GM's new Volt

Alternative energy sources
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The usual. As I have two large solar PV systems here, and my lab assistant just put one in, and others are interested in things like this, here's where that stuff goes. This is mostly for things that work now, not "gee someday a fusor will do this" -- we know that, but it's not someday yet.
The hope is to save anyone embarking on this sort of thing a lot of wasted time and money, as at least I have been off the grid since 1980 and have had a lot of practice (and made mistakes you won't have to).

Re: GM's new Volt

Postby Doug Coulter » Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:50 pm

It was better if you know Bob Lutz. I've never seen anyone shut him up before - he's pretty doggone outspoken.
It is true that there are a lot of things other than CO2 that affect the planet - a long term history shows at first, big ice age cycles, with the cycles getting shorter "recently" in geologic time anyway. In fact, some study I read said that we should be re-entering an ice age right about now, instead of recording record temperatures and ice melts all over the world this year, which we are. And the last couple decades. Were we following the recent short ice age cycle, we'd be worrying about the opposite instead - something's changed here.

It's too slow to matter to me personally - future generations might hate us, but we'll be dead anyway. It does stand to reason that if we put all the carbon and methane back into the air that obtained during the dinosaurs, we'll be increasing the chances that we get the same climate again, though, and that one had half this country underwater. The earth is always either in or approaching some sort of dynamic equilibrium, of course, the "balance of nature" always obtains - it just might not be one especially friendly to humans, is all.

I agree that urban people (many of whom claim to be such because it limits the need for transport) can't get enough energy from the sun, there's simply not room for that. Actually, in this country, most people live in the suburbs - the urban sprawl, and they get plenty of roof space - the US is nowhere near as dense as most of Europe or UK. Luckily, I think. Of course, solar isn't the only way as you point out - nuclear, if the human race ever becomes responsible enough to do it - I think we've proved we aren't, is one. Wind, hydro etc also work pretty well where they work, and this trend towards putting wind power out in the oceans is encouraging - perfect place - no obstructions for wind, no eye-sore for most.

In the US, coal just recently became the least prevalent source of electricity - it's last behind nat gas and nuclear+renewables. I think that's a good sign, coal is nasty stuff on a lot of levels, which isn't to say I don't have 8 tons of it in my back yard as "thermal security" should the need arise. It's still pretty nasty to mine, to store, to burn, but at least it keeps longer than the dead wood I harvest from my woodlot which is going back to CO2 one way or another - if I don't burn it, the termites and fungus do.

And we ARE running an experiment. Sure, CO2 has been all over the place during history. But this is the first time we've been the major reason for the rise with our own voluntary activities. Some of those "mini ice ages" were spawned by "random events", in other words, volcanic eruptions that do add CO2, but also aerosols that have a profound opposite effect so the net is "the dark ages" which literally were...and cold.

I seem to recall that when I was born, the CO2 levels were about half or less what they are now, and it was a lot cooler then....sure, that's anecdotal, but it's also true, and I'm aware correlation isn't causation. But it is true. Humans, BTW, are knocked cold by 1k ppm, not 2k - we cannot survive 1k, and we're over 340 now.

Not that I particularly care. I'm not a greenie, I do what I do for reasons of fun and freedom more than anything else. Yea, I live in a "nature preserve" but it is that because I'm too lazy to be a good farmer. I drive a a solar=charged electric car to have freedom from a monthly bill from some very nasty people, and to avoid sending money to countries that basically want me dead. I don't want to be the reason for all those wars in the ME and innocent deaths due to our lust for oil - or in Libya due to Europe's fascination with diesel that requires Libyan light sweet to be practical. Sure was easy to get NATO in on that one - and that's the reason. We let genocide go down worldwide except for countries that have oil, it's pretty obvious what the motives are. Either give us the cheap oil we require, or we'll beat the crap out of you and take it anyway is a pretty obviously valid take on recent history. And I agree - we're wasting an important, limited resource that has a lot of other truly good uses.

I am against big cities, having grown up in them and now seeing the difference now that I'm nowhere near any of them - they are stupid, mismanaged cesspits, and the people in them are self-trapped in the main.
They think they need their huge incomes to pay their huge expenses, not knowing there's another way if you're not in a city and actually produce things on your own initiative rather than being a wage slave to some big company. They think they have "culture" we lack, even though, as I'm finding out on google+, nearly all the musicians and artists who are any good DON''T live in cities. Funny that.

