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Jack Lifton

 
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  • PHEVs and EVs: Plugging into a Lump of Coal [View article]
    Don,

    If the leaf requires 160 grams of "lithium" per kWh that means it requires approx 1 kg of lithium carbonate per kWh; I have always understood that to be Keith Evans' estimate.

    There were 27,400 metric tons of lithium, measured as the metal, produced last year; this is 155,000 mt of "lithium carbonate."

    25% of the above figure was used for storage batteries for portable electronics and tools. A negligible amount was used for motor vehilce battery packs.

    There may have been a 20% surplus of lithium produced last year.

    There is NO economical recycling process in operation today. All are disposal rather than recycling processes; i.e., someone (such as the American taxpayer is paying) is subsidizing an inherently uneconomical process. TOXCO was freezing lithium-ion batteries in liquid nitrogen to enable the "safe" disassembly of them. One wonders, if the batteries are so safe, why then go to such an extreme?

    There is no shortage even today of the supply of lithium, and it is so cheap that there can be today no economical recycling of lithium from the most currently used types. Neither the price of the lithiumitself or the cost of recycling it is now or have has been a factor in the cost of producing large scale packs for vehicle use. The costs arise from the manufacturing engineering cots for such short lived devices. There will be no changeover to lithium-ion battery packs until the hype and reality mesh and until after real time testing proves that such a battery system is economcial.

    Do any of you remember the hype about Iraq'a "crack" Republican Guard? They were last seen running from their abandoned Russian tanks as US Army forces blasted them to pieces from beyond the range of Iraqi return fire capability. A Toyota Prius can drive 500 miles in 6 hours; the same trip would take a week in a Prius. Is there really a mass market for an expensive VOLT?
    Sep 2 07:54 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • PHEVs and EVs: Plugging into a Lump of Coal [View article]
    Gentlemen,

    Keep in mind that all natural thorium is Th-232 and it is fertile. Moderated neutrons from fisisoning U 235 or Pu 239 will breed Th 233 which decays to U-233, which is fissionable. It is not true that there is 3 or 4 times as much minable thorium as uranium but even though there is actually much less minable thorium than uranium ALL of the natural thorium can be used to enhance a uranium reactor whereas only 0.7% of natural uranium is U-235. Thus ound for pound thorium is much more useful as a reactor fuel component than uranium. In this sense we can say that there is more throium available than uranium.

    Google my name anfd thorium ("jack Lifton" and thorium) and you will see a number of articles and links about this technology. I am in a few hours on my way to Beijing to speak about the sourcing of thorium. I am also a member of an industry trade group promoting thorium as a nuclear fuel component in Washington. Three bills are now pending as part of the 2010 defense Appropriations Act to mandate that the NRC and the Navy study thorium reactor and fuel technology with a view to licensing it.

    The Age of Thorium has begun.

    Atomic energy of Canada has already successfully tested a retrofitted CANDU with thorium enhanced uranium fuel. An anouncement about an American group formed to bring thorium reactor technology forward will be out in October, and the group's composition will surprise you as it gives you confidence in how seriously this issue is being taken.

    Just wait a little longer, please.
    Aug 30 11:27 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • PHEVs and EVs: Plugging into a Lump of Coal [View article]
    So it came to pass that in year 9 of the false god Climate, whose priest was lithium, there arose a prophet called John and all that John foretold came to pass and the rain of truth fell and lithium dissolved to reveal bright lead underneath as it had been foretold verily by John...the text breaks off here.
    Aug 30 08:13 AM | 13 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How PHEVs and EVs Will Sabotage America's Drive for Energy Independence [View article]
    John,

    I was much taken by the profound nature of your comment

    --------"Trade is a two-way street with goods going in both directions. Goods coming in with money going out is not trade - it is debt - and you eventually have to pay the piper."---------

    You have succinctly (as usual) made the case for domestic production of strategic and critical natural resources.

    Producing natural resources creates wealth, not debt, so that the reduction of the need to export money or dreate debt to aquire those resources reduces debt. What the American economy is doing today is creating debt to pay for imported goods and services and then making payments on this debt by creating additional debt rather than using new wealth. It is a sucker game, and one we comdemn heartily as a "lower class" solution to overconsumption. It's like adding the fees of a "check cashing company' to your taxes just to get a quick fix.

