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A New Page - In the Media

Thursday, April 29, 2010, 3:16 PM

When I was out in San Francisco in January, Janaia Donaldson interviewed me for Peak Moment Television and, with Robyn's excellent technical abilities, turned out a very nice product.  I'd like to direct you both this video clip in particular and to Peak Moment's excellent content in general:

Because media appearances have been piling up and people said they couldn't find certain past interviews or materials (heck, neither could we!), we decided to put all our media on one page, which you will soon be able to access via the navigation menu above in the About section, or by following this link right now

We'll try and keep this page updated with new material as it comes out, but if we forget, please remind us and we'll get it entered.

One missing 'block' of material would be articles about your efforts to use the Crash Course in your communities.  If you have any media links that speak to your efforts, we'd love to include them here as well.  Just let us know.

Best,

Chris

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20 Comments

Davos's picture
Davos
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Re: A New Page - In the Media

Great watch, thank you.

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Re: A New Page - In the Media

Dr. M, 

I saw this interview a while back and it was fantastic. Even though I've been around here for some time, I have remained skeptical of many topics in the blogosphere, Peak Oil being one of them. This professionally designed and executed interview with you really reached me in a way that no other Peak Oil presentation has before. You are a most effective communicator for the "thinking man or woman".

Its such a pleasure to not have to wade through copious amounts of emotion marketing to get to the core message. To me, the messenger is always more important than the message. So even if I'm inclined to question the validity of the Peak Oil argument itself, the cerebral manner in which you delivered this argument made all the difference. 

Superb interview, thanks for taking the time to do it.

 

guardia's picture
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Re: A New Page - In the Media
JAG wrote:

Its such a pleasure to not have to wade through copious amounts of emotion marketing to get to the core message. To me, the messenger is always more important than the message. So even if I'm inclined to question the validity of the Peak Oil argument itself, the cerebral manner in which you delivered this argument made all the difference. 

I am from an engineering sort of background and I have no problem understanding the validity of peak oil. Reading your comment made me realize that people of different background often see things differently. If you can share any insights, let me know! I think it would be really helpful to know a bit more how other people perceive all this... thanks

And the same for anyone else :) thank you

Samuel

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Heisenberg's Uncertainity Principle

Gaurdia,

My approach to nearly all topics can be best described as a bastardization of Heisenberg's Uncertainity Principle into the realm of human consciousness. By this I mean that a person's sense of self often distorts their observation and cognition of a particular object or subject. This distortion is typically exaggerated when the given subject becomes a product of groupthink.

This is why I discount many of the conclusions of the goldbug and peak oil "camps". As a particular argument matures in a groupthink context, its content increasingly becomes a function of the collective identity of that group, and its objectivity suffers as a result. While Peak Oil (and economics for that matter) may be defined by mathematics, its ultimate expression in our lives will be defined by psychology. 

While it could be argued that Dr. Martenson is firmly established in both the goldbug and peak oil camps, it must also be recognized that he strives to minimize the subjective component of his arguments. In my mind, it is this effort that separates his work from the crowd.

Best...Jeff

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Re: Heisenberg's Uncertainity Principle
JAG wrote:

While it could be argued that Dr. Martenson is firmly established in both the goldbug and peak oil camps, it must also be recognized that he strives to minimize the subjective component of his arguments. In my mind, it is this effort that separates his work from the crowd.

As a result of my own studies of oil reserves I was in the peak oil camp long before I knew of Dr. M. The only thing to doubt about peak oil is the timing of its occurrence and its consequences. At a minimum it will cause serious inconvenience. At worst it could undo the world economic system. This web site has been a great source for helping us with our individual and family preparations for peak oil. Better yet, Dr. Martenson's suggestions for infrastructure changes that need to be taken on regional and national levels are attracting deserved attention. This gives me hope. We need more like him.

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Re: A New Page - In the Media

I just discovered this site and went through the Crash Course and it's fantastic!! I come from a background of engineering (mechanical engineer analyzing industrial energy and processes), and ecology (forest management). For several years I have been piecing together the physical problems with our economic system in terms of how this relates to the natural world which supports it. But I am not an economist and I hadn't been able to connect the dots as to why it is that our economic system fundamentally relies on growth, and you have finally explained that to me. Thank you so much. Everything has come together now.

One comment I have is that in your energy analysis and predictions, you take the opinion that it will be very costly and time consuming to wean ourselves off oil. Since the majority of oil is used for transportation, then this by extension impies that it will take a long time to switch transportation over, in part because we'd need a new distribution infrastructure. I am more optimistic about this, and a little surprised you didn't mention electric cars.

