Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Years

In astrophysics we need a leap year every 4 years to get the calendar back in sync with time. Not that time really cares about our calendar but we care about time through our keeping of time with clocks and calendars. I personally don’t care much about time but care about entropy that increases with time as we chose to measure time in the direction that entropy increases. Talking about chaos we also have a 4 year cycle in our Presidential elections and each Presidential elections occurs in a leap year. I guess the founding fathers chose the year and the cycle because they took a leap of faith in our system of government. I have to say the 2012 Presidential election is no leap of faith, it is a choice between terrible and incredibly terrible.

My friends at Amyris are just about knocked out and they got the French oil company Total and a Sheik in Qatar to give them some life support and ventilation. Amyris had an idea to make diesel out of table sugar and of course Vinod Cost Us and John Show Us The Door the darlings of Sand Hill Road took that idea public. First Solar is seeing shadows as they post losses and write down their abandoned CIGS solar technology. The first company to bring us Cigarettes (CIGS) was none other than Solyndra, I guess the Department of Entropy can now have the Surgeon General place a warning on all the loan documents that CIGS are dangerous to your health.

All the BS alternate energy we heard from Stevie Not So Wonder has yielded little other than $4.45 a gallon gas that I filled up with yesterday here in Northern California. There is however a good use for real BS from the farm. This week I chatted with a guy in Oakland California who works at a small company that has been around for years that designs and builds anaerobic digestion systems for cow, pig, and poultry manure. The systems yield biogas with 60% methane content that can be used as fuel in electric generators with internal combustion engines. The small company RCM International did not get Obama’s money but has designed and built approximately half of the digesters on farms in the USA. Sadly the number of digesters on farms in the USA is small (about 200) when compared with Germany or Japan but the market will develop and RCM International has good engineers who do good work in turning waste to fuel.

Amyris and Vinod’s other greentech nonsense turn food to fuel but actually turn money to waste. Vinod’s other company Kior is a thermodynamic fake out and will report its losses in a few weeks. Perhaps the gem of Vinod’s portfolio that converts mahogany trees to saw dust is Calera. Several months back, I wrote a blog about their nonsense to yield cement in the ocean from the carbon emissions of power plants. Calera took in Peabody Coal and Bechtel as partners. They have all but given up. Dr. Constantz a professor at Stanford and the founder of Calera moved on and is now proposing a method to desalinate water in the deep blue sea. The only thing constant about all of the pie in the ocean ideas Constantz has is that it is like throwing money down the drain. Maybe RCM can find a way to digest the money lost to sewage and make some biogas. RCM stand for Real Cash Maker. Good job to the team at RCM.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Gasoline gone Wild

Forget girls going wild, the hot subject of the week is the spike in gasoline prices. The President had to defend his “energy policy” this week against a republican attack. Not that any of the fabulous four seeking the nomination for their party’s candidate for president has the slightest clue what to do. The President as predicted by the Green Machine invented fracking and took credit for the increase in domestic energy production. Even the Clinton News Network (CNN) has their ace reporter Anderson Mini Cooper working on the subject with two completely moronic experts on his show last night. These point and counterpoint experts were about as clueless as the previous five secretaries of energy as to what needs to be done.

The US has curtailed use of gasoline and this used to be a lever to lower crude oil prices, but with China and other developing countries needing more petroleum and with Iran simply wanting to cause trouble the President and his four challengers cannot change the fact that West Texas Intermediate is trading near $110 a barrel and mid-grade gasoline in my neighborhood is selling for $4.35 a gallon. I am doing my part to use less gasoline. I checked my odometer yesterday as I had last changed my oil on February 22, 2011 and it has been a year since that oil change and I will change the oil this coming week. My old C280 Mercedes uses 8.5 US Quarts of fully synthetic oil and an oil change with new filter costs about $100. Bloody expensive as they say in the old country!!! Well in the year and 2 days since my last oil change I only put 6,196 miles on the car. I patted myself on the back on how little I have driven over the last year. You all may say well Mr. Green Machine dives another car much more. Our second car is driven even less and in a year we put less than 6,000 miles on that vehicle. I have to thank Skype and my working out of my house for the small amount of driving we do. In the early 1990s I put 30,000 miles a year on my car and thought nothing of driving to my job 60 miles away from my home. My car then was a Datsun 280Z and I really think that car was the best vehicle I have ever owned. I simply loved that T Top Babe.

