Blog

American  Greatness – Letter to Rachel Maddow

American Greatness – Letter to Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow, D.PhilMSNBC Broadcast Journalist Dr. Maddow, Thank you for your contributions to the world of journalism.  While so many of your colleagues are challenged to stay inside the lines of your profession’s proverbial ethics, your smiling face appears on my screens delivering a “better reality”.  Your recent series of broadcasts regarding our nation’s history and heritage are indeed inspiring, however, they do not reflect an understanding of current resource availability.  To better convey my point (in your own style) I will share the following quotes from the movie, “Six Days Seven Nights”… Robin: Aren’t you one of those guys? Quinn: What guys? Robin: Those guy guys, you know, those guys with skills. Quinn: Skills? Robin: Yeah. You send them into the wilderness with a pocket knife and a Q-tip and they build you a shopping mall. You can’t do that? Tom Brokaw’s “Greatest Generation” was indeed great because they wielded the greatest amount of the cheapest energy in human history.  The great accomplishments – Hoover Dam (about 5 miles from my offices), …, the vast majority of the entire U.S. Civil Engineering infrastructure – were all basically the result of this same “unique in all of human history” energy resource opportunity. To share some background, after graduate school, I ran my own firm for 12 years then went to work for the then Fortune 82 Corporation.  A few years of experience provided a path to the then Fortune 67, then Fortune 38 and finally Fortune 8.  Afterward I worked for the DoE and the DoD for many years.  I served as an Analyst and Project Manager/Principal Investigator in...

Are you driving your last gasoline powered car?

Vehicle owners now understand the ever dwindling supply and higher expense and risks of extracting petroleum will continue to increase the price at the pumps. For over 100 years we have enjoyed this cheap energy source, but the party is coming to an end. People are considering hybrids to delay the inevitable end of the petroleum age, people are considering EV’s as an alternative – though not enough are concerned about Peak Minerals – and more and more people are considering walking and riding bicycles. “BP’s Deepwater Horizon tragic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is what the end of the oil age looks like. The cheap, easy petroleum is gone; from now on, we will pay steadily more and more for what we put in our gas tanks—more not just in dollars, but in lives and health, in a failed foreign policy that spawns foreign wars and military occupations, and in the lost integrity of the biological systems that sustain life on this planet.” Richard Heinberg If the projections from the 2010 Department of Defense, J.O.E. Report prove to be correct, then within the next 2 years, US drivers will have to adjust their budgets to accommodate $4/gallon gasoline. Higher extraction costs, greater demand from developing nations and lower production capacity will direct the price per barrel to new record highs. Actually, there are several petroleum industry subsidy reports that suggest US citizens are already paying as much as $5/gallon with the combination of pump price and taxes directed to these subsidies. If the Obama Administration makes good on their promise, they will eliminate these petroleum industry...

Peak Oil – Ride the Slide

A fun animation for perspective.  Consider that the US is now consuming 375 million gallons of oil per day.  This is unsustainable.  How will you “Ride the...

Change the World – Plant a Tree

Produced in 1987, the message of this video, L’homme qui Plantait des Arbres, or The Man Who Planted Trees, is even more important today (runtime – 28 minutes).  The narrator is Christopher Plummer. Jean Giono, the author of the short story upon which the movie is based, wrote the story after American editors in 1953 asked him to write a few pages about an unforgettable character. They intended him to write about a real unforgettable character, but he created the fictional Elezeard Bouffier. When the editors objected that no Bouffier had died in Banon, he donated the story to all humanity. It was soon after published by Vogue in 1954. Many people have assumed that Bouffier is a real...

Semper Fi!

The ETC Green Staff has surveyed and developed dozens of Green Energy Managed Sites (GEMS) over the past 2 years.  We are initially attracted by the site’s resources and sometimes later excited and inspired by the site’s history and character.  A few times we have been motivated to stop our regular operations and efforts to raise a flag.  It is simply the right thing to do at the time.  Semper...

Thank you Dr. Borlaug

Norman E. Borlaug, the plant scientist who did more than anyone else in the 20th century to teach the world to feed itself and whose work was credited with saving hundreds of millions of lives, died Saturday night. He was 95 and lived in Dallas. The cause was complications from cancer, said Kathleen Phillips, a spokeswoman for Texas A&M University, where Dr. Borlaug had served on the faculty since 1984.  Dr. Borlaug’s advances in plant breeding led to spectacular success in increasing food production in Latin America and Asia and brought him international acclaim. In 1970, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He was widely described as the father of the broad agricultural movement called the Green Revolution, though decidedly reluctant to accept the title. “A miserable term,” he said, characteristically shrugging off any air of self-importance.  Yet his work had a far-reaching impact on the lives of millions of people in developing countries. His breeding of high-yielding crop varieties helped to avert mass famines that were widely predicted in the 1960s, altering the course of history. Largely because of his work, countries that had been food deficient, like Mexico and India, became self-sufficient in producing cereal grains. “More than any other single person of this age, he has helped provide bread for a hungry world,” the Nobel committee said in presenting him with the Peace Prize. “We have made this choice in the hope that providing bread will also give the world peace.” The day the award was announced, Dr. Borlaug, vigorous and slender at 56, was working in a wheat field outside Mexico City when his...

