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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Reliable Affordable Energy

Do Large Corporations Plan Energy Systems to Fail?
"Drawing on experience gained in the aftermath of the March earthquake and tsunami that devastated parts of eastern Japan, Toyota will introduce a 1.5kW power supply option for the Japan-market Prius within about half a year, and will expand the option to other hybrids in the near future." 
Read more at Green Car Congress, Toyota to offer onboard generator option for hybrids sold in Japan

The gas/petrol engine used in Toyota hybrid technology is more energy-efficient, producing higher output than conventional gas/petrol engines. ...
Toyota Hybrid Engine
Maximum power output: 73kW(99PS)/5,200 rpm
Maximum torque: 142N・m(14.5kgf・m)/4,000 rpm
Toyota's hybrid technology uses a synchronous AC generator capable of high speed axial rotation, realizing substantial electrical power while the car is running in the mid-speed range.
The inverter in the Power Control Unit converts ... AC generated by ... the generator into DC to recharge the battery. 

Read more at Toyota Global Technology File, Learn more about the various technologies used in Toyota's hybrid vehicles

At the Carbon Expo held recently in Melbourne, one tweeter said - 
"Australia faces massive costs in transmission, in getting power to market. Might rule out options like Geothermal - AGL"
(Tweet by @TheCO2Manager, 9:24am November 9th, 2011 )

Note the advice in these two comments -

Comments on Green Car Congress article:
Toyota to offer onboard generator option for hybrids sold in Japan

"Ever so gradually the world is turning towards reasonableness, and I'm glad to see that Toyota is part of the turn. I have felt for a long time that the only reasonable setup for an electric vehicle is one with an onboard generator.

Certainly the cost of this is many millions lower than the taxpayer money government is wasting on charging stations."

Posted by: citizen | November 03, 2011 at 11:44 AM 
"@citizen - You're on the right track. But its a bit larger than you're thinking. Toyota's onboard genset and the Japanese earthquake all spell a major wake up call for the old school power grid and power company.

Centralized power generation is the big fail here.

Single source power plants, terrorists, earthquakes, hurricanes, severe electrical storms - are all major threats.

With the advent of low cost CHP power appliances - all these threats are eliminated."

Posted by: Reel$$ | November 04, 2011 at 01:05 AM 
Onboard engines and generators of hybrid electric vehicles could be exploited to eliminate the threats to a power grid to which centralized power plants are vulnerable - as "Reel$$" commented above.

Hybrid electric vehicles generating power for the grid whenever they are parked for extended periods can do much more -
  • Overcome the need for "massive costs in transmission, in getting power to market" on which TheCO2Manager tweeted at the recent Carbon Expo in Melbourne, 
  • Eliminate the need for investment in large, central power plant, 
  • Eliminate reliance on scarce petroleum resources for road transport, and
  • Eliminate the cost of transmission and generating capacity to cope with peak electricity demand.
Why not pursue this solution?
To eliminate reliance on petroleum transport fuel, Hybrid electric vehicles could be connected to natural gas fuel lines at parking bays. The petrol / gasoline in the vehicles' fuel tanks would be reserved for use when the vehicles were being driven, and even then, only to extend their driving range when the onboard batteries needed recharging.

Hybrid electric vehicles such as the Toyota Prius have onboard engines/generators able to produce 50 kilowatts of electrical energy or more. With an external fuel supply, there is no reason to restrict the power output to just a few kilowatts, as Toyota has recently announced.

Parked Hybrid electric vehicles could be dynamically scheduled to generate power or shutdown in response to demand by a Smart Grid supply management system.