January 18, 2008

Energy costs with externalities

Anti-nuclear people like to talk about the lack of complete business insurance coverage of nuclear power plant accidents. They ignore the uncovered external costs of other energy sources. They also ignore the disproportionate subsidies for wind and solar power. I will review research related to the subsidies, research, external costs and fatalities. I adapted this from a discussion I had on the Oil Drum.

I have a new article with a closer look at Feed in Tariff support of renewable energy

Geoffrey S. Rothwell of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research examined the nuclear insurance issue

In economics, a subsidy is a "payment made by the government (or possibly by private individuals) which forms a wedge between the price consumers pay and the costs incurred by producers, such that price is less than marginal cost" (The MIT Dictionary of Modern Economics, 4th Edition, 1992). Here, the "consumers" (of insurance/indemnification) are firms in the nuclear power industry and the "producer" (of insurance/indemnification) is the federal government. However, there is no subsidy payment unless there is an accident and damages are above the PAA liability limit. Because there is no payment, there is no "direct subsidy," although there is a
potential (or expected) subsidy.

Opponents of the PAA have used these estimates to argue for the ending of the "PAA subsidy" to the nuclear power industry. Without questioning the probability distribution assumption, they have followed the advice in Heyes and Heyes (2000, p. 99): "The implications for how anti-nuclear lobbyists should go about persuading regulators and governments that the extent of the subsidy which current law confers is unacceptably high are that it is likely to be more fruitful to ‘argue up’ consequences rather than probabilities." This has been done by claiming that the costs of a Chernobyl-like accident in the US would be more than $300 billion, without any discussion of the probability of such an accident in the US. See, for example, www.citizen.org/cmep. By focusing on one assumption (consequences) without considering other assumptions (probabilities), the anti-nuclear argument is incomplete.

In regards to government support and subsidies for different energy sources
A 2002 Cato Institute report showed that in the previous 20 years renewable technologies received $24.2 billion in US federal R&D expenditure, compared with $20.1 billion for nuclear and $15.5 for coal (adjusted 1996 dollars). The result of this was minimal electricity contribution from non hydro renewables, and 20% and 50% respectively contribution from nuclear and coal.

A 2006 study from Management Information Services on The US Energy Subsidy Scorecard showed that total federal incentives (of which R&D expenditure is only a part) from 1950 to 2003 totalled $63 billion for nuclear power, $111 billion for renewables, $81 billion for coal and $87 billion for natural gas (2003 dollars), lining this up against the resultant contribution to US energy.

Government support versus actual delivered electricity

R&D versus electricity generation

Focusing on R&D alone over 1994-2003, the study showed coal got $3.9 billion and nuclear $1.6 billion - both commensurate with their contribution to US electricity, while renewables other than hydro received $3.7 billion - vastly more than their foreseeable contribution.

Germany applies a mixture of incentives for renewables, such as a feed-in tariffs. The average feed-in tariff apart from solar PV is 8.5 c/kWh, or 16.4 cents including solar PV in 2006 (solar PV being 49 cents). The combined subsidy from consumers and government totals some EUR 5 billion per year - for 6% of its electricity.

Germany also provides producer subsidies to its coal industry amounting to EUR 68 per tonne for 34 Mt coal in 2000 - total EUR 2.3 billion.

EU energy subsidy analysis from 2004

External energy costs totals for energy. In the notes a discussion of the hypothetical severe nuclear accident. Chernobyl cost $370 billion. Equal to 10-20 years of excess coal or oil costs for the EU15 only. 2-6 years for world (US, China, India etc...) excess coal or oil costs.

Paul Scherrer Institut (swiss) for the study of energy costs with impacts and externalities included

333 final report on energy external costs

External energy costs added to costs of energy. High estimate on top and low estimate below. Nuclear price looks good.

Top ten energy related events for evacuees and costs

Chernobyl is put at US (2000) $370 billion. $6 billion for three mile island. when compared to the annual higher external costs for coal and oil. Then 10-20 years of EU only external costs balances out one Chernobyl. The coal and oil damage for the US and china and other non-EU countries would balance out the one time Chernobyl Chernobyl 3-5 times faster. Chernobyl happened once in 50 years with a particularly dangerous reactor.

The risk assessment for the modern reactors that we would be building should be considered This is important - no one is suggesting that we make more Chernobyl style reactors. Even all of the old Chernobyl style reactors now have containment domes. This would limit almost all of the worst case scenarios to Three Mile Island level accidents.

The AP1000 has a maximum core damage frequency of 5.09 x 10-7 per plant per year. The Evolutionary Power Reactor (EPR) has a maximum core damage frequency of 4 x 10-7 per plant per year. General Electric has recalculated maximum core damage frequencies per year per plant for its nuclear power plant designs:

BWR/4 -- 1 x 10-5
BWR/6 -- 1 x 10-6
ABWR -- 2 x 10-7
ESBWR -- 3 x 10-8

This means you would multiply the 1 in 100,000 to 3 in 100 million chances against the potential costs. All insurance risks and costs are calculated in this way. (Frequency times cost)

In the footnotes of one of the references there is a high range estimate of 5.5 trillion euro for a worst case damage event. How could a 5.5 trillion damage event happen ? I do not believe it is possible. Even blowing up like a nuclear bomb (which is impossible since the uranium is not pure enough) reactors are not close enough to population centers with the blast radius.

The world only has $140 trillion in financial assets.

Even estimates for the nuclear bombing of New York do not have direct economic damage at that 5.5 trillion level.

A worst case analysis for a terrorist attack on Indian point reactor. Has damage of 1.1 trillion to 2.1 trillion, where everything goes exactly to maximum damages. (700 to 1.5 trillion euro). All reactors are not near important financial centers, so the value of the surrounding areas would be less for all other reactors. However, the analysis has been that nuclear reactors would not release radiation if hit by a plane. So even that worst case scenario would not happen or it would involve several dozen people planting massive explosives or firing missiles to breach the containment dome while at the same time causing the reactor to meltdown before they could be stopped.

I believe the core damage event not breaching containment would cost $6 billion max (loss of reactor,that level of damage is covered under the insurance) and for the current reactors and processes 1 in 100,000. So once every 200 years for a slightly larger than current reactor fleet.

5 billion euro / 200 years = 25 million euro/year (covered under paid insurance)

1 in a million for some kind of containment breaching event
500 billion euro / 2000 years = 250 million euro/year
500,000 euro/year/reactor

A discussion by Heyes in 2003 about his 1998 estimate of nuclear insurance.

Heyes and Liston-Heyes noted an error in the way in which Dubin and Rothwell interpreted current insurance arrangements, and reapplied their methodology corrected for the reinterpretation. Heyes and Liston-Heyes’ correction reduced the estimates
of the subsidy substantially to $2.3 million/reactor/year.

