Coincidentally, another article about Stan Ovshinsky -
*ignore the word "Scientest"
"Mrs. Ovshinsky said, 'He was so cute. President Bush said, 'I'm not a scientist, I'm a history major.' Then Stan said, 'let's make history together.' It was very positive.' "
Really want to keep this article around... names specific companies dedicated to the production of cheap, clean energy. Also puts it in a Wall Street mindframe (and we all know that $$$ is the bottom line... don't fool yourself)
So close to home! Yet another reason to visit Santa Monica -
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Coincidentally, another article about Stan Ovshinsky -
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Glad this didn't miss my radar (ie Google News Alerts)
To summarize: basically, we're at a critical point with our environment (how many times can we hear that before something is done?). There are two ways of thinking: Sandal-style (biomass, wind, solar) and Nuke (technology to save us from our technology). A few great excerpts:
"We have to act soon, we have to think big and we have to work together. Humans are bad at all of those things, especially the last. And the window of opportunity is closing very quickly indeed. We probably have less than a decade to get it right. What, then, must we do?"
"Now we chuck a mountain into the air every year. If we solidified the 27 billion tons of carbon dioxide (over 6 billion tons of pure carbon) produced by humans annually, it would make a mountain a mile high and 12 miles in circumference. As a result, the Earth’s atmosphere now contains about 380 parts per million of carbon, compared with about 280 parts, which seems to have been the default setting that made our existence possible."
"Perhaps it would be even better simply to take the carbon dioxide straight out of the air. This is the idea of Klaus S Lackner of the Earth Engineering Center at Columbia University in New York. He has worked out that carbon can simply be filtered out of the air with remarkable efficiency. He reckons an area of 2 square feet would be enough to capture the carbon emitted by one American in a year: about 25 tons. (The world average emission per individual is 1 ton.)"
^^^ I predict this will become more popular and far more necessary as we continue to do what we do to this planet.
"Nuclear’s reputation as a dangerous power source is also undeserved. Since Chernobyl, around the world there have been thousands of reactor-years run without a serious incident. Furthermore, new “pebble bed” reactors that use graphite instead of water to control reactions are even safer. These are now being pioneered in, among other places, China. Finally, we should have fusion power available within about 40 years. This is absolutely safe nuclear power because, as the fusion scientist Miklos Porkolab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) proudly points out, if it goes wrong it doesn’t melt down, it just quietly cools down."
“agriculture is the greatest rapist of nature”
And what happens if none of this is embraced? Last resort strategies:
"Persuading the airlines to put sodium in their fuel might have a comparable effect. It would release particles into the atmosphere that would rise to form a high-level haze that also might help to block sunlight. Some have suggested that the same effect could be achieved by blasting sodium shells into the air from naval guns or floating it into the upper atmosphere with high-level balloons."
"Even more ambitious would be stopping the sunlight before it gets here. One suggestion is that we fly a spacecraft to the Lagrangian point between the Earth and the sun. This is the point at which the gravity of the two bodies is cancelled out. An object left there simply does not move. The craft would unfurl a huge curtain of fine mesh that would block a small percentage of sunlight, not enough for us to notice but enough to offset global warming for perhaps a decade."
"Finally, if all else fails, we could construct huge nuclear weapons to be exploded inside Earth’s orbit and which would blast us further away from the sun. This has seriously been discussed, but is generally regarded as a touch risky."
How about we just shrink our carbon footprint so we don't have to blow ourselves out of orbit, ok???
And, because this is so long, I'll reward you with a picture... an 500KM/H train that rides on magnets. These are currently running in China FYI
These little H2 trucks are great! Used in airports and other large sites, these are a great way to test and promote hydrogen energy sources. Get yourself a few of these, an electrolyzer (creates hydrogen from water... have you been paying attention) and you have a low-cost replacement for electric or diesel-powered vehicles.
"The hydrogen for all the installations is supplied by an electrolyser in a central location from renewable energy. As the refuelling solution is an EU Certified product and the employees do not have to handle the hydrogen itself. The innovative metal hydride canister design and unique filling station means the training required is minimal and operation simple."
And they're using the hydride storage which is awesome! Metal hydrides are the safest way to store hydrogen but they have not quite been perfected yet. Using them in real-world applications on a constant basis is an excellent way to test and perfect them.
Friday, June 23, 2006
The obstacles against a hydro-fuelled transportation industry are few but significant. For those who haven't been paying attention, they are:
-> The way hydrogen is made
-> The way it will be stored
-> The way it can be distributed
All three are seeing improvments but the first on the list, how this "magical" fuel is created, is a tough problem. QuantumSphere may have the answer:
"'Our water electrolysis research will ultimately enable us to leverage the Company's nanomaterials to produce cheap hydrogen using water and electricity. QuantumSphere's electrodes use QSI-Nano™ metals and alloys that are ten times less expensive when compared to platinum, offering an orders-of-magnitude increase in surface area (due to nano-scale size) to provide low cost, energy-efficient processes and materials to generate hydrogen,' Dr. Carpenter added.
