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Every year 24,000 people die prematurely because of pollution from coal-fired power plants.

Every year 38,000 heart attacks occur because of pollution from coal-fired power plants.

Every year 12,000 hospital admissions and 550,000 people suffering asthma attacks result from power plant pollution.

Every year, coal-fired power plants release 48 tons of mercury nationwide.

Power plants release over 40% of total U.S. C02 emissions, a primary contributor to global warming...

...and yet the coal industry wants you to believe that building more coal fired power plants in Michigan is a good idea!

...and now utilities want to burn (as biomass) our trees that capture and store harmful carbon dioxide and produce the oxygen we need to live



Electric Vehicles: Myths vs. Reality
Myth 1: Switching to an electric vehicle will just mean that the same amount of pollution comes from the electricity generation rather than from the tailpipe — I'll just be switching from oil to coal.

Amtrak Spends $466 Million on Electric Locomotives
The Federal Railroad Administration applauded the decision, which it says supports the Department of Transportation’s strategy to use transportation to build strong, modern infrastructure, while also making cities more livable, protecting the environment and reducing dependence on foreign oil.

U.S. Mayors: High-Speed Rail Would Bring Billions of Dollars to Cities
The report, The Economic Impacts of High-Speed Rail on Cities and their Metropolitan Regions, found that $19 billion in new business and 150,000 jobs would be created from high-speed rail projects in those regions. Increasing tourism, giving businesses a wider pool of workers to choose from, and helping with the growth and development of technology clusters, these high-speed rail networks would create more benefits than costs.

GE's 'Largest Order in History' To Boost Electric-Car Market
CEO Jeffrey Immelt yesterday in London, it will place the "largest order in history" for electric vehicles, numbering in the tens of thousands. That order could come as soon as next week. It will likely be spread across mutliple manufacturers, since early production by General Motors and Nissan is limited, and will encompass not only passenger cars but also delivery trucks.

What Would 1 Million Electric Cars do to the Grid?
Well it depends... A group of U.S. and Canadian companies just released a study titled Assessment of Plug-in Electric Vehicle Integration with ISO/RTO Systems (ISO = Independent Service Operator, RTO = Regional Transmission Organization) that looked into what would happen if 1 million plug-in vehicles were added to the grid in North-America. The findings are interesting. If the charging was staggered in time over a period of 8 hours, that would be reduced to 819 megawatts, and if you do the same over a period of 12 hours, you're left with only 546 extra megawatts. That's nothing! You won't even have to build a new power plant since there's more than enough extra capacity off peak. A smart grid that can communicate with PEVs could tell them when to charge within a time window pre-programmed by the car's owner.

Home Solar Hydrogen Refill Station Introduced to Green Car Market
Honda finally unveiled their new solar hydrogen solar station and all signs point to a dramatic success. The station is smaller than previous models and enables an electric car owner to refill their fuel cell overnight. The unit should easily fit into a homeowners’ garage taking up significantly less space than previous models. The Honda Solar Hydrogen Station is built to recharge the car on an overnight 8-hour fill. The power that was replenished would typically power the car for a full day of average driving. In most cases, that single fill will be able to get just about anyone through their day and back home without having to worry about a recharge.

Beyond the Motor City
In a city often depicted as a wasteland, these projects show the promise of transforming Detroit Motor City to Detroit Green City.

Renovating American Infrastructure, Step 1: Transportation
Soon roads and power lines will fix themselves, and we’ll mine energy from sewage. America’s 21st-century tune-up won’t happen overnight, but we could start reaping the benefits (faster broadband! cleaner water!) within the next few years.

General Motors Developing Diesel/Electric Hybrids
GM is now working on a range of diesel-electric powertrains, with production tentatively slated to begin by the middle of the decade. Engineering of the new powertrains is currently ongoing at GM’s diesel headquarters in Turin. Diesel-electric powertrains hold the most promise as hybrids are most efficient in city use while diesel are most adapt to highway cruising. “If you want the best fuel consumption, you have to go with the diesel-electric hybrid. [Editor: the strong advantage of diesels will be their ability to run on a wide variety of fuel ranging from homegrown biodiesel from algae, to vegetable oil from the grocery store, or deep fat fryer.]

