Researchers develop a new candidate for a cleaner, greener and renewable diesel fuel (PhysOrg.com) — A class of chemical compounds best known today for fragrance and flavor may one day provide the clean, green and renewable fuel with which truck and auto drivers fill their tanks. Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have engineered Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria to generate significant quantities of methyl ketone compounds from glucose. In subsequent tests, these methyl ketones yielded high cetane numbers – a diesel fuel rating comparable to the octane number for gasoline – making them strong candidates for the production of advanced biofuels

Researchers develop a new candidate for a cleaner, greener and renewable diesel fuel (PhysOrg.com) — A class of chemical compounds best known today for fragrance and flavor may one day provide the clean, green and renewable fuel with which truck and auto drivers fill their tanks. Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have engineered Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria to generate significant quantities of methyl ketone compounds from glucose. In subsequent tests, these methyl ketones yielded high cetane numbers – a diesel fuel rating comparable to the octane number for gasoline – making them strong candidates for the production of advanced biofuels

“Confessions of a Chevy Volt Owner.” A surprising, frank interview with an owner of a Volt after one year of driving.
203 miles per gallon in the first year at 16,000 miles. Not a typo. His previous car, a Volvo, got 18 miles per gallon. (I get about 28 mpg in my ol’ benz.)
“I wish I bought the car. I absolutely love it.” He leased it because he was skeptical of owning it. But, wishes he bought it.
“I didn’t buy it to save money.” The biggest surprise here. He bought it to help eliminate the need for oil.
“My home electricity bill is about the same as when my daughter lived here in high school.” After a year of plugging it in to his home, his electricity bill remains the same and didn’t go up as expected.
He responds to the common criticism, “The Chevy Cruze is cheaper.” “Well, a bicycle is even cheaper and saves more gas than the Cruze. So is a used car. So is walking. Look, this isn’t about money, it’s about oil.”

The interview is short and surprising. Have a look.

via climateadaptation:

“Confessions of a Chevy Volt Owner.” A surprising, frank interview with an owner of a Volt after one year of driving.

  • 203 miles per gallon in the first year at 16,000 miles. Not a typo. His previous car, a Volvo, got 18 miles per gallon. (I get about 28 mpg in my ol’ benz.)
  • “I wish I bought the car. I absolutely love it.” He leased it because he was skeptical of owning it. But, wishes he bought it.
  • “I didn’t buy it to save money.” The biggest surprise here. He bought it to help eliminate the need for oil.
  • “My home electricity bill is about the same as when my daughter lived here in high school.” After a year of plugging it in to his home, his electricity bill remains the same and didn’t go up as expected.
  • He responds to the common criticism, “The Chevy Cruze is cheaper.” “Well, a bicycle is even cheaper and saves more gas than the Cruze. So is a used car. So is walking. Look, this isn’t about money, it’s about oil.”

The interview is short and surprising. Have a look.

via climateadaptation:

(via climateadaptation)

Cleaner, Cheaper Liquid Fuel from Coal - Technology Review
A new conversion process promises zero carbon emissions during production—but some question whether it will scale.
SRI International is  developing a process that combines coal and natural gas to produce  liquid transportation fuels that are substantially cleaner and cheaper  to make than existing synthetic fuels.
SRI claims its process addresses three liabilities that have slowed  the commercialization of the technology. By blending some natural gas  into the conventional coal-to-liquids (CTL) process, the private  research lab, based in Menlo Park, California, claims to have eliminated  CTL’s carbon footprint, slashed water consumption by over 70 percent,  and more than halved its capital cost.

Cleaner, Cheaper Liquid Fuel from Coal - Technology Review

A new conversion process promises zero carbon emissions during production—but some question whether it will scale.

SRI International is developing a process that combines coal and natural gas to produce liquid transportation fuels that are substantially cleaner and cheaper to make than existing synthetic fuels.

SRI claims its process addresses three liabilities that have slowed the commercialization of the technology. By blending some natural gas into the conventional coal-to-liquids (CTL) process, the private research lab, based in Menlo Park, California, claims to have eliminated CTL’s carbon footprint, slashed water consumption by over 70 percent, and more than halved its capital cost.