I have crunched the numbers for these things from every angle I can for a couple years now and it seems obvious to me what kind of a positive effect they will be having on our lives. I think that electric cars will help us get off oil much more quickly than predicted, for four reasons. Firstly, they will soon be just as convenient to drive as any regular gasoline powered car (charge times, speed, power). Secondly, we already have an energy distribution network in place -- the wires running behind every wall in every building. Thirdly, they are MUCH less expensive to "fuel" and maintain than a regular car, while costing about the same price to buy when mass produced. And fourthly, here is the amazing fact that very few people realize when they criticize electric cars: the amount of electricity saved by not having to refine crude oil into gasoline at refineries anymore would be enough to charge an equivalent number of electric cars to drive an equivalent distance as the gasoline you are displacing would power the gasoline-powered cars! (it requires 5 kW-hr of electricity to make a gallon of gasoline) Essentially, this is a statement about how INefficient the oil refining process is -- you need to input more energy into refining tar sand (in terms of natural gas, electricity, and the 1/2 of the crude oil which doesn't even end up as gasoline) to make a gallon of gasoline than you get by burning the gasoline itself!

So interestingly, along with peak oil becoming an issue in the next few years, we will also see the emergence of practical electric cars (Nissan is heavily investing in this, and the Leaf will be the first one to market). Here is a great interview with Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Nissan, about his electric car ambitions.

These will be two competing forces on the price of oil, and I suspect that within the next 5 years, when eletric cars become firmly entrenched in the minds of the public and they can see that they are perfectly good cars (atually better than gasoline powered cars), then another exponential curve will be starting -- the transition away from gasoline powered cars to electric transportation.

I think this transition will be very rapid because electric cars have not been absent from the market because of any inherent limitations of the technology, but because the reigning energy industry has so far succeeded in doing everything it possibly can to keep them from attaining mass production and becoming competitive (see the movie, "Who Killed the Electric Car"). That situation is now crumbling.

The question is: will the mass conversion to electric cars happen fast enough to avert an energy price spike due to peak oil? I don't know, but it will be an interesting 20 years, as you say!

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Re: A New Page - In the Media
Mark_BC wrote:

The question is: will the mass conversion to electric cars happen fast enough to avert an energy price spike due to peak oil? I don't know, but it will be an interesting 20 years, as you say!

Maybe CM will answer, but my take (and by no means am I speaking for anyone): I think CM's concern is that we should have a Manhattan project to see what should be done first so we don't blow what we have left on stupid stuff. Watching the movie "A Crude Awakening" opened my eyes to the fact that it takes a LOT of oil to make ANYTHING and EVERYTHING - even batteries and EVs.

Also, magnets and other rare earth matter are not renewable and plentiful.

I'm sure you'll get a few maybe several replies on what makes the electricity to charge the EV's so I'll save it. Good watch (Who Killed the EV).

I'm kind of with you on this, I wish we made these things or retrofit older vehicles because someone is bound to stumble on something (many inventions come from goof ups) and anything is better than an 8mpg SUV!!!

 

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Re: A New Page - In the Media

Fact #1:  There are ~800 million vehicles operating on the surface of the planet.

Fact #2:  Each year another ~50 million are made and sold.

Interesting observation:  Even if every single car sold from this point forward were an electric vehicle, it would take ten years to replace half the operating fleet.

Distinct possibility:  We are already well past the peak of cheap and easy oil, and maybe past the peak of of all oil of any quality.

Conclusion:  There isn't enough time to make a smooth transition from gasoline to electric cars such that our current forms of self-arrangement can continue uninterrupted.  Therefore, we will experience some other sort of future besides one that is a simple extrapolation of the present configuration.

Opinion:  While I will heartily welcome any and all new technologies when they arrive, I cannot get around the TIME, SCALE and COST issues required to bring them online in time to prevent a disruption to our current system.  Unfortunately our dominant mode of self-arrangement is an economy that is based on exponential growth and fewer people moving fewer goods over shorter distances is not compatible with the basic necessities of such growth.  We 'need' the exact opposite.

Main hypothesis:  Welding an understanding of our exponential economy to the idea of at first flat and then declining energy supplies yields the prospect that our economy will function relatively poorly as a consequence.  Advanced  technology is by definition complex and economic complexity is the end result of increasing energy flows.  Nobody has yet articulated a framework by which our current mode of economic functioning will deliver increasingly complex solutions while operating on less and less energy throughputs.

