Tuesday, September 23, 2014

AC Transit Needs Help - Rube Greenberg Award



AC Transit a San Francisco bay area public entity for public transportation needs help.  The help they need is not in buying busses but in understanding thermodynamics and economics.   They bought 400 kilowatts of Bloom Coffins to provide electricity to an electrolysis unit that makes hydrogen from water.   The hydrogen will be used in a fleet of fuel cell busses. They claim they produce carbon free hydrogen as the gas feeding the Bloom Coffins is biogas.

Now let’s have the reality check.   The Bloom unit is at best 45% efficient based on the higher heating value of natural gas.  The electrolysis unit is at best 66% efficient at producing hydrogen from water and electricity.   The combined efficiency (45% times 66%) equals 30% of overall efficiency.  One can produce hydrogen by steam methane reforming (what the first part of the Bloom Coffin does) with at least 75% efficiency so why in heavens name take the reformed gas containing hydrogen and run it through a fuel cell generate electricity, and then take the generated electricity that came from hydrogen in the first place to again produce hydrogen in a electrolysis unit???  

Only an idiotic government entity could dream up this nonsense.  Their actions reduce the efficiency of producing hydrogen from 75% to 30%.   Therefore they need to use 2.5 times as much natural gas to yield the same quantity of hydrogen.  They did this to give their friends at Bloomdoggle Energy money!   This Rube Goldberg system at AC Transit cost over $6 million.  $4 million given to Bloomdoggle Energy and $2 million to the vendor of the electrolysis unit.  For the production of the same quantity of hydrogen, I would install a steam methane reformer (SMR) and pressure swing adsorption (PSA) unit for approximately $1 million in total and would only use 40% of the natural gas. 

Of course if I simply installed a SMR and PSA I would not get top billing at Governor Moonbeam’s Office.  The “greenies” in government love this nonsense of stringing together Rube Goldberg systems that now should be called Rube Greenberg systems.  Yes AC transit won the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA).  AC Transit also won the Department of Entropy’s Annual Merit Review Award. AMRA

January 2013
California’s Governor Jerry Brown recognized AC Transit’s achievements by awarding it with the 2012 
Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA) for building the most comprehensive hydrogen fuel cell demonstration program in the country.


To me GEELA and AMRA add up to government waste and AC Transit is the poster child for the Rube Greenberg award.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Solar Energy is Growing Well



I read an article this week that worldwide 40 gigawatts of solar power from photovoltaic systems will be installed in 2014.  This could grow to as high as 50 gigawatts next year.   China followed by Japan are the largest markets for solar farms.

The article below is from Digitimes a Taiwanese site

“Global solar cell demand in 2014 estimated at 40GWp, say Taiwan makers
Nuying Huang, Taipei; Adam Hwang, DIGITIMES [Friday 19 September 2014]
Global demand for crystalline silicon solar cells in 2014 is estimated at 40GWp, mainly consisting of 11GWp in China, 8GWp in Europe, 7GWp in Japan, 5GWp in the US and 1.3GWp in India, according to Taiwan-based makers.
China-based solar cell makers have a total annual production capacity of 30-32GWp in 2014 and Taiwan-based ones 9-10GWp, the sources said. China- and Taiwan-based makers together have a total annual capacity of 39-42GWp in 2014, enough to meet global demand, the sources indicated.
Global demand in 2015 may increase to 50GWp, the sources noted.”

When I wrote my book in 2003 Solar was a miniscule market, but I dedicated a chapter as to how this was going to be a technology that would proliferate.   The other markets I forecast to have good growth were LCD TVs and LEDs.  The book explained that the Hydrogen Highway was a myth and that focus on sustainability should be around solar energy, and mostly on efficiency.   Back in 2003 Arne was still a Hummer Fanatic and people were buying massive SUVs not small cars.  This has also changed.

