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Tycho
06-19-2008, 06:10 AM
Honda will start selling hydrogen cell powered cars.

I'm not sure how much it will cost to fill a hydrogen tank, but it'll be way cheaper than gas.

The by-product of combining hydrogen and oxygen, is water. Thus there will be zero emissions from these cars.

They're going on the market for like $100,000 with lease options at $600 / mo.

My gas is now close to $300 / mo. While I own my vehicle outright and have no car payment, I might have had a $200 / mo payment otherwise (My SeaDoo was $216 before that was paid).

So if hydrogen fill ups are negligible in cost, $600 / month is not bad.

The car goes 240 miles on one hydrogen fill-up. It's about 120 miles from San Diego to Los Angeles, so that's a round-trip on one full tank (and I don't drive that much at all).

I think in the next 5-10 years, we're going to see gasoline powered vehicles go the way of the dinosaur.

Prices will come down as economies of scale enter into the picture. SUVs, Hummers, etc. that are powered by battery, hydrogen, hybrid combos, whatever, will make a comeback as people will still feel safer or "superior" in large vehicles. They'll just be fueled differently.

I think the whole argument for more drilling and refining of oil will be moot.

But the re-alignment in our economy from gasoline will cause a period of uncertainty.

I'm not sure how the airlines are going to cope. The big push right now is with personal automobiles, and then naturally, the trucking industry will follow. I don't know how air travel will re-align. However, because of fuel costs, many companies are moth-balling some of their planes. If things change in good time for them, they might be able to re-invest by purchasing new fuel-technology planes. Then air travel could resume as normal (well as normal as it gets post-9-11).

JEDIpartner
06-19-2008, 07:48 AM
I only spend $180/month on gas.

jedi master sal
06-19-2008, 07:52 AM
I think if it somehow became law to invest, research and manufacture new fuel sources that we could easily get away from oil/gas.

SO I say go ahead and drill, get those prices down quickly so we aren't hurting, but in the mean time make SERIOUS progress toward alternative (non-eco destroying) fuel sources.

It's already been proven that we can run vehicles on electricity, ethanol, and even water.

Water being a key one. One online report I saw showed a man power his car with no more than a gallon of water IIRC. It ran for hundreds of miles.

The impact on jobs with a transition from gas to other sources is unknown, but I'd venture to think many of those folks in the oil/gas industry would move to other fuels for work. I'm not talking the greedy big wigs who want to keep things the way they are. I'm talking the regular everyday worker.

Problem is Big Oil is trouncing any new fuel ideas. (hmmm, Big Oil - BO - Body Odor - yep they both stink...)

I applaud Honda for moving in this new direction. Though for now in the US it's really just a test market. I can definitely saw my next vehicle purchase is going to be one with the greatest amount of miles per "tank" for the cheapest amount of money. But that's taking into account the monthly payment, fuel, tax breaks, etc. This time it's going to be a longer decision and the salesperson is going to have to know their stuff and knock my socks off. Not just with their knowledge, but with a deal.

El Chuxter
06-19-2008, 07:53 AM
The only problem is, currently, we have to process water to get the hydrogen, and it actually burns more fossil fuel to generate the hydrogen than a normal car does. This might be a great idea... once the technology exists to cleanly generate enough hydrogen to meet demand.

jedi master sal
06-19-2008, 07:53 AM
I only spend $180/month on gas.

It's up to $240 here a month in gas...ridiculous. Used to be only $80 just 5 years or so ago.

Exhaust Port
06-19-2008, 09:05 AM
The only problem is, currently, we have to process water to get the hydrogen, and it actually burns more fossil fuel to generate the hydrogen than a normal car does. This might be a great idea... once the technology exists to cleanly generate enough hydrogen to meet demand.

This is the major point that folks don't seem to get. Oil is a source of energy right out of the ground. Cracking the oil into it's different fuel types takes little energy as well. Hydrogen is rare in it's free form and has to be busted out of other molecules. Breaking those molecular bonds is very, very energy intensive.

The efficiency from source to use (subtracting energy used to extract, transport, store, etc.) is 60% for Hydrogen and 80% for gas. Electricity is 95% though. Now if our country would embrace nuclear energy the electricity created from that could be used to extract hydrogen which would greatly decrease the non-renewable energy cost to get hydrogen.

Personally I would like us to switch to nuclear power in the US to feed our electrical needs. Most of Europe has been fed this way for decades. I also think electric cars are a better bet long term. Electricity is something that can be produced in many, many ways, some of which are completely pollution free (wind and solar). Why switch to Hydrogen which has such high energy costs when the electricity used to break those bonds could be used to power a car in the first place?

