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Alternative Energy Will Win Hands Down
3 Jul, 2008 04:14 pm
If we develop common-sense new ideas, we won?t be importing oil, not to mention the new jobs created. As an energy inventor, here?s how I see it.
Wind turbines can do it all, they really can. Only 30,000 of 4 MW wind turbines operating 10 hours a day (the rest is surplus power) can charge all 134 million commuter EVís if an efficient all-electric design (assuming every commuter owns one, and they should). It takes about 70 square miles to cite that many turbines, not bad. But fortunately, the wind blows adequately in every state to make plenty of power. But to do this right, we need a new light-air turbine design because shifting the turbineís power curve to the left to pick up speed sooner can increase capacity 60%, or achieve an overall capacity factor of 40% in fair to good winds (class 3-4), greatly improving wind power economics.
Believe it or not, but an airlinerís fuel efficiency can be more than doubled, hereís how. Viewed from the front, the proposed canard airliner would look like a B52. But being a canard design, all wing surfaces provide lift (even the curved-up nose) minimizing wing area, and an elliptical fuselage minimizes volume, further reducing drag. It would use a single rear cruise engine (mounted with the tail fin), so once cruise altitude is reached using both engines (a larger take-off assist engine is hidden in the fuselage tail section), it then flies on one, maximizing fuel efficiency and nearly halving engine maintenance costs. This composite aircraft design always converges to a minimum fuel and plane weight to achieve its mission. Estimates show it can more than double airliner fuel efficiency.
Trucking fuel efficiency hasnít improved much since the 1950ís. But using a front-drive straight-body bullet truck streamlined design, fuel used can be cut in half and the load carried increased 20%. Now the trucker is making money again (but so would the airline if it had that plane). Bullet trucks will stop safer, and buffet motorists less. Calculations show they also damage roads and bridges less.
Bottom line, it takes a lot of new ideas to fix our energy problems. The big question is does Wall Street care? So far they have given short shift to investing in mechanical ideas. That needs to change if we are to dig ourselves out of the energy hole we are in. I know it doesnít sound popular, but we canít drill our way out. Look, we produce 5 MM bbl/day and use 21. Some say we import 65%, the way I do the math we produce 23.8% and import 76.2%. The only way the consumer can reduce their bills is to invest in electric vehicles, heat pumps to heat our homes (even if air-air units), and build all the wind power we can get our hands on. The consumer can save huge bucks by going all-electric, both commuting to work and back and in the home. Itís that simple.
Originally published on: John H. Weaver