A really cool site called engadget has a post about Mercedes-Benz’ attempt to stop producing petroleum fuelled cars by the year 2015. This would be really fantastic. I would buy an all-electric Smart car for tooling around town and commuting to work.
Can it be? Can a car really run on water? I cannot tell you how this might be possible, but here is some video allegedly of a car invented by Genepax in Osaka, Japan, showing its eco-friendly car that runs on nothing but water.
The company hopes to go into mass production with a Japanese manufacturer.
I would like to believe this, but the chemistry of water is well known. Unless you put energy in the form of electricity into it to separate the hydrogen from the oxygen and then use a fuel cell to recombine them to produce electricity, there is nothing that I am aware of in pure water from which to extract energy.
Here is a web site for Zero Pollution Motors which hopes to have a car that runs on compressed air available for sale in 2010. These cars will run on compressed air and will seat six. They are supposed to have a design range of over 800 miles on a single tank of compressed air and a top speed of about 90MPH. Pretty impressive.
Air fill-ups? An on board air pump. Just plug it in to a 110 or 220 Volt outlet to fill up. Pretty cool. It should work with the same infrastructure as any you could put together for plug-in hybrids or all-electric vehicles.
Duke Energy is exploring a new (for the energy industry at least) a way to provide solar power as a significant power generation method. The model would be to use solar panels installed on commercial and residential roofs as the source of power to reduce (and perhaps someday eliminate??) other types of power generating plants.
The basic idea is that the power company installs the solar panels on your roof and you pay a fixed rate for the power you use for twenty years, locking in today’s rate. The power company pays the up-front costs so the homeowner does not have to. You use the power you need during the day and the excess goes to the grid. At night you get your power from the grid, when less power is needed.
The News and Observer ran this story today. http://www.newsobserver.com/business/story/1042628.html
This is a similar financial arrangement to the one used by The Citizenre Corporation to provide solar power to homeowners. See my post on this, Solar Energy for Everyone?? I wonder if Duke Energy and other energy utilities will use this model to prevent entry to the market for these newcomers?
I do believe that this is truly the future of the energy industry. The power companies will install the generating equipment on the properties with the energy sources, whether solar, wind, geothermal and even small hydro, and use any excess generating capacity to reduce dependencies on coal, oil, and nuclear plants. I can only hope that Progress Energy, which provides our power here in Raleigh, moves in this direction as well. I would sign up in a New York second for this if it becomes available here.
I also believe that there will be no way to completely eliminate those other, dirty types of power generation with the technology we have today, but any reduction at all is a very good thing.
Here is an interesting post that offers a way to obtain “real” gasoline from plant matter. Why wait for nature to convert plants and dinosaurs into oil when we can go straight there?
Of course there is always a downside. We could convert all of our forests to liquid fuel in the form of this new gasoline. Perhaps burning the Amazon rain forest could at least produce fuel instead of merely pollution.
However, we cannot just keep using more and more. While this is a great step forward in some ways, conservation and more efficient vehicles is critical. And as the quote says, solar is the ultimate energy form. Get it right from the source.
Detroit claims that would be impossible. But they whine every time something new comes along. They whined about seatbelts and other safety requirements, saying that it would be too expensive.
Now here is a guy who is actually making Hummers get 60MPG with twice the horsepower of the stock models. Read about the Motorhead Messiah. He is doing some amazing things.
And of course the article also points out what a piece of crap the Hummer is anyway as his new stock Hummer required repair three times on his 200 mile trip home from the showroom floor.