    All of this nonsense only works when credit and confidence is high. What will happen to us if there is a world wide "correction" to the exchange rate of our currency? I hate to be a party pooper but I know it is going to happen in rare metals; they are going to skyrocket as southeast Asia, which produces or controls them now globally, recovers and withdraws them from the world market to feed their own domestic economies.

    Don't worry about rare earth metals, lithium, and cobalt you will not be able to get them at any price sometime in the next five years, and they will return to western markets only after an additional 3-7 years, the time it will take for southeast Asian investors to fund their production in poorer countries that have them in abundance such as the USA, which do not allow wealth creation through new mining at the present time. I suspect that China for example could simply offer to trade the US some existing debt for raw materials-I doubt China will continue to take new debt for old debt at the current exchange rate anyway.

    I told you I was pessimestic in the short term. I am fatalistic in the long term.

    I remember reading long ago that Gibbon wrote (I'm paraphrasing) that "in the end 200,000 barbarians swept aside a like number of Rome's legions. Yet it is clear from our study of history that any one of Caesar's legions could have swept them aside easily..."

    Is an evolving mixed economy dedicated to the uplift of its nation going to sweep aside fragmented free market capitalism?
    Aug 29 09:38 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How PHEVs and EVs Will Sabotage America's Drive for Energy Independence [View article]
    John,

    I was much taken by the profound nature of your comment

    --------"Trade is a two-way street with goods going in both directions. Goods coming in with money going out is not trade - it is debt - and you eventually have to pay the piper."---------

    You have succinctly (as usual) made the case for domestic production of strategic and critical natural resources.

    Producing natural resources creates wealth, not debt, so that the reduction of the need to export money or dreate debt to aquire those resources reduces debt. What the American economy is doing today is creating debt to pay for imported goods and services and then making payments on this debt by creating additional debt rather than using new wealth. It is a sucker game, and one we comdemn heartily as a "lower class" solution to overconsumption. It's like adding the fees of a "check cashing company' to your taxes just to get a quick fix.

    All of this nonsense only works when credit and confidence is high. What will happen to us if there is a world wide "correction" to the exchange rate of our currency? I hate to be a party pooper but I know it is going to happen in rare metals; they are going to skyrocket as southeast Asia, which produces or controls them now globally, recovers and withdraws them from the world market to feed their own domestic economies.

    Don't worry about rare earth metals, lithium, and cobalt you will not be able to get them at any price sometime in the next five years, and they will return to western markets only after an additional 3-7 years, the time it will take for southeast Asian investors to fund their production in poorer countries that have them in abundance such as the USA, which do not allow wealth creation through new mining at the present time. I suspect that China for example could simply offer to trade the US some existing debt for raw materials-I doubt China will continue to take new debt for old debt at the current exchange rate anyway.

    I told you I was pessimestic in the short term. I am fatalistic in the long term.

    I remember reading long ago that Gibbon wrote (I'm paraphrasing) that "in the end 200,000 barbarians swept aside a like number of Rome's legions. Yet it is clear from our study of history that any one of Caesar's legions could have swept them aside easily..."

    Is an evolving mixed economy dedicated to the uplift of its nation going to sweep aside fragmented free market capitalism?
    Aug 29 09:37 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How PHEVs and EVs Will Sabotage America's Drive for Energy Independence [View article]
    John,

    What prescient words!

    "...the price of rescue will forever change the way goods are allocated and used in developed and developing economies."

    The "price" will be ethical and moral as well as economical. We will reduce our consumption per capita as theirs increases. We will reduce our waste of natural resources and the drivers will be scarcity, price, and last, but not least, the morality of consumption for the sake of a consumption driven economy of profiligate waste.

    Thus endeth either the lesson or our western society's dominance of the world's economy. I wonder what lessons, though, the east will take from the west regarding consumption, per se, as a store of value?

    The US DoD is worried about "destabilizing" regional conflicts over water, energy, and material natural resources. Lately the US DoD has also begun to look at how the US might be directly involved in such conflicts due to American domestic "issues."

