Distributed Energy Systems

Check out this Crumb Trail post on research using glucose as fuel and a microorganism as the catalyst. This research may lead to smaller-scale fuel cells and accelerate the ability to implement distributed energy systems.

Making those distributed energy systems economically viable is another thing … but it is coming.


4 thoughts on “Distributed Energy Systems

  1. It may be coming; but, it is important to remember that the Spanish expression “manana” does not mean “tomorrow”, it merely means “not today”.

    DG may someday be a sprint; today, it is still the high hurdles, both economic and bureaucratic.

  2. I’m skeptical of a lot of biomass approaches to energy generation since the cost of energy put into the agriculture to produce and harvest the plants can exceed the energy extracted from the plant matter.

    It is probably possible grow plants which can yield more energy than it took to grow, harvest, and transport them to processing facilities. But the first thing I want to know about any biomass energy project is why do its advocates think it will be a net energy producer.

  3. Me too. I think people are beginning to understand that about hydrogen fuel cells given the current technology, but don’t apply the same logic to biomass.

  4. Lynne, I think fuel cells will initially have more value as a way to burn fossil fuels more efficiently. I see batteries the same way: as a way to up the efficiency of the use of fossil fuels.

    My guess at this point is that batteries will get light and cheap enough to enable cost-effective hybrid cars before fuel cells can replace internal combustion engines. If it was my call to make on US government energy research spending I’d put more into lithium polymer battery research and less into fuel cells at this point.

    As for hydrogen: I’d put the least amount of money into it.

    I’d also spend more on photovoltaics research while entirely eliminating tax credits and other subsidies for the actual installation of photovoltaics.

    Since I see energy policy as an extension of natural security policy I believe that government funding of energy research is appropriate.

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