From The Huffington Post….by way of Charlie Peters…

October 27, 2008

An Abdication in Detroit

Carl Pope, Huffington Post, July 6, 2006

San Francisco — Last week, the Ford Motor Company joined the parade of stunningly hypocritical auto manufacturers by announcing that it was abandoning its goal of selling 250,000 hybrid vehicles per year by the end of the decade. Instead, Ford joined other automakers in promising to make 2 million flexible fuel vehicles. “In a joint letter sent Wednesday to members of Congress, General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler AG announced a new promise to double annual production of vehicles that run on alternative fuels, to 2 million per year.” Congress promptly responded to the announcement by refusing, once again, to increase fuel economy standards.

But the auto industry knows that making two million “flexible-fuelled vehicles” won’t dent our dependence on oil. First, the “alternative fuel” they are touting is a mix of gasoline and ethanol called E85, because it is 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Regular cars can, and often do, burn ethanol-gasoline mixes that are up to 10 percent ethanol already — so the real difference with E85 sounds like it might be an impressive 75 percent.

But the reality is far different. First, it takes a fair amount of fossil fuels to make ethanol — diesel fuel for tractors to grow the corn and transport it, natural gas to make fertilizer for it, and gas or (worse) coal to distill it. But this doesn’t matter so much, because 99 percent of these flexible fuel vehicles never see a drop of E85 but run on gas instead. That’s according to a March 2002 study by the Bush Administration.

Since there are fewer than 700 gas stations selling E85, out of 176,000 stations in the U.S., these flexible fuel vehicles will mainly burn the same gasoline that the rest of the fleet does. For example, within 25 miles of my home there are NO gas stations selling E85 to the public! So, the actual savings from this big new auto industry commitment will certainly be trivial at best. Unfortunately, it gets worse.

The auto industry gets bogus fuel economy “credits” for selling flexible fuel vehicles, as if these vehicles were actually all burning ethanol-based fuel. As a result, U.S. gas consumption is actually going to go UP as a result of the auto industry’s latest maneuver. The Bush Administration’s study estimated that the combination of the fuel economy loophole and failure of 99 percent of the flexible fuel vehicles to use E85 would result in an increase in U.S. oil dependence of 17 billion gallons by 2008. On the other hand, we could easily reduce consumption by 50 percent by using more-efficient vehicle technology, the solution that Congress — and the auto industry — just rejected. ed. note: Did you notice the recent spike in food prices? These are connected folks.

Again, William Clay Ford and the rest of the auto know these numbers. This is not something someone just dug out. They don’t care.

If we really want to kick our oil addiction, we’re going to have to do it from the grass-roots up. That’s why the Sierra Club has just launched “Smart Energy Summer” — a campaign to connect Americans with the real solutions to our energy and global warming problems — ones that our leaders know about, but just won’t embrace.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carl-pope/an-abdication-in-detroit_b_24523.html


Maybe I’m Wrong…..No not about Barry…about ‘Oil Never Coming Down’…..

May 31, 2008

These guys are playing a role in the global market. They are not happy that their government is not going to subsidize their fuel costs anymore You see in many Asian countries that’s exactly what’s been going on. To forestall ‘unrest’ the governments have been spending massive amounts to keep fuel prices in their countries down. But….now running out of the ability to do this, out of money they are, the price off fuel is rising so…the demand is falling.

These guys are pissed but this might mean, might, that our costs will fall somewhat due to the lack of demand.

Read more about this and  a lot more on the ‘oil crisis’ at Robert Oak’s blog where guest blogger New Deal Democrat starts his post off with a bang:

‘I was in the midst of writing a diary about how there aren’t "2 Americas", a la John Edwards, but 3, when it became clear that so much information has become available this week concerning the forces affecting Americans’ demand for oil, that it demanded its own diary. Even if the world has reached the plateau of "Peak Oil" and supplies will gradually be rationed at higher and higher prices, there are going to be booms and busts along the way. I’m here to tell you that the evidence suggests that there has been a speculative boom in the last 6-9 months and we may shortly see a bust, echoing the sudden decline of oil from $80 to $55 a barrel just before the 2006 elections. The boom and the bust, if it happens, have everything to do with (1) Subsidies to gas consumption by Asian governments, (2) hoarding (in tanker ships), and (3) unintended consequences of the Fed’s bailing out billionaires, that have added about $1 to every single gallon of gas you buy.

Whoa, I don’t believe I read that part about you an me subsidizing the Bear Stearns bailout to the tune of $1 per gallon in the SF Chronicle. But then I wouldn’t would I. It’s all about how Barry is gonna be Pres. Great, follow that Kabuki there but if you want a head’s up on what’s coming:

Energywise…

Taxwise…state anyway…

Technologywise….

Econmically speaking….

This is the place to come.