This week I had a debate with a prof who told me it takes 9 years for the solar modules to pay back the electricity that it took to manufacture them from raw sand and other components.   I did the math and told the prof that this was impossible and the cells are fabricated on wafers that are 180 micrometers thick not the 4,000 micrometers he had used in his calculation.   There also was a math error in his calculation and I reached my own conclusion that the energy input to fabricate solar cells is now paid back in less than 4 months if the cells are placed in California and that these cells will generate electricity for more than 20 years.  This is a very useful technology.   The prof was willing to admit three year payback as he believed the 180 micrometer cells will die and thicker wafers are needed.   My research showed all leading PV cell manufacturers uses cells of approximately 200 micrometer thickness.  200 micrometers is approximately 0.0078 inches.   These wafers are now very thin and much thinner than when I wrote my book.

PVINSIGHTS is a very interesting site that reports the weekly average cost of PV wafers, cells, and modules.  Pricing this week is at an all-time low but pretty much the same as 2 years ago.  Manufacturers of PV system (Chinese and Taiwanese dominate the market) work on ultrathin margins for their ultrathin wafers and cells.  


Item
High
Low
Average
AvgChg
AvgChg %
Silicon Solar Module
0.94
0.50
0.610
Negative Change Sign-0.002
Negative Change Sign-0.33%
ThinFilm Solar Module
0.87
0.49
0.648
Negative Change Sign-0.001
Negative Change Sign-0.15%
US Multi Solar Module
Unit: USD / Watt
Last Update: 2014-09-17
All Spot Prices are Tax excluded and updated on Wednesday


The price of 61 cents a watt for silicon modules accounts for between 20 to 25% of the total installed cost of a solar farm at utility scale (20,000,000 watts or greater).  Home rooftop systems (3,000 to 5,000 watts) will cost about $4 per watt on a fully installed basis, and systems on large warehouse buildings (100,000 watts) will cost about $3 per watt fully installed.  PV solar will continue to grow and we can thank the Chinese for having made the systems affordable.  It is pretty dumb for the US and Europeans to impose tariffs on these systems.   We simply should reap the benefits of the Chinese selling systems below cost and make electrons while the sun shines.  We should note it is pretty dumb to place PV systems in places where the sun hardly shines but the folks in New York and North Carolina are doing this.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Is KIOR Kaput?



They are delisted from the NASDAQ

They have infighting among the owners and directors

They have laid-off workers

They have stopped production

They have not paid their debts

I would say they are kaput!    I have always said they were a thermodynamic fake out.   That white catalyst of theirs was fairy dust.   Vinod Khosla must answer the Thermo God for:  Cello; Range; LS9; Amyris; Gevo; Calera; Light Sail; Virdia (HCL);  and of course KIOR.  KIOR was the biggest fake out of all although Calera, Cello and Range were right up there.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Fuel Cells 2014 V. 2003



In 2003 I published my book Hydrogen Hope or Hype ?


It is still a very good primer on energy, sustainability, and fuel cells.   You see Thermo does not change and the book is based on thermo not some junk Al Gore dreamed up in his convenient untruth.

Over the past decade the one technology that did emerge that was not covered in the book are lithium ion batteries in vehicles.  I covered my thermodynamic analysis of this technology in my now famous US Senate Testimony


Toyota and several other companies such as Honda and Hyundai re introducing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles next year.  There is a great debate between Elon Musk of Tesla and Toyota whether fuel cell vehicles are better or worse than battery powered EVs.   My answer is both are bloody expensive but the EV is less bloody expensive.  I feel pretty confident to predict that battery EVs will outsell fuel cell cars 10 to 1 in the next decade.   I also feel confident to say that plain old vehicles together with non-plug in hybrid vehicles will outsell EVs more than 50 to 1.

The amount of money Toyota will lose on each sale of its fuel cell vehicle is greater than the amount Tesla will lose.  Toyota and the other large auto companies are selling fuel cell vehicles at a loss to promote goodwill and to have a defense one day should they get sued (as the tobacco companies were sued) for knowingly harming the health and wellbeing of people.

Folks the great hope in personal transportation remains more efficient gasoline, diesel, ethanol, methanol, DME, CNG, propane, or ethane propelled vehicles and that car share, carpooling, and car abandonment will come about to reduce the need for ever increasing oil refining and consumption.

