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For future cars, anything but gasoline

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NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Gasoline? It will soon be gone for good. All we need to do is rid ourselves of it before we run out of it. But it won't just be electric cars that replace today's internal combustion-powered models. It could be hydrogen-powered versions. It could be those with natural gas powertrains.

It doesn't really matter. The key is "and," not "or." Because all that does matter is that we move forward; break the inertia.

That's according to University of Michigan professor Lawrence Burns, who pondered the future of personal transportation aloud here at the 2012 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit.

THE NEXT ERA OF PERSONAL MOBILITY

During a panel that included ExxonMobil's Michael Ramage and Ford's John Viera, Burns — who also serves as director of Columbia University's Program on Sustainable Mobility — explained that we face a "transformational opportunity" to move from the mechanical automobile, developed some 125 years ago by Karl Benz, to an electrical one.

It's a massive challenge: there are more than a billion cars on the road today worldwide, he said.

"Is [this situation] sustainable in terms of safety? Energy? Congestion? Parking? Environment? Infrastructure? Even equality?" he asked. "My wife asked me to take her somewhere expensive this summer; I think I'll take her to a gas station."

Sure, we can continue to evolve the internal combustion engine and incrementally make it better. But in the grand scheme of things, the situation is "still largely unsustainable," he said.

The future, then, is one filled with cars powered by internal combustion, hybrid powertrains, electric powertrains, fuel cells and other means.

Not one, mind you. All of them. Together.

"All of this is important," he said. "To sit around and debate which one is better, I think, is premature."

AMERICAN PERSPECTIVE

For the United States, natural gas dominates the outlook.

"It looks like we're going to have low-cost, plentiful natural gas for a long while," Burns said.

There are three things the U.S. can do with its natural gas reserves, he said:

  1. Compress it for compressed natural gas-powered vehicles;
  2. Burn it to create electricity for electric vehicles;
  3. Reform it into hydrogen for fuel cell vehicles.

Americans need to embrace all options, Burns said. Natural gas remains a non-renewable resource, and some of these methods are more energy-efficient than others.

"If we get myopic and excited about just compressing and burning, [we're wasting our resources]," he warned. "It might not be the most sustainable thing we can do."

For example, if the U.S. sought to get its road transportation off OPEC oil by 2025, it would take:

  • 5.9 quadrillion BTU of natural gas for CNG vehicles;
  • 3.3 quadrillion BTU with battery electric vehicles and fuel-cell electric vehicles.

If the U.S. only used natural gas vehicles to accomplish that goal, it would take 80 million of them — 30 percent of 2025's fleet and 40 percent of sales between 2013 and 2025.

"Yes, there's plenty of natural gas. And yes, we can use it in the road transportation sector," he said. "The challenge is getting to these vehicles."

Despite the hurdles, if the U.S. seeks to transition away from oil, natural gas remains a strong contender, because it does not suffer from the intermittency that wind and solar inherently carry with them.

"Natural gas might be the best thing to happen to renewables," he said.

Which is why it's going to take a diverse portfolio of "energy pathways" and overall systems integration for the U.S. to achieve its goal of energy independence.

"At the end of the day," he said, "the only solutions that scale to where it matters are the ones that consumers want."

NEXT STEPS — AND BEYOND

But if you really want to look to the future, consider one in which the driver is entirely obsolete.

Driverless vehicles are compelling, Burns said. That's why he advises Google on its experiments with the technology in California.

"I became convinced at [General Motors] that driving is a distraction," he said. Driverless cars are far less likely to crash, of course — but just as important, they would be much lighter, since they would do away with the hardware needed for manual operation.

They would use less energy to go distances. They would be cheaper to manufacture. It's not unthinkable to make vehicles tailored to purpose: short-haul driving, duty or long-haul trips.

"Why are we driving around a 4,000-lb. car?" he asked. Simply, there's no need for an all-purpose vehicle in a driverless world.

The intersection of future, then, is no longer one with traffic lights and concrete dividers but instead a broad expanse where each vehicle has a specific space-time capsule.

The U.S. can lead this charge, Burns said. It can be a world leader if it works to get the "mobility Internet" platform necessary for driverless operation up and running.

"There's plenty of raw energy and technology out there," he said. "[slow adoption] is due to a lack of integrated systems" — and the inertia of the installed base.

Driverless cars offer better mobility at radically lower cost, he said. Anything else is just wasteful.

