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Michael Simpson

Apr 21, 2014
03:26

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Hi, this sounds interesting! Is there any indication of what vehicle conversion costs might be, and do you anticipate any safety concerns, say when refuelling? Mike

Kimberly King

Apr 21, 2014
11:34

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Hi Mike. Thanks for the interest. $2,000 to $3,000 to convert the vehicle. The safety of ethane is better than natural gas due to the lower storage pressure. -Kimberly King

Robert Dedomenico

May 12, 2014
05:35

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Since this proposal has a few supporters, it warrants commenting on. How does burning excessive amounts of a different fraction of petroleum constitute "green"? You see... the primary problem is not just exactly which fuel we are burning. It is that we are burning so much fuel. If an ethane fueled, 4,000 lb car, capable of hauling over 1,000 lbs payload, is routinely being used to carry a 40 lb load of groceries that a single human being could have easily toted home if they had a wagon handle on their shopping cart, a smooth path, and time to do it... then we will continue to have a problem. Does anybody see what I am getting at? More importantly, do any people, who are in a position to make decisions that affect the rest of us, get it? (I'm referring to the judges.) Will this be taken as a prod for people to wake up just a bit, or will I be just accused of being mean spirited? (again)

Kimberly King

May 12, 2014
10:13

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[LINDSAY'S RESPONSE] The It's A Gas ethane as a transportation fuel answers the question direction and accurately with a thermodynamically and economically viable solution. The question posed was how to reduce CO2 in a fleet of vehicles that is growing. The question was not how to prevent folks from using automobiles or trucks or tell them how to perform their shopping. Of course we all realize that the Brady Bunch lifestyle is carbon intensive, but that simply was not the point of the question, was it? The Ethane idea is a simple yet elegant solution to the question. [KIMBERLY'S RESPONSE] If you have not already done so, please have a look at the Info-graphic; see the 'What actions do you propose?' section. The problem is Robert, something must be done to assist these bigger emitters of CO2. One option is to burn cleaner fuels like ethane. Any company involved with carbon-intensive activities looking to reduce carbon is every bit as effective as any solar farm, energy savings performance contract, energy efficiency or renewable energy systems technology in making a difference.

Robert Dedomenico

May 12, 2014
12:32

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Your suggestion that to the public I would "tell them how to perform their shopping", is far from correct. I only offered the comparison in transportaiton modes for comparison. I would provide for the public a means of moving things, that they would voluntarily choose to exploit. Doing "something" is not what is necessary. Doing the most advantageous things, and then the most advantageous of the remaining, iteratively, is what would do the most good. There are only so many resources to be devoted to changes intended to result in improvements. If the most beneficial changes are recognized, and put into effect first, then the returns on investment from such changes becomes provides more resources to enable accomplishing further, but less advantageous improvements. Chosen the other way around, resources are expended and yield less return on investment, slowing the pace of additional improvements. It is widely accepted that there is no one "silver bullet". The succession of improvements available really should be put into the right order. Did you know that US annual energy consumption is aobut 100 quadrillion BTU's per year? That is a steady burn rate of 15 horsepower per capita, (primary energy, not shaft horsepower.) No matter what we are burning, that rate of consumption is what is sinking us. Consuming a different fuel to sustain the habit is a delay tactic at best, and just not the best option for forward progress among those that exist today. Open, honest, discourse is what I offer. I looked at your infographic. It doesn't say what pressure ethane must be compressed to. I'll dig that up myself, but it should really be included.

David Shin

May 12, 2014
01:57

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As a non-Engineer and someone more involved in the Social Sciences, the factors of Motivation and Time/Convenience have to be put into the Equation. Time would permit one to farm, fish and sustain oneself entirely from Nature but lack of time and other Social conditions prevent that. And then there's still the LEARNING CURVE!!!. The LEAST disruption, the greatest the chances of wide universal adoption and acceptance.

Robert Dedomenico

May 12, 2014
08:29

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Don't you consider it a bit "disruptive" that people would have to shell out a few thousand dollars per vehicle to convert to ethane fuel? What is in it for them to do so? Before they spend the money, they have an operational car. After they spend the money, what additional value did they get? They have no more for themselves than they had before, indeed less, as there is no ethane refueling network that comes anywhere near the ubiquity of gasoline. So I agree with you, drhsin, it is unlikely that this proposal will be taken up voluntarily by the majority, because there is nothing in it for the individual. On the contrary, if a utility system were developed that allowed people to order goods like they had a Star Trek transporter for delivery... then they would have convenience, they would save the time and expense of driving, and so long as the economics of the system worked out well, they could save money even though they pay for use of the service. It is difficult to express a line of reasoning that leads to the conclusion that a proposal is not necessarily something to just jump on the band wagon about, without upsetting someone. I know this, because I know what it feels like to have some of the judges comments be complete lies about a proposal of mine last year, and all of that is still there for anyone to see who might doubt the accuracy of that statement. For those who might actually check me on that, compare the comment that, "- Author should consider the interaction with other vehicles.", with the parts of the proposal that outline some of the development and testing phases, "Two vehicle testing. This testing arrives at the go/no-go key performance criteria of the concept: merge. The two vehicle merge concept being tested is elegant, simple, and expected to succeed based on any and all modeling and analysis, but this will be the test.", and "The prototype vehicles will successfully demonstrate operational performance in accordance with control system performance specification, specifically regarding autonomous operation in all two vehicle traffic circumstances.", and "Construction of remaining 2 vehicles to allow multi-vehicle testing. Further control scheme adjustments may be necessary pending outcome of this testing." So, while it is true that I do not think this proposal is a very promising one, at least I am simply communicating reasons from a valid point of view, and not simply a contest judge making demonstrateably false claims about what you propose to do. You should take some comfort in that, and that I do not question the ethics of your motives.

Tom Morris

May 13, 2014
08:39

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Your proposal is interesting. I think that since ethane is produced as a byproduct of the oil refining process using it as a fuel is an option to explore if it is a cleaner burning fuel. I do however see some issues. Refineries themselves are environmental and safety nightmares. The industry does a great job of PR giving the impression that they are all about safety and the environment;in practice refinery "safety" is an oxymoron. Most refineries are either old (Valero Memphis) or using outdated technology. Hazardous chemicals are used in the refining process. Hydroflouric Acid (HF) for instance is used in the Alkylation units of refineries and the quantities of HF stored in refineries within population centers is an accident waiting to happen. I have personal experience in the investigation of a death of an individual killed by the release of HF at a U.S. refinery. my point is that while implementation of Ethane as a fuel for transportation may lower GHG emissions from vehicles I do not feel it will have an impact that would offset the detrimental properties of the refining process. The use of ethane as an interim measure may be a good idea(if the refineries are operating anyway we may as well use the output), however I feel long term soultions must aim toward the elimination of fossil fuels. I feel the best current options are the use of Nuclear/Electric where feasible and alternatives like solar in areas wher it is feasible. Ethane as fuel could be a usefull contribution during a transition period. Using any "waste" product that will be generated by a current ongoing process is probably worth pursuing until said processes are made obsolete.

Tom Morris

May 13, 2014
09:12

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I would also propose that rather than using ethane for transportation which would require vehicle design, purchase etc on a fairly large scale to have an impact that ethane could instead be used locally at powerstations near refineries to replace or supplement dirtier fuels such as coal.this should require less conversion and does not require a wide distribution network.

Robert Dedomenico

May 13, 2014
11:48

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The premise given for this proposal, "since the world does not need more plastics", might not seem so accurate the next time somebody you love is hospitalized, provided you take notice of how many different health care applications there are the absolutely depend on plastic for their function and/or affordability. I offered some previous comments, and got some initial response, but now it seems possible that the proposals authors do not wish to converse any more, at least not with a person who points out a few problems with their proposal.

