Saturday, January 19, 2013

Range extender for fuel-cell powered automobiles

That was a reminder to look at this post again.  Incorporated as the seventh part of the series analyzing the Aronsson fuel /cell battery concept.

The idea at that time was to add a range extender as a trailer.  If the trailer could be kept to a small size and weight, it could be an easier idea to implement.  Why have all that equipment if you aren't going to use it all the time?  With this concept, you would only hitch it up when you needed extra range.

Since the time I wrote this post, I found the Aronsson interview on YouTube and learned a few things about his batteries and his fuel cell technology.

It appears that his equipment could meet those requirements of lightweight and size that could make this idea work.

The heaviest component could be the dilute ammonia solution that would serve as fuel for the fuel cell.  In the trailer, the ammonia solution will be de-watered and then cracked into hydrogen and nitrogen.  The nitrogen will be vented into the atmosphere and the hydrogen will be fed into the fuel cell.  The output will be electricity and water.

Previous posts on this idea had a twenty gallon tank weighing in about 300 lbs or so. Let's recap the calculations.  Ammonia's mass is 17 g/mole, which means that 17 kg of the stuff will yield 3 kgs of hydrogen according to its molecular formula NH3.  If it is 10% by weight, then 170 kg will have the 17 kg of ammonia and the 3 kg of hydrogen that we need to run the fuel cell.  That means it weighs 374 lbs not including the tank.

A couple of 5 kilowatt-hour fuel cells would weigh less than 200 lbs, I would guess.  Same for the cracker and de-watering gadget.  The whole she-bang could weigh about a 1000 lbs.  Too much?

This could add about 150 miles to the range of a battery powered car, which would be the base vehicle.  You would only use this trailer if you want to extend the range of your vehicle.  This could make the vehicle more useful to its owner.  The trailer could be owned outright, or rented as needed.  The base vehicle would be all-battery powered.

Anhydrous Ammonia safety video preview

Part of my work as a delivery driver was to sometimes go into chemical plants.  Before being allowed to enter some of these sites, you were required to watch a safety video or something like this video here.

By no means is this a complete instructional video, as I have watched more than a few before posting this one.  Those few had some disclaimers which denied that even those- which were much longer than this- were not complete instructional videos.

Suffice it to say that ammonia is bad stuff and must be treated with the greatest care.

Fight Arthritis: 10 Foods That Help and Hurt

Helpful foods
  1. Fatty fish (salmon, herring, sardines) or any other food with omega-3 fatty acids, such as walnuts, soy beans, flax seeds, canola oil and pumpkin seeds
  2. Extra-virgin olive oil
  3. Sweet peppers, citrus fruits and other vitamin C-rich foods
  4.  Brazil nuts
  5. Onions and leeks
  6. Tart cherries
  7. Green tea
  8. Bad food #1: Shellfish, red meat (only if you have gout)
  9. Bad food #2: Sunflower, safflower, corn and soybean oils
  10. Bad food #3: Sugar
Sugar is also bad for Triglycerides.

Next Big Future: 50 Tesla and Other Superconducting Possibilities

Next Big Future: 50 Tesla and Other Superconducting Possibilities: 1. Charging superconductors will get a lot more efficient and cost effective 2. Superconducting magnets could achieve 50 tesla in about 5 y...


Superconducting magnets inside electric motors could be a big deal.

Can Outrage over the Zealotry of Federal Prosecutors Outlast Swartz Case?

As Reason readers know, overzealous behavior by federal prosecutors is hardly a new phenomenon...He hopes the activism in response to Swartz’s suicide doesn’t end just with proposed changes to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act...The goal in these cases isn't to stop and punish someone who is a serious threat to other people. It's to send a message to the rest of us: Defy the government as this person did, and here is what will happen to you.


Yeah, so what's the point of going after Swartz so hard?  I don't think it was because he "stole" some copyrighted material.  I think it was because he thwarted an attempt to gain unjustified control over the internet and the free expression of ideas that take place on it.  In other words, it was punishment for defying their intentions to gain complete and total control over us all.

We've got a real problem here.

The trouble with ammonia

( Sixth in a series)

This is something that I had forgotten about.  There was an accident here 36 years ago in the Houston area which involved anhydrous ammonia.  By the way, anhydrous means pure ammonia, not the watered-down kind that you buy at grocery stores.

The accident was caused by the sloshing around of the ammonia inside its tank and excessive speed of the 18 wheeler that was hauling it.  It went too fast on the ramp and overturned, going over the ramp, and landing on the freeway below.

The accident killed 7 people and injured over 100 people.  The pictures of the ammonia cloud is scary.  I suppose you could get into the middle of it not knowing what you had just driven into and having it be something that could kill you.

The cloud dissipated in 5 minutes according to the story.

An event of this kind may explain why ammonia hasn't caught on as a fuel source---either for internal combustion engines or fuel cells.

Is there any way to handle ammonia safely?