No doubt going forward folks will drive less and will buy more fuel efficient vehicles. Also no doubt barring some crazy mishap or completely stupid government policy the US and Canada will produce significant amounts of shale sourced hydrocarbons. Chevron just announced the beginning of their shale exploration and production in China. South Africa will likely lift their moratorium on shale exploration and production. But even with all this exploration and production activity prices of gasoline and diesel will head higher provided China does not have a hard landing. Germany has all but given up on paying high feed in tariff pricing for solar power. Germany generates 3% of the electricity with solar sources but spends over 15% of their total electricity costs for this minor source. To supply 3% of Germany’s electricity the country had to spend over $100 billion for the solar installations. The world is learning what the Green Machine has known for quite some time that alternate energy is expensive and that conservation is more of an immediate solution. Of course the candidates for President have to promote green jobs and economic expansion and no matter who wins in November we will have another four years of talk but little action. Of course there may be action if the wild ones were let loose. But Sir Isaac told us there will always be an “equal and opposite reaction”. Old Newt, Isaac that is, also described bodies at rest. That my friends is the solution. Stay at home, drive less and be a spud on the divan instead of being a stud in the sedan.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Energy Conversion Device

This week a company founded in 1960 that is in the business of energy conversion went into chapter 11 of bankruptcy. The company is called Energy Conversion Devices and they are in the business of making thin film laminates for solar power devices as well as cathode materials for lithium ion and nickel metal hydride batteries. Another US company that is a casualty of cheap Chinese competition. This company still trades for a quarter a share under the symbol of ENER on the NASDAQ. A few weeks back another US lithium ion battery company caller Ener1 went under. I guess it is just bad luck to use the symbols ENER for your stock. Actually it is simply a sad fact that these battery businesses are unprofitable and no matter how much money the policy makers in DC hand out, the basics of the business remain dismal.

Of course Tesla manages to keep their stock way up with promises of future sales of vehicles yet to be launched. They reported a loss this quarter of over $81 million, but have taken advance orders for their $80,000 crossover SUV. Our government gives money to the rich to hog the lithium that should be shared. Tesla is the shining star in this wonderful transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich via the US treasury. President Obama appeared in the San Francisco Bay Area to talk about manufacturing jobs. Yet most of the action was for fund raising for the upcoming presidential elections. Yeah jobs for the masses and political advertising money for the mass media. A wonderful expression of democracy where there is a chicken in every pot and Tesla in every garage.

Amyris the “advanced” biofuel “producer” also had a case of mighty hiccups this week. It certainly looks like their technology simply does not scale and cannot compete with fossil fuels. Their stock is now $6 a share and pretty close to the price of a gallon of diesel. The President had pinned his hopes on “advanced biofuels” and Vinod Cost Us with his VC buddies at Kleiner Perkins had the President believing in this junk science up to a few weeks ago. By November there won’t be even a mention of the “advanced” biofuels, lithium batteries, solar cells, or the myriad failures in the alternative energy space. The President will say “thanks” to Dick Chaney for allowing fracking of shale to have happened so he can win reelection on the wings of his clear policy that allowed shale gas and oil to help America wean itself off of imported oil. Yeah politics makes some very strange bed fellows. Obama is lucky that Cheney loved fracking of shale and that this single technology that Obama and Chu so despised two years ago yielded results while all the hyped high tech baloney just sucked the wells of money in our Capital dry.

Actually the good news over the past months is that Chu Chu has basically disappeared from sight and his department of entropy is not spending money like a run away train. Stevie Not So Wonder will be the fall guy in the fall and I doubt we will have four more years of the “real” Nobel Prize Winner. He heads the Energy Department and like an energy conversion device he too is headed toward Chapter 11 and thank goodness a closing chapter on a brilliant scientist who sold hope for his boss instead standing up to him and giving him sage advice.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Leveen Article on Fuel Cells From 8 years Ago

This was published in on December 30, 2003 when President Bush claimed we will have the "hydrogen economy". Amory Lovins the saint of green was espousing pure nonsense on fuel cells so I wrote this piece as a rebuttal to that joker from Harvard. Amazing how thermodynamics can really predict the future !! Here is the link to the article I wrote more than 8 years ago. The Japanese book cover is my book on hydrogen that was published in Japan in 2003


Monday, February 13, 2012

US Senate Outside Witness Testimony On Lithium Ion Batteries February 2010

Lindsay Leveen (as an individual)

Submitted To the Senate Subcommittee For Energy and Water Development
OWT on the Subject of plug in vehicles that require rechargeable lithium batteries.