I would love to be able to plug my car in at night and get a new 200 mile charge every morning.

Mad Slanted Powers
06-19-2008, 09:09 AM
The only problem is, currently, we have to process water to get the hydrogen, and it actually burns more fossil fuel to generate the hydrogen than a normal car does. This might be a great idea... once the technology exists to cleanly generate enough hydrogen to meet demand.
Same thing with the ethanol, which is helping to drive up the cost of corn.

Blue2th
06-19-2008, 09:34 AM
While I think it's good Honda has made this car and experimented with new technology. Why do they even bother trying alternative ways to power cars when they have already made one good one. Anybody ever seen "Who Killed the Electric Car"
This thing was fast, could go a long ways on a charge, people were lined up to buy it. They carted them off and crushed them. I think there is one left in a museum.
It's all smoke and mirrors. The powers that be don't really want something as groundbreaking as these to hit the market.
I live out here in the desert, wide open spaces of nothingness where the sun shines really hot most of the year, the wind blows all the time. It's free energy! it just cost money and investment to harness it. There is enough energy in this area if it was harnessed to light up the whole U.S. and power many electric cars. No need for Hybrids.

It's like recently our great leader saying the other party is blocking drilling for new oil off shore, yet they won't even use up the all the millions of acres they've been allowed to drill already. I say finish what's on your plate before asking for a second helping! Smoke and mirrors weapons of mass distraction.

jedi master sal
06-19-2008, 10:09 AM
While I think it's good Honda has made this car and experimented with new technology. Why do they even bother trying alternative ways to power cars when they have already made one good one. Anybody ever seen "Who Killed the Electric Car"
This thing was fast, could go a long ways on a charge, people were lined up to buy it. They carted them off and crushed them. I think there is one left in a museum.
It's all smoke and mirrors. The powers that be don't really want something as groundbreaking as these to hit the market.
I live out here in the desert, wide open spaces of nothingness where the sun shines really hot most of the year, the wind blows all the time. It's free energy! it just cost money and investment to harness it. There is enough energy in this area if it was harnessed to light up the whole U.S. and power many electric cars. No need for Hybrids.

It's like recently our great leader saying the other party is blocking drilling for new oil off shore, yet they won't even use up the all the millions of acres they've been allowed to drill already. I say finish what's on your plate before asking for a second helping! Smoke and mirrors weapons of mass distraction.

Here here! I agree whole heartedly.

Tycho
06-19-2008, 10:23 AM
I'd be all for solar powered recharging of electric cars. That's the easiest solution.

Yes there's considerable blockage and some technology snaffus to overcome.

The ethanol camp lobby includes, of course, the corn farmers. What a big leap in profits that'd be for them. :rolleyes:

My uncle and his girlfriend use their golf carts to drive around town, locally - like for groceries, the post office, and other short trips. They're in Palm Springs and it's a retirement environment of course, where lots of people do this - and there's less risk of being crashed into by a big F-350.

The golf carts probably can't do over 35 mph, but Teslas can and go up to 120 mph I think. You'll need convenient recharging though.

Now suppose that recharging was free? Solar panneling is installed at carports, and everyone that drives brings their own extension cord. There's almost nothing that's exposed to maintain.

I've heard the battery can't hold much more than a 2 hour charge. I don't know if that's true or not. But if so, a 2hr batter, fully charged, could take me from San Diego to Los Angeles during a period of light traffic. Then I could recharge when I got there, before making any return trip. While there, have associates drive me, or use public transportation while my car charges.

For longer trips, like San Diego to San Francisco? Take a plane. I don't relish a 13 hour drive even at '90's fuel prices.

Blue2th
06-19-2008, 11:56 AM
I'd be all for solar powered recharging of electric cars. That's the easiest solution.

Yes there's considerable blockage and some technology snaffus to overcome.

The ethanol camp lobby includes, of course, the corn farmers. What a big leap in profits that'd be for them. :rolleyes:

My uncle and his girlfriend use their golf carts to drive around town, locally - like for groceries, the post office, and other short trips. They're in Palm Springs and it's a retirement environment of course, where lots of people do this - and there's less risk of being crashed into by a big F-350.

The golf carts probably can't do over 35 mph, but Teslas can and go up to 120 mph I think. You'll need convenient recharging though.

Now suppose that recharging was free? Solar panneling is installed at carports, and everyone that drives brings their own extension cord. There's almost nothing that's exposed to maintain.

I've heard the battery can't hold much more than a 2 hour charge. I don't know if that's true or not. But if so, a 2hr batter, fully charged, could take me from San Diego to Los Angeles during a period of light traffic. Then I could recharge when I got there, before making any return trip. While there, have associates drive me, or use public transportation while my car charges.

