Archive for the alternative fuel Category

Orion’s Xtracycle and Peapod Commercial

Posted in alternative fuel, clean energy, conservation, ethical consumerism, global warming, sustainability, transportation on February 13, 2010 by theseep


I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my Xtracycle over the last 3 years and it was time to figure out a mode of eco-friendly transport for Orion, so we opted to upgrade Laura’s commuter to an Xtracycle Radish model with the Peapod child carrier kit. They had a promotion that required us to make a video, submit a testimonial and some photos for almost $400 off the package!

At 7 months Orion is almost ready to take his first trip to Farmer’s Market on his new bike limousine! Of course, we’re still using biodiesel and vegetable oil for our vehicle transport, but cycling is still preferred when we can (you really pay attention to how much fuel you use when you make it yourself!).

New Renewable Oil Source: Bio-crude Could Be Big

Posted in alternative fuel, clean energy, global warming, green energy, politics, sustainability, transportation on February 18, 2008 by theseep

Australia’s national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), along with Monash University have taken cellulosic ethanol to another level. Using agricultural waste, forest thinnings, waste paper, and anything else with lignocellulose, they are able to make bio-crude, similar to a renewable “light and sweet” crude petroleum which can then be further refined into ethanol, bioplastics, and other uses. They smartly propose local processing plants to use regional waste, thereby closing the loop on a good deal of what would otherwise go to landfill.

OK U.S.A., while we’re still half-ignoring the issue being the ONLY industrialized nation not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol (Australia and Iraq recently caved), other nations are using public funds to research and develop innovative, clean technologies to take them into the fossil fuel free, sustainable future. This is what we could be doing with the billions of dollars of subsidies going to the oil companies that are making record profits by exploiting us both as taxpayers and consumers. Write your congresspeople to kill oil subsidies and support renewable energy research!

via Treehugger

Could Perepiteia Perpetual Motion Machine Be The Real Deal?

Posted in alternative fuel, clean energy, global warming, green energy, sustainability on February 10, 2008 by theseep

The legendary perpetual motion machine. The Holy Grail of energy inventions. It violates the very laws of physics and contradicts the conservation of energy theory of the universe. If it could be made to work and harness that power, the world’s energy crisis would be over within a few decades.
Well, a gentleman by the name of Thane Heins, working with engineers at the University of Ottawa, demonstrated what seems to be one such machine, generating 5 amps or so off of  a small generator setup.  If this actually works as described, Mr. Heins may have revolutionized the production of energy as we know it.

Imagine every home having their own perpetual motion generator, power bills, no CO2 emissions, and clean energy for everyone!  This is where our research dollars should be going, no more multi-billion dollar subsidies to oil companies to continue destroying our environment, lets push our representatives to put money where it will do us all good, not just a few corporations that are already making ridiculous profits.

Major Auto Makers Ignore Automotive X-Prize

Posted in alternative fuel, ethical consumerism, global warming, green energy, transportation on February 4, 2008 by theseep

The X-Prize foundation, the same folks who organized the competition for consumer spaceflight technology, is ponying up another multi-million dollar prize for the team that can produce the best consumer car that gets more than 100mpg. Although this isn’t new news, it is interesting to see that every single major U.S. automaker, those with the most R & D money, the most to gain, and the most to lose, are conspicuously absent from the competition. Exciting startups like Aptera, with their 300+mpg plug-in hybrid, and both Tesla and Zap! Automotive, with their 250 miles per charge electric cars, have thrown their hats in the ring along with 30 or so other competitors. Not only do consumers want more efficient cars, but with peak oil just around the corner and the current state of climate change, we NEED more efficient modes of transportation that use minimal or no fossil fuels.

The U.S. carmakers have shown their loyalty to the oil companies time and time again by fighting improved efficiency standards and continuing to make cars bigger and less efficient. It is indeed sad that the once great American auto industry has fallen so far, but they have and continue to dig their own graves. We can only hope that our government and our people will have the foresight to support these burgeoning clean energy and clean vehicle industries. We can rebuild some of the lost American manufacturing empire, stimulate the economy, and keep jobs in our country.

via Engadget

Shell Oil CEO Informs Employees That Peak Oil is an Estimated 7 Years Out!

Posted in alternative fuel, biodiesel, clean energy, conservation, ethical consumerism, global warming, green energy, sustainability, transportation on January 28, 2008 by theseep

In a move that defies the stance of other petrochemical giants, the Shell CEO, Jeroen van der Veer, sent a letter to employees stating in no uncertain terms that peak oil is about 7 years out. (bold type for emphasis by treehugger)”Regardless of which route we choose, the world’s current predicament limits our maneuvering room. We are experiencing a step-change in the growth rate of energy demand due to population growth and economic development, and Shell estimates that after 2015 supplies of easy-to-access oil and gas will no longer keep up with demand.”

