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Author Topic: The next steps in energy and transportation should be...???  (Read 3011 times)
WarHorse
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« Topic Start: May 28, 2007, 10:47:14 am »

I fear that going to biofuels will not only jack the price of corn up, it will also encourage the use of more GM corn (which is already an issue).  AND this still means using internal-combustion engines, which are so out-dated it isn't funny.  Half the energy those thing produce is wasted in the compression phase, and much more as heat. Roll Eyes

The first fuel cell was developed in 1839; they were in common use by NASA in the 1960's - and no one grabbed on to that because what?  Lack of vision?  I dunno.  It's frustrating.

Hydrogen can be produced with solar, wind, and other passive power sources pretty much anywhere, sold for less than the equivalent cost of gasoline, and then get far better mileage without wasting the power potential of the fuel AND producing far less pollution.  (Including noise pollution - can you imagine how quiet a fuel-cell tractor-trailer would be?  And running a fuel cell over-night just for heat or A/C would be so much nicer than running a 400 hp diesel for the same reason.)

Yes, there are still technical and safety hurdles, but not for long.  Big oil is already investing in hydrogen as fuel.

So once we have that out of the way, and large fuel cell power plants, we can ethically go to the next step: MagLevs.

I want to scream at the companies researching and producing these - their lack of imagination is astounding.  They are all building the same thing that has been around since the first steam locomotive!


Screw that!  Make that sucker fifteen meters wide and eight meters tall! Cheesy  We aren't stuck at making everything two horses' asses wide anymore.  Make the inter/transcontinental trains into moving malls - parking included, so you don't have to rent a car at your destination.  Include suites, restaurants, libraries, sleeping tubes for the economy-class - the possibilities are just about endless.

And "overnight" package delivery would no longer require an airplane, with it's accompanying fossil-fuel use and pollutions.

Smaller, more "conventional" versions would still operate locally and regionally.

So it costs half a trillion dollars.  Put the Mission to Mars off a year or two.

Better yet, I'll write a check. Wink  But it's doable, and would create lots and lots of work all over the country for a good - and long-lasting - cause.
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sailor_tech
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« Reply #1: May 28, 2007, 02:10:46 pm »

I fear that going to biofuels will not only jack the price of corn up, it will also encourage the use of more GM corn (which is already an issue).  AND this still means using internal-combustion engines, which are so out-dated it isn't funny.  Half the energy those thing produce is wasted in the compression phase, and much more as heat. Roll Eyes

The first fuel cell was developed in 1839; they were in common use by NASA in the 1960's - and no one grabbed on to that because what?  Lack of vision?  I dunno.  It's frustrating.

Hydrogen can be produced with solar, wind, and other passive power sources pretty much anywhere, sold for less than the equivalent cost of gasoline, and then get far better mileage without wasting the power potential of the fuel AND producing far less pollution.  (Including noise pollution - can you imagine how quiet a fuel-cell tractor-trailer would be?  And running a fuel cell over-night just for heat or A/C would be so much nicer than running a 400 hp diesel for the same reason.)

Yes, there are still technical and safety hurdles, but not for long.  Big oil is already investing in hydrogen as fuel.

So once we have that out of the way, and large fuel cell power plants, we can ethically go to the next step: MagLevs.

I want to scream at the companies researching and producing these - their lack of imagination is astounding.  They are all building the same thing that has been around since the first steam locomotive!


Screw that!  Make that sucker fifteen meters wide and eight meters tall! Cheesy  We aren't stuck at making everything two horses' asses wide anymore.  Make the inter/transcontinental trains into moving malls - parking included, so you don't have to rent a car at your destination.  Include suites, restaurants, libraries, sleeping tubes for the economy-class - the possibilities are just about endless.

And "overnight" package delivery would no longer require an airplane, with it's accompanying fossil-fuel use and pollutions.

Smaller, more "conventional" versions would still operate locally and regionally.

So it costs half a trillion dollars.  Put the Mission to Mars off a year or two.

Better yet, I'll write a check. Wink  But it's doable, and would create lots and lots of work all over the country for a good - and long-lasting - cause.


