Thursday, April 07, 2005

Four From Green Car Congress

Four unrelated but very interesting posts from Green Car Congress that I wanted to highlight today:
  • First, Aramco's services chief calls Chinese and Indian oil demands "frightening". Hence the blog, boys, hence the blog.
  • Second, a report about a new Carnot engine design using nanotech to achieve a nearly 100% efficiency even at room temperature. If practical engines could be made in this manner, it would radically transform our notion of "waste heat":
    It is in this equilibrium that the material could deliver a ZT of around 10 at room temperature—an amazing boost over current materials. As an aside, some at the DOE have speculated that as ZT increases past 10, the opportunity for the replacement of an internal combustion engine with a TE-powered motor emerges. In that scenario, TE generators could replace hydrogen fuel cells as the power source of the future.
    He also gives a couple of links to Nature and Physical Review Letters.
  • I recently had an exchange with the Engineer-Poet who runs The Ergosphere about the political implications of oil depletion, and how I think they may hit sooner rather than later for George W. Bush. One of these results not immediately evident is that by placing our faith in drill bits everywhere, we put ourselves in the hands of, shall we say, nefarious characters. Evidence of this same comes via this story showing BP's reserves, with and without Russian oilfields in the total. Needless to say, neither OPEC nor Russia's strategic goals necessarily align with those of the U.S., and for Bush to continue the "Hummer tax credit" amounts to extreme myopia. The Constitution may limit treason to "levying War against [the United States], or in adhering to [her] Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort", but Bush's policies approach even that conscribed definition.
  • Finally, this piece about a biodiesel distributor in North Carolina; with straight petroleum diesel prices going through the roof, the (incorrect) assumption is that biodiesel should automatically be cheaper. Aside from the usual complaining about the government needing to use "policy levers" (which I'm quite certain translates to "subsidies") to get prices down, he makes the useful comment:
    Those on the edge of the industry are outraged. They mention conspiracy, and claim our suppliers are “greedy bastards,” and would love to cite their constitutional right to cheap fuel. Too bad the founding fathers left that part out. My understanding is they felt markets were an efficient way to deliver goods to those in need.