Those are just a few things to chew on for the weekend.

 

 

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Re: A New Page - In the Media

Glad you chimed in because nobody says it better Foot in mouth

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Re: A New Page - In the Media

Yes, I guess it is about time and scale. If only we had another 10 years....

Regarding the electricity to power the EV's, yes, it is still true that 48% still comes from coal. But when you combine the observation that electric cars would be mostly charged overnight when demand is low, with the electrical savings from shutting down oil refining, we would not need any additional electrical generation capacity to convert all cars over to electric. We'd need some local substation upgrades and the establishment of a nationwide high capacity quick charging infrastructure for people driving farther than their EV's daily range, but that's about it. And on top of that, we would not need oil anymore for personal transportation.

Regarding the rare earth elements for the electric motors, apparently the new induction motors don't need them, only the older permanent magnet types do.

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Re: A New Page - In the Media
Mark_BC wrote:

(...) we would not need any additional electrical generation capacity to convert all cars over to electric. (...)

That's an interesting claim.  And central to everything.

I have a challenge for you.

Can you back it up with facts?

The calculations are pretty trivial, and approximations will yield ball park results that will let us know if the claim is roughly correct or grossly inaccurate.

1) we consume roughly ~18,500,000 barrels of oil per day.

2) ~70% of our oil consumption is used for transportation.

3) a barrel of oil is equivalent to some amount of electrical production and can be readily converted to kilowatt hours.

4) Multiply all that together and then compare this to the total installed base of electrical production.

I just did this, it took me about 4 minutes, and I came up with a very interesting result.

The more we can deal with facts and substantiated claims, the better is how we tend to view things around here.

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Re: Heisenberg's Uncertainity Principle
JAG wrote:

This is why I discount many of the conclusions of the goldbug and peak oil "camps". As a particular argument matures in a groupthink context, its content increasingly becomes a function of the collective identity of that group, and its objectivity suffers as a result. While Peak Oil (and economics for that matter) may be defined by mathematics, its ultimate expression in our lives will be defined by psychology. 

Ah, I get it... So it's not the physical concrete science that bugs you, but how people will deal with the consequences. Yes, I also feel I cannot clearly predict what will happen, but we can rule out physically impossible things at least... The problem I face with people around me is that it seems they are so stuck-up with the "uncertainty principle" that they feel there is absolutely nothing they can in fact understand, and they just give up.. :(

Samuel

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Re: A New Page - In the Media

Welcome to the party, Mark_BC! 

I looked at the situation a couple of years ago as an engineer in the same way you are doing.  That journey led me to Chris who distills it all down beautifully and integrates the economy into the big picture for which I am very grateful.

I agree electric cars seem to be the obvious solution: reliable, available technology and a established infrastructure.  Chris is right.  It will take time to get those cars on the road.

In addition, it will take time to build additional power plants to meet the demand.  It will take time to beef up the current electrical power infrastructure (which is barely adequate right now for current power needs.) 

What are those power plants going to burn?  Here is the current breakout:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/8/83/2008_US_electricity_...

New coal plants take at least 5 years to permit and build.  (BTW all these estimates of time from design to power output are increasing as pressure from environmental and occupational safety increases.)

New natural gas plants are easier to permit - within  a couple years and quick to build but peak natural gas is close and the other side of the curve is nearly vertical.  

NG has some other curious relationships with other fuels.  Natural gas is also the idiotically preferred energy choice  to process non-conventional oil from shale and oilsands.   Natural gas is required to fertilze ethanol crops and for explosives to mine coal.   Consumption of natural gas for power gen is increasing because of wind generation.  Power from NG can be increased or decreased online quickly to fill in the intermittent peaks and valleys of wind gen.  Coal and nuke plants take considerable time to adjust to different demand loads.   Massive scale energy storage technology which is currently not available is required to overcome this effect. 

Nuke plants require at least 10 years to permit and build.  The building standards are understandably rigorous and stringent.  The same time and the same stringent standards are applied to radioactive waste disposal facilities as well. 

Large scale hydro is seasonal and damming rivers is not an acceptable environmental consequence to the public. 

Solar and wind renewables are a welcome supplement to the mix but there is surprisingly strong opposition to these projects as witnessed with the Cape Code offshore project and what I experienced in WY and MT.  Mega renewable projects take two to 5 years to permit and build as well.   Since the sun doesnt always shine and the wind doesnt always blow, there are inherent problems with renewables. I believe that renewables will never fulfill our current energy needs unless extreme measures are taken to reduce energy consumption through conservation.