"QuantumSphere's water electrolysis processes alleviate the dependence on platinum, deliver 80% cheaper electrodes with increased surface area and activity while reducing the electrical potential that resists the water splitting process."
For the layman... traditional electrolysis (sptlitting of water with electricity) requires a platinum catalyst (just something that starts the reaction). Platinum, as you all know, is pricy these days. QS has developed a new kind of metal to take it's place which is much cheaper. They also mention in the article that the electricity to power this reaction will come from renewable sources. SO NICE to hear a big industry player say that instead of following the nay-sayer sheep herd and bray about it being inefficient or impractical.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Ol' Henry would be proud! Ford has a fleet of 30 true hydrogen fuel cell Focuses (Foci?) on the streets of a few different countries. They've logged over 180K miles total and the testing is going great. People like driving them and they're functioning well (not a surprise to me to be honest). The coolest part?
"After an intense engineering investigation, a team from Ford and Ballard determined the cause of the problem and fixed it with a software adjustment, which significantly improved the performance of the vehicle overall."
OnStar that FIXES your car on the run! "Sir, we see you're having some horsepower reduction. Give me one moment and... there, is that better?" AMAZING
Thank you for being so patient and please excuse the little delay. We are pleased to inform you that the H-racer and the Hydrogen station are available now to buy at: www.horizonfuelcell,com/buynow.php.
Since you first contacted us, the H-racer has been featured in over 55 articles in 15 countries (from Business Week to the Iran Daily!). Check out the attached pictures to be the first to see the actual product…we hope you like it.
As promised, the H-racer is available now for US$40 and so is the Hydrogen Station (including solar panel).
Have fun and enjoy the future (powered by Horizon!)
SO COOL! A little hydro-powered car! You can be sure I'll be picking this up ASAP (and probably blowing it up while trying to make it faster)
What a slacker... All my zero readers are clamoring for more!
Great information from Captains of the Industry:
Lawrence Burns, General Motors' head of research and development, gave an upbeat picture for fuel cells. The goal, he said, was to cut the cost of hydrogen to $2-$3 per kg, about the same cost of running a car at $1-$1.50 per gallon of petrol.
"At the end of the day, we don't want to ask customers to pay more because that is not the pathway to high volume," he said.
That last statement says it all... high volume is crucial and the only way to do that is to make it cheap enough for everyone to chose it over the other options. Look at hybrids: the idea that you're paying a lot less for fuel day-to-day overshadows the entry fee for many people.
"Based on our better understanding of the technology now, we will have the start of commercialization in 2012 at the earliest. By around 2015 we will have an overall fleet of up to 100,000 vehicles world-wide and, in my view, from around 2020 at the earliest fuel cell cars will make up a single-digit percentage of new car registrations," Daimler's Mohrdieck said.
VW's Steiger was more wary, suggesting fuel cell cars would start to appear in real numbers by 2020, but then take 10 years to get a market share of 1 percent, 10 more years to reach a 10 percent share and 10 more to reach half the market for new cars.
50% market share by 2050???? Optimistic for sure but with people like me on the job, how can you lose?! :)
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
"BMW and French fuel company TOTAL have agreed terms to set up a trial of three hydrogen filling stations. The stations will support the introduction of BMW hydrogen cars into the European, or more specifically, German market.
"TOTAL opened the first public hydrogen filling station in Berlin in March 2006. In conjunction with BMW, the company will open another in Detmoldstrasse in Munich near BMW's Research and Innovation Centre (better known as FIZ) before the end of 2006. The decision on the location of the third station is to be taken in the next few weeks.
"BMW is on record stating it will offer a hydrogen-fuelled 7 Series for public consumption within two years."
This is the most concise article about this cool symbiosis but certainly not the only one. It's great to see progress like this to show that this isn't just some goofy, rinky-dink technology no one cares about. Take that!
Another great positive article about the future of alternatively-fuelled vehicles. I never knew we had 8mil on the road already, that's neat. Introduces the idea of a flex-fuel car that can run on gasoline OR meth/ethanol (any -ol fuel... meaning alcohol-based). Not two engines, same engine... maybe two tanks? No, probably not... wow, I don't know the answer to that, dig-time!
Eventually I will run out of witty titles... hey, I think that's already started!
I've never heard of this man but he sounded like quite a guy:
"The Challenge Bibendum was Edouard Michelin's idea, stemming from his deeply held belief that all physical reality is ultimately perishable but that its eventual demise could be delayed or made less painful if available resources are managed intelligently."
Edouard Michelin is, or rather was, the chief executive of Michelin Tire. He apparently drowned last week but his legacy lives on in this interesting alternative fuel program! What a cool way to be remembered!
"Dignity. I think that's important, don't you?"
"Our capital system (the extraction of oil) is not limited by rate of supply - but it is finite. Reducing the capital that we consume does not get us to a sustainable world. Beating your spouse less hard is no answer!"
