Saturday, July 30, 2011


The debt ceiling and budget impasse in the Nation’s Capitol continues. The carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are rising and Wall Street is dropping. The share prices of Kior, Amyris and Solazyme are still way to high relative to their thermodynamic value but this week took the wind out of these bio fools’ stock.

I needed a new TV and Best Buy has a large collection of TVs so off I went to the big box store to find a TV. The Green Machine knew he needed to buy a LED side lit LCD TV as I have been writing for at least a decade that LED is the greenest way to emit light. I found a house brand LED LCD 1080 p 40 inch TV with 4 HDMI inputs and one PC input for $499. I bought this made in China TV. The TV only uses 0.7 watts in standby mode and uses 130 watts for full surround sound audio and high definition video. This is an amazing power efficiency for such a large TV. I once wrote that by recycling the aluminum in a single coke can about 270 watt hours of electric energy can be saved. Hence as I am a religious recycler I can claim to watch two hours of TV without carbon emissions for every coke can that I recycle. I can drink a six pack and watch 12 hours of TV and feel as innocent and carbon free as Al Gore who buys carbon credits for his personal jet travel.

Aluminum cans weigh about 15 grams and require 300 watt hours of energy to yield them from mined Bauxite. The AONE lithium ion battery that our department of entropy has so highly touted with over $500 million of loan guarantees has a paltry energy storage density of some 100 watt hours per kg. Recycling aluminum saves 90% of the energy needed to yield the can so I can honestly say that by recycling a kilogram aluminum I can save the planet about 18,000 watt hours of electric energy. I will need 180 kg of lithium ion batteries just to store this quantity of electricity. I know a prof at Purdue University who is making batteries out of recycled aluminum. A noble undertaking but the sad truth is that electric power is not the high value use of the waste aluminum, simply recycling the aluminum for reuse is the valuable use. In California, I can get a $1.50 per pound of recycled cans or about $3 per kg. I buy power at 12 cents per kilowatt hour and if I recover 90% of the energy in a kg of trashed aluminum I will only save $2 of electricity. It is a lot easier and more profitable to simply recycle the aluminum. All the states should impose a recycle deposit on aluminum as California has done.

This week the US reported anemic economic growth. Iron treats anemia not aluminum. I suggest that the US treasury eat red meat cooked in an iron skillet to help accelerate economic growth. The skillet can be made from pig iron with all the pork going on in the Nation’s Capitol. The apex of the Washington Monument is made from Aluminum. Back in the 1800s aluminum was more valuable than gold and the leaders of that time spent a boat load of money for the aluminum apex. They could have saved money using a gold apex at the time. Of course had they placed a gold apex on the monument it would now be worth a bunch and the aluminum apex that they did place is almost worthless. Just goes to show how dumb politicians in DC have always been with the nation’s money.

P.S. the symbol for aluminum is Al and Mr. Gore did not invent it!