    I'm nearly 70, so I wish you younger folks (President Obama's favorite collective noun for the less fortunate) the best of luck.



    Aug 28 10:04 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How PHEVs and EVs Will Sabotage America's Drive for Energy Independence [View article]
    Marketquant

    It's time for the engineers, the materials and manufacturing engineers, to be heard. Electrochemical reactions are rate limited by physical and chemical factors. For example, a battery using a liquid electrolyte can only be charged, all other factors being under control, at a rate that will not boil off the electrolyte, because, and, in particular, in a sealed battery this could distort (destroy) the internal geometry. In an "open," unsealed, battery this could, of course, simply boil off the electrolyte's water component rendering the battery, at best, out of service.

    Before the religious among the readers begin to scream of dry electrolyte and sealed batteries let me point out that heat is a destroyer of plastics and a mobilizer of ions.

    A so-called "fast charger" will have to be a device that hooks up to the cooling system of the battery and energizes it simultaneously with the "fast charge." Thus the fast charger will be neither cheap nor cool.

    I ask all of the battery proponents one question: Will you show us your fast charging data that prove that your battery can be fast charged with existing technology in the desert and in the mountains repeatedly over its warranted lifetime without degradation below its minimum effective specifications?

    Also, may I be apprised please of the state of development of the fast charger "machine." Are you going to build enormous numbers of cannon without building new gunpowder factories?

    Electrified power trains are end users of electricity, not net producers of it! These powertrains will have to be serviced and fueled.

    Fast charging is a fuel service function. What companies are in it and where are they in the devlopment or specification of the new fast chargers to make PHEVs practical?
    Aug 28 09:28 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • How PHEVs and EVs Will Sabotage America's Drive for Energy Independence [View article]
    John,

    Your comment below on the "purpose" of the new GE battery plant in New York State certainly adds evidence that your arguments are valid and supported by the facts.

    Is GE going to make giant lithium-ion, or nickel metal hydride, or, even lead-acid, batteries? No, I understand it is not. GE is going to manufacture, as I recall, a molten salt battery that is well suited to the application-enormous weight requiring enormous power rapidly delivered and rapidly stopped. Whether or not the battery is a molten salt type the point is that an expensive limited resource, a complex generator, perhaps, if DC, needing rare earth metals, for example, will be replaced by a battery using far cheaper materials, which can be recycled in any case, and reduce the complexity and manufacturing cost of the locomotive.

    It seems to me that GE is betting on diesel-hybrid locomotives as future traction engines for passenger, rail, and ocean freight and is positioning itself to be independent of foreign sources of permanent magnet alloys that are rapidly drying up.

    It seesm to me to not be a stretch to say that at GE locomotive "cheap and available, reliably, beats cool" everytime. Gosh, those GE economists are conservative!


    On Aug 28 03:50 AM John Petersen wrote:

    > drkhrse, I'm all in favor of anything that works and reduces aggregate
    > waste, but since Seeking Alpha is an investment site I'll only talk
    > about storage technologies that are being made or developed by public
    > companies that file regular reports with the SEC.
    >
    > Fred Lin, biofuels are very tough because producers are subject to
    > uncorrelated commodity price risks. I have an interest in a biodiesel
    > producer that was almost crushed in 2005-06 when agricultural commodity
    > prices were rising rapidly and petroleum prices were drifting downward.
    > There's also the ethical question about turning food into fuel. Cellulosic
    > ethanol may overcome part of that problem, but I'm not all that convinced
    > that the energy balance offers much benefit at the end of the day.
    >
    >
    > Anadarkos, all of the lithium-ion battery developers are asserting
    > that their planned products will perform perfectly in HEV applications.
    > I suppose time will tell on that account, but I certainly won't argue
    > that they're not up to the job from a technical perspective.
    >
    > On the rail front, GE is building a new battery plant to make batteries
    > for hybrid locomotives. As I understand it, the plan is to remove
    > one of the three generators and replace it with a monster battery
    > pack that will recover a big chunk of the energy lost in braking
    > and downhill grades. It's probably a great application.
    Aug 28 08:56 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • How PHEVs and EVs Will Sabotage America's Drive for Energy Independence [View article]
    John,

    Are your readers aware of the fact that a typical OEM automotive assembly plant today in the USA is only cost effective when it can produce a lot of cars? There are now less than 20 assembly plants operated in North America by the former big three; there were more than double that number at the turn of the century just between GM and Ford.