One possibility is to water it down to household strength, which would be about 10%.  You would use the current distribution method to get the ammonia where it goes to now, but once it gets there, you would dilute it for further transportation to its point of sale.

Once it got to its final distribution point, you could de-water it and then crack it into hydrogen on a "as needed" basis.

Why would you do it that way?  That's because hydrogen has its problems too.

It's always something, eh?


This is a little surprising.  The cost of hydrogen was as low as "1.00 to 2.00" lb back in 2002.  That's with lower fossil fuel prices back then, though.  Still, you have natural gas which is abundant today, so the prices shouldn't be too different from that.  Something to think about.

Economic analysis of aluminum electrolysis

Fifth of this series.

This may not be very economical.

Now, let's look at where we are in this analysis.  We've got the technical details ironed out, for the most part.  It all looks feasible from that viewpoint.  So, how much does this cost?

It would have to be better than electrolyzing water, or otherwise you are going through a lot of trouble to accomplish a task that could be simplified.  It seems that some time ago, I read that it took about 43 kwh of electricity to produce 1 kg of hydrogen.  This sort of jibes with the post here that hydrogen production and subsequent use is about 60% efficient.  Now, if it takes about 20 kwh to drive at highway speed for one hour and it takes 1 kg of hydrogen to do it, that means that efficiency wise, you've got 20/43 equal 46.5% efficient.  If you square those terms, you get about 21%.  You'd square it assuming it is the same efficiency going from water to hydrogen as it is from going to hydrogen back to water.  If you square .6, you get 36%.  Quite a range.

I'm not sure what the accurate number is, but it is rather high for electrolysis of water.  For comparison purposes, aluminum had better do a better job than this, or we are better off electrolyzing water.

Now, if you were to ship your ore, which was obtained from the process described in the earlier posts in this series, you might get an exchange that will yield a cost of 13 bucks per kilogram of hydrogen.  Not very good.

Here's how I figured that:
price of aluminum equals $0.91 lb, or about $2.00 kg
price of aluminum ore $500 ton, or about $0.55 kg

Since it takes about 9 kg of aluminum to produce 1 kg of hydrogen, multiply the difference (2.00-0.55) times 9, which gives $13.05 kg hydrogen from the necessary aluminum it would take to do the electrolysis.

You'd be shipping the ore to the processor who would give you back aluminum.  The difference is the cost of the aluminum minus the cost of the ore ( not counting shipping costs).

What about skipping the middle man and doing it all on site?  Even if you cut the costs in half, you still have to pay more than just electrolyzing water.  For example of water electrolysis, if you pay 10 cents per kilowatt hour and get 21% efficiency, the cost would be, assuming 43 kwh per kg of $4.30.  At higher numbers for kilowatt to kilogram, the two begin to be comparable.  Not sure on that one.

The bottom line is that there's no big advantage with aluminum, but it does have the disadvantage of being a more complicated process.

Danny Glover's World

In Danny Glover's World, the framers of the US Constitution intended for the Second Amendment to keep slaves under control and to steal Native American's land.

It is also useful for enslaving the rest of the world, since, as he says, America is only 5% of the world's population, and uses 33% of the world's resources.  In Danny Glover's World, in order to free the world, Americans must be disarmed!

This man has swallowed all the left's baloney---hook, line, and sinker.  He repeats all of their talking points like a well-trained parrot.

Texas A&M is a state-supported school.  How did Texas A&M come into being?  My history is a bit rusty, so this may not be totally accurate.  The University of Texas and Texas A&M were set up as land-grant colleges.  At that time, in the nineteenth century, Texas was an agricultural state.  No oil was found yet, but eventually oil was found on the land-grants that were given to these schools.  When the oil came in, they became rich.

Now these rich schools are funding this left-wing crap.  I pointed out in an earlier post that North Dakota is doing the same kind of thing.  Big mistake.


The best way to debunk Glover is to point to Switzerland.

Aaron's Law: Violating a Site's Terms of Service Should Not Land You in Jail


  • A week ago, Aaron Swartz -- social activist, geek genius -- took his own life...Facing the choice between...accept the label "felon" and go to jail or fight a million-dollar lawsuit against 13 felony indictments...
  • Aaron's alleged "crime" was that he used MIT's network to access a database of academic journal articles (JSTOR) and download millions of those articles to his laptop computer.
  • Swartz was not a copyright anarchist
  • All the government had to show to launch its witch hunt...was that he had violated JSTOR's "terms of service" and taken (as in copied) something worth more than $5,000.
  • American law does not typically make the breach of a contract a felony.
  • A breach of contract is a breach of contract. It is not an act of treason. It is not a threat to the realm.
  • Aaron Swartz is dead -- in my view, in part because of this breach of its duty by the government.

Swartz got SOPA stopped.  The government didn't like that, so they tried to make an example of him.  That's what I think.

Now they want your guns.  Swartz is one more reason why you don't give them your guns.

Eureka! ( I found it!)

