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New translation, the Magna Carta

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greedy governments

“Heavy export tariffs have almost wiped out the profit margin from selling crude oil outside Russia, forcing Siberian producers to sell at prices as low as $10 a barrel on Russia's domestic market. Fears are mounting that the profits squeeze may speed the decline in Russian oil output, already down 6 per cent this year.”

“Reports from Moscow yesterday said that TNK-BP was in talks to secure a $600 million (£399 million) loan from its bankers. The fundraising was put on ice last summer when a row erupted between BP and its oligarch partners over control of the joint venture. Since then, the syndicated lending market in Moscow has virtually disappeared because of the sudden outflow of funds from Russia in the continuing global credit crisis.”

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a useful lesson in the byways of economics - the devil’s excrement

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you can have any model you like, as long as it’s black... or black... or black... or black...

The machine that changed the world, 1990, p.106 [hbk edition, ASIN: B000OLTFKQ]

“After 1959, when GM [the world’s biggest car producer] introduced its first small car, the situation became still more complex. By the late 1960s the company was offering four separate sizes of car in each division, except Cadillac, where it offered two models. To preserve economies of scale while doing this, GM began to share a basic model between its divisions, giving the model sold under each divisional name a slightly different appearance. So the new intermediate model introduced in 1968 was served up as a Chevrolet Chevelle, a Pontiac Tempest, an Olds F-85, and a Buick Skylark. these cars had different exterior sheet metal and different dashboards and door trims on the interiors but used exactly the same basic components, including engines and chassis, under the metal skins. In other words, everything tucked out of sight was exactly the same. To develop these products, the company now had to coordinate four marketing divisions as well as each wanting a different character - sporty, conservative, technologically advanced, luxurious - in their version to satisfy the expectations of traditional buyers of that division's cars.”

P.S. “The machine that changed the world” is a reference to the change from mass production to lean production pioneered by Toyoto.

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Quotes by and about Henry Ford

 

 

The machine that change the world by James P. Womack et al.

The machine that changed the world
by James P. Womack et al.

Free Press, 2007, pbk edition
ISBN-10: 0743299795
ISBN-13: 978-0743299794
$10.20 [amazon.com]

Simon & Schuster Ltd, 2007, pbk edition
ISBN-10: 1847370551
ISBN-13: 978-1847370556

7.79 [amazon.co.uk]

The machine that change the world by James P. Womack et al.

 

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Marker at abelard.org renting volcanos for geothermal exploration!

“[...] Ormat Technologies (NYSE: ORA) has paid $3.3 million for geothermal exploration rights on about 35,000 acres of land in Alaska in an active volcanic region.”

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the web address for the article above is
https://www.abelard.org/news/business_markets2008.php#volcano_geothermal_130908

Marker at abelard.org another step toward plugins - international cooperation, france and uk

“EDF Energy and Toyota are extending their European plug-in hybrid testing program to the UK. The beginning of the UK road trials marks the first introduction of a PHEV by a car manufacturer to the UK.”

“Toyota and EDF Energy are using an new charging and invoicing system which is incorporated into the PHEV. This system is compatible with a new generation of public charging stations, which aim to make electric power more accessible on public roads and car parks, and will reduce the cost to the customer. EDF Energy has helped to install the first of 40 charging posts in the UK, with plans to help install more in the coming months.”

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general motors racing for the motor vehicle high ground

“ "The No. 1 priority is to make the battery program robust," Weber said. "The conceptual future is not to extend the range much further.... The future is to take the same range and the same original 40 miles but then have battery packs about half the size, twice the robustness and half the cost." ”

Marker at abelard.org

“[...] because of the aerodynamic design changes, an[...] additional 6 or 7 miles of AER [all electric range] has been achieved, and [...] GM expects to have 50 prototypes using production parts running by year-end.” [Quoted from gm-volt.com]

The target ‘all electric range’ is 40 miiles, but this will greatly on the conditions and the way the car is driven. Today, GM announced the finalisation of the body design/shape, this is estimated to add another six or seven miles AER over the earlier released concept shape. Every reduction in weight leads to either better performance, or to the ability to put in smaller power plants. This leads to still further weight reduction.

