Aug 08

My readers know that I have great optimism for the future of solar power. As the cost of solar cells drops, the challenge is to bridge the gap from sundown to sunrise. A recent article “‘Major Discovery’ Primed To Unleash Solar Revolution” suggests that “MIT researchers have overcome a major barrier to large-scale solar power: storing energy for use when the sun doesn’t shine.”

The article goes on to describe a low cost, low loss method used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, in effect creating a household fuel cell. While this system may still be years away, it may provide the much needed storage solution once solar (and wind) power becomes economically viable.

Joe

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Jul 25

As I hear more people talk on this topic, I grow more hopeful that the pain we are feeling in our wallets at the gas pump will pave the way toward a better future.
In an interview with the former mayor of New York, Ed Koch, I heard him call for a “Manhattan Project” for alternative energy. Let’s hope other politicians share his view. Al Gore seems to be on a similar path, he calls for a ten year plan to produce 100% of our energy needs from renewable resources within the next 10 years. T Boone Pickens (whose site I added to my link list, right) also proposes a plan for renewable energy. His plan differs slightly from Gore’s in that he feels it would be faster to introduce the widespread use of natural gas powered vehicles as an interim step to the electric car.
In the end, I look forward to a world where our children breathe cleaner air and see a clearer sky. More to come.
Joe

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Jul 05

With all my discussion about Solar Energy and the rise in Gas prices, here’s a timely Mike Keefe cartoon from the Denver Post;

Ball and Chain

Enjoy the weekend!
Joe

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Jun 25

I just caught a story titled “McCain call for $300 million prize for car battery”. The prize is offered “for the development of a battery package that has the size, capacity, cost and power to leapfrog the commercially available plug-in hybrids or electric cars.” There’s a part of this that I think is great, regular reader know I am excited about solar power and the prospects for a 21st century electric car. I was encouraged to hear McCain interviewed on CNBC and state that the goal should be to create an electric car that combined a charged range of 240 miles along with a plug in fast recharge capability. If nothing else, this shows he ‘gets it’ and knows what the goal is.
Now, reading that he’d like to be able to offer this challenge, it appears at first blush to be a ‘put your money where your mouth is’ approach. I think the intention is good, but the number may not be so high to get any attention. We currently have the X Prize, a series of prizes that include one for this very goal, and with a $10 million prize.
I think that the $300M may be better spent promoting Solar Power in general along with storage technologies that may overlap the automotive use. Even if solar cells were free, there would be an issue of storage, and we have a crisis that goes beyond just the current high oil prices. Solar can solve multiple issues, but storage is key, without it, we are missing a vital link in the enegy chain.
Joe

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Jun 18

Usually, such questions are rhetorical. By I have an answer to this one. They are so stupid that yesterday the Associated Press reported, “Republicans for the second time in a week prevented the Senate from taking up a tax bill providing more than $50 billion in renewable energy credits and tax breaks for families and businesses.” I wrote in Bad Energy Mojo a couple weeks back that congress was still bickering over this, but the news came out yesterday that they defeated this bill. Some things are simply beyond my comprehension, add this to my list.

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