I [ANTHONY HEYES] will let you in on a little secret: The two estimates and the methods used to generate them are, at best, unreliable and, at worst, deeply flawed. I can say that because I am one of the authors. I know squat about nuclear power. Do not get me wrong, the two papers are competent pieces of academic research and they deserved to be published in the reputable peer-reviewed academic journals in which they appeared. But the approach that they utilized is very much an experimental one, and one whose results can be highly sensitive to changes in underlying assumptions.

New reactors are 20 times safer. So one event in 4000 years for the same number of reactors.

Immediate fatalities counts by energy source. Latents for Chernobyl not counted [Latent estimate for Chernobyl 200-4000 total] and latents for fossil fuel air pollution not counted (4.5-6 million/year, World Health Organization statistics). Latents for oilwars not counted. Some of China's immediate coal deaths not counted.

Some anti-nuclear people talk about the importance of the speed of release of radiation. I say that speed of release of pollutants by itself is meaningless. It is what happens damage and death wise with the release. If speed effects the damage and death then it matters, but speed by itself is meaningless. Plus all pollutants need to be considered not just radiation.

The Ivy Mike nuclear bomb test of 1951 released 100 times the radiation of Chernobyl and it was released faster, but no one died from Ivy Mike.

I consider the 1.2 million global deaths from cars an outrage. More should be done to reduce those fatalities. Systematical adjustments like getting off of coal is a factor here. 6 billion tons of coal is moved (rail and trucks). Getting off of coal would reduce traffic accidents by about 3-10% and freight rail by (20-40%).

Social risk: A lot of wind power could have environmental effects. Drying out of peat bogs. Enough wind could effect weather. [Note: I am not against wind power, but people should not pretend that solar and wind are pristine and without some issues. They are very good, just like nuclear is very good. We need to not get lost in debating details of solar, wind and nuclear and then forget of the orders of magnitude difference for coal and oil.]There is the clear deaths from coal and oil as I have described, for some reason this is socially acceptable.

Uranium from seawater is often ridiculed, but it should not be. They dip the polymer adsorpant netting into the ocean and let the ocean currents flow by. They then pull out the netting and extract the uranium. It is like fishing with nets. You would not pump the water because the water is already moving.

If 2g-U/kg-adsorbent is submerged for 60 days at a time and used 6 times, the uranium cost is calculated to be 88,000 yen/kg-U, including the cost of adsorbent production, uranium collection, and uranium purification. When 6g-U/kg-adsorbent and 20 repetitions or more becomes possible, the uranium cost reduces to 15,000 yen. This price level is equivalent to that of the highest cost of the minable uranium. The lowest cost attainable now (2006) is 25,000 yen with 4g-U/kg-adsorbent used in the sea area of Okinawa, with 18 repetition uses. This is about $220 per kg (114 yen to 1 US Dollar in 2007) The price of Uranium is currently in the $80-120/kg range.

Note: that is the one thing is that we will only have to go to uranium from seawater in any big way in 50-500 years. The timing depends upon how quickly we make nuclear reactors that 50-100 times more fuel efficient and how well we develop more economic sources of Uranium.

It does take 1000 three MW wind turbines to equal one single 1 GW nuclear reactor. It takes ten times the steel and concrete to make those wind turbines. Plus the wind turbines and blades need to be built in massive factories. The wind turbines are 30-40 stories tall and the blades are larger than the wings of a jumbo jet.

More papers examining energy subsidies

California has a new plan for broadband

California Broadband Task Force (commissioned by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in Nov 2006) has published an 84 page plan on how it wants to make the broadband communication available in California competitive with world leaders like Japan (average advertised download speed of 95Mbps).

The Task Force recommended that the state issue "broadband bonds," found an "Advanced Services Fund" that would make one-time payouts to subsidize broadband infrastructure in rural areas, and issue tax incentives for broadband deployments in unserved areas.

#1: Build Out High-Speed Broadband Infrastructure to All Californians
#2: Develop Model Permitting Standards and Encourage Collaboration Among Providers
#3: Increase the Use and Adoption of Broadband and Computer Technology
#4: Engage and Reward Broadband Innovation and Research
#5: Create a Statewide E-Health Network
#6: Leverage Educational Opportunities to Increase Broadband Use
#7: Continue State-Level and Statewide Leadership

The goals recommended by the taskforce in broadband speed and adoption levels

Here is a table with the applications that are possible at different communication speeds.

DSL is today capable of providing service up to 25 Mbps, and even more in exceptional circumstances. Cable can provide 150 Mbps with current technology, and will be able to provide more in the future. Recently launched and next-generation
satellites will offer significantly higher capacity and performance. A satellite system planned to enter service next year is designed to provide 10-30 Mbps aggregate bandwidth, though latency issues will continue to limit the usability of
satellite for certain broadband applications. Wireless speeds will largely be constrained by spectrum availability. Fiber technologies hold practically unlimited capabilities. However, to realize these speeds, all of these technologies require
significant infrastructure investments.

Technology Advertised Broadband Speed Ranges in California (Downstream rate)
Cable 768 kbps - 15 Mbps
DSL 384 kbps - 6 Mbps
Fixed Wireless 768 kbps - 3 Mbps
FTTH 1 Mbps - 50 Mbps
Mobile Wireless 200 kbps - 1.4 Mbps
Satellite 512 kbps - 2 Mbps

2008 space elevator goals, 1 kilometer height

The Spaceward Foundation announces the goals for the 2008 Space Elevator Power Beaming Challenge. Building on the results of the 2007 Challenge, the goals for 2008 have been set at 1 km height, 5 m/s minimum speed, for a prize level of $2M. An intermediate prize level of $900k will be given for a speed of 2 m/s. Additionally, teams that can reach an altitude of 1 km at between 1 and 2 m/s will be awarded a prize of up to $50k. In the last two competitions in 2007 and 2006, teams have come close to winning the robotic climbing prize.

2008 Space elevator proposed 1 kilometer high test track graphic if over asteroid crater

The pyramid is as tall as it is wide, and with a 4-Ton lift balloon at its apex can withstand winds above 30 MPH. The cables are 1/2" diameter Spectra lines, similar in feel to Nylon rope. The central climb tether is between 3/8" and 1/2" in diameter, and will be tensioned to approximately 200kg.

Here is what the pyramid would look like over the 2007 test site (the orange circle).

The target date for the competition is early September 2008.

A world leader in disc laser technology, TRUMPF took a natural interest in the power beaming games, and is providing both hardware and expertise to enable the 1-km climb. TRUMPF is contributing a top-of-the-line TruDisk 8002 high power laser for use at the 2008 and 2009 games, as well as on-site operation and engineering support for participating teams.

Dilas supplied the two Laser Diode power sources in the 2007 games, and is offering this year an integrated light source designed specifically for power beaming application to the 1 km range.