Infrastructure, price stability are two of the big issues. 

You have to have the gas stations availiable to fuel hydrogen car while you have to have the hydrogen cars to warrent having gas stations.  That's why natural gas started with fleet cars and trucks. A company could build it's own gas station for vehicles that came back to the lot every day.  Expect to see it done in dense urban & suburban areas first for fleets followed by letting the general public use the fleet facilities.

You also have to have price stabilty. Gasoline has to remain expensive for a number of years before people will consider getting rid of existing vehicles and buying the new hydrogen ones.  These people also have to think that they will be able to fill up anywhere, or that they are not going to travel with the vehicle.
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WarHorse
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« Reply #2: May 28, 2007, 02:37:34 pm »

Infrastructure, price stability are two of the big issues. 

Granted - it is touched upon in the article I linked concerning big oil investing in hydrogen fuel.  If you can fill up at any BP, Exxon or Conoco station, you're fairly well covered.

I don't imagine gas prices dropping before the demand does - which could be somewhat entertaining.  Gas prices fall, so people start going back to gas cars, raising the price of gas, etc. and so on.
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« Reply #3: May 28, 2007, 03:53:40 pm »

Granted - it is touched upon in the article I linked concerning big oil investing in hydrogen fuel.  If you can fill up at any BP, Exxon or Conoco station, you're fairly well covered.

I don't imagine gas prices dropping before the demand does - which could be somewhat entertaining.  Gas prices fall, so people start going back to gas cars, raising the price of gas, etc. and so on.

Lets see, in the past 12 months gas prices in my area have gone $1.99 to $3.10 a gallon. That's a lot of price flucuation.  Prices will have to stay both high (say about $2.70) and stay there a long time (a couple of years).  Yeah, when gas prices are high those people who are buying a new car buy ones with better gas milage. If they wait 4 or 5 months when prices are back down, they buy the SUV. 

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sefiru
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« Reply #4: May 29, 2007, 03:24:15 am »


Screw that!  Make that sucker fifteen meters wide and eight meters tall! Cheesy  We aren't stuck at making everything two horses' asses wide anymore.  Make the inter/transcontinental trains into moving malls - parking included, so you don't have to rent a car at your destination.  Include suites, restaurants, libraries, sleeping tubes for the economy-class - the possibilities are just about endless.


I'd go in the other direction ... instead of subway trains, have little pods like ski lift gondolas. Hop in, press the button for the station you want to go, and whee .....

re maglev: actively using energy to lift up a vehicle strikes me as inefficient. The Linear Induction Motor (LIM) on a wheeled vehicle seems like the way to go; the acceleration either direction would still be magnetic, so no need to worry about traction, icy rails etc, but the train would be held up by plain ol' wheels. (low-friction bearings would help there ...) Imagine having to move a vehicle that, for whatever reason, had suffered a power loss. I'd want one that rolled at least a little. Granted, laying a smooth track for high-speed operation would be diffficult, but this applies to maglev as well (optimal LIM operation needs precise separation, a matter of cm or mm, between the magnets and reaction rail).

I have also heard, but do not have references, that an exposed maglev train has difficulties with high winds: they essentially pick the train up and mess with the rather delicate spacing of the magnetic components.
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WarHorse
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« Reply #5: May 29, 2007, 06:56:46 am »

I'd go in the other direction ... instead of subway trains, have little pods like ski lift gondolas. Hop in, press the button for the station you want to go, and whee .....

re maglev: actively using energy to lift up a vehicle strikes me as inefficient. The Linear Induction Motor (LIM) on a wheeled vehicle seems like the way to go; the acceleration either direction would still be magnetic, so no need to worry about traction, icy rails etc, but the train would be held up by plain ol' wheels. (low-friction bearings would help there ...) Imagine having to move a vehicle that, for whatever reason, had suffered a power loss. I'd want one that rolled at least a little. Granted, laying a smooth track for high-speed operation would be diffficult, but this applies to maglev as well (optimal LIM operation needs precise separation, a matter of cm or mm, between the magnets and reaction rail).

