# YOU!: Fix the US Energy Crisis

by russ_watters
Tags: crisis, energy
 PF Patron P: 2,950 Seems like Google owes more attribution to Pickens or DoE than a 'they also have plans'. Google's electric plan attached. The biggest Google change by 2020 is a big push in wind. Good idea, but it is not their idea, nor do they address the hard parts of making wind work (transmission costs and right of ways, base load power - esp over 20% wind, they propose 28%). Also, they simply claim geothermal will go from 2.5GW to 80, 33X, an extraordinary claim requiring extraordinary backup. Attached Thumbnails
 P: 1,671 Google is investing some big money into all types of alternative energy. For example they gave 10 mill to venture capital company Makani Power (my companies competitor) for a high altitude wind generator. Other than throwing money around, I don't really see them doing much of anything.
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 Quote by mheslep Seems like Google owes more attribution to Pickens or DoE than a 'they also have plans'. Google's electric plan attached. The biggest Google change by 2020 is a big push in wind. Good idea, but it is not their idea, nor do they address the hard parts of making wind work (transmission costs and right of ways, base load power - esp over 20% wind, they propose 28%).
Also note the "savings from effciency", which just stands for "deficit I don't know how to fill in". Triple nuclear, and all the handwaving is gone... so are they going to spend some money on nuclear ? Or is that not Politically Correct ?
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 Quote by russ_watters I'd say you guys are talking past each other. mheslp is simply saying that it isn't viable, while Ivan is saying it is being done. But the fact that it is being done doesn't have anything to do with whether it is viable or not.
 Closely following a sighting of a Hydrogen-powered 7 series during testing, BMW officially announced the Hydrogen 7 today. The car is touted as the first hydrogen-drive luxury performance automobile for everyday use. The BMW Hydrogen 7 will be built in a limited series, and sold to select customers in the U.S. and overseas in 2007. The engine in the Hydrogen 7, a derivative of the 7 series 12 cylinder engine, is capable of running on gasoline or hydrogen, and produces 260 hp. The car will accelerate from 0 to 62.1 mpg in 9.5 seconds. The ability to run on both gasoline and hydrogen gives the Hydrogen 7 a range of more than 400 miles. The high tech hydrogen storage tank has a capacity of approximately 17.6 lb of liquid hydrogen, giving the Hydrogen 7 a cruising range in hydrogen mode upwards of 125 miles.
http://www.autobloggreen.com/2006/09...mw-hydrogen-7/

As I said, it is being done today. If it is being used in practical applications, how is it not viable? Yours is a subjective interpretation; just as when mheslp argues that a range of 40 miles makes plug-ins viable. How can a 40 mile range be viable if 125 to 400 miles isn't? And with a 300 miles range on gasoline, they must have a full sized tank. So there is much more room for hydrogen storage.

Also, as posted earlier:
 LAWRENCE Livermore employees and visitors last January might have spotted a white Toyota Prius hybrid vehicle driving continuously around the square-mile site. The car was making history by setting a world record for the longest distance driven on one tank of fuel in a vehicle modified to run on hydrogen. ...The Prius, which has a combination electric motor and small internal combustion engine, traveled 1,050 kilometers (653 miles) on a tank containing 150 liters (almost 40 gallons) of liquid hydrogen. The overall fuel economy for the driving conditions used by the Livermore team was about 105 kilometers per kilogram of hydrogen, which is equivalent to about 65 miles per gallon of gasoline. Coincidently, 1 kilogram of hydrogen has about the same energy content as 1 gallon of gasoline. [continued]
https://www.llnl.gov/str/June07/Aceves.html
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 Quote by vanesch Also note the "savings from effciency", which just stands for "deficit I don't know how to fill in". Triple nuclear, and all the handwaving is gone... so are they going to spend some money on nuclear ? Or is that not Politically Correct ?
Pretty much everyone is on-board for more nuclear power now. It seems that people have forgotten the ineptitude of our bureaucracy, which is hard to understand given the credit crisis. But, either way, we will have better options before we can build many plants.
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 Quote by Ivan Seeking Pretty much everyone is on-board for more nuclear power now. It seems that people have forgotten the ineptitude of our bureaucracy, which is hard to understand given the credit crisis. But, either way, we will have better options before we can build many plants.
Naaah, it won't take 200 years to build many plants, will it ?
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 Quote by Topher925 Google is investing some big money into all types of alternative energy. For example they gave 10 mill to venture capital company Makani Power (my companies competitor) for a high altitude wind generator. Other than throwing money around, I don't really see them doing much of anything.
Yes, same with some PV solar people. So far it appears to me as mostly marketing ala "dont be evil" which is fine, but they are still a search/information/advertising company. If they want to play in energy, spin somebody off and stop the amateur show.
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 Quote by vanesch Naaah, it won't take 200 years to build many plants, will it ?
6 to 10 years each, so far. Blame law suits and and red tape if you like, but someone proposing a big push in nuclear ought to fix that first.
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 Quote by Ivan Seeking http://www.autobloggreen.com/2006/09...mw-hydrogen-7/ As I said, it is being done today. If it is being used in practical applications, how is it not viable? Yours is a subjective interpretation; just as when mheslp argues that a range of 40 miles makes plug-ins viable. How can a 40 mile range be viable if 125 to 400 miles isn't? And with a 300 miles range on gasoline, they must have a full sized tank. So there is much more room for hydrogen storage. Also, as posted earlier: https://www.llnl.gov/str/June07/Aceves.html
The problem with the BMWr is not its range, as we all frequently point out, the issue lies with the energy hit taken in creating the H2. Liquification uses 35% of the energy of the energy contained therein vs 10% for compression. For that reason, the serious players (DoE/EERE, Honda, etc) only consider H2 in compressed form for vehicles, and compression still has tank size problems.
http://www.physorg.com/news85074285.html
Since we've already discussed the problems with H2 transport, consider the somewhat more plausible scenario of distributed/local H2 production: the cryogenic equipment required for the 'H2 station' would be vastly more expensive than simple compressors.