2007 entrant in the climbing competition

Important progress to nanomedicine: Magnetically controlling cells and biochemical events

For the first time, researchers have demonstrated a means of controlling cell functions with a physical, rather than chemical, signal. Immune cells coated with nanoparticles take up calcium in the presence of a magnetic field. Each nanoparticle measures approximately 30 nanometers in diameter.

In this image, yellow cells are taking up calcium in response to a localized magnetic field. Cells that are farther away from the field are shown in purple and do not take up calcium. Credit: Donald Ingber, Harvard Medical School

Using a magnetic field to pull together tiny beads targeted to particular cell receptors, Harvard researchers made cells take up calcium, and then stop, then take it up again.

This is another important step to cellular and molecular control to enable nanomedicine

Ingber's group
demonstrated its method for biomagnetic control using a type of immune-system cell that mediates allergic reactions.
Targeted nanoparticles with iron oxide cores were used to mimic antigens in vitro. Each is attached to a molecule that in turn can attach to a single receptor on an immune cell. When Ingber exposes cells bound with these particles to a weak magnetic field, the nanoparticles become magnetic and draw together, pulling the attached cell receptors into clusters. This causes the cells to take in calcium. (In the body, this would initiate a chain of events that leads the cells to release histamine.) When the magnetic field is turned off, the particles are no longer attracted to each other, the receptors move apart, and the influx of calcium stops.

"It's not the chemistry; it's the proximity" that activates such receptors, says Ingber.

The approach could have a far-reaching impact, as many important cell receptors are activated in a similar way and might be controlled using Ingber's method.

"In recent years, there has been a realization that physical events, not just chemical events, are important" to cell function, says Shu Chien, a bioengineer at the University of California, San Diego. Researchers have probed the effects of physical forces on cells by, for example, squishing them between plates or pulling probes across their surfaces. But none of these techniques work at as fine a level of control as Ingber's magnetic beads, which act on single biomolecules.

Many drugs, from anticancer antibodies to hormones, work by activating cell receptors. Once a hormone is in the blood, however, there's no turning it on or off. "This shows that you can turn on and off the signal, and that you can do it instantly," says Christopher Chen, a bioengineer at the University of Pennsylvania. "That's something that's hard to do, for example, with an antibody."

Ingber has many ideas for devices that might integrate his method of cellular control. Magnetic pacemakers could use cells instead of electrodes to send electrical pulses to the heart. Implantable drug factories might contain many groups of cells, each of which makes a different drug when activated by a magnetic signal. Biomagnetic control might lead to computers that can take advantage of cells' processing power. "Cells do complex things like image processing so much better than computers," says Ingber. Ingber, who began the project in response to a call by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency for new cell-machine interfaces, acknowledges that his work is in its early stages. In fifty years, however, he expects that there will be devices that "seamlessly interface between living cells and machines."

They have developed micromagnetic and nanomagnetic technologies to apply controlled mechanical stresses to specific cell surface receptors via surface-bound, ligand-coated, magnetic micro- and nano-beads.

Picture of a cell and expanded view of a cell receptor

Harvard Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.

Here the Ingber group discusses how new understanding of the fundamental role that mechanical forces play in tissue development might be leveraged to facilitate the development of new types of biomimetic materials for regenerative medicine, with a focus on the design of injectable materials that can target to injury sites, recruit stem cells and direct cellular self-assembly to regenerate functional tissues and organs in situ.

The group was funded by the NIH to try to grow heart valves, and parts of a pancreas and a tooth, from scratch in the lab. NIH funds Ingber Lab as part of a Harvard-Wide Consortium to Engineer Whole Organs.

January 17, 2008

UltraBattery combines a supercapacitor and a lead acid battery

The CSIRO in australia [national science agency] has developed the UltraBattery, which combines a supercapacitor and a lead acid battery in a single unit, creating a hybrid car battery that lasts longer, costs less and is more powerful than current technologies used in hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs). The UltraBattery has a life cycle that is at least four times longer and produces 50 per cent more power than conventional battery systems. It’s also about 70 per cent cheaper than the batteries currently used in HEVs

UltraBattery hybrid car that has lasted over 100,000 miles.

The car driving around the test track

The capacitor and battery combination is the same one successfully used by AFS Trinity to make an inexpensive system ($8700 in production) for a 150 mpg plug in hybrid SUV.

“Passing the 100,000 miles mark is strong evidence of the UltraBattery's capabilities,” Mr Lamb said.

“CSIRO’s ongoing research will further improve the technology’s capabilities, making it lighter, more efficient and capable of setting new performance standards for HEVs.”

The UltraBattery test program for HEV applications is the result of an international collaboration. The battery system was developed by CSIRO in Australia, built by the Furukawa Battery Company of Japan and tested in the United Kingdom through the American-based Advanced Lead-Acid Battery Consortium.

UltraBattery technology also has applications for renewable energy storage from wind and solar. CSIRO is part of a technology start-up that will develop and commercialise battery-based storage solutions for these energy sources.

AFS Trinities system allow batteries to avoid excessive resistive heating by using ultra-capacitors as pools of rapid energy. The proprietary control electronics of the Extreme Hybrid not only keep the batteries within safe resistive heating limits, but also extend battery life.

CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia's national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

The UltraBattery test program for HEV applications is the result of an international collaboration. The battery system was developed by CSIRO in Australia, built by the Furukawa Battery Company of Japan and tested in the United Kingdom through the American-based Advanced Lead-Acid Battery Consortium.

The CSIRO press release

The Supercapacitor work of the CSIRO

Supercapacitors allow manufacturers to use smaller, lighter and cheaper batteries. This replaces the current, inefficient practice of fitting oversize batteries to cope with sudden surges in power.

Supercapacitors have superior recyclability. They can allow greater than 500 000 recharge cycles, compared to approximately 1 000 for rechargeable batteries, before there is a noticeable deterioration in capacity.

The global market for portable rechargeable batteries is rapidly expanding, with a 17 per cent increase to US$4.5 billion in 2003.

Previous work on CSIRO hybrid cars. CSIRO technologies made the ECOmmodore much less expensive than previous hybrid vehicles.

Batteries in electric vehicles typically weigh around 500 kilograms (about half the weight of a small car). The whole power pack for the ECOmmodore (batteries plus super-capacitors) weighs 200 kilograms.

CSIRO technology previously made Holden's ECOmmodore much less expensive than previous hybrid vehicles.

Firefly's carbon graphite foam lead battery seems like an excellent and scalable fit with ultracapacitors Firefly's 3D2 technology can get up to three to four times the energy density of conventional lead acid [90-160 Watt-hours/kg]. Firefly Energy claims to be on a path to raise the energy density of lead acid batteries closer to the their theoretical limit at 170 Watt-hours per kilogram, a 4 fold increase over conventional lead acid batteries.

