3-19-08 by dugan
There’s no single path to an affordable and clean energy future, and
that’s a good thing. After all, the monoculture of petroleum dependence
has brought us $4.00 a gallon gasoline, disappearing polar bears and a
nasty web of dictators supported by oil. The imperfections of single
alternatives, from electric cars to ethanol, don’t add up to a
reason not to try them all, and perfect what works to achieve
ample energy that is both cheaper and cleaner. A commentary today
in Forbes Magazine by alt-energy funder and guru Vinod Khosla makes the
point elegantly, and indirectly, about transportation fuels. Here’s his
analysis on the cost side:
"What is the cheapest way in dollars per ton to reduce carbon emissions
from automobiles? For new, cleaner technologies to make a material
penetration of the market, they must make up their higher up-front
costs with reduced fuel costs, so that the monthly payments (car plus
fuel) are comparable with that of current market options."
notes that hybrids are good, but not yet really cost-efficient, and
that technologies well along in development may drastically
increase both the power and MPG of internal combustion engines, running
on either gasoline or biofuels. Khosla is sunny about their possibility
for large-scale production. But an independent documentary, "GasHole,"
that’s making the rounds in a rough cut reminds us that promising
engine technologies have been discovered–and buried–many times over.
up to investors like Khosla, and oil skeptics everywhere, to make sure
that government is on the side of variety and that Big Oil’s attacks on
all things new don’t succeed.