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Eamon Keane

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  • Obama Announces List of Grant Recipients, Recognizing Significance of Hybrid Markets [View article]
    John, I can tell you that the moratorium was put in place in 2004 for 6 months and was partly a political decision. Since then we've roughly quintupled the wind on the system from 200MW to approaching1200MW, which will represent 15% wind penetration.

    In fact, for a period on May 8th this year, we had 40% of our electricity coming from wind.

    The paper I was referring to has yet to be published.
    Aug 7 07:28 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Obama Announces List of Grant Recipients, Recognizing Significance of Hybrid Markets [View article]
    I don't see much money there for grid storage. Is that the case?

    I saw that nanomarkets summary on their website. They state:

    "Current national and international goals for alternative energy deployment will not be met without extensive new storage capability installed in national grids."

    From an Irish perspective I've seen research which shows that even if we reached our 40% wind penetration target (6000 MW) - one of the highest targets in the world - , we still would only end up curtailing wind less that 1% of the time. The economics of storage by comparing a system with and without storage did not add up.

    The study further showed that the system with storage was more carbon intensive than that without storage because it allowed coal plants to operate through the night.

    This is why I'm a little perplexed at the received wisdom that wind, solar = variable therefore storage is required. I'd look forward to an article on that. I might even write one myself.
    Aug 6 06:35 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Top IEA Economist: Peak Oil by 2020 [View article]
    Ferdinand, I appreciate your expert input. However before I even read your comment, I knew you would mention your soi-disant status as "The World's Leading Academic Energy Economist".

    It's unbecoming of a world leader to keep referencing his status.
    Aug 4 11:43 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Energy Storage on the Smart Grid: 99.45% Cheap and 0.55% Cool [View article]
    Hi John, nice article. I was talking to one of the top US wind guys last week and he was dismissive of the economics of storage, so it's interesting to hear the other side.

    I know from Ireland's perspective we plan to reach 40% wind by 2020 with no new storage. We plan to use wind in combination with fast response Open Cycle Gas Turbines (OCGTs) and interconnection to the UK.

    I look forward to the details on the economics.
    Jul 19 10:02 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Rare Metals Investment News Updates, Today's Edition (RareMINUTES) 050709 NEODYMIUM [View instapost]
    Hi Jack, as regards neodymium there is an interesting discussion at eurotrib:

    In particular I'd like to hear your thoughts on this comment:

    "Neodymium is not currently used in generators for the majority of wind turbines, though the process is beginning. The vast majority of turbines use doubly-fed induction generators using both traditional and innovative copper wiring.

    Neodymium is often used in gearless and hybrid turbines, particularly in the Chinese market through Goldwind's acquisition of 70% of German design firm Vensys. The Multibrid offshore turbine uses a permanent magnet generator, not certain if neodymium is used.

    Most standard configuration turbines do not use permanent magnet generators at all. An exception is the Clipper 2.5 MW turbine, where the main shaft is split into four load paths to four smaller permanent magnet generators. Again, unclear if neodymium is used.

    it is clear that one growing design trend in the industry is the use of permanent magnet generators, thus there will likely be more use of neodymium in the future.

    Skennah Kowa"

    If neodymium is not currently used in most wind turbines then it would seem that should any supply constraints develop from the current move to neodymium, manufacturers could simply switch back?
    Jun 17 07:40 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Lithium Supply: Enough to Cover Demands [View article]
    Mr. Evans, thanks for your detailed reply, I only checked back now. I think your version is more credible than William Tahil, however his report still gets cited by critics. I think a PHEV is anathema to John Petersen. With regard to BEVs he's less catagorical, Better Place's model may yet work and it's good to know lithium shouldn't be a barrier.

    Anyway, it'd be great if you could contribute more on seekingalpha, in the comments sections of other articles correcting inaccuracies or by writing new articles.
    Jun 2 06:36 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Better Place Unveils New Automated Battery Exchange Technology [View article]
    Freya, the Volt battery weighs 375 pounds and is six feet long. I think that says it all.
    May 16 02:51 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Better Place Unveils New Automated Battery Exchange Technology [View article]
    Nice article. I'd be very interested to get the details on their 250 mile range test.

    Was it with a light driver, on a smooth test track, with no radio or heater on, at a constant, low, speed and with no starting or stopping?

    What if on the road trip you had the whole overweight family, luggage, heaters and the radio on? I'm quite skeptical about the range claims by autos. Take for example this iMiev review which found the range claims of the iMiev rather lacking:

    In addition, batteries degrade over time as they are cycled. If the 250 mile range represented a full depletion of the battery, then that would most likely limit battery cycling life as the wear and tear of full cycling degrades the battery. Although BYD projects 2000 cycles, that most certainly does not correspond to a range of 2000*250miles. The Volt only claims a 40 mile range because, although the capacity of the battery is 16kWh, it only ever cycles between 30% and 80% capacity to ensure longevity.

    That's why Better Place's model makes sense. It takes the battery risk away from the consumer. They buy the shell vehicle and then rent the battery depending on their requirements. As better batteries come out, Better Place can offer them - with the rather large caveat of assuming that standardisation emerges.
    May 16 02:47 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Rare Metals as Rare Opportunities for Investors: Jack Lifton is Coming Soon to NYC [View instapost]
    Carlos, I think you're preaching to the choir! Demand for neodymium and dysprosium would indeed take off if electric vehicle demand increases. This is because almost all current electric car motors use DC Brushless permanent magnets. It's not the only possibility. If the AC electric motor variant was used, and, say a lithium ion or lead-acid battery was used, there would be no rare earth metals in the electric car.