A lead-acid battery would cost somewhere around US$50/kWh, while a VRLA (valve-regulated lead-acid) like that being used in the BMW 100 Series micro-hybrids will come in around US$150/kWh, Firefly is aiming to have their batteries priced in the US$250-300/kWh range in volume production. (20-25% of the cost of nickel or lithium batteries, 4 to 5 times cheaper)

Tthe new generation of lithium-ion batteries have energy densities of 130-200 Watt hours/kilogram.

NiMH batteries have a range of energy densities from 30-80 Watt-hours/kilogram

Electrovaya, a battery manufacturer largely for electronic goods, claims an energy density of 470 Wh/l and 330 Wh/kg for its SuperPolymer batteries.

Silicon nanowire battery with up to 10 times the electricity of existing lithium ion batteries.

Alfin has a more extensive list of ultracapacitor battery combination vehicles

China's climate change and nuclear plans

A report that I had missed before. The Yomiuri newspaper reported (May, 2007) that China plans to boost its nuclear power generation capacity to between 15 and 20 times its current level by the end of 2030.

Yomiuri Shimbun. The National Development and Reform Commission, which administers China’s energy policy, plans to increase nuclear power generation to between 120 million and 160 million kilowatts, according to a chinese official.

China has previously announced that it wanted to up nuclear power output to 40 million kilowatts by the end of 2020. To attain its goal under the new plan, China would need to build in excess of 100 nuclear reactors, each capable of generating 1 million kilowatts, over 20 years.

China is looking to accelerate nuclear power plants built by 2020 beyond the 40GW level with new applications for nuclear plants in interior provinces.

China's climate change program [63 pages]

China is projected to be generating 6300 billion kwh of electricity in 2030.

160 GW of nuclear power could supply 1280 billion kwh at levels comparable to current nuclear power plant efficiency in the United States.

China's hydroelectric buildout plans.

China would have about 35% power from non-fossil fuel sources in 2020. 270GW Hydro, 40GW nuclear, 123GW from renewables if targets are reached. 42% of power would be from non-coal sources if natural gas usage is increased as projected. CapGemini projects that China will have 1230GW of electrical power by 2020. Up from about 600GW in 2006 and 700GW in 2007.

Big nuclear power plans from China, Russia and India

Annular fuel modifications and high efficiency conversion of heat to electricity with advanced thermoelectrics would further boost power from nuclear plants.

Glasses with displays projected into your retina ? Old school. Now contact lens with displays

Engineers at the University of Washington have for the first time used manufacturing techniques at microscopic scales to combine a flexible, biologically safe contact lens with an imprinted electronic circuit and lights. Previously the Virtual Retina display (VRD) was invented at the University of Washington in the Human Interface Technology Lab in 1991.

Advances in printable electronics will make these systems very powerful and affordable in the future. Carbon nanotubes placed onto plastic are at 300 Mhz or the speed of a Intel Pentium 2.

"Looking through a completed lens, you would see what the display is generating superimposed on the world outside," said Babak Parviz, a UW assistant professor of electrical engineering. "This is a very small step toward that goal, but I think it's extremely promising."

Contact lens with electronics being worn by a rabbit in tests

A contact lens with electronics that are mostly outside the transparent field of view part of the eye

Applications for the contact lens displays:
Drivers or pilots could see a vehicle's speed projected onto the windshield. Video-game companies could use the contact lenses to completely immerse players in a virtual world without restricting their range of motion. And for communications, people on the go could surf the Internet on a midair virtual display screen that only they would be able to see.

A full-fledged display won't be available for a while, but a version that has a basic display with just a few pixels could be operational "fairly quickly," according to Parviz.

Future improvements will add wireless communication to and from the lens. The researchers hope to power the whole system using a combination of radio-frequency power and solar cells placed on the lens.

Previously head mounted displays were considered leading edge

Both head mounted displays and contact lens displays enable augmented reality.

A virtual retinal display (VRD), also known as a retinal scan display (RSD), is a new display technology that draws a raster display (like a television) directly onto the retina of the eye. The user sees what appears to be a conventional display floating in space in front of them.

Virtual retina display overview from the US navy

Virtual retina display graphic from Microvision

This is a see through system. The see through systems for glasses have been commercialized (admittedly limited to military and some car applications) and would have similar issues of focus and comfort.

This 14page pdf discusses various aspects of these systems.

For heads up displays:
Refocusing the eyes can cause fatigue, so an aircraft’s heads up display is “focused at infinity” allowing the pilot to read the display without shifting focus. When used in automobiles, the display is focused closer, somewhere near the end of the hood. Motorcycle helmets also have a relative focal point for maximum comfort.

For virtual retina displays:
VRD has been commercialized in specialized sectors of the display market such as automobile repair and some parts of the military.

Microvision describes their see through display glasses, helmet mounted systems and other wearable displays.

See through display glasses

A 2 page brief on how see through displays on glasses work.

The claimed viewing experiences for see through displays (using glasses with built in displays. The image is perceived and designed to be sharp at a certain preceived distance:

Some references discussing how the virtual image perception works.
NASA discusses some of the virtual miage perception of see through systems

A University of Washington Master's thesis from 1995 discusses the perception of the virtual image for see through systems.

A lot of head mounted displays of various types are on the market

Something that is just cool, a magnetically hovering chair

Physorg reports thatBritish company Hoverit, Ltd., has recently introduced "The Lounger," a chair that defies gravity by hovering a few inches above its base. The Lounger uses permanent magnets in the chair and base to life the chair in the air.

It does not move around. It just hovers.

The base of the chair floats up and down on two guide bars, presumably so that it won´t float away. The base has castor wheels to make the two-piece furniture easy to move.

Several optical fiber improvements in cost and performance could speed the days of multi-gigabit networks

There have been several advances could make it a lot cheaper to deploy optical fiber to the home and to enable faster communication between networked computers.

1. A new method developed by the Bath photonics group cuts the production time of hollow-core optical fibres from around a week to a single day, reducing the overall cost of fabrication. Initial tests show that the fibre is also superior in virtually every respect to previous versions of the technology, making it an important step in the development of new technologies that use light instead of electrical circuits to carry information.

2. The EU-funded POF-ALL project have built a system that uses green light to transmit 100 megabits a second over a distance of 300 metres over plastic fiber and off-the-shelf components. They also used red light to transmit ten times faster still – one gigabit per second – over a 30m fibre. By the end of the project, in June 2008, they expect to have extended that to 100m. Home and office networks could be rewired with plastic optical fibre so simply and cheaply it could be a do-it-yourself job. 30% of optical network deployment costs are connecting from the exchange and into the building.

3. Previously in July 2007, Corning had a breakthrough based on a nanoStructures™ optical fiber design that allows the cabled fiber to be bent around very tight corners with virtually no signal loss.