An Essay on the Thermodynamics and Economics of Lithium Batteries

My name is Lindsay Leveen. I am a chemical engineer and my interest is to apply my scientific knowledge to alternate energy sources. My graduate work involved the study thermodynamics. Over the last 35 years my work has been in cryogenics, microelectronic device fabrication, nanotechnology development, fuel cell fabrication, and most recently biotechnology.

Purpose: The purpose of this essay is to provide the subcommittee with reasoning based on thermodynamics why lithium batteries will likely not lower in cost and therefore why plug in passenger vehicles will probably not make any significant dent in the consumption of gasoline and diesel. I wish to prevent the waste of precious resources on a technology that I believe is headed toward a dead end.

I have no commercial interest in any energy or battery technology and am writing this essay as a citizen simply to inform the Senate Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development of the severe thermodynamic limitations of Lithium Secondary Batteries and therefore the probable long term unaffordable economics associated with plug in passenger vehicles (cars and trucks) that will rely upon these batteries. Much of this report is taken from my presentations, reports, and publications or from my website .

Thermodynamics – definition: “the science concerned with the relations between heat and mechanical energy or work, and the conversion of one into the other: modern thermodynamics deals with the properties of systems for the description of which temperature is a necessary coordinate.” (

Moore’s Law and Learning Rates for Technologies: Gordon Moore one of the founders of Intel Corporation, postulated that semiconductor integrated circuits would enjoy a doubling in performance in a period of every 18 months. This rate of learning allows performance to be improved exponentially with time for the same original cost.
Many technologies that engineers and scientists develop need a “Moore’s Law” in order to improve their performance and correspondingly their economics to capture vast markets. Most efforts around the improvement of alternate energy technologies vis a vis competing with fossil fuels have not yielded these “Moore’s Law” rates of learning. In particular for the past decade as much as six billion dollars has been spent without any real success toward the “learning curve” of PEM fuel cells. Much of these six billion dollars was appropriated by the Federal Government. The learning curve for PEM fuel cells over the past decade yielded a yearly learning rate of less than 2%. By comparison the Moore’s Law yearly learning rate for integrated circuits has averaged over 40% for more than three decades.

My experience with Moore’s Law: For almost twenty years I directed teams of engineers that designed state of the art Integrated Circuit (IC) fabrication facilities that helped drive this rapid rate of learning and therefore cost improvement in computers and other electronic devices. A simple explanation for the high learning rates in IC fabrication is that the technology was neither constrained by thermodynamics nor reaction kinetics but simply by the line width of circuits within the ICs. To drive Moore’s law in IC fabrication improvements in lithography, higher purity gases for deposition, implantation, and etch, as well as the occasional increase in the size of wafer being fabricated were needed.

Moore’s Law, Thermodynamics and Lithium Batteries: To drive the learning rate in PEM fuel cells and similarly lithium secondary batteries thermodynamic and reaction kinetic constraints have to be overcome. The reason why thermodynamics places constraints is that the functioning of these systems depends on chemical reactions. Thermodynamics determines how much useful energy can be derived from a chemical reaction. But we know that the thermodynamic constraints cannot be overcome as the laws of thermodynamics cannot be challenged nor avoided. ICs do not undergo chemical reactions to function, but all batteries and fuel cells do involve chemical reactions to deliver energy. It is these chemical reactions that are limiting the possible learning rate.

The Resulting Economic Problem: Significant effort and much money is now being spent on advanced batteries for plug in full electric or plug in hybrid vehicles. Such vehicles will require between 10 kilowatt hours and 50 kilowatt hours of stored electricity if the range of the vehicle purely propelled on stored electricity is to be between 40 and 200 miles. Lithium chemistry based secondary (chargeable) batteries presently offer the best performance on a weight and volume basis and are therefore the primary technology that a “Moore’s law” is now hoped for to solve the world’s addiction to fossil oil. Present costs of such battery packs at the retail level range from $800 per kilowatt hour of storage to over $2,000 per kilowatt hour of storage. One can purchase a 48 volt 20 amp hour Ping Battery for an electric bicycle directly from this Chinese “manufacturer” for less than $800 delivered by UPS to any address in the USA. A123 offers a battery system that will modify a standard Prius to a 5 kilowatt hour plug in Prius for $11,000 or around $2,200 per kilowatt hour fully installed by a service station in San Francisco. The Ping battery delivers much less instantaneous power (watts) and that is the reason their batteries are less expensive on a stored energy basis (watt hours) than are the A 123 batteries. Both the Ping and the A123 batteries claim safety and claim to be manufactured with phosphate technology that will neither short circuit nor burn.