To solve the energy challenge, we will have to find a way to produce, every day, not just what we are producing right now, but at least twice that much. We will need to increase our energy output by a minimum factor of two, the generally agreed upon number, certainly by the middle of the century, but preferably well before that—despite the fact that oil and gas will have long since peaked. Considering that many people on the planet are not using much energy at all and that new energy sources have yet to be developed, billions of people would still be living without modern energy.

To give all 10 billion people on the planet the level of energy prosperity we in the developed world are used to, a couple of kilowatt-hours per person, we would need to generate 60 terawatts around the planet—the equivalent of 900 million barrels of oil per day.

Future Global Energy Prosperity: The Terawatt Challenge

In 2004, the late Nobel laureate, Richard Smalley, one of the pioneers of nanotechnology, shared this incisive report on the future of the world’s energy needs. With world population passing 7 billion, this assessment is even more salient seven years later.

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laughingsquid:

30 Hoop Art Cars of Extreme Awesomeness

Step into the Smarter Planet Time Machine!

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laughingsquid:

30 Hoop Art Cars of Extreme Awesomeness

When considering the consequences of peak oil, no everyday experiences and only few historical parallels are at hand. It is therefore difficult to imagine how significant the effects of being gradually deprived of one of our civilization’s most important energy sources will be. Psychological barriers cause indisputable facts to be blanked out and lead to almost instinctively refusing to look into this difficult subject in detail. Peak oil, however, is unavoidable.

~ A quote from the recently translated Peak Oil analysis written by the German Military (via ASPO)

(Image credit: Johns Hopkins Public Health)

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For a little Friday Fun, try one of these three settings:

Or to really rev up your Flux Capacitor, try the Random button to sample one of the more than 3600 posts about All Things Smarter since we went back to the future in Nov. 2008.

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 Why Can’t America Make Alternative Fuels Work? – Gas 2.0
60 years ago, there didn’t seem to be a single challenge America  couldn’t overcome. Now, there’s just a lot of negativity about America,  especially when it comes to alternative fuels. What are these people so  afraid of?
In particular, I’m talking about how in the same breath a person can criticize Big Oil for rising gas prices,  and then start talking trash about any kind of alternative to gasoline  for fuel. It makes no sense to me that we, as Americans, should have  nearly infinite options when it comes to buying just about anything you can imagine, except fuel for our cars. That’s all I really want. Options. I want a  gas station that sells more than gas. I want CNG, I want propane, I want  different ethanol blends, and I want charging stations that are built  by a combination of private and public investment. Is that really asking  so much?
For some people, it apparently is. It’s as though we’re afraid of  messing with the formula that has made America the most effective  economic giant in the world for the last century or so. Make no mistake  about it, putting cars into the hands of the common people radically  altered the human dynamic. No longer were people confined to the towns  where they were born, or reliant upon massive railroads who dictated  where tracks were or weren’t laid.
If I had to pick one symbol for America in the 20th century, it’d have to be the Ford Model T. For thousands and thousands  of years, the fastest mode of overland travel was the horse, which like  humans required lots of food and lots of rest. But with the advent of  the automobile, people now had a source of mobility that could take  farther and faster than even the swiftest thoroughbred, and required  only a few gallons  of a seemingly inexhaustible source of fuel.
But we’re in the 21st century now. America may no longer  be the world’s most prolific economy in as little as 5 years. There are  many billions more people in the world today than there were 60 years  ago. And there people are starting to get their hands on automobiles  too, changing the dynamics of their lives as well. The world is  changing, and if America wants to stay on top, we need to be the  innovators in the 21st century that we were in the 20th century.
The problem is, there aren’t a whole lot of things left that we can  take the lead in, and not everything we’re first in is exactly  admirable. So why would anyone believe that, at a time when the entirety of the rest of the world is leaning towards renewable fuels, would we want to in the other  direction? If Europe and China want solar panels and electric cars and  wind turbines, well they should buy it from America. That’s a surefire  way to get our economy back on track, and the oil companies called  before Congress this week have the knowledge and resources to make it  happen. So why don’t they?
We’re afraid. We don’t want to mess with success. Oil is cheap and  abundant, except its not anymore, and we’re afraid that our lives our  going to be lesser for it. So we want to drill for more oil and build  bigger highways to we can sit in longer traffic jams and pay ever more  for gasoline, because there really is no other option?