New hollow core fiber from Bath photonics group

The new procedure developed by the Bath photonics group shows how a tiny change to these fibres – narrowing the wall of glass around the large central hole by just a hundred nanometres (a 10 millionth of a metre) – broadens the range of wavelengths which can be transmitted.

They achieved this by omitting some of the most difficult steps in the fabrication procedure, reducing the time required to make the fibres from around a week to a single day.

The improved fibre was developed as part of a European Commission-funded Framework 6 project ‘NextGenPCF’ for applications in gas sensing.

However, the superior performance of the fibre means that it could have a significant impact in a range of fields such as laser design and pulsed beam delivery, spectroscopy, biomedical and surgical optics, laser machining, the automotive industry and space science.

A follow-up project, POF-PLUS, is intended to further develop optoelectronic components for plastic fibre and is awaiting a final decision on EU funding.

Two products are already coming to the market. Luceat is commercialising an optical Ethernet switch (a router) using plastic fibre technology and the Fraunhofer Institute is looking for partners to market an integrated optical transceiver to work at one gigabit a second with plastic fibre.

Cornings improved fiber will enable telecommunications carriers to economically offer true high-speed Internet, voice and HDTV services to virtually all commercial and residential (apartment and condominium) buildings. Current optical fiber installations lose signal strength and effectiveness when bent around corners and routed through a building, making it difficult and expensive to run fiber all the way to customers' homes.

There are more than 680 million apartment homes worldwide, including more than 25 million in the United States. The high cost of installation and difficulty in delivering fiber to the home made this market unappealing to most providers. Corning is working with Verizon to deploy fiber to the home.

(Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) today announced in a post deadline paper
accepted at the OFC/NFOEC conference in Anaheim, California, that combined
research teams from the United States and France successfully transmitted a
world record 25.6 Terabits per second (Tb/s) of optical data over a single
fiber strand, using 160 Wavelength-Division Multiplexed (WDM) channels -
enough bandwidth to transmit the data from more 600 DVDs per second.

The experimental system transmitted 25.6Tbit/s of data through three
80-km spans.

The previous record transmission was 14 tbps

In Sept 2006, the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation laid claim to the speed throne with a 14 terabits per second transmission over a single 100-mile fiber optic line. That number easily surpassed the previous record of 10Tbps and demonstrates how far we've come in just three years, when we wrote about a 5.44Gbps [Oct 2003]transmission.

January 16, 2008

Carnival of Space 37

Lithium ion batteries and ultra capacitors enable 150 mpg plug in hybrid SUV and 250 mpg sedans

AFS Trinity has what it calls Extreme Hybrid (XH) technology which employs a proprietary dual energy storage system that combines Lithium-Ion batteries and ultra capacitors with control electronics. They showed their 150 mpg hybrid at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.


150 mpg plug in hybrid SUV from AFS trinity
150 mpg plug in hybrid SUV from AFS trinity

In just completed road tests, a 2007 Saturn VUE Green Line SUV fitted with an XH drive train, exceeded 150 mpg, and improved the zero to sixty time from 12.5 seconds, to 11.6 second running in electric-only mode -- something it can do for 40 miles at a stretch. In hybrid mode, it runs 0-60 mph in 6.9 seconds, which is faster than a Porsche Cayenne.

Extreme Hybrid technology in commercial production is expected to cost around $8,700 more than current, gas-only SUV's. Their SUV is a plug in hybrid.

The next step for AFS Trinity is to license its breakthrough technology to carmakers who want to incorporate the XH drive train into their vehicles.
"That would be our preference," said Furia. "However," he continued, "If carmakers decide not to take advantage of this offer, AFS Trinity intends to raise the funds to begin modifying existing hybrids or manufacture its own 150 mpg SUV's and, eventually, 250 mpg sedans.

Cutaway view of 150mpg SUV hybrid
Cutaway view of 150mpg SUV hybrid

The Extreme Hybrid™ Plug-in drive train is composed of five primary subsystems: (1) advanced lithium batteries recharged at night with off-peak power from the grid; (2) Fast Energy Storage™ using ultracapacitors for acceleration and regenerative braking; (3) advanced power electronics and control software; (4) internal combustion engine; and (5) electric traction motor and generator. In miles per petroleum gallon, the XH-150™ plug-in hybrid SUV achieves 150 MPPG.

Batteries can be safe if they avoid excessive resistive heating. By using ultra-capacitors as pools of rapid energy," Furia explained, "the proprietary control electronics of the Extreme Hybrid not only keep the batteries within safe resistive heating limits, but also extend battery life. We regard XH technology as an important safety breakthrough, which is a critical factor in making Extreme Hybrids practical now."

Payback for those who drive 340 miles/week is 3.5 years with gas at $2.85/gallon. At $5/gallon it would pay back in 2.5 years

Other mainstream hybrids and plug in hybrid cars from Toyota, Honda, GM and a chinese automaker

A 60mpg biodiesel hummer

Electric vehicle news roundup, including the Aptera

Cars that are more fuel efficient than the Toyota Prius

AFS Trinity announcement


What is new is being able to extend the range of the electrical part. If a Toyota Prius gets a lithium ion battery upgrade then it can get to 100mpg using the same calculations (how much fuel is used when it is recharged every night after some commute distance during the day)

Also, what is new is managing the electrical power more efficiently to allow 40 mile range for an SUV.

also, what is new is the apparently lower production cost of the battery/ultracapacitor combination.

Calcars discusses it and it was reported in Forbes.

The 300mpg Aptera uses a similar calculation of fuel efficiency.

Look at the details of the Aptera under the performance tab

Fuel Mileage chart with variance based on average daily driving distance

Wikipedia discusses calculation of fuel efficiency using plug in hybrids

I provide extensive coverage of an Australian national laboratory effort to use ultracapacitors and lead acid batteries for better and cheaper hybrid cars

Alfin has a more extensive list of ultracapacitor battery combination vehicles

All molecular DNA Nanotechnology construction

A group at the California Institute of Technology, led by biomolecular engineer Niles Pierce, has created a DNA-based fabricator. This is a huge development in being able to program the reactions in biochemistry.

This is a system that allows the team to specify a piece of DNA with a desired shape and function, and then execute a molecular program to assemble it in a test tube. As an example, they used their system to construct a piece of DNA that walks along another strip of DNA. The researchers behind the approach predict that biochemical programming "languages" inspired by their work could let bioengineers create any number of desired molecular products and processes.

At the heart of the group's system are hairpin-shaped strands of DNA each about 10 nanometers long with three specific binding sites called "toeholds".

These hairpins can snap together in specific ways. When a hairpin is closed, for example, two out of its three binding sites are unavailable. But, if a suitable strand of DNA docks with it, the hairpin springs open.

