Electric Cars a Shock
PIM of SPAIN | July 21, 2009 at 07:47 amby
230 views | 19 Recommendations | 3 comments
Every time energy changes its form as in the case of battery power -used to spin the wheels of a car- energy is lost, due to inefficiencies of the system by friction, heat loss, drag, etc. Simply, all of the available energy stored in a battery does not get used for its intended purpose: some, if not a majority, is lost due to these inefficiencies.
BusinessWeek Magazine reports: “Yet even as carmakers race to showcase these green vehicles, some experts are raising concerns. They fret that short circuits—or damage from a crash—could cause the latest generation of batteries using lithium-ion technology to overheat. In mobile phones, laptops, and other gadgets, that happens in 1 of every 5 million to 10 million "cells" that make up the battery, which means fires are quite rare. But while a laptop battery usually consists of a half-dozen cells, electric cars will need at least 75 or 80, which means one in every 60,000 electric cars hurtling down the highway could have a problem. "It's not going to happen all that frequently, but the consequences could be catastrophic," says Brian Barnett, a battery expert at Tiax, a technology development company in Cambridge, Mass.
One question is whether electric cars will be any less safe than a vehicle filled with 10 to 20 gallons of gasoline. With this kind of battery technology still in its infancy, it's hard to quantify the danger, but it may not be negligible. "A significant risk is that one cell failure will take other cells with it and then [the trouble] could spread," says Menahem Anderman, president of Advanced Automotive Batteries, a consulting company in California. Even if battery fires were no more widespread than those in gasoline cars, the headlines could stall any transition to electric vehicles.”
The real –non political- solution for greener cars is readily available: For transportation only high quantities of energy accumulated per unit will be economically and practically acceptable for use in vehicles.
As previously explained energy from electricity does not meet these conditions. Wind power, solar etc. are not practical. Ethanol has lower energy content per unit and requires special more expensive adaption of engines. The only energy source that meets above criteria is the internal combustion diesel engine that gets about 30% more mileage out of litre than gasoline, and those savings are real in any kind of driving conditions, with refuel range of over 1’000KM or 600 miles. What's more, people who worry about global warming prefer diesel because it emits up to 20% less carbon dioxide (CO2). In the US diesel is not so well refined as in Europe due to higher sulphur content, but that requires doable adaption of the refining process.
No other type of energy does meet all the advantages of diesel fuel. Besides diesel can be generated as biodiesel w/o changing engine specs.
Nuclear energy is the best option to become independent of the Middle East fossil fuel. Keeping more money in the country available for internal use, creating more jobs in the process. Coal all over the world in abundance available and in many countries easy to access can economically be processed into synthetic diesel with the help of nuclear energy.
Coal burning power plants emit CO2 and N2O gases what should be avoided.
Investment for power generation from coal or nuclear is about the same. Nuclear has a waste that will last hundreds of years, but much smaller in quantity and volume than that from coal. With more money available for R&D -because less is spent on import- it will be feasible to further develop this disadvantage and create better waste solution/management. Nuclear energy’s cost is 3ct/kWh the same as from coal.
Three priorities are met with nuclear energy it is cheap, it doesn’t need import and it is much compacter than any other kind of electricity generation.
Synthetic diesel is of the same category as biodiesel generated for example from algae does meet the same criteria as above set, and probably is slightly cheaper per unit.
Factually industry already has all the necessary technological processes developed. It only is the political will to apply those. Now is the time to review this whole matter, and improve to best of available knowledge. All other avenues are less economical, environmental friendly and lead to more inefficient applications.
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