A patented process to separate aluminum hydroxide from potassium hydroxide can close the loop in a hydrogen generation system for fuel cells.  [ fourth of a series studying the Apollo Electric Car]

The last part closed with the problem of removing the aluminum hydroxide from the potassium hydroxide.  The aluminum hydroxide is formed when pure aluminum is dropped into a potassium hydroxide solution in order to generate hydrogen for fuel cells.  The goal is to regenerate the aluminum again so that the system can be a closed loop--- no additional inputs needed besides water and energy.  Water for the generation of hydrogen, and energy for the regeneration of aluminum.

A google search yielded the pdf of an invention which can do this very thing.  Here's what I was looking for:

The present invention is particularly applicable to the
removal of an aluminum hydroxide precipitate from a
potasssium hydroxide electrolyte
by agglomerating said
precipitate onto the surface of a cartridge filter, remov-
ing said agglomerated particles from the surface of said
cartridge filter, and allowing said agglomerated parti-
cles to settle in said electrolyte. The average particle
size of the aluminum hydroxide particles which precipi-
tate from a potassium hydroxide electrolyte is in the
range of about 0.5 to about 20 microns. Such particles
settle in the electrolyte too slowly for efficient separa-
tion by settling. By agglomerating the particles
using a cartridge filter, the rate of settling is increased to
the extent that separation by settling can be used.

This invention appears to have been granted in 1991.  I presume that it has resulted in products that one can easily obtain and put to use in a closed loop system.

Come and take them

Johnny Cash in the background singing God's Gonna Cut You Down

Today's potpourri of WTF

what all those crazed shooters the last years had in common...all of these shooters were progressive liberal Democrats

The Darkest Design of Barack Obama...administration engaging in clandestine negotiations with China toward satisfying America’s debt to that nation via exchanges of land and resources

Whoops: PolitiFact's 'Lie of the Year' Turns Out to Be True...[Mitt Romney] Says Barack Obama "sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China" ( true!)

Al Gore Nets Another Fortune on Apple Stock [Buys 60,000 Shares Valued @ $7.48/Share!]...Apple's current market price at about $500 a share


Added this one

Shocker: Media/Liberal Internationalist Conventional Wisdom Wrong on Egypt, Muslim Brotherhood...Via @benk84: the same people who claim that Christians are plotting a "Quiverfull" military takeover of the United States also claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood was a moderate group which was "mostly secular" in outlook.

Another reason Bush was a lot better than the left says

If anything, he was a tough adversary for them.  In fact, it was the Bush administration's policies that has caused the energy production to be one of the bright spots today's economy.
The U.S. could become the largest producer of oil this year, seven years earlier than expected, a recently published BP report predicts.

“The Bush administration worked from the start on finding ways to unlock the nation’s energy reserves and reverse decades of declining output, with Mr. Cheney leading a White House energy task force that met in secret with top oil executives.”

Remember the caterwauling about Cheney’s “secret meetings” with oil industry executives? Now we know what it was about: plotting a path toward energy independence. The horror! 
There are so many reason why Romney lost, and this is another one.  He should have defended Bush and challenged the current conventional wisdom that he is the blame for the economic mess.

Friday, January 18, 2013

World's oldest democracy is well-armed

Apollo's electric car analysis, Part II

Range calculations for fuel cell/ battery combos

There was a post like this before.  You have to go back to March of 2011 to find it.

The Nissan Leaf is used as a benchmark in order to calculate the range based upon a number of driving conditions.  From those numbers, one can speculate a bit about the capacity of batteries and fuel cell combos, which is what I did back then.  From these numbers, you can estimate what kind of capacity of fuel cell you would need for a given size battery with the range according to this chart.

The chart is presented below.

For example, long distance driving, assume 55 mph highway speed, 95 degree temperature, and air conditioner on.  From this one can derive the discharge rate--in kilowatts per hour--- which is to the left of each driving condition.  As you can see, the greatest discharge rate occurs at 20 kilowatts per hour at highway speed, 95 degrees Farenheit, and air conditioner on.

Let's go back to the Mars car that Aronsson claims has a 200 mile range.  Using this chart as a basis, one can estimate the capabilities of his propulsion system in terms of kilowatt-hours.

Lets assume 20 kw drain hwy-if  he uses only one 5 kwh fuel cell, then this means 15 kwh drain hwy, if 30 kwh battery,then 2 hours drive range-about 110 miles or so.  Not far enough range.  You'd have to bump the battery up to 45 kilowatt-hours to get a sufficient range.  That's nearly twice the capacity of the Leaf's 24 kilowatt-hour batteries.

Are his batteries that good?

What about the Silver Volt?  He says 146 mile range on those batteries.  Divide 146 by 55 and you get 2.65 hours.  At 20 kilowatt drain, that would imply a little over 50 kilowatt hour battery pack.  This is what I was assuming before.  Now, a car that big may be able to house that much of a battery pack.  A battery pack of that size would weigh a whole lot.  Would that little Mars car be capable of housing nearly 45 kilowatt-hours worth of batteries?