Present estimates of price range up to $40,000, but government subsidies (ranging up to $10,000) may be available for purchases in the USA. Clearly, this figure would come down under mass-production, especially regarding rapidly developing battery technology.

GM is systematically and purposefully taking the very unusual step of developing this car in the full blaze of publicity. This suggests considerable confidence and an expectation of being able to spring surprises or, as rivals are suggesting/hoping, GM are trying to bite off more than they can chew.

Updated front section of the GM Volt car. Image: gm-volt.com
Updated front section of the GM Volt car. Image: gm-volt.com

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chinese plug-in looking to sell in europe, “300km in one charge” - a race for plug-in hybrids underway

Perhaps they mean 300km from a fuel fill-up.

Chinese hybrid car: F3DM. Image: ecogeek.org
Chinese hybrid car - F3DM. Image: ecogeek.org

Ironphosphate-lithium battery plug-in hybrid car, present delivery dates quoted as 2009/2010.

From a news report:

“The F3DM uses BYD's self-developed iron batteries, which the company said could be recharged for more than 2,000 times and can power the car to run over 600,000 miles. The car equipped with BYD's batteries can travel as long as 100 miles after one charge, much longer than the 25-mile duel model vehicles offered by other automakers.

“BYD Co., the automaker's parent company, is the world’s second largest rechargeable battery producer. BYD entered the automotive industry in 2003. The automaker announced earlier that it will sell rechargeable hybrid vehicles in China this year."

Marker at abelard.org

“Power battery technology is the Fe-battery technology. As a global leader in the IT and rechargeable battery field, BYD relies on its strong technological background in the battery (R&D) field. BYD has developed the worlds leading rechargeable battery to power its EV’s. BYD guarantees its Fe-battery’s safety, along with great performance. EV’s powered by Fe-batterys take only 8 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100km/h. The range per charge is over 300km. In addition, the Fe-battery has overwhelming advantages such as: low cost, extended cycle life, zero emission and reuse.” [More quoted from byd.com]

Marker at abelard.org

“[...] The F3e is an example of energy-saving and environment-friendly technology, as well as being high-tech and fashionable. F3e features zero-emissions, as well as being quiet. F3e inherit the concepts "Faddy, Faithful and Futuristic" embodied in one. The F3e is also equipped with an on-board charger compatible with a standard electric outlet (220V 10A). Through BYD’s effective integration of all technology, the cost has been lowered greatly. BYD is now ready for F3e's commercialization. The qualities of the F3e assure excellent performance!. The electric power cost is equal to 1/3 of a gas operated car; top speed is over 150km/h; and it takes less than 13.5s to accelerate from 0-100km/h. In addition, the maximum grade ability is more than 30%, the electrical consumption is less than 12 kwh per 100km, and the range is over 300km in one charge. Meanwhile, the battery's life-cycle is about 2000 times, enabling the vehicle to run as far as 600,000kms in one battery’s life time.” [More quoted from byd.com]

Note the inconsistency: 8 seconds and 13.5 seconds to 100kph.

“He said BYD will try to market both vehicles in North America and Europe, although he didn't elaborate. In China, the Chinese auto maker plans to sell the plug-in hybrid for 150,000 yuan ($21,460) and the electric car for 200,000 yuan.”

“According to his presentation at the conference, the e6 car needs nine hours to fully charge its lithium-ion batteries, although they could be charged to their 80% capacity in 15 minutes.”

“The batteries on the e6, Mr. Wang said, should easily last eight to 10 years. He said they can be charged 2,000 times, without losing their capacity, and that even after 2,000 charges, the batteries should maintain 80% of their original capacity.” [More quoted from byd.com]

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gm shoots to recover the dominant high ground
Fuel cells and battery-powered vehicles

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gm shoots to recover the dominant high ground

Plug-in technology is struggling out of the laboratory onto the roads.

This article is a good solid piece of business reporting. I recommend reading it in full.