Economic Case Study The Example The Standard Prius vs Plug in Prius: The following is an economic analysis of a standard Prius versus a plug in Prius using A 123’s lithium battery pack;

The standard Prius will get 50 MPG and let’s assume that the driver drives 12,000 miles a year. The standard Prius driver will need to purchase 240 gallons a year of gasoline at an estimated cost of $720 per year with gasoline at selling for $3 per gallon. If the driver purchased the A 123 plug in system and can recharge the system at home and at work such that half the mileage driven in a year is on batteries and half is on gasoline the driver will save $360 a year on gasoline. The driver will need to buy some 2,000 kilowatt hours a year of electricity from the grid in order to save this gasoline. At 10 cents per kilowatt hour the driver will spend $200 a year for electric power and will therefore only enjoy $160 a year in net operating savings. The $11,000 set of batteries have a maximum expected life of 8 years and the owner must set aside $1,375 a year for battery replacement without accounting for the time value of money. The battery replacement cost is simply too expensive to justify the savings in gasoline. How high do gasoline costs have to rise and how little do batteries have to cost to make the plug in viable? Let’s assume gas prices reach $6 per gallon and electricity remains at 10 cents a kilowatt hours we have a yearly operating savings of $520. These savings will still be far short of the money needed for battery replacement.

The A 123 batteries will need to drop to 15% of their present cost to make the proposition of converting a Prius to a plug in “worthwhile”. To reach this cost target in a decade one needs a yearly learning rate of approximately 26%. With 35 years of work experience, I have concluded that in the best case of battery costs (no inflation in raw materials) a 4 or 5% yearly learning rate could be achieved over the next decade. But if we believe that gasoline will double then we also have to assume that plastics, copper, cobalt, nickel, graphite, etc. will also double in unit cost. As raw materials account for three quarters of the manufacturing cost of lithium batteries the inflation adjusted cost will grow at a higher yearly rate than the learning rate will lower costs. My prognostication is therefore that lithium secondary batteries will likely cost more per unit of energy stored in 2020 than they do today.

Toyota is a company well known for its cars with improved fuel economy and therefore is a master of thermodynamics and must have “optimized” the cost and performance of its batteries in the standard Prius deploying a relatively small battery pack and with the choice of Nickel Metal Hydride chemistry rather than lithium chemistry. While Toyota may be experiencing safety problems no one can fault this company on fuel efficiency. Other car companies such as Ford have also chosen Nickel Metal Hydride as their hybrid car battery platform. Fisker and GM are touting plug in hybrids with lithium batteries and are much more aggressive in their claims of cost improvement and their ability to drive “Moore’s Law” in their battery systems. My educated guess on all of this is that Toyota, Ford and the car manufacturers that stick with smaller nickel metal hydride battery systems and the traditional non plug in hybrid will sell tens of millions of such vehicles over the next decade. Renault, GM, Fisker, Tesla, and others who go for plug in hybrids or full electric vehicles will only sell a few tens of thousands of vehicles in the next decade. I simply believe we will not have “Moore’s Law” at play here but have a very fractional Moore’s Law that holds.

Argonne National Labs published an exhaustive review of the materials and associated costs of lithium batteries back in May of 2000. The total material cost for the cell was estimated at $1.28 and the total manufacturing cost of the cell including overhead and labor was estimated at $1.70. This Argonne report is perhaps the best report written on the economics associated with lithium battery fabrication. Actually had folks read this report back in 2000 they would have realized that the learning curve for lithium batteries would be painfully slow. Materials just make up far too much of a fraction of the battery cost and the quantity of materials is fixed by the chemistry. Therefore economies of scale could not drive a Moore’s Law type rate of learning and a very fractional Moore’s Law resulted. In the early years of lithium cell development from approximately 1990 to 2000, the improvements in chemistry and in economies of scale did allow the technology to enjoy a Moore’s Law type learning rate and it has been reported that costs of an 18650 cell reduced from $18 to $2 per cell in that decade. Unfortunately the technology has now hit an asymptote in their cost reduction curve.