For longer trips, like San Diego to San Francisco? Take a plane. I don't relish a 13 hour drive even at '90's fuel prices.

The new technology of Lithium-ion batteries, has pretty much taken care of that problem. The guy who invented this for cars was in apartnership with GM for the electric car. They built about 20-22? of them. Meanwhile this scientist sold the patent to GM thinking (or not thinking) this will revolutionize the automotive industry. To make a long story short. GM or it's major stockholders (oil?) decided to load them all on a transport and had them crushed.
If I'm not mistaken this car or one very similar would go 200 mph! and long distances. I think they did a test drive from LA to Phoenix and back.

On another note I recently saw a PBS program on the Alaskan tundra permafrost thawing out. Methane seeping out of the ground everywhere. This has the scientists worried more now than anything else concerning global warming. Methane is highly flammable...uh, lets put some giant collector over some of that, harness it in tanks, condense that into liguid whaala.. gas.
In the Four Corners area where I used to live, there are natural gas wells everywhere that do this very thing. I know, when driving around in the high school days, broke, looking for fun, out of go juice, we used to pull up to these tanks out in the hills, go to the valves with a pluming wrench, fill up a couple of buckets with "drip" gas, pour it through a filter (sometimes a t-shirt or sock) and drive around for days...ping...ping.

JEDIpartner
06-19-2008, 03:45 PM
It's up to $240 here a month in gas...ridiculous. Used to be only $80 just 5 years or so ago.

I have a Mazda Protege. Even 6 years ago when I got this car, I thought it was foolish to get an SUV or other large vehicle if it was the primary vehicle to get to and from work or just for travel. Really, SUVs suck.

Exhaust Port
06-19-2008, 04:04 PM
We just bought a GMC Acadia which is a small/medium sized SUV. On a 1300 mile road trip this weekend we averaged 26 mpg. It has more to do with how you drive it than the quoted mpg. We were getting passed quickly by these fancy hybrids probably doing 80 mph. I doubt they were getting very good gas mileage.

Mr. JabbaJohnL
06-19-2008, 04:30 PM
I think in the next 5-10 years, we're going to see gasoline powered vehicles go the way of the dinosaur.
ZING!!!

(...get it?)

JediTricks
06-19-2008, 06:19 PM
While I think it's good Honda has made this car and experimented with new technology. Why do they even bother trying alternative ways to power cars when they have already made one good one. Anybody ever seen "Who Killed the Electric Car"
This thing was fast, could go a long ways on a charge, people were lined up to buy it. They carted them off and crushed them. I think there is one left in a museum.The EV-1 couldn't go a long way on a charge, they could go about 50-100 miles, then they had to stop and recharge for between 3 and 8 hours depending on how full you wanted your charge to be.


I've always wondered why we don't use geothermal energy for our power needs. (I know there are a few areas that do, but not the majority.) Here in LA, there are sections of the city built over little volcanoes, the energy is right there, barely have to dig for it, it's the same heat generation without the risks and waste of nuclear energy, and it doesn't get in the way of the airways or the waterways the way wind and wave generation can.



We just bought a GMC Acadia which is a small/medium sized SUV. On a 1300 mile road trip this weekend we averaged 26 mpg. It has more to do with how you drive it than the quoted mpg. We were getting passed quickly by these fancy hybrids probably doing 80 mph. I doubt they were getting very good gas mileage.The hybrids with low drag coefficient probably were getting ok mileage, but it's MUCH lower than their normal mileage because the hybrid engine is designed for slower speeds to use the electrical part, highway mileage is significantly lower than city mileage - look on the stickers, it's the only one that goes DOWN for "hwy mpg". These days, I'm doing like 75-80mph in my 28mpg Mazda MX-6 and getting passed by psychos in those hybrids who think they're saving gas when they're eating it alive.

Mad Slanted Powers
06-19-2008, 06:45 PM
Western Washington University, where I went to college, has a Vehicle Research Institute (http://vri.etec.wwu.edu/index.htm), where they have been working on designing cars using new technologies for years. I'm not sure how practical any of them are.

Exhaust Port
06-19-2008, 07:35 PM
These days, I'm doing like 75-80mph in my 28mpg Mazda MX-6 and getting passed by psychos in those hybrids who think they're saving gas when they're eating it alive.

It's that false sense of achievement that gives hybrid drivers a bad reputation (south park anyone?).

