I wrote this article for breitbart.com and am now posting to my site.
For the past decade the world has been inundated with governments and private industry marketing the need to be green to avoid or reduce carbon emissions. What has not been explained to the lay person or the tax payer is the implicit carbon taxation that is levied by the switch from traditional to “green” alternates.
This article exposes the carbon emissions reduction taxation that has been levied on adopters of the so-called “green” alternatives, and shows that the level of taxation is, theoretically, many times the real market value of the carbon emissions. In one case, the level of taxation is actually infinite.
In July 2012, the Energy Information Agency at the Department of Energy (EIA)provided levelized power generation costsby various methods of power generation. The least costly method is to generate power using natural gas as the fuel in an advanced combined cycle power station. Siemens sells such stations and claims that their state-of-the-art station will emit only 730 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour of power generated. The EIA lists the levelized cost of power generation from such a power station as $63.10 per megawatt hour.
Wind energy was also analyzed by the EIA and its levelized cost was estimated at $96 per megawatt hour. This is $32.90 additional cost per megawatt hour above the advanced combined cycle station but wind energy saves the 730 pounds of CO2 emissions per megawatt hour. Dividing the added cost by the saved emissions and converting pounds to short tons we get an added cost, or an implied emissions tax, of $90.13 per short ton of avoided carbon dioxide to generate power using the wind as the source of energy.
This implied emissions reduction tax should be compared to the value of one short ton of CO2 emissions traded in the European cap-and-trade system. The value for carbon emissions on November 27, 2012 as listed byBloombergis only $8 per short ton (6.77 Euros per metric ton). Clearly the imputed emissions reduction tax for purchasing wind energy is more than ten times higher than the market value of the saved emissions. But wind is actually the most affordable alternate method for power generation.
The same EIA report lists the levelized cost of power generation using solar PV as $152.70 per megawatt hour or some $89.60 per megawatt hour greater than the cost from advanced combined cycle power stations. Performing the same arithmetic the imputed emissions reduction tax for PV is $245.48 per short ton of CO2 or 30.6 times the market value.
Hold onto your hats--the solar thermal project theDOE funded with $1.5 billion of your tax dollars in Ivanpah, Californiahas a levelized cost of $242 per megawatt hour or some $178.90 per megawatt hour greater than the cost from advanced combined cycle power stations. Performing the same arithmetic, the imputed emissions reduction tax for solar thermal is $490.13 per short ton of CO2 or 61.2 times the market value.
By now you are mad that the DOE has wasted money on expensive methods to reduce carbon emissions. It gets worse! The Federal government and California state government hand out money to motorists to buy plug in cars. Greenexplored has shown that the imputed taxto society of using electric power generated from natural gas in a Volt Plug-In compared with simply using the natural gas in a CNG Honda Civic costs society $2,675 per avoided short ton of CO2 emissions. This is 334.4 times the market value.
By now you are fuming mad with our misguided energy policy! It still gets far worse. Actually, it gets infinitely worse. The Bloom Box that Al Gore and Colin Powell are involved with generates power for over $200 per megawatt hour. It, too, uses natural gas. Its stated emissions based on thepermit filing in Delawareare 884 pounds of CO2 per megawatt hour. This device therefore generates more expensive power with greater carbon dioxide emissions than the advanced combined cycle power station using the very same natural gas fuel. Greater emission at higher cost means the imputed emissions reduction tax would be infinite.
The Federal government gives a 30% investment tax credit to owners of the Bloom Box and California gives away an additional 15% tax credit. Perhaps Colin Powell, who sits on the Board of Directors of Bloom Energy can explain away these weapons of mass combustion? Or perhaps Al Gore, who is a partner in Kleiner Perkins, the major investor in Bloom Energy will simply say he invented new math to show the Box is green after all.
I blogged that Ivanpah is Solyndra times three in terms of
wasted money by the Department Of Energy.$1.5 billion given for a hair-brain scheme to produce steam form
concentrated solar and then generate electricity from the steam.Here
is my blog on Breitbart about Ivanpah.