A “biofuel” which is NOT ethanol

May 29, 2008


Algae: a carbon-neutral energy platform fueled by sunlight. Photo by Steve Jurvetson.

In light of the skyrocketing cost of petroleum-based fuels, 100 years ago was now is an ideal time to look into the sorts of technologies which deserve more attention from you, me, the broader investment community, environmentalists, and our “government.” (That last one makes me want to both laugh and cry.)

One exciting new areas of research we should look into involves a technology called “renewable gasoline” and which is manufactured from algae — not corn. No food crops required. The folks leading in this technology are a San Diego-based company called Sapphire Energy, and their announcement of May 28, 2008 is noteworthy:

Pioneering effort alters ‘food vs. fuel’ debate, supports American energy independence with revolutionary platform that harnesses microorganisms, sunlight, CO2

Leading investors commit over $50 million to scale effort; production innovator Brian Goodall hired, team leader behind first biofuel 747 flight

Sonoma, California – May 28, 2008 – Sapphire Energy announced today they have produced renewable 91 octane gasoline that conforms to ASTM certification, made from a breakthrough process that produces crude oil directly from sunlight, CO2 and photosynthetic microorganisms, beginning with algae.

“Sapphire’s goal is to be the world’s leading producer of renewable petrochemical products,” said CEO and co-founder Jason Pyle, speaking from the influential Simmons Alternative Energy Conference. “Our goal is to produce a renewable fuel without the downsides of current biofuel approaches.

“Sapphire Energy was founded on the belief that the only way to cure our dependence on foreign oil and end our flirtation with ethanol and biodiesel is through radical new thinking and a commitment to new technologies.”

The end result — high-value hydrocarbons chemically identical to those in gasoline — will be entirely compatible with the current energy infrastructure from cars to refineries and pipelines.

Not biodiesel, not ethanol. And no crops or farm land required.

The Sapphire platform offers vast advantages – scientific, economic and social – over traditional biofuel approaches.

Company scientists have built a platform that uses sunlight, CO2, photosynthetic microorganisms and non-arable land to produce carbon-neutral alternatives to petrochemical-based processes and products. First up: renewable gasoline. Critically important, in light of recent studies that prove the inefficiencies and costs of crop-based biofuels, there is no ‘food vs. fuel’ tradeoff. The process is not dependent on food crops or valuable farmland, and is highly water efficient. “It’s hard not to get excited about algae’s potential,” said Paul Dickerson, chief operating officer of the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy “Its basic requirements are few: CO2, sun, and water. Algae can flourish in non-arable land or in dirty water, and when it does flourish, its potential oil yield per acre is unmatched by any other terrestrial feedstock.”

Scalability key to success

Sapphire’s scalable production facilities can grow easily and economically because production is modular, transportable, and fueled by sunlight – not constrained by land, crops, or other natural resources.

“Any company or fuel that hopes to solve the biofuel conundrum must be economically scalable – and that requires conforming to the existing refining distribution and fleet infrastructure,” said Brian Goodall, Sapphire’s new vice president of downstream technology. Goodall led the team responsible for the highly visible, first-ever Virgin Atlantic “green” 747 flight earlier this year. In addition to a three-decade career in the petrochemical industry, he is a corporate inductee at the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

[Press Release continues…]

In fact, Sapphire states that research is an introduction to an entirely new sub-category of fuel research that they refer to as Green Crude Production. See their take on

Even more encouraging is that this sort of research appears to be going in several directions at once. C|Net recently reported the following:

Sapphire said that it developed an algae process to avoid the controversy over using land for fuel crops instead of food crops.

But at this point, algae fuels are largely experimental and no company is making fuel on a commercial scale.

GreenFuel Technologies, which had to scale back a pilot site, said that it has landed a large European customer to make fuel from algae but has not shared any more information.

Sapphire is not the only company creating technology to make hydrocarbons from plants. Others include LS9, Amyris Biotechnologies, Codexis, and J. Craig Venter-founded Synthetic Genomics.

The advantage of this approach is that the fuels can be integrated into existing transmission infrastructure and can run in cars or planes without modification.

Let’s all keep our eyes on these companies and their technologies.


I’m Sick, Tired and Disgusted….

April 17, 2008

From the ‘Boyz on the Blogz’ naive outrage at how their guy, Barry, was treated in the latest debate, hey lots of us have been saying, ‘Look out the corporatist media is just biding their time and then the ‘Clinton Rules’ will become ‘Barry’s Bylaws’. So it happened and the ‘Big Men’ of the ‘sphere are outraged.

So what?

Due to headache and other issues I will not bore you with I’m gonna play A-Lister and just give you few linkys to play with:

Uh….oh, and I do mean this….. Do you have your two weeks supply of food, water and medicine? Some ammo would not hurt.

But things are just hunkey-dorey in Miss Nancy’s House….. I suggest massive doses of this to make ya feel a bit better.

