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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol
Old 09-21-2006, 05:51 PM   #21
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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
Eric Schlosser points out in "Reefer Madness" that the growing conditions for corn and marijuana are so similar that they're frequently grown in the same field.

Of course timing is critical so that the corn grows faster and stays taller...
September: harvest time in Ohio.

Nightly news videos of helicopters and of LEOs harvesting Weed.
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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol
Old 09-21-2006, 06:04 PM   #22
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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol

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Nightly news videos of helicopters and of LEOs harvesting Weed.
I bet helicopters & LEOs can bring in the harvest a LOT faster than your average migrant worker or combine contractor.

This brings a whole new meaning to the term "crop subsidy"...
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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol
Old 09-21-2006, 06:06 PM   #23
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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol

Corn roots can go deep for moisture. *I wonder if the major reason for irrigation is the need to have fat kernels for human consumption, not for the development of plant sugars.

Now if they could produce etoh from Scotch Broom or wild blackberries...
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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol
Old 09-21-2006, 10:23 PM   #24
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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol

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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol
Old 09-22-2006, 11:02 AM   #25
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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol

I read that ethanol costs $4 a gallon to produce, and that's not including the extra money it takes to truck it to the terminal and then to the station to be distributed...........so maybe ethanol cost $4.50 - $5 a gallon?

So how can the stations charge 10 cents a gallon LESS for an ethanol blend, when the 15% ethanol blend contains ingredients that cost MORE than "regular" gasoline

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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol
Old 09-22-2006, 11:39 AM   #26
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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol

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Since I am not even close to being qualified to get into the nitty gritty there, I won't.* But even if corn-based etoh produces double the BTUs that go into it, it still isn't a viable option for more than a tiny (and heavily subsidized) portion of our energy needs....*
That's got my vote... based on what I have read from the seemingly "unbiased reviews".* Of course, all you read in the Wallaces Farmer or Iowa Farmer Today is what a brilliant idea ethanol is and how we can't build the ethanol plants fast enough.
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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol
Old 09-22-2006, 12:07 PM   #27
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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol

Being a Keep It Simple, Stupid (or as Jesse Ventura says it "Keep it Simple and Stupid") guy, I'd vote for

drum roll...

All electric cars. Old proven technology, existing charging infrastructure exists (in homes) and easily added (in garages/parking stations).

Only one well-defined hurdle: range/batteries.

Hydrogen may work out or it may be the beta-max of the 21st century.

Too bad people like Bush are the ones deciding which technology will be pursued.
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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol
Old 09-22-2006, 12:24 PM   #28
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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol

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Only one well-defined hurdle: range/batteries.
Saying that electric cars have "only one well-defined hurdle: batteries is like saying growing crops in the desert has only one well defined hurdle: water.

I can't find any literature saying that the required improvements in battery technology are near at hand.* Between improving capacity, lowering weight and cost and having a safe way to dispose of them or cheap way to rebuild them, there's a lot to do.*

I'm just saying I wouldn't assume that the battery issue will be solved in the near term and therefore other possible oil substitutes should be disregarded.
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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol
Old 09-22-2006, 01:41 PM   #29
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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol

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Originally Posted by youbet
Saying that electric cars have "only one well-defined hurdle: batteries is like saying growing crops in the desert has only one well defined hurdle: water.

I can't find any literature saying that the required improvements in battery technology are near at hand.* Between improving capacity, lowering weight and cost and having a safe way to dispose of them or cheap way to rebuild them, there's a lot to do.*

I'm just saying I wouldn't assume that the battery issue will be solved in the near term and therefore other possible oil substitutes should be disregarded.
I recently read that Toyota (any maybe other mfgrs as well) will soon have a plug-in hybrid with a range of about 40 miles without using any gasoline. Will meet a lot of peoples needs. Probably about 2009.
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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol
Old 09-22-2006, 02:03 PM   #30
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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol

jeff2006:

I agree that plug-in hybrids may be a good compromise while we wait (and wait and wait and wait* :P) for battery technology to get us where we need to go.* Especially in urban areas, a 40 mile range sounds OK.* And you can always start the engine, burn some gas and go farther if your plans change.

I'm a big fan of electric powered transportation and live in an urban area where it's likely to be practical. The battery thing is serious business though.......

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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol
Old 09-22-2006, 02:50 PM   #31
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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol

http://money.cnn.com/2006/09/15/tech...biz2/index.htm

I thought this was interesting. I think they're going about it the right way, too. They sound like they're not "attacking" the automobile market directly they're going after the electric car side first. If the technology proves to be usable it would be a vast improvement over what is already being used.
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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol
Old 09-22-2006, 03:44 PM   #32
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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol

Youbet, this is closer than you think.

Check out www.teslamotors.com. First cars will be high end performance vehicles so will have a limited market. These will be available next year. The year after that Tesla is planning a sports sedan.

These cars have a 250 mile range. Not enough for a cross country trip, but plenty for 90% of trips. My guess is the market will be targeted and 2 car families.

I like the EEStor idea, but there is still so much under wraps it is difficult to say if they will really be able to deliver.