National Clean Energy Summit 2009

ETC Green was an exhibitor at the 2009 National Clean Energy Summit 2.0 (NCES).  We enjoyed meeting the several hundred people who passed through our booth and we have already built new relationships with dozens of individuals and businesses as the result of this event. We were very interested to hear the opinions and directions of the Energy Panel and Summit Speakers assembled by Senator Reid.  However, the statements and suggested solutions were as diverse as found in the press most everyday.  General Clark was even promoting an increase in Ethanol production and Public Administrative Policy to raise the current Ethanol limit from 10% to 15% at the pumps.  Many of these solutions are in opposition to one another and without more focus, there cannot be success. The price of petroleum sourced fuel in Europe has been x2 the price of petroleum sourced fuel in the US for over a decade.  The Europeans have responded to this challenge with cleaner diesel standards, biodiesel blends and extremely efficient CRD/TDI engines.  Yet no one with a microphone suggested clean diesel, biodiesel and eventually syndiesel as the common sense and attainable solution for US transportation needs. Following the “smart money” investors such as Bill Gates, several top Venture Capital firms, Exxon, Chevron, Shell Oil, GM, Toyota, Daimler, etc., have all made a committment to bio-sourced synthetic diesel as the primary fuel for the transportation sector (road, rail, air and sea) in the near future.  There seems to be a communication disconnect between government and these top research firms. There was a great deal of discussion about EV’s throughout the day, but Dr....

ETC Green CRD Jeep Performance

ETC Green runs the Common Rail Diesel engine powered Jeep Grand Cherokee for our survey vehicles.  We use biodiesel blends in the Jeeps (up to B50) and are happy with the typical 52 MPPG (Miles Per Petroleum Gallon) performance. This is a photo of one of the Jeep’s dashboards on a ~400 mile trip – pretty typical for highway driving.  Since we use B50, this represents 52 MPPG. So while these Jeeps are full-sized, AWD SUV’s, with as much torque as a Corvette and the towing capacity of a full-sized truck, our fuel performance exceeds the MPPG rating of what the media has labeled “Green” cars such as the Prius, Insight, Fusion, Volt, etc.. Everyone today seems so focused on MPG, yet this unit of measure is outdated.  If the fuel is sustainable, economically viable and environmentally friendly, then MPG is not that important. Actually, if vehicles were running on B100 sourced from 2nd generation feedstock, then lower MPG is more desirable as it better supports our economy.  ETC Green Engineers are working with the EPA and DOT to establish a new unit of measure – MPPG (Miles Per Petroleum Gallon) so people have a better understanding of the performance and emissions of the vehicle.  For more information please review the article, Are you driving your last gasoline powered car? Petroleum is a finite resource.  Doubling the MPPG for vehicles is wrong headed in that this direction only delays the depletion of this finite resource.  Emissions from any vehicle running on petroleum sourced fuels – including gasoline powered hybrids such as the Prius and Volt – have no life-cycle...

Nice Cows…

“Nice cows … I know it is your space … Pretty sharp horns you have there … Sit! … Stay!...

Geothermal Survey is Hot and Wet

Determining geothermal potential is a complex combination of database development, computer modeling, drilling and hands-on site survey work.  Many of the bore holes (wells) are high pressure Artesian so we have to follow safety precautions to deal with scalding water while taking various measurements and collecting samples.  Standing in 180F water is not… well…. cool.  When we see the comment, “I think I have melted my work boots” in the work logs, we know we have another viable geothermal resource and we search for more heat resistant work boots for our...

First ETC Green Blog Post

Hello all, Welcome to the blog portion of the website.  The purpose of the blog is to provide information to readers on the events and adventures of ETC Green staff in an informal way. It is such an honor to meet and work with all the cool people in our service area.  Last month we met the individual who is credited with the development of the 2 stage super-charger and dozens of other inventions.  We have an autographed picture of Sanford and his 1945 team in our display case.  He also was in the historic nuclear training program at General Electric and was the 1st speaker for the 1st Annual Conference of the American Nuclear Society in 1955.  Sanford married a powerhouse of a woman, Marilyn, who was the head of Human Resources for the American Broadcasting Company (ABC TV) for decades.  What a thrill for us to meet and get to know these people. Climbing to the top of a 6,000ft ridge line to collect wind data, dropping thermal sensors 3+ miles to the bottom of a geothermal exploratory well, mooing at all the cows on the ranches.  We are having fun!...