A key point to observe--- differing conditions give different ranges.  The Leaf's range varied from 47 miles to 138 miles, depending upon conditions.  When a range is claimed, it has to be qualified based upon what the conditions.  If it is ideal conditions, such as with the Leaf, the quoted capacity of the battery may be much less than I'm calculating here.

Therefore, Aronsson's claims are unqualified, giving reason for skepticism.  You may assume highway driving, but if it were highway driving, then that is the least ideal driving condition, and therefore the capacity of the battery must be at the highest rating.  If Aronsson's claims are assuming ideal conditions, then his battery would not have much more capacity than the Leaf's.  The Leaf has a 24 kilowatt-hour battery pack.

Aronsson's claims have to be fully tested as with the Leaf here.  Otherwise, his claims don't mean much.

He did say on his videos that he took his cars on the highway to Washington DC and then to Los Angeles shortly after Obama became President.  But I haven't found any record of that event on the web.

Does anybody know of this?

Using chart derived from post of March 24, 2011  and wikipedia


This will not be the last of these posts.  More to come.  By the way, if this post seems negative, please do not misunderstand.  If anything, I am totally incredulous that this technology hasn't taken over the freaking world.  One has to assume that there is something wrong with this technology for an explanation for its non-adoption.  But what if that isn't the case?  What if this is the real deal?  The mind staggers at this proposition.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Chemistry lesson

Way back in high school, I wanted to be a chemist.  Why?  Who the hell knows, I forgot.  Now, what little chemistry I did know, I forgot that too.  It would come in handy about now.

The reason is I'm studying Aronsson's idea to use a chemical reaction in order to produce hydrogen for his fuel cells.  At first, this idea didn't seem so good, but it is starting to look better to me.

The process involves the use of a potassium hydroxide solution and aluminum.  The aluminum dissolves in the solution, releasing hydrogen.  In so doing, it collects in the solution as aluminum hydroxide.  The idea then occurred to me that if you were to get back to aluminum oxide, you can regenerate the aluminum and start the whole process over again.

It so happens that this is how aluminum is actually obtained.  Aluminum oxide is obtained through the process of calcination---described thusly:

The raw material bauxite reacts with caustic soda to aluminium hydroxide. Rotary kilns are used to convert aluminium hydroxide into aluminium oxide by driving off water.
Next to the calcination, the aluminium oxide undergoes an electrolytic process to gain aluminium.
With the production of hydrogen and aluminum hydroxide, we are already one step ahead.  So all that's remains is to heat it up in the kiln to drive off water.  Uh, oh!  I forgot something.

What about the potassium hydroxide?  That's mixed in with the aluminum hydroxide, so you need to separate it.  I've read up a bit on that, but I don't see how that is done.  Provided that you can get back to two separated chemicals, potassium hydroxide and alumnium hydroxide, then you are back where you started after getting the aluminum regenerated.

The purpose of all this is to make a closed loop system for generating hydrogen.  You would need a water source.  Actually, it is only the water that gets consumed--- if I am not mistaken.

The aluminum goes into the potassium hydroxide and dissolves into aluminum hydroxide.  As it does this, it releases hydrogen.  The hydrogen can be collected and subsequently recombined in a fuel cell so as to get the water again, plus electricity.  Since the water will be generated in another location, that is why you will need a water source where the hydrogen can be generated.  Provided that the potassium hydroxide and aluminum hydroxide can be separated without too much trouble, the whole process can take place in a closed loop.

The input would be water and an energy source.  The outputs would be hydrogen gas.  The rest of the chemicals are recycled.

Now, I got the impression that Aronsson wants to put this electrolyzer on a car.  Well, maybe all of this is too complex for a car.  You can produce the hydrogen at a plant and use it to refuel the car.  Or you can combine the hydrogen with nitrogen to make ammonia and tranport the ammonia to another site which will crack it into hydrogen and nitrogen.

You'll run your fuel cell with the hydrogen thus produced.  Either at the plant or the refueling station.  There's no need for any problem in getting hydrogen fuel for your fuel cell car.

Technical difficulties means quickie post

My computer is slow this morning.  I wanted to do another post, but the YouTube won't load the video fast enough.

Some quickie thoughts

  1. How does the President expect to reduce the number of guns on the streets with executive orders?  You can't arrest someone for disobeying an executive order.  Especially one that is in contradiction with the law.
  2. If you are going to have a gun-free zone, you are claiming a performance for service or product that should get you sued if it fails and results in deaths.  So, why aren't we talking about that?
  3.  The video I wanted to load was Epic Rap Battles of History--- Romney v. Obama.  This was to be posted rather than doing another post mortem on why Romney lost.  To put it simply, both ran a negative based campaign, and the video pretty much summed up why so many people got turned off.  There wasn't anything to vote for, so the people who did vote just voted against the other guy.
  4. I may have mentioned this before, but here goes anyway... I watched a lot of videos about Komodo Dragons.  The thing I wanted to say was that they don't look dangerous, but they really are quite dangerous.  Therefore, you can't judge a book by its cover.  Just because something doesn't look dangerous, doesn't mean it's safe.  The reverse is also true--- if it looks dangerous, it may not be.  Yet, people and animals are fooled by things that aren't what they appear to be.