Why Can’t America Make Alternative Fuels Work? – Gas 2.0

60 years ago, there didn’t seem to be a single challenge America couldn’t overcome. Now, there’s just a lot of negativity about America, especially when it comes to alternative fuels. What are these people so afraid of?

In particular, I’m talking about how in the same breath a person can criticize Big Oil for rising gas prices, and then start talking trash about any kind of alternative to gasoline for fuel. It makes no sense to me that we, as Americans, should have nearly infinite options when it comes to buying just about anything you can imagine, except fuel for our cars. That’s all I really want. Options. I want a gas station that sells more than gas. I want CNG, I want propane, I want different ethanol blends, and I want charging stations that are built by a combination of private and public investment. Is that really asking so much?

For some people, it apparently is. It’s as though we’re afraid of messing with the formula that has made America the most effective economic giant in the world for the last century or so. Make no mistake about it, putting cars into the hands of the common people radically altered the human dynamic. No longer were people confined to the towns where they were born, or reliant upon massive railroads who dictated where tracks were or weren’t laid.

If I had to pick one symbol for America in the 20th century, it’d have to be the Ford Model T. For thousands and thousands of years, the fastest mode of overland travel was the horse, which like humans required lots of food and lots of rest. But with the advent of the automobile, people now had a source of mobility that could take farther and faster than even the swiftest thoroughbred, and required only a few gallons  of a seemingly inexhaustible source of fuel.

But we’re in the 21st century now. America may no longer be the world’s most prolific economy in as little as 5 years. There are many billions more people in the world today than there were 60 years ago. And there people are starting to get their hands on automobiles too, changing the dynamics of their lives as well. The world is changing, and if America wants to stay on top, we need to be the innovators in the 21st century that we were in the 20th century.

The problem is, there aren’t a whole lot of things left that we can take the lead in, and not everything we’re first in is exactly admirable. So why would anyone believe that, at a time when the entirety of the rest of the world is leaning towards renewable fuels, would we want to in the other direction? If Europe and China want solar panels and electric cars and wind turbines, well they should buy it from America. That’s a surefire way to get our economy back on track, and the oil companies called before Congress this week have the knowledge and resources to make it happen. So why don’t they?

We’re afraid. We don’t want to mess with success. Oil is cheap and abundant, except its not anymore, and we’re afraid that our lives our going to be lesser for it. So we want to drill for more oil and build bigger highways to we can sit in longer traffic jams and pay ever more for gasoline, because there really is no other option?

 The Electric Vehicle Acceptance Tipping Point: $5-A-Gallon Gas
It would be a disaster economically, upsetting family budgets and  making the transporting of goods potentially next to impossible. But  according to a new survey by Deloitte, it could take something as  extreme as $5-per-gallon of gas to persuade most U.S. citizens to abandon gas stations and SUVs and buy electric vehicles. Do we have to destroy this village in order to save it?
For most of the last month, the national average gas price in the U.S. has nudged upwards every single day—it’s now at around  $3.83 per gallon. In six states, including New York, the average price  is above $4, with Hawaii topping the list at $4.48 per gallon. And there  are reports that a few stations have already hit the $5 mark. It’s all thanks to a gradual but continuous rise in the price of oil on  global markets—up 48% since last Labor Day. This upward creep is  driven by many things, including market fluctuations, decisions about  production made by OPEC, and the rise of civil unrest in the Middle East  (especially in Libya, which has ceased its oil exports during the civil  war). And yet, despite these growing costs, and the fact we know for  sure that every mile we drive in a car that eats gas or diesel, we’re  actively contributing to global warming, many of us continue to drive  cars.
What will it take to change the situation, pushing most  Americans to ditch their SUV and buy an eco-friendly electric car? An  arbitrary price limit, that’s what—the point at which gas hits $5 per  gallon.
That’s what Deloitte found after interviewing 12,000  people worldwide, with more than 1,000 respondents in the U.S. The main  conclusion of the survey is that the higher gas prices go, the more  consumers favor the notion of electric vehicles. That seems like a  no-brainer (even someone poor at math can imagine the increased cost of  running a car as gas prices rise), but it’s still an important  conclusion given that gas prices are definitely increasing and unlikely  to drop any time soon.
Source: Fast Company

 The Electric Vehicle Acceptance Tipping Point: $5-A-Gallon Gas

It would be a disaster economically, upsetting family budgets and making the transporting of goods potentially next to impossible. But according to a new survey by Deloitte, it could take something as extreme as $5-per-gallon of gas to persuade most U.S. citizens to abandon gas stations and SUVs and buy electric vehicles. Do we have to destroy this village in order to save it?