My previous car was a '87 Chevy Nova which by the time I got rid of it I was getting 50+ mpg on it. The best I believe was 55 mpg for a tank of gas. The funny thing was it was getting better gas mileage each year. I believe that was due to the huge amounts of rust which was eating away at the car made it lighter each year. Lighter car = better mpg. :D

They need to start making more cars with those little 4 cylinder engines, they just sipped gas. The fact that these modern hybrids are getting worse mpg than those puny cars from the '80's is hilarious. If the body wasn't giving out on my old car I could still be driving it. That Toyota engine would probably lasted forever.

JediTricks
06-19-2008, 07:42 PM
That Nova was actually a joint venture between GM and Toyota, based almost entirely on the Corolla. According to the gov't website, the official MPG on it was just 29mpg hwy.

The worst is the Geo Metro, ugly as sin and pretty miserable to drive, but its best off-the-lot MPG was 60 hwy which is astounding. Apparently, people are now snapping them up again.

sith_killer_99
06-19-2008, 08:08 PM
That Toyota engine would probably lasted forever.

You mean those little old 4 cylinders that could run for 300,000 miles plus and still keep going. My old 1978 Celica had the old 20R four banger and it got great gas mileage and lasted forever. Why, 30 years later, has no one really improved on the thing?

Exhaust Port
06-19-2008, 11:03 PM
That Nova was actually a joint venture between GM and Toyota, based almost entirely on the Corolla. According to the gov't website, the official MPG on it was just 29mpg hwy.

It was an odd ball for sure. The only thing that went out on that engine was the head gasket but that was it. Amazing that the official mpg was listed as 29 mpg. I don't honestly think we got a mpg that low in the 15 years we had the car.


The worst is the Geo Metro, ugly as sin and pretty miserable to drive, but its best off-the-lot MPG was 60 hwy which is astounding. Apparently, people are now snapping them up again.

Yeah, those Metro's were ugly but any of these '80's 4-bangers are amazing with their mpg's.

Mad Slanted Powers
06-19-2008, 11:34 PM
I have a 90 Honda Civic that used to get upper 20's, low 30's, but now it is middle 20's or so. Part of it is that I just have a short drive to work each day. I drive a bit more on Saturday, but I make several stops. I got the car in 1995, and it had 61,000 on it. I've barely driven much more than that in the years I've had it, as it is now around 125,000.

bigbarada
06-19-2008, 11:37 PM
The ethanol camp lobby includes, of course, the corn farmers. What a big leap in profits that'd be for them. :rolleyes:


Yeah, God forbid hard-working, middle-class Americans ever make a profit on anything.:rolleyes:

Most of the farmers I know here in Illinois are happy to capitalize on this sudden demand for corn and soy beans. They're not delusioned into thinking that they will become millionaires, but they do hope to turn a profit to help cover those years where they have actually taken losses.

Maybe Ethanol is a viable replacement for oil, maybe it isn't; but we'll never know unless all the possibilities are explored to their fullest. I think Ethanol and Soy Diesel provide the most desirable solution to the oil crisis: Americans profiting from America's dependence on automobiles.

sith_killer_99
06-20-2008, 12:37 AM
Yeah, God forbid hard-working, middle-class Americans ever make a profit on anything.

The problem is, most farms are owned by large agri-businesses. I'm sure there are still middle-class Americans who own farms and grow crops, but it's fewer than most people suspect.

bigbarada
06-20-2008, 09:37 AM
The problem is, most farms are owned by large agri-businesses. I'm sure there are still middle-class Americans who own farms and grow crops, but it's fewer than most people suspect.

Of course, there are a lot of corporate farms, even in the area where I live. And, of course, they stand to profit significantly from Ethanol and Soy Diesel; but don't we want American corporations making money on American soil? Isn't that what the whole argument against outsourcing jobs overseas is about?

Anyways, a rising tide lifts all boats. So, while the big corporations stand to profit quite a bit, the smaller family farms will also benefit greatly from these new alternative fuel industries. That can only help our struggling economy.

Blue2th
06-20-2008, 10:39 AM
If they could coat cars, houses, and everything with this stuff it would make it easier to collect solar energy:

On the test benches of Konarka Technologies in Lowell, MA, a new kind of solar cell is being put through its paces. Strips of flexible plastic all but indistinguishable from photographic film bask under high-intensity lights. These strips, about 10 centimeters long and five centimeters wide, are converting the light into electricity. Wire a few of them together, and they generate enough power to run a small fan.

Solar cells, of course, are nothing new. But until now, solar power has required expensive silicon-based panels that have relegated it, largely, to niche applications like satellites and high-end homes. What's remarkable about Konarka's power-producing films is that they are cheap and easy to make, using a production line of coating machines and rollers. The process is more akin to the quick-and-dirty workings of a modern printing press than to the arcane rituals performed in the clean rooms of silicon solar-panel manufacturing. The company literally has rolls of the stuff; its engineers plan to cut off usable sheets as if it were saran wrap.

