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thoughts on green economy (how to get there)

Post in 'The Green Room' started by stoveguy2esw, Jul 3, 2010.

  1. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    If I understand the design correctly, this is how the new Chevy (excuse me - Chevrolet) Volt will work. The car will always be propelled via electric motors with a small genset charging the batteries if/as necessary. I'm wondering if they are considering a small diesel for the generator in the future?

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  2. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    I believe you are correct, but I don't think they have a diesel slated for this yet.

    Just another argument on why our standards of measure for pollution are flawed. Rating it by gallon instead of Mileage is kinda silly.

    You can have a hummer that barely passes emission standards burn a gallon every 10 miles, but a tiny diesel that barely fails yet gets 60 mpg can't be run. Thats stupid, the basic math shows that the diesel would have to run 6 times more dirty than that big gas hog to belch the same pollutants. Yet they have many diesels much cleaner than that.
  3. benjamin

    benjamin Minister of Fire

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    I think I saw something recently (nova?) where the diesel electric hybrid was the strategy back when the detroit three were collaborating on the "80 mpg" sedan, remember that? Makes a lot more sense than gas electric, but hey when did making sense have anything to do with anything.

    I remember the adds in an old National Geographic describing the diesel electric mine haul trucks. The economics has a lot to do with utilization, trucks typically run less than 10 hours a day, trains and mine trucks probably more, priuses spend more time in the garage and therefore make very little sense economically.
  4. renewablejohn

    renewablejohn Member

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    In Europe natural gas has been established as an alternative to petrol or diesel with Natural gas pumps at a lot of filling stations. The natural progression of this technology is the use of methane gas created from garbage and methane from sewage waste to be piped into these filling stations as an alternative to NG. Many areas of the world run garbage trucks and buses on methane gas so the technology is well understood. As for electric generation methane can easily be extracted by gasification of wood providing the waste heat is used efficiently in a CHP plant.
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    In Dehli India they passed a law that all the 3 wheel tuk tuks had to run on CNG. There are a ton of these vehicles running around the city. They're used for trucks, taxis, and family transport. It used to be they were all 2 strokes or diesel and man did they smoke. Delhi's air pollution makes LA seem like an oxygen tent, so I can hardly imagine what it was like before they passed this ruling.
  6. mikeyny

    mikeyny Feeling the Heat

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    Why dont we all just buy big oversized cars, suv's and big trucks that we dont really need and use up all that oil as fast as we can!!! ohh, yeah, we are already doin that. Duhh. Great topic, I just had to add a little humor to it.
    Mike
  7. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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  8. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    What do electric cars do for a heater? Looks like an electric heater in them would use up a lot of valuable electricity.
  9. Delta-T

    Delta-T Minister of Fire

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    all the seats in electric cars come with a built in Snuggie.
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    That's correct. The mileage range is based on no accessories running. In an electric car everything is running off the battery, so if you crank up the heat/AC and stereo, your range is going to decrease. That isn't as bad as it sounds though. For example, the Nissan Leaf will have a range of say 100 miles. Most people drive less than 25 miles a day, so for average use the electric will be more than adequate.

    Electric cars aren't for everyone. It would be a hard sell to the Kansas farmer that has to drive 25 miles just to get into town. For rural areas a hybrid makes more sense. The Chevy Volt is targeted at this market and if they do a good job on the car, it stands a good chance. But for a lot of the population living close to or in urban centers, electric makes a lot of sense.

    Here's a prediction... Compact gensets like the 1KW Honda are going to sell well as folks figure out how to shoehorn them into their all electric cars. And I think you are going to see a new market open up. Someone is going to start selling compact little genset trailers for these vehicles.
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Mike and all, I would strongly recommend getting a copy of the Aug 2nd issue of 'The Nation' or read it online. This is a double-issue titled "Freedom From Oil". Most of the Aug 2/9, 2010 issue is devoted to articles on how to switch to a green economy. I'm about 1/3 through it. There are some very thoughtful proposals here. It's a worthy read.

    http://www.thenation.com/issue/august-2-2010
  12. vvvv

    vvvv New Member

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    im guessing an addon ventless propane gas burner?
  13. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    thanks BG, i'l take a look at it
  14. pyper

    pyper New Member

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    Until I can drive 40 miles each way (to and from work) with the windshield wipers, headlights, and heated AC (aka defroster) running, an electric car does me no good. If there was a mandate to produce only electric vehicles come 10 year's time, I'd plan on buying a new gasoline car in the 9th year, which I'd be able to drive for a long time.

