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Archive for the ‘Future Fuels’ Category

The largest solar installation in SoCal history, some 600,000 solar panels atop a distribution center in Fontana, is complete as of yesterday~ Just 1 of 150 solar projects planned for factory and warehouse roofs in SoCal, this site will produce enough electricity to power 1,300 homes. 

Check it out in more detail!  LINK

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Very cool competition, anyone got any ideas:

 

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G.M. at 100: Is Its Future Electric? – NY Times (Me Wanty a Volt!)

Tapping Power From Trash (Of the landfill/methane sort) – NY times

Products derived from natural, nontoxic ingredients — once seen as fringe — are now mainstream. – LA Times … Commentary: This movement, in my opinion, is a bi-product of the internet revolution (a connection rarely talked about). With consumers having greater access to information, as well as products from around the globe, consumers can be more selective, and quickly learn about the benefits of one product over another. Instead of going to the local store to buy whatever they’ve decided we should be buying, we can go online, and buy products with almost perfect information. So when we have two computers for the same price, one that requires a ton of energy, and one that is energy efficient, (or one that polluted the earth in it’s assembly more than another) the consumers choice is simple. While this commentary is maybe outside the scope of this article, I think it is important to keep our eyes open as to the broader impacts on consumer activities in the internet age. I wonder, what will be next? Will we eventually revisit the “buy local” or made in the USA craze from the 80’s? Increased product customization? Only buy from companies who practice “responsible” corporate policies? Only use banks that avoid subprime lending markets? It should be interesting…

Federal inquiry could delay clean-trucks program at ports of L.A. and Long Beach – LA Times

Palin asks Schwarzenegger to veto fees aimed at cutting pollution at California ports – LA Times

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Registration is open for the National NGV (Natural Gas Vehicle) Conference-Summit, taking place October 4-5 in San Diego, California, just prior to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Annual Meeting and Expo. Themed “GEAR UP! Capture the Momentum,” this year’s Conference-Summit will bring together clean-air/clean-transportation customers and advocates plus NGV industry stakeholders and policymakers, to strategize on the steps necessary to capture the current market momentum for NGVs and generate sustained growth in the future. For more information, and to register, click here

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This is a great addition to the growing fuel choices available in West LA. To date, I am aware of the following alternative fueling stations:

1.       A Hydrogen pump on Santa Monica Blvd  Link

2.       A CNG Pump at UCLA – Link

3.       A BioFuel Station on San Vicente and Barrington  http://www.conservfuel.com/

4.       And we have a Tesla Dealership, which is pretty awesome too.

Go West LA for being ahead of the game here!

More Info From UCLA’s Site:

This station is ideally located at 741 Charles E. Young Dr. South (just north of the intersection of Gayley Drive and Charles E. Young Dr. South)., providing the CNG community with enhanced fueling infrastructure in support of the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s (SCAQMD’s) “Clean Fuel Programs.” UCLA currently has a total of 62 fleet vehicles powered by CNG, including 14 campus shuttle buses which “keep UCLA moving” and support the University’s sustainable transportation mission. LINK for more info…

From the Clean Energy Press Release:

“It’s clean air day at UCLA!” said Sherry Lewis, Associate Director, UCLA Transportation, as she kicked off August 28 ribbon-cutting ceremonies for the University’s new Clean Energy Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fueling station.

Along with UCLA fleet vehicles, the public access CNG station will serve taxicabs, passenger cars and shuttle vans operating in the West Los Angeles area. Compared to gasoline or diesel, CNG fuel provides significant reductions in health-harming, smog-forming pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions.

James Harger, Clean Energy Senior Vice President, told dedication ceremony guests, “We are proud to join with UCLA Fleet and Transit Services to open this new station, and we commend the University for its commitment to clean air, both on campus and in the communities surrounding it.”

Jack Powazek, Associate Vice Chancellor, UCLA General Services, added, “This CNG fueling station represents an ongoing partnership between the University and Clean Energy. The company will own, operate and maintain the facility, along with marketing its services to CNG vehicle owners in our area.”

The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) and MSRC (the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee) joined with Clean Energy to help make the new UCLA CNG station a reality. Sam Emmersen, MSRC Outreach Coordinator, asserted, “This a tremendous achievement toward improving air quality.”

With the addition of the UCLA station, Clean Energy now operates 16 public access CNG fueling facilities in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

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Hydrogen has really been gaining some ground these days. Most recently, the Department of Energy just earmarked around $15 million for research focused on extended the driving range of a hydrogen powered fuel cell vehicle. Something I didn’t realize,  was that hydrogen fuel cells are generally getting around 180 miles to the tank (doesn’t specify size of tank), which isn’t very good compared to 350 range achieved by gas powered cars (how incredible is oil!? If only we didn’t have to worry about running out…) This announcement (as the article also points out), comes on the heels of another major announcement coming from the fed: “DOE earmarks $130 Million in funding for research on fuel cell technologies

All of this news, including the recent release of the Honda Clairity, and the installation of a hydrogen pump in nearby west la, makes me think about a short conversation I had in 2005 with the then President of Ballard Power Systems (one of the largest fuel cell manufacturers in the US). I caught up with him after he briefed the Senate Energy and Narutal Resources Committee Energy Subcommittee on the state of fuel cells, and hydrogen as a vehicle fuel. In the presentation, he reviewed the state of fuel cell technologies at the time, and summarized his statements with the following comments: “we know what the technical challenges are, we have multiple technology paths that we are pursuing, and we are confident that we can meet or exceed the DOE targets by 2010.”  After the meeting, I spoke with him briefly, and i asked him “seriously, do you honestly think we will have HYDROGEN CARS BY 2010? Honestly? (my skepticism clearly got the best of me).” He confidently said, “I’m sure of it.” I didn’t believe him at the time, but i’m slowly coming around 😉 Let’s get those puppies on the road!

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So, the new Hydrogen powered Honda FCX Clarity is all the rage at the moment here in LA, and just this morning I witnessed actress Jamie Lee Curtis showing it off to MSNBC. Seeing this reminded me of an article I saw a little while back in the LA times documenting how all the celebrities are hungry to get a hydrogen car, to “out-green” each other.

“Agents have been working overtime to get their clients driving hydrogen. The BMW has been working its way through Hollywood, with the help of Creative Artists Agency, for about a year and has a two-month waiting list. Honda said 50,000 people had signed up online to lease the Clarity, which rolls out in July. GM uses William Morris Agency to arrange its pairings. Among the most recent recipients were “American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest and producer Jerry Bruckheimer.”

All I really wanted to point out this post is, that just as these celebrities’ movie stunts are mostly products of specials effects, so it seems, is their commitment to actually purchasing the most environmentally responsible vehicle. For the  past DECADE, as hollywood “green”ines have been driving their hummers while complaining about how auto-companies won’t build environmentally responsible car’s, Honda has been selling CNG powered Civics which are powered by one of the cleanest combustion engines in the world. Why weren’t their agents calling Honda about reserving any of these CNG Civics?

While, I understand the defense, that it’s not very easy to find a place to fill up on natural gas, this point is null after what I’ve been seeing with this hydrogen craze… considering that there are only 61 hydrogen fueling station in the ENTIRE COUNTRY. Compare this to natural gas, which – in addition to an established local fueling infrastructure – for a few extra bucks, you can fill up your natural gas tank at HOME!

The last defense they might try would be of course, the very cool fact that hydrogen fuel produces ZERO emissions, whereas natural gas vehicles still creates some trace emissions. This would be a valid position, if it weren’t for the fact nearly all of our Hydrogen supply here in the US is produced from natural gas. So, celebrity friends, I appreciate your advocating lifestyles, but I hope you realize that your Hydrogen powered car is really being powered by natural gas… and actually most likely, the amount of energy needed to make that hydrogen your using is more than the energy your actually getting from it as a fuel… so basically, you’re driving an inefficient natural gas vehicle. Why don’t you take a look at the Civic then?

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