I had a couple of interesting discussions with folks who are close to transportation fuels and energy markets and they stated that the “wise” hedge fund money is betting that in five to six years (2020) oil will be at $70 a barrel and not $150 a barrel.   There will be a global diminishment in the growth in the demand for refined petroleum used in transportation due to engine improvement and changes in social behavior.   I tend to agree that oil prices peaked in 2008 and that the real market value of oil is approximately $80 a barrel.   Of course if world war three breaks out because Mr. Obama new found “Levant Strategy” is a failure we could see $200 a barrel oil very quickly.   Remember Mr. Obama refers to ISIL not ISIS.   Levant is derived from French meaning the rising.  We are back to the 1930s when the Rising Sun was causing havoc in the Far East.  Now we have the Neville Chamberlain of 2014, who talked nonsense in Cairo in 2009 allowing  havoc in the Middle East.   I just pray we all wake up to crisis and irradiate the cancer.



I do see the further hybridization of the drive trains in vehicles with micro and moderate hybrids taking a good share of future sales.   I also see that alternate fuels other than diesel and gasoline will propel more private vehicles and large fleets.   Big Oil is headed to becoming a little less big but will still remain big.   I also see that unless I win the lotto I will still be driving my 1999 C 280 Mercedes that is still valid 20th century technology.   I only drive 5,000 to 6,000 miles a year so I am not the average Yank in a Tank stuck in traffic.  By 2020 I also predict that Tesla will have a realistic stock price and that this stock price will be no more than the price of oil per barrel.  


We can easily change our driving behavior and we can easily improve the fleet efficiency.  But we cannot easily convert to Fuel Cell cars on a hydrogen highway even if the governator says so.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

His Back Pages - A Tribute To Jonathan



It is exactly two years since my high school chum Jonathan passed to the wicked disease of ALS.  At the time of his passing I wrote a eulogy of his extraordinary strength and how he is my inspiration to carry on the fight against the members of the complex led by Al Gore who have stolen billions with greenwashed fraud.  This tribute to Jonathan is written from the mouth of the second law of thermodynamics if it could talk to us.

The Dylan song My Back Pages was one his greatest ever.   The lyrics are simply brilliant.

The song begins with descriptions of flames and fire and using ideas as maps.  The choral theme of the song is introduced at the end of the verse “Ah, but I was so much older then I’m younger than that now

In Jonathan’s back pages he could not reverse entropy and he was so much older when he passed than when we were young in high school and the last time I saw him face to face.  ALS is akin to entropy and chaos, with cells being eaten by a “Pac-Man” like thing that creates pure chaos in body function.   Steven Hawking, the man who best described entropy by saying “entropy increases in time because we measure time in the direction entropy increases” also suffers from the debilitating Pac-Man type ALS disease that has limited his mobility but has not constrained a brilliant mind.  Jonathan too had a brilliant mind.

Many a fool has for the past ten years wished to reverse entropy by latching on to “free money” for “free energy” from the green government and unsuspecting shareholders.  I have written of Condi Rice’s KIOR as one such example.   This week one of their board members resigned in disgrace.  Paul O’Connor the inventor of the alchemy that defied the second law of thermo wrote a resignation letter that castigated the company, and the company in turn wrote a response to the SEC that castigated Mr. O’Conner. The drama at KIOR is happening close to the final act when they go bust.  This is akin to the third verse of Bob’s song that is as follows: 
“Girls’ faces formed the forward path
From phony jealousy
To memorizing politics
Of ancient history
Flung down by corpse evangelists
Unthought of, though, somehow

When cavemen discovered fire and that wood burned, the same laws of thermodynamics prevailed over the reactions of yellow pine as they do today when KIOR flames out converting pine to diesel.
Jonathan warned me to be strong and not give up when it comes to the gangrene frauds out there.   The fifth verse of Back Pages is particularly emblazoned in my brain:
“In a soldier’s stance, I aimed my hand
At the mongrel dogs who teach
Fearing not that I’d become my enemy
In the instant that I preach
My pathway led by confusion boats
Mutiny from stern to bow

I told Jonathan that Al Gore is the leader of the pack of the mongrel dogs who teach sustainability.  Jonathan shared his thoughts about the President when he typed emails to me with his eyes on his special computer.  These thoughts were of a weak incompetent president who was not clueless but driven by a deep doctrine despising the fundamental ideas that the West and Israel embodied.   Jonathan pegged Obama spot on and would have had some mighty big comments of the ISIS speech in which the president looked “spooked”.  Jonathan would end his eye typed emails to me with the words “Am Israel Chai” = The People of Israel Live.   He knew he was going soon but that his legacy was a common legacy of seeking life over death, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and love over hate.