I have also heard, but do not have references, that an exposed maglev train has difficulties with high winds: they essentially pick the train up and mess with the rather delicate spacing of the magnetic components.

Good points - especially the wind.  Or terrorists.

On a wheeled LIM, how fast can they go?

One thing - if I'm going from Philly to San Diego, I would want more than a little pod; a loo, food, recreation...
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« Reply #6: May 30, 2007, 03:23:03 am »

Good points - especially the wind.  Or terrorists.

On a wheeled LIM, how fast can they go?

One thing - if I'm going from Philly to San Diego, I would want more than a little pod; a loo, food, recreation...

Nah, the pods would be for local transit only (a la subway), I'd still recommend the land-liners for inter-city transit ... I'm thinking  three decks: cargo/parking on the bottom, then concourse, then seating w/ glass roof. Cool

I dunno how fast a wheeled LIM can go, it's basically an electric motor. Certainly competitive with regular rotary power trains; the real advantages are that it has less trouble with wet weather (doesn't matter if the wheels slip) and has fewer moving parts. I imagine with the correct engineering it could match the Shinkansen (wheeled+electric already) for speed. LIM hasn't been used for long distance lines yet, probably because the reaction rail adds to the cost of building the track.

If you're curious, you could look up these transit projects which certain of my friends & relations worked on: Vancouver Skytrain, Ankara, Kuala Lumpur, Las Vegas Monorail, Pyong Yang (sp?). (I'm not sure if the latter two are LIM though.) Also, for a working maglev, check out the Nagoya, Japan Linimo. I must admit it's a smooth and quiet ride.
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WarHorse
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« Reply #7: May 30, 2007, 06:12:18 am »

Nah, the pods would be for local transit only (a la subway), I'd still recommend the land-liners for inter-city transit ... I'm thinking  three decks: cargo/parking on the bottom, then concourse, then seating w/ glass roof. Cool

I dunno how fast a wheeled LIM can go, it's basically an electric motor. Certainly competitive with regular rotary power trains; the real advantages are that it has less trouble with wet weather (doesn't matter if the wheels slip) and has fewer moving parts. I imagine with the correct engineering it could match the Shinkansen (wheeled+electric already) for speed. LIM hasn't been used for long distance lines yet, probably because the reaction rail adds to the cost of building the track.

If you're curious, you could look up these transit projects which certain of my friends & relations worked on: Vancouver Skytrain, Ankara, Kuala Lumpur, Las Vegas Monorail, Pyong Yang (sp?). (I'm not sure if the latter two are LIM though.) Also, for a working maglev, check out the Nagoya, Japan Linimo. I must admit it's a smooth and quiet ride.

Hey -  I just read an article on the Linimo, and some things came to light.  It had to shut down twice during the Expo because of being over-weight, and more often because of wind speeds over 25 m/s.  Hmmmmmmm...

Thanks for the tip. Wink
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« Reply #8: May 30, 2007, 07:59:18 am »

Hey -  I just read an article on the Linimo, and some things came to light.  It had to shut down twice during the Expo because of being over-weight, and more often because of wind speeds over 25 m/s.  Hmmmmmmm...

Thanks for the tip. Wink

Hehheh ... the other most noticeable feature of riding the Linimo are the ridiculously overdramatic English announcements. Imagine a fruity, very British contralto in Shakespeare mode saying: "We will soon make a brief stop at, Koen Nishi. The doors on the right side will open." It's hilarious. Talk about overqualified.
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« Reply #9: May 30, 2007, 12:41:40 pm »


I think the vehicle of the future will be carriages pulled by herds of guinea pigs.

Hey, it's original at least.
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WarHorse
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« Reply #10: May 30, 2007, 06:32:28 pm »

I think the vehicle of the future will be carriages pulled by herds of guinea pigs.

Hey, it's original at least.

Nyuknyuknyuk.
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« Reply #11: May 31, 2007, 12:26:43 am »

I think the vehicle of the future will be carriages pulled by herds of guinea pigs.

Hey, it's original at least.

Cleary, flying carpets are the way to go.  Grin
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