My estimate of the cost of power generation from the Ivanpah
project with profits to all involved in the development of the project is $250
per megawatt hour of electricity generated. This estimate agrees with the DOE’s EIA own
estimate of average and leveled costs for power from concentrated solar
projects starting up in 2017 which they pegged at $242 per mwh.
The same EIA report pegged advanced combined cycle power
generation from natural gas to cost $63.10 per megawatt hour.Per Siemens the emissions from an advanced
combined cycle power station are approximately 730 pounds of CO2 per megawatt
hour.Hence the imputed added cost (tax)
to the American public is $178.90 ($242 -$63.10) divided by 730 pounds and
equal to 24.51 cents per pound.This
equals a tax of $490.13 per US ton of CO2.This is lower than the imputed
tax of $2,675 per ton of avoided CO2 levied by the plug in Volt automobile.This
is a hidden tax in utility bills for the
customers of Southern California Edison and is also many times the level of
emissions taxation in Europe where carbon credits are now trading for a mere $8
per US ton of CO2.
Well done Secretary Chu you supported a smoke and mirrors project
in the Mojave Dessert that taxes us at a rate of 6,126% times that of those
Tom an avid reader of the Green Machine sent me an email and asked why not use natural gas to generate electricity and then use the electricity to power a plug in car like the Tesla. Well I would never allow anyone to use good electricity to fuel a Tesla but I will do the analysis of using grid electric power generated from natural gas to propel a Chev Volt versus a CNG powered Honda Civic.
The CNG Civic can be bought for $26,305 and averages 33 MPG between city and highway driving. The Volt can travel a maximum of 40 miles on batteries and uses 0.4 kwh (DC) per mile. To help the Volt let’s assume the power station is a combined cycle power station with 57% efficiency (AC) and that 10% of the AC power is lost getting the AC power to the plug in the motorist’s home. Another 8% is lost getting the AC power as DC power in the battery. This means 0.48 kwh of AC power must be generated at the power station for each mile the Volt travels. 2,873 BTUs (LHV) of natural gas are needed to generate this amount of power for one mile of travel in the Volt. The Civic needs 3,485 BTUs per mile of travel and the compression of the CNG grosses this up by 5% to require 3,668 BTUs of natural gas from the utility per mile traveled in the Civic.
Clearly the plug in Volt uses less natural gas than the CNG civic to travel a mile (2,873 versus 3,668 BTUs). Now let’s see how much CO2 is saved per mile by driving the Volt versus the CNG Civic. The math is tedious but I calculate the saving to be approximately 0.1 pounds of CO2 per mile. The Volt costs $39,145. Let’s ignore taxes and grants and simply compare the cost to society of the Volt versus the CNG Civic. The added first cost is $12,840. Let’s also assume that the cost of purchased electricity per mile is the same as the cost of purchased compressed gas and that the motorist spends a similar amount for an electric charger as they would for a gas compressor. This is the case if purchased electricity is 10 cents per kilowatt hour and natural gas is purchased at $1.20 per therm higher heating value. The chargers and compressors each cost about $2,000.
If we amortize the added first cost over 8 years and assume the motorist drives 12,000 miles a year, we have an added cost of per year of $1,605 to save 1,200 pounds of CO2. This is a cost of $2,675 per US ton of CO2 emissions avoided. In Europe a US ton of CO2 trades for about $8 and in California the recent Cap and Trade auction yielded approximately $12 per US ton. Australia has a carbon tax of approximately $20 per US ton.
By this example it is simply far too high a collective carbon tax to convert natural gas to electricity and use this electricity as a vehicle fuel when a simple CNG vehicle is the far more economic alternate. The government grants given to buy a Volt or other electric cars should rather be given to folks to buy a CNG car.
Over the past six months, I have read dozens of articles
that address how natural gas may play a role as a transportation fuel.
The simplest way to use natural gas in a vehicle is to
compress the gas to a high pressure (CNG) and use it as a direct substitute for
gasoline in a spark ignited internal combustion engine.This is probably the best alternate as only 3
to 5% of the energy in the gas is wasted in compression of the gas and 95 to
97% of the fuel’s heating value remains for use as an alternate to
gasoline.Of course the vehicle will
have a heavier fuel tank resembling a welding cylinder and will lose some of
its trunk space, but even with this disadvantage at least 95% of the fuel value
remains intact for usage as a fuel aboard the vehicle.Also as methane has a ratio of four atoms of
hydrogen to one atom of carbon it is a lower carbon fuel than gasoline and when
burned to yield the same amount of energy methane will emit at least 20% less
CO2 emissions per mile traveled than will gasoline.