Jonathan told me to live up to the words of the final verse in back pages:
Yes, my guard stood hard when abstract threats
Too noble to neglect
Deceived me into thinking
I had something to protect
Good and bad, I define these terms
Quite clear, no doubt, somehow


I may sound vitriolic or acerbic sometimes but the second law of thermodynamics is inviolable and really does define good and bad.  It defines free energy and entropy.  Sadly for all of us it makes the chorus “Ah, but I was so much older then I’m younger than that now impossible.  Jonathan we were so much younger then, but even with age and increasing entropy and horrible Pac-Man type diseases we must chose a path of life and we must eradicate the cancers that wish death to the Jews, the West, and civilized people.  I do hope that Mr. Obama finally gets it, but hope is not a strategy, and entropy is not reversible as time marches on.  Jonathan I will try beat Pac-Man in a video game but that is only a virtual victory.  The real victory will come when all in the world chose life over death, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and obey the second law of thermodynamics.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Bloom Chickens Out To Debate Green Machine at CPUC HQ




I had received a link that the IEEE (institute of electrical engineers) was to sponsor a lunch meeting on September 17th at the California Public Utilities Commission HQ in San Francisco.  The guest speaker at the meeting is Asim Hussain Director of Product Marketing of Bloom Energy.    Mr. Hussain only makes rare appearances.


When I heard about the meeting, via email sent on June 29, I asked the CPUC and PG&E who were arranging the meeting for the IEEE at the CPUC HQ  for an invitation to attend, and for the opportunity to have a 15 minute slot for a complete rebuttal of Bloom’s greenwashing.  Of course the request was ignored until I was informed by the PG&E folks in an email they sent to me on September 2nd that the meeting will now be held at Bloom’s HQ not the CPUC HQ, and that essentially I was unwelcome to attend.  Here is the email from Kelly Dichoso who works for PG&E and is the IEE SF PES Vice Chair


Dichoso, Kelly F 

Sep 2 (5 days ago)
https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/images/cleardot.gif
https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/images/cleardot.gif
https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/images/cleardot.gif
to me, Sean
https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/images/cleardot.gif
Dear Mr. Leveen,

Thank you for your interest in attending the Bloom Energy Presentation.  As you are aware, the technical presentation will be held at Bloom Energy’s facility.   Unfortunately, Bloom is managing the registration for this event and due to your past history with the company, they have declined your invitation to attend.  Please contact Bloom directly with questions or concerns regarding attending the event at (408) 543-1500.

Regards,
Kelly Dichoso
IEEE SF PES Vice Chair

This proves Bloom chose to avoid a public forum for their presentation to a professional engineering organization as they were chicken to have the truth about the Bloom Boxes revealed.    Here is the revised IEEE announcement of the meeting.  The original announcement listed the CPUC HQ in San Francisco as the venue.


Note the Abstract states: “Bloom Energy is a provider of a revolutionary distributed power
generation offering based on a proprietary solid oxide fuel cell technology
that provides its customers with a clean, highly reliable and cost-effective
alternative to the traditional electric grid.”

My rebuttal would have shown that Bloom after massive government subsidy provides; dirty, unreliable, and massively expensive electrons when compared to the traditional grid.   I think it is highly disgraceful that PG&E, the CPUC, and the IEEE are in bed with Bloom and would not let a real debate of the actual performance of the Bloom Coffins take place in a public forum such as the CPUC HQ where the public including those who are knowledgeable of thermodynamics and truth can attend.   I have asked the CPUC, PG&E and the IEEE to arrange another meeting in which I can present fact not fiction. 

