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You are a high-level car company executive. You have some choices to make on where to invest R & D monies to develop more environmentally responsible transportation for the future. But, you don't have limitless funds. You can only choose one type of technology from the following:

1. Development of biodiesel technology
2. Hybrid gasoline/electric cars
3. Hydrogen powered vehicles
4. Battery/electric vehicles

Where do you invest your research dollars and why :?:
 

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Biodiesel. Help the farmers. Plus, 3-4 will never produce the torque I'm lookin for;

Also, Bot can correct me if I am wrong, but the more green stuff we get planted, the slower global warming will occur.

Yep, legalize pot & focus on biodiesel. Give me a candidate that's fiscally conservative and puts this on his platform and he gets my vote!!!!
 

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Defintely not hydrogen.

As technology is now, it comes from oil and coal and good old CO2 is a by-product. Also, a whole new infrastucture would need to be built to support hydrogen distribution. Talk about costly. Maybe in the next 100 yrs...
 

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Biodiesel. Or maybe devise a motor that can run on fecal matter. Lots of it at that other board. (achem) :twisted:
 

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narwhal said:
Biodiesel. Help the farmers. Plus, 3-4 will never produce the torque I'm lookin for;

Also, Bot can correct me if I am wrong, but the more green stuff we get planted, the slower global warming will occur.

Yep, legalize pot & focus on biodiesel. Give me a candidate that's fiscally conservative and puts this on his platform and he gets my vote!!!!
I think that's a best answer but since there is a land crunch it could sent food prices even higher.

Back to prez's original question if I were a CEO making that decision I would opt for Hydrogen fuel cells because the technology is already being perfected for commercial autos'

But the same can be said for Biodiesel because many DIY'ers are doing it in their garage. I think the lond term burdon on land use would cause a multitude of problems like skyrocketing land and food cost. But I do think thats a great interim solution to reducing our dependency on OIL.
 

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Howitzer, I see your concern, however, I personally know many, many family farms that have gone bankrupt in the past 10 years b/c they can't afford to grow cotton, the demand is less and less for tobacco, and soybeans don't pay. I don't like seing these family farms go for 1000 1000 sq. foot modular home sites, even if I am the damn developer!

My state has the largest commercial biodiesel plant in the country. We may have it at some pumps soon. Send the price of soybeans up, and I don't see how it will affect food prices unless you eat a lot of tofu 8O

I think the land is there---it just needs to be able (cost wise) to be farmed instead of selling it to trailer parks.

Going back to my original post, wonder if the CO could be filtnered out of the exhaust of a biodiesel car, and we could run them on hemp oil? That way you could run a hose from your tailpipe.......
 

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narwhal said:
Howitzer, I see your concern, however, I personally know many, many family farms that have gone bankrupt in the past 10 years b/c they can't afford to grow cotton, the demand is less and less for tobacco, and soybeans don't pay. I don't like seing these family farms go for 1000 1000 sq. foot modular home sites, even if I am the damn developer!

My state has the largest commercial biodiesel plant in the country. We may have it at some pumps soon. Send the price of soybeans up, and I don't see how it will affect food prices unless you eat a lot of tofu 8O

I think the land is there---it just needs to be able (cost wise) to be farmed instead of selling it to trailer parks.

Going back to my original post, wonder if the CO could be filtnered out of the exhaust of a biodiesel car, and we could run them on hemp oil? That way you could run a hose from your tailpipe.......
I totally share your thoughts on producing soy beans instead of bankrupt farms and that goes for hemp oil as well why hemp production is still illegal baffles me.

I know you see the meat of my thoughts but instead of Biodiesel E86 would be a better interim alternitve because it's a simple $250 factory upgrade that could be installed on almost any car today and you get gasoline efficency.

Regarding selling the land off for trailer parks, the problem were having is people are demanding too much space for only a couple people (guilty as charged) trailer parks are actually excellent use for the land. The land can be easily converted for other use the population density is reasonably high and it make people rich while providing a low cost roof over their head, they have to live somewhere.
 

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narwhal said:
Howitzer said:
narwhal said:
they have to live somewhere.
How about New Jersey? We should come up with an idea to stack trailers on top of each other to conserve land space.
excellent idea, and pray for a hurricane.
 

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1. Hybrid
2. Hydrogen

Battery/Electric is a dead end on its own, still requires fossil fuels up the supply chain. I own a diesel and like them, but as an auto executive I have to consider what will make a difference on a mass-produced scale.

Right now, biodiesel is a niche product for niche buyers. Unless I see statistics to the contrary, I've gotta believe that the ag. system couldn't meet demand for biodiesel production on a scale sufficient to achieve even 10% penetration of the vehicle fleet. I'd like to be wrong, but I don't think I am. Pat Bedard had an interesting column in Car & Driver a couple of years ago where he went down the list of potential alternative fuels, including ethanol (corn based). He showed, with some simple statistics on total US corn production, available arable land, and efficiency ratios from the stalk to the tank, that it would never fuel a meaningful number of our vehicles outside of small municipal fleets for show. I think Biodiesel fails the same test.