Just by doing a Google search on an 18650 lithium ion battery I came across this link . This site lists a selling price of $5.29 each for 200 or more cells. The cells are 3.7 volts with 2.2 amp hours so they are capable of holding 8.1 watt hours of energy from full charge to discharge. Expressed in cost per kilowatt hour of nominal capacity these loose cells cost around $650. My guess is that if applied today’s costs of cobalt, nickel, lithium, lithium salts, plastics, copper, graphite, and other constituent materials that make up a cell, the material cost in November 2009 compared with May 2000 have increased by more than 150% and a current estimate of the materials used in the Argonne labs report will show cost of about $3 per cell versus $1.28 back in May 2000. Hence this company sells the cells for $5.29 each. From my previous analysis of the probable learning rate I would not surprised if in 2020 the selling price per 18650 lithium cell is as high as $6 rather than as low as $3.

Conclusion: Lithium batteries are and will remain best suited for items as small as a cell phone and as large as a bicycle. The cost relative to performance or these batteries will likely not improve by much in the coming decade. Although some standard hybrid vehicles may use lithium batteries with low capacity, plug in vehicles with larger than 10 mile range of travel on batteries will likely not proliferate. Given the likely scenario that plug in passenger cars and trucks based on lithium battery technology will not reduce US consumption of gasoline and diesel fuel in large measure, I am asking the subcommittee to limit the funds that the US government will appropriate for research and development of this technology.

Thank you

Lindsay Leveen

Saturday, February 11, 2012

PV versus Heat Pumps ---------- Read my Book ----

The news is full of how Solyndra failed and how China is winning the Photovoltaic (PV) war. The US installed approximately 1.8 million kilowatts of peak PV systems in 2011. The Germans installed 7.5 million kilowatts peak of PV systems in 2011. For the layperson a kilowatt is about the instantaneous power a hairdryer requires. Given the amount of sunshine, average generation in the US is approximately 2,000 kilowatt hours a year for each kilowatt peak of PV installed. Again for the layperson, as the sun only shines a certain number of hours in year and other daylight hours are cloudy, we do not get all the hours in a year (8,760 hours) multiplied by the 1 kilowatt. We only get a fraction of this total. Now we know we get 2,000 kilowatt hours of electricity in a year for each kilowatt of PV cell installed, we will correspondingly get 3.6 billion kilowatt hours each year going forward for the 1.8 million kilowatts of PV installed in the entire US during last year.

This sounds like a lot of power for the $9 billion that was spent to install those 1.8 million kilowatts of PV. Actually had we spent the $9 billion on another alternate many more kilowatt hours of fossil fuel power generation could have been saved and the $9 billion would have been better spent by saving average citizens money and correspondingly saving the planet a lot more carbon dioxide emissions. What is the alternate? Is it some unproven new high tech gizmo? Actually the device is simple and very well proven. The device is a heat pump hot water heater.

The US has approximately 20 million homes where the hot water heater is powered by an old fashioned electrical resistance heater. The old fashioned hot water heaters do convert more than 95% of the electrical energy into heat in the hot water. This seems to be highly efficient and a good use of the electricity? Well for each kilowatt of electricity used by the home owner for hot water heating only 0.95 kilowatt hours of heat was imparted into the water. A heat pump extracts heat from the ambient air, even in winter, and a single kilowatt hour of power used by the heat pumps compressor can impart as many as 3 to 5 kilowatt hours of heat into the water by conveying heat from the air into the water. The warmer the ambient temperature of the air the higher the advantage of energy imparted from the air to water. Think of the heat pump as the thermodynamic lever or a set of pulleys that gives you advantage. Just like a crowbar gives you added mechanical strength, the heat pump give you added heat over and above the simple electricity that is used by the system.