Regards EV range I agree that the range limitations of pure EVs make them non-viable. However a hybrid plug-in, such as PHEV-40 Chevy Volt has a total range of 360 miles, the forty mile range is the all electric range. After that (or in combination if you like) it runs from gasoline to achieve 360.
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 Quote by Ivan Seeking As I said, it is being done today. If it is being used in practical applications, how is it not viable?
You are a good enough businessman to know that people sometimes do things just to prove they can be done, even if it means losing vast amounts of money on the project. The hope is that someday that loss will turn into a gain.
 Yours is a subjective interpretation...
No, what we have are different opinions/speculations on what kind of performance is necessary for viability. But...
 ....just as when mheslp argues that a range of 40 miles makes plug-ins viable. How can a 40 mile range be viable if 125 to 400 miles isn't?
....performance is only one piece of the viability equation. There is also cost and target market. There are already perfectly viable small electric vehicles in use all over the world. They are called golf carts. Besides usage on a golf course, they are also used by large corporations for on-campus transportation. But that doesn't mean they are a viable replacement for cars in other applications. So you need to be very specific about what you mean when you say such things. Ie:

-A 40 mi range electric car could be viable as a commuter car. What fraction of passenger cars they could possibly replace, I don't know. Perhaps 20-50%.
-In order to replace regular passenger cars completely, the replacement must equal their performance to be viable. That's 300-400mi.
-That doesn't help us much with light trucks and SUVs, much less larger trucks.

Now having a 40 mi range, of course, is not enough to declare a new electric car "viable". It also needs to have a competitive price and that price needs to be real. Toyota sold the Prius at a loss initially (not sure if they still do) and that is not a business model that is sustainable. A 40 mi range car, to be viable, has to cost, in my estimation, a maximum of $15,000 and yet still be profitable for the car company. That's going to be a tall order for decades to come, unless there is an enormous and unexpected breakthrough in battery technology.  Oh, and we can't forget that the cost analysis must include the fuel cost, which is a serious source of viability issues for hydrogen and electric cars. For the electrics, people tend to trumpet the low cost of night-time electricity, but neglect the fact that the batteries will need to be replaced periodically. Even if they last for a thousand charges, people will be swapping them out every 40,000 miles. People cringe at paying$200 every couple of years for tires - imagine having to drop $5000+ on a new battery pack for your$15,000 car!
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 Quote by Ivan Seeking Pretty much everyone is on-board for more nuclear power now. It seems that people have forgotten the ineptitude of our bureaucracy, which is hard to understand given the credit crisis.
Given that the bureaucracy was caused by the opposition, if it really is true that people are onboard, then the bureaucracy will go away and the time from announcement to tape-cutting should drop to 6-10 years.