Apollo's electric car analysis

A few cost figures that Aronsson gives for his electrical equipment for a fuel cell/ battery combo vehicle:

The Lead Cobalt battery cost $90 per kilowatt-hour.  You can drive about 3 miles per kilowatt-hour, so I figure for his claim of 146 miles for his Silver Volt car means that he's got about 50 kilowatt hours worth of batteries in that car.  That would figure at 50*$90 equals $4500 for the batteries in that car.

The 5 kilowatt-hour fuel cell in the videos would cost $188 per kilowatt-hour * 5 equals  $940 per unit.

He doesn't have fuel cells in his Silver Volt cars, but he would need more than 1, as 5 kilowatt-hour does not have enough power.  But what he does have in that car is a 50 horsepower rotary engine powered by gasoline.  An equivalent fuel cell in terms of power would have to be close to 10 times the 5 kilowatt-hour fuel cell.  That would be hard to put under the hood, not to mention the cost would be unnecessarily high.

What to do?

Let's say that you had 3 of these in the Silver Volt.  Thus, it could reduce the drain on the batteries to about 10 kilowatt-hours per hour, I figure.  In that case, you could drive up to 5 hours at highway speed before having to stop and recharge the batteries.  That would give about 300 mile range.  Now, if you used 3 of them, the cost would be just under $3000 dollars.  Not counting everything else you would need to support the fuel cell, the total cost including batteries, looks like about $7500, so far.

In the series of videos, he showed his Mars car concept, which was said to include just 1 of his 5 kilowatt-hour fuel cells, plus 2 of the lead cobalt batteries.  The car would have a range of just under 200 miles, he says.  I'm not clear on how that would work, and what driving conditions the Mars car could be driven in.  For example, could it be driven on the highway?   I'm a little skeptical that such an arrangement would work for highway driving.  Too much drain of the batteries and not enough fuel cell capacity to keep the batteries charged.

In comparison, the Silver Volt is a fairly large car, typical of what was driven 30 years ago.  Well, it was made 30 years ago, so that figures.  Being that it is a fairly large car, 3 kilowatt-hour fuel cells just might fit somewhere on it.  Maybe in the trunk, but that would reduce trunk space.   I think that he may have a size and weight problem.

In order to support the fuel cell with an ammonia cracker, he'd have to put that cracker in there somewhere, too.  Getting crowded.  In order to deal with that issue, he'd could just have a hydrogen tank with about a 3 kg capacity.  That should be enough for the 300 mile range, mentioned above.  The hydrogen tank would be smaller than the gas tank, saving some space.  

But solving that problem creates another.  Having a hydrogen tank would reduce the economy of the vehicle, unfortunately.  That's because putting enough hydrogen in the thing would require it to be cryogenically stored, or otherwise stored under pressure.  Doing either of these options adds to costs.  About 40% more for the fuel, but it is twice as efficient.  Thus, it may still be more fuel efficient than the gasoline version, but no longer a slam dunk.

To sum it up, it is economically feasible to do this.  However, it won't be the most elegant solution, in terms of size, weight, and economy--- therefore, it may not gain a lot of popularity.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Seems appropriate for the times

Scientific American: Climate Change Linked to Social Collapses in Greenland Since 800 B.C.

A record written in algal fat reaffirms the role of climate change in determining the fate of Greenland's Vikings and other inhabitants

This is an interesting article to me to analyze and comment upon.  There may be a little of everything here for climate skeptics and climate believers.

For instance, for a climate skeptic, it confirms what has already been stated elsewhere.  That is, that there was a Medieval Warm Period, which has no explanation in current warming theory.  After all, how do you explain this warm period when there was little man-made carbon dioxide?  No industrial revolution, no man-made climate change.  It was warm enough on Greenland to support agriculture.

But then, the article swerves into climate change orthodoxy.
Of course, it is the burning of such oil that has led to this warming in the first place, thanks to increasing concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases. Already, those increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases are warming the planet's overall climate to the point that the meltdown of Greenland's ice sheet is speeding up, which could raise global sea levels a meter by 2100 at present rates, among other impacts.
No explanation for the warming in the past, but there's plenty of explanation for the warming in the present.  It is not because of natural forces, as it must have been in the past, it has to be man-made, or so goes the orthodoxy.

 h/t Al Fin

Today's potpourri

Today's witches brew of toxic news

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Electric Car Conversion Motor Installation

There are a lot of these, but this one is fairly decent.  It could be better, but maybe they don't want to give away all their secrets, huh?


They have a website, with price quotes on an installation including batteries.


The prices seem high---$11,000 for a complete job, including parts.  Using lead acid batteries, the range would be too limited.  If you substituted Apollo's batteries, and assuming their batteries were similar in cost ( a big assumption ), you could have something almost reasonable.