Pay by the mile auto insurance
Many auto insurance companies are starting to consider a new insurance program that would offer consumers a discounted rate for reduced car usage. In fact, some insurance providers are already offering trial programs. One big supporter of this new program is the Environmental Defense, anorganization currently promoting a Pay-As-You-Drive Insurance (PAYD) program to auto insurance companies throughout the United States. This innovative concept would link insurance policies to an odometer rather than just a renewal date on the calendar. According to the Environmental Defense, PAYD would not only help save consumers money; it would also help reduce pollution.

Solar Carport
A massive 1MV grid-connected solar power system is ready to supply power to the auction facility in Bordentown, NJ. The system is said to be the largest solar powered carport structure in the United States. Constructed in an area of 13,000 square meters, this carport includes 5,880 solar panels of 170W capacity.

State tax credits to the rescue!
“This is huge,” said James McBride, vice president of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. “This is the rebirth of the auto industry in this state.” Officials said the Detroit automaker intends to consolidate in Michigan the assembly of its battery systems and the next generation of hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles they will power. According to Mlive.com’s coverage of the issue, this latest round of advanced battery tax credits break down like this: $100 million for Fortu PowerCell’s possible manufacturing facility in Muskegon Township, $42 million for pack assembly, and $78 million for Ford Motor Co. The company already has received tax incentives to build the new all-electric Ford Focus in Dearborn.

Shell EcoMarathon Winners
Seven new records were set over the course of the three day event, two of which were beaten the very next day. The records were set in: internal combustion Prototype; internal combustion UrbanConcept overall fuel consumption; lowest CO2 emissions UrbanConcept, and solar energy.

Ten Plug-In Cars We're Impatiently Waiting For In 2010
Jan 1st 2010—For plug-in vehicles advocates, this is the year of many, many promises. As of today, there are only around 3,000 highway-capable electric vehicles from major automakers on U.S. roads. By this time 12 months from now, there should be many thousands more. Someday, we're pretty sure, plug-in cars will be as common as after-Christmas sales on December 27th, but for now we've culled a list of the cars that automakers have either announced will be making their market debut in 2010 somewhere in the world or, in some cases, will take a big step towards production status this year. In short, these are the cars that will make 2010 Year One of the new electric car era. We hope.

Foreign suitors lining up for U.S. high-speed rail payday
With the United States expected to spend billions of dollars on high-speed rail over the next decade, European and Asian manufacturers have launched charm offensives aimed at selling themselves and their technology to states with big projects in mind.

Diesel Soot Health Impacts
Emissions from the 13 million diesel engines in the U.S. are associated with respiratory illness, cancer, heart attacks and premature death. Here, for the first time, Clean Air Task Force presents an interactive web site with national, state, metropolitan area and local (county) estimates of the health impacts of diesel particulate matter. [Editor: these findings are for petroleum based diesel and do not necessarily apply to biodiesel, which should be studied separately.]

Ten clean technology predictions for 2010
In 2010, clean cars will form part of a broader shift to smart mobility. Smart mobility will quickly permeate beyond simply the transport sector, and will be integrated into the new energy paradigm and influence the design of urban systems, even shipping ports. Look increasingly in 2010 for eco-city designs based on concepts such as “new urbanism.” Leading governments around the world will rethink tax systems, fiscal incentives and budgets to encourage greener forms of work and transport based on smart mobility concepts (SNCF, the French state-owned rail operator, set up a fund in 2009 specifically to invest in e-mobility.)

Obama's bold vision for rail obscures a simple fact: 220 mph would be phenomenal, but we would also do well to simply get trains back up to the speeds they traveled at during the Harding administration.

U.S. Rail Network Could Create As Many Jobs As Auto Industry
Here's something to put in your tailpipe: a new domestic rail industry could create as many jobs as struggling Detroit does now . An American rail network on par with France's. High speed rail in the U.S. could transport 500 million passengers a year on fast rail and provide jobs for one million people operating trains, maintaining track, and serving customers. According to Vanderbilt's research, the train system has not only stagnated over the last century, but has actually atrophied, with the number of rail miles in existence today roughly equivalent to that of 1881.

