Ozark Sage, I went to the second solar energy conference, I believe it was in 1974, held in Aspen, CO. It was all about passive solar in those days. In fact, that's what solar meant before a) it became clear that you have to site properly which means building from scratch, which makes it too expensive for the everyday person to do, b) commercial interests aimed at active solar technologies which are, in fact, retrofits to existing improperly sited buildings, and c) utilities like PG&E out here fought all of it kicking and screaming for several decades because it took energy delivery out of their hands and into the hands of individuals (among other reasons).
Along these lines are the Earthship, which is made with recycled materials:
and several other types of self-sustaining building innovations.
I think (based on hope and little science) that personal transportation, and individual home use will eventually be from a fuel source that gets put into a fuel cell and converted directly to electrical energy. Whether the fuel cell has a replaceable module that gets refilled or the fuel is pumped directly into the cell remains to be seen. ICEs and EVs will continue to improve but ultimately will disappear. There is no current method to provide this type of energy density in a safe, affordable manner, but the research is there, eventually it must happen. The developement of this will likely not come from government funded research, nor will it be done in a large firm being run to provide short-term profits. The existing power grid takes power from diverse sources which have been identified as environmentally destructive; Coal, Oil, Nuclear, Hydro - all environmentally problematical. The same groups who have condemned the fuel, also condemn the power lines and substations, such that it is difficult to site any improvement to the existing grid. The BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhare Near Anything) group have way too much sway over what will happen in the future of energy, roads, and infrastructure in general. Personally, I'm ready for my fuel cell powered vehicle and house.
Ann R.There is affordable answers that have flown under the radar for a long time. Your explanation being only one of many quite workable and parcial solutions. My cousin in Colorado has used exactly what you described for over 30 years (less the wood stove + the sun) reliably. However, I should like to suggest several ways to elimate the power company and gas station all together.
This can be done by RE-THINKING ALL THE "STUFF" taught to us from elementary school forward. One must start by reading about truly brilant thinkers many times referred to as kooks by others, especially governments of the world. Most of which they HIRED as paid contractorsduring times of war to "milk" these out-of-the-box thinkers of their unorthodox solutions to save the same government that tried to trash their reputations and origional IP for various reasons might expect.
So who are/were these PEOPLE? And how would one find them and their various SOLUTIONS and WORK. Join the discussion on ALT ENERGY I am starting to answer these and other questions.
@Mark S - I am skeptical too of battery claims. Envia is not raising capital - almost all funds from Series C raise in December 2010 are in the bank. Company is funded by customer programs. Envia is not looking for any loan guarantees from government - we think cheap loans have not given good outcomes for battery companies in the past. As for skpeticism, it's a good thing considering the recent and long past track record of battery companies - we tried to mitigate that skepticism by - a) using a 45 Ah pouch cell (twice the capacity used in most battery driven automotives today), b) cycling it at least 300 times (it has cycled 400 times and continues to cycle), c) doing third party validation at Naval Warfare Surface Center, Crane, Indiana (conclusions posted on Envia web site). Atul Kapadia, Chairman & CEO, Envia Systems
You can already buy various limited production specialty cars that run on hydrogen by burning them in the engine. But not sure what the point of that is. You end up with thermaldynamic inefficiency of ICE with heat rejection.
Here is a hydrogen refill station in our neighborhood.
That's exactly the sort of problem I was talking about. Why the heck should my little neighborhood go without power for 2, 3, 4 or 5 days (I've experienced all those) because someone else's trees fell on the lines several miles away, or vice versa? Why do we all have to be connected on this enormous grid? I think local generation and storage makes a lot more sense, especially when we begin considering adding a mix of sustainable energy sources and storage technologies. Those are bound to vary by location.
It will be very interesting to see if they can go from theory to production, which is often a huge jump. What I did notice is that there was no mention of any details that could provide a clue as to the chemistry or voltage of the new cells, nor any specifics about performance.
So while I wish them success, I am more than a bit skeptical.
We got hit two years ago in the big record breaking snow storm in VA. Luckily our provider had just done the line trimming that summer and our outage was only 3 days.
Texas is not neccessarily any safer from mother nature. A few years before I moved up here, my parents were without power for over a week because an ice storm with high winds had snapped every wooden power pole for 30miles, between Amarillo and their small town.
In many engineering workplaces, there’s a generational conflict between recent engineering graduates and older, more experienced engineers. However, a recent study published in the psychology journal Cognition suggests that both may have something to learn from another group: 4 year olds.
Conventional wisdom holds that MIT, Cal Tech, and Stanford are three of the country’s best undergraduate engineering schools. Unfortunately, when conventional wisdom visits the topic of best engineering schools, it too often leaves out some of the most distinguished programs that don’t happen to offer PhD-level degrees.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.