Pretty hard-core way of looking at it but I can't say I disagree. This article is a little pie-in-the-sky but that's how I like my alternative energy press: optimistic. They're basically saying that conventional wisdom does not apply to an unconventional situation. If you've ever had doubts about the hydro picture, this helps you see things in a different light.
"Hugo Spowers's engineering degree and MBA were sufficient to convince him that the barriers were neither technical nor financial but human."
I agree whole-heartedly...
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
I can picture W saying this:
"People got to have trucks," said Corinna Sadler, Internet sales manager at Frederick Motor Co. "We've got to do something to keep them in their trucks, and Ford's addressing it."
Some interesting MPG tips:
"As a rule of thumb, each five miles per hour over 60 is like paying an additional 20 cents per gallon of gas," Mr. Harrington said.
In Cali prices, I'm paying about $4.40... every morning. ACK!
"Another tip is to avoid idling. Today's cars do not need to be warmed up like the vehicles in the past and no more than 30 seconds of idling on winter days is needed, Mr. Harrington said. "The best way to warm up a vehicle is to drive it," he said.
Something else I do wrong...
"Unneeded weight caused by using a trunk as an additional storage area also decreases mileage, Mr. Harrington said. "
Subwoofers don't count though, right?
When I first got this job sorting, categorizing and segregating chemicals, I thought "where do all these things come from?" Turns out, many of the strange chemicals that are used out there are byproducts of other reactions for things you would never think of. Everything we use, eat and apply is made through some kind of chemical process and those processes always have waste of some form. As society progresses and continues to have more and different needs, we have more and different manufacturing processes producing more and different types of waste. Tires, cosmetics, cleaning products, petroleum refining, everything has a unique waste product that can sometimes be put to work somewhere else. Even chocolate!!
OK so, wow, they're powering a fan but think about it this way: Let's say Hershey's has a factory, a big one, that makes all kinds of yummy, delicious confections. A mysterious salesperson comes knocking on the door and says "hey, my company has found a way to take the stuff you pay to get rid of and turn it into something you can sell." Several million dollars later, Hershey's has a low-cost hydrogen fuel pump for they're employees, a massive fuel cell stack to offset their electricity costs and a pipeline to sell hydrogen back to the energy grid. Utopian? I think not!
Monday, June 05, 2006
Well, not actually... spent most of yesterday cleaning the car and working on the book. Last week was a MESS!! Glad it's over. On to the news...
Just when I thought I couldn't hate him anymore:
The URL mentions politics and I mentioned hating a particular person. Could this be another ridiculous Bush move?
"...the tiny Industrial Technologies Program routinely saves the United States $7 worth of energy for each dollar it spends, proponents say. So, with energy prices spiking and President Bush pushing for more energy research, the ITP would seem a natural candidate for more funding. In fact, its budget is set to get chopped by a third from its 2005 level. It's one of more than a dozen energy-efficiency efforts that the Energy Department plans to trim or eliminate in a $115 million cost-saving move. "
ACK!!! Why?!? You cut a program that has an ROI of 7 times what is put in?? Here's why:
"the Bush administration is anxious to fund its new Advanced Energy Initiative, long-term research into nuclear, coal, wind, solar, and hydrogen power."
So, I can't be too pissed but, seriously, the total cut is $115m, how much is coming out of the ITP? Enough to make a difference? Something like this energy initiative needs (I can only assume) BILLIONS, not a couple hundred million, gimmee a break. This guy needs to go back to school. Wait a sec, do I see a hidden motivation? It's the usual sespect:
"When energy prices are high, you don't need to subsidize conservation efforts," says Jerry Taylor, director of natural resource studies for the Cato Institute, a Washington think tank. "These are subsidies that qualify as corporate welfare."
Thursday, June 01, 2006
"That National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently released its Annual Greenhouse Gas Index, which measures the gases in the atmosphere - including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons - that affect the planet's climate.
"The index showed an increase in carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, but a leveling off of methane and decline of two other chlorofluorocarbons."
Surprise surprise, more CO2 in the atmosphere.... at least other markers are going down which could be an indicator ofconsciensciousness.
I'm posting this just to make sure everyone is aware that greenhouse gases are REAL and MEASURABLE. Whether they are reaching critical mass and we're cooking ourselves slowly or there is nothing to worry about, emmitted carbon structures do exist in the air and we did put them there.
On a different note:
"The hydrogen will be produced through electrolysis - the process of using electricity of spilling water into hydrogen and oxygen. "
Uhhhh... what? Spilling water? At least I just learned about this group: http://www.nrel.gov/
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
All the news that's fit to blog:
Chattanooga, TN is testing a fridge-sized fuel cell (converts natural gas to electricity and hydrogen... theoretically this is the type we will see in our homes for the first wave of this technology. Pump in CNG [clean natural gas], power the home with electricity and fuel your hydro car overnight):
Article about coal gasification if you know nothing about it; basically a better way of using coal for energy (i.e. instead of burning it). I didn't know that coal produces half of our energy, that's surprising.