"I'm an engineer by nature. Some see the glass half full. Some see it as half empty. I see the glass being twice as big as it needs to be."

http://www.smartplan...-gasoline/23510

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NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Gasoline? It will soon be gone for good. All we need to do is rid ourselves of it before we run out of it. But it won't just be electric cars that replace today's internal combustion-powered models. It could be hydrogen-powered versions. It could be those with natural gas powertrains.

It doesn't really matter. The key is "and," not "or." Because all that does matter is that we move forward; break the inertia.

That's according to University of Michigan professor Lawrence Burns, who pondered the future of personal transportation aloud here at the 2012 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit.

THE NEXT ERA OF PERSONAL MOBILITY

During a panel that included ExxonMobil's Michael Ramage and Ford's John Viera, Burns — who also serves as director of Columbia University's Program on Sustainable Mobility — explained that we face a "transformational opportunity" to move from the mechanical automobile, developed some 125 years ago by Karl Benz, to an electrical one.

It's a massive challenge: there are more than a billion cars on the road today worldwide, he said.

"Is [this situation] sustainable in terms of safety? Energy? Congestion? Parking? Environment? Infrastructure? Even equality?" he asked. "My wife asked me to take her somewhere expensive this summer; I think I'll take her to a gas station."

Sure, we can continue to evolve the internal combustion engine and incrementally make it better. But in the grand scheme of things, the situation is "still largely unsustainable," he said.

The future, then, is one filled with cars powered by internal combustion, hybrid powertrains, electric powertrains, fuel cells and other means.

Not one, mind you. All of them. Together.

"All of this is important," he said. "To sit around and debate which one is better, I think, is premature."

AMERICAN PERSPECTIVE

For the United States, natural gas dominates the outlook.

"It looks like we're going to have low-cost, plentiful natural gas for a long while," Burns said.

There are three things the U.S. can do with its natural gas reserves, he said:

  1. Compress it for compressed natural gas-powered vehicles;
  2. Burn it to create electricity for electric vehicles;
  3. Reform it into hydrogen for fuel cell vehicles.

Americans need to embrace all options, Burns said. Natural gas remains a non-renewable resource, and some of these methods are more energy-efficient than others.

"If we get myopic and excited about just compressing and burning, [we're wasting our resources]," he warned. "It might not be the most sustainable thing we can do."

For example, if the U.S. sought to get its road transportation off OPEC oil by 2025, it would take:

  • 5.9 quadrillion BTU of natural gas for CNG vehicles;
  • 3.3 quadrillion BTU with battery electric vehicles and fuel-cell electric vehicles.

If the U.S. only used natural gas vehicles to accomplish that goal, it would take 80 million of them — 30 percent of 2025's fleet and 40 percent of sales between 2013 and 2025.

"Yes, there's plenty of natural gas. And yes, we can use it in the road transportation sector," he said. "The challenge is getting to these vehicles."

Despite the hurdles, if the U.S. seeks to transition away from oil, natural gas remains a strong contender, because it does not suffer from the intermittency that wind and solar inherently carry with them.

"Natural gas might be the best thing to happen to renewables," he said.

Which is why it's going to take a diverse portfolio of "energy pathways" and overall systems integration for the U.S. to achieve its goal of energy independence.

"At the end of the day," he said, "the only solutions that scale to where it matters are the ones that consumers want."

NEXT STEPS — AND BEYOND

But if you really want to look to the future, consider one in which the driver is entirely obsolete.

Driverless vehicles are compelling, Burns said. That's why he advises Google on its experiments with the technology in California.

"I became convinced at [General Motors] that driving is a distraction," he said. Driverless cars are far less likely to crash, of course — but just as important, they would be much lighter, since they would do away with the hardware needed for manual operation.

They would use less energy to go distances. They would be cheaper to manufacture. It's not unthinkable to make vehicles tailored to purpose: short-haul driving, duty or long-haul trips.

"Why are we driving around a 4,000-lb. car?" he asked. Simply, there's no need for an all-purpose vehicle in a driverless world.

The intersection of future, then, is no longer one with traffic lights and concrete dividers but instead a broad expanse where each vehicle has a specific space-time capsule.

The U.S. can lead this charge, Burns said. It can be a world leader if it works to get the "mobility Internet" platform necessary for driverless operation up and running.

"There's plenty of raw energy and technology out there," he said. "[slow adoption] is due to a lack of integrated systems" — and the inertia of the installed base.

