Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Electric cars will put strain on ... water?
Study comes in this morning over science news that apparently electric-cars, also known as "plug-in" cars, may not solve our environmental problems because they will put a lot of strain on the water system in water-scarce regions like the west of the US.
I am number 260 something in line for the Tesla, which I was supposed to receive this month but is being delayed by a year. Consolation price is that Tesla is officially the "hot car du jour" and since it was publicized that George Clooney and Hanold Gubernator are ahead of me in line, people around me think I am cool. Right now I feel like a chump for having ponied up 50k upfront for the right to ... be in line with people way cooler than me. Ah whatever, I define techno-cool.
But apart from telling you how geeckily cool I am, let's go back to the news: why does electricity consume water? well a lot of electricity is still produced with 19th century steam technology. Fancy huh? I remember having this conversation with Sacha Labourey. Steam or the water drives a big magnet that generates electricity. It is coupling thermal/gravitational energy to electrical energy through electro-magnetism. Simple, very effective and completely dependent on water. Hydro, uses water to drive the turbine. Coal and Nuclear both use water to cool and the steam to drive the engines. Even solar, at least in the mirror concentrator scheme, uses steam water to drive the stuff.
Only solid state solar offers a prayer of getting out of the 19th century, and avoiding the dumb conumdrum or running up commidity prices like the ethanol/corn, political debacle.