Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Peak Oil Crisis: Adaptive Technology

Significant technological advances rarely make eye-catching headlines as they come from many small advances involving numerous scientific disciplines. However, every now and again it becomes clear that progress is being made.

When President Obama recently proposed raising the mileage for cars to an average of 54.5 miles per gallon, the automobile manufacturers-- much to the surprise of many -- said we can do it. An increase of this size is not a trivial task that can be accomplished overnight as it primarily involves numerous small improvements that together lead to significant change.
Improvements in transportation and other energy related technologies are being reported every day. Most of the developments, however, are down in the technological weeds and involve technical concepts nearly incomprehensible to laymen; however, some of the reports do give insights into the directions in which our civilization may be evolving.

Despite the reservations of many veteran auto industry observers, it is clear that plug-in electric cars are coming soon. Nearly every major automobile manufacturer in the world appears ready to market some flavor of plug-in vehicle with in the next few years. A recent study concluded that together these manufacturers have committed to producing some 840,000 electric vehicles by 2013. The demand for lithium-ion automobile batteries is projected to increase from 2.4 gigawatt hours (GWh) this year to 18 GWh by 2013 - a seven fold increase. The rapid increase in lithium-ion battery production -- 20 new plants are under construction -- is expected to drive the cost of these batteries down from $800-1000/kWh today to the vicinity of $350 by the end of the decade. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

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