25 September 2006

All Good News

Still hammering away at school, so just a quick post to update my observations. This article at MSNBC has gasoline headed towards $1.15/gallon. While Honda moves steadily along towards a 2008 introduction of their FCX Fuel cell vehicle in the US and Japan which uses absolutely no gasoline whatever. I have been somewhat skeptical about hydrogen but with Honda bringing their formidable R&D prowess to bear I am becoming a believer.

Honda is making astounding progress, be sure to read the article. Their fuel cells have gone from 445lbs in 1999 to only 148 lbs in the latest version slated for 2008 production. Honda is also readying a new generation of diesel powerplants that will be able to meet the very stringent CARB standards. Diesel is the best transition technology to fuel cell vehicles because they will easily last 300-400 thousand miles before overhaul; while a hybrid will need new battery packs well before this, if not multiple replacements before this mileage is achieved. With each replacement pack costing $4,000.00-$6,000.00 the economics of hybrid ownership just do not add up when one considers that diesel engines offer comparable fuel mileage but costs significantly less to operate over the life of the vehicle .

Meanwhile the USAF is gearing up to replace foreign sourced crude oil based JP8 jet fuel with coal or natural gas based synthetic derived fuels that will not be vulnerable to overly sensitive or opportunistic foreign powers. Smart move. This will make our military forces much much more energy independent and able to get about the business of sticking it to bad actors wherever they may be. The new synthetic jet fuels may also be able to deliver cleaner emissions. Jet fuel is very close in makeup to diesel and heating oil so other energy segments stand to benefit from this research as well.

Don't forget that the US is basically the Saudi Arabia of coal. Of course the commercial airline fleet operators are also interested in this as well. Such technology could even be a major export business opportunity as China has enormous coal fields of their own that could be utilized for this purpose.

All these developments swirling about are going to put a serious hurt on the demand for foreign sourced crude over the next ten-twenty years. As I pointed out at this blog earlier this year oil is not the end all of economic activity as some scare-mongers would have you believe. Nor does oil alone, drive foreign policy decisions, in spite of what Chomsky-Moore-Dean et al would have you believe. -SpinDaddy