With ever increasing population and energy consumption, Dr. Albert Bartlett explains in simple terms that  even extreme measures are futile. 

Now , consider EROEI for each source which ultimately fuels our IC cars, conventional oil @ 20:1, non-conventional oil @ 5:1,  coal liquidefaction @ 4:1, corn ethanol @ 1.3:1 or wood ethanol @ 2.6:1. 

In comparison, consider ultimate fuel sources which power electric cars, coal power gen @ 8:1, nuke @ 4:1, NG @ 10:1, wind @ 2:1 and photovoltaic @ 2:1. 

So to perform the same work (Fxd) over time (energy) as IC cars with electrical autos, it will require 2 to 10 times more energy depending on the ultimate fuel source.  Since all fossil energy is heat from oxidation of carbon, this 2 to 10 fold increase will roughly increase pollution 2 to 10 fold as well. 

I believe that electric cars have a place in our future.  However, in the near term, draconian measures in energy conservation, local food production, public transportation and decentralized renewable power generation  for each household are the best ways to use the cheap fossil energy we have left.

Yep, this is ponderous, Man Now back to the party.  Time for a Bloody Mary - make it a double...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0xWLahk86I 

-mooselick7

PS:  The following work although dated helped put energy and the economy in perspective for me....

http://www.eroei.com/pdf/Energy%20and%20the%20U.S.%20Economy-%20A%20Biop...

 

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Re: A New Page - In the Media

guardia said "they feel there is absolutely nothing they can in fact understand, and they just give up"

I know many people who could understand, if they just think things thru. They don't want to. They have other priorities and hobbies that take up their time. They don't have any interest in the economy, nor even the oil explosion currently spewing millions of gallons of oil over the Gulf Of Mexico and on the shores of Louisana that is killing off the shrimp and oyster industry. Until something affects these people personally in the wallet, or their lifestyle, then they will understand. And they will either adapt to survive, or not.

 

 

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Re: A New Page - In the Media

The oil spill in the Gulf may be a true ecological catastrophe.  It may significantly degrade the most productive fishery we have left - since the gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic fisheries have alrady been essentially wiped out.  And it brings to light the exponential stage of our crisis. 

Our need for fuel and our need for food may be mutually exclusive.  Exploiting deep-water oil resources has now come up against exploiting productive fisheries.  And only one will survive.  We can't have both.

Yes, some may say with a better valve or this or that the spill could have been averted.  But we all know about chaos theory, and how the unexpected happens.  We cant have our cake and eat it too.

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Re: A New Page - In the Media

Thanks for the reply mooselick. I am interested about where you got your EROEI values of coal power gen @ 8:1, nuke @ 4:1, NG @ 10:1, wind @ 2:1 and photovoltaic @ 2:1.

Regarding my claim that no new (or very little) electricity generation would be required to convert all cars over to electric, here is what I have found.

It is hard to find this information and much of it conflicts. I think my original claim was an exaggeration but the numbers are still pretty significant.

This site does lots of calculations but I don`t know how accurate they are:

http://evnut.com./

Click `Gasoline Oil` at the top.

This government site has good statistics for refineries:

http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/pet_pnp_capfuel_dcu_nus_a.htm

In 2008 refineries bought 42,682 million kW-hr of electricity from the grid, and produced about 9000 thousand barrels of gasoline a day (about 137,970,000,000 gallons a year).

http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/pet_pnp_wiup_dcu_nus_w.htm

Gasoline represents only half of the products which a refinery produces so let’s say the electricity needed was only then 25,000 million kW-hr for the year to produce that much gasoline. When you divide this out you get that the refineries bought about 0.2 kW-hr of electricity per gallon of gasoline produced. But the refineries also use natural gas and other fuels. In 2008 they used 710,000 million cubic feet of natural gas, plus some other fuels so let’s bring that to 1,000,000 million equivalent. Let’s again drop this number down because this was also used to produce products other than gasoline, so we get say 600,000 million cubic feet of natural gas equivalent. This works out to about 1.5 kW-hr of natural gas per gallon of gasoline produced.

