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Posts Tagged ‘Nissan Leaf’

Vortex Tools looks at a boring video interview on how Prius drivers create habits that make other drivers nuts, but nets them great gas mileage.  

By Tokumeigakarinoaoshima (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia CommonsWho’s up for a hokey interview?

Fox News recently posted an interview called “Confessions of an Annoying Prius Driver” – complete with a guy sitting in, yes, a Prius during the whole thing. He covers why Prius owners coast when coming to a stop, why they’re slow to accelerate, and how these easy-going driving habits can greatly increase your miles-per-gallon if you can avoid stressing the electric battery. If anything, the interview shows the aggressiveness of drivers around a Prius, not the annoying habits of Prius drivers themselves.

Straight up: It’s a snoozer of a video—a hook title with no payoff (thus this brief article is largely the same)—but there’s at least a whooshing graphic noise early on. Yay technology.

There you have it. I watch lousy videos so you don’t have to (but you’re on the internet, so you’ll probably find something fitting that description anyway).

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Colin McKay Miller is the VP of Marketing for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with up to a 5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home) and industrial water purification (biofilm removal).

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, etc.) and safe movement of materials (including potash and soda ash).

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SpiroFlo breaks down a report from Clean Edge on the top 10 clean energy states in the US.

I’ve mentioned before that one of the problems with “green” is that it’s a term you can make mean whatever you want based on how you define things. Take this Clean Edge report on the top 10 clean energy states:

It sounds good. They use “more than 70 different indicators in technology, policy, and capital”  — including patents filed, capital invested, alternative fuels/vehicles registered, amount of clean source energy, etc. — to rank the 50 states. While #1 is no surprise, some of the others shake out differently than I thought:

  1. California
  2. Oregon
  3. Massachusetts
  4. New York
  5. Colorado
  6. Washington
  7. New Mexico
  8. Minnesota
  9. Connecticut
  10. Vermont

The top 10 list in clean energy leadership — based on capital invested, green laws, job creation, etc. — is similar, save some ranking shifts and a couple of replacements: New Jersey and Maryland come in (at #5 and #8 respectively); New Mexico and Vermont get the boot. No need to call your bookie: California holds strong at #1.

However, even the creators of the study know some of the numbers are off. For example, Oklahoma leads in electrical vehicles registered, but as two of the largest rental companies simply register there and rent the cars elsewhere — surprise! — California is still number one in this area. Iowa legitimately leads in wind power reliance, but that doesn’t actually mean they produce wind power; they just use it. This pinnacle of wind power reliance? 15%. California takes the bronze here.

Eventually though, my brain starts to rebel. Even based on conservative estimates, California has the top 6 of the 10 worst cities for air pollution (and some studies credit them with 9 of the 10), yet they place at the top of most clean energy studies. Granted, you can’t help your population (leading to more cars and thus more air pollution) and some of the other dynamics of where you live, but if it’s about effort, why doesn’t a state like Wyoming place higher? Does their high “clean” placement in wind power usage not offset their high “dirty” placement in coal use?

If nothing else, I bet I can rig a study to get the results I want. Actually, this is the internet; if I wait 10 minutes, someone will do it for me.

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Colin McKay Miller is the Marketing Manager for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with up to a 5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home) and industrial water purification (biofilm removal).

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, etc.) and safe movement of materials (including potash and soda ash).

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SpiroFlo looks at claims that the Fisker Karma — a $102,000 electric luxury sedan — caught on fire in a Texas man’s garage.

Electric technologies aren’t doing so hot these days.

Actually, they’re really hot. Like exploding hot. Last month we reported that an e-cigarette exploded in a man’s mouth. Last week, there was a report that a Sugar Land, Texas man’s electric car caught on fire in his garage, catching the rest of the house on fire as well.

This wasn’t just any electric car. It was a $102,000 electric luxury sedan, the Fisker Karma.

Yeah, a car called Karma nearly burned down a guy’s house. I’m sure he’ll be hearing jokes from his disgruntled neighbors for years.

Although the chief fire investigator said that the Karma was the origin of the fire that then spread to the house, the exact cause is, as of yet, undetermined. Fisker Automotive states that, per their investigation, the electric car was not plugged in at the time of the fire and that the battery was still intact.

Although these types of electric technology fires are rare — even the aforementioned e(xploding)-cigarette was a one-off  — the Fisker Karma has already had its fair share of delays and troubles. When Consumer Reports test drove the Karma in March 2012, the car actually shut down during testing and could not be restarted.

There were less than 200 miles on the odometer.

“We buy about 80 cars a year and this is the first time in memory that we have had a car that is undriveable before it has finished our check-in process.” Consumer Reports went on to lament, “Our Fisker Karma cost us $107,850. It is super sleek, high-tech—and now it’s broken.” Their article was titled “Bad Karma.”

(Should’ve seen that one coming.)

Despite several celebrity buyers, Fisker struggled before this latest scandal, laying off 66-71 people when government funding ran dry — a far cry from promising to revitalize the former GM plant. Additionally, company Founder Henrik Fisker stepped down as CEO in February 2012 (before the flubbed test drive).

When the Department of Energy made an undisclosed $529 million loan to Fisker (of which they’d already drawn $169 million), activist watchdog group Judicial Watch said they plan on suing the government to get the details of the loan. President Tom Fitton said it looks like  the U.S. government  “shelled out over half-a-billion dollars to a failing and incompetent green-energy company.”

Despite Fisker raising $650 million in private capital, the Department of Energy stopped funding Fisker in May 2011. What happens to the remaining bulk of the money is still being pursued by Judicial Watch. In the mean time, this is one more blight on green technology. There is a need for electric cars, just not $100,000 electric cars.

For those of you still interested with a hundred-thousand or so dollars to spare, a high-end Fisker Karma model is also available for $116,000.

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Colin McKay Miller is the Marketing Manager for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with up to a 5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home) and industrial water purification (biofilm removal).

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, etc.) and safe movement of materials (including potash and soda ash).

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Ecotech Systems looks at the Denver Zoo’s new waste-powered rickshaw.

While I’ve said before that you can fuel a car with just about anything (regardless of how inefficient and unsustainable it is), the Denver Zoo is now running a motorized rickshaw on zoo waste. This zoo waste includes patron trash and yes, the monstrous amounts of animal feces they’ve got lying around. Now, instead of getting slung as ammunition from monkeys you dared showed your teeth to, this 20-year-old, three-wheeled ride was reconfigured with a $50,000 complex propulsion system to go a blazing 10 mph. It may not be American made (the rickshaw was imported from Thailand), but it’s American fueled.

tuk-tuk: the version that costs $50,000 less

Not impressed? What if I told you that despite its low speed, the tuk-tuk (a slang name for the rickshaw based on the noise it makes) went on a zoo tour, even to zoos out of state? No? What if I told you the patented propulsion system converts the waste into syngas — a fuel made mostly of carbon monoxide and hydrogen — which then generates electricity to fuel a battery to power the tuk-tuk? Nah, didn’t think so.

The thing is, even the Denver Zoo is aware that this crappy novelty doesn’t shine so bright as is. This poo-powered mobile is a merely a gimmick to promote the end goal of the technology: fuel for the 10-acre Toyota Elephant Passage that opens June 1st, 2012. According to their press release:

Denver Zoo is seeking LEED® certification for Toyota Elephant Passage at the platinum level, the highest level, from the U.S. Green Building Council. The program recognizes sustainable and green building practices. This includes the use of biomass gasification technology, which will convert more than 90 percent of the zoo’s waste into usable energy to power the exhibit, eliminating 1.5 million pounds of trash currently going to landfills annually. Other methods include recycling most of the 1.1 million gallons of water running through the exhibit, utilizing natural daylight to provide natural, clean light and retaining heat at lower elevations through the use of radiant heating floor systems.

Well, they’re not the first ones to believe that elephant dung is good business. That said, I still don’t see human waste alternate energy projects catching on any time soon. For whatever reason, animal waste still has less of a yuck factor. We’ve been trained to pick up dog poop and clean out cat litter boxes, but no one wants to take care of what some drunk guy just left in a potted plant of a bank lobby.

Anyway, according to the Denver Post, this process could wind up saving as much as $150,000 per year on hauling costs. However, as usual, the italicized part of that last sentence leads me to believe that the savings will be much lower, although as landfills become less of an option (due to less space and higher costs) these numbers might not be that far off.

In the mean time, enjoy this teeny Denver Post video.

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Colin McKay Miller is the Marketing Manager for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with up to a 5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home) and industrial water purification (biofilm removal).

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, etc.) and safe movement of materials (including potash and soda ash).

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SpiroFlo looks at General Motors’ decision to halt production of the Chevy Volt come March 19th.

From March 19th to April 23rd, General Motors will halt production of their plug-in, hybrid, electric car — the Chevrolet Volt. As a result, 1,300 factory workers will be laid off for that five-week period.

This news comes after a wave of recent, good reports: Doubling Volt sales in February and getting named the 2012 European Car of the Year. However, green cars seem to have awards made up in their honor,  and the reason behind doubling their sales stems from recent government safety approval after 2011 concerns over battery fire-related incidents. It’s not that hard to double your sales when only 603 units were sold in January due to these concerns.

Clearly, this puts GM way short of the 60,000 Volts they planned to sell in 2012.

With this squeeze on sales, no wonder GM Spokesperson Chris Lee said, “We need to maintain the right inventory levels and continue to meet demand.” As of today, 6,300 Volts are in inventory (enough to meet the expected demand for the next six months).

Some believe this event could help lower the price of the Chevy Volt and wean consumers away from straight gasoline cars. The Chevy Volt currently sells for $39,145 MSRP (with various tax breaks and credits). While I’ve already stated my opinion that electric cars haven’t yet earned their price (see the second half of this article) and that the battery life needs the most work, I still hate to see the Detroit automobile industry  take one more hit to its labor force.

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Colin McKay Miller is the Marketing Manager for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with up to a 5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home) and industrial water purification (biofilm removal).

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, etc.) and safe movement of materials (including potash and soda ash).

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Is there a villain against environmentalism? If not, what specifically are environmentalists fighting against? SpiroFlo examines where the eco-fight is going and if it’s having an effect on the public at large.

Whether it’s hunters with more guns than teeth, or anyone who drives an SUV, I’ve heard several groups slighted as eco-villains—a term I learned from Ted Turner’s masterpiece of children’s animation, “Captain Planet.” Labeled as “edutainment” (note that I place edutainment in quotes because it was neither educational nor entertaining), “Captain Planet” was designed to teach environmentalist values to kids with a superhero shtick.

http://www.behindthevoiceactors.com/tv-shows/Captain-Planet-and-the-Planeteers/Verminous-Skumm/

Be sure to thank your parents for naming you Verminous Skumm

One of the many problems was that none of the villains on the show made any sense. Besides getting saddled with awful names like Sly Sludge, Looten Plunder and Tank Flusher III (real creative, guys), these eco-villains didn’t just show indifference to the environment, they specifically enjoyed dumping toxic waste in the ocean and misusing nuclear missiles. You know, the kind of hobbies any kid might get himself into if not redeemed by choppy 90s animation. Even better, many of these eco-villains were voiced by Hollywood actors and actresses—including Ed Asner, Martin Sheen and Meg Ryan—a group who, by and large, are far deeper into fringe environmental issues that the average American soul, making the overt bias of the cartoon all the more cringe-worthy.

It’s easy to laugh off this awkward attempt to market environmentalism to kids, but these cartoon opinions often come out when speaking about green issues. It’s rare I get through a heated conversation on environmentalism that doesn’t include comments about corporate greed, crooked politicians and consumer ignorance. It’s hard for me to grasp, but there are those who believe you cannot trust anyone who wears a suit to work. While I might not like a lot of what the government does, this does not mean I believe that every thought from politicians is evil, yet green issues seem to boil up to a level of vitriol that burns well beyond understanding those who disagree. In the end, we get villains, and we do not reason with villains. Villains gets yelled at; villains get fought. However, even if you consider every issue important, you cannot protest every issue every time. I would argue protesting lost its power long ago, but now what? If you keep your opponents as villains, you cannot go back and have a civil discussion, so we’re stuck in gridlock because both sides feel like any compromise is too much compromise.          

Let’s pick on me on one environmental issue and see how I do:

I do not own an electric car, and frankly, I do not see doing so any time soon. Maybe it’s that there isn’t yet a battery strong enough and cheap enough — one that will actually let me take a road trip without getting stranded in a middle-of-nowhere horror movie cliché — maybe it’s that the price tag for electric cars is still two-to-three times higher than that of a comparable economy fossil fuel ride, or maybe it’s the reality check that I can’t squeeze my value system into my financial budget, but when it comes down to it, I can’t afford to pay so much for a transportation option that doesn’t meet my everyday needs.

The Nissan Leaf: More expensive than hugging the whole tree

Does this disqualify me from being an environmentalist? Some would argue my everyday needs need to change; others might shield me with the notion of being a common sense environmentalist, but there isn’t an agreed upon green checklist to meet a level of bare minimum environmentalism, so it’s up to personal opinions (and inevitably, whatever mob mentality has taken hold recently, good or bad).

Like most issues, environmentalism isn’t so black and white. There are a lot of issues, a lot of nuances, a lot of opinions and, yes, some exceptions. Quite frankly, I think it’s time for a lot more conversations with a lot more listening.

Finally, for those of you who haven’t seen “Captain Planet,” feel free to hurt yourself with the following clip:

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Colin McKay Miller is the Marketing Manager for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with a 3.5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home) and industrial water purification (biofilm removal).

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, etc.) 

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