Kimberly King

May 13, 2014
12:29

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Reasons why we don't need more plastics is because the vast majority of plastics discarded in the USA still wind up in incinerators, landfills or, worse, the ocean. There is a way to reduce the plastics waste stream and turn it into high-quality plastic pellets, which in turn, can be used to make new products. http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/circular-economy-environment [snip] Recycling plastics not only keeps waste out of landfills and oceans, but also reduces the need for petroleum-based feedstocks, requires 80% less energy than making plastic from oil and dramatically reduces carbon emissions...

Robert Dedomenico

May 13, 2014
02:05

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Is the fact that not everybody disposes of any particular material properly, proof positive that we need no more of that particular material? Is it wise to neglect considering that routinely using 4,000 lb cars to retreive 1 oz prescriptions is perhaps more energy intensive than is necessary? All I'm saying is... you are proposing expending effort and resources on an experiment in using what is perhaps a slightly less offensive fuel, when it might be far, far better, to put that same amount of effort into something that negates the need to burn that fuel. My proposal still sits in the 2013 transportation category, because the judges instead advanced: 1- some scheme calling for building roofs over all of the freeways of Los Angeles, 2- a scheme for better timing of traffic lights, 3- a scheme for burning garbage to generate electricity to power electric 'jeepneys', 4- a proposal to leverage your smart phone to help you get around, and 5- another proposal to leverage information... this time a website to help you carpool. Don't you think it possible that there may be something that would result in much greater benefit?

Tom Morris

May 14, 2014
09:30

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this link discusses the glut of ethane/price drop and raises some interesting issues. the low cost makes it very cheap to make new plastics, even if they are not needed if they are cheap to make and create a profit people will make them. finding alternative uses for ethane would drive prices up. the end of the articles addresses my refinery to powerplant pipeline idea and mentions that it has been considered in the past. LINK: http://fuelfix.com/blog/2013/10/07/price-drop-in-ethane-a-boost-to-chemical-firms/

Tom Morris

May 14, 2014
09:25

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this link has some interesting arguments against ethane as a fuel while also pionting out some advantages; it addresses some interesting economic tipping points that impact any proposed use of ethane. LINK: http://scottkolo.com/blog/?p=68

Tom Morris

May 14, 2014
09:43

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this article discusses a process using a thermal reactor/cracking process to make ethane part of a gasoline mix. LINK: http://www.hydrocarbonprocessing.com/Article/3262297/Consider-GTL-as-an-economic-alternative-for-stranded-natural-gas-and-ethane.html And this link has info on multifuel gas turbines which are allready in use at powerplants. LINK:http://www.ge-energy.com/content/multimedia/_files/downloads/Fuel%20Flexibility%20White%20Paper.pdf

Tom Morris

May 14, 2014
09:40

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after review the links above and other available information I suggest that Ethane is better suited to the uses that are allready in developement rather than use as a vehicle fuel. The infrastructure delivery system that would be required for signifigant adoption of ethane as a vehichle fuel outweigh the limited reduction in GHG's gained by such proposed use. Incorporating Ethane into multifuel gas turbine power generation systems is a more easily scalable use which is allready in progess and provides a more efficient use without the need for signifigant changes in infrastructure. The required support systems for wide adoption of ethane as a transportation system would generate sigifigant GHG in the course of construction and installation of a delivery network. In summary there are better uses for Ethane allready in the works.

Tom Morris

May 14, 2014
09:01

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and I still can't type :)

Kimberly King

May 14, 2014
10:24

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[LINDSAY'S RESPONSE] Ethane is more and more coming from shale gas coproduction and the ethane is rejected in Places far away from refineries and population centers. We intend to capture this ethane for the transportation fuel. Burning ethane instead of natural gas in electric power production is ungreen, and actually adds to CO2 emissions. CH4 has 4 hydrogen for 1 carbon ethane only has 3. Therefore, CH4 is best for power generation. But gasoline only has 2 hydrogens for each carbon, and therefore ethane is greener than gasoline.

Robert Dedomenico

May 14, 2014
11:46

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What about when we reach "peak ethane"? Or "peak methane"? Or will that never happen? Basically, any proposal that does not propel the world toward a sustainably low rate of energy consumption is doomed. Ever since the industrial age began, energy use has been ramping continuously up. The only exceptions being momentary deviations from the overall and dominant trend. Without having recently researched the work of others, or doing my own analysis anytime recently, I am still pretty sure that we are burning fossil fuel reserves at a rate faster than they are being created, and even if that were not the case, extending our energy consumption growth trend would have to get us to that state at some point. So there is a term... "greenwashing". Its meaning should be self evident to most. Are there any actual cases, examples of greenwashing that you can think of? I can give you a general idea of the properties that could minimize the probability that a proposal might from some point of view appear to be greenwashing... a proposal might provide a way to drastically reduce energy consumption for some common use, while accomplishing the same end goal in a manner superior in every way. That would tend to align to self rewarding goals of individuals with the shared goal of solving a common problem, which would tend to mean that mandates for its use would be unnecessary. In this proposal, outside of the asserted societal benefit, is there any direct benefit to an individual to motivate them to expend their own private resources in implementing their piece of it?

Tom Morris

May 14, 2014
11:35

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The articles I listed address the Ethane from shale gas. The ethane that would be used in vehicles while cleaner than gasoline is still dirty compared to methane/lpg. My comments about refineries were based on the fact that the proposal mentions them as a source of ethane. the rise of Ethane stock from shale fracking has it own negatives associated with it that must be weighed against the positives of any proposed use of ethane. I think the biggest issue I see is the impact of delivery system developement versus actual reduction in GHG. Not trying to discourage you just providing questions that may assist in developing a workable plan. To me any plan has to have a measurable positive impact that outweighs any negative impact.

Robert Dedomenico

May 14, 2014
11:35

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Since we are still burning coal to make electricity, and we are already burning natural gas to make electricity at the fastest pace currently possible, then any ethane burned to make electricity would be displacing coal burning, which is more green than using ethane to replace gasoline consumption, since gasoline has less carbon per unit energy than coal, so by the same logic that you use, doesn't this make burning ethane in cars "ungreen"?

Tom Morris

May 14, 2014
12:36

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additionally cleaner burning CNG is allready used in some areas; why would ethane be a superior option?

Lindsay Leveen

May 14, 2014
02:49

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the range of ethane is far greater than CNG because ethane is a liquid in the same cylinder not a gas. Also ethane cylinders needs only be 1,800 psi and not 3,500 psi exotic cylinder for CNG much safer!!!

Tom Morris

May 14, 2014
02:17

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@liveen. thanks for the response to my question concerning CNG. I mentioned some other concerns in prior comments.

Lindsay Leveen

May 14, 2014
02:41

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RDD you seem worried that this excellent proposal may in fact make it into the finals. Why not concentrate on the 9% or o CO2 savings per mile versus gasoline and not try save the world from driving vehicles. The question posed by the competition and the solution was based on ever increasing need for transportation fuel. I suggest you stop being negative and stop name calling and start thinking of your own suggestion of how to lessen the carbon content of transportation fuel in some positive way. This idea is green and most of your comments are gangrene.

Lindsay Leveen

May 14, 2014
02:45

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Tominga you bring up valid questions and the logistics are the key issue. However compared with LNG the logistics and supply chain of compressed ethane are much simpler and far less costly. The use of basic cylinders and not cryogenic vessels simplifies the supply chain immensely. Ethane like propane can be distributed and made available to consumers. Ethane is long in supply and is being reinjected or flared and will be in long supply for many years to come.

Robert Dedomenico

May 14, 2014
03:48

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You, 11eveen, are calling names. I am only discussing the topic. Why should we have a discussion area if there is to be no discussion? I suggest that you refrain from suggesting that an honest and civil dialogue should be stifled. Would it serve us better if we were restricted to only agreeing? How would we learn anything from each other? The judges offer constructive criticism... should they keep their objections hidden? I will certainly agree with you that this proposal has a good chance of being advanced. If you read the first comment of this transportation division of the competition, you will gain insight into what concerns me. It is a reprint of a letter from John C. Houbolt to Robert C. Means, both of NASA, from November 1961. I think I included the URL of the document from which I obtained it, and it is a very interesting bit of history. You may not always be correct when you make assumptions... especially about other peoples thoughts and/or motives.