Driverless cars offer better mobility at radically lower cost, he said. Anything else is just wasteful.

"I'm an engineer by nature. Some see the glass half full. Some see it as half empty. I see the glass being twice as big as it needs to be."

http://www.smartplan...-gasoline/23510

Have to agree with the Natural Gas outlook. We all of a sudden have a lot of it. Enough to power this country for quite some time. We can't let go of Oil totally though. Most here and everywhere think it is oil that is the big evil because what we are aware of is the heating of our homes and the gasoline we put in the vehicles but oil is very important to maybe the largest part of this countries industrial base and that is the Petrochemicals. Petrochems make it possible here for us to build everything else, make anything. In fact almost anything anyone uses or sees on a daily bases is possible because of the Petrochemical industry. Even if we were able to become weaned off of gasoline for every vehicle on the road and power all utilities with Natural gas we would still have need of a huge amount of oil to fuel our Petrochem industry.

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CNG is a viable power source for vehicles. They've done this in Germany some time ago and have a fully developed network of fuel stations where CNG can be obtained. Fraction of the cost of gasoline and you can have just about any recent model vehicle re-configured to run on CNG. It's what can happen when a country looks forward for solutions rather than backward for nostalgia.

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CNG is a viable power source for vehicles. They've done this in Germany some time ago and have a fully developed network of fuel stations where CNG can be obtained. Fraction of the cost of gasoline and you can have just about any recent model vehicle re-configured to run on CNG. It's what can happen when a country looks forward for solutions rather than backward for nostalgia.

Germany is also a big Petrochem industry. Germany is also able to more easily adapt to a more CNG by being a more compact size than the U.S. Cars are actually easy to convert to CNG but there needs to be able to get to supplies easily. I have noticed that many major truck stops nationwide are starting to put in the tanks and pumps to supply the CNG to vehicles here in the states.

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Germany is also a big Petrochem industry. Germany is also able to more easily adapt to a more CNG by being a more compact size than the U.S. Cars are actually easy to convert to CNG but there needs to be able to get to supplies easily. I have noticed that many major truck stops nationwide are starting to put in the tanks and pumps to supply the CNG to vehicles here in the states.

Friend of my brother had his Chrysler 300 converted. Conversion actually makes less sense for a small car that uses 5 liters or so per 100km - gotta do a lot of mileage for the conversion to actually pay off. Now, when you look at a 10 liter+ per 100km vehicle such as that Chrysler or a 5 series BMW or E class Benz, A6 and up, the equation changes in favor of converting. They actually started the CNG wave in Germany with buses, garbage trucks (read: public services) back in the 90's and then expanded to cabs and now they're in a position to expand to general population. The fuel station networks are in place.

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Friend of my brother had his Chrysler 300 converted. Conversion actually makes less sense for a small car that uses 5 liters or so per 100km - gotta do a lot of mileage for the conversion to actually pay off. Now, when you look at a 10 liter+ per 100km vehicle such as that Chrysler or a 5 series BMW or E class Benz, A6 and up, the equation changes in favor of converting. They actually started the CNG wave in Germany with buses, garbage trucks (read: public services) back in the 90's and then expanded to cabs and now they're in a position to expand to general population. The fuel station networks are in place.

Very smart of them. Surprised you haven't mentioned about Germany also having a future impact of Natural Gas bonanza.

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Also a big gamble.whistling.gif

Blackstone commits $2 billion to Cheniere gas-export plant

Cheniere Energy Partners LP, operator of the largest U.S. natural gas-import terminal, said Blackstone Group LP agreed to invest $2 billion toward construction of a $10 billion plant to export the fuel.

The investment by the New York-based private equity firm may help convince creditors to lend the rest of the money needed to begin construction of the facility in southwest Louisiana. Cheniere, which has been seeking to add export capacity to its import terminal since 2010, plans to begin construction by the end of June, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Charif Souki said in a statement.

A flood of gas from shale and other unconventional North American rock formations produced a surfeit of the furnace and factory fuel that pushed the price to the lowest in a decade. ConocoPhillips, Apache Inc. and Sempra Energy are advancing plans to ship gas in liquid form aboard tankers to overseas markets such as Japan and Spain, where it commands higher prices.

“The U.S. now has some of the cheapest gas in the world,” Leonard Coburn, president of Washington-based Coburn International Energy Consultants LLC, said in a telephone interview. “The gas glut has got people seriously talking about exporting.”