    Here's a prediction: Electric cars will become common in Germany at least 20 years before they are common here.

    Why Germany? Well, first, it's small. Germany is about the size of California, but more compact. There are some 85 million people -- roughly 1/3 the population of the USA. So the population density is pretty high. More importantly, it's very urban. They don't have suburbs, let alone exurbs.

    But this part is really critical to my logic: Germany has no oil fields. One of the contributing causes to Germany losing WW2 was lack of oil to make the war machines go. None of the world's major oil companies are German. In other words, they have no "big oil" industry to mess in their politics, and they have a national security incentive to minimize oil consumption (their fuel tax is something like $6/gallon).

    And Germany has automotive expertise -- Porsche/VW/Audi, Mercedes, BMW. With that $6 tax you know there would be a might good market for highly fuel efficient vehicles. That's why I don't buy any of the conspiracy theories on why cars don't get better fuel economy.

    Looking at 2008 Census data, I see that of 138 million people who work outside the home, 124 million travel by automobile, and 25 million of them (about 20%) had commutes of 35 minutes or more. 70 minutes of daily travel doesn't tell us how many miles they go, but it tell us how long the headlights, wipers, and AC/heater have to operate. Electric cars probably make sense for a lot of people, and they could work really well in some parts of the country, but they don't make sense for everyone.
  15. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    The electric infrastructure here can barely handle the load as it is. Just think what would happen if a bazillion cars were plugged into it.
  16. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    anyone ever been close to an electric motor after its been under a load for a few minutes, were it me designing the thing i'd be looking at a way to capture the heat off the motor directly for heat, an electric heating element would be too wasteful but capturing heat from the motor is much more efficient as a small fan will use far less power than a heating element. as for "ac" thats a bigger challenge , other than "255" aka windows down.
  17. vvvv

    vvvv New Member

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    The waste heat generated by an ICE is frequently put to beneficial use by heating the vehicle interior. Electric vehicles generate very little waste heat and resistance electric heat may have to be used to heat the interior of the vehicle if heat generated from battery charging/discharging can not be used to heat the interior. Electric vehicles used in cold weather will show increased energy consumption and reduced battery capacity and so decreased range on a single charge, for example the Mini E's range dropped by 30% in cold weather..............wikipedia
  18. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Both the Nissan Leaf and the Tessla will meet your requirements and then some. The Volt will also work, but you would use a very small amount of gas.
  19. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    The main loads on the grid are during the day. The main charging period for electric cars would be overnight, nicely meshing the utilitie's needs to sell more power, with a much more balanced demand.
  20. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    the waste heat is more easily available in an ICE but electric motors do run fairly hot as well, also an onboard heating element which can "prewarm" the vehicle when connected to house power could go a long way towards helping with the heating chore , bear in mind you arent driving cross country in this thing. remember maintaining heat takes much less energy than bringing temps up form a cold car. another nice benny would be a defrosted windshield and windows when you walked out through the snow to your car.
  21. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    also , a lot of work is being done to enhance battery life, rotating lithium anode batteries are about the best we have now that could be mass marketed, though they are still expensive.

    remember the idea is to seek a way to transition , not to snap our fingers and be done. a cohesive plan to field non ICE transportation phasing it in as we go is the only way to really get off the gas. thinking we will not have gas powered cars 10 years from now aint happening , realistically 30 years would be an admirable goal IMHO, potentially could take even longer, but spinning our wheels (pardon the pun)wishing for it doesnt get us anywhere. i want a cohesive plan spelled out to me, wanna "be green" (not referring to my friend but the ideal of living green) tell me (and the rest of us) just how to do it in a "nuts and bolts" fashion. im not an engineer, im a mechanic, theory isnt going to make me happy , paying lip service (which is what we have gotten for decades from the govt.) is a waste of time.

