Energy Internet and eVehicles Overview

Governments around the world are wrestling with the challenge of how to prepare society for inevitable climate change. To date most people have been focused on how to reduce Green House Gas emissions, but now there is growing recognition that regardless of what we do to mitigate against climate change the planet is going to be significantly warmer in the coming years with all the attendant problems of more frequent droughts, flooding, sever storms, etc. As such we need to invest in solutions that provide a more robust and resilient infrastructure to withstand this environmental onslaught especially for our electrical and telecommunications systems and at the same time reduce our carbon footprint.

Linking renewable energy with high speed Internet using fiber to the home combined with autonomous eVehicles and dynamic charging where vehicle's batteries are charged as it travels along the road, may provide for a whole new "energy Internet" infrastructure for linking small distributed renewable energy sources to users that is far more robust and resilient to survive climate change than today's centralized command and control infrastructure. These new energy architectures will also significantly reduce our carbon footprint. For more details please see:

Using autonomous eVehicles for Renewable Energy Transportation and Distribution: and

Free High Speed Internet to the Home or School Integrated with solar roof top:

High level architecture of Internet Networks to survive Climate Change:

Architecture and routing protocols for Energy Internet:

How to use Green Bond Funds to underwrite costs of new network and energy infrastructure:

Thursday, December 23, 2010

How California suburban sprawl could be the answer to global warming

[California suburban sprawl has always been seen as an environmentalist’s nightmare, and many believe it is unsustainable as we move to a low carbon economy. However I believe that paradoxically the suburban lifestyle may be a partial solution to addressing the challenge of global warming.
  Let me explain:

Despite its current woes I predict that the new Californian cap and trade system will generate a whole new range of investment opportunities in IT.  I agree with Kleiner Perkins however that the future is not in Cleantech, but how to use IT to reduce carbon and take advantage of the hundreds of billions in carbon offsets and allowances. 

The challenge with investments in Cleantech and alternate energy is the huge capital that is required and the low rate of return. The bigger opportunity, especially for IT, is on the demand side, as opposed to the supply of alternate energy.    But the opportunity is not in that old falsehood of energy efficiency, but finding ways to bypass utilities. Large incumbent monopolies is not where innovation happens. Look at the Internet. It would have never happened in the telephone environment where the last true innovation was the touch tone telephone.  The same lessons we learned from the Internet are equally applicable to finding creative solutions to climate change and energy production.  If we are going to seriously address climate change and energy consumption we need creative solutions that bypass the stodgy utilities.

As I have blogged before electric vehicles by themselves are not  particularly green, with only modest reduction in CO2 per mile compared to fossil fuel driven cars.   They are also quite expensive and any significant numbers of electric vehicles will put  incredible strains on the grid. But if you change your mindset from energy efficiency to the real problem of how to reduce carbon emissions you realize that the electrical vehicles are only part of the solution. How they are charged, and with what energy source, is the far bigger challenge.

Charging vehicles as they move or are stuck in traffic with roadside solar panels or windmills is a far more effective systems solution to address the challenge of emissions from vehicles. As I have blogged in the past  ( embedded road charging systems that recharge the vehicle as it travels along the road,  or sits in traffic, or while you wait in line at a drive- through, addresses a number of problems:
(a)    No wait time to re-charge the vehicle;
(b)   Smaller batteries can be used in the vehicle significantly reducing cost of electric vehicles;
(c)    Large vehicles like buses and trucks can be electrified with batteries; and
(d)   It creates new revenue opportunities for parking garages, drive through restaurants and municipalities

Now instead of an electric vehicle returning to the owner’s home with almost depleted batteries, requiring several hours to recharge, the vehicle returns fully charged and can used by the home owner as an alternate energy source.  Effectively this means that electric vehicle becomes an energy transport system that can compete with the utilities!!

Large suburban sprawl with lots of drive through facilities such as banks, restaurants, etc are ideal for this type of arrangement. Not only do they have space for drive through traffic, but they have ample roof space for solar panels and/or windmills in which to charge the vehicles.

The other advantage of such a system is that using a fully charged vehicle in the driveway means the homeowner can purchase supplemental electricity from community micro grids, or  renewable power from the utility.  One of the big challenge that utilities will face in California is that they are mandated by law to have at least 30% of their power come from renewable sources.  The problem with this approach is that renewable is unreliable and unpredictable. Part of the solution will be developing storage systems, but utilities will also looking for customers who can use this type of power on an intermittent basis– most likely at a discount.  With a fully charged vehicle in the garage, homeowners can elect to subscribe to this less reliable power at lower cost.  The car can provide power, when the electricity, or the community micro grid is unable to provider power because of the lack of wind or sun.

Who would have thought the quintessential American dream of suburbia, freeways and car in very driveway might also address global warming!!  --BSA]

Some additional pointers

Honda’s Roadside Electric Vehicle Charging

Is Kleiner Moving Away from Greentech & Back to Web?

Kleiner’s John Doerr has expressed concern over the firm’s greentech investments before. About a year ago, Doerr said during a speech that if Kleiner had seen how bad the market was going to crash it probably wouldn’t have started it’s green initiative: For example Kleiner backed 8-year-old fuel cell company Bloom Energy, which Doerr said in his speech has “required ten times as much capital,” compared to other venture companies. It took Google $25 million to get to an IPO, Doerr pointed out, and Bloom has already taken $250 million. And Doerr said he’d wager Bloom will take “nine years to a successful public offering.”

Has there been any high profile investor that has made a lot of money yet from its greentech investments? Not really yet. Last week Sean Parker referred to greentech investing as a bubble in this New York Times interview: “It is not clear anyone will make money on their green-tech investing. It looks like it was a bubble.”
Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and partner with The Founder’s Fund and Clarium Capital, expressed a similar sentiment earlier this year. Thiel said “cleantech companies for a variety of reasons don’t work . . . the one thing we haven’t done is an alternative energy investment. . . I think a lot [of alternative energy funding] has been misdirected.”
Last year, when Netscape founder and investor Marc Andreessen launched his $300 million fund, he went out of his way to note that the fund would keep a wide berth from anything related to cleantech, energy and transportation. He told Fortune Magazine, flat out: “No cleantech, no rocket ships, no electric cars.”


twitter:  BillStArnaud
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