This is what happens when governments stops TALKING and starts THINKING. A very cool mass transit idea from Bristol, UK
Detractors (eyes rolling)... this guy has so many facts wrong it's silly. Oh well, at least he's pulling for other green methods instead of traching the idea that we should move on from petroleum.
I never knew that oil drilled out of Alaska or offshores was considered an alternative to oil. No, that's not a typo, this Congressman's big "alternative energy plan" is drilling offshore and in the ANWR. Ugh... not as bad as some of the stuff going on, though, and he's also promoting nuclear energy (not Chernobyl nuclear, Koeberg nuclear, read up). Plus, anyone that promotes hydrogen fuel cells has a special place in my heart!
BTW: Read both sides of the ANWR debate... it sounds bad from the get-go but really is not as horrible as you might think. Regardless, drilling for more oil is very short-sighted but typical of this administration.
Funniest picture in weeks:
An editorial for the most part but present a Pentagon paper that states (among other things):
"In a recent study, part funded by the Pentagon no less, a group of American energy-efficiency gurus concluded that all the oil the United States now uses could be displaced for less capital outlay than it would take to buy that oil. To replace oil use with cheaper alternatives in this way, the US would have to invest $180 billion over the next decade, for which the return would be $130 billion in annual savings by 2025."
^ Read that until you get it, that's all that needs to be said right now. The oil costs more than the alternative, right now, as it stands, period. The PENTAGON came up with this, not a group of hippies in Portland.
Definitely read the whole thing but here's another miracle-of-math fact, let it sink if for a second. You and I could save about 3 mpg by driving differently:
"a nation that could wipe out its entire Middle Eastern oil imports with a mere 2.7 mile-per-gallon increase in its pitiful fleet average of just over 20"
Lots more new, great information, check it out.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
The rest of the interview is boring unless you care about automotive corporate strategy.
"MB: President Bush’s scheduled meeting with the Big 3 presidents has been postponed till sometime in June. If you were President, what would you tell the CEO’s of DaimlerChrysler, Ford and General Motors?
"NG: ...we need their help in leading the way in building flex-fuel cars, accelerating the development of hydrogen fuel cell cars, and, thirdly I’d ask them, “what kind of tax incentives and other kinds of things we could do?” that would accelerate the development of a more independent energy strategy which has to have automobiles as integral part.
"MB: So, how would you decrease America’s dependence on oil?
"NG: My argument is simple. First of all we should “incentivize” – if we want a strategy for getting people off petroleum, then what you want to do is incentivize buying vehicles that don’t use petroleum. Then you’d have to figure out how to incentivize gas stations to go to an E85 ethanol blend … or hydrogen fuel cells.
"MB: Do you think hydrogen powered cars will ever come to fruition?
"NG: How do I incentivize people to buy the first generation of hydrogen fuel cell cars? You could have very dramatic impact. And you might say to companies, we’ll give you a 3 to 1 ratio –every hydrogen car you produce, will count as three in terms of meeting your other standards. What would the impact of a hydrogen fuel economy be on virtually everything we worry about from the economy to national security the environment? It – it is a substantial breakthrough."
And the quote of the decade (I'm a firm believer of this):
"...we have to coerce the American people for their own good. "
New FCX fuel cell vehicle from Honda being released in the near future... HOT!
"Honda is also developing the HES, or Home Energy Station, which produces hydrogen from natural gas for fuel cell vehicles along with heat and electricity for the house. The HES may make cars such as the FCX somewhat more practical due to the complete lack of a hydrogen infrastructure at the present time. "
< That is an HES and that is a side-view pic of the FCX with a tranlucent shell. You can see that the mechanics, power source and drivetrain of this car all sit at wheel level. These cars are typically drive-by-wire (F1 car technology that basically receives inputs from the wheel and pedals and translates that into movement... think computer mice or joysticks) so the interior/exterior design is totally up in the air. Change shells on the car, turn it into a van, pick-up, sports car... whatever.
As for the HES... think about our gasoline infrastructure today. We have around 180,000 gas stations in our country, none of which currenly pump hydrogen, are set up for hydrogen or even considered hydrogen when they were built. Changing them over would be very expensive and require government subsidies. But think about how hydrogen is created: you need water and electricity. Water comes to your home as does electricity. But go one step further... you've heard of solar-powered homes before, right? There are kits on the market now to install solar panels on your house and new technology coming out that faces micro-mirrors at the sun all day long gathering as much power as possible. Combine your own power source with the regular water coming into your home and you have a car that "runs on water" (put very simply).
