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On The Misguided Neoclassical Economic Thinking Behind a Carbon Tax

Hi John,

Thanks for reading. GHG emissions reductions can also be attributed to the rise of natural gas, which is now tied with coal as the United States’ top source of electricity. But what receives less attention is the fact that natural gas' current boom is thanks in large part to decades of government investment in technology R&D (the Breakthrough Institute did some great work in detailing this: http://www.innovationfiles.org/renewables-must-learn-from-natural-gas/)...which reinforces the point I tried to make in the article, that "a carbon tax can only be seen as effective climate change policy in the extent to which it funds clean energy innovation".

November 20, 2012    View Comment    

On Renewables Must Learn From Natural Gas

Hi Adam,

Thanks for reading. You make some good points. ARPA-E likes to point out that 11 of their funded projects ($40 million) have leveraged more than $200 million in follow-up private funding, but I think you're right in pointing out that they can and need to do more to secure that kind of success for ALL their projects. Given ARPA-E's sucess thus far, and the bipartisan support that it enjoys, expanding their resources/capabilities is definitely something to consider.

September 26, 2012    View Comment    

On Ambri and Utility-Scale Storage: Another Emerging Story of Government Investment in Energy Innovation

Hi Paul,

Thanks for reading. Good to hear that you find the technology exciting. The battery's technical details obviously escape me, but I did a little digging to find some answers to your questions. The 16-inch prototype batteries only contain about 1200 Wh, but that could change as they approach commercialization. For now, the batteries are small enough that the plan is to stack them into shipping containers for a combined 2MWh storage capacity: http://www.ambri.com/storage/documents/ambri_brochure_web.pdf.

As for keeping the battery interior melted: "The whole device is kept at a high temperature, around 700 degrees Celsius, so that the layers remain molten. In the small devices being tested in the lab, maintaining this temperature requires an outside heater, but Sadoway says that in the full-scale version, the electrical current being pumped into, or out of, the battery will be sufficient to maintain that temperature without any outside heat source." (http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2009/liquid-battery.html).

Hope this helps.

September 6, 2012    View Comment    

On One Step Closer to Game-Changing Electric Vehicle Batteries

Hi rhemmerl,

I haven't looked extensively at the question of lithium supply, but a report released late last year had a promising message: "Even with a rapid and widespread adoption of electric vehicles powered by lithium-ion batteries, lithium resources are sufficient to support demand until at least the end of this century," they wrote."

http://www.mlive.com/auto/index.ssf/2011/08/u-m_study_global_lithium_sup...

Thanks for reading!

August 17, 2012    View Comment