The batteries used are recyclable and are not hazardous material.

And, electric cars are more efficient than gas, bio-deisel, ethanol or hydrogen.
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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol
Old 09-22-2006, 04:19 PM   #33
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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol

Zathras,

That was an interesting read.* Thanks!

It still sounds like they're a long way from having a battery that is economical enough for a car for ordinary Americans.

" 900lbs of its total weight of 2,500lbs comes from its battery, made up of 6,831 liquid-cooled, lithium ion cells of the kind used to power laptops. Tesla promises that the battery can be recharged in around three hours, gives a range of 250 miles and has a life of at least 100,000 miles, after which it can be recycled."

I bet that battery is going to cost at least $5K to replace.* Maybe closer to $10K. (I'm using the $4K replacement cost of a Prius battery to base this on.)* They're estimating the car will only use one cent per mile of electricity.* But it will use from five to ten cents per mile of battery life!* Oh boy.......

Of course, it's a $100K nitch car, so those kind of numbers are not discouraging for the folks who can afford them.

Still, it's a good sign!* And I'm pulling for these guys to succeed!* But I still am dubious about the R and D time and feel other solutions such as hydrogen should remain on the drawing board. They have a long way to go to get to a battery for a $30K four passenger sedan.
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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol
Old 09-22-2006, 04:23 PM   #34
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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol

Isn't this the way it always plays out? There's a surge in interest in electric cars, solar power, etc whenever oil prices surge. And when oil goes back to $20/bbl, we lose interest. Until the next time....
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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol
Old 09-22-2006, 09:17 PM   #35
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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol

Unfortunately it does often follow that pattern wab.
However, with each peak, the bottom gets higher and some of the interest seems to 'hold on'.

youbet, you hit the biggest issue dead on. The plan for Tesla is to use the funds from their 'niche' vehicle to support the sports sedan planed for 2008 for a price around half of the roadster. Then, with the money that raises produce a more economical version the year after that.

I agree we should not stop work on other areas. You never know what advances will be made to make something else a better long term solution.
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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol
Old 09-23-2006, 10:17 AM   #36
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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol

From the EEStor article.

it will charge up in five minutes and provide enough energy to drive 500 miles on about $9 worth of electricity.

Sounds too good to be true.

Apparently the device is a capacitor.

Here's more at The Energy Blog.* Scroll down to check out the posts.
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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol
Old 09-23-2006, 01:57 PM   #37
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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol

Any moonshiner will tell you that you can get a lot more ethanol from sugar than corn. Our sugar industry is heavily subsidized and protected from "cheap" foreign sugar. There's also no provision to grow sugar cane or beets just for the ethanol. The whole ethanol bit is intended as a boost to the corn growing states. Economics and technology be damned.

I am wondering if buying sugar at our inflated prices might still be cheaper than buying corn even without the subsidies.
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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol
Old 09-23-2006, 03:58 PM   #38
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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol

are those corn-subsidized states the same ones that dont want to help the South with our hurricanes? : :P
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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol
Old 09-23-2006, 04:41 PM   #39
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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol

We do want to help. I installed CFBs to lower my personal contribution to global warming just last week
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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol
Old 09-23-2006, 05:16 PM   #40
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Re: Chavez and oil Brazil and ethanol

The "Device" does appear to be an Ultracap.

http://thefraserdomain.typepad.com/e..._ultracap.html

The important info is:

The product weighs 400 pounds and delivers 52 kilowatt-hours.

This gives a specific energy of 286 Wh/kg. *This basically corresponds to how far it can go between charges.

For comparison a lead-acid battery is about 35 and the best Li-ion currently available is about 200. *Devices with 250 Wh/kg may reach the market in a few years.

Most ultracaps are no where near this value, *I would say less than 10 Wh/kg typically. *They have never been able to compete with a battery on energy density. *This claims to be a factor of 28 better than that and better than the best rechargeable batteries.

Ultracaps have always had good power density, i.e. the property related to how fast you can accelerate and also how fast you can recharge them, the problem with them has always been energy density.

If they can actually do this for the stated cost it is a pretty significant break through.

I question the electric vehicle market strategy though. *If it is really that good they should go after the portable electronics market first. *That is a real market and they would get rich a lot fast that way. * It is a lot easier and a lot faster to market to make an energy storage device for a cell phone or a computer and you can sell it for a lot more money per unit energy. *Then you go after the other markets such as hybrids, pure EVs, portable tools, etc.

When California (late 80s ealy 90 ?) mandated clean air vehicles everyone doing energy storage/conversion R/D talked a lot about electric vehicles. *That was mostly BS. *Nobody in the commerical world gave a s*** about EVs unless it was out of pure idealism because they knew that it was not going to happen or a least not happen on the mandated time scale. *(Hybrids were a different story.) The whole idea was to suck up gov R/D funding and leverage that to get into a business where you could actually make money.

I have seen claims like this before that never materialized. *Hopefully this will be different.

I will admit that the situation is a bit different now because of the price of oil and the success of hybrids. * * * * *

MB
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