The second simplest method to use natural gas as a
transportation fuel is to liquefy the gas (LNG) and store the gas as a
cryogenic liquid aboard the vehicle at a very low temperature.Approximately 10% of the energy content of
the natural gas is used in the liquefaction process.The advantage of LNG over CNG is that the fuel
tank takes up less volume or more gas can be stored in the same volume on board
the vehicle to increase the vehicle’s range.The cost to make LNG is also much higher than to make CNG and the LNG
alternate in my opinion is less preferable than CNG but both alternates still
are what I call “green” options as they lower carbon emissions.
The third alternate is to convert the natural gas into
gasoline in a gas to liquids (GTL) process.Approximately half of the energy content of the natural gas is lost in
the GTL process and also the resulting gasoline like fuel is higher in carbon
content than methane.Hence the desired
goal of lowered carbon emissions simply does not result in this option.The only driver for this option is that the
liquid fuel in GTL can be directly substituted for oil derived gasoline and
there is no storage disadvantage.But
this scenario basically defeats any purpose of emissions reduction and simply
wastes half the energy in the natural gas.While there may be economic merit in GTL projects given the arbitrage in
the value of liquid fuels over natural gas, there is no thermodynamic merit at
all in GTL.In fact there is major
thermodynamic and hence ecologic disadvantage.
The fourth alternate is to convert the natural gas to
hydrogen and then compress or liquefy hydrogen as a transportation fuel.This is kind of dumb as hydrogen gas is 1/8
as dense as natural gas andonly has 2.5
times the heating value per pound.Hence
compressing hydrogen means only 1/3 the fuel can be carried aboard the vehicle
compared with natural gas.In addition
one quarter of the energy in the natural gas is lost in its conversion to
hydrogen.Liquid hydrogen is also approximately
1/8 as dense as LNG so it too makes no sense.Also liquid hydrogen needs about ¼ the energy in the gas for the
compression energy to liquefy this extremely low boiling point gas.
The fifth alternate being proposed is to convert the natural
gas to hydrogen and then combine hydrogen with nitrogen to produce anhydrous ammonia as a liquid fuel.This has all the losses of producing hydrogen
plus the energy to compress hydrogen and nitrogen to synthesize ammonia.On top of that the resulting fuel is only
3/17 by mass hydrogen and the remainder is nitrogen that adds no fuel value to
the equation.Besides ammonia is a toxic and dangerous gas
and the idea of using ammonia as a transportation fuel is almost a Rube
The sixth idea is to reform (react) natural gas with steam
and produce hydrogen and carbon monoxide.These gases are then fed to living organisms in bio reactors that
convert the gases into liquid fuels.Of
course this is a very expensive method of producing liquid fuels and probably
the companies that are trying this will die of carbon monoxide poisoning.I actually prefer the ammonia idea to this
almost idiotic idea.
The final alternate is my own invention of the dual fuel
vehicle with natural gas converted to methanol and then using a small quantity
of methanol to augment a gasoline fired engine.My dual fuel idea has the most thermodynamic merit as the dual fuel
vehicle will attain diesel type MPGs while using gasoline and disassociated
methanol as the combined fuel in a high compression, lean burning, and
non-throttled engine.When the added
fuel efficiency of the dual fuel engine is credited against the energy lost to
synthesize the methanol, the overall energy balance actually results in more
energy saved than energy used in the natural gas to produce the methanol.This is basically because the engine should enjoy
at least a 10% improvement in MPG while using methanol for perhaps only 5% of
its fuel needs.
Of course I wish the dual fuel approach will be widely
adopted but failing that, I suggest we simply compress the natural gas and have
many more CNG vehicles on the road.Presently,
the US and Bolivia have approximately the same number of CNG vehicles in their
respective fleets.The US must increase
its natural gas use in vehicles by a hundred fold (two orders of magnitude) in
the next ten to fifteen years. Natural
gas is a great fuel and we are blessed with significant quantities. Let’s just use it wisely.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers. I love Thanksgiving as it is truly all American. This blog will be short and will analyze the leftover turkey parts that are thrown out about a week after the fourth Thursday in the month of November.