(I know this because I also hang out on other discussion boards with some "survivalists" who think a backpack and a gun will save them from anything, and who think that if they show up in a place like mine with their gun and gold I'll happily welcome them - even though I have more of both those things, no need, and kinda like my privacy. Mentioning that really pisses them off. Telling them it takes years to be accepted as a new guy in the sticks is met with disbelief, since they just don't know how things are anyplace but where they are, and so on. However, my own efforts, which have very little to do with their politics or beliefs, make me a sort of hero to that crowd. They still don't like it when I point out the real reasons I've done these things.)

They call us hicks...because we produce things, and they skim off the top with paper pushing, they think they have it made off our backs - taxes go to cities net, and they import our goods and export their pollution to us. This may not go on forever, people are waking up out here. City folk are ultra-dependent, think groceries come from the grocery store, and only a minor disruption of a few days in their supply chains is enough to create panic and take months to recover from - JIT inventory is dangerous at the margin, and there simply aren't enough roads and trucks to make up for a couple days loss if the JIT systems fail. The grocery stores don't even know how to do things by hand at all anymore. And this really isn't news, it's been taught by logistics professors at war colleges worldwide for officers of the military for many decades.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dio ... atmosphere has some interesting numbers of how the "natural" cycles have gone completely off-track since the industrial revolution. The increase would be worse if the oceans didn't sink a lot of it - but now the lowering of pH in the oceans is becoming a problem for a lot of life forms in it, corals in paricular, but also some of the beings (algae) that produce most of the oxygen we breathe (it's not mostly the forests, I was surprised to find out awhile back).

But again, I don't care that much - it will take care of itself one way or another I'm sure, and with it, a probable decrease in human population, which would be a healthy thing compared to the current struggles we have over resources - they'd just go away with a lower population since there'd be a lot more per capita and no need to fight over it. We've however, since nukes, lost the usual cure - send all the young guys out someplace to kill a bunch of each other, thus not only getting a step reduction in population, but also darwinially reducing those who tend towards violence, while letting the smarter and quicker ones survive. It's now just too dangerous to have such a major war - someone might go nuclear... And yet another reason to get out and stay out of major cities - cesspools full of losers you can't avoid since they live within feet of you, and who often as not, are not net producers of more than they consume.

This is better, but not possible for all at current population levels, to be sure. But it doesn't have to be this good to be a lot better than it is. My expertise allows me to get paid for producing things that require very little transportation costs - I used to just sell bits - IP - code - blueprints, for example. The Internet is the most deflationary invention in all history. It's particularly hard on paper pushing middlemen who are no longer needed to connect suppliers and consumers - and they never really created the level of value they charged us all for anyway. It does bring up the problem of what to do with all the people who used to survive by doing things that are now useless, however.
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Re: GM's new Volt

Postby chrismb » Mon Aug 20, 2012 3:45 pm

Doug Coulter wrote: some study I read said that we should be re-entering an ice age right about now,


Doug, to clarify - the planet is currently in an ice age. It started around 2.5 million years ago and is called the Quaternary glaciation.

The previous ice age, the 'Karoo', lasted 100 million years running from around 360 to 260 million years ago.

The one before that, Andean-Saharan, was around 30 million (450 to 420 million years ago).

So looks like we've got somewhere between 10 and 100 million years left of the current ice age, based on previous ones.

An ice age is when the poles of the planet have permanent ice on them all the year around. In the history of the planet, this is not typical and for most of the time there has been no ice on the poles. The maximum extent of glaciation during an ice age is around Europe/Mid America, and during the interglacial periods (as we're in) glaciation recedes, and during glaciation periods they advance.

[To the greenies out there who might read this: Of course the glaciers are receding, we're in an interglacial! That's what glaciers do in an interglacial!!!!]

Glacial and inter-glacial periods last around 50,000 years a pop.

Summary - we likely have 10 to 100 million years of glaciation moving back and forth before we come out of this ice age. During ice ages there will be periods where the glaciers recede, and when they advance. These are glacial cycles. We're right in the middle of an interglacial. Climate is critically unstable during interglacial periods, because the climate 'attractor' is poised to drop back into a glacial period any moment.

Hope that clarifies it, and puts this CO2 murlarky into context!
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Re: GM's new Volt

Postby Doug Coulter » Mon Aug 20, 2012 4:40 pm

A quick bit of looking over at wikipedia shows that there are both major and minor cycles (one of the minor ones is a mere 26k years, which should be going back to more ice right now), not just the one periodicity you mention, FWIW, and we "should" be heading down, instead of up, at a record rate, for what it's worth, right now. Sure, these things aren't perfect cycles, timed to the second, but ice was supposed to be increasing, not decreasing as it is, for the last 5 or so decades. Now the "why" is in some question of course, and the plots of CO2 and temperature are so close to perfect correlation it's very hard to tease apart cause and effect - there's just this very high correlation at the time resolution we have in that data. In fact, we actually do know of some mechanisms that put out more CO2 with higher temperatures, just not exactly how much more.

