June 8, 2008

Over 500 miles on a tank... of Hydrogen

Toyota announced announced today that it has developed a fuel cell hybrid vehicle equipped with the newly designed high-performance Toyota FC Stack. The "TOYOTA FCHV-adv" acquired vehicle-type certification from Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MLIT) on June 3.

Toyota upped the size of the storage tank from 148 to 156 liters and doubled the storage pressure to 70 MPa (about 10,000 PSI). It also increased fuel efficiency by 25 percent through improved fuel cell performance, enhanced regenerative braking and cutting the amount of energy required to drive the accessory systems. The fuel cell also will operate at temperatures as low as 22 degrees Fahrenheit below zero.

Wired reports that several major automakers are aggressively developing hydrogen vehicles. BMW is putting its Hydrogen 7 in the hands of Hollywood celebrities, General Motors promise to roll out the Equinox Cell Vehicle later this year and Hyundai says it will produce hydrogen cars by 2012.

June 1, 2008

New Data on ANWR

The US Government has just released a report estimating the amount of oil that would be available from drilling in the Alaskan Artic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

The report is interesting from a number of perspectives.

They have cut their estimates of the amount of oil available by more than 50% from the previous estimates they released in 1998.

"Between 2018 and 2030, cumulative additional oil production is 2.6 billion barrels for the mean oil resource case, while the low and high resource cases project a cumulative additional oil production of 1.9 and 4.3 billion barrels, respectively."

The 1998 report projected 5.7 billion barrels of production from ANWR for the mean oil case. The trend suggests that the more we know about ANWR, the more we lower the initial very rosy estimates for the amount of production.

The most recent report includes projections on the impact that ANWR will have on the price of oil.

"The opening of ANWR is projected to have its largest oil price reduction impacts as follows: a reduction in low-sulfur, light crude oil prices of $0.41 per barrel (2006 dollars) in 2026 for the low oil resource case, $0.75 per barrel in 2025 for the mean oil resource case, and $1.44 per barrel in 2027 for the high oil resource case, relative to the reference case."

This means that when ANWR hits peak production in 2026 (if drilling was approved this year) the impact on the price of oil at that time will be less than half of one percent.

Bottom line, you will never notice the difference in the price of oil.

We would be much better off taking the same investment dollars and using them to create new renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind and fuel cell technologies.

We would be much better off taking the same investment dollars and finding ways to make our cars more efficient.

The oil from ANWR will be depleted in 30 years. Investments in wind and solar will still be generating energy for many, many years after the last drop of oil in ANWR is gone.