Now think about all the buildings around you. What are the roofs being used for? Every building could literally be a hydrogen filling station. The fun part of this equation is that, with the money for the system, I could have that tomorrow. Between solar power and fuel cell technology, both of which exist, if I had the vehicle, I could make it work for myself. There's also the interesting quality of fuel cells which allows them to easily run the reaction in reverse. Pump water and electricity INTO your fuel cell car and it spits out hydrogen. Screw the filling station at your house, you could connect a water hose and a plug and your car will fill itself up at night!! THAT CAN HAPPEN RIGHT NOW, this isn't Star Trek sh*t!
Whew... got a little excited there!
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
I always thought country music was a force of evil... looks like it indirectly funds something great!
"A grant from Clean Air USA was used to provide graphics on the biodiesel pump at the Pearson Ford Fuel Depot where legendary entertainer and world renowned humanitarian Willie Nelson joined with celebrated actress and biodiesel advocate Daryl Hannah to open the West Coast's first "Bio Willie" pump. "
Good stuff... Coincidentally located 2.5 miles from my house!
"Designed to efficiently accommodate the fueling requirements of both Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFV) and conventional automobiles, the RTC Fuel Depot offers motorists an unprecedented nine types of fuel, including six types to power AFVs. Alternative fuel depot “firsts” include: Liquefied Propane Gas (LPG) — the first public underground tank in the US for automobile fueling; Ethanol (E-85) — the first tank on the West Coast; Biodiesel — the first tank in San Diego with fuel that is actually made from recycled french fry grease; Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) — San Diego’s first 3,600 psi fueling station; Electricity — the largest electrical charging station in San Diego; and Ultra Low-Sulfur Diesel. Three standard grades of gasoline are also available to fuel bi-fuel, flex-fuel and conventional automobiles. "
Wow.... times they are a-changin (thanfully).
Monday, May 22, 2006
OK, this is one of the hottest looking cars I've seen in a while but the engine technology is SOMETHING ELSE! Listen to this:
The Concept-E’s front wheels are driven by a parallel hybrid system integrating an electric motor with a 3.8-liter V-6, for a combined 270 horsepower. This is where it gets interesting: Mitsubishi’s innovative E-Boost system channels an additional 200 hp to the rear wheels from a 150 kW electric motor located behind the cabin, powered by lithium-ion batteries secreted along the center of the vehicle. E-Boost is activated by aggressive throttle to provide an immediate boost in acceleration, much like a conventional turbo or supercharger, transforming the car into a 470 hp, all-wheel drive terror that raises the hybrid performance bar to new levels.
So 270 horsepower to the front wheels in a lightweight car, hit the accelerator and your ass is kicked almost immediately by an instant 200 more!
I'm not posting this JUST because I'm drooling over it, I'm posting it because I like it when car companies come out with cars like this to get people revved up about certain kinds of technologies (such as hybrids). People see and read about this amazing vehicle and then hear that it's a hybrid.
Now, a 3.8L V6, even in hybrid form, probably won't be pulling anymore than, say, 30MPG but this is certainly not going to be in the Prius price range. This car could blow the doors off 99% of everything on the road including most Ferraris and Porsches. Cars like this are perfect right now because alternative products have to be as good or better than what is out there or they won't sell, especially when they typically cost more. Enthusiasts will want this car not because it's a hybrid but because it's going to be FAST AS HELL (with, by the way, less inefficiency typically involved with an all-wheeel drive system).
..now that I'm all frothed up...
A miniature hydrogen-powered toy car with a matching fuel station!
Friday, May 19, 2006
Another week thoroughly conquered and shuffled into history. I've always detested that Office Space Friday mindset where everyone you bump into greets you with a "happy Friday!" These days, stacked with work, school and exercise, I find myself one of those people, blithely struggling through the week with just a glimmer of hope at the end of the rainbow.
Is it wrong to think it's strange to truly enjoy less then half of your life? I enjoy school as much as anyone who goes back after a break (i.e. I enjoy it more than most, less than some) but, to be perfectly honest, I'd much rather spend my mornings with a paper at a coffeeshop in Coronado, my afternoons reading and writing of my own accord and my evenings sipping syrah on my porch, listening to music before falling asleep to a good movie. Holy crap, I should retire!
Clearly flying off-topic... anyways, what I mean is that I certainly enjoy life, get out of it as much as I can and love the progress but I just hope it all pays off. And I don't mean a 7 figure paycheck, I mean financial stability, a career I love and the time to do what I want to do with my life. I work very hard and have been working few hard for several years with no intention of slowing down. I'm really not looking for any guarantee, just a feeling that the light at the end of the tunnel is really there, taht jumping through hoops is a phase you get over. I have no intention of retiring at 40 or 50 or even 60, I just want to work hard on my own accord, on my own projects... on my book and my own theories and my project car.
I really do need to retire, crap.... how much do I have in my wallet?
Thursday, May 18, 2006
...and I'll tell you why
So let's just assume for the moment that we've already found the technology to halt/reverese global warming and eliminate our dependance of foreign countries for oil (I believe we have but that's not the point). Now let's say everybody agreed on it and were working towards it with a vision. There was no question, we solved the problem, finished the equation, found what "x" equals. What would that look like?