Tom Morris

May 14, 2014
03:24

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@lleveen my intent in my comments is to point out areas of concern and thank for for addressing them civilly. I do feel this is an iterim solution until we can hopefully wean ourselves off fossil fuels entirely. did you get a cjhance to review the link that discusses the economic tripping points of Ethane? I found it interesting and I am going to do a bit more research. Please feel free to go to my profile if you have time and veiw my proposals. Criticism is welcome.

Lindsay Leveen

May 14, 2014
03:55

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Tominga I will go to your profile and I am sure it is very capable. The surplus ethane will either be rejected, flared or shipped to become petrochems. The EIA believes that ethane will trade for the next twenty years at something like a third of the price of naptha. Which means a third of the price of gasoline. There is a lot of value add for a long time to come if a company does the logistics of bringing ethane to market as a liquid transportation fuel RDD you are welcome to comment as much as you like but the proposal is not greenwashed it is green through and through. Hence if you have to label it as laundry I suggest you look at your own dirty laundry. This is my last reply to you.

Kimberly King

May 15, 2014
05:38

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While we wait for the electrical vehicle (EV) infrastructure to become fully realized, I'm not confident it will be able to service the entire transportation sector, especially those sectors that move massive amounts of goods and services i.e. light duty and heavy duty trucks, locomotives, airplanes, ships. Therefore, it makes sense to earmark alternative, lower-carbon emitting fuels for these heavily reliant industries to have access during this transition, and into the future. One of these alternative fuels can be ethane. There are limits to the quantity of ethane that can be sold in pipeline natural gas. And so, it just makes sense to try to capture this 'waste' gas and repurpose it as a transportation fuel, instead of converting it into ethylene for the manufacture of more plastics. And reforming ethane is massively capital intensive, wastes over half of the energy content of the gas and huge amounts of CO2 will be emitted due to the low efficiency of the gas to liquids synthesis process. Ethane can be a utilized as an alternative transportation resource to this aim in the USA, instead of offshoring--whereby terminals and infrastructure is currently being built for this offshore aim. Not to mention, there is much less logistical and infrastructure hassle in the supply chain to get the liquid ethane fuel aboard a vehicle--which isn't the case for LNG. Ethane in internal combustion engines (ICEs) is not far-fetched. As a matter of fact, Keystone Midstream Services, Rex Energy Corporation and Sumitomo Corporation are testing ethane for use in vehicles. http://www.bizjournals.com/pittsburgh/blog/energy/2011/03/Keystone-midstream-ethane-fuel-engines.html

Robert Dedomenico

May 15, 2014
09:32

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OK, I hear you, but what if there were actually a critical and strong demand for the polyethylene pipes that come from ethane? And what if the application generating that demand would be 1000x more effective at reducing emissions, by reducing the demand for driving? Then that would be analogous to us all living in a drafty old farm house, such that we had to burn so much fuel to keep warm, that we began having problems related to this fuel consumption. But we also have an old barn, and it's materials could either be put to good use sealing up all the drafty windows so we don't have to burn so much fuel, or instead simply burned as fuel to keep the drafty house warm. In this hypothetical and analogous case... which course of action should be neglected in favor of the other? The main question of this sub-contest — “How can CO2 emissions from the transportation sector be reduced?" — is straightforward, but the response may be as multifaceted and complex as the transport system itself. I think I will resubmit my proposal this year, in this category, and I think you might like it. You might even come to love it. After all... if something that really is destined to drive a beneficial revolution gets going, it will be because it is recognized that it is worth doing. And when it is recognized that a vast and lengthy undertaking is absolutely worth doing, then those having the capital resources to finance it will do so, and those in need of gainful employment will find it, and all will benefit from it. And Lindsay... you take my intentions incorrectly, and perhaps underestimate the work I have done.

Tom Morris

May 16, 2014
08:05

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@kimgerly the link you gave concerning keystone describes the use of an 88% ethane mix. How do the other components of this mix affect the carbon outout of the resulting fuel? why is keystone using a mix rather than pure ethane? I assume it's because ethan may burn too hot to use without making it part of a fuel mixture. Are there examples of vehicles using pure ethane or a breakdown of the carbon output of succesfully used fuel mixes?

Tom Morris

May 16, 2014
08:40

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@lleveen regarding ethane pricing if ethane were to become part of the transportation fuel family wouldn't the subsequent rise in demand cause a rise in cost? -Can ethane delivery to the end user be scaled in a way that keeps cost low enoght to remain a better option than other fuels? -Can pure ethane be used or will vehicle fuel use require a mixture and how does that effect the carbon footprint? -Considering the above concerns would it be prudent to target industrial long haul transport such as the trucking and rail industry which would require a smaller distribution network versus implementation of a distribution system to supply private vehicles?

Tom Morris

May 16, 2014
08:20

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@lleveen you mentioned in a comment that ethane is often flared at refineries. Your comment made me wonder why flare heat is not recapterd to generate power; this should cetainly be possible. BFG is used as a fuel in steel refineries so why the waste burn off at oil refineries is no recaptured is puzzling. A steam generator system or using the flare gas to power a gas turbine powerplant could at the very least provide power for plant operations. i realize this is not part of your proposed use but was just wondering if you have any insight as to why flare gas is just burned off rather than put to use?

Tom Morris

May 16, 2014
08:41

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oops flare gas is being used for power. link: http://www.wartsila.com/en/wartsila-gasreformer-transforming-flare-gas-to-fuel-for-efficient-power-generation link: http://www.clarke-energy.com/gas-type/associated/ link: http://www.gastechno.com/gastechno-flare-gas-solution.html

Robert Dedomenico

May 16, 2014
09:13

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Hi... this is for Kimberly, I see that you have checked out my profile in LinkedIn. If there is anything more you would like to know about me... just ask. Or, if you'd like, I could invite you to connect on LinkedIn. I don't think anything unkind about either you or Lindsay as people. (Even if Lindsay has gotten a little hot under the collar... it happens to us all.) I don't question that you're motives are any less benevolent than my own. I just question the whether this particular plan should be undertaken, especially since it is part of the proposal to be seeking public funding. That does make it something warranting public discussion, and hopefully agreement, whether it is decided that it recieve taxpayer support or not. Feel free to send me a direct message if you like. That even goes for Lindsay. (I read his position on electric cars and batteries, and on this and many other things I share his opinion almost completely.)

Lindsay Leveen

May 16, 2014
11:29

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Tominga if C2H6 becomes a transport fuel its price will increase and we will still save CO2 emissions compared with gasoline. The wornders of the market place

Girish Mulye

May 17, 2014
02:20

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This is a very interesting idea. While I agree with some of comments on the board that mention this does not solve broader problems like having refineries in the first place or private vehicles being inefficiently used, I do feel this is one of the more practical solutions that can quickly reduce emissions for a highly utilized fleet of vehicles. Kudos to identifying delivery trucks as an initial vertical - their highly optimized routes and hub-based system makes it easier to fuel a large number of vehicles by implementing a relatively small number of fuel stations. Have you thought about other organizations/vehicles fitting this model, say USPS, taxi companies, or water taxis (e.g. ferry system in the SF Bay Area)?