I won't be holding my breath, but if you are right (and I hope you are), we could double or triple our nuclear output by that 2030 timetable in that Google chart.
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 Quote by vanesch Also note the "savings from effciency", which just stands for "deficit I don't know how to fill in". Triple nuclear, and all the handwaving is gone... so are they going to spend some money on nuclear ? Or is that not Politically Correct ?
It is not reasonable to call efficiency savings hand waving any more. There is a large body of work now, and data and experience, showing end user efficiency savings in kWh are something one can buy as surely as one can buy kWh from another power plant, up to a point. There's little dispute about the savings available in buildings via thermal management and lighting (California standards / LEEDs buildings in the US) with available and already proven technology. Similarly there's little dispute that 5 passenger vehicles can eventually hit 40+ mpg using advanced combustion engines, forget about EVs for the moment. Its just a matter of buying the savings, and one can buy quite a bit for $17B ( per 2GW nuclear plant.) PF Patron P: 2,950  Quote by russ_watters ...So you need to be very specific about what you mean when you say such things. Ie: -A 40 mi range electric car could be viable as a commuter car. What fraction of passenger cars they could possibly replace, I don't know. Perhaps 20-50%. -In order to replace regular passenger cars completely, the replacement must equal their performance to be viable. That's 300-400mi. -That doesn't help us much with light trucks and SUVs, much less larger trucks. Now having a 40 mi range, of course, is not enough to declare a new electric car "viable". It also needs to have a competitive price and that price needs to be real. Toyota sold the Prius at a loss initially (not sure if they still do) and that is not a business model that is sustainable. A 40 mi range car, to be viable, has to cost, in my estimation, a maximum of$15,000 and yet still be profitable for the car company. That's going to be a tall order for decades to come, unless there is an enormous and unexpected breakthrough in battery technology.
russ waters, by commuter car here I assume you a referring to a pure EV here, just a 1-2 passenger ride. This little beast gets close to your specs with old lead acid tech:
http://www.zapworld.com/electric-veh...rs/xebra-truck
25 miles on a charge, $12,500. I don't such a thing limited to 25 or even 40 miles, only, would replace much of the fleet even as a commuter play. I do expect a PHEV, that goes 40 mi on batteries and then 400 mi on gasoline has the potential to take a substantial share of the US fleet. I'd also wouldn't mind paying substantially more for such a vehicle with that range and 4 passenger capacity, which I expect we'll see in two years from both GM, Toyota, perhaps others.   Oh, and we can't forget that the cost analysis must include the fuel cost, which is a serious source of viability issues for hydrogen and electric cars. For the electrics, people tend to trumpet the low cost of night-time electricity, but neglect the fact that the batteries will need to be replaced periodically. Even if they last for a thousand charges, people will be swapping them out every 40,000 miles. People cringe at paying$200 every couple of years for tires - imagine having to drop $5000+ on a new battery pack for your$15,000 car!
Its fairly clear that batteries planned for PHEVs should go 10years/life of the vehicle. They do that with a combination of 1)Li battery chemistry tailored for long life not energy density, 2)limiting state of charge to no lower than 30% and no greater than ~80%, and 3)temperature control. Together, these steps greatly extend the life cycle over what you may be used to with your laptop battery which does non of these things. #1 and especially #2 achieve extended life at the cost of more battery/size to achieve 40mi. So I don't expect the fuel savings of a PHEV to be offset by battery replacement just an initial premium of perhaps $10k over a comparable ICE vehicle. The fuel cost savings would conservatively be$1k/year, optimistically $2k/year. I believe the well laden mortgage bailout bill just guaranteed a$7600 credit for PHEVs.
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 Quote by mheslep 6 to 10 years each, so far. Blame law suits and and red tape if you like, but someone proposing a big push in nuclear ought to fix that first.
That's the pipe-through time maybe (it's long!), but you can fill up the pipe with constructions in parallel. France built 58 plants in 20 years, Belgium (tiny Belgium) built 7 plants in 11 years.
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 Quote by vanesch That's the pipe-through time maybe (it's long!), but you can fill up the pipe with constructions in parallel. France built 58 plants in 20 years, Belgium (tiny Belgium) built 7 plants in 11 years.
Yes, but parallel or no that length of time means they are intrinsically expensive - no ROI for years.
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 Quote by mheslep ...Its fairly clear that batteries planned for PHEVs should go 10years/life of the vehicle. They do that with a combination of 1)Li battery chemistry tailored for long life not energy density, 2)limiting state of charge to no lower than 30% and no greater than ~80%, and 3)temperature control. Together, these steps greatly extend the life cycle over what you may be used to with your laptop battery which does non of these things. #1 and especially #2 achieve extended life at the cost of more battery/size to achieve 40mi. ....
Here's some data supporting the battery life extension approach:
Limiting the top off voltage:
http://www.batteryuniversity.com/ima...rttwo-34-2.jpg
Limiting the discharge/charge rate:
http://www.batteryuniversity.com/images/parttwo-34.jpg
The specifications for the battery GM is buying for its upcoming Volt is 5000 charges / 10 years.
 PF Patron P: 2,950 A more rigorous data set for Li ion battery characteristics from Linden's Handbook of Batteries (2001): Table 35.11 General Performance Characteristics of Li-ion Batteries (2001) Characteristic Performance Range --------------------------------------------------------- Specific Energy 100 to 158 Wh/kg Energy Density 245 to 439 Wh/L Cycle life at 100% DoD Typically 3000 Cycle life at 20 to 40% DoD Over 20000 Self discharge rate 2 to 10%/month Calendar life Over 5 years ... Where DoD is Depth of Discharge. Linden states the performance of Li-ion batteries in energy density steadily improved in the period '96 to '99 at 14% on average. This model for instance is rated at 201 Wh/kg.
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 Quote by russ_watters Given that the bureaucracy was caused by the opposition, if it really is true that people are onboard, then the bureaucracy will go away and the time from announcement to tape-cutting should drop to 6-10 years. I won't be holding my breath, but if you are right (and I hope you are), we could double or triple our nuclear output by that 2030 timetable in that Google chart.
I'm curious Russ, why the big support for nuclear energy? With major technological advancements in support of solar micro-generation being made in the past few years, and in the years to come why is it we would want our nuclear output tripled by 2030? What will we do with the hundreds millions (if not billions) of tons of hazardous waste? We can't just keep dumping the stuff into Canada, eventually that country is going to fill up.

This wasn't meant to sound like bureaucracy, but a legitimate question.

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