[QUOTE=a2b.sustainably;6838] Over the weekend I was thinking that a nuclear powered car is inherently an electric car [/QUOTE]Well I don’t think we will ever see that happen as that would be a real problem spilling nuclear material in car wrecks. A reactor does not generate electricity directly, it is just a heat source like coal, natural gas etc to heat water, to turn a turbine, that turns a generator. You can do that in large boats and submarines but not cars, truck, and planes.
[QUOTE=a2b.sustainably;6838]If there isn’t a downside, you are basically saying that all of our politicians are staring the answer to energy independence and long term national security in the face, and then looking the other way. [/QUOTE]
That is pretty much the jest of it. But not all areas of government are turning a blind eye. For example I just finished a rather large preliminary design project that involves the DOE, DOD, and TVA. My firm did the design on coal handling facility for a nuclear power plant. Now you may be wondering WTF a coal plant is doing at a nuclear power plant. Well there is also a refinery and pipeline at the facility. Well the answer is simple TVA will generate electricity with the nuclear power plant and sell the electricity to it various cooperatives in the region for public use. Department of defense and DOE will use the excess heat from the reactor to turn the coal into synthetic liquid fuel used to run the military. The pipeline is used to ship the refined fuel out for distribution
[QUOTE=a2b.sustainably;6838] I would also have to argue that most people have a second car that is only used for short trips, and the need for this car is easily met by today’s battery technology (LiFePO4 for example), even if mated with the conventional and very heavy pressed steel cars prevalent on the road today (150km range is typical of what is coming down the pipeline from Mitsubishi and Nissan). A car that is 1/2 the weight (or less) made from composites (similar to the Aptera) would have much longer range or use many fewer batteries (and cost less).[/QUOTE]
You are running into physics here, and those laws cannot be broken. The most advanced EV is the Telsa and it weighs approx 2900 pounds I believe. So here is the challenge a small car like the Telsa gets about 200 watt-hour per mile (200 wh/mile) @ 60 MPH flat level paved surface. That is really good with a fuel cost of 2 to 4 cents per mile assuming a electric rate of 10 to 20 cents per Kwh.
LiFe4Po energy density is about 100 watt-hours per Kilogram (100 wh/kg). So to go 1 mile you need 2 Kg of battery weight or 4.49 pounds per mile. So it becomes very clear weight becomes a huge barrier with respect to range. The more weight you add requires more power to move the mass. Ok the Telsa is a very small vehicle with a range of about 200 miles. Pretty good but the cost are very high and out of reach for the masses. Battery weight alone is right at 1000 pounds with a capacity of 40 Kwh, and a cost of $35,000 USD just for the battery.
If you have a larger vehicle (heavier), means a much higher energy usage and therefore much larger battery capacity. The energy density is just not there yet. At best you can get is 200 wh/kg with cobalt, but cobalt cannot handle the discharge rates needed, not is 200 wh/kg enough energy density for any mid size vehicle. I think in ten years or so we will see a lithium product that will satisfy the needs, but at what price point?
[QUOTE=a2b.sustainably;6838]Of course it would have your dream batteries (as would the boat). Perhaps the boys as EESTOR down in Cedar Park will hook us up before year’s end (as promised, again).[/QUOTE]
Don’t hold your breath waiting on EESTOR. I have been following them for 5 years and very skeptical along with every other expert in the field. Capacitor exprt John Collins of NASA visited the facility on July 2nd and stated he doubts EESTOR claim and noted the dielectric material claims are false. Basically what Dr Collins is saying the dielectric material EESTOR is using is not capable of withstanding the pressure of 100 KV nor would it be safe to use in public. At this point in time I think EESTOR is complete VAPORWARE.
[QUOTE=a2b.sustainably;6838]As a second argument, I would say that the pickup of electric cars is going to be gradual, and that the grid COULD (if the political will is there) easily keep up, especially since the initial quantities of EVs will only help with load levelling. Maybe you have some insight into this based on your past experience. If a political commitment were made to meet the slowly increasing demand with smart charging, V2G, renewable energy and nuclear (using recycled fuel rods), our world would become increasingly cleaner. Thoughts? [/QUOTE]
I pretty much agree with you here. All the technology is here today except battery tech. I am confident that will be solved. For example electric motors is about as far advanced as it can go. A 3-phase electric has an efficiency of around 95 to 98 %, Not much room for improvement. Electronic controls are in place and have about 80 to 90% efficiency. Some room for improvement but still very good to go right now.
As my user name suggest, SunKing, I design a lot of off-grid solar PV systems for telephone companies on their remote cell tower sites, and a few grid tied systems for companies like Walmart making PR statements. RE I am not sold on except for situations where grid power is not available. There is one thing most folks do not know about RE. For every watt of RE installed you must install a conventional watt to back it up at a moments notice. This means you pay twice, and that is a heck of a burden on the public, and will be the killing point IMHO. To see the future of ideas like Cap-N-Tax plans all one has to do is look at places like Germany and California where they already have such policy. No power plants are being built in those places in favor of RE sources. They have the highest tax rates and energy prices in the world and do not produce enough power to support themselves so they have to import power. Companies and tax dollars are leaving in masses to other places where money, jobs, and industry are welcomed.
China, India, and Mexico will not sign on to Cap-N-Trade like policies that limit CO2 emmisions and will use cheap power sources. Companies will continue to migrate to those places.
The USA has an ace up its sleeve but refuses to use it. Nuclear energy. We have enough fuel domestically to last anywhere from 1 million to 4 billion years depending on whose numbers you use. Uranium is cheap at around 2-cents per Kwh compared to 5 cents for coal, and 7 cents for natural gas. With new reactor designs they are passively safe as opposed to actively safe of the older designs. In order for any country to survive it must have a growing manufacture and industrial economies with abundant, reliable, affordable energy to compete in a global market. Otherwise it will collapse, history proves this and will be repeated if ignored.