Lindsay Leveen

May 17, 2014
02:49

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Rosersmcgee. Thanks for your comment. We are also targeting railroad locomotives and go to my latest two blogs at www.greenexplored.com We have asked Chevron to use Ethane from their refinery in Richmond CA as a replacement to diesel and gasoline. There are several refineries on the SF Bay and all are swimming in ethane that they burn instead of natural gas in boilers. Not green at all methane is best for boilers not ethane but ethane beats gasoline or sideal in lower carbon intensity. A win at the refinery in terms of lessing CO2 emissions and a win aboard vehicles, trains, and ferries. Thanks again Lindsay

Doron Bracha

May 22, 2014
11:29

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Very interesting proposal and discussion. One thing that may not be great, is converting engines in existing cars so they can use ethane. Think about the embodied energy in those engines, the amount of resources it took to extract the raw material, process, ship, manufacture, assemble etc. And the same goes for the new parts you need to install instead of the ones you remove. It all has value, that's not only money, it also represents the environmental footprint. A careful analysis is required in order to figure out whether converting would really be green. Perhaps it would be better to implement this idea only in new vehicles. If distribution to gas stations across the country is complicated and expensive, perhaps one sector to look into is the big airline jet planes. Can those work on ethane?.. Overall, while I do appreciate the value of this proposal, I tend to agree with other comments here, that the real issue is reducing consumption, and improving the efficiency of our public transit. Otherwise people may keep consuming more and driving without thinking twice, I think hybrid vehicles have a similar effect. Cheers !..

Kimberly King

May 22, 2014
12:06

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Doron_Bracha. Thank you for your comments. I think, however, I need to reinforce the focus of this proposal: Primary vehicle type: Key operative 'trucks', package delivery vehicles, e.g. UPS-type delivery trucks, vehicles that support the movement of a great deal of goods and services. Aside: As Lindsay also cited in his Comment 39, we are also looking at railroad locomotives. Logistics: Recover/Capture 'waste' ethane from refineries where it is typically re-injected into the well, flared into the atmosphere or will be shipped offshore from the USA. I would also like to assert that energy efficiency technology is not a panacea. It should not be decoupled from energy conservation, er behavioral changes for reducing consumption.

Tom Morris

May 22, 2014
12:22

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@kimgerly. Agree with your last post. many of the solutions proposed to reduce GHG are attacked for not being "green" enough. a realistic approach to reducing GHG must include consideration of ideas that provide incremental reduction in GHG. Your last post did a good job of clarifying the focus of your proposal and while i still have concerns(which i will I'm sure annoy you by posting here)-JK; I feel your proposal is worthy of further research.

Kimberly King

May 23, 2014
02:18

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@tominga. Thanks. AND, I must say, I appreciate your comment about incremental reductions in GHG emissions. I actually just blogged about why I think a great deal of the general population doesn't understand the limits of energy transformations and why they aren't as 'easily' managed, say like the internet. I blame this on lack of energy literacy. If you feel like indulging me, you can read my blog post "Here’s the BIG PROBLEM | Energy literacy is the energy industry’s BIGGEST obstacle" - http://www.kimgerly.com/wpress/?p=1787 [snip] POINT TWO. Another problem is those who don’t understand thermodynamics don’t understand a physical system dealing with kilojoules or kilograms makes things way more difficult than say, working in the infinite space of the internet.

Lindsay Leveen

May 23, 2014
10:28

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Doron Planes need the most BTUs of fuel with the least mass and volume of fuel and the tanks. Ethane is not for planes. The tanks would simply be too heavy and too large for a plane. Trains, ships, trucks and cars can afford the extra volume and mass as the cost savings are there. It is interesting that the Wine Train in Napa Valley runs on CNG. It will run great on ethane and that is one example of what can be done using this proposal. I like the suggestion of the Ferries on the San Francisco Bay and now the wine train. One can also buy a drink on these modes of transport. Let's save the ethanol for that. Note ethane is ethanol minus the oxygen but with an added hydrogen. Ethane for the transport fuel and ethanol for the people. Cheers!!!

Agharese Lucia Ojelede

Jun 15, 2014
03:41

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Hello Kimgerly, Your proposal is very interesting that is why it is generating a lot of comments. The redesigning of vehicle for ethane fuel should be looked into because it will pose a small challenge. All the best! Arese

Kimberly King

Jun 16, 2014
08:48

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We appreciate your comment, Arese. Believe it or not, our biggest concern is the EPA, not retooling vehicles. Gasoline/Diesel to ethane conversion will require a modest investment for refitting and adding controls to the vehicles. There have been proven success using boosters, and this can be done for ethane as long as storage and logistics are addressed. Not sure if you caught this from our first enquiry on this thread. We estimate $2,000 to $3,000 to convert the vehicle. The safety of ethane is better than natural gas due to the lower storage pressure.

Patrick Mcnulty

Jun 19, 2014
04:43

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Robbing Peter to pay Paul burning any carbon based fuel adds CO2.. We can not afford one more joule of fossil fuel energy in the climate system....

Kimberly King

Jun 20, 2014
11:33

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@cyclonebuster. What Lindsay and I are offering is supporting clean(er), green(er), lower carbon emitting fuel inputs for ICE [internal combustion engine] 'buggies' in the interim transition. I bet if there is the will, this can be accomplished more quickly as a transitional stepping stone, until the EV infrastructure can be fully realized. @ And, I cannot help but think folks in Middle America would appreciate this. Besides, let's be realistic, most folks are not going to give up their personal, individual transportation vehicles anytime soon. Have you? For the record, I have given up motoring around in a personalized ICE. As a matter of fact, I divested from my VW Jetta back in 2005--haven't looked back. And now walk, bicycle, carpool, use mass transpo, or car sharing to get around. Just practicing what I preach. Another matter that troubles me, even as a renewable energy engineer, is folks like to frame the argument as fossil fuels versus renewable energy--but in fact the two technologies can be combined in a complimentary manner that minimizes fuel use and maximizes renewable energy use. I think what is missing is a coherent, well thought out and structured energy policy. It has always been missing because either our elected leaders are unable to grasp the big picture, understanding thermodynamics, or are beholding to the oil and gas industry they should be better regulating. Additionally, what I find particularly troubling is some of the least willing to make fundamental changes in their own consumption of fossil fuels more often than not end up being the most vocal and biased towards fossil fuels. Unless and until those who complain most loudly actually take the 'bull by the horns' and do something about their own contributions to pollution and minimizing use of NG (natural gas) for cooking, to me, your comment is all just a lot of hot air to me.

Kimberly King

Jun 20, 2014
11:29

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Furthermore, our Secretary of Energy Dr. Moniz has called shale gas a boon, so if you have an issue with CO2 emissions, best to take up your concerns with folks like him at the top. Does emitting more CO2 for making more plastics make sense, or assisting the transportation sector reduce its CO2 emissions makes more sense--because development for offshoring ethane is certainly in the works. Chevron Phillips breaks ground on new Texas polyethylene projects - http://www.hydrocarbonprocessing.com/Article/3353244/Latest-News/Chevron-Phillips-breaks-ground-on-new-Texas-polyethylene-plants.html ExxonMobil Chemical starts construction of US ethane cracking project- http://www.hydrocarbonprocessing.com/Article/3353668/Channel/194955/ExxonMobil-Chemical-starts-construction-of-US-ethane-cracking-project.html

Kimberly King

Jun 20, 2014
12:14

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My colleague, Lindsay and I are in agreement. The ethane will be produced no matter what. So what is its best ecologically minded use? It has to be transportation fuel.

Robert Dedomenico

Jun 20, 2014
12:57

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I disagree. A better use is to make HDPE, for use in building a much better infrastructure, CargoFish Physical Internet.