Konarka's technology is just one example of a new type of printable solar cell, or photovoltaic, that promises to go almost anywhere, paving the way for affordable and ubiquitous solar power. Not only are the cells inexpensive to produce-less than half the cost of conventional panels, for the same amount of power-but they're also lightweight and flexible, so they can be built into all sorts of surfaces. Flexible films laminated onto laptops and cell phones could provide a steady trickle of electricity, reducing the need to plug in for power. Solar cells mixed into automotive paint could allow the sun to charge the batteries of hybrid cars, reducing their need for fuel. Eventually, such solar cells could even cover buildings, providing power for the electricity grid.

sith_killer_99
06-20-2008, 10:45 AM
Of course, there are a lot of corporate farms, even in the area where I live. And, of course, they stand to profit significantly from Ethanol and Soy Diesel; but don't we want American corporations making money on American soil? Isn't that what the whole argument against outsourcing jobs overseas is about?

I agree, don't get me wrong, I am all for big business creating jobs in the US. In fact I am all for biodiesel fuels and alternative energy.

The problem with ethanol, as mentioned earlier, is the toll that it is taking with food costs.

Biodiesel, on the other hand, is a far superior form of fuel. It can be produced from other forms of plants, like algae (the highest yielding at 1800 gallons per acre or gpa). Not only that but it is completely safe for the environment.

Think about this, algae can be grown in giants tanks, it does not depend upon "crop yield" in a conventional way. It can be grown during bad weather, poor farm land will not be a factor, it could even be harvested from natural sources. Production cost is cheaper, and to top it all off, biodiesel can be produced from multiple sources, like used cooking oil from all these fast food places...bonus recycle instead of dumping. Another bonus, businesses can sell their used waste instead of paying to dump it. This could actually lower their costs which could be passed on to the consumer.

The major draw back...who is willing to trade in their gas powered car for a diesel engine vehicle?

I would, and if biodiesel ever takes off like it should, I will. It has already made great strides, but it has a long way to go. Currently there are a number of diesel pumps selling B2/B5/B10/B20/B80 and even B100. Once we get to a point where the majority sell B80-B100 we will all be better off. B stands for biodiesel and the following number is the percentage of biodiesel that is mixed in with the regular diesel fuel. B100 is 100% biodiesel.;)

bigbarada
06-20-2008, 11:56 AM
The problem with ethanol, as mentioned earlier, is the toll that it is taking with food costs.

Well, there are two different kinds of corn grown: food-grade and non-food-grade. Ethanol is consuming most of the non-food-grade corn. So it's not affecting food-grade corn crops as much as you're being led to believe.

It does have an indirect effect, in that non-food-grade corn is used for livestock feed and if that becomes harder to get ahold of and more expensive because of Ethanol, then those pig and cattle farmers will have to raise their prices and meat prices will go up.

Farmers are also devoting more land to corn to keep up with the increased demand which means less land for soy beans and wheat and other grains. Which causes prices of soy and wheat to go up. Some farmers are taking advantage of that and planting more soy and wheat to offset the expanding corn crops. Also farmers are expanding their fields to take advantage of as much of the tillable land as possible. While this means cutting down brush and trees to make room for more crops, it shouldn't be confused with deforestation, because trees around here grow like weeds. Many of the trees being cut down are cheap, soft-wood and if you cut one down, three more take it's place in 5 years.

Farmers will follow the market and they're going to try to capitalize on it as much as possible. If I'm a corn farmer and most of my non-food-grade corn goes to livestock feed, then why would I want to trade ethanol profits for livestock profits when I could expand my fields and try to bring in profits from both markets?

The nice thing about Ethanol is that it won't require every single American to buy a new car since many of the newer vehicles these days are E85 compatible. And if it proves to be a viable alternative fuel, then what we are experiencing here are simply growing pains and, in the long run, this will only help create jobs and boost our economy.

We didn't go from crude oil to Unleaded Plus overnight, so it will take more time to refine the methods for creating Ethanol. Just because it's not a quick fix, doesn't mean that it's a failure.

Exhaust Port
06-20-2008, 01:17 PM
The mere fact that the demand for corn to produce ethanol has caused the price of corn to rise 64% this year alone. Corn closed at record price this week at $7.46 per bushel. Back in March it was at a then record of $6. Ethanol has risen to a record of $2.97 per gallon, up 24% this year so far. In the same time oil has risen 35% which is almost half of the skyrocketing prices of corn.


The USDA projects corn use for ethanol will reach 4 billion bushels in 2009, almost doubling the 2007 level and accounting for 34% of corn production. In comparison, U.S. corn production is projected to rise only 11% in the same period.