    Chrysler's Jeep Toledo plants (2) produced a record 320,000 "units" one year in the early 1990s under the management of a close friend of mine. He then moved to the Windsor, Ontario Chrysler plant at which the minvans and crossovers were made and ramped that plant up to 1,000 units per day (16 hours).

    Imagine how ineffective it is today to run a plant making just 10,000 Chevrolet Volts a year! I understand that such a plant will not be, at first, a "flex' plant; it will make just the one model. This will be a huge costly "beta" site where GM will learn by trial and error.

    The last thing the manager of the Volt plant will think about is "how long will the battery maintain its performance specifications intact?" That will be the repsonsibility of a hugely expensive engineering group carefully maintaining a log on each car made and then following the first few 'thousand" carefully.

    Oh, and did I mention that there will need to be a separate service group writing a mnual, specifying parameters and equipment to measure and repair, sourcing the equipment, financing the equipment for dealers and service shops, training technicians, and monitoring them?

    The cost of this experiment will be in the billions-it has already cost more than one billion! The result is at this time unknown.

    Let's see: If the battery type chosen for initial prodcution doesn't work out it will have to be studied to see if the problem was the chemistry, the manufacturing engineering, or the actual use that made it fail. While all of that is going on another battery will have to be specified and sourced and production will be curtailed until further testing is finished.

    How long do your readers think the above sequences will take just for ONE TYPE OF LITHIUM-ION BATTERY?

    My guess is up to five years, so I think that the electrification of cars will not get to the stage of multiple manufacturers making hundreds of thousands of units per year for perhaps a decade.

    Is this really a horizon for small investors, or, even, for large private investors. No, it is not. The elctrification of the motor car for private personal use can only proceed if it is to be done with new battery technology by massive public financing.

    Did I mention that I don't know whether to laugh or cry when I read about how much simpler to build an electrified car will be than an ICE type? A current ICE car has around 6,000 components. I suppose the electrified ones will only have 5,500 components. That will make no difference at all in the complexity of building a car.

    Engineering minds are a terrible thing to waste and wasted resources of rare metals and oil cannot be recovered or replaced.


    Aug 27 12:50 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • First Solar Sell-Off Is Overdone [View article]
    Yellowhoard,

    Tellurium is mostly produced as a byproduct of copper mining and refining, so that China by no means has a stranglehold on tellurium production, although it actually does have one mine that may be called a primary tellurium mine-the only one in the world- and that mine's output is today processed in China to solar grade tellurium, 5x9s. The real company to watch if you like FSLR is China's Apollo Solar, which is now supplying tellurium and other related rare metals in high grades to FSLR. Apollo is now traded in the US as a bulletin board stock, but it has applied to the NASDAQ for listing there.

    I am going to China next week, and I will be speaking on materials for solar energy conversion at two conferences there. I will report my findings when I return after Sep.8.




    On Aug 26 07:31 PM yellowhoard wrote:

    > FSLR depends on cheap tellurium to manufacture it's panels.
    >
    > The Chinese have a stranglehold on tellurium.
    >
    > If the Chinese want to own the solar energy business, they have the
    > power to control their own destiny.
    Aug 26 10:02 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is China Planning to Restrict or Eliminate Export of 'Heavy' Rare Earth Metals? [View article]
    Kentpaul,

    Thjere is a company out there looking at producing hydrogen from ammonia economically for fueling hydrogen powered internal combustion engines. ;there is so much ammonia produced and distributed in the agricultural areas of the USA for fertilizer manufacturing that this is actually a very good idea. Unfortunately the US government doesn't see it that way.