There appear to be more than one driver of all this - the wobble in earth's orbit being only one of them, the output of the sun another, greenhouse another and it just goes on and on forever.

Again, I don't care that much myself - I hate cold. But things are changing so fast over the last decade or so, that my trees are noticing and not doing well - they can't exactly migrate to better climes for them.
And the spread of what used to be tropical-only diseases and pests away from the equator is a very loud signal indeed - and as far as we know, unique in all history (from the fossil records). Something's going on, don't know what, and don't care that much why - but just ignoring the data seems fairly dumb too. AGW may be just another of the fads that take over science now and again, but we can't know that for certain, I think.

I'm not a greenie! - just about exactly zero of what I do is motivated by that, even though it winds up with me having a low to negative carbon footprint myself (some of the harvested wood around here gets made into lumber that is protected from decay for long periods, and encourages more growth of the other trees). For me, it's just maintaining a nice wood lot. The Solar is because I'm cheap, didn't want to be beholden to a power company (they really are nasty), and because I get a huge tax benefit from it - since the power company is in charge of building permits (!) crony capitalism all the way, I don't have to have them since I don't do business with them. Personal property taxes on my 4 dwellings are then far less - they are classed as "barns" instead of "homes" as a result, making my ROI time on the solar a mere 2 years, and all profit after that. That's X bucks a month I don't have to make to pay the power co - freedom from having to work for that money. That's my real reasons, and I'm sticking to it!

While I admit I bought some of that land to prevent developing it, that's just my curious taste. I like having almost perfect privacy and the freedom to do whatever the heck I feel like doing - anyone objecting is trespassing or they don't know about it. You know, I can say "now get off my lawn" and make it stick...that's kinda cool.

The theme that runs through all this is personal freedom and responsibility on my part, it has little or nothing to do with the hysteria about warming - I started out on this course long before that even got onto the radar, actually. More interesting was the adventure of starting with "nothing" and becoming pretty self-reliant - not only an adventure, it just feels pretty good to "be there" at this point. No, I'm a long way from "perfect" self sufficiency and always will be - one guy even said (he's a jerk on a few other boards I inhabit) that if I bought so much as an ax head from "the system" that violates the idea. Phooey, is what I say to that - and I COULD actually mine iron ore and make one with the tools I've now got - but that would just be a lotta work and my time has more value than that - ax heads are pretty cheap at the store and last generations. I think I'm just being smart with money and time on that kind of thing. Since the system exists, why not take advantage of it while it does - particularly for things that will live a lot longer than me.

I could make solar cells in my vacuum setup too - but why? They're so doggone cheap now it'd be silly to waste the time and effort. And some that I bought back in '79 are still putting out full power! Sure, not as much per buck (either with or without inflation taken into account) as the new guys, but...power is power, the loads don't care.
Posting as just me, not as the forum owner. Everything I say is "in my opinion" and YMMV -- which should go for everyone without saying.
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Re: GM's new Volt

Postby solar_dave » Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:58 pm

chrismb wrote:.

The thing they missed out on discussing was where the electrical energy comes from. It's great that there is a whole band of solar-powered chaps like you, Doug, that are running these things 'with free energy', but that's a finite market. The majority of people live in urban environments where it is impossible to get the real-estate to install sufficient panels. I rather suspect you also get quite a bit more (and better average, over the year) solar energy than in the more cloud-covered and dark wintered northern latitudes. Discussing the ultimate motive energy for electric vehicles is always part of the story. Nuclear should be able to fulfil that requirement, but you'll need a GW station for each major city. Will that ever be acceptable whilst there is still oil to burn?

<snip>

I guess I'm beginning to side with a solar-powered view that has essentially the whole of the 4 corner states/sahara covered with solar panels, and connected to US/Europe (respectively) by long distance HVDC lines. Clearly an engineering effort to build and continue to operate in those conditions is mind-boggling, but if that's what needs to be done, then that's what needs to be done. That or nuclear. What other options are there to run EV's?


Hi guys I am a newbie here so please be gentle! :shock:

Here in the southwest US it is pretty easy to have enough solar to do mostly 100% of consumption. We have 2 Chevy Volts and for the most part run our whole operation off solar grid tie.

