Decades ago the only type of car was the internal combustion (gasoline)type. Other varieties have arrived such as Hybrid and electric. With the new choices are other decisions such as which one reduces most the carbon footprint (or is the most green)and which one is the most cost effective. No more is “the miles per gallon” a standard that can be applied across the (more…)
News from the Northern Hemisphere is grim: A record heat wave in Russia has led to fires that covering a thousand square miles and enveloped Moscow in smoke. Meanwhile, a chunk of ice four times the size of Manhattan broke off of Greenland. Global warming? Uh, just maybe. But are they related? (more…)
Shai Agassi is not merely a prophet for the electric car industry. When the CEO and founder of Better Place describes the development of an ecosystem for the EV, he turns skeptics into believers.
Recently my colleague John Voelcker over at Green Car Reports wrote about why he and some fancy report thought that people will buy hybrid electric cars if more car companies offer electric cars and prices come down. Only then will we see that it’s not about being “seen.” Instead, it’s about trying to do the right thing, which is moving our transportation sector to an all-electric model.
People who buy new technology do that because they are early adopters. However, I can tell you that most of the electric cars that come out (except for the Tesla) have not been the sexiest. Does anyone remember the first generation Toyota Prius or the THINK City in 2001?
However, here is the thing: (more…)
The Oil Spill’s Unlikely Victim: As oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill continued to gush into the Gulf of Mexico, it tarred the feathers of an endangered creature: the climate bill. Sens. John Kerry and Joe Lieberman introduced a retooled American Power Act on Wednesday to little fanfare. Perhaps that’s because the media’s klieg lights were already divided between the grilling of oil executives on Capitol Hill or the so-far hapless efforts to plug the leak. Or maybe it’s because the two senators took to the dais without their erstwhile Republican ally, Lindsey Graham. Nevertheless, it was ironic to see a solution to our fossil-fuel addiction pushed to the side because of a fossil-fuel disaster. Must we cap the gusher before we get a cap on CO2?
More Electric Cars Roll to the Starting Line: You’ve heard that the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt are on the way, but how about the Think and the Wheego? Wheego, a maker of electric putt-putt vehicles based in Atlanta, hopes that 200 highway-ready copies of its Whip Life will roll off the assembly line by August, months ahead of the well-publicized launch of the Leaf. Meanwhile, the Norwegian carmaker Think raised $40 million this week and plans to start assembly of the tiny Think City in Elkhart, Indiana in early 2011.
Are Offshore Oil Rigs a Threatened Species? Is the Deepwater Horizon spill the beginning of the end for offshore oil drilling, or just another Exxon Valdez? Today, as BP attempted to place a 100-ton cap over the broken well gushing under the Gulf of Mexico, it was uncertain if they’d be able to stanch the spreading damage at sea or in Washington, D.C.
The spill has muddied the prospects for a climate bill as one of its pillars — a new round of offshore oil drilling — founders in unstable political soil, as Mackinnon Lawrence reports. Meanwhile, environmental groups are hustling to make the case, as in this Sierra Club video, that offshore oil is dirty and unsafe. Perhaps it’s not only brown pelicans and terns who will have trouble flying after all this is over, and the black tide might yet turn against its maker.
Efficiency Experts To America: Stop Dreamin’ and Pick Up Yer Caulkin’ Gun. At a symposium of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy — what, you missed it? — experts concluded that weatherstripping beats windfarms as the fastest way to save the US economy, and released some numbers to prove it. First, America is not as efficient as it thinks: the domestic economy is only 13 percent efficient, compared to 20 percent efficiency in Japan and some European countries. We were left pondering if it’s more efficient, percentage-wise, to order a veggie pizza from Papa John’s or gnaw on a frozen one from Trader Joe’s. (more…)
Last week electric vehicle services company Better Place demonstrated a fleet of electric taxis that will operate in Tokyo and have batteries that can be replaced in about two minutes. The taxis will utilize Better Place’s battery swapping stations, which today cost around $1 million each for the equipment to automate the process.
Urban taxis are a suitable application for battery swapping because they:
a) Take frequent short trips.
Two Tales of Ocean Energy: Major events in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico laid out the U.S.’s energy choices in stark contrast. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill made landfall in Louisiana, a week after the offshore rig caught fire and sank. Oyster beds and wildlife are at risk, and the spill may grow to be one of the largest in U.S. history. Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar gave the green light to the Cape Wind installation, the first offshore wind farm to be approved in U.S. waters. Its 130 turbines, projected to be up and running by 2012, will provide 75 percent of the electricity needed on Cape Cod and the islands of Nantucket Sound.
Climate Bill Stalls: The U.S. Senate’s version of a climate bill was yanked at the last moment when Sen. Lindsey Graham, the Republican co-sponsor of the legislation, withdrew his support to protest the Democrats’ sudden crusade for immigration reform. No definite plans for a new bill have emerged. (more…)
The European Union has unveiled a strategy to become a world leader in the green vehicle market, including a framework for common standards for electric cars across Europe by 2011 and the development of a network of charging stations continent-wide.
Calling this a defining stage for the automotive industry, E.U. leaders outlined steps to promote the adoption of fuel-efficient vehicles, boost low-carbon technologies, and increase the manufacturing of low-emissions vehicles in Europe.
The plan includes maintaining existing regulations to reduce carbon emissions, initiatives to encourage new innovations and technologies, and the standardization of electric car technologies across the continent so that drivers can recharge their vehicles in any E.U. country. (more…)
Dick DeBlasio is a senior life member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and is the principal laboratory program manager for electricity programs at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which include electric distribution and interconnection research and development, thermal systems integration, thermal storage systems, and high temperature super-conductivity programs in support of the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability.
We asked him for his assessment of the current state of energy storage.
CleanTechies: How important is energy storage? (more…)