Mark Johnson

Jun 22, 2014
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Greetings. The proposal creator reached out to me for comment. Thank you. The compelling nature of this project is about comparing alternative carbon/hydrogen fuels - we remember the "H2O basics" from chemistry class and this proposal presents carbon and hydrogen chain derivatives where we can see (and scientifically prove) relative carbon and hydrogen molecular counts and know their respective impacts on the environment and current/future purposing-repurposing (e.g., CH4 methane, C3H8 propane vs. ethane C2H6). Chemists and process engineers know the energy yields from these choices, the energy required to produce each product, and their relative "intrinsic energy value" considering specific density, temperature stability, liquid vs. gas, holding mechanism, distribution mechanisms, etc. So in reading your very well done project summary, you have essentially taken away objections to ethane use - unlike LNG it's non-cryogenic, it's critical pressure is far less than destructive tank testing associated with containing hydrogen (yes, there are many hydrogen prototype cars out there - e.g., Honda, BMW, but the average Joe Six Pack may still be thinking "Hindenburg"). So, ethane has the BTUs, carbon footprint and provides the range and performance that for example UPS drivers are looking for and UPS CPAs like the pro-forma cost savings. My only counterpoint in reading your project summary was the relatively low "excess" ethane currently produced at refineries but this was vanquished by the following project summary quote - Thank you! Keep the brain cells churning on this one. Boone Pickens would weigh in on this one too. He would point to his NG infrastructure vision to support America's truck fleets and want to compare "total supply assets available." Your project's "ethane supply quote" looks good!: Nucor Steel Corporation ethane transportation fuel pilot test project(s). [March 2014. Under consideration] Steel companies like Nucor Steel Corporation who have backward integrated into the energy supply chain will have as much as 10 million gallons a month of spare ethane in the future. Energy producers like Encana who are Nucor's partner in shale gas production will have even more. For example, for 20,000,000 gal/month, and $6/mmBTU as the value of ethane, ethane is re-injected and simply has methane value in a location like Meeker, CO where the Nucor fractionator is located. This ethane is not intended for plastics and petrochemicals conversion. The transport value of the fuel is $25/mmbtu and there is a $19 value add with very low capital intensity and processing. In Meeker, CO alone, with Nucor's and Encana's ethane there could be a $40 million a month business in this transport fuel. The possibilities with Marcellus Shale Ethane are many fold beyond this example. Mark

Lindsay Leveen

Jun 22, 2014
12:29

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Turning ethane into ethylene and the HDPE is a crime against nature. The ethylene has less hydrogen than the ethane. The world needs fuels with more hydrogen and less carbon. The guy who wants more plastic for infrastructure should worry about all the HDPE pellets in the ocean that are killing FISH Yes HDPE is CARGO that KILLS FISH. Perhaps if he understood the chemistry of combustion this might help him understand that ethane is best used as a transportation fuel.

Lindsay Leveen

Jun 22, 2014
12:37

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An update on the compelling economics of ethane as a transport fuel. Ethane at Mt Belvieu is trading for 28 cents a gallon. Gasoline is trading on the NYMEX at $3.10 a gallon. Two gallons of ethane for 1 gallon of gasoline and voila we have a material with cost of 55 cents a gallon substituting for a $3 material. And there is more hydrogen and less carbon in ethane than gasoline. No need to fish for the answer to how to lower CO2 emissions from transport just reel in the ethane

Robert Dedomenico

Jun 22, 2014
02:25

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Lindsay Leveen, Seeking government subisidies to implement a for-profit scheme on wasting another hydrocarbon is good for nobody else but those seeking to profit from it. This is very reminiscent of the tobacco industry. Circa 1610, King James, of England, reversed his position that tobacco was bad for people, when he realized he could make money off of it. How many lives were lost before we even began to right that wrong? There are so many reasons this is a bad idea, that to make it easier to convey, I will have to resort to a list: 1. Supercritically compressed stored ethane is many times more dangersous than propane. 2. The miniscule reduction in carbon dioxide as a fraction of exhaust gas is more than offset by the extra energy wasted in the total life cycle cost of the exotic extraction technique. 3. Many heavy trucks are already converted to methane, which has far less carbon than ethane. 4. Any ethane removed from its existing service as a fuel, where it already makes economic sense without subsidy, must be made up for by another fuel. Since we are already using all of the natural gas that can be economically recovered, the makeup fuel source does wind up being coal. 5. Without ethane for the new HDPE natural gas distribution infrastructure, natural gas distribution system explosions will become more commonplace. 6. Without ethane for the new HDPE physical internet infrastructure, huge fuel burns for movement of tiny payloads will continue. Although you delight in making an art of name calling... I am not making up names to call your business. I am pointing out the problems with your proposal. I will say that your proposal, and your support of it, remind me of two different events in history. The first was around the time of the founding of the Jamestown Colony, Virginia, 1605. Colonists discovered tobacco from the indiginous peoples. King James was introduced to it and found it revolting, saying it rotted the teeth and gave bad breath. Before ten years had passed though, he fully supported it, because he found out he could make money from it... a lot of money. The second was the Opium War between Britain and China, in which the Chinese government was forced at gunpoint to allow the British to peddle opium to the increasingly addicted masses of Chinese people. Lives were ruined, but money was made. I make observations here because there is are compelling reasons to. Courses of action are being debated, and bad choices can be costly. It is constructive when one person speaks up and points out that another should not climb a broken ladder, but even more constructive when one person stops a salesman from peddling millions of those broken ladders to unwary buyers. I am only doing my duty. Robert DeDomenico

Lindsay Leveen

Jun 22, 2014
04:00

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The well to wheels CO2 for gasoline is 25.5 pounds per gallon. This is 25.5 times 1,000,000 divide 115,000 = 221.7 pounds of CO2 per million BTUs LHV for gasoline. The well to wheels CO2 for compressed ethane is 2.93 pounds for the combustion of the ethane plus 3% for the compression plus 10% for the extraction and transport this equals 3.32 pounds of CO2 per pound of ethane. There are 20,630 BTUs LHV in a pound of ethane. Hence multiplying by 1,000,0000 and dividing by 20,630 we have well to wheels CO2 for ethane at 160.9 pounds CO2 per million BTU LHV. This compares with 221.7 for gasoline and is not a "miniscule reduction"

Lindsay Leveen

Jun 22, 2014
04:41

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To all who actually comprehend Thermodynamics and are not broken records please opine on the "greenness" of ethane. Others who are aware of all the dead fish and sea life from HDPE pellets in the ocean also feel free to opine. I have now given a scientific answer to how much CO2 is saved by using ethane instead of gasoline and that was the problem posed by the competition.

Robert Dedomenico

Jun 22, 2014
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It is miniscule compared with moving only what matters, and saving over 99% of the energy that would have been wasted. We need to implement real solutions, not make believe, smoke and mirror complexities. To all who care, regardless of how some people might ridicule you and say you are not smart enough to have a valid opinion, just compare the propositions available here in the Colab, and support those that you like.

Kimberly King

Jun 22, 2014
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I thought in light of one of Lindsay's recent post, an energy literacy discussion on LHV (low heating value) is warranted, especially for those that are unfamiliar with thermodynamics. Heating value of a fuel is the amount of heat released when a fuel is burned completely in a steady-flow process and the products are returned to the state of the reactants. Said another way, the heating value of a fuel is equal to the absolute value of the enthalpy of combustion of the fuel. The heating value depends on the phase of the water. High heating value (HHV) is when the water in the products is in liquid form. Low heating value (LHV) is when the water in the products is in the vapor form. HHV = LHV + (mhsub-fg)water [kJ/kg fuel], where: m - mass of fuel hsub-fg - enthalpy of vaporization AKA latent heat of vaporization or heat of evaporation; it is the amount of energy needed to vaporize a unit mass of saturated liquid at a given temperature or pressure. NB: sub-fg means fg are subscripts In English, HHV of a fuel is equal to the sum of the LHV of the fuel and the latent heat of vaporization of the water in the products. And since LHV assumes fuel delivers less energy input than HHV, energy based on LHV will be higher than HHV. ELHV/EHHV = HHV/LHV Where the difference depends on the fuel e.g. Coal (LHV ~4% < HHV) Natural Gas (NG) (LHV ~10% < HHV) LHV [low heating value] assumes water is formed during combustion remains in a vapor state. Whereby, actual combustion discharges flue gas at temperatures of several hundred degrees, and as such, energy is recoverable by condensing the water in the flue gas is assumed to be unavailable and not credited to fuel cost. And as such, since LHV assumes fuel delivered has less energy input than HHV [high heating value], energy based on LHV will be higher than HHV. Example: Epowerplant, coal HHV = 0.4 == Epowerplant, NG LHV = 0.42 E - Energy When addressing thermal efficiencies, the impetus for why LHV is used, say is to quote energy for natural gas as a fuel. Essentially, LHV is the likely energy that a fuel has--and as in most cases, the exhaust has water in the vapor state, not the liquid state.