    On Aug 25 04:06 PM kentpaul wrote:

    > PS I saw Matt Simmons is working on a mega size offshore wind farmthat
    > will electrolyse sea water to generate liquid ammondia - NH3 and
    > which works in combustion engines.
    Aug 26 05:13 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Debunking PHEV Mythology [View article]
    -i HIT THE PUBLISH BUTTON BEFORE i WAS DONE-

    -The free market car industry could build a universal small fuel efficient car easily, and it could even be profitable after an intial subsidy driven period, but its use would have to be mandated by taxes or restricitve laws on size and fuel consumption.

    Such a movement-into cars like that-would not necessarily be a regressive move into socialism but could be seen as the only way to failry distribute resources. I think this will happen first in Asia, and i think it will happen by the middle of this century.

    Thanks for letting me travel down memory lane.


    On Aug 24 09:22 AM William Taylor wrote:

    > And those expensive batteries will be punished by the necessity of
    > heating cars in the winter.
    > Anyway, what kind of solution is it to subsidize batteries??
    > A subsidy is just shifting costs elsewhere. We still have to pay!
    >
    > Common sense say build a little car that gets 70 MPG or better and
    > chug along at 45MPH.
    > It is my belief that all cars should be the same exterior size and
    > shape year after year so that you could replace a bumper or engine
    > or parts cheaply as they would be standardized year after year, (no
    > complicated wasted inventory of thousands of parts). The cars would
    > all be the same small size and the spirit of competition would mean
    > fancier and safer interiors. Since all cars would be small, road
    > traffic and parking would be easier.
    Aug 24 10:14 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Debunking PHEV Mythology [View article]
    When I first began going to Romania in 1983 they had in place a basic version of the system you propose. The Dacia was based on a Renault design; they made a million of them over the next 15 years without changing the body style (There were variants such, as a pickup truck called, by the Romanian, a Chinese limousine).

    Interestingly enough the most common small business-of the very few allowed to be private-was the Auto Parts shop. Romanians would go from one to anothetr haggling for whatever they needed such as a radiator or an engine mount. Hundreds of small shops were refurbishing such parts and the prices were always cheaper than those of "new Parts" from the parts factory called the Automotive Subassemblies Company.

    The Dacia was a very crude car, but it could be repaired with a screwdriver and pliers-which were half of the tool kit supplied with the car!

    Of all of the states of the former Soviet Empire that made their own cars I think the Romanians and the Poles were the most successful in the sense of mass production.

    Note that the Dacia was intended to run until it disintegrated and even then its components, with any remaining life at all, would go into the organ donor program.

    Dacia models only changed after the fall of communism, and the first replacement car was called the Dacia Nova.

    The states of the former Soviet Empire have all anadoned the one unchanging model version of a universal car, but it is in fact worth another look. The free market car industry could build


    On Aug 24 09:22 AM William Taylor wrote:

    > And those expensive batteries will be punished by the necessity of
    > heating cars in the winter.
    > Anyway, what kind of solution is it to subsidize batteries??
    > A subsidy is just shifting costs elsewhere. We still have to pay!
    >
    > Common sense say build a little car that gets 70 MPG or better and
    > chug along at 45MPH.
    > It is my belief that all cars should be the same exterior size and
    > shape year after year so that you could replace a bumper or engine
    > or parts cheaply as they would be standardized year after year, (no
    > complicated wasted inventory of thousands of parts). The cars would
    > all be the same small size and the spirit of competition would mean
    > fancier and safer interiors. Since all cars would be small, road
    > traffic and parking would be easier.
    Aug 24 10:09 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Debunking PHEV Mythology [View article]
    John,

    Once again your comments are definitive; there is really nothing more to say, among the rational that is.

    Keep at it, please.

    Jack
    Aug 21 08:26 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • A123 Powering Forward on Its Planned IPO [View article]
    John,

    Can you point me to who in the US Federal Government made the decision on the allocation of funds under the battery development
    section of the A.R.R.A? I certainly hope that none of those ladies or gentlemen has any conflict of interest that would be created by their ownership, legally or beneficially, of a stock such as A123. How are the "insider trading" statutes interpreted if, or in the case that, the insider knowledge is attributed to these deciders of critical funding???

    Jack
    Aug 20 09:45 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
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