The amount of corn used for ethanol has doubled in the last year yet capacity has only grown 11%.

The increased pricing of corn is hitting the cattle/meat prices as well as anything made with corn syrup. The ethanol craze is shrinking our national stocks which are now at historic lows and we're seeing a decrease in our trading with corn. Trading, not selling. So now we're looking at a trade deficit there. World wide stocks are at a 25 year low.

Contrary to what you stated, there is less corn being produced in the US.


The weather is endangering a US corn crop already expected by the government to decline from last year's record harvest after farmers planted 8.1% fewer acres, analysts said. Domestic corn production will drop 10% this year, to about 11.7 billion bushels, the USDA said last week.

Tack onto that the 3 million acres just lost in the midwest flooding and prices will go up more.

Looks like it's only going to get worse as the government is forcing an increased use of ethanol.


A 2007 federal energy law requires the energy industry use 9 billion gallons of biofuels in 2008, mostly ethanol, up 91% from a year ago

Awesome I can't wait to eat my $7 box of corn flakes.

Blue2th
06-20-2008, 01:38 PM
The farmers have to watch it with growing corn every year in the same field. Corn depletes the soil if grown too much. The Mayans didn't learn this lesson. They have to rotate crops with beans and legumes like peanuts. Diesel who invented the engine with his namesake first ran it on peanut oil.

bigbarada
06-20-2008, 02:14 PM
The farmers have to watch it with growing corn every year in the same field. Corn depletes the soil if grown too much. The Mayans didn't learn this lesson. They have to rotate crops with beans and legumes like peanuts. Diesel who invented the engine with his namesake first ran it on peanut oil.

I can't speak for every farmer around here, but I do know that they rotate their crops on the Hughes farm. Where ever corn was planted last year, soy beans are planted this year and vice versa. I could only imagine that most of the other farmers do the same. However, they also use Anhydrous Ammonia on the fields which helps to enrich the soil.

bigbarada
06-20-2008, 02:22 PM
The mere fact that the demand for corn to produce ethanol has caused the price of corn to rise 64% this year alone. Corn closed at record price this week at $7.46 per bushel. Back in March it was at a then record of $6. Ethanol has risen to a record of $2.97 per gallon, up 24% this year so far. In the same time oil has risen 35% which is almost half of the skyrocketing prices of corn.


That recent jump in price to $7.46 per bushel has more to do with the flooding in Iowa, Missouri and Illinois. However, the price jump to $6 a bushel was due mostly in part to Ethanol production. Which means bigger profits for American farmers and a stronger US economy.

I'm not claiming that Ethanol is the answer to the fuel crisis, but I think it's a little too early to proclaim it a failure just yet.

Again, Ethanol production is not using up any of the food-grade corn, only the non-food-grade corn.

JediTricks
06-20-2008, 04:13 PM
You mean those little old 4 cylinders that could run for 300,000 miles plus and still keep going. My old 1978 Celica had the old 20R four banger and it got great gas mileage and lasted forever. Why, 30 years later, has no one really improved on the thing?They have, substantially. Now there are computers controlling timing and air mix and just about everything, but with the previous energy crunch turning out to be meaningless and oil fairly cheap, the focus shifted from efficiency to speed and power, and then speed and power and emissions.



Of course, there are a lot of corporate farms, even in the area where I live. And, of course, they stand to profit significantly from Ethanol and Soy Diesel; but don't we want American corporations making money on American soil? Isn't that what the whole argument against outsourcing jobs overseas is about?

Anyways, a rising tide lifts all boats. So, while the big corporations stand to profit quite a bit, the smaller family farms will also benefit greatly from these new alternative fuel industries. That can only help our struggling economy.A rising tide has lifted the oil companies and not the rest of us though. A rising tide has lifted the medical industry but not its patience. The reality is that trickle-down economics don't work in many areas, as the larger companies take money away from the smaller ones the rest of us sink while a few big investors take and take - meanwhile, as they take, they don't realize that the dollar is weakened by this so their big important numbers mean less anyway.

IMO, foodstuff shouldn't be more expensive unless it's for export, foodstuff is the fuel that keeps the economy going just as much as gasoline. We already have enough costs involved with food without speculation driving it further up.



If they could coat cars, houses, and everything with this stuff it would make it easier to collect solar energy:

On the test benches of Konarka Technologies in Lowell, MA, a new kind of solar cell is being put through its paces. Strips of flexible plastic all but indistinguishable from photographic film bask under high-intensity lights. These strips, about 10 centimeters long and five centimeters wide, are converting the light into electricity. Wire a few of them together, and they generate enough power to run a small fan.