Robert Dedomenico

Jun 22, 2014
09:25

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Why does the proposal claim this: "Gasoline and diesel have two hydrogen atoms for each carbon atom. Ethane produces 6% less CO2/mile in automobiles." While in comment number number 58, Lindsay claims this (~17.4% reduction in CO2): "well to wheels CO2 for ethane at 160.9 pounds CO2 per million BTU LHV. This compares with 221.7 for gasoline" I am good enough in basic math to see that these numbers just don't add up. Any explanation why? I have to ask, because often, when inconsistencies in a story begin to unfold, it is discovered that the "story" has more than one version, and it subsequently becomes difficult to determine which version is the truth. There are other contradictions I have not even begun to really get into. For instance, the proposal is big on claims about how cheap ethane is, implying we would do well to start burning it, but also claiming big profits for those involved. Why then, should the proposal be so explicit about seeking public assistance? People who earn enough income to pay their own way are not on public assistance. Why should such a lucrative business proposal need public assistance? Isn't it profitable without? Another contradiction is the curious comparison to natural gas when discussing safety, but gasoline when discussing carbon content. Why only the one sided comparison? That comparison could just as easily be described thus: compressed ethane as a transportation fuel has more carbon that the CNG already in use, but is more dangerous than propane, gasoline, or diesel. Yet another is the broad brush stroke that all plastic is no good. What is the insulation on wires made of? What about bicycle helmets? How are high efficiency cars made so much lighter than they would otherwise be? What is wrong with using durable and safe HDPE pipes to replace old and crumbling infrastructure before explosions in residential neighborhoods kill people by the dozen? There are too many valuable products that are impossible without plastics to list here. There are serious problems with your proposal, no matter how boldly they are denied nor how smoothly it is packaged. The truth is there are better, safer, and much more cost effective ideas for reducing the carbon emissions from the transportation sector, that have also a slew of other positive side effects. The comparisons between them all must be made because that is what makes a choice good or bad... given the available options, is it the best? The high production of carbon from transportation is primarily the result of us burning so much fuel, so many fires. Your proposal is to throw another fuel on the fire. I do not expect this to help put out the fire, therefore I think we all have a duty to rain on this parade, before we all burn everything we can get our hands on and wind up living on a ball of dirt in a blanket of fumes. I think people, well informed, are in general intelligent enough to correctly choose the best choice, and I think that includes me.

Lindsay Leveen

Jun 22, 2014
11:55

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Hi we were being conservative in our claims until you came trolling along for dead fish so we added the refining and transport of crude from as far off as Saudi Arabia and then gave you the real scoop in the fish net made of polyethylene. You see the ethane does not come from Arabia it comes from Pennsylvania. Look dear sir I suggest they just wrap you in a linear low density polyethylene bag and see how well you breathe through your gills. Your trolling has reached an all time low and is now getting sea creatures that come from the very deep. What is at the bottom of the ocean? The Nightmarish Fangtooth is one species very deep in the ocean. In order to put out a fire I suggest you wave your magic HDPE wand. Better still use the HDPE wand to make yourself disappear. This competition is about science not trolling

Gāius Jūlius Caesar

Jun 23, 2014
11:37

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Hi, this sounds really interesting!

Michael Brown

Jun 24, 2014
12:02

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Thank you for submitting this proposal. To be honest I am not sure what to make of some of the comments going back and forth. Let's try to keep an open mind and stay professional. There seems to be some concern that substituting to a different fossil fuel is not really worthwhile, as it provides merely incremental improvements in carbon emissions. I think there is merit in switching to cleaner fossil fuels, with the recognition that this in itself will not 'solve' climate change. A contemporary example is the substitution to natural gas from coal in some jurisdictions. Recognizing that there have been criticisms of alleged benefits and perhaps a requirement for more rigorous monitoring and reporting, these initiatives could have merit. The proof is in the numbers. The following are my specific comments: 1. My number one concern is the lack of citations throughout the proposal. This proposal is heavier on numbers than a lot of others, which is good, but they are unsourced which caused me some concern. 2. Lots of numbers are provided in different units, which makes it hard to follow. I would appreciate a table showing energy content in terms of mass and volume for ethane and similar fossil fuels and also showing prices in comparable units. Personally I would always show SI units and show non-SI units when it makes sense - for example natural gas prices are commonly expressed in $/mmBtu. But SI units are good for everyone. No one will ever be upset if you include SI units. Please include SI units. 3. The proposal is to use ethane (C2H6) as a transportation fuel. Currently ethane is primarily used as a feedstock in ethylene production, an important component of the chemical industry. Are there secondary impacts to diverting ethane from the chemical industry? 4. I don't really understand the cost estimate - why are you showing the price in terms of lbs? What about energy content? The revenue ramp rate is extremely high - essentially zero to $200k in two years. Remember you are competing with the chemical industry. How do these numbers compare to the worldwide demand for ethane? How many vehicles and vehicle-kilometres are required? How many engines or engine conversion kits need to be sold? 5. The profit margins need to be justified. 6. Claims that you can set up a plant in two months need to be supported. This is very aggressive. (Assertive?) 7. It sounds like this proposal really hinges on the participation of an industry partner. As such I think developing your partnerships in greater detail before the final submission would help. Best of luck, Mike

Lindsay Leveen

Jun 24, 2014
10:03

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Mike great comments and questions. The proposal shows a chart of ethane prices versus other liquid fuels in $/gal. Ethane is 29 cents a gallon. A gallon of ethane has 66,000 BTU LHV hence it is about half a gallon equivalent of diesel and 0.6 gallon equivalent of gasoline. This means ethan can be bought from the LPG fractionator at about 50 cents a gallons on a gasoline equivalent. The NYmex price of gasoline is over $3 a gallon. Hence the big arbitrage to place the bulk ethane in tube trailers and then smaller amounts into welding tanks aboard vehicles. The forecast is that there is a glut of ethane way into the future. Hence the arbitrage continues unless added uses like the one we propose will be massive. As far as industrial partners we are already onto this. This is a real business not some pie in the sky virtual reality app on an iphone.

Kimberly King

Jun 25, 2014
09:00

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In response to comment #58, specifically, "... real solutions, not make believe, smoke and mirror complexities." Over three years ago, there was this 'siting', Mar 23, 2011, 1:36pm EDT Keystone Midstream uses ethane as fuel for engines http://www.bizjournals.com/pittsburgh/blog/energy/2011/03/Keystone-midstream-ethane-fuel-engines.html [snip]"\ "Instead, the company is stripping out the ethane and mixing it with some residue gas stream to produce a fuel that now powers all of its internal combustion engines and fired heaters and vessels." Hardly make believe, smoke and mirrors complexities.

Robert Dedomenico

Jun 25, 2014
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They are all stationary applications, not transportation.

Kimberly King

Jun 27, 2014
10:47

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Michael Brown. Thanks for all your comments, enquiries. I wanted to address your enquiry, "...why are you showing the price in terms of lbs?" When comparing fuels, energy content is measured in terms of BTUs (British Thermal Units) to provide greater accuracy. For those reading this to which this is not of their familiar, a BTU is the amount of heat required to raise one pound of water (around 1 pint), one degree Farenheit at or close to water's point of maximum density at standard pressure. One Btu equals 252 calories, (gram), 778 foot-pounds, 1,055 joules or 0.293 watt hours. Because the energy content of natural gas depends on one's physical geographical predisposition/location the energy content can be different. And so, there are various units of measurement involved when measuring natural gas which can depend on how the gas is being measured for wholesale trade or processed for retail sale. In the case of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), which is sold at the retail level, it is measured in mass; kilograms or pounds. And the energy units are expressed in either Therms (1 Therm = 100,000 BTUs) or Gasoline Gallon Equivalents (GGEs) when used for transportation fuel. And so, as applied to this proposal, GGEs is a common measurement unit for CNG as a transportation fuel, where 1 GGE = 5.660 lb. of NG = 1.14 Therms = 114,118.8 BTUs. NB: Although the GGE is a standardized unit, CNG used for heat energy is often measured using cubic feet (cf). I know, having to make all these conversions can make one MAD! Too bad the USA didn't follow the rest of the world back in the 1970s and adopt the metric system. ;^) I also included some more copy to address enquiry (6). I tightened up the citations/references (1). in the proposal under the Timeline section. Working on all the SI units and a table of energy content comparisons request (2). As far as (7) goes, perhaps you missed the Nucor Steel mention in the Related proposals section? I would hope the copy there would suffice, since details are still being sorted out with Nucor and others. More to come...

