Friday, August 17, 2007

Cars vs. kWh

Global Warming on the Road

What you have read or will read or could read if you clicked the link above is the breakdown of the US's GHG (greenhouse gas) contribution to the atmosphere. *YAWN* I know. This report is a little different though. We actually get to see a comparison between different automakers as well as electricity producers. Very creative, essential way to look at this.

Cool cats!

Russ from the RI high school project I posted about below wrote back!

I can sense and understand the frustration that the technology for many of the alternative energy applications is already here and just needs to be mass produced and applied. The gap between fuel cell hype and availability/visibility led us to create the band with the simple vision: here is a fuel cell, here it is powering a rock and roll band.

He sounds like a great man championing a great cause. Check out their website:

Fuel cell band and Model T

Hot looking ride!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I has a corm

Did you know it would take this many states of Texas to fulfill our annual corn need to replace gasoline with E85 fuel?

It is certainly weird that I have the two following images but is it more weird that...

they didn't inspire this post...

they had nothing to do with each other...

and that their connection combined with my possession of them escaped me until just now?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

"That's hot"

161 MPH powered by hydro and electricity...

The first time I've ever been sad I don't live in OC

Free to a good home: Fuel cell vehicles

Also the first time I would seriously consider a GM product.

Starting this month, in what will be the largest real-world test of fuel-cell passenger vehicles, GM's Project Driveway program is seeking good homes for 100 fuel-cell versions of its Equinox SUV. (Honda, by contrast, has leased just two of its FCX fuel-cell cars to customers.)

Pick me, pick me! I'll love that ugly Equinox like it was my own!


I wouldn't typically post one of these home-town, feel good stories but this is GREAT.

Model T Fuel Cell hot rod

What is it?
a black hydrogen fuel-cell engine roughly the size of a suitcase is being prepared for installation in a red 1992 replica of a 1923 Ford Model T

Tres chic. Who is involved?
The project has been an eye opener for Sullivan [GrandPTA member and electrical engineer] and Lewis [student dad extraordinaire and mechanic], who respectively have spent 54 and 25 years devoted to cars.

“We got the tools to do something and instigate change,” Lewis said. “We’re also wondering: why isn’t everyone else as invested into ending the curse of oil?

“If we can do this in Jim’s garage, what’s the holdup here?”

They sound like some hep cats. What else?
In 2003, students hooked up a guitar amplifier to a fuel cell, leading to the creation of a fuel-cell-powered band, Protium, named after a hydrogen isotope. The band has played gigs at fuel cell and hydrogen conventions at such places as the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn., Miami and Hollywood.

Cooler than cool itself. Where was this again?
The project is the brainchild of Ross “Mad Dog” McCurdy, a Ponaganset High School science teacher who has taught a class about fuel cells and other renewable energy technologies for four years.

A support email is on its way... join me?

The innovation, passion and ingenuity that alternative fuel inspires in people seems perpetually able to impress me and motivate me further. The kids involved, thanks to these awesome guys in Rhode Island, will never think the same about where their energy comes from. They turned an idealistic political movement into a fun, exciting project to garner attention for a very important cause. It is this type of intelligence and compassion that will drive our eventual switch to a better power source. There really can be no other way!


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Old News Part 1

I signed up for Google News when I started this blog as a way to stay abreast on what was happening in the hydrogen world. It was not only indispensable for my productivity as a blogger but also useful for my self-appointed position as representative (diplomat? advocate? activist? fanatic?) of alternative fuels. It was my intention to stay literate on the technology and current on the happenings. After a while, once my blogging stopped abruptly, the reading went the same way. I still managed to collect all the Google News emails in my work inbox (all 357 of them) and always intended to go back and take a look at them. "Old News" is my attempt to make good on that intention. Yeah, you're welcome.... I know the world has been holding its breath :rolleyes:


According to News Blaze (that's quite the site name):

U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman and South Korean Minister of Commerce, Industry & Energy, Sye Kyun Chung, today signed an agreement making South Korea the second country, after India, to join the United States in the FutureGen International Partnership. Korea has pledged $10 million to help build and operate the world's first zero-emissions coal-fired power plant and will sit on a government steering committee to oversee this initiative. Once operational, this plant will remove and sequester carbon dioxide while producing electricity and hydrogen, making it the environmentally cleanest fossil fuel fired power plant in the world.

How is that going these days? According to IndiaTimes:

Serious differences with US on patents may mar India's participation in the prestigious $2 billion FutureGen project being set up to generate power and hydrogen from clean coal technologies and sequestration of carbon dioxide. China and South Korea, two other key members, in this major initiative are in tune with India on the putting the patents to technologies, software and related know-how in public domain rather than US unilaterally taking ownership....The major provisions under the act provide for US Government "retaining a non-exclusive license to practice the patent throughout the world. The Government (read US Government) retains march-in rights".

Why is our government being greedy about the patents? Mostly because "US energy majors dominate this alliance." While it makes sense, conceptually, that the lion's share of the credit should go to the source of the most work, this kind of project should be so much more than just a patent argument. It is too bad, IMHO, that something this globally important could be stymied by the same mindset you see in daycare: "THAT'S MINE!"


In other news:

...smoother and softer, and it saves the environment," the Indio woman said.

Nope, that article isn't about me, it's about a hydro hybrid bus being tested in N. Cali. What is so cool about it is that they have their own infrastructure to create the hydrogen from natural gas. According to their site (, the bus is still up and running. They even have an alt fuel station open to the public!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Great site for Smart, etc.

I posted about the Smart a few days ago. I still love the car but found a site that made me a little disappointed.

If you live in any of the other 45 states [not CA NY, MA, CT or VT], the smart car is here now, and you can drive one home from Eco Auto today. Since it's launch in 1998, the smart has been a sensation in 36 countries on 6 continents, with over 750,000 now on the road. Frustrating American fans of the smart, Daimler-Chrylsler executives determined the car would not be profitable to sell here, and so, the smart is still an exotic car here, imported only as a "limited edition test market" of 1,000. When the 2008 smart arrives in franchise showrooms next year, instead of the fuel-injected, turbocharged 61 HP Mercedes Benz engine famous for getting 60 MPG on the highway and 40 in the city, it will instead have a non turbo-charged, Mitsubishi engine that gets only 32 miles per gallon in the city. Instead of the 6-speed "Softouch" transmission, it will have only a 5 speed. Instead of it's perfectly proportioned 8 feet length, it's snout has grown 9 inches longer. Instead of the Museum Of Modern Art qualifying design, it will have a more agressive "makeover."

This makes me very disappointed. The big draw of the car for me is the size and the MPG... I mean, what else is there? Are they really going to cut the MPG in half? In light of the Prius' success, why would you do that?

The site posted above sells what seem to be grey-market Smart cars for a HUGE mark-up. Smarts are supposed to range $13K - 18K (from what I've heard/read) which is respectable. These are up past $20K and as high as $26K in some cases! Of course, they are nicely appointed (heated leather, convertible, etc) but keep in mind that these are USED cars, not brand new. Oh woe is me... our transportation situation is sad.
On the other hand, on the same site, I found THIS! electric scooter for $2,500!! Goes ~30mph, has a 40 mile range, doesn't require a moto license and plugs into a regular charger! I'm very excited about this and I'm seriously considering one. Check the site out... these are really neat little scooters.
*I'm seeing on there that the top speed is governed to 30 mph which means it's capable of a lot more with the right software. Anyone up for a challenge?