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. Chu must be aware there is not sufficient mineral reserves on the planet to produce more than a few hundred million cars therefore EV vehicles are not sustainable. The proverbial Hydrogen Economy was effectively put on hold in recent weeks with the elimination of the funding when the US National Labs reported the technology is too expensive and too many years away to justify the immediate expense.
Now the US government has taken on the multi-$B R&D burden to help fund emerging battery technologies and is hoping they will be developed in time to be able to mass produce EV cars in larger quantities. This is a huge gamble and even if such batteries become available in the next 3-5 years, the energy density of liquid fuel is many times that of a solid rechargeable battery and the manufacture and recycling of batteries is simply far from being Green. Hybrids have far more issues in that they have 2 propulsion systems. When shopping for a new car, ask the price for battery replacement, transmission repair or even a diagnostics test for the electronics. The response costs will be twice or even three times that of a clean diesel.
As a side note… we were surprised to notice many of the other NCES exhibitors were using halogen technology light bulbs to brighten their booths. It was not difficult for us to find LED powered spot lights for our booth and banner illumination.