene where they journey to the ocean floor to see this Industrial Metabolism cycle in progress (these layers of biomass are the primary source of petroleum, natural gas and coal). This “discovery” supports the concept that micro algae is a fundamental source of life on our planet and that we need to tap into it directly for our sustainability. Micro algae is also the primary 2nd generation feedstock target for the production of biodiesel.  Minerals from the ocean floor vents add a new twist and we are curious about the types and volumes of minerals that can be extracted from this source and the cost of doing so.  We do not believe this potential source will contain high concentrations of all rare earths – only a few and primarily the light weight rare earths and far less of the heavy rare earth minerals. Mining mud from 1-4 miles below the surface and then using toxic chemistry for the refining process on a ship in the middle of the ocean brings...
Letter to our Friends in the Sierra Club

Letter to our Friends in the Sierra Club

Rachel Rye Butler National Conservation Organizer Sierra Club, Green Transportation e: rachel.butler@sierraclub.org w: sierraclub.org/transportation RE: Invitation to participate in your Transportation Activists Blog Dear Rachel, Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to your Transportation Activists Blog.  Working together we can move this nation into more environmentally friendly solutions while still supporting our economy and way of life. From the Sierra Club, Green Transportation Invitation: Why are individuals’ stories important?  Personal stories help illustrate the fact that transportation is more than just statistics– people are affected by our current system that keeps us addicted to oil while providing too few safe, convenient transportation choices. By sharing our stories through social media, blogs, and in print, we can focus public attention on the need for a better transportation system. So how will this work?  Throughout the next few months, we’ll collect compelling stories from individual activists on how they are affected by our transportation system and why they care about making it better.  After we’ve collected a good set of personal stories, we’ll work to share these stories through blog posts, social media, and our local newspapers. I’ve exchanged emails with many Transportation Activists on why they care about transportation, and I’ve heard some very compelling stories from this group.  So let’s get those stories out there! Steve Frazer Submission – 2011-06-06 For more than 20 years, I was employed by Fortune 100 Corporations and government agencies as an Analyst.  I enjoyed the level of influence my job provided me to “make a difference” in those organizations.  Then about 10 years ago, I began to see the world in a...