Hybrid technologies are here today, and represent only a 10-20% increase in vehicle price, declining with production runs. I think hybrids are going to be a growing part of the fleet until the ascension of hydrogen, whether that's in 20 years or 50. Links to two papers by Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute (green, but industrial), claiming that hydrogen adoption could come sooner than you think:

http://www.rmi.org/images/other/Energy/E03-05_20HydrogenMyths.pdf

http://www.rmi.org/images/other/Trans/T04-01_HypercarH2AutoTrans.pdf

Actually, my favorite technology would be one that wasn't listed: diesel/electric hybrids. That's where I'd focus my R&D spend.
 

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PC Dave said:
I've gotta believe that the ag. system couldn't meet demand for biodiesel production on a scale sufficient to achieve even 10% penetration of the vehicle fleet.
I think you may be right , but what percent of the passenger population drives diesels now? I know in Europe the % is higher than here (we could abuse that to lower our trade deficit :wink: ).

With the "gas crunch" I see Volk, Merc and others reawakening diesel--biodiesel may make the diesel phenom stick for good like it couldn't in the '80s b/c of all of those convereted pos gas engines. Hydrogen is starting from scratch, so I didn't consider that without an umlimited budget.
 

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Hydrogen has too much of a scary Hindenberg factor for your average consumer. I think that's what will ultimately limit it's mass market acceptence. The Bio-Diesel could be a viable alternative fuel source, and would (hopefully) put a lot of "salt of the earth" types back to work (provided massive comercial farms weren't able to put them out of business with lower margins). I'd like to see more vehicle like the new E320 cdi that were quiet and smooth running, but were still able to offer the level of performance your average American (or otherwise) consumer was used to driving. I think a no compromises bio-diesel sports car would definately help to sway the public (think viper/corvette crude, something the good old boy crowd could really get behind). The image makeover for alternative fuels would require some clever marketing strategy, as your average citizen is mostly ignorant to what they really represent. For so long images of black smoke bellowing, noisy vehicles or peacenik environmentalists have really held back the movement and I think the petrol producers of the world are perfectly alright with that (do I need tin foil to say that?). The public needs to see that they don't have to sacrifice anything to make the switch.
 

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PHAEDRUS242 said:
Hydrogen has too much of a scary Hindenberg factor for your average consumer. quote]

Agree with your biodiesel ideas. BTW, I have a heavy diesel sedan that will do 0-60 in a shade under 8 sec with a $200 chip, and pull out almost 700 miles per tank of fuel.

On the hydrogen, I respectully submit that the processess of hydrogen use for a car is much different then what happened with the Hindenburg. If you do a search over at MBshop, you will see a bunch of "experts" condescendingly explained this, and posted links. :wink:
 

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As the CEO of a major car manufacturer, it is my responsibility to demonstrate our technological prowess in exciting ways to the stockholders and our customers. These silly research projects just don't do the job. Therefore, I will spend $500,000,000 a year on a mid-pack Formula 1 effort.
 

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Yeah, the E300 turbo diesels were great cars, and with a little tweaking really could go. That new diesel engine is amazing. So quiet, and 0-60 in under 7 (!) seconds and liek yours, like 700 miles to a tank. More of this kind of development is necessary. We can do this much, imagine if this recieved the same sort of R&D money that conventional petrol passenger car engines do.
 

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Some variant of diesel-electric. Like ships and locomotives. Biofuel is cool. It would be nice if a simple way could be developed to incorporate or mix biodiesel with petro diesel before the pump so teh consumer wouldn't have to know squat. If you depend on a knwoledgeable consumer, I have some opportunities in Nigeria that we can make money from investing in.

The neat thing about diesel is that it is so simple it can run forever at a nice steady speed. So its great for running a generator. A generator can then be used to send electricity to some sort of storage system. We're most familiar with chimical storage--some sort of huge battery system like in Das Boot--one of my favorite films, BTW. Chemical storage has come a long way since WWII, but its still heavy and can be dangerous.

There is also inertial storage that I've heard about in which electrical energy is used through a motor to turn a flywheel (it now becomes the rotor of the motor) at ultra-high speeds--many thousands of RPM in a vacuum-sealed ceramic container--the stator. When a load is demanded then the motor switches to being a generator and the flywheel becomes the rotor but slows as electricity is dragged from it. I like that it has few moving parts, no peculiar chemicals, and the diesel is used at a more stable RPM--its glory road.

I dunno if anybody's developing anything useful along these lines buT I did read about several flywheel ventures several years ago. Sounded intriguing. Perhaps like those artificial diamonds that are going to flood the market any day and run Debeers out of business? I dunno.

Son of Prime Minister Abacho
 

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It takes a lot of energy to produce hydrogen. To produce hydrogen from one gallon of water it takes 32kwH, or enough electricity to run 32 100 watt bulbs for a full hour at home. That's as much electricity as it takes to run a whole household for days on end, and somewhere along the line someone has to produce that electricity and our power plants sure as hell aren't gonna be run on hydrogen.
 
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