Thursday, November 13, 2008

Super Highway Corridor of the Future

Why not build a new kind of superhighway consisting of an integrated set of components.

  1. An underground high voltage transmission line as a part of our next generation transmission grid.

    The underground transmission grid is already being proposed by advocates of a new grid system. The advantage of integrating the transmission grid with tracks and roadway are to take advantage of this proximity to massive power to make adding the infrastructure for the trains and the roadways significantly less expensive because of the power availability.
  2. Tracks and supporting infrastructure for high speed magna-lev and / or conventional electric trains

    Inexpensive high speed transportation point to point could provide a quality alternative to air travel over short to medium distance hauls. For distances of 500 miles or less, high speed 'bullet' type electric trains or magnalev trains would likely be able to provide shorter total transit time from downtown to downtown than air travel.
  3. Roadways for electric cars.

    The electric car roadways would both power and charge electric cars using this roadway. This roadway would be a limited access toll road providing not only and electricity supply to power and charge the cars using it, so that batteries would be fully charged on exit of the roadway. Toll charges would automatically be computed based on KW used. There could be automated lanes, similar to the HOV lane concept, that provided computerized control, such that, once entering the lanes, the cars could literally drive themselves along the route with drivers taking over again on exiting the automated portion of the roadway.

    This concept could work with any of the electric car designs currently in progress with the addition of electrical pickup hardware and control logic. The cool thing about this proposal is that once a pickup and charging standard were developed, there could be benefit even if the road segments were discontiguous as they would provide a 'charge on the fly' capability for whatever length they exist.

This is probably not an original idea. It may not even be a good one, but it seems so logical to me. It rolls a set of ideas and directions proposed by so many of our energy leaders into an ultramodern composite. It's the stuff of sciencefuture.

If the next administration is going to invest in a massive energy independence program, a massive jobs program, and a massive infrastructure rebuilding program why not build the future, not just more of the past. Integrate the ideas I say.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Elections over, now the environment!

Tonight the voting is over but the counting is just beginning. No matter who wins, tomorrow is a new day. The exit polls say the number 1 issue is the economy. That's American...whatever ails you most at the moment.

I'm in the midst of a 2000 mile driving trip. With gas prices less than half what I paid this summer on my trip to Yellowstone, it's no wonder Americas short term memory is wrapped areound saving us from the misdeeds of a Wall Street few.

I hope that the new president will take a serious look at ranking the energy alternatives in terms of the total environmental cost of each, and choose some national priorities to pursue with an unprecendented national goal.

Good luck to the winner. You will need it.