Solar cells, of course, are nothing new. But until now, solar power has required expensive silicon-based panels that have relegated it, largely, to niche applications like satellites and high-end homes. What's remarkable about Konarka's power-producing films is that they are cheap and easy to make, using a production line of coating machines and rollers. The process is more akin to the quick-and-dirty workings of a modern printing press than to the arcane rituals performed in the clean rooms of silicon solar-panel manufacturing. The company literally has rolls of the stuff; its engineers plan to cut off usable sheets as if it were saran wrap.

Konarka's technology is just one example of a new type of printable solar cell, or photovoltaic, that promises to go almost anywhere, paving the way for affordable and ubiquitous solar power. Not only are the cells inexpensive to produce-less than half the cost of conventional panels, for the same amount of power-but they're also lightweight and flexible, so they can be built into all sorts of surfaces. Flexible films laminated onto laptops and cell phones could provide a steady trickle of electricity, reducing the need to plug in for power. Solar cells mixed into automotive paint could allow the sun to charge the batteries of hybrid cars, reducing their need for fuel. Eventually, such solar cells could even cover buildings, providing power for the electricity grid.I remember reading about it in Popular Science and thought "wow" but it's been 2 years and no public developments have been announced.



I agree, don't get me wrong, I am all for big business creating jobs in the US. In fact I am all for biodiesel fuels and alternative energy.

The problem with ethanol, as mentioned earlier, is the toll that it is taking with food costs.

Biodiesel, on the other hand, is a far superior form of fuel. It can be produced from other forms of plants, like algae (the highest yielding at 1800 gallons per acre or gpa). Not only that but it is completely safe for the environment.

Think about this, algae can be grown in giants tanks, it does not depend upon "crop yield" in a conventional way. It can be grown during bad weather, poor farm land will not be a factor, it could even be harvested from natural sources. Production cost is cheaper, and to top it all off, biodiesel can be produced from multiple sources, like used cooking oil from all these fast food places...bonus recycle instead of dumping. Another bonus, businesses can sell their used waste instead of paying to dump it. This could actually lower their costs which could be passed on to the consumer.

The major draw back...who is willing to trade in their gas powered car for a diesel engine vehicle?

I would, and if biodiesel ever takes off like it should, I will. It has already made great strides, but it has a long way to go. Currently there are a number of diesel pumps selling B2/B5/B10/B20/B80 and even B100. Once we get to a point where the majority sell B80-B100 we will all be better off. B stands for biodiesel and the following number is the percentage of biodiesel that is mixed in with the regular diesel fuel. B100 is 100% biodiesel.;)Speaking of PopSci and biofuels, there was an article a few months ago about one company working on engineering an algae to create not biodiesel but actual gasoline. That's the type of thinking I like, it doesn't try to change the entire landscape at once, we aren't all throwing out our buggywhips this way, the transition would be more realistic. Of course, we're not there yet either, but it's a different line of thinking.

BTW, 100% biodiesel needs to have the diesel engine modified to accept it, mostly a change in a few seals and heating coils around fuel lines (because otherwise it thickens up at normal temperatures too much to flow).




Oh, speaking again of Pop Sci, and getting us back onto the Hydrogen thing, I picked up the July issue in my mailbox yesterday and one small item they showed was a toy R/C car that runs on hydrogen, it gets its hydrogen from a charging base that's solar powered and converts water into its hydrogen fuel.


At the LA Auto Show in November, I took a photo of the Honda FCX Clarity, that's the aforementioned Hydrogen car which Tycho's talking about: http://img99.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img0053tj6.jpg

sith_killer_99
06-20-2008, 05:33 PM
BTW, 100% biodiesel needs to have the diesel engine modified to accept it, mostly a change in a few seals and heating coils around fuel lines (because otherwise it thickens up at normal temperatures too much to flow).

To a certain extent. Yes it is true that some of the older diesel engines require small modifications, like the ones you mentioned. However, many of the new engines are quite capable of handling biodiesel without any modifications. Filters can also present minor problems, though there are cures for that as well. Many people recommend a couple of minor addatives from time to time to reduce things like microbial build up.

In any event, considering the massive use of diesel in transporting goods throughout the US switching to biodiesel makes good sense.

bigbarada
06-20-2008, 05:53 PM
Well, I've officially reached the end of my knowledge of ethanol and biodiesel. I'm kind of looking at this from the perspective of the small family farm since I have a lot of friends who are going to profit quite a bit from these alternative fuel industries where they were struggling before.

So while I can't add anything else to this discussion, I'll be keeping tabs to see if I can actually learn something.

Old Fossil
06-20-2008, 06:24 PM
This thread title looks too much like "Hasbro's making hydrogen cell powered cars."

