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Saturday, July 10, 2004

Electricity Equivalence

This quote "Producing the hydrogen equivalent in energy to the oil now used in U.S. transport would require 10 trillion kilowatt hours of electric energy; we would have to triple our electric generation capacity." is interesting. Note that they specifically say it pertains directly to transport.

I have to assume that the number quoted is per year:
10 trillion kw-hours/year = 10x1012 kw-hours/year

Then if we do the sanity check against U.S. oil consumption:
20 million barrels/day * 162 liters/barrel * 33 million joules/liter * (kw-hour / 3.6 million joules) * 365 days/year = 11x1012 kw-hours/year

Based on the near equivalence of the two numbers, I think they assume that all the oil imported is used for transportation purposes. Bottom line, the number is exaggerated a bit, but the subtext is that converting to a different source of energy will take some doing.

From the same site this quote:
The automakers (I work for one) spent hundreds of millions of dollars developing electric vehicles. We did not succeed. The basic problem is this: They cost too much, they take too long to charge, and they don't go far enough on a charge. I can solve any one of the three problems, but not all three ...

Very similar to the engineering saying "We can make the product (1) faster, (2) cheaper, (3) better .. pick any 2". Unfortunately, oil is the one product that (used to) meet all three criteria.
  1. Oil is fast to market
  2. Oil is cheap
  3. Oil is better than any alternative in energy density and convenience


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