This leaves me with the impression that this is a dead end.  Before it is all said and done, your costs are going to be almost as much as a new car.  So why do it?

For the economics?  Well, the batteries had better last a long time, because it will take a long time to get your money back.

In order for it to compete with the incumbent technologies, it will have to be mass produced.  The public will have to acknowledge and accept some risk.  I'm thinking of a fuel cell/ battery system utilizing pure ammonia as fuel, plus a ammonia cracker.  The risk is that ammonia is toxic and, if released, can be quite hazardous.  Safety systems can be put in place to minimize risk, but all risk cannot be eliminated.

Finally, if such a system as that cannot be accepted, there probably will never be an acceptable system that would be economical.  So, in order to beat back the threat of "global warming" should it actually exist, you would have to choose between a having an economical system along with more risk as in an ammonia system, or a more costly system that would eliminate nearly all risk.

My optimism is taking a beating.

Potpourri witches brew to start the day

Instead of a bunch of posts, I think I'll condense everything into just one this morning.

Here's an interesting discussion about the gold market.  Funny, I'm not that bullish on gold right now, but this is a persuasive post.

Things, like refrigerators and cars, are about to get connected to each other, thus called the internet of things.  This will usher in with it a host of security issues.

Obama says debt limit fight imperils elderly's checks.  Actually, he is trying to scare everybody to death so as to get the Republicans to cave again.  There won't be any spending cuts.  I've written about the trillion dollar coin idea that would end this threat and it appears Obama is opposed to this.  Of course he is.  This would end his leverage to make such a threat.  But Republicans won't do that because they are only pretending to fight Obama.  This is all theatrics---kabuki theater.  Both sides are playing their roles in this little drama with the predetermined outcome.  But The Street seems to think the Republicans are serious this time.  Or some of them are serious this time.  Or they want to look serious so that they can fool enough people back home.

I like the name of this website--- Reality Bats Last.   Read the nice little ditty on the debt limit kabuki theater. This is a kabuki theater because of the Sandy Pork Bill is going to pass. If they were serious, this wouldn't be loaded with pork.  Not serious.

Obama is going to issue executive orders on guns.  This despite the fact that there are threats of impeachment if he does that.  Levin wants to impeach on debt ceiling.    If impeachment gets anywhere, it is going to be different than the Clinton impeachment.  These are substantive issues, not about sex.  This can't be trivialized like it was back then.  But, impeachment won't get anywhere.  Nobody gives a crap about the rule of law--- are you kidding me?

Some discussion at Ace about The Internet Dumb Effect got my attention.  Two coined terms 1) SUXXOR and 2) RUXXOR.  They mean 1) absolute hate or 2) absolute love.  General impression is one of shallowness and immaturity.  Not very reassuring about the future.


How much does one trillion dollars weigh?  Not a mere trivia question. The answer is that it weighs about as much as a small ship. The printing presses can print that much money at a fairly low cost. So, here's one for you---print up a trillion dollars worth of 100 dollar bills and deposit it in the Fed.  They'd probably refuse, but, if so, inquire as to how much would they accept-- anything?  If they won't accept anything, wouldn't that tell you something?

A rough guess would be about 200 semi-truck loads would carry the 11000 tons.  That's 50 tons * 200 loads.  You could swing that.  But where would you put it?  Maybe Fort Knox?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mark Farner, Don Brewer, and Grand Funk and the power of email

Mark Farner had a pacemaker put in this past November.  He is 64 years old.  If you don't know who Mark Farner is, he is/was a rock star of the 70's.  He is very much pro-gun as Ted Nugent, at least from what I've read about him on his own website.  I think I came across this as a consequence of that plus a few other things.  Farner is also pretty pro-environment too, for all you greenie types.

Anyway, having read about the operation, I came across an interview with Don Brewer, who was in the rock group Grand Funk Railroad, along with Farner.  There was a falling out between Farner and the two other original band members---Brewer and Schacher.  As a result, Farner was voted out and now cannot use the name Grand Funk without some severe restrictions.  The band tours frequently now, but it isn't the same group as before without Farner.

This turn of events has been explained by Farner, but nothing else stands out which would give the other side of the story.  I thought the interview with Brewer would shed a bit of light on it, but it didn't.  Most fans seem to blame Brewer for what happened, so it would be interesting to hear his side of the story.

Anyway, in the interview, Brewer said he contacted the replacement for Farner through email.  What do you know about that?

This is all a roundabout way of saying that I emailed the Apollo company a few questions about their technology.  If I have anything to report, I will pass it along on this blog.