Blue2th
06-20-2008, 06:50 PM
I saw on the news or was it Scientific American-PBS? they showed some guys taking a more purified form of bio-diesel and did a test flight in an old fighter jet. Jet fuel is basically a little more refined diesel. Now that would solve a lot of problems.

sith_killer_99
06-20-2008, 07:33 PM
There's big money in it for the winner here. Can you imagine the cash to be made from biodiesel if it could replace regular diesel as well as jet fuel! I'd love to start a few processing centers for mfg. biodiesel. The key concern is supply of raw materials which has been shown to be more than realistic. I recommend the following article and quote directly from it:


Enough biodiesel to replace all petroleum transportation fuels could be grown in 15,000 square miles, or roughly 12.5 percent of the area of the Sonora desert (note for clarification - I am not advocating putting 15,000 square miles of algae ponds in the Sonora desert. This hypothetical example is used strictly for the purpose of showing the scale of land required). That 15,000 square miles works out to roughly 9.5 million acres - far less than the 450 million acres currently used for crop farming in the US, and the over 500 million acres used as grazing land for farm animals.

http://www.unh.edu/p2/biodiesel/article_alge.html

More great info:


Nutrients can also be extracted from the algae for the production of a fertilizer high in nitrogen and phosphorous. By using waste streams (agricultural, farm animal waste, and human sewage) as the nutrient source, these farms essentially also provide a means of recycling nutrients from fertilizer to food to waste and back to fertilizer. Extracting the nutrients from algae provides a far safer and cleaner method of doing this than spreading manure or wastewater treatment plant "bio-solids" on farmland.

And even more incentive:


The operating costs (including power consumption, labor, chemicals, and fixed capital costs (taxes, maintenance, insurance, depreciation, and return on investment) worked out to $12,000 per hectare. That would equate to $46.2 billion per year for all the algae farms, to yield all the oil feedstock necessary for the entire country. Compare that to the $100-150 billion the US spends each year just on purchasing crude oil from foreign countries, with all of that money leaving the US economy.

So we are talking about eliminating $100-150 billion from leaving the country and pumping an additional $45-50 billion into the US economy. Not to mention the massive reduction of costs at the pump.

Yeah, I am a big supporter of biodiesel.;)

bigbarada
06-20-2008, 07:39 PM
There's big money in it for the winner here. Can you imagine the cash to be made from biodiesel if it could replace regular diesel as well as jet fuel! I'd love to start a few processing centers for mfg. biodiesel. The key concern is supply of raw materials which has been shown to be more than realistic. I recommend the following article and quote directly from it:



http://www.unh.edu/p2/biodiesel/article_alge.html

More great info:



And even more incentive:



So we are talking about eliminating $100-150 billion from leaving the country and pumping an additional $45-50 billion into the US economy. Not to mention the massive reduction of costs at the pump.

Yeah, I am a big supporter of biodiesel.;)

That does sound promising; but how do soy beans factor into biodiesel? I know that most of the farmers around here grow soy for biodiesel, but I'm confused of all this talk of algae.

sith_killer_99
06-20-2008, 08:34 PM
Feedstock yield efficiency per acre affects the feasibility of ramping up production to the huge industrial levels required to power a significant percentage of national or world vehicles. Some typical yields in US gallons of biodiesel per acre are:

* Algae: 1800 gpa or more (est.- see soy figures and DOE quote below)
* Palm oil: 508 gpa[41]
* Coconut: 230 gpa[41]
* Rapeseed: 102 gpa[41]
* Soy: 59.2-98.6 gpa in Indiana[42] (Soy is used in 80% of USA biodiesel[43])
* Peanut: 90 gpa[41]
* Sunflower: 82 gpa[41]

Algae fuel yields have not yet been accurately determined, but DOE is reported as saying that algae yield 30 times more energy per acre than land crops such as soybeans [44], and some estimate even higher yields up to 15000 gpa .

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biodiesel#Yield

It all has to do with yield, how many gallons (oil) per acre can be produced from different plants. Conservative estimates are many times higher than any conventional land crops.

Picture large tanks used to grow massive amounts of algae, fed off of waste water.

It truly is natures ultimate recycling center. Sunlight is important in growth, think of algae as a very efficient form of solar energy, that also uses carbon emissions and waste water in it's growth cycle.

This thing could be big, I mean HUGE, in eliminating waste, producing clean fuel and generating nutrients for improved land crop yield.:D

El Chuxter
06-20-2008, 09:06 PM
It'll sound like a joke, but they should figure out a way to harness the methane in cow farts. I understand there's enough released each day to power a Death Star.