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View Diary: Got Power? Put Some Liquid Electricity In Your Tank! (14 comments)

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  •  faster? no (1+ / 0-)
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    This could make totally electric buses a practical alternative - and one that could get on the roads a lot faster than stringing all that catenary wire.

    The linked article explains that this new technology is at least 5 years away from being commercially available, whereas we could start stringing electric cable tomorrow to power existing, well-proven electric trolley buses. We could have trolley buses on the streets in a matter of months, not years. So Gooserock's point stands -- it would be much faster to deploy electric trolley buses.

    •  The basic idea is already in production (2+ / 0-)
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      KenBee, xaxnar

      It's called a 'flow battery' and works on the same principle.

      The MIT announcement may be more efficient, cheaper, lighter, smaller - I really don't know. It may also be another MIT press release that never pans out as a real product.

      Our school district has had a hybrid school bus for 3 or 4 years now, and in fact it has enough range to do one of the shorter routes on battery only (and we have the second cheapest electricity in the nation here).

      If my thought-dreams could be seen, they'd probably put my head in a guillotine

      by badger on Wed Aug 10, 2011 at 10:05:57 PM PDT

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    •  Yes and No (1+ / 0-)
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      Yes, we could start stringing cable today - but don't forget the rest of the picture. There's the NIMBY problem - how many people are going to support seeing their neighborhoods filled with a mess of poles and wires? There's the investment problem - how many municipalities  are going to be able to afford the construction costs when there are so many things they're cutting back on now? There's the scaling/density problem - how many miles of route and riders have to be up and running to make a system cost effective? There's the flexibility problem - how do you decide where the cables should run, and what do you do if you need to change routes for some reason? There's the Angry Voter problem - how do you convince people to pay for something a lot of them think they'll never use?

      I'm not saying these can't be overcome - they have been and are, but a vehicle that can be put into service and used largely like a conventional bus has a lot fewer hurdles to get over - and it can be done one bus at a time and scaled up. Five years isn't a long time to wait especially if we start investing in current and bridging technology now, like hybrid buses. And, I suspect getting an electric bus developed and into service would actually be cheaper and faster than developing a car, since a bus platform offers more design possibilities for battery size and storage, and riders don't care what it looks like, costs (if fares are reasonable), what the neighbors will think about it, or if it will fit in their garage. Plus, the wear and tear of operating a transit system bus will build a lot of real world experience that will make applying the technology to personal vehicles more effective.

      "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

      by xaxnar on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 04:14:52 AM PDT

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