By coincidence the state of Florida has a significant portion of its homes that use electricity as the fuel for hot water heating. Florida has a warm climate and is perfect for year round heat pumping. I estimate that for each kilowatt hour of electricity used on average in a hot water heat pump in Florida (year round) approximately 3.8 kilowatt hours of heat will be imparted into the hot water. The average household used about 4,000 kilowatt hours a year of electricity to impart 3,800 kilowatt hours of heat into their hot water with the old fashioned resistance heater. The same household will only need to purchase 1,000 kilowatt hours a year of electricity with a heat pump hot water heater. Therefore, they will save 3,000 kilowatt hours of electricity purchases each year. The added first cost for the heat pump system versus a traditional electric resistance heater is about $1,200 as compressors are more expensive than resistance heaters. The cost of residential electric power in Florida is approximately 11 cents per kilowatt hour hence the yearly electricity savings will equal $330. The added initial cost for the heat pump system will be recovered in three and two thirds years (44 months).

Had we as a country spent the $9 billion on heat pumps we could have bought 7.5 million heat pumps versus the same number of traditional hot water heaters and saved 22.5 billion kilowatt hours of power each year in heating the hot water used in these 7.5 million homes. This savings is much more than the 3.6 billion kilowatt hours a year of electricity the $9 billion that was spent on PV systems will generate. The added 18.9 billion kilowatt hours of electricity (22.5 – 3.6 billion) have carbon dioxide emissions that are approximately 12.3 million tons a year. Hence by a misallocation of scarce capital in our economy we actually caused carbon dioxide emissions to increase by some 12.3 million tons and did not help the common householder to make a prudent investment that would have provided them a handsome return and a rapid payback. Approximately 50% or $4.5 billion of the $9 billion for PV installations was provided by the Federal and State government. Had our government simply directed their $4.5 billion gift to poorer households to install heat pump hot water heaters, 3.75 million households could have benefited from the program and 11.25 billion kilowatt hours of power could have been saved.
I ask why oh why do we place so much hope on PV when simpler and more immediate alternates yield far better results? Let the Chinese win the PV war. We can better spend the money they loan us and then let them take a hot bath on the write-down of the debt when we pull a Greece on them.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

A good week in America

Readers are pleading with me to give up on being blue and return to the optimistic color green. Hence this week’s blog is so positive that no electrons will fly. Coal mines are shutting in the US. We have so much excess coal as the winter has been warm and natural gas fired power generation is taking the place of coal fired units. Sad for coal miners and the railroads that ship coal but good for the lowering of carbon emissions and the reduction of acid gases and mercury emissions. More good news in that the Volt and the Leaf each managed a paltry sales in January of some 600 units and US consumers are now aware that it is far better to buy a Cruze or an Ultima than the plug in junk the department of entropy has handsomely funded. More good news is that Ener 1 went bust and only cost the US tax payer $118 million that Joe Biden handed them exactly a year ago.

The real good news is that employment went up and the unemployment rate went down. The stock market in the US is up significantly in the first month of 2012 and folks are talking about a soft landing in China. This is good news for the copper and nickel producers who have seen increases in the cost of these industrial metals. The world did not have a major oil spill in January and except for the Arab spring possibly becoming a nuclear winter only a small fraction of humanity managed to kill each other in January. Of course there were many more births than deaths and the global population again grew in January 2012. The GOP primaries and the almost daily debates moved from South Carolina to Florida and what a difference a week makes. Of course 15 million dollars of negative advertising also sways the voters.

Super Bowl is tomorrow and I have no skin in the game as I do not really care for two northeastern cities 3,000 miles away. The pig does have skin in the game and in fact the pig was so committed to American Football it gave up its life. I may just recline in my chair, eat some potato chips and dip and watch Madonna prove that 50 is the new 20. The field goal kicker knows that a fifty yarder is much harder than a twenty yarder and may explain this to Madonna in the three hour after game special that will analyze each blade of Fieldturf in the Indianapolis Lucas Oil Stadium. Fieldturf is made from polyethylene blend fibers woven into a polypropylene backing. Perhaps one of the super bowl ads will be sponsored by BP and will state that BP brings oil to American shores and plastics to football fields. Actually I love the ads and I am sure there will be some really clever and memorable ones this year. Lucas Oil is the new STP for your engine. STP to Engineers means Standard Temperature and Pressure. STP claims to make your engine run cleaner and more efficiently. Actually these engine additives do have some scientific merit and do keep engines running cleaner. Maybe Madonna takes some STP to keep her looking and moving like she is in her twenties. In her case I hope STP stands for Super Tantalizing Performance and not So Terrible and Pathetic.