This from the Los Angeles Times
By Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times
November 20, 2012
Americans will buy 581 million pounds of turkey meat for Thanksgiving this year but will trash more than a third of it, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Some 204 million pounds of meat will end up in the garbage after the holiday feast, according to an NRDC blog post.
The waste is especially appalling given that the resources required — including feed, water and transportation — to produce each pound of turkey are equivalent to fuel enough to drive a car 11 miles and take a 130-minute shower.
Overall, that equates to greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 800,000 car trips from New York to San Francisco and enough water to supply New York City for more than 100 days.
Over the full year, Americans chuck out $165 billion in uneaten food, according to the NRDC.
And turkey prices are not getting any cheaper. They are up 7% from a year ago, pushed by the severe summer drought, according to a report on food site Allrecipes.com.
Consumers are now trying to find work-arounds, with two-thirds saying they will buy Thanksgiving ingredients on sale, according to Allrecipes. Nearly half plan to use a coupon or shop around at multiple outlets.
Some consumers, though, are going in the opposite direction — they're planning to go for premium options such as heritage turkeys. These birds are more similar to the wild turkeys eaten during the original Thanksgiving festivities than today's domestic, farm-raised varieties, according to the National Wild Turkey Federation.
Wild turkeys can run up to 25 mph, compared with the 23.35 mph averaged by Jamaican sprinterUsain Bolt, widely considered to be the fastest human alive. The fowl rarely exceed 24 pounds, while bred turkeys can surpass 40 pounds. Their gobbles can be heard up to a mile away.
OK 204 million pounds of wasted turkey. Let’s assume 30% is bone and 15% is moisture we have 112.2 million pounds of wasted protein and fat. For the sake of analysis let’s assume the protein and fat averages 6 food calories per gram. Doing the tedious math of converting grams to pounds and food calories to BTUS we get that 1.205 million million BTUs of food (chemical) energy winds up in the trash. A gallon of gasoline has 115,000 BTUs. Therefore the discarded turkey after thanksgiving had the chemical energy equal to 10.5 million gallons of gasoline. Assuming 100 million households bought turkeys this means each household wasted one tenth of a gallon of gasoline worth of chemical energy by not eating the remaining turkey. After a week of eating turkey leftovers I am sure there are some among us who would prefer to drink 12.8 fluid ounces of gasoline rather than swallowing another bite of turkey.
After writing about Kior, I am reminded of the Dr. Seuss
book the Lorax. In the Lorax the Once-ler was a greedy
industrialist who felled all the Trufulla Trees to knit Thneeds his comical yet
versatile yarn for socks, shirts, hats and even carpets.
Of course after all the Trufulla Trees are felled, the
Once-ler’s enterprise fails and the Once-ler lives as a recluse in the Street
of the Lifted Lorax. A young boy visits
the Once-ler and pays the Once-ler 15 cents, a nail, and the shell of a
grandfather snail to explain why the area is so run down and dilapidated.
Well Folks we now have the sequel to the Lorax and this book
is The Morax. Remember children M comes
after L in the alphabet. In Latin Morax
means “that delays’ or “that stops”. In
demonology The Morax is a daemon that is the President of Hell.
In the Morax we do not have the Once-ler. We have the Mega-lors who live on the Crooked
Sand Hill Road. They are the megalomaniacal
VCs who have screwed us over and over with their UnTrufulla yarns of making biofuels
from trees, grass, straw, and even seaweed.
The definition of the Mega-lors
is a psycho-pathological condition characterized by delusional fantasies of
renewable power, relevance, or omnipotence.
Unlike the child who spent only 15 cents , a nail, and the
shell of a grandfather snail to hear the story, we paid tens of billions of dollars
to live through this thermodynamic fake out. The timber barons in Northern California
tried to ban the Lorax in public schools.
I got a feeling the Morax will be banned in Silicon Valley.