A reaction between two DNA strands can also free up the exposed site on an attached hairpin, causing it to close once more.

In computer terms, the hairpins act as interconnected logic gates. "This elementary unit has one input port and two output ports," says Pierce. "And they can interact – the input port of one can receive an input from the output port of another."

The group has also developed a graphical way to represent the state of these molecular building blocks and the step-by-step interactions between them. These "reaction graphs" allow them to map out the assembly and disassembly steps needed to produce a desired sequence of reactions.

The necessary reactions are then translated into specific sequences of complementary DNA base pairs with the requisite binding characteristics. Finally, the program runs in a test tube that contains the specified mix of molecules.

Still, he says, a few years ago audience members laughed when he said he wanted to create a compiler to automate the process of encoding desired functions into DNA sequences. "Our field has now progressed to the point where the real question is not whether it can be done, but how far it can be pushed."

Some of Pierce's peers believe this kind of systematic biomolecular programming can be pushed very far indeed.

"It's great work," says computer scientist Erik Winfree, who is also at based Caltech, but was not involved with the work. "What's remarkable is that it develops a general way of creating a very diverse set of chemical reaction pathways. It opens a lot of doors."

China yuan appreciation accelerating

The yuan has appreciated 3.12 percent since late October, 2007 far exceeding a 2.1 percent jump on July 21, 2005, in what Shanghai dealers dubbed as a "mini-revaluation".

Several traders now predict the yuan will climb above 7.20 to the dollar before the end of next week. Just a day earlier, they had forecast the central bank would engineer a major pause when the yuan rises near the 7.20 level.

China will announce December consumer price data next week. Official sources have told Reuters the figure will come in at 6.5 percent from a year earlier, below November's 11-year high of 6.9 percent but not far down enough to signal inflation has clearly peaked.

China's yuan could rise to 7.0 against the dollar by the end of March, as Beijing tries to cope with mounting inflation in an increasingly challenging environment, Bank of America said.

The high price of oil in the international market has been one of the reasons given by Chinese officials for justifying RMB appreciation. The rising prices of international raw materials, including oil, have lifted the domestic CPI level, increasing the pressure of imported inflation in China. RMB appreciation will help reduce the costs of bringing in foreign natural resources and in turn help mitigate inflation.

Cathay Financial Holding Co. and China Airlines paced gains by the Taiwan's biggest companies on speculation they will be allowed to invest more in the world's fastest growing economy.

The KMT's Ma, 57, has pledged to allow direct links, to reach a peace agreement, and to ease a ban on Taiwanese companies investing more than 40 percent of their assets in China. His lead over DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh widened to 42 percentage points in an opinion poll after Saturday's vote, the United Daily News reported.

This site has its own domain. nextbigfuture.com

Advancednano.blogspot.com has its own domain and become nextbigfuture.com. All of the old links should repoint to the corresponding one in the new site. Let me know if there are any problems in comments to this post.

UPDATE: If you have been kind enough to have advancednano in your blogroll, kindly repoint to the new domain nextbigfuture.com. Although the old link still works, when you get around to it adjust to the new URL.

The topics that I cover are the same where I cover the social, business and technical developments that will have the biggest impact on our civilization and the future course of our civilization.

Tracking progress to the future, future technology and especially advanced nanotechnology, nuclear and energy technology, quantum computers, life extension, space technology and AI. Proposing and tracking the best societal and technical choices to the next big things.

January 15, 2008

Carbon Nanopipettes for cellular nanosurgery

University of Pennsylvania engineers and physicians have developed a carbon nanopipette thousands of times thinner than a human hair that measures electric current and delivers fluids into cells. Researchers developed this tiny carbon-based tool to probe cells with minimal intrusion and inject fluids without damaging or inhibiting cell growth. Drexel University College of Engineering had previously developed carbon nanotube pipettes in 2007. This work is another step to realizing one aspect of the vision of nanomedicine.

Researchers believe the pipettes will be useful for concurrently measuring electrical signals of cells during fluid injection. In addition, the pipettes are transparent to X rays and electrons, making them useful when imaging even at the molecular level. Adding a functionalized protein to the pipette creates a nanoscale biosensor that can detect the presence of proteins.

“Penn’s Micro-Nano Fluidics Laboratory now mass-produces these pipettes and uses them to inject reagents into cells without damaging the cells,” Bau said. "We are ultimately interested in developing nanosurgery tools to monitor cellular processes and control or alter cellular functions. We feel CNPs will help scientists gain a better understanding of how a cell functions and help develop new drugs and therapeutics."

Just as important as the mechanical properties of carbon nanopipettes, however, is the ease of fabrication, said Michael Schrlau, a doctoral candidate and first author of the study, “Carbon Nanopipettes for Cell Probes and Intracellular Injection,” published in the most recent issue of Nanotechnology. “After depositing a carbon film inside quartz micropipettes, we wet-etch away the quartz tip to expose a carbon nanopipe. We can simultaneously produce hundreds of these integrated nanoscale devices without any complex assembly,” he said.

The next challenge for researchers is fully utilizing the new tools in nanosurgery.
"We will need to go beyond the proof-of-concept, development stage into the utilization stage," Schrlau said. "This includes finding the appropriate collaborations across engineering, life science and medical disciplines."

Drexel University College of Engineering researchers had successfully developed carbon nanotube-tipped pipettes in April 2007. the pipettes could become key to cell biology in-situ DNA sequencing and organelle-targeted drug delivery. This development makes it possible to perform injections or probe the fluid, not just inside a cell, but in specific regions inside the cell, maybe even specific organelles.

Boeing propellant depot : useful space stations for space development

Boeing has plans for a space gas station which would allow up to 15 times more payload to be sent to the moon in some missions. The system would allow for two to three times more payload for many missions. The system would also be able to leverage rockets that are three to five times cheaper than NASA ($10,000/kg) launch systems. Efficiently stocked gas stations and supply depots in space would make a huge difference to the cost and efficiency of space development. LEO gas stations supplied with $2000/kg [Russian Dnepr rocket] or cheaper rockets [SpaceX target of $500/kg] would make it cheaper for any rocket to get anywhere else. If fuel can be produced on the moon it has the potential to be cheaper to bring it out of a gravity well that is 6 times weaker than the earth's gravity.


Propellant fuel depot
Boeing Propellant fuel depot

This kind of space infrastructure would make smaller and cheaper rockets far more capable of lunar development. I had proposed using a steady stream of inexpensive rockets to develop the moon using low energy orbital transfers to save on fuel. The low energy orbital transfer would require efficient ion drive space tugs for movement between LEO and the moon (or other destinations in space). However, bigger fuel savings would be possible with the fuel depot.

Here is a 13 page pdf on the concept by Dallas Bienhoff: LEO Propellant Depot - A Commercial Opportunity

At a conservatively low government price of $10,000/kg in LEO, 250 MT of fuel for two missions per year is worth $2.5 B, at government rates.

