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Plugging In to the Future

Wall Street Journal – August 6, 2007

Great article this morning in the Wall Street Journal on a plug-in add-on for the Toyota Prius. Evidently, with this aftermarket plug-in, the Prius can be plugged into the wall and then run about 40 miles with just electric power that was pulled from the grid.

There may be some safety problems with the current design (these are the types of batteries that Dell recently had trouble with) but the progress is very heartening! Most people in the US would probably have to change their lifestyle and commute to really make a hybrid worthwhile but it is a definite start.

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Ford says hydrogen cars close to production

USA Today – July 11, 2007

This is great news. Regardless of your personal feeling on global warming, you probably want us to start using alternative fuels that are cleaner, safe, and don’t adversely affect our trading balance with the world (if you are in the US).

Hydrogen has been discussed for a long time as a great alternative fuel. This article discusses burning hydrogen (as opposed to using hydrogen fuel cells). I think that may actually be a more cost effective method of using hydrogen but I will let market economics dictate that.

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The climatic effects of water vapour

physicsweb – May 2003

This article is a couple of years old but it is excellent. I have been meaning to write about it for some time but there have been recent discussions on the web regarding the thermodynamic tendencies of the entire planet, as it relates to space and the sun with comparisons to the Moon, Venus and Mars.  While these discussions are scientifically interesting, they do not really address the issue at hand. 

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Biodiesel Jetta uses far less fossil fuels than a Prius, says university biodiesel group

AutoblogGreen – May 9, 2007

AutoblogGreen is a very well written blog and you should consider it in your regular reading. This particular article discusses a study by Univ. of New Hampshire that tried to determine the fuel footprint of a variety of vehicles that are generally considered to be fuel efficient.

The one thing that I think is missing in this analysis (and tends to be missing in many articles about hybrid vehicles) is the environmental cost of huge batteries. Many of these batteries contain metals that are not good for the environment and take energy and special care to build and to dispose of after their life is over.

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