The sequel to the Morax is not the Norax but is the
Moraxella. Moraxella are rod shaped
pathogens that cause infections in humans.
We simply have nothing to look forward to.
I have blogged
several times that KIOR an alternate green fuels company is bound to fail
based on my chemical engineering analysis of their technology.The New York Times and their long time energy
reporter Mr. Mathew Wald caused a market disruption in the trades of KIOR stock
on the NASDAQ on Wednesday November 14th.The stock closed at $6.42 on Tuesday,
November 13.Just 30 minutes into
trading, by 9.59 am on the 14th the stock was up by $1.40 a share
and trading at $7.82.The volume of
shares traded was heavy.The reason for
the uptick was an article written by Matthew Wald in the New York Time both in
print and online that was titled Fuel
From Waste, Posed at a Milestone.
I quote the following from that NY Times article:
“So far, such
alternative fuels have not moved beyond small pilot plants, despite federal
incentives to encourage companies to develop them.
But that could be about to change.
Officials at two
companies that have built multimillion-dollar factories say they are very close
to beginning large-scale, commercial production of these so-called cellulosicbiofuels,
and others are predicting success in the months to come.
Miss.,KiOR has spent more than $200 million on a
plant that is supposed to mix shredded wood waste with a patented catalyst,
powdered to talcumlike consistency. Its process does in a few seconds what
takes nature millions of years: removes the oxygen from the biomass and
converts the other main ingredients, hydrogen and carbon, into molecules that
can then be processed intogasolineand diesel fuel.
KiOR aims to turn out 13 million gallons of fuel a year and
has already lined up three companies to buy its output, includingFedExand
a joint venture of Weyerhauser andChevron. KiOR said on Thursday that it had begun
producing what it called “renewable crude” and intended to refine that into
gasoline and diesel that it would begin shipping by the end of the month.”
By close of trading on November 14 KIOR was all the way back
down to $6.50 a share when investors realized that the New York Times article
was simply a glowing attempt by the darling of the main stream media to portray
KIOR in the best possible light and that the article simply was a rehash of
company news releases and had no real news worthiness.KIOR stock
closed the week on Friday November 16 at $6.19.
What is even more disturbing is that Matthew Wald blogged
for the New York Times on November 8 in an article titled Turning
Wood Chips into Gasoline.I quote
from this article:
“Yet even when solar and wind power work well, they mostly serve
as a substitute for natural gas, which is quite cheap at the moment. Renewable
substitutes for natural gas do not replace imports from unstable places like
the Persian Gulf, as the biofuel would.
But details on any challenges faced by the $200 million plant were
not forthcoming. Fred Cannon, the company’s president and chief executive, said
KiOR had “experienced normal start-up issues” but that they did not involve its
One has to believe that Mathew Wald had a change of heart
about Kior’s prospects in the five days between the 8th and 13th
of November.He went from “details on any challenges faced
by the $200 million plant were not forthcoming” to “but that could be about to
The New York Times must take responsibility for their reporter Mr. Wald and
for both articles they published.The second
article caused some to win and some to lose their money on KIOR in trading of
the stock on November 14th.
In other “green news” the President and AG Holder will claim
success that BP admitted
to a felony and settled with the US justice department for $4.5 billion
dollars as fines for their pollution of the Gulf of Mexico.What
will not be reported in the Main Stream Media is that BP gave up on their advanced
cellulosic ethanol project in Florida and that the advanced biofuel
industry is another thermodynamic non-starter.
For the record Condi Rice, the ex Secretary of State, is on
the board of directors of Kior.
This is enough to make even the folks in the green party sick. The following is an exclusive report from Reuters today.
Nov 16 (Reuters) - The Obama administration provided struggling battery maker A123 Systems Inc with nearly $1 million on the day it filed forbankruptcy, the company told lawmakers investigating its government grant.
The company, which makes lithium ion batteries for electric cars, filed for Chapter 11bankruptcyprotection last month after a rescue deal with Chineseauto partssupplier Wanxiang Group fell apart.
That same day, Oct. 16, A123 received a $946,830 payment as part of its $249 million clean energy grant from the Energy Department, the company said in a letter obtained by Reuters to Republican Senators John Thune and Chuck Grassley. (Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)