Here is an aerial view of our setup
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Re: GM's new Volt

Postby Doug Coulter » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:31 pm

No worries, and nice setup Dave! Chris is our resident skeptic here - he doesn't really bite, but he'll bark. He does, however, live in a very built up area unlike most of the US (UK), so he tends to look at things with a bit of bias toward his own situation and what he sees around him daily - something I suspect we all suffer from at times. Most people who visit here from there remark just how big and not-dense most of the US is compared to their previous experience in UK or Europe, where just about all of it is packed with buildings, being older as countries than we are, by quite a lot. Of course, that's not universally true, but London for example might be compared to one of our larger cities in density, where Solar just ain't gonna get 'er done for most. So indirectly, he's reminding us how lucky we are, in truth.

Edit:
Dave - it would be totally cool for you to start a new thread and give us a walkthough of your nice system for the solar newbs here. I should do a better (and less scattered one) myself. There is another Dave (Knight) here who also has a huge system, semi-grid-tie, and he lives in a fairly dense city, but I've not got him to post about it yet. He has batteries too, and does load-shaving for peak hours with it, and even is running a bread bakery with it. He's driven a Volt, but hasn't bought one yet. Dave likes to have the batteries and multiple inverters for the UPS feature, and to have more control over where the energy goes, and when. His system is under the local power company, so sell-back for him is a waste of time and money - 7::1 ratio of what they charge vs what they'll pay. So for him, load shaving is the best approach.
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Re: GM's new Volt

Postby solar_dave » Tue Aug 21, 2012 3:15 pm

Thanks Doug, I will cook up a thread on my system.
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Re: GM's new Volt

Postby chrismb » Tue Aug 21, 2012 4:29 pm

Welcome, Dave. Great set-up!


Doug Coulter wrote:Chris is our resident skeptic here

If that means never taking anyone's word for something, always wanting to see the raw evidence, and stress-testing propositions for any logical inconsistencies, then for sure I'll wear that with pride, as a badge of honour, Doug !!

(I've not received such an accolade in a long time!! :D )

Don't get me wrong on the EV/solar thing - if I could afford the Volt and the real-estate to do solar-powered recharging, I'd be right on there too. Nothing to do with CO2, it's simply the 'right' engineering solution, if you can do it. But there is no hope of that for me, and I think mine is a situation the vast majority are also in.

You guys are doing dead-on the right thing to do, because you can! Anything I can say after that is envy and/or survival measures. In this case, I drive an ageing 60mpg diesel car that costs less than shoe leather to run.

Ultimately, my running costs would be vastly less than someone with an EV (at least here in UK, given purchase costs of cars and price of electricity). Maybe even cheaper than someone with a solar set-up too. Oh and not forgetting the 750mile non-stop range on one tank. But, like I said, that's just pure envy [of a sceptic] speaking! ;) ;)
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Re: GM's new Volt

Postby solar_dave » Tue Aug 21, 2012 5:09 pm

Yeah Chris it is the wife who is the greenie, I class myself as a capitalist with green advantage tendencies. With my utility rebates and the Fed Tax credits I got an ROI on my system in about 3.5 years give or take. It was a no brainer to do Volts and Solar going into retirement soon. Of course we also did all the conservation stuff too.
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http://phx-solar.no-ip.info:8081/Footprints.html
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Re: GM's new Volt

Postby Doug Coulter » Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:55 pm

Chris - I DID mean it as a compliment :P

Dave, we have unlimited space and BW. What I do is take a lot of pix, use the "upload attachment" thing to get each up, then once the board has them, the button changes to "place inline" so you can have them where you want vs the text, it's pretty nice (make sure your cursor is where you want it before hitting the button, it gets reset during the upload). If they are big (I do usually scale them down to about 1280 by whatever, or 1024), they show up small, but get big when a user clicks on them. You can also embed youtube movies, I think there's a thread here somewhere that tells how, but basically you get the stuff after v= in the URL (but skip & and anything after that) and put it inside youtube tags, which you get by hitting the button above. That's what I like about this board sofware. What I don't like is in the 45 sec I had registrations open, I also got two spam bots signing on that I managed to kill before they could fully authorize.
We get a lot of hits...I guess that's it.

Yeah, on the green - I look for everyone-wins situations all the time, zero-sum is for losers.
Posting as just me, not as the forum owner. Everything I say is "in my opinion" and YMMV -- which should go for everyone without saying.
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Re: GM's new Volt

Postby johnf » Tue Oct 09, 2012 2:35 pm

Okay
the Volt has been released here with plenty of hype
a price tag of $85000 NZ$ = 78,000 US$
The press release is at pains to point out that the price is discounted as the real price should be 120,000 --wot a pile of self serving crap

i'll have to wait a couple of years to get a second hand one for around half whats being asked
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