Chuck Hagel - It's the anti-Americanism, stupid

  • it is not at all surprising that Obama appointed Hagel
  • Hagel -- and Obama -- have bigger fish to fry than Israel. They are looking to take on the US military. They will slash military budgets, they will slash pensions and medical benefits for veterans in order to save a couple dollars and demoralize the military. They will unilaterally disarm the US to the point where America's antiquated nuclear arsenal will become a complete joke. And I don't see the military capable of stopping it. Anyone remember the F-22? 
  • By making this a story about Hagel the anti-Semite, nice senators like Lindsey Graham and John McCain are obfuscating the main problem.[ emphasis added]
  • Obama, Hagel and their army of media outlets and operatives are setting Israel up to take the blame...The campaign against Hagel the anti-Semite just plays into that while hiding the real problem which is that he is anti-American.
  • this doesn't contradict my point about Israel not being the problem with Hagel. He is an anti-Semite. And for American Jewish groups to remain silent about his appointment is worse than irresponsible. It is treacherous.
Treachery is rampant in this country.  That's why our continued survival is very much at stake.  But nobody believes that.  They believe what they are told to believe.

Obama isn't the only suspicious character in a high place

Colin Powell has been in the news a lot lately.  He is saying a bunch of stuff that is frankly off the wall.

He and Obama are deeply suspect.  There's a post on Free Republic that has him defending Clinton on Benghazi.  Unbelievable.  This guy claims he's a Republican?   No, he is a mole.  Has to be.  He ought to be disowned by the party.  But they don't have the guts.  Big backlash for "racism".

Powell has called Republicans racist, too.  If it wasn't for Republican presidents giving this guy his prominent gigs, nobody would know who the hell he was.  Talking about biting the hand that feeds ya.

You have to remember that Powell gave all that testimony in favor of going into Iraq.  But the left loves him now.  Go figure.  If they really thought Iraq was so bad as the left said it was, he should be a villain.  But he sounds more and more like one of their heroes.

Aaron Swartz--- Hero or Villain?

There is considerable debate on the comment thread here.  Plus there's some background information on the case here.  I wrote a post on his suicide recently.  It may have been self-serving on the part of Swartz to take credit for stopping SOPA.  But, I was struck by the impressiveness of the guy.  As of his character?  Frankly, I never heard of the guy before I wrote the post---I wouldn't know.  That's what the backgrounder was for.

Swartz was being aggressively prosecuted by the Obama Administration.  For me, that is probably enough by itself to be suspicious.  I am deeply, deeply suspicious of Obama.  But I'm in the minority.  There's little that can be done about people who have closed minds.  I've found out about that in the past.  All efforts to reason with people like this will fall on deaf ears.  You can try, but it will be a long and difficult battle.

Where this all leads, I don't know.


ViaMeadia:  The Death of Aaron Swartz

VM won’t directly speculate on the merits of the case as it’s beyond our core competency to judge. The indictment is here, and here is the shape of the argument that the defense was preparing to use. Friends of Aaron like Lawrence Lessig (pictured above speaking to a 15 or 16 year old Swartz) and Cory Doctorow have penned some emotional essays that will help you appreciate his legacy. [italics added, no significance except that it stands out better as a quote]

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Fixer Upper Idea

The latest brainstorm on this ammonia/fuel cell electric car idea is to take an old or worn out vehicle and fix it up.

What does this do?

It's cheaper.  Less financial risk.

I'm thinking of a particular example.  Not that long ago, my brother's truck blew an engine.  The truck itself wasn't too bad, but it had over 250k miles on it.  So, its resale value wasn't all that high even with a good engine.  With a bad engine, it was worth even less.

Now, if you can find vehicles like that and salvage them by replacing their worn out drive trains with this technology.  You wouldn't have to hock the farm to try it out and see if it can work.

Maybe Apollo wouldn't sell on those terms.  Anyway, its a thought.


I was thinking in terms of what would be useful for me personally.  Let's say that you have a vehicle such as I described.  If you replace the engine with a propulsion system and it can add 100k miles to its useful life, would it be a worthwhile investment?

To me, it a lot depends upon how much the conversion will cost.  If it cost less than 6k bucks, it would make sense. If it cost more, it gets a bit more iffy.  But that is only one way to look at it.

Now, the cost of electricity to charge the batteries would be about $0.10 per kwh divided by about 3 giving about 3.3 cents per mile.  The actual cost of fuel per mile might be close to 20 cents.  That would cost $20k for the gas over 100k miles and $3300 for the electricity.  Plus the cost for the ammonia fuel.  But, if Apollo's claims are correct, there wouldn't be much need for that.  It wouldn't cost that much since you'd be using the batteries most of the time.  Once you consider it that way, it looks like a no-brainer.

Then there's the risk.  If the propulsion system doesn't last or the vehicle doesn't last, you could be out your investment.  But that's the chance you take on any used car.  I have had lots of used cars, but never have I been burned really badly on one yet.  Doesn't mean though, that it couldn't happen.

Hollis: Post-Mortem

Townhall via Daily Kos via google via ( comment)

Wow, what a long list of links just to get to this lady!  Anyway, if you trace the links above, you see how I found it.  Never read Hollis before.

As for the content of it, whatever.  As for the content of Daily Kos, whatever.  I think I had my take on it, for what it is worth.

Hollis' essay was in 11 parts, with a short comment added:
  1. We are outnumbered--- True, but they practice identity politics, we talk ideas, sort of.
  2. It wasn’t the candidate(s)--- False, Romney was wrong.  Most Republicans didn't trust him.
  3. It’s the culture, stupid.---True.  They've got the commanding heights of the culture.  See Gramscii
  4. America has become a nation of adolescents---Oh, hell yeah.
  5. Yes, there is apparently a Vagina Vote---True.  Uncle Sam is their Sugar Daddy.
  6. It’s not about giving up on “social issues”---True, they'd better not give up.
  7. Obama does not have a mandate. And he does not need one---False, we won the House.
  8. The CorruptMedia is the enemy---Right on, right on, right on.
  9. Small business and entrepreneurs will be hurt the worst---True, but it's about control.
  10. America is more polarized than ever; and this time it’s personal---Not personal, it's business.
  11. It’s possible that America just has to hit rock bottom---No, "It's darkest before it goes pitch black"  Things won't get better, they'll just keep getting worse until there is a death of some kind.
In short, a lot of people like this lady are in denial.  They think that Romney was really, really good.  But he wasn't.  They think he should have won, so it was really somebody's else's fault, like the media and low info voters.  They think we're outnumbered.  You're always outnumbered.  So is the left.  Romney failed to connect with the rest.  etc. etc. etc.

Like I said, whatever.

Libyan Gun Control Policies Left Guards Unarmed at U.S. Compound in Benghazi

CNS News

The gun control policies of the post-Gaddafi government in Libya delayed the arming of bodyguards for U.S. diplomats in that country and left the local guard force hired to watch over the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi unarmed, according to internal State Department memos and written testimony by the State Department officer [emphasis added]

What the hell were they doing there if they couldn't be protected by armed security? Why does anyone think an unarmed security force will command the respect of terrorists?

Pretend Gun Control Just Might Work

Why not?

We've got pretend money and it "works".  All efforts have to go into keeping the illusion alive, though.  So, no trillion dollar coins are allowed--- too dangerous to the illusion.   Paper money is okay, though.  Even though platinum is worth more than paper.

Following a train of thought

In previous posts, I began discussing the possibilities of using ammonia to power an automobile.

Let's recap the posts on that subject, beginning with Greg Vezina's conversion of production vehicles to ammonia all the way up to the most recent one about using household ammonia.  ( in order of most recent to oldest )
  1. Running automobiles on household ammonia
  2. Dead Ends
  3. Updated interview of Aronsson
  4. Garland E. Harris Interviews Bob Aronsson
  5. Green Car Congress: ZAP and Apollo Demo On-Board A...
  6. Ammonia reforming
  7. Ammonia Powered Car ( update )
  8. Ammonia As A Fuel
  9. Bio-ammonia as a hydrogen source for fuel cells
This is not a complete list.  To find the posts, just click on the category label "Clean Green Driving Machines" at the bottom of this post.  Or cut and paste the titles of each post and plug it into the search this blog box at the top left corner of the home page--- just under the header on the sidebar.

The purpose of that little exercise was to consolidate my thinking up to this point.

The next step is to actually get a product that somebody could buy.  So, with that in mind, I went back to the Apollo website.  It said on the contact information something about OEM's 

So, I remembered something about Phoenix MotorCars.  They made the vehicle that Altair was putting their batteries into.  I had invested in Altair several years ago.  I followed that link to the vehicle manufacturer that makes these vehicles---SsangYong Actyon---  and brought up their website.   Their website could use a little improvement, by the way.

In order to see if they are a going concern, I followed the links provided to the news section.  They do appear to be a continuing concern, so that leads to the next question--- do they still make cars that can be converted to electric cars--- in particular, the Phoenix car?

They may have other ideas, according to the list of news items.  They may make their own electric vehicles.

I was thinking if Phoenix could use their vehicles, so could Apollo.

Or, you could convert the gas and diesel vehicle offerings to run on ammonia.  Then, you could have a conversion business.  That would be a way to sell to the public.


Evidently, Apollo will license the technology to car makers who will use Apollo's propulsion system.  In other words, you make the car and they make the propulsion system.

Gov. Bobby Jindal calls for elimination of all Louisiana income and corporate taxes


"The bottom line is that for too long, Louisiana's workers and small businesses have suffered from having a state tax structure that is too complex and that holds back economic prosperity," Jindal said in a statement released by his office. "It's time to change that so people can keep more of their own money and foster an environment where businesses want to invest and create good-paying jobs."


That's the idea that Romney just tried to sell and it didn't work.  I'm all for lower taxes, but this isn't lower taxes, it's supposed to be revenue neutral.  How about cutting the size of government?

Texas doesn't have an income tax and its sales taxes are similar to what Jindal is proposing.  Texas seems to do okay.   But I wouldn't make the mistake of thinking that this proposed policy change would do the same in Louisiana as it purportedly done for Texas.  It is more complicated than that.

Get rid of income taxes and cut the size of government.  That's the idea.  For example, Texas' legislature meets only once every two years. What about Louisiana's legislature?