It would look like this bumbling congressman from Washington DC.
"'These technologies truly are the future of the auto market and will be part of the solution to our increasing oil dependence,' Gillmor said. "
Is it? Is it really? Did we find it? Because not everyone agrees and I'm whole-heartedly certain that you're not educated in this field enough to make that proclamation. I believe in hydrogen like someone would believe they're going to recover from a serious illness. I feel like it is going to happen and I've read enough to know that the obstacles it faces are not insurmountable. But this guy leaves no uncertainty... "Hey Guys! Over here! I found it! The solution!"
The first sentence of this article is "Congressman Paul Gilmore. R- Tiffin, took time recently to learn more about alternative fuels." This guy doesn't know anything about this technology but comes out and makes a sweeping statement about where we're going with it. His entire "speech" that was quoted in the article sounds like someone who didn't know anything about it wrote it for him, a man who also knows nothing about it, to say.
I, of course, am very happy when the word gets out (hence the blog) that hydrogen is important but I'm less happy when the messenger knows nothing and pretends like he's Paul freakin' Revere spreading this important and heretofore unknown news.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Nice, honest language from GM...
"While [GM Vice Chariman Bob] Lutz focused on ethanol, Wagoner also mentioned the eventuality of using hydrogen to power vehicles. However, he said the first of these cars would be “massive money losers.” Nonetheless, GM hopes to bring its first hydrogen offerings to market in 2010. "
And I thought I was behind my getting into the hydro industry now!
Monday, May 15, 2006
"Angry motorists, frightened politicians and three-dollar-a-gallon gasoline are stirring new interest in alternative kinds of vehicular transportation that don't weigh two-and-a-half tons and get 13 miles to the gallon.
"In other words, it's car of the future time again."
Good overview of cars of the future! No pics though...
"For all those out there tinkering on innovative devices in your garages or basements, Congress is coming up with a handsome $52 million in taxpayer money for a new prize program to entice inventors to develop workable designs for a hydrogen car.
"The measure, which got little opposition when it cleared the House this month, provides up to $1 million in prizes for those who develop innovative ways of dealing with production, storage, distribution and utilization issues involving hydrogen cars, and a $4 million prize for a hydrogen prototype car. A special $10 million prize is available for the inventor of truly "transformational technology" that speeds the conversion from oil to hydrogen power."
To apply, just visit www.dotheDOTsandDOEsworkforthem.com
Just kidding... a great idea IMHO. I'm just jealous because I left my hydrogen prototype running in front of AM/PM the other day and it was stolen. F%#$!
It's boys vs girls in Winter Park Florida!
The competition? A hydrogen model car race! Girls? Any words before the race?
"We're girls, first of all, our wheels are excellent, and we're pretty, so we're going to win"
Good points, all of them. Boys, a reaction?
"We made the car out of plywood and mini CDs. Nobody knew about that before"
We're all special in our own way I guess. So eloquent for 14! Boys, any reaction after today's win?
"We just had the better car. It works."
I've been meaning to look at this for a long time. In an attempt to keep my 1-2 person (optimistically) audience from clamoring for more content, I look up all the stuff I've been meaning to check out for a while... suh-weet.
"Within the Institute of Transportation Studies, interdisciplinary education in understanding the role of engineering, science and policy in addressing important transportation issues is a central priority. The TTP program, which awards MS and PhD degrees, allows our graduate students to study and analyze a wide range of transportation related issues, including those related to hydrogen."
Mark my words... I will be part of that program before I'm 30. Watch.
Friday, May 12, 2006
... TGIF has nothing to do with what I'm posting but I figured anyone who reads this would certainly agree.
"How do you get people excited about hydrogen? It's not like basketball. People don't clamor for it."
Half quick-bio, half speech, this article talks about California's "assistant secretary for hydrogen and alternative fuel policy" (a job I hope to maybe have one day), Shannon-Baxter Clemmons and her thoughts on California's Hydrogen Highway (among other subjects). It's a quick read but I love it because Shannon is the kind of person who makes me want to be a part of this industry. She seems (on paper) smart (doctorate in Chem E? hello?), down-to-earth and realistic.
Across corporations, hydrogen technology seems to have found some of the best people out there just by virtue of it being a complex technology involving some serious social and environmental issues. A technology that requires an elevated level of intelligence and awareness should have the power to root out the people it needs to succeed... if, in fact, it is destined to succeed. Which is part of the reason why I'M seeking IT out; there is a certain feeling of validation that comes from joining the ranks of a group you truly admire and are inspired by. Anyone I have met in the hydrogen fuel cell industry has been kind, ready to talk, bright and optimistic about the future. Though I have been described as "rude," "distant," "dim-witted" and "overtly negative" by some, when it comes to hydrogen, I'm all sunshine and rainbows!
That Golfer Is Furious!