Well, at least the economy is settly down…rigtht? Right?...Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight?

Looks like Barry might have some work to do on that Unity thingy……. warning if you don’t think there are some
truly enraged White People out there do not clik on this link. And no, don’t blame me. I’ve been listening to this for 45 years.

Why McSame looks so cool, calm and collected as he fumbles question after question…..

Ahnuld nears success in the ‘conservative’ ‘War on Education’ they’ve been waging for 50 years.

RiverDaughter asks, nicely, what do Obamaphiles want?

Hopefully more substance soon. Gonna be writing a lot since the number of sites I’m welcome at is…..heh…heh…shrinking


And still it comes in ‘over the transom’ as….

April 10, 2008

Dave Neiwert of Orcinus fame laments from his new perch at FDL, a blog I can totally support and who I doubt me will ever ban me because Jane has the spine to stand up a speak her mind…and let you do the same, but this post I thought worthy of linking to from Corrente I give you Paul Lukasiak with the first of five posts on racism and sexism and how these supposedly Republican flaws have turned out to be of the very fabric of Dead Loser Caucus and the Decayed Corpse Committee Campaign.

Read carefully and think for yourself. An awful lot is unknown about what’s really going on on the ground in America today. But that doesn’t mean we should stop trying to analyze same. That, for me, is one of the primay functions of the blogging citizenry: Thinking out loud about it.

Here’s the teaser graph:

‘In choosing a nominee, the Democratic Party will not merely be deciding who deserves to win, or who would make the best candidate. It will also be a decision about which poisoned landscape the Party wishes to compete upon — one in which toxic wildflowers of misogyny and sexism are in full bloom, or one in which the poisonous weed of racism is a constant part of the environment, and needs the merest watering to completely despoil the land.

When the Survey USA (SUSA) 50 State Poll was released on March 6 (conducted Feb 26-28) comparing how McCain does against both Obama and Clinton, simply by looking at the data you could see wide discrepancies in how men and women voted. The trend is clear: men and women voted differently depending upon whether McCain was matched against Clinton or Obama. Women tended to stick with the Democrat regardless of whether it was Clinton or Obama, while men more frequently favored McCain when Clinton was on the ballot. The gender gap was significantly smaller when Obama was on the ballot. Sexism was obviously playing a role in the political landscape.’

Read the whole thing here…..

And for the record I do not have a dog or a bitch in this fight. I’ve not made up my mind who, if anyone, I will vote for in the Presidential Kabuki. Don’t like that?

As DubRoots would say, ‘Tough beans, pal.’


Should Congress renew the Clean Energy Tax Credit?

February 26, 2008

The following is from “inhabitat.com”:

World’s Largest Solar Power Plant Coming to Arizona in 2011

by Mahesh Basantani

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The lucky sunny state of Arizona is about to become home to the world’s largest Solar Plant! Thanks to a just-announced contract between Abengoa Solar and Arizona Public Service Company (APS), the enormous solar plant called Solana will power up to 70,000 homes, and will be the first example in the country of a major utility getting the majority of its energy from solar. The 1900 acre plant will be completed by 2011 – IF AND ONLY IF Congress renews the clean energy tax credit that’s set to expire at the end of 2008.

This could be a momentous environmental energy venture for the US, so now is the time to get political — we should not let this amazingly positive opportunity slip through the cracks!

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The Arizona solar power plant has been named Solana, which means “a sunny place” in Spanish, and will be located 70 miles southwest of Phoenix, near Gila Bend, and cover 1,900 acres. The capacity of the power plant has been projected at 280 megawatts — a capacity which could power 70,000 homes and create 1,500 jobs. The electricity generated by the plant will be sold to APS to the tune of around $4 billion for over next 30 years.

Solana will make use of Abengoa Solar‘s Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) technology, which is based on solar radiation concentration to generate steam or hot air, which is used by an electric plant to run steam turbines.

The CSP technology uses three different approaches to concentrate solar rays: tower technology, parabolic trough technology, and dish Stirling technology. The Solana power plant would primarily employ parabolic trough technology.

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Abengoa Solar is presently operating the world’s first commercial CSP solar tower plant in Spain – which we wrote about last year. This new enormoust solar power plant could be a huge boon for renewable energy, the environment, and the local economy with all the new jobs it will create. But there’s one catch- this week the house will be voting on the renewal of a clean energy bill which would shift about $18 billion in tax breaks from oil companies to renewable energy. Essentially, Abengoa’s ambitious solar plan hinges on the passing of this bill. The current clean energy tax credit will expire at the end of 2008, which would effectively make Solana impossible if it did. So while Solana would be a huge step in the right direction for our society, the fate of its realization lies in the hands of policy makers this week.

+ Abengoa Solar

Via BusinessWire
via SolveClimate

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