    bear in mind that research in this field can and would dovetail into progress in power generation and distribution. for instance , look how much power we waste in the electrical grid just distributing it. a ton of gain could be made there. once again , im not the engineer, but someone out there could come up with somthing if the drive to do so is present.

    another thing im suprised about is the apparant tapering off of the "smart car" those little bitty runabouts ive seen a few of them but im not seeing any more of them as time goes on like a fad that died as it was born. seems to me a small lightweight car of that type would be a more viable platform for first generation electric, would be less work for the motor to drive it meaning less power per mile and a longer range, couple that with a better price than the current cars available (41K for the volt?) im not spending 41 K for a car with a 100 mile range. for it to catch on the cost has to be signifigantly lower.
  22. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The Nissan Leaf is significantly lower, 32K before rebates. The Volt has unlimited range as long as there is gas in the tank. And there will be many more choices coming on line after that, especially hybrids.

    I agree about the smart car. Why cram when you can have a roomy 5 passenger car that gets equivalent mileage? However, they are popular in Europe because there are many old towns and cities where large cars don't fit and parking space is at a high premium. Here there are many towns that grew up after the auto had arrived so they made everything big and sprawling to accommodate big vehicles from the get go.
  23. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I definitely agree that aux car heat, on a timer, when it is plugged in, is a good idea. One reason that electric motor heat hasn't been scavenged a lot is that on some of these cars, there is no central motor. Instead there is one outboard at each wheel.

    However, it would be more efficient to have a heat pump considering it's all electric and only kick in the resistance heater when needed. One plus of resistance heat, no waiting for the car to warm up. When it's on, it's on.

    In cold climates I suppose one could always have an Espar, Webasto or Eberspacher fueled heater. I had one in my 69 VW Fastback. Turn it on and you would be cooking in a few minutes.
  24. pyper

    pyper New Member

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    Both the Nissan Leaf and the Tessla will meet your requirements and then some. The Volt will also work, but you would use a very small amount of gas.[/quote]

    Do you have a source?

    According to Nissan's website, the Leaf will go "up to" 100 miles based on EPA's city test.

    The city test includes some A/C, but it also involves a lot of time moving less than 35 mph, which takes less power.

    But "up to" kind of implies it doesn't cover my worst case situation, which is an early winter morning. It's raining (so I need to run the wipers). It's dark (so I need the headlights). For whatever reason, the only way I can keep the windshield clear is to run the AC, but it's pretty cold, so I have to turn the heat up all the way.

    According to Nissan's website, the 100 miles is also based on a new battery. If the AC, the heat, the wipers, and the lights add less than 20% to the load, then I can probably get home. On a new battery...

    But wait. I'm not in city traffic -- I'm driving on the highway. Nissan's website is ominously silent on how far the car will go at highway speeds. They also point out it will go less if you run the AC or the heat (let alone both at once to keep the windshield clear). They ominously don't mention how much. They do point out you can pre-cool the car, but around here that's not going to help much. I'm remembering when that Dodge car with the "cab forward" design came out and they said the A/C was powerful enough to cool a house. I'm sure that was BS, because there isn't enough room in a car to put a condenser that big, but it doesn't make me think that running an A/C is going to be good for the range.

    Someone mentioned not using the A/C, and that's an option for some people some time, but if you have the kind of job that you're expected to not show up drenched in sweat, then it's really not an option. You can't commute to an office job in Atlanta or Miami or Dallas without A/C and expect to win promotions and avoid lay offs.

    I'm just saying.
  25. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Your points are well taken pyper, but the Volt is a hybrid and should handle your climate. The tesla has much greater battery capacity but will be more expensive.

    But instead of just saying, how does it benefit me, take a look at the larger picture that still needs to be solved. Cheap oil supplies are decreasing. Carbon emissions are accumulating. So what is the best solution in your region to help the country transition and how can you contribute. That is the bottom line question. If we all ignore it, showing up sweaty at a meeting will be the least of our problems a decade or two from now.

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