Monday, November 16, 2009

Electricity vs Kerosene

Kerosene is fuel oil. It's what we burned in street lamps back before Edison's light bulb. Gasoline is car fuel, back before batteries. The similarities are striking.

Boiled down, alternative energy really takes two forms, electrons or liquids. Liquids are represented by bio diesel or ethanol concepts to fill the vast network we already have for the distribution of liquid energy.

But, electrons also take advantage of a huge network for distribution.

But back in the day, we had kerosene lamps that we filled, lamp by lamp down the street, and lit. Similar to how a big shiny tanker truck pulls up to every gas station and deposits a few thousand gallons of fuel into a tank today. We then pull in, fuel up and light it with the starter.

Lets look at this in more detail:

  1. People drill a hole in the ground and pump up oil and put it into a truck.
  2. The truck goes to a terminal where its pumped in pipelines or loaded on ships to be sent to a refinery.
  3. There it's refined into gas or diesel and and again loaded into a pipeline, ship or truck.
  4. From there it makes its way to another terminal where it's put into truck that takes it to your local gas station.
Pretty much like a kerosene lantern on the streets of Philadelphia in the 1800's.

Now electrons:
  1. Wind mill makes electricity that travels over wires to your home where you plug in your car.
Hmmm...let's see...I get fuel for my car from a wire at home instead of driving around looking for a refueling station? I'm pretty sure that's how the kerosene lamp died. It just made too much sense to run a wire into the lamp and put in a bulb.

If you really want to simplify it:
  1. Solar panel on roof makes electrons that we convert to AC and fuel our car!
It seems kinda silly that we have been taking our lamp to a gas station for fuel doesn't it? It also seems dumb to truck the gas to the gas station. It's kinda like banking before ATMs, credit cards and online access, there were just bags of money.

So why do we still live with this antiquated fuel concept for our transportation? Two words...big oil. They are the ones who own the entire infrastructure and depend on it to generate huge profits. They need us to drive down to a station of theirs and pay the price they set. They do everything in their power to keep this status quo.

But, there will be a time when we will all laugh about the antiquated car fueling structure we hung on to for so long. We will fuel our cars at home any time we want to at a price we have negotiated or with power we have generated ourselves.

I can't wait.


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