Boeing’s plan is to build the depot in pieces like a stripped-down International Space Station, only in modules based on the upper stage of the Delta launch vehicle. Two depots would provide redundancy, each one with a total capacity of 175 tons of liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen (25 tons for the lander, 125 for the rocket, with margins for boil-off and other contingencies). And while many of the necessary parts and operations (i.e., orbital cryogenic storage and transfer) still have to be developed and matured, they’re plausible—and critical for a space-faring civilization anyway.

Anyone can make propellant, and anyone can deliver it. The orbital reservoir will allow for different quantities from tanker vehicles both small and large. The payload itself is cheap, so even low-reliability launchers could potentially be used.

Boeing’s gas station could provide even more benefits than an improved lunar payload. Communications companies could improve their satellite payloads to geostationary orbit and beyond. NASA might be able to combine the dual launches in its moon program, or make its lunar landing vehicle reusable, with another depot using propellants produced on the moon. Because most of the mass necessary to get to the moon is propellant (though Boeing would never say so), a space gas station might even eliminate the need for a heavy-lift launcher altogether, increasing the launch rate of smaller, cheaper vehicles, which in turn could cut costs for getting to the moon and, eventually, Mars.

Examples of Propellant Depot Impact on Mission Performance
Current With Depot
Lunar Missions
• Landed mass 18 t 51 t
• Lunar surface payload: 2 t 35 t
• Sorties (with ESAS landed mass) 1 2
GTO mission (167 km x 35,788 km x 27°):
• Delta IV H: 13 t 35 t
• Atlas V 551: 9 t 23 t
GSO mission
• Delta IV H: 6 t 18 t
• Atlas V 551: 4 t 10 t
Interplanetary injection (C3 = 0)
• Delta IV H: 10 t 20 t
• Atlas V 551: 7 t 15 t

Commercial Propellant Depot Risks
- Cryo fluid management technology not matured
- SpaceX fails to successfully deploy Falcon 9
- Other customers fail to materialize
- Unable to sign long-term purchase agreement
- Lunar missions cancelled, delayed or reduced rate
- Maximum LEO price less than required for minimum ROI
- NASA opts to use Ares V as tanker; accepts less capability per mission and forgoes two-sortie mission

Steps to LEO Propellant Depot
- Mature cryo fluid management capability
- Successful Space Ex Falcon 9 development
[Cheap Russian and foreign rockets could be used like Dnepr]
- Mature business plan
- Long term propellant purchase agreements
- Continuation of lunar exploration/development plans
- Bigelow Aerospace
- Shackleton Energy Company

- Successful depot system DDT&E

Toyota plug in hybrid and other efficient and electric cars

Toyota Motor Corp. the world's biggest maker of gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles, plans to lease cars whose batteries can recharge from normal electrical sockets by 2010, matching General Motors Corp.'s target for introducing the fuel-efficient vehicles.

The planned new plug-in hybrids would use lithium-ion batteries. Toyota plans low- exhaust diesel engines for large Tundra pickups and Sequoia sport-utility vehicles in the `near future.'

Toyota also is trying to perfect its own methods of making ethanol fuel from wood waste, rather than crops.

GM announced that it may begin production of a plug-in hybrid Saturn Vue Green Line as soon as 2010.

Saturn Vue

The new hybrid-electric Saturn Vue will leapfrog models like the Toyota Highlander hybrid to become the world’s most fuel-efficient V6 SUV when it goes on sale late this year or early in 2009, General Motors promises.

Saturn hasn’t revealed final fuel economy figures, but early tests have shown a 60% improvement in city fuel economy and nearly 50% on the highway. The mileage improvements Saturn insiders talk about would work out to 25-26 m.p.g. in the city and around 34 m.p.g. on the highway.

General Motors Corp's estimated 2010 timeline for production of its Chevy Volt, electric vehicle, could prove challenging but remains the company's target.

"It means everything has to go right and so far everything has gone right," Lutz said. "Right now we are very confident of getting it but normally for a program this complex and with a technology the company has never executed before, you would like to give yourself more time."

BYD auto chinese hybrid car
BYD auto chinese hybrid car

China's BYD, car maker that produced 100,000 cars in 2007, showed four models at Detroit, including the F6 large sedan with BYD’s DM (dual mode) electric hybrid system, a technology that the company claims will revolutionise alternative powertrain systems.

The F6DM has a range of around 60 miles in electric mode and a further 190 miles when using the gasoline engine as a generator to charge the battery pack. And the ferrous batteries have a rapid charge facility - BYD Auto said they can be recharged to 50% of capacity in just 10 minutes, though a full recharge takes 9 hours. The F6DM will go on sale in China later this year, with a $6,000 price premium over the standard F6. The cars won’t go on sale in the US until 2010 at the earliest.

Honda CEO Takeo Fukui says 10% of the vehicles the automaker sells worldwide will be driven by hybrid powertrains by 2010. [About 4000,000 to 500,000 cars per year] Honda will introduce its "global family" hybrid in 2009. This car will be equipped with the latest version of Honda's Integrated Motor Assist system. Fukui also promises the company's second-generation i-DTEC diesel engine will come to North America in 2009.

Fukui said that Honda will introduce a clean diesel to its Acura line in 2010.

Honda plans to have the most inexpensive hybrid in 2009 at under $20,000 with expected sales of 200,000 units

Follow up on the Taiwan Legislative election

This is a follow up of my coverage and predictions of a KMT win in Taiwan's 2008 elections

The legislative result has left analysts predicting the Guomindang will re-take the presidency in March elections and steer Taiwan closer to mainland China.

Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian has taken full responsibility for the weekend's loss and has also resigned as chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). President Chen Shui-bian's Democratic Progressive Party won only 27 seats in Taiwan's new 113 seat assembly.

The KMT has promised closer ties to China will boost Taiwan's economy. The DPP is warning that the Opposition will sell out Taiwan's interests to China, but most voters clearly do not seem to believe that.

January 14, 2008

Graphite transistors could be the replacement for silicon

Graphene is one hundred times thinner than the smallest silicon transistor possible and graphene conducts electricity much more efficiently. However, graphene sheets tend to curl up and react with substances around them, making them difficult to build into devices.

Graphite could provide the most of the electrical property benefits of graphene but be easier to work with

Yakov Kopelevich and Pablo Esquinazi of the State University of Campinas in Brazil claim all the properties of graphene are present in graphite and graphite is easier and cheaper to produce and doesn't curl up, thanks to the stabilising effect of the adjacent layers.

Graphene physics in graphite, 9 page paper

Experimental evidence indicates that high-quality graphite is a multi-layer system with nearly decoupled 2D graphene planes. Based on experimental observations, we anticipate that thin graphite samples and not single layers will be the most promising candidates for graphene-based electronics.