Chevy Volt concept hybrid car from GM. Image: chevy-volt.net
Chevy Volt concept hybrid car from GM. Image: chevy-volt.net

“It’s swim. I already know," Turner told me, when I asked if the battery was likely to sink or swim. This was during a visit in December to GM’s mile-square technical center in Warren, Michigan, just outside Detroit. Volt development is going on both here and in Germany, allowing for around-the-clock testing. The battery lab, an expansive but otherwise unimpressive room containing test chambers and consoles with digital readouts, clearly had not been dressed up for visiting journalists, of whom I was only the latest. "Before I’d even started the project, we’d opened up the lab to 50 reporters that came in," Turner told me, sounding bemused. "You’re not allowed to bring a camera or a cell phone into this building. Here we were with a TV crew."

“During this visit, I found the technical center brimming with optimism, and the battery lab was no exception. One of two suppliers, a company called Compact Power (a subsidiary of a big South Korean chemical and advanced-materials company, LG Chem), had delivered two copies of its version of the battery, and on the bench they were testing brilliantly. "They may not look beautiful," Turner said - the battery was a six-foot-long T-shaped object from which wires, clamps, and circuit boards protruded - "but as far as the data goes, they’re the best I’ve worked with." Heat is a problem with lithium-ion batteries, but this one was staying cool even when run hard - and the cooling system had yet to be attached.

“Moreover, improvements were being incorporated as fast as they could be conceived; the battery would be on its second generation in January, its third in June. "It’s incredible," Turner said. "The design they’ve come up with for thermal changed 10 times before they delivered the first battery." And all of this was before the arrival of a competing battery that might be as good or even better, designed jointly by the Massachusetts-based company A123 Systems and the German company Continental A.G. "We’re inventing and creating on the critical path," Turner said. He was using the industry jargon for the countdown to production, when time is money and delays can cost millions. "I’ve got guys trying to release things before they’re actually invented." ”

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Fuel cells and battery-powered vehicles

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robotic surgery is a winner

Robotic surgery taking place St. Pierre, Ore. Image: Intuitive Surgical
Robotic surgery taking place St. Pierre, Ore. Credit: Intuitive Surgical

“There are now more than 650 Da Vinci systems installed in hospitals worldwide, and the company is apparently making investors happy--almost "giddy," according to The New York Times.

“The company reported "2007 was the third consecutive year in which sales grew more than 60 percent. And the company beat every expectation Wall Street had for the fourth quarter: sales, income, number of robots sold, profit margins, you name it," The Times reported. "Moreover, Intuitive predicted that sales would grow 40 percent this year, to $841 million with profits likewise soaring, to $4.92 a share. Those projections were ahead of the analysts' consensus forecast." ”

the web address for the article above is
https://www.abelard.org/news/business_markets2008.php#robotic_surgery_190208

energy storage via molten salts

“Solar power might be the most up-and-coming renewable energy source, but one of the biggest drawbacks to solar power plants is their inability to generate electricity at night or during cloudy days. But now, a new venture called SolarReserve hopes to change all that using salt! Their program would save and store captured solar energy in molten salt, the new solar plant will produce up to 500 megawatts of peak power - comparable to what a regular coal power plant can produce, only with no greenhouse gas emissions.”

No, it is not comparable. Coal does not close down at night, nor will this system function at peak power all day. But it sure is a great deal cleaner.

Marker at abelard.org

I think this is the end of the feelthy fossil fuel age, and the quicker the better.

My (sub) interest in this technology is the attack on the storage problem; that is, which storage technology will dominate.

Myself, I think the real progress will be via electrolysis and reformation to methanol and beyond, and plug-ins.

The balance between central and distributed generation will also be interesting.

There is a cornpone sales video here.
[Cornpone, or corn pone, or corn-pone: folksy, homespun.]

SolarReserve process diagram.

This SolarResrve .pdf has larger versions of the images shown above.

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replacements for fossil fuels—what can be done about it?
energy economics and fossil fuels— how long do we have?

the web address for the article above is
https://www.abelard.org/news/business_markets2008.php#molten_salts_storage_160108


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