Thursday, May 11, 2006
"A recent book by Yale University titled 'Americans and Climate Change' called global warming 'the perfect problem,' meaning that it is nearly impossible to solve and is clouded with enough uncertainty to likely cause continued discussion rather than action. "
And that is exactly what we're seeing happen right now. Let's quit talking and do SOMETHING!
My mom went to the Caribbean a while ago and told me about a storm warning they had. Alarms went off, everyone evacuated the beaches and went to high ground. The "tsunami" ended up being a five-foot swell and everything was ok. The locals said this happens all the time but people still take it seriously.
If we all start being more cautious about our energy use and, in 100 years, it turns out that the "7 billion tons of carbon per year" we dump into the Earth's atmosphere annually (just try to conceptualize that amount...15,432,358,352,941 [that's trillions] pounds, 493 million new GTIs, 870,100 Eiffel Towers, 19,170 Empire State buildings... in the air... every year) means nothing then so be it. We all spent less money, drilled for less oil and became conscious about our consumption (which has positive impacts on other aspects of our lives).
But if we do nothing and this science turns out correct, we're going to look pretty foolish.
"In other words, we simply cannot continue to use the atmosphere as a dumping ground for industrial output."
Amen to that!
"Ballard Power Systems will look to hire new staff to add depth in coming years on its road to the commercial development of fuel cells for cars, CEO John Sheridan said Wednesday. "
"Ballard has committed to offering commercially viable fuel cell technology for hydrogen-powered vehicles by 2010 and expects commercial production of fuel cell cars by the major automakers in the years following that. "
I could be Canadian... hey, I am already an honorary Canadian (thanks Chad!), that should make immigration much easier. I actually met a few of the folks who work for this company at a National Hydrogen Association conference in Orange County a little while ago. They had one of the bigger booths and have been around for a while (which clearly screams "SUCCESS!").
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
"It is what it is. This verbal shrugging-off was examined here recently as an example of the use of repetition not for emphasis but for evasion. I called it a tautophrase, a coinage bottomed on tautology, from the Greek for 'redundant.'
"Readers are readers. Members of the Squad Squad stopped referring back to 'free gifts' long enough to challenge my facts about the current plethora of pleonasm, their mock outrage often expressed with facts are facts!"
Fun little editorticle on skillfull use of redundant phrases that create their own meaning.
geek @ <3
"Hansen says his research shows that man has just 10 years to reduce greenhouse gases before global warming reaches what he calls a tipping point and becomes unstoppable. He says the White House is blocking that message."
Clearly, this man is preaching to the choir in my case.
"I find a willingness to listen only to those portions of scientific results that fit predetermined inflexible positions. This, I believe, is a recipe for environmental disaster" (speaking about the current administration).
So why is the White House trying to censor this message to the people? I can only give my sorta-educated opinion and here it is.
It would be easy to draw the boring connection between global warming, SUVs and oil companies. Bush supports oil companies who benefit from people driving less efficient vehicles, Big Scary Oil makes more money and we all lose except the rich who, inevitably, get richer. This, however, just doesn't jive well with me.
I think, when you're in a relatively short-term position of power, you have to do a lot to make yourself credible. Four or eight years is a significant portion of someone's life but not necessarily long enough to establish that you are the best man for the job, your ideas are superior to everything before and after them and implement what you feel is necessary to realize these ideas. If you can, however, draw on your political party's success (or appearance of success or spin to look like success) in the past few decades, you're sitting in a much better position.
Climate change and global warming has been happening since dirty little human being have been burning things willy-nilly. Only recently has there been any sort of large-scale consciousness regarding what harm we might be doing. Conservatives, over the years, have told us everything from "there is no global warming" (Google "global warming is a hoax") to "it's really nothing to worry about." What would happen if they did an about-face on this particular standpoint and said "Look, we're sorry, we were wrong, we've made some bad choices we're not proud of, let's do something different tomorrow." Plain and simple, this is going to look bad.
Now, I wouldn't go so far as to think letting the Earth go to sh*t is some right-wing agenda to save face but I wonder if maybe the change in policy is happening as slowly as the climate change so as to make it seem undetectable. Maybe the information is censored to the public because there is little belief that the public will do anything different. So, given the information they have, the government takes a middle-road strategy by muting tough science but also slowly raising the EPA fuel efficiency requirements, granting money to alternative fuels and adopting greener practices within the administration itself.
"The Bush administration doesn't deny global warming or that man plays a role. The administration is spending billions of dollars on climate research. Hansen gives the White House credit for research but says what's urgent now is action"
As you can see, the government wants to know what is going on and does not admit that there is no problem. It seems like, for whatever reason, that quick and decisive action, when not in wartime, is unwanted and therefore avoided. No one likes a someone in a position of authority to quickly change their mind and then act on that new position. If a new stand is to be taken, it appears like "slow and steady wins the race."
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Great quote out of an editorial for the Washington post (posted but the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette [what?]):
"The worst kind of policy actually smothers price signals. Both President Bush and Congress are promising to rescue consumers from $3 gasoline - by investigating companies for alleged price gouging, by sending out $100 checks as though government were some kind of fairy godmother, or by suspending the tax on gasoline or shipments to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Encouraging consumers to believe that they will be protected from high gas prices only discourages them from adapting."
