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theWatt Podcast 74

Bill Kemp is on the show discussing his new book "The Zero-Carbon Car" - a plug-in biodiesel hybrid car which he built. We talk about personal transportation issues and how he built his car.

Some show notes:
  • AzText Press - publisher of The Zero Carbon Car
  • Zero Carbon Car details:
    Electricity: 12.4 miles to 80% depth of discharge
    Energy Consumption: 387 Wh per mile
    Biodiesel: ~ 990 miles per tank
    Consumption: 0.058 gallons per kWh
  • Google Plug-In Hybrid Program
  • Previous podcasts featuring Bill Kemp: tWP63 (off-grid living), tWP60 (biodiesel)

A quick note on hydrogen

I just have to make a comment on what Bill said about hydrogen at the 9min 39sec mark:
a hydrogen powered vehicle that is powered by hydrogen that comes from natural gas which, is where 99% of the hydrogen comes from on earth now, actually produces about 6-8 times more CO2 than does burning gasoline in a regular vehicle now
By my calculations, this isn't true.

To make 1kg of hydrogen from natural gas by steam reforming produces roughly 5.5kg CO2:

(2kg) CH4 + (4.5kg) 2H2O <=> (1kg) 4H2 + (5.5kg) CO2

The fuel efficiency of a hydrogen car is hard to come by but from this review of the Honda FCX, the hydrogen fuel cell car goes 190 miles on 3.8kg hydrogen. The target efficiency set by the Department of Energy for a hydrogen fuel cell car is roughly 300 miles per 5kg H2. This means that to drive 300miles in the Honda FCX today using hydrogen produced from natural gas steam reforming will emit 32kg of CO2, worst case. With the DOE target efficiency, a hydrogen car with hydrogen produced from natural gas would produce 28 kg CO2.

Gasoline has a CO2 content of 8.9kg CO2/gallon. So, let's just say we have a car that has a fuel efficiency of 30 miles per gallon. Then the total CO2 produced by that 30mpg car driving 300 miles is 89kg CO2 (2.8 times higher than hydrogen fuel cell car today). In order for a gasoline powered car to produce the same amount of CO2 as a hydrogen fuel cell car, the gasoline car must have a fuel efficiency of 83 miles per gallon.

Note that in this analysis, for both hydrogen and gasoline cars, I only considered tank-wheel CO2 emissions, not well to wheel which would make both cases look slightly worse.

So, in conclusion, a fuel cell car today powered by hydrogen from natural gas will produce less CO2 than your most efficient car available today. I'll make this the topic of an upcoming column. Battery cars are more efficient than hydrogen fuel cell cars though and the future must be efficient.

Re: theWatt Podcast 74

after listening to this weeks pod cast few comments about the tesla, each one of the 6000 plus batteries has the form factor of a AA battery, they have a dog and pony show the general pubic can go on if ya show up at their office in San Carlos, CA.

Asked some of the engineers when I took a tour last year, and they mentioned that monitoring the status of the batteries was akin to the same kind of engineering needed to monitor the batteries of a lap top (just scaled up), the big teething problem with the tesla from what I gathered is the transmission (making sure it works for the long haul).

Re: theWatt Podcast 74

If we are going to make a switch in power source and propulsion system we should look at our options and pick the best choice for the long term. Hydrogen can be made to work for personal transportation like cars, SUVs, and pickups but it is still way dirtier than battery electric vehicles, and it will continue to rely on fossil fuels for the very long term. Since most of us will be using natural gas for other things like heating and cooling it makes absoltuely no sense whatsoever to switch our personal vehicle fuel from gasoline to natural gas. I know this is oil baron Pickens' idea of a smart move but then again consider the source.

Most Americans can realize the dream of having solar panels recharge their commuting vehicles without any reliance on utilities, foreign oil, gas stations, or hydrogen fuel refilling stations. Why as consumers would we allow corporations to dictate what products we can or cannot have, and even worse, allow them to force products upon us that still produce CO2 when in fact there is absolutely no technical reason this cannot be avoided. I have to laugh at the ads where it is touted that hydrogen fuel cells simply emit water, they are so clean!

I for one will neve buy a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, its energy source to motor pathway is far less efficient than a pure battery electric vehicle. Hydrogen fuel cells may have their place in other areas of society, but not in passenger vehicles, or light trucks. I will neither support companies who pander hydrogen fuel cell technology for the same type of vehicles. I do not buy gasoline from any Texaco/Chevron station because they bought key battery technology from GM who acquired it to promote battery electric vehicles. I will not buy a GM car for killing the EV-1, selling the battery technology to Texaco/Chevron, and for essentially failing to protect America from oil interests over the past 30 years by their continued fight to prevent more efficient vehicles from coming to market. If GM had embraced the EV-1, the Ford Ranger EV, etc we would not be so oppressed today by oil interests. If GM would simply embrace the battery technology that still powers hundreds of Toyota RAV4 EVs the GM Volt or EV-1 type vehicle could have been available at their dealers months ago. Of course this is just my opinion and those who want to support hydrogen fuel cells can continue to do so, but that support will not be based on science or engineering principles, and it certainly not the KISS principle.