Van der Veer goes on to briefly and reasonably discuss the shortfalls of current public energy policy and renewables. Do you think they meant for this to become general knowledge? It’s time to ramp up our battery/hydrogen/cellulosic ethanol/wind/solar research, according to Shell, we’ll see a sharp increase in oil prices ($500/barrel?) by 2015!

via treehugger

The Ethanol Scam: One of America’s Political Boondoggles, via Rolling Stone

Posted in alternative fuel, clean energy, ethical consumerism, global warming, green energy, politics, sustainability, transportation on January 23, 2008 by theseep
 Although this article came out last June in Rolling Stone magazine, it is an excellent discussion of the scam that is corn ethanol. As you know, I’m all for eco-friendliness, but through political manipulation, lobbying (ie: bribery), and as Rolling Stone puts it, boondoggling, corn ethanol has become the country’s fastest growing biofuel, while at the same time being the least efficient and most fossil-fuel intensive to produce. For every 1 gallon of fossil fuel you put in, you only get 1.3 gallons of ethanol out. Add in the chemical pesticides, petroleum-based fertilizers, and the fact that ethanol provides up to 20% less energy than petrol, ethanol efficiency drops into negative numbers. (previous seep post)

If the numbers for corn-based ethanol are so bad, why are we subsidizing this horrific waste of food when there are starving people around the world?  It’s an environmental and social catastrophe.  It seems that for many Americans, filling your SUV is more important than feeding a hungry family.  I know that may sound harsh and unreasonable, but when you lay it all out, that is really the choice that we’re making. 
Who has the political guts to stop allowing corporate interests to dictate national energy policy and start making rational, well-thought out decisions that will provide us with energy security into the next century?  Obama?  Hillary?
Nobody yet. 

Chevy’s Greenwashed “Gas Friendly to Gas Free” Marketing Campaign

Posted in alternative fuel, biodiesel, clean energy, conservation, ethical consumerism, global warming, green energy, politics, sustainability, transportation on December 9, 2007 by theseep

OK, we all know that all of the U.S. car manufacturers have made decision after decision that is leading to their own demise. First, the engineered obselescence of the 80’s and 90’s – you need to keep buying new cars if the one you bought was designed to fail, right?  Brilliant strategy.  Once they knocked that off and lost the faith of the U.S. consumer, they launched ad campaigns convincing a frightening number of us that big, powerful cars are what you need to be a rugged, manly American.  They even managed to get ridiculously unnecessary tax incentives passed for ginormous SUVs to sucker in more people.  Unfortunately for the American worker, they have continued to lag behind the rest of the world’s auto manufacturers and have yet to give us a reasonably sized hybrid or alternative fuel car with the exception of the Chrysler Sebring and Malibu (I don’t consider the Impala “reasonably sized”) 

Now Chevy has answered all of our environmental prayers by launching their new “Gas Friendly to Gas Free” marketing campaign.  This ridiculous attempt at greenwashing lists the following subjects:  Fuel Efficiency, E85 Ethanol, Hybrid, Electric, and Fuel Cell.  Let’s go through the list:   

#1:  Fuel Efficiency – although some chevy cars get decent gas mileage, they still don’t match up to most foreign offerings, with Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Minis, and VWs taking all of the top MPG spots.  Some improved technology has come out, limiting the use of cylinders when not needed, but this is mostly in huge vehicles.  Thanks for polishing our brass – love, the Titanic’s crew. 

#2:  E85 Ethanol – Once again, almost all of these Flex-fuel vehicles are massive SUVs.  Also, when was the last time you saw E85 at the pump in most of America?  This in addition to the fact that corn ethanol is THE WORST BIOFUEL available!  For every 1 gallon of fuel you put into the process you only get about 1.3 gallons of fuel out.  Corn requires large volumes of irrigation, fertilizer, and pesticides.  And don’t forget that you’re taking a needed food source to pour into your SUV – it just doesn’t make any sense at all.  Please feel guilty and picture a starving child while you pour what should be their corn into your fuel tank.    

#3:  Hybrid – What is their first hybrid?  A freakin’ Chevy Tahoe.  You have got to be kidding me.  This wasteful monstrosity gets a whopping 20-22 mpg, and although that’s good for an SUV, it’s downright horrendous for your most eco-friendly offering to date. Why not take your Aveo or Cobalt, which get 24/34 and 24/33 (city/hwy mpg) respectively, and make one of those into a hybrid to compete with the Prius or Civic hybrids? 

#4: Electric – Ahh. . . The much discussed Chevy Volt.  For one thing, didn’t you already make one of these that worked marvelously?  Oh right, the EV1.  They were repossessed and shredded (not even recycled or disassembled!).  Whoops!  The Volt is still vaporware to date (but to be fair, so is the much anticipated Tesla Roadster).  If/when it actually does come out, it might be a pretty sweet ride.    

#5:  Fuel Cell – Yet another concept that will probably never reach any one of us.  Can we please get some people with money and brains (Sir Branson, would you consider this as the next X-prize?) together to design a functional, reliable, long-lasting, non-toxic super battery/fuel cell/whatever?  All we need is a power source people – that’s all the hydrogen and fuel cell concepts are – glorified batteries.  I think that ultracapacitors might do it (still vaporware as well, though) – imagine driving your electric car for 250 miles or more and when you run low, plug in to a power station, swipe your card, and charge up in minutes!  Maybe if the oil companies would release some of those battery patents they’ve gobbled up, there would be one worth developing.   

Basically, I’m asking that nobody fall for this greenwashing campaign of Chevy’s.  Don’t buy an SUV just because it’s a hybrid or it’s Flex-fuel – don’t buy one, period!  If they really cared, they’d stop making Hummers, Tahoes, Escalades, and all of the other gas-guzzling compensation tools and make super-efficient, hybrid, alternative fuel (the forthcoming algae biodiesel or cellulosic ethanol), or electric work vehicles, people-movers, and small personal transportation vehicles.  Admittedly it would take a lot of chutspa for a major auto manufacturer to trim the fat and only concentrate on these types of vehicles.  Toyota is coming close with it’s goal to go all-hybrid, but that’s not enough.  If one of the American companies would step forward to this goal, it could be done, and it could be accomplished with American ingenuity and style and we could lead the world once again in transportation innovation.

Any takers?