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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

PAT THE VISIONARY?

Yes, according to Doug Carlson in his Hawaii Energy Options blog site.  Thanks, Doug, but visionaries need to be right, at least occasionally.  Here is my record:

1.  In the mid-seventies, I predicted that, given biomass, methanol would prevail over ethanol.  Wrong!  I also gave the highest priority for Hawaii to find an alternative pathway to jet fuel and the current jet liner that support our only real industry, tourism. Very little has happened, although I can hope for some eventual success from algae bio jet fuel and Rinaldo Brutoco's (right) Hawaiian Hydrogen Clipper.  In any case, we had to begin the effort a third of a century ago, and have not.

2.  When I worked in the U.S. Senate (1979-82) I helped write the original legislation for OTEC, hydrogen and wind power.

  a.  The bill predicted that in 1998 we would have 10,000 MW of OTEC power.  Today?  Zero...but I have hopes for the Lockheed Martin venture in Hawaii.  Keep at it, Doug.

  b.  The hydrogen economy was another bill of Senator Spark Matsunaga.  Sorry to say that my current sense has hydrogen still far removed from real commercialization.  I still think this sustainable gas has promise for aviation, but I worry about those romantics who truly believe that they will make a profit out of hydrogen powering vehicles today (or the next decade or two).

  c.  Wind power is the only renewable option that is competitive, but mostly because of current government incentives.  Worse, the rate of wind energy expansion dropped last year.  Some day, I see the ocean between Oahu and Molokai, plus Maui and the Big Island, as ideal sites for this option, because this is where the wind regime is best with minimal turbulence.  In any case, when I helped draft this legislation, I had no idea that it would be this successful.

  d.  I've been advocating the 10% solution for peace, and no one listens to me.

  e.  I thought the biomethanol economy with the direct methanol fuel cell was the best pathway for ground transport.  The Farm Lobby has prevented this from happening and the Obama administration only prioritizes the plug-in electric car.

  f.  I recommended that Hawaii host the 2020 World Expo, for this was the only way our mass transit project could reach fruition.  Not one indication of interest.

Oh, well, at least the the Blue Revolution, with proposed Pacific International Ocean Station, is showing some movement, and, perhaps, like Nostradamus, it will be another half a millennium before any of my ideas attain an kind of reality.


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The Dow Jones Industrials jumped 128 to 12,570, as world markets also all went up.  Gold, however, dropped $4/toz to $1535 and petroleum went up, NYMEX now at $103/barrel and the Brent Spot at $117/barrel.

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