And lastly for anyone who believes or defends that supply is driving up the price of oil and gasoline and that there is no quick solution, I only have one question. Why haven't we as a nation reintroduced the 55 mph maximum highway speed limit? An action that requires no techological advances simply political action? An action that is known to reduce gasoline consumption by 20-30% depending on how fast traffic is traveling today, typically 75 to 85 mph. And why would the political authority to set a national speed limit be delegated to each individual state in light of this administration's tendency to abuse presidential power? For now the 55 mph limit would require every state to pass such legislation.

Re: theWatt Podcast 74

What is FCX? (something tells me it's a dumb question:D)

Re: theWatt Podcast 74

Oh, it's Honda's fuel cell car (Honda FCX = Honda Fuel Cell Experimental)

Re: theWatt Podcast 74

i really enjoyed reading your blog, nice topivs, and great work, Thank you very much for this nice share

Re: theWatt Podcast 74

Al Pugsley
Very well done podcast with good information. We need to move quickly to renewable energy. I assume the renewable energy from bull frog is the same as green tags or RECs in the US? I am looking at converting my Prius to plug-in. I also drive a converted Chevy S-10 that is all electric.

Zero Carbon Motorcycle

Come on, that is one of the sillier things that I have heard. If you use steel, you have to have carbon, if you use electricity, it's made via carbon. the people who build it are made of carbon... what a strange thing to say a carbon-free car. Carbon is awesome! This carbon stuff is just a ploy to get us to fear carbon so we can be taxed on it. You know I'm right.

Re: theWatt Podcast 74

Hi, great forum, thanks.
This guy Bill is really pushing MMGW (man made global warming) and that just to start makes him a little dishonest in my opinion, I understand him (and people like algore! And empty headed “movie stars and the like) after their socialist theories? were completely proved wrong they had to do something, or sell somethig, but I distrust them. the Science is far from proven.
I think that taking into account everything from efficiency to freedom of the individual the only thing that makes sense is: if it doesn’t make sense in terms of investment return, forget it!!
For example; you can get a return on your investment on a Chinese built (and Chinese technology by the way) vacuum tube solar water boiler in less than a year in most cases, after that its money in your pocket. By the way; they cost around $130.00 wholesale in china (yes one hundred and thirty dollars US currency for a 120-150 liter one)
I have not seen a solar panel that makes economic sense except for the one (thin tech) a new factory that is selling only to municipalities in Germany and the US. (They apparently agree with me) and it is the same with wind power, you will never see your money again if you buy a wind turbine generator only for your home.
As soon as battery technology permits it I am sure we will see a marketable (one that makes economic sense to the guy on the street like me)electric car. Its all business after all.
Bye for now and God bless.

Re: theWatt Podcast 74

I believe the human race is headed for extinction if we do not cut our dependence on fossil fuels. If we take the approach that it has to make economic sense it is like saying "I have got mine pull up the ladder" and forget future generations. America uses much more of every resource the our numbers justify. We have the talent to change the world and be leaders again if we move forward to new clean renewable technology.
If we gave the same support to renewable energy as we give the oil and gas industry we would have affordable clean energy at affordable prices.
The tax credits for renewable and home energy efficiency are due to completely expire 12-31-2008. Congress needed only one more vote for them to pass this last time.

Re: theWatt Podcast 74

Very well done podcast with good information. We need to move quickly to renewable energy. I assume the renewable energy from bull frog is the same as green tags or RECs in the US? I am looking at converting my Prius to plug-in. I also drive a converted Chevy S-10 that is all electric

Re: theWatt Podcast 74

The Zero-Carbon Car reviews the issues of climate change, peak oil, urban sprawl, and geopolitical and socioeconomic disruption related to fossil fuel use. The book argues that, while there is no way to avoid the eventual demise of the automobile, there is an opportunity for the automotive industry to develop an ultra-efficient, zero-carbon-emissions automobile.firma ekle demir fiyatlari.

The book documents the successful design and construction of a zero-carbon vehicle, proving that the technology is not only possible, it is viable today. For those who wish to fabricate their own vehicle, plans and software are provided in the book and on the accompanying website.teleskopik dikme.

The Zero-Carbon Car is a must-read for automotive enthusiasts, environmentalists, and anyone who cares about how their transportation choices affect the planet.oto yedek parça