For most of the last month, the national average gas price in the U.S. has nudged upwards every single day—it’s now at around $3.83 per gallon. In six states, including New York, the average price is above $4, with Hawaii topping the list at $4.48 per gallon. And there are reports that a few stations have already hit the $5 mark. It’s all thanks to a gradual but continuous rise in the price of oil on global markets—up 48% since last Labor Day. This upward creep is driven by many things, including market fluctuations, decisions about production made by OPEC, and the rise of civil unrest in the Middle East (especially in Libya, which has ceased its oil exports during the civil war). And yet, despite these growing costs, and the fact we know for sure that every mile we drive in a car that eats gas or diesel, we’re actively contributing to global warming, many of us continue to drive cars.

What will it take to change the situation, pushing most Americans to ditch their SUV and buy an eco-friendly electric car? An arbitrary price limit, that’s what—the point at which gas hits $5 per gallon.

That’s what Deloitte found after interviewing 12,000 people worldwide, with more than 1,000 respondents in the U.S. The main conclusion of the survey is that the higher gas prices go, the more consumers favor the notion of electric vehicles. That seems like a no-brainer (even someone poor at math can imagine the increased cost of running a car as gas prices rise), but it’s still an important conclusion given that gas prices are definitely increasing and unlikely to drop any time soon.

Source: Fast Company

Free ride: Rising oil prices boost electric cars’ affordability 
One of the biggest knocks against electric cars, other than their  current range, is the rather steep upfront cost due to the price of the  battery.
Of course, you’re essentially pre-paying much of your fuel costs for  the life of the car. But that’s a hard message to get across to a  potential buyer contemplating forking over $41,000 for a Chevrolet Volt  or $33,000 for a Nissan Leaf before state and federal incentives.
However, rising gasoline prices — now topping $4 a gallon in the San  Francisco Bay Area — may finally drive the message home that electric  cars, despite the expense of the first generation mass production  models, are a hedge against an uncertain fuel future. (Not to mention  environmental catastrophe.)
In a new report on electric cars and the smart grid, GTM Research  includes a handy chart listing average gasoline prices (as of Jan. 2011)  in the United States and Europe, along with the price of electricity  and the savings from trading in a gas-guzzler for an electron-sipper.
In the U.S., drivers of battery-powered rides can save the equivalent  of $2.05 a gallon, assuming gas prices of $3.25 a gallon and  electricity rates of 12 cents a kilowatt-hour. Of course, gas and power  prices in the U.S. vary dramatically from state to state. In California,  both are among the highest in the land. But so are subsidies for solar  panels, which can be used to charge your car, a further hedge against peak oil.

Free ride: Rising oil prices boost electric cars’ affordability

One of the biggest knocks against electric cars, other than their current range, is the rather steep upfront cost due to the price of the battery.

Of course, you’re essentially pre-paying much of your fuel costs for the life of the car. But that’s a hard message to get across to a potential buyer contemplating forking over $41,000 for a Chevrolet Volt or $33,000 for a Nissan Leaf before state and federal incentives.

However, rising gasoline prices — now topping $4 a gallon in the San Francisco Bay Area — may finally drive the message home that electric cars, despite the expense of the first generation mass production models, are a hedge against an uncertain fuel future. (Not to mention environmental catastrophe.)

In a new report on electric cars and the smart grid, GTM Research includes a handy chart listing average gasoline prices (as of Jan. 2011) in the United States and Europe, along with the price of electricity and the savings from trading in a gas-guzzler for an electron-sipper.

In the U.S., drivers of battery-powered rides can save the equivalent of $2.05 a gallon, assuming gas prices of $3.25 a gallon and electricity rates of 12 cents a kilowatt-hour. Of course, gas and power prices in the U.S. vary dramatically from state to state. In California, both are among the highest in the land. But so are subsidies for solar panels, which can be used to charge your car, a further hedge against peak oil.