    The Tesla Roadster, for example, uses an AC induction motor and no rare earths. What I'm still not sure about is the tradeoffs (cost, weight etc) involved between an AC induction and DC Brushlesss. Although the great majority use DC currently, t would seem to me that if the supply of REEs did become critical, motor companies would switch to AC. How that changes the economics of the vehicle, I don't know. Jack, have you any insight into this?
    May 7 04:34 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • China and India Vie for the World's Natural Resources, Part 1: China in Australia [View article]
    According to the USGS China produced 120,000 tons REE last year and apparently they have 27,000,000 tons reserves or enough for 225 years at current production levels.

    Is China's current production capacity 120,000 tons? What are the constraints (time and practicality) on them ramping up production should they choose to? I think I read somewhere that they might have a stockpile, is that correct?

    Is the world relatively well explored for REEs, or is there a potential for finding new REEs? Thanks.
    May 7 01:45 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Alternative Energy Storage: Cheap Outperforms Cool [View article]
    Mayascribe, that was indeed a sweet video. You probably already know this, but for a recap of the numerous potential stumbling blocks, see this report from the March 2009 Algae Biofuels World Summit:

    What excites me is this new Wolfram Alpha search engine that you may have heard about:

    It's like google but it can actually interpret and compute questions you ask it. Maybe it can answer 'Which is the coolest, cheapest battery of them all?'
    May 3 06:50 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Lithium Supply: Enough to Cover Demands [View article]
    Great, informative, dispassionate article, thanks. I had looked for material online after that conference concluded but only found the TRU presentation:

    Perhaps you could clear something up about the content of lithium per kWh. Is the 0.6kg carbonate/kWh predicated on improvements in efficiency of energy storage? Jack Lifton claims the current figure is 1kg carbonate/kWh.

    Jack Lifton's latest article is here:

    His premise is that expansion to meet 9 million Volts in 2020 (144m kWh, either 144,000 tons carbonate or 86,400) would be very difficult. Would you contend that there's enough cheap brine slack at existing producers to meet that? If an order was placed today, how quickly could it be met?
    May 3 03:49 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Plug In Vehicle Scam [View article]
    frflyer, you know more than me, perhaps you can help. Considering these graphs of future global energy use:

    Total energy by region to 2030:

    Total energy by fuel source to 2030:

    Have you come across any studies which show a different trend, ie oil, coal & gas use decreasing and solar & wind shooting up? Is that then broken down into GW global solar & wind installation target per year etc.?

    The problem I see is that the current power generation facilities represent sunk costs so dramatic change would take time. An integrated study which looked at how quickly manufacturing capacity could be expanded, whether the skilled workers are available, whether the raw materials would be available, cost and so on would make talk of radical change more credible.
    May 2 06:56 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Plug In Vehicle Scam [View article]
    Watching those TED talks, it's very easy to think that the speakers have the solution. Agassi was certainly inspiring although I'm with John on this one, let's wait a couple years for the trials before reaching any conclusions.

    A couple of things I'd quibble in the presentation. He claims 25% of world CO2 comes from cars and trucks. I'd like a source on that one. It's surprisingly hard to find these graphs, but here's one from the organization of vehicle manufacturers:

    which shows 16% as of 2007. Of course they have a stake in the game, but that's the best graph I can source.

    That graph linked above, and Agassi's source almost certainly, don't count deforrestation as a 'man made' source of CO2. When you include deforrestation it drops to 10% (as of 2000) for road transport:

    That's quibble number one. I'd also like a source and assumptions on the 120 mile EV range. Here's an article about a 16kWh iMiev minicar which Mitsubishi claim gets 100 mile 'cruising range'.

    The assumptions are no air conditioning, no radio and at a constant speed. The article found it to last about 60 miles. The correct way to specify range is to make a reasonable assumption about air conditioning, radio usage etc. But most importantly, quote the range as part of a drive cycle. Posting a 100 mile cruising range is rather pointless given the stop and start of traffic.

    I wish him every success. Better Place are also in discussions to come to Ireland so I may well get a chance to make a truly informed opinion before long.

    On Apr 30 01:59 PM TruthO wrote:

    > Please watch the ten minute TED video presentation below, by sustainability
    > entrepreneur Shai Agassi, titled:
    > A Bold Plan for Mass Adoption of Electric Cars
    > ...and tell me what you think.
    > Shai is working with top leadership of several countries (Israel,
    > Denmark) and two U.S. states (Hawaii, and the San Francisco area
    > supported by some mayors there) to create a plug-in and battery swap
    > infrastructure, similar to a car wash, that makes the economics of
    > this generation of electric cars affordable.
    May 1 07:31 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Plug In Vehicle Scam [View article]
    That article was very interesting. It's seems a bit early to reach a conclusion, though. I'd say keep the powder dry until Copenhagen. If that fails or is a white-wash then by all means. The scale of the problem is quite huge, though, beyond most people's knowledge.

    I appreciate that you're an agnostic. I did a module at college and the lecturer was amazed that the IPCC could be 90% confident of anthropogenic climate change. We were shown a climate change graph which correlated temperature with carbon that had an Rsquared of 0.15. Whether it makes sense to act anyway without certainty depends on your vantage point.

    By the way, I've learnt a lot from your articles on EVs, please continue to post any developments.

    On Apr 28 12:31 PM John Petersen wrote:

    > engstudent, I agree that PHEVs are more attractive in countries that
    > have very high gasoline prices. These are economic relationships
    > that will always be subject to change. They are certainly not carved
    > in stone.
    > The City Journal Magazine article I linked in my previous response
    > makes a very good argument that all of the industrial world's efforts
    > to curtail carbon emissions won't do a thing except make them economically
    > weaker and increase emissions in asian countries that pick up the
    > economic slack and will use coal to do it.
    > It truly is worth a careful read no matter where you stand on the
    > global warming question. I remain a committed agnostic.
    Apr 28 02:36 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment