Tag: Energy Independence

Marrying Stranded Wind and Freight Rail Electrification

Welcome to the next in my (sporadic) Long Emergency series of essays.

This one is a real cheap rip-off essay, in which I simply rip out the short policy proposal wrapped up in a Daily Kos candidate diary, and present it without the candidate diary parts.

Here is a version of the national Wind Resource map:

It should, I hope, be clear that much of the best resource is in areas that do not have the highest electricity consumption. And at the same time, that is a lot of the terrain that the transcontinental freight rail must traverse to get where its going. And, at the same time, we desperately need to get the main freight rail trunk lines electrified, by hook or by crook. Ergo, I got a grossly oversimplified policy proposal to present.

  • The Federal Government invests in publicly owned infrastructure to electrify the main railroad
  • In return, the owners of the right of way cede use of the right of way above the part that they need to public use, together with access to the ground level right of way for support structures
  • That right of way is used to establish long distance High Voltage DC trunk lines to bring sustainable energy from the places that have it to places the need it
  • In areas where there is a commercial wind resource, the usage rights above those trunk lines are available to be leased out for wind farm operators, with the lease payments rolled back into the funding for the program

Some answers to some challenges to the proposal, after the fold.

Cut CO2 by 94%, Produce 540% EROEI with Switchgrass!

Switchgrass is nothing less than amazing!

BBC News reports on a new study, Grass biofuels ‘cut CO2 by 94%’.

Producing biofuels from a fast-growing grass delivers vast savings of carbon dioxide emissions compared with petrol, a large-scale study has suggested.

A team of US researchers also found that switchgrass-derived ethanol produced 540% more energy than was required to manufacture the fuel.

One acre (0.4 hectares) of the grassland could, on average, deliver 320 gallons of bioethanol, they added.

This is good news for the United States in so many ways:

  1. Fewer CO2 emissions – 94% is almost “carbon neutral”

  2. 540% EROEI – Growing “energy independence”

  3. Better than corn and soy – Less need for harmful herbicides and pesticides, such as Atrazine

  4. Native prairie grass – Improves local biodiversity

  5. Plant once – Reduces erosion and farm fuel consumption

Saturday Night Bike Blogging: Counting fingers and toes

I guess this is the follow-up to Saturday Night Bike Blogging: Winter Bike Commuting.

Well, as I look out my window, there is snow on the ground, so I guess this qualifies as winter bike riding weather. Traction is pretty good on snow … not as much on the slush on the side of the state route that connects to my route over the Interstate, but that’s not so much of my trip that I worry about it … if it becomes necessary, I can dismount and walk it.

So far, layers, plus the advice to avoid cotton as the bottom layer, is working well for the most part. But not entirely … I’m still tempted to count my fingers and toes when I get in to check that they still have the same number when I get to the plant in the morning.

Details, after the fold.

NB. Pictures are not me!


Saturday Night Bike Blogging: I wanna Electric Bike

OK, so I juggled funds and went to buy a new, slightly better, garbage department store bike on Thursday. I did that in case I was called in on Friday, and then I was not called in, so I got all weekend to get the gear off the shoddy department store bike that just was not designed for 1,000 miles in five months, and onto the new one.

But what I really want is an electric bike. Let me tell you the electric bike I am probably going to end up with, and the electric bike I wish I could have, after the fold.

And of course, as always, this is also a cycling open thread.

Saturday Night Bike Blogging: Winter Bike Commuting

Uhhh … how do you do it? Anyone know?

I started this cycle commuting in Newcastle, Australia, where there is no winter, in the Northeast Ohio sense of the word … and restarted it at the end of May here.

So I have some vague ideas, but no firm knowledge.

Waddya reckon?

As always, this is also a cycling open thread.

Saturday Night Bike Blogging: Legal Cycle Commuting

After a fortnight hiatus, I’m back with another Saturday Night Bike Blog … as always, this is a cycling open thread as well as a place to talk about whatever issue leaps into my head as I recover from a hard week of cycle commuting.

And a hard week of cycle commuting it was … I was called each day this week, and on Thursday evening I hit a pothole and bent my rear wheel and one of the stays for the rear wheel, so I struggled getting to work on the old 3-Speed Schwinn … with the bottom gear not working until I fixed it up before heading home, and having to stop and adjust the rear tire which worked its way off true (and I had a frission of fear that it was my second bent wheel in as many trips).

So the topic today, obviously, is the legalities of cycling. In response to ???, once I have everything fixed up, maybe I’ll talk about equipment, but I don’t want to jinx nothing.

Where can you ride legally, and on roads that you can ride on legally, how do you ride legally? This is a state by state issue, but, fortunately, there are online resources to work out the situation in your state. A major compendium is made available courtesy of MassBike: The Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition, with their State Bike Laws link page. However, be aware that the list of links was put together some time ago, and some State Department’s of Transportation, etc., have reorganized their sites since then, leaving a number of bad links.

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