Chris Taylor

Jun 30, 2014
08:12

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A VERY DANGEROUS PROPOSAL At face value, this proposal makes economical sense. However, I do fail to understand why the transport market has overlooked ethane completely, perhaps a nudge with tax credits on conversions is all that’s needed. However, if the market does have genuine reasons for overlooking ethane, then tax credits would lead to inefficiencies in the market. Very rarely is the market wrong, and when it is, never for an extended period. As for emissions reductions, the proposal states a saving of 6.2% CO2 emissions per mile. If tax incentives for conversions happen to make ethane the popular choice (very likely), then this cheaper fuel would mean people using public transport less (Bradley W. Lane - 2012). This “Jevons paradox” would be further exacerbated by the initial reduction in demand for gasoline, which would then reduce in price, making private transport more popular compared to public transport. WHAT IS MOST WORRYING about this proposal is the huge price difference between gasoline and ethane. This would not only encourage more people to drive, but change social norms too. A price difference as large as this would mean that commuting long distances would become affordable again, encouraging housing complexes to be built further out of town. Delivery costs would come down, so then delivery companies would spend more on reducing delivery times (competitive pressure), meaning that they could afford more drivers on the road at any one time. The list goes on. From an environmental point of view, this proposal might make sense if there was only a small difference in price between ethanol and gasoline, but with the present huge price difference, the initial saving of 6% CO2 / mile would not be able to offset the huge demand for private transport it would unleash. I would argue that “Jevons paradox” is a principle which needs a lot more academic attention. It introduces market irregularities which are at present difficult to predict. Who would have believed that the shale gas revolution in the U.S. would have brought about a renaissance of coal in Europe. (http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21569039-europes-energy-policy-delivers-worst-all-possible-worlds-unwelcome-renaissance)

Kimberly King

Jun 30, 2014
10:00

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To restate Jevon's Paradox another way, an economist would understand that the ultimate outcome of increased efficiency is increased consumption. And unless behavior (the key operative here being 'behavior') is changed to mitigate/reduce consumption, it is probably true, the more efficient that package delivery trucks become become, the more delivery miles they will use, and the citizenry of the USA will continue to purchase more. And to this I say… … our focus is on reducing carbon emissions, not changing consumer behavior--which mind you is only one facet of the bigger picture that requires attention on the grander scale. And one of our prospective industry partners, Nucor Steel, already goes out of it's way to reduce consumption, and was the first to repurpose scrap steel and use electric arc furnaces reducing the energy required to make steel. But for comparison, let me pick on another technology, LEDs. As LEDs become cheaper, American citizenry will fill their houses and yards with them and there will be a profusion of pathway lights, driveway lights, security lights and pool lights will be left on all night and Christmas yard decorations will multiply. Mind you, I've already witnessed the later example for the past five years. The result will be more light for the same energy consumption, not the same light for less energy consumption. So, in the interim, we need to take incremental steps in reducing CO2 emissions, because it will take a rather GARGANTUAN shift in behavior to stop consumerism. I am, however all for reducing consumption and promulgating conservation--but leadership tends to tout decoupling conservation from energy efficiency technologies. This is a pity. In my opinion, the energy efficiency is not a panacea, and both conservation and implementation of energy efficiency technologies must go hand in hand.

Lindsay Leveen

Jun 30, 2014
01:12

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Chris Taylor your comments are unfounded. There is 200,000 barrels a day of ethane in excess which equals 100,000 barrels a day of gasoline/diesel equivalent. The US uses 14 million barrels a day of gasoline of diesel and the ethane wont budge the cost of driving down or up . It will simply allow 100,000 barrels of ethane to be used to green up a fleet of locomotives or trucks

Chris Taylor

Jun 30, 2014
06:09

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Hi Kimberly and Lindsay, Thanks for putting it in perspective, I really thought that we’d let the genie out of the bottle for a while. I had visions of everyone becoming ethane-heads at those prices - and the irony of the idea coming from Climate CoLab! I’m not quite sure whether to use the ‘ethane in excess’ or the gasoline/diesel equivalent, but using the latter, according to your comment, there would be a 0.04% reduction in US gasoline carbon emissions. Not exactly a game changer, but equivalent to about 650,000 tonnes CO2 reduction every year, or the same as removing 140,000 cars from the road. Perhaps you could mention it in your proposal under ‘How much will emissions be reduced?’. I was hoping this competition, through attracting the best brains worldwide would come up with something a bit more substantial. Is there really no hope? As I said before, I’m surprised that the transport market hadn’t taken to ethane before. It’s definitely worth doing, and from a financial point of view, a no-brainer, and I’m happy that you’ve already taken the initiative. ...and Lindsay, love your web site. You bring a lot of perspective to a subject which is so misunderstood, and love the sense of humour too. I’m not a scientist, or engineer, but I’ve always been fascinated by the power of the sea. Having been thrown around the ocean on vessels weighing tens of thousands of tons for 25 years, I thought I’d have a go at a proposal to use wave energy to propel ships. I can see you are really busy, but if you would have a look at my proposal, I would be most grateful. Feel free to rip it apart, I’m expecting the worst from all the Phd’s at MIT. https://www.climatecolab.org/web/guest/plans/-/plans/contestId/1300202/planId/1307201

Kimberly King

Jul 13, 2014
01:16

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Chris, I've been cogitating on your comment, "...through attracting the best brains worldwide would come up with something a bit more substantial. Is there really no hope?" for some time now. You admitted that you are not an engineer or scientist, so you probably don't understand thermodynamics--such that you probably don’t understand a physical system dealing with kilojoules or kilograms makes things way more difficult than say, working in the infinite space of the internet. And what’s unfortunate is a great deal of the venture capitalists in recent past years assumed energy was like the computer science industry. The laws of physics don’t allow the speedy progress we see and have seen in information technology. I was a participant contributing to the development of the web realm back of the days of the dot-com(edy). The gains in the energy sector, however, come about incrementally. Energy has to be converted to a useful form, er usually electricity or heat, and the amount that can be obtained is limited, set by the laws of thermodynamics. But let’s not forget the efficiency issue. Gasoline, diesel, LPG (liquified petroleum gas) and natural gas (NG) are efficient, they also contain an energy rich density no single renewable energy systems technology posses (which is why we need to implement hybrid renewable energy systems), are relatively easy to transport, store in large quantities and use in vehicles or power buildings/processes. I therefore think at the present time, energy innovation will come about with revolutionary changes in energy extraction, storage, distribution and application. And so… …at this juncture in time, I see a game changer being the glut of natural gas from tracking shale deposits in the USA. IF, however the gas can be extracted without environmental damage, this could be the closest disrupter for the near term future. And so for now, the inertia of fossil fuel dependence continues, as do the escalations of ‘indifference’ of Mother Nature, er climate instability.

Eric Dargy

Jul 13, 2014
08:02

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I have supported your proposal mostly because I knew nothing about it and it looked so promising. But I must say I am suspicious when I started digging into the references. They are presented as scientific but they are hardly that, and one of the references is just a complete copy of the other, with the same quotes and ugh...exclamation points - "More plastics are not what the world needs!" I really wanted to grasp the science behind this proposal but even my own searches came up fruitless. Please help.