But that’s only half the story because the products have to produced and shipped to and from the refineries. Assuming tne crude comes from Alberta tar sands, this is the best reference I have found:

http://www.strategywest.com/downloads/SW_CoGenCanada20060405.pdf

Page 11 provides useful numbers for steam assisted gravity drainage, how much this compares with open pit mining I don’t know. For the case without cogeneration, those numbers work out to 0.12 kW-hr of electricity and 4 kW-hr of natural gas per gallon of gasoline produced (again assuming only half of the refinery`s production is gasoline).

Now we also have to transport and distribute the stuff all along the whole process. I don’t know how much this is but it’s probably not insignificant, in both electricity for pipelines and pumps and fuel for gasoline trucks or oil tankers. Let’s say we add another 0.1 kW-hr of electricity per gallon.

Summing it all up we get approximately 0.4 kW-hr of electricity and 6 kW-hr of natural gas to produce a gallon of gasoline well-to-pump (remember, this doesn’t even include inputs from the raw product itself). How far could that electricity take an electric car? Using the 230 W-hr per mile mileage of the Nissan leaf, that would take it 1.7 miles. This compares with about 25 miles for a typical gasoline powered car on a gallon of gasoline. Okay, that`s nowhere near that (which I incorrectly said it was earlier), but still significant because that`s only using the existing electricity production that we already have – in other words, IT`S FREE. That is a pure savings, it is having your cake and eating it too, resulting from bypassing the inefficient oil refining process. The benefit of course is that NO CRUDE OIL WOULD NEED TO BE IMPORTED for that new electric car.

But don`t forget, there is also the 6 kW-hr of natural gas, which currently isn`t turned into electricity (it`s used to refine gasoline) but could be if a power plant was built to do so, because it wouldn`t be needed in the refinery anymore. Assuming 50% efficiency conversion rate, that gives 3 kW-hr. That would power an electric car to go 13 miles.

If we wanted to stretch it even further, we could also ask how far we could go in an electric car on the hypothetical gallon of gasoline that we wouldn`t be producing anymore if it was converted to electricity. Let`s assume 40% conversion efficiency on 37 kW-hr energy content per gallon of gasoline, this gives 15 kW-hr of electricity. This would take the car 67 miles, for a whopping total of 82 miles vs. 25 for a regular car or 50 for a Prius.

So to summarize, it seems that in comparison to 25 miles for a regular car, if it was instead replaced with an electric car, then the electricity savings alone would take the new car 1.7 miles for ``free``, and a further 13 miles using the natural gas savings if it was converted to electricity. The benefit is that no crude oil was imported to do this.

Now also consider that since most electric cars will be trickle charged overnight when electricity demand is low, the question becomes whether any new electrical generation capacity would be required at all; rather, production would just continue through the night at a higher output than would otherwise be the case, and in the daytime when peak demand happens there is little charging of cars happening (more coal overall would have to be burned but it would be more evenly spread out through the day). This is the benefit that France will enjoy because it uses nuclear plants, and these cannot be slowed down at night (too lethargic). That energy is currently wasted so France could essentially convert all of its cars to electric and not have to worry about a shred of new electricity generation. The benefit is that it would no longer need foreign oil!

A typical EV it will suck about 1.5 kW overnight. This is equivalent to a small portable space heater. I think our electrical load will be able to handle that, but I haven`t looked into it much. What will be required is a national network of high capacity quick charge stations but these are on the delivery end, not supply.

Obviously converting to electric cars is not going to solve all the problems, but on a bang for buck basis it will provide tremendous returns.

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Re: A New Page - In the Media

Wow - who would have thought such a hard factoroided subject like peak oil could bring out such a wide range of reactions. And, reactions aren't solutions. Your presentation of the facts was as elequent as usual - how people react to peak oil seems so far off the mark.

IF we all wanted to drive electric cars (which we don't) then thhis would seem like an over whelming un-scalable issue. We will continue to convert to ethanol (we already run everything on it so the next step is to grow our own feed stock).

Any one with a cup of sugar and a pot to ferment it in can make alcohol to use for fuel. This is not a new technology -its been around for 1,000s of years. It can be done on any size scale and a variety of feed stocks. No magic needed - no converting to electric cars (which just keeps us in a mindless consumeristic cycle) - 80% to 95% of all cars will run on it with a little of modification.

Though it is not possible to burn the future fuels at the rate we presently burn fuel - who is to say that an 80% reduction in won't be a good thing - we WILL learn to grow food locally, ride bikes as much as possible (& take public transportation when needed) and those 2 small changes WILL make us healthier and more appreciative - as well as be better for the planet we live on.