Breakup Fee

Blackstone agreed to buy 111 million new senior subordinated paid-in-kind units for $18 each, according to the statement. Final terms are contingent on Cheniere securing debt financing for the first two of four planned liquefaction units.

Cheniere is required to pay a $50 million breakup fee to Blackstone if the $2 billion investment falls through and Cheniere finds a new equity investor within 12 months, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing by Cheniere today.

Cheniere expects to obtain the remaining financing by March 31, according to the statement. Exports will get under way from the first two liquefaction units in 2016, the company said. Gas can be super-cooled to liquid form for shipment via tankers to markets too remote for pipeline delivery. If built, Cheniere’s export plant would be the first in the continental U.S.

Souki, 59, has been selling equity and signing sales agreements with European and Asian energy companies to avoid a cash crunch and attract financing for the project.

Customers for Gas

Last month, Cheniere Energy Inc., 90.6 percent owner of Cheniere Energy Partners, used the proceeds from a December offering to repay the $298 million principal balance on a term loan due in May. The payment cut Cheniere’s outstanding 2012 debt to $204.5 million.

The Cheniere Energy Partners units that Blackstone is buying will pay 4.2 percent interest quarterly and convert to common units once the first two sections of the plant begin commercial operation. The partnership will use cash from the sale to buy the 94-mile (151-kilometer) pipeline that connects the terminal to the U.S. gas pipeline network from Cheniere Energy Inc., according to today’s statement.

Cheniere already has customers lined up to buy gas from the Sabine Pass plant, including Korea Gas Corp., BG Group Plc, Gas Natural SDG SA and GAIL India Ltd.

Cheniere Energy Partners rose 5.7 percent to $22.08 at 9:54 a.m. in New York. Cheniere Energy Inc. rose 13 percent to $15.86.

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I always find such things humrous and indicative of the limits of some people's intellects. I am trying to imagine an article from 1890 saying "OMG we only have 400 years left of hay supply, how will we get to work?"

When one considers that we do virtually nothing the way we did it 100 years ago and we even do little we did the same 50 years ago...why would one be surprised their will be future changes? Does anyone imagine that cars will be the same as they are now in 50 years? 100 years?

The difference is that no one had to subsidize the way we travel right now (in fact the only travel being subsidized is the one we used most 100 years ago...trains) Let people develop the best forms of new inventions for profit and we will be fine. Keep the government from stifling progress by forcing us to choose a technology. Incandescent bulbs are a waste of money even if they are free...but CFLs are little better, merely a bridge to the next big thing...like the 2012 version of 8 track tapes. If we require CFLs it stifles the development of better light bulbs. If we require electric cars it stifles the development of something better, and there IS something better.

Oddly enough one of the things being tried for future fuels is biomass, which includes...hay. :lol:


VERMONT! I Reject Your Reality...and Substitute My Own!

Gary And Alla

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Friend of my brother had his Chrysler 300 converted. Conversion actually makes less sense for a small car that uses 5 liters or so per 100km - gotta do a lot of mileage for the conversion to actually pay off. Now, when you look at a 10 liter+ per 100km vehicle such as that Chrysler or a 5 series BMW or E class Benz, A6 and up, the equation changes in favor of converting. They actually started the CNG wave in Germany with buses, garbage trucks (read: public services) back in the 90's and then expanded to cabs and now they're in a position to expand to general population. The fuel station networks are in place.

We have several friends in Russia that have converted their cars. As far as the "fuel station network", most of what I saw over there was a tanker truck dropped off at a gasoline station and a compressor hooked to the tanker to pump it into the car tank. That type of setup doesn't take much time to do.


If at first you don't succeed, then sky diving is not for you.

Someone stole my dictionary. Now I am at a loss for words.

If Apple made a car, would it have windows?

Ban shredded cheese. Make America Grate Again .

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day.  Deport him and you never have to feed him again.

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We have several friends in Russia that have converted their cars. As far as the "fuel station network", most of what I saw over there was a tanker truck dropped off at a gasoline station and a compressor hooked to the tanker to pump it into the car tank. That type of setup doesn't take much time to do.

Yeah, I can see that being the case in Russia. In Germany, the set-up is a bit more professional - pic below. The far left column - coincidence? - is where you get CNG. They have a network of well over 800 gas stations offering this fuel.

cng-tankstelle.jpg

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