The Ergosphere
Sunday, June 18, 2006
 

If it's a conspiracy, why wasn't I notified?

I know this will shock some people, but I am a regular NPR listener.  I feel disconnected if I don't get All Things Considered on a regular basis, I love Marketplace, and Prairie Home Companion and Car Talk keep me in stitches on the weekend.

Yesterday I was listening to Car Talk, and I heard the following proposal from Ray:

He identified some of the benefits of this proposal, including a decrease in the real cost of oil and a transfer of money from the oil companies (he didn't mention producers) to, well, us.

Car Talk is somewhat of a comedy show so I do have to consider the source, but this was a very pleasant surprise.  Tom and Ray often recommend that people buy relatively large SUV's; to hear them propose measures to discourage people from doing exactly that is a welcome development.  It means these ideas are getting more and more traction, and just in time for the elections too.

Just one thing, though; if they've been reading The Ergosphere for policy ideas, why the heck haven't they called me to say thanks?

 
Comments:
EP, have you seen this? ZAFC buses to serve the 2008 Olympics. Your mates ElectricFuel are involved.

Now, where did I put that SOLZINC?

There's also an amusing story at Wired about people torching their SUVs for the insurance money.
 
Nope, I'd missed that one.  (It's been a busy month.  I guess I have to start using Google alerts or something, or just give up any pretense that I'm trying to stay current.)
 
I'm hearing more and more about this kind of proposal from various sources. Just about the only people who aren't discussing it are the government...
 
Highly recommended.
 
EP:

Do you have any idea how much it would cost to outfit a 15,000 sq foot office building with solar pannels? Or where I could find out?
 
IIRC, Home Power had something about outfitting an office building with solar panels in a recent issue.
 
Thanks, EP- I'll look into that.


Dovish... that MixAlco process looks interesting, however I think that it will ultimately be less efficient than cellulosic ethanol or butanol (because there are several extra steps including adding in hydrogen which will have to be produced somehow... perhaps by pyrolosis of some of the biomass).

It also may even be less efficient than simply burning the biomass to produce electricity, though there is the advantage that you don't have to dry it first (but again you have to distill in the MixAlco process).

Additionally that star-roter engine does not even have a working prototype running yet, and it also looks like there will be cooling problems associated with it.

Still, a pretty fascinating lecture; thanks for posting the link.
 
You're most welcome. Here's the claimed bottom line for MixAlco:

A techno-economic model of the process indicates that with the tipping fees available in New York (126 dollars/dry tonne), mixed alcohol fuels may be sold for 0.04 dollars/L (0.16 dollars/gal) with a 60% return on investment (ROI). With the average tipping fee in the United States rates (63 dollars/dry tonne), mixed alcohol fuels may be sold for 0.18 dollars/L (0.69 dollars/gal) with a 15% ROI. In the case of sugarcane bagasse, which may be obtained for about 26 dollars/dry ton, mixed alcohol fuels may be sold for 0.29 dollars/L (1.09 dollars/gal) with a 15% ROI.

Google a bit. There's a decent amount out there about MixAlco.
 
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