The shift of power from centralized energy to one of local food and energy is scary but I am finding (those who are preparing) this can be a refreshing decentralization of all kinds of powers. It will increase the food growers land and value for what they do - something that should have happened centuries ago.

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Re: A New Page - In the Media

I heartily agree that ideally there should be a big reduction in the number of cars and we should ride bikes and take public transport more, but the fact is that everyone isn't going to do this (especially in winter), since cities in the US simply haven't been designed that way, and given the lack of money available for infrastructure improvements, I don't see it happening either.... I don't have a car, I ride my bike, walk, and take public transport everywhere, but I live in a city that makes this easy - Vancouver. Most people are going to continue to drive their cars until they are forced not to, as in, they can't afford to anymore.

And I'm not suggesting that everyone should go buy a new electric car for the sake of extra consumerism, but rather that this year they will finally be introduced to the market. When everyone has had a chance to ride in one they will realize how great they are and over the next few years demand will be so great (in comparison to gasoline powered cars, at least) that within 10 years I predict that more than half of all cars sold will be electric. It is simply a matter of replacing existing ICE cars with electrics as they get retired.

And I disagree that people will not want to drive electric cars. They do not perform like the Prius (its performance is held back by its small battery pack). EV's are better than ICE's in basically every single way. They are faster, quieter, more responsive, they don't stink, they cost 10 X less to operate (electricity is 5 X cheaper than gas and the maintenance costs are MUCH less due to the fact that they have so a few moving parts), they will cost the same price to buy, plus they will last much longer than a regular ICE car for the same reasons -- this is also a major advantage for sustainability. According to the specs being released which seem to be true (http://www.toshiba.com/ind/data/tag_files/SCiB_Brochure_5383.pdf) the new lithium titanate batteries coming out will last 50 years and work well down to minus 30 degrees. They are also less toxic than the current lead-acid batteries in every existing car! The only disadvantage of electric cars is that they will take 15 minutes to recharge rather than 3 minutes in a gas station. But most of the time you'd trickle charge overnight so it won't be an issue.

I agree that we should be converting as many cars over to alcohol as possible but the problem is firstly, its EROEI (in Brazil it's much better with sugarcane), and alcohol isn't really a sustainable fuel source when you get into the volumes necessary to power an entire country's vehicle fleet (growing corn requires lots of synthetic fertilizers from natural gas, plus mechanized farm equipment burning oil). I haven't looked into the numbers for waste cellulose in enough detail but my intuition would be that there isn't enough waste to power all vehicles, maybe someone can fill me in.

Hydrogen is a lost cause, so the only option left for some hope of a sustainable transportation system is electric, with electricity being produced sustainably somehow. It's either this or be forced to get rid of most of the cars on the road. I think it should be a bit of both.

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Re: A New Page - In the Media

EROEI analyses vary because it depends on how far upstream and downstream you take your analysis.  It also changes with advances in technology and the scale of projects in the data.  (economies of scale)

I have done some eroei analysis for my company but that work is proprietary so I look for public sources that correspond to those results.   This site is a good source: 

http://www.eroei.com/eroei/evaluations/net-energy-list/

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Re: A New Page - In the Media

Well to provide even more info to sift through, I may have significantly underestimated the amount of electricity saved by not refining gasoline anymore. These numbers are not easy to come by, and the oil industry is certainly not making them available. The thing I didn't include in my analysis, but I did suspect may be happening, is that apparently the refineries make a lot of their own electricity via cogeneration, by burning the natural gas and probably part of the crude as well. So you can't determine how much electricity is required to refine gasoline simply by looking at how much electricity they buy from the grid. The trick is being able to make sense of the DOE numbers referenced above. A few dedicated people have been doing this here:

http://evworld.com/article.cfm?storyid=1715

http://blog.storybridge.org/2009/07/leave-oil-in-ground-drive-electric-w...

http://www.oemtek.com/pdf/phev_feasibility_analysis_combined.pdf

This is a very interesting subject, and I am surprised that it is only recieving attention from a few die hard EV fans. The implications of the resulting numbers have national significance and would be central to a future energy policy. It's quite strange. If it is true that the electricity needed to refine gasoline is roughly what is needed to drive an EV the same distance, then the implications are huge. It means we could aim to ditch ICE's as quickly as possible and convert to EV's with the expectation that no new electrical generation would be needed, and then within a few decades be able to end crude oil imports, at least for making gasoline.

I've thought about this enough for today, I'll take a break and come back to it some other time.

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