As an added note Asim Hussain is on tape with Katie Fehrenbacher of Gigaom where Mr. Hussain claims the boxes are greater than 60% efficient.  Thermodynamic truth and Mr. Hussein are distant relatives.



The actual efficiency in Delaware for August 2014 is 47.39% based on the higher heating value of the natural gas that DELMARVA Power supplies to the 30 megawatts of Bloom ES-5700 Coffins in that state.  The thermodynamic truth of the operation of the ES-5700 and Mr. Hussein are distant relatives separated by 13% and that is probably why the Green Machine is unwelcome at IEEE meeting on September 17th.   I would have gladly paid the $10 to attend as I am a non IEEE member.  I would not have eaten the Box Lunch as it may have been spiked with some of the hazardous materials present in the Bloom Box.  

The answer to the age old question of what made the chicken cross the road has now been definitively answered.  THE GREEN MACHINE MADE THE CHICKEN CROSS THE ROAD !!!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Environmental Injustice Gina McCarthy Style



I blogged about a man in Seattle that has driven his Nissan leaf over 100,000 miles and that the man was a jolly green giant.   Inside EVs reports a scorecard on sales of all full and partially electrified plug in vehicles.


For the eight months through August 2014 a total of 18,941 Nissan Leafs were sold and only 8,500 Tesla Model Ss were sold in the same period of time.   The Model S has actually sold less in 2014 than it did last year and this is not a good sign for a brand new model of car.   The BMW I3 outsold the Model S in August and other luxury brands like Mercedes are entering the market with an electric plug in offering.

I am no expert on the marketing of cars but the data are pointing to Tesla having a harder time selling their Model S in the USA.   Wall Street still loves Tesla’s story especially the giggle battery factory that is now slated to be built in Reno Nevada with $1.3 billion of giveaways from Harry Reid but never Right’s state.


Focusing on the longevity of the plug in cars, I do believe Tesla has an excellent battery management system and that the cars will probably have long life on the original battery pack.  That is not a real concern.   The problem simply is that it appeals to a niche market and the first cost of the vehicle will remain high as the cost of the battery pack even from a giggle factory will be stuck at $400 per kilowatt hour even before adding the cost of the battery management system.  All this talk of $150 per kilowatt hour batteries is simply talk.

Also all the talk of the US reducing it carbon emissions is talk and 2014 will see an increase in CO2 emissions over 2013 that saw an increase over 2012.  Gina McCarthy the administrator of the US EPA is trying to rally support of “people of color” that there is environmental injustice due to CO2 emissions.


This had me thinking that if I can prove a Bloom Box was installed close to a community with a majority of minority population I could get Gina to support the case against the world’s biggest greenwasher Bloom Energy.  I did find one such location in Santa Clara County where the Bloom Boxes are installed at the county jail in North San Jose and at the correctional facility in Elmwood.   Jails and correctional facilities are typically located in the poorer part of town.
The main Jail is located at 150 W Hedding Street San Jose and the Elmwood Correctional Facility is at 701 S Abel Milpitas.


Now I just have to drive the fifty miles to these facilities find a few impoverished folks living nearby who want environmental justice.  Then I can get Gina McCarthy to help me shut down the Bloom coffins that are belching out more carbon dioxide than the grid and busily adding hazardous sulfur to the desulfurization canisters that Bloom refuses to permit.   


The area around the Main Jail in San Jose is in such blight, that the US IRS gives new market tax credits for making investments in this location.  Yes Washington Gas has applied for new market tax credits for the Bloom coffins that will be installed at the county jail.   This is highlighted in the contract that the county executed with Washington Gas who purchased the coffins from Bloom.  Ms. McCarthy there should be a special category of environmental justice on CO2 pollution for those who live in extremely blighted areas that qualify for new market credits.   Washington gas will receive credits for the state (SGIP) and feds (ITC and new market credit) that pay for over 90% of the initial cost of the Bloom coffins.  Ms. McCarthy you need to give us justice!!!!