Could not have said that last sentence better if I tried. Here, I'll try:
"Consumers who are led to believe that they are protected from..." See, it's just going to end up the same. Plagiarist...
"Another kind of error is to underestimate the environmental dimension of the energy crisis. In a recent speech, Bush repeated that oil purchases fill the coffers of governments that threaten U.S. interests. If this were the only danger posed by oil, then drilling in friendlier territories might address it – and oil companies are doing that. But oil is also dangerous because of global warming."
Just keep in mind that the concept of tons of CO2 and other emissions affecting the planet is a fact and not just some liberal hooey.
"Bush’s idea of action is flawed. He touts government investments in alternative energies: electric cars, hydrogen cars, ethanol that’s made from waste products or grass. This approach assumes that government knows which technologies are worth backing... It neglects the fact that government research into alternative energy is engaged in an arms race with private research into oil extraction. The president’s budget proposes $150 million next year for ethanol research, but private investment in new technology for extracting hydrocarbons comes to about $18 billion annually. To boost less carbon-intensive fuels, Bush needs to focus less on how the government spends its small research budget and more on how companies spend their enormous ones."
Great point.... never thought about it like that at all.
"Nobody is going to advocate a carbon tax that would push fuel prices higher than they are already. But it would make sense to adopt a sliding-scale tax that would kick in when oil prices fell below a certain level."
Makes sense to me... so we're all dealing with $3 gas right now (I'm dealing with $3.69 because of my picky krautrocket... low-grade is around $3.45 though), what if we had a tax that kept gas at, say, $2.50 a gallon? This is, of course, assuming that the current prices are going to fall (they are going to, right?). Each area would have a different price level and once you drop below that level, the tax kicks in. We use the tax solely to upgrade our economy and infrastructure to accept new fuel types. Start getting tough on fuel efficiency standards in the automotive industry and set lofty goals with public transportation (biodiesel, hydrogen, E85, etc).
Blech... optimism :)
Monday, May 08, 2006
GM's take on the future of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles:
About five years ago, I read a Wired article about fuel cells that blew my mind and set the course for the rest of my life. If I could find it I would post it, mostly because I like ot go back and read it every now and then. Regardless, after about a year+ of part-time school, I decided now was the time to act and sent my resume tout suite to General Motors. Imagine being the HR employee receiving a fairly good resume from somone with next to no education wanting to work in the most confidential and experimental department you have. Yeah right. Needless to say, according to the quarter-page letter I received, my resume is "on file." I have one of those files too!
Here's a great, detailed description on how these fuel cells work... take a look:
Note to self - listen to this again (Thanks B. Huff!)
Wow, two posts in one blog! This marks a personal record... should I celebrate?
Appropriate first article post:
OSU opens the first hydrogen filling station in Ohio state, 15th in the country. Associate professor of mechanical engineering says:
"The time is much shorter than the general public is willing to acknowledge. Transferring to new fuel and transportation technologies takes decades and we probably don't have that luxury before we'll start feeling the pinch," [Yan] Guezennec said.
Isn't it nice when officially smart people agree with you?
What I like about his quote is that, though it calls to the front a sense of urgency that is certainly needed, it does not spark the debate about running out of oil. He/she merely mentions that our time is running short - read politically, environmentally, financially, etc. I have my own feelings about an "impending oil shortage" based on common sense and the little scientific knowledge that I have. In my opinion, however, I do not feel that we need to base a a shift in energy consumption based on whether or not we can sustain what we're doing for how long. With 800+ million vehicles in the world (as per General Motors) spewing out an average of 10K pounds of material each year, we certainly will reach an air quality threshold at some point in time, do we need to wait until it is a crisis before we act? Judging by events gone past, I guess we do:
Another Josh project... something I'm certain will change my life but never gets off the ground. This marks the third attempt at a blog and certainly the most successful one (I am posting, right?).
My inspiration for the sudden jolt of self-education:
"We have carefully reviewed your records and regret that we cannot offer you admission to the University of California, San Diego. The selection process was very difficult this year as we had an excellent pool of competitive applicants. You will receive an official notification shortly. "
Meh... they don't want me but SDSU does and I know when I'm not wanted (don't cry old boy...)
Life complaints, relationship woes, traffic rants and self-esteem hurdles will not be included in this blog... that's what the last two were for and I found myself never wanting to log on and write about it (go figure).
Creating a personal storage repository for hydrogen articles, science information, book ideas and general ramblings is my intention, hence the auspicious name "hydrojosh" (after my desire to work in the hydrogen fuel industry).
Anyone who wants to know more about where my life is headed (professionally) or wants to know more about the most important technology being worked on currently is welcome to read, comment and pass the link along to anyone else who fits the description.
Onward and forward towards success and world domination... I mean world SALvation!