A 4 page paper, A comparison of the magnetic properties of Proton- and Iron-implanted graphite.

Energy efficiency and substitution

A biofuel announcement and updating my energy forecast and recommended energy policy.

General Motors announced a partnership with Coskata of Warrenville, IL, a new company that claims it can make ethanol from wood chips, grass, and trash--including old tires--for a dollar a gallon.

Coskata is completing a pilot-scale ethanol production facility and will announce locations for a 40,000-gallon-per-year facility and a 100-million-gallon-per-year commercial-scale plant later this year. Coskata joins a number of other companies looking for ways to make biofuels from alternative sources. A new federal mandate, signed into law late last month, calls for 36 billion gallons [2.4 million barrels per day] of biofuels to be produced by 2022.
An increase from 7.5 billion gallons [510,000 barrels per day] of biofuel in 2007

According to Argonne National Laboratory—which analyzed Coskata's process and is named as a partnering organization on Costka’s Web site, www.costkataenergy.com—for every unit of energy used, it generates up to 7.7 times that amount of energy (EROEI, Energy Returned on Energy Invested), and it reduces carbon dioxide emissions by up to 84 percent compared with a well-to-wheel analysis of gasoline.

The Coskata process uses less than one gallon of fresh water per gallon of ethanol produced, versus 3-5 for corn, and as much as 7 gallons of water per gallon of ethanol for enzymatic routes. There is more than one billion tons of biomass that can be converted into fuel annually in the U.S. alone. Using the Coskata process, each of these tons can be converted into over 100 gallons of low-cost ethanol.

Source: GM research analysis. The biofuel potential in the US appears to be about 7-8 million barrels per day [about 39% of current US fuel needs]. This analysis does not appear to include algae biofuel processes.

Coskata CEO and President Bill Roe said the next generation ethanol is here today. "We will have our first commercial-scale plant making 50 [million] to 100 million gallons of ethanol running in 2011, and that includes the two years it will take to build the plant," Roe said.

There has been a great deal of concern over the possibility of peak oil. Peak oil would mean rapidly rising oil prices and reduction in oil that would be available for countries to import. (Export land model of oil)

Demand destruction would happen first in poorer countries and with people who are more poor in wealthier countries. So even if global oil and oil substitutes goes down there is a 5 year lead time to see other countries and segments of an economy having problems with a decline before the USA sees significant reductions. So the price has to go up to $200-250/barrel.

12 million barrels per day imported at $100 is 438 billion.
12 million barrels per day imported at $200 is 876 billion.
12 million barrels per day imported at $250 is 1.1 trillion.

The lead time allows in time for legislation and actions to have more deployment. The increase in biofuels under way. The increased number and quality and efficiency of hybrids, electric and diesel cars. More time for the new Chevron gulf of Mexico oil to come up. More time to get the Colorado oil shale going. More oilsand oil in Canada which is exported primarily to the USA.

The US economy can tolerate those price levels, but they would trigger more actions.

First year of new energy plan:
Increased fuel use for transporation (around double the 1970s usage). Fuel saving of 750,000 gallons per day from 55 mph speed limit in the USA.

Legislate to allow for more fuel saving measures which are difficult now by loosening other regulations (safety, emissions etc...). Enable more work from home and satellite offices.

First years of steps that will take many years:
Put in tax advantages for aero modding cars or diesel conversions. Support battery powered folding electric bikes/scotters (60+ million in China already)
200 million cars but getting the most used cars and trucks first.

$2 trillion to apply $10,000 per car and truck conversions to all the cars and trucks. $200 billion for the first 10%. But those 10% use about 30% of the fuel used for cars and trucks which is about 50% of the fuel use (long haul trucks, taxis and cars for salesman etc...). So getting those vehicles more 50% efficient would save 7%.

$50 billion for 100 million electric bikes and scooters at an average price of $500. Allow people to leverage public transit for more easily and to have a reasonable commute travel radius of about 20-25 miles (each way) without using a car.

Fire up the process to allow for drilling in ANWR (Alaska)

$200 million flex fuel program to get all new cars flex fuel to allow for more alternative fuels.

Stop using 9.8% of the oil to heat homes, offices and for electricity. (mostly North east)

Try to switch from oil for factory process heating.

Ban/phase out oil for recreational vehicles 1%. Require a switch to electric.

Middle years:
Tap the strategic fuel reserve if needed.

Continue modifications to the installed base of cars and trucks. Aeromodding and diesel conversions can increase fuel efficiency by 25-100%. Determine how to make the process more automated and efficient and low cost.

Get more agressive on the efficiency of new vehicles. do more to force the phase out of heavier vehicles. Cars like the 150 mpg Loremo (expected next year) have 0.22 aerodynamic (versus 0.4-0.6 for regular cars) and have a weight of 450kg versus 1000-3000 kg for regular cars and SUVs. It uses lightweight steel and modular cell construction.

Restructure for more busing and mass transit use.

7+ years:
Have gotten significant oil from oil shale 2+ million barrels per day
ANWR tapped for 1 million barrels per day
Gulf of Mexico oil 1 million barrels per day.
Enhanced oil recovery 2 million barrels per day.
Gotten high efficiency thermoelectrics onto a lot of cars and all big
Start getting a lot more nuclear power deployed. (9 new nuclear plants ordered in 2007. First could be completed by 2014 and there will be several significant power uprates of existing plants.)
More efficient conversions to power grid (superconductors, DC power lines for long haul.)

Increase US oil and oil equivalent production to 12+ million barrels per day.
The US produced 8.37 million barrels per day in 2006. By 2015, we should expect 2 million barrels per day from old production sources to not be available because of the aging of the fields.

Increase car, home and industrial effiency in the use of oil by 50+% within 7 years.
Structurally adjust the economy where possible for less oil usage (no oil for heat, instead use electric from nuclear and renewables.)

January 13, 2008

Taiwan election result as predicted, big KMT win

The KMT, pro-China party, won 81 of 113 seats in the legislative elections.

I have predicted that KMT victories in the legislative election and then in the presidential election in Taiwan would lead to better relations between Taiwan, China and the USA This is the first third of that prediction. Landslide legislative victory. Then a presidential victory by KMT's Ma and then the actual policy and relationship changes.

The size of the KMT landslide and the infighting going on with the DPP says to me that the Presidential election on March 22 looks like a slamdunk for KMT's Ma. The last 2004 election fake assassination only led to a raiser thin DPP election victory. I do not see how anything but massive (and massively transparent) voter fraud would be able to swing the election to the DPP in March.

Other earlier (since May 2007) places where I discussed this series of developments:
At the end of this article on technology predictions

One sentence deep in this article about China's military future

In the last third of this article on China's future economy

In the comments of this article on China's economy

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