Kimberly King

Jul 13, 2014
12:27

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Thanks for your thoughts, lastchance, Eric. If you Google 'ethane' and 'transportation', like I did just now, here's a likely return in the Top 10: Green Explored: Ethane as a Transportation Fuel - To Our ... www.greenexplored.com/2014/.../ethane-as-transportation-fuel-to-our.ht... May 10, 2014 - The world is looking for a lower carbon intensive liquid fuel fortransportation. The massive logistical hassles of liquefying, transporting, and ... Ethane as a transportation fuel opportunity - SlideShare www.slideshare.net/KimberlyLKing/ethane-transpofuelinfographic-v5 Apr 1, 2014 - Since the world does not need more plastics, ethane (C2H6) instead of methane (CH4), can be the greener fuel transportation opportunity. Or on Bing: Green Explored: Ethane as a Transportation Fuel - To Our ... www.greenexplored.com/2014/05/ethane-as-transportation-fuel-to-our... Companies are planning ethane crackers to convert ethane to ethylene and ethylene’s petrochemical derivatives such as polyethylene and PVC. More plastics are not ... Green Explored: More On Ethane As A Transportation Fuel www.greenexplored.com/2014/05/more-on-ethane-as-transportation... The hurdles to getting Ethane to fuel tanks of trains, trucks, and cars are large but are simply logistical hurdles. With sufficient will and the involvement of ... Or searches in this list returned will point you to, produce MSDS [Material Safety Data Sheets], or the like. That being said…. This implies this offering is so nascent that there is not much at all in the scientific publishing realm. Lindsay Leveen is an expert, and indeed, some references point to his web site, Green Explored, where he has painfully, thoroughly researched the offerings there. I encourage you to have a look. You should also know, Lindsay is the recipient of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers Professional Development award for his lifetime of achievement in chemical engineering. This award is typically reserved for Ph.D.s at high-profile universities. Lindsay has worked with and consulted to major corporations in areas of energy deregulation, fuel cells, biotech, telecommunication, alternate fuels, thin film deposition, power generation, transmission and distribution, as well as a variety of other process based technologies. He was manager of sustainable development for Bechtel Telecom and Industrial, and also Vice President of Microelectronics for this corporation. In a nutshell, Lindsay IS the scientific expert.

Kimberly King

Jul 13, 2014
12:29

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Let me clarify, "This implies this offering is so nascent that there is not much at all in the scientific publishing realm." There is not much at all in the scientific publishing realm on this specific topic as applied to ethane being used for transportation applications in ICEs [internal combustion engines].

Lindsay Leveen

Jul 13, 2014
02:07

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Last Chance I suggest you look at the two charts in the proposal that came from the government and other third party sources. The glut of ethane will continue and the price will below other low carbon fuels. Ethane is C2H6 that is well known and has 3 hydrogens for each carbon. Gasoline has less than 2 hydrogens for each carbon. Voila we have a lower carbon fuel and less CO2 per mile. But mostly it is a simple idea that does not need Uncle Sam to waste billions like they did Solyndra, Fisker, A123, Ener 1, Range Fuels, Cello, Amyris, and Gevo. If you are not satisfied with this simple explanation please reread the entire proposal and if you have the slightest inkling of science and economics you will understand that this proposal makes economic, ecologic, and fiscal sense. It is so bloody simple that it is almost unbelievable. It is so bloody clever it deserves an A+

William Johnson

Jul 20, 2014
06:27

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Has anyone on the proposal team considered NOx (Nitrogen Oxides) generation from ethane combustion in cars and trucks and how it will be remediated? Is it a concern at all or are the levels so low during combustion that it would not be a concern for EPA emissions laws etc. Having ethane be used in conjunction with another established fuel on a vehicle might proved easier for acceptance by consumers. Fleet vehicle market is a good starting point and the ease of incorporation into the market along with the short environmental lifetime with minimal effects on the environment makes this proposal very strong. Also reducing plastics and framing ethane as a safer, more environmentally friendly bridging fuel to Electric vehicles that is abundantly available in domestic supplies also resonates with energy security- a very good thing.

Lindsay Leveen

Jul 20, 2014
08:41

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Willjohn Ethane like CNG is a low nox fuel. Ethane and nat gas have similar low flame temps http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adiabatic_flame_temperature far lower than fuel oil (diesel) and gasoline. Lower flame temp means lower nox formation.

Lindsay Leveen

Jul 20, 2014
08:04

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Willjohn US EPA considers CNG and LPG (ethane is a LPG) a cleaner fuel http://www.epa.gov/cleandiesel/technologies/fuels.htm

Kimberly King

Jul 20, 2014
08:42

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Willjohn. Thanks for raising the Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) issue. A few years ago, there was a collaborative study between the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) and the University of W. Virginia. As a part of the Alternative Fuel Truck Evaluation Project, numerous fleets of heavy-duty trucks were studied in the field. The results returned NOx is greatly reduced (75%-95%) by natural gas compared to diesel. The flame temperature of ethane is similar to methane and NG, and lower than propane and diesel (fuel oil) or kerosene (jet fuel). Essentially, so what this means, low flame temperature means low NOx. Since ethane is only a little higher on emissions than natural gas (NG), we can claim NOx emissions are also pretty low.

Climate Colab

Aug 5, 2014
08:31

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This is a very well thought out proposal but is unfortunately missing three critical points: (i) it relies on fossil fuels entirely, (ii) it does not account for induced demand from offering a lower cost alternative fuel, (iii) it does not support the continued possibility for energy arbitrage if this system actually goes ahead- prices will quickly equalize. For me number I makes this a very limited potential proposal although it could make money for the first movers, it is not a viable transportation transition strategy.

Kimberly King

Aug 6, 2014
01:15

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Well, I can't say I'm all that surprised that this proposal did not make the semi-finalist selection. But I am surprised that the judge who wrote their opinion did not sign his/her name. Cowardly wouldn't you say? It is now clear to me, that this competition prefers to support fluff and pie-in-the-sky ventures e.g. autonomous electric vehicles, ship roll propulsion, instead of a direct activity that captures and repurposes a waste stream that can impact reducing carbon emissions in the immediate future. I thought the aim of this competition was 'to reduce carbon emissions in transportation', which our proposal does. Mind you, our service offering will continue to reduce carbon emissions in the transportation as long as there is a need for the human race to consume goods and be provided services. Consumerism, however, will be the bane of our existence. And altho we made it clear in our proposal, that our offering would be best suited for a cross-section of the transportation sector, it's also clear this contest EXPECTS all participants to apply their technology offerings ubiquitously towards all transpo modalities. Anyone who knows anything about energy balances applied to the movement of goods and services via trucking and rail systems, knows a battery system will not replace internal combustion engines in the foreseeable near future--and perhaps ever, unless there is an energy dense/rich fuel that is on parity with CONG [coal oil nuclear or natural gas]. Additionally, I guess you did not catch my Comment #4 made: Any company involved with carbon-intensive activities looking to reduce carbon is every bit as effective as any solar farm, energy savings performance contract, energy efficiency or renewable energy systems technology in making a difference. I would encourage all those who participate in this contest to invest time in learning thermodynamics. It's as clear to me as the sclera in Debbie Boone's eyes, most of the population are energy illiterate and would prefer supporting ventures by green fashionistas that undermine the science and waste tax payers dollars. BTW: edX just started a course on Thermodynamics, and the Khan Academy also has some offerings. Both are free! And so… ...I have no interest in expanding this solution offering here in this environment. In the words of Michael Jordan, "I've failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed." That said, Lindsay and I are forging ahead with ethane as a green(er) transportation opportunity, and hope to have some traction in the coming months. Kimberly King Renewable Energy Engineer

Neftegaz Oiltrading

Sep 10, 2018
04:13

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Feb 22, 2019
04:39

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Baevsergey Alexandrovich

May 14, 2019
11:33

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Martin Steffens

Aug 21, 2019
07:50

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Sep 17, 2019
06:08

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