Thursday, September 14, 2006

Environment: Global Warming and Alternative Energy Articles

Beyond Fossil Fuels by Robert Semple is A Talking Points feature in the NY Times. It is an excellent essay that discusses the multiple alternative and renewable energies along with the cost, environmental, carbon emission impact. Semple then delves into subjects like energy efficiency, ethanol, hydrogen, solar and wind. It is well linked. The only issue you may run into is that it is for subscribers only. I have printed it out and will put it online after I move this blog to another spot.

Low-Sulfur Diesel Fuel Is Reaching Market: It's a good NY Times article on the new low sulfur diesel fuel that finally comes to gas stations this Sunday 10/15. It's an exciting development as it reduces particulate emissions in new engines by 95% and in older engines 10%. While the Bush administration is taking credit, it was actually delayed by 2 years. While smog creating sulfur content is down 97%, it is still not to European levels. For some reason, the technology exists to get super low in Europe, but it has not made its way here. Nevertheless, any progress on this front is good progress. Another article in this area, A Love Hate Relationship Bears a 50 State Diesel, is on Honda's new diesel engine that is coming in 2008 that meets emissions requirements in all 50 states and gets a combined 42 mpg. This is based on a diesel Accord that is already on sale in Europe. That 2 mpg less than what people say they realistically get in a Prius.

Cool beans, a NY Times article on plug-in hybrid vans that are going to deployed over the next year. Daimler-Benz plans to offer them under the Chrysler nameplate. This vehicle is mostly designed to be of value in short distances with a lot of stop and go.

An interesting NY Times article on wind power. It's an article how an Indian company, Suzlon has experience fantastic growth by starting in an emerging market like Indian and then expanded rapidly throughout the world. Because the power grid is disconnected and dysfunction, wind power has value because it can be place closer to the user. India has benefited by wind power - generation is up 49% over the year earlier. Stories like these are great because they demonstrate environmental benefit while offering greater value to people than conventional sources.

GM released info on its Sequel hydogen fuel cell vehicle in this NY Times article. It sounds impressive as they have promised a commercial vehicle by 2009. The vehicle is based on their Chevy Equinox platform and claims to get 300 miles on a single tank (hydrogen tank). GM says that the product does not become competitive until 1 million vehicles are produced. The big issue is how do you produce hydrogen and how does it get distributed? In any case, at least GM is not playing the old game of resisting every innovation and then getting beaten when the trend favors fuel efficiency or new technology.

Richard Branson made a huge $3 billion commitment to finance projects to reduce global warming. Most of these are investments in companies related to cellulosic ethanol. It's over a 10 year period and represents all projected profits from his transportation groups. I bet this investment will end up making him a lot of money. Check out the article.

Saw this article on CNET about cellulosic ethanol technology that Honda has developed in conjunction with the Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth (RITE). It's pretty cool as it is carbon neutral and can eventually offer greater benefits in terms of production and efficiency than corn derived ethanol. Best of all, they are talking about a pilot plant in 2008.

This article on Brazil's sugar ethanol breakthough eloquently describes how oil will be displaced. - again in a carbon neutral way.

Here's another reason why someone should live in California. Check out the first well written and detailed NY times article on how California is taking the lead on carbon emissions and global warming. This should not be a partisan issue. It is probusiness, proconsumer and pro-National Security.

In the NY Times, check out the Energy Series of articles. It's fascinating.

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