Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Combining plug-in electric and biofuels

Check out this very important report about combining two well-developed technologies for greater efficiency and less reliance on imported energy. Small Flex-fuel engines can easily be combined with electric motors and the latest battery technology. Electricity is quite versatile in how it can be produced and used. It could be produced more locally by home-based solar, wind, and regional generation stations powered by biogas from landfills and municipal waste.
Driving Our Way to Energy Independence - commentary on flex-fuel, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles

3 comments:

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Chief said...

I definitely think flex-fuel PHEVs will make great strides in reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. I haven't done too much research on conversion kits, but from my understanding, current hybrid batteries are not up to the task of performing in a plug in configuration.

As an aside:

Does anyone know if corn-ethanol is given a specific subsidy, or if it is just ethanol in general (no matter the source)? Perhaps a resource that breaks down of all corn subsidies? I haven't taken the time to read through the Farm Bill myself. My understanding is that with high grain prices a majority of subsidies would go away (price floors).

Thank you.

Tragedy of the Commons

Jeff Goettemoeller said...

I agree that battery technology is not really good enough yet. They need to be less expensive, lighter, with a long life, and with minimal toxic components. Maybe this will come. Interesting to see Sen. Mcain proposing a cach prize for anyone who develops a better battery.

As for ethanol subsidies, the main one is a 51 cent credit for blenders, to encourage putting ethanol into the fuel supply system, be it from corn or whatever other ethanol feedstock. Here's an interesting article about the possibility of switching to a BTU credit that would support all alternatives: http://www.card.iastate.edu/iowa_ag_review/spring_07/article1.aspx

Crop subsidies are a separate matter. They've been around long before major ethanol production. Most of them kink in when crop prices are low, so ethanol tends to reduce expenditures of our tax money on that side of things.