A Radical Proposal: Restore Atrophied US Rail System to 1920's Levels
Who said North America's trains are slow? Take the Montreal Limited: Departing from New York's Grand Central Station in the late evening, it arrives in Montreal's Windsor Station early in the morning. With plenty of time to get a good night's sleep, the 9-hour trip is made pleasurable by "modern air-conditioning [which] scientifically controls temperature, humidity and purity of air at all seasons." Or, at least, that's how it was back in the 1940's. Today, the same trip would take 12 hours.

Electric Transportation - Plug-In Electric Vehicles | Becoming plug-in ready
If you are thinking about purchasing a plug-in electric vehicle, it is important to know that there are a number of decisions you need to make and actions you might need to take before you drive one home. To learn more, visit Get Plug-In Ready. The widespread adoption of plug-in electric vehicles is an important element of any serious effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. SCE leads the nation in generation from renewable sources, so plug-in electric vehicles charged in our service territory will be among the cleanest in the nation.

Global Automakers Launch Website Focused on CO2 Reductions
Today, global automakers launched a new website called www.DrivingSustainability.com to focus on the need for an integrated, economy-wide approach to CO2 reductions. A National Program is a priority to automakers because a national fuel economy program allows manufacturers to average sales nationwide, so customers in all 50 states can continue to buy the types of vehicles they need for family, business and leisure. A National Program also avoids conflicting standards from different regulatory agencies, and it gives automakers much needed certainty for long-term product planning. In addition, a National Program delivers overall greenhouse gas reductions equal to or better than those that would be realized under separate programs by different regulatory bodies.

Here is GM's position: "The 15th Conference on Parties on Climate Change December 7-18 in Copenhagen will likely produce an outline of the next international agreement on limiting greenhouse gas (CO2) emissions and reducing global temperature increases. "The challenge for the Conference is to turn the actions and policies of developing and developed countries into an agreement that recognizes the need for 'common but differentiated' commitments, and gives all nations confidence that global climate goals will be met. "We believe this challenge can be met, and that advanced technology is the key to reducing greenhouse gas emissions while meeting society's other goals. The key as we see it is energy diversity – which for an automotive company means being able to offer customers vehicles powered by a variety of energy sources and advanced propulsion systems that can both displace petroleum and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. "GM views the need to promote energy security and reduce greenhouse gas emissions as both a business necessity and part of our obligation to society. The company has a globally integrated strategy to meet the world’s growing demand for its cars and trucks, while lessening these products’ impact on the environment. "In addition to an international agreement, GM also supports a new, more comprehensive and forward-looking national strategy that ensures we’re working on things that will really make a difference in reducing oil consumption and CO2 emissions in the U.S."

GM Invests $336 Million in Detroit-Hamtramck Plant for Chevy Volt
Michigan Jobs—General Motors will invest $336 million in the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant to begin production of the Chevrolet Volt electric car, with extended-range capabilities, in 2010. This brings GM’s combined Volt-related investments in Michigan to $700 million, covering eight facilities. Detroit-Hamtramck will be the final assembly location for the Volt, using tooling from Grand Blanc, lithium-ion batteries from GM’s Brownstown Township battery pack manufacturing facility, camshafts and connecting rods from Bay City, and stampings and the Volt’s 1.4L engine-generator from Flint. The Volt will be built on the existing assembly line at Detroit-Hamtramck. Assembly of Volt prototype vehicles will begin in the spring, with the start of regular production scheduled for late 2010.

The Chevrolet Volt: Real Technology, Real Investment
Nearly three years ago at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, we revealed what will soon become the first mass-produced electric vehicle designed, developed and manufactured by a U.S. automaker on U.S. soil – the Chevrolet Volt. When the Volt was revealed many considered it to be nothing more than vaporware. However, today it’s obvious that the Volt is not only very real, but that it has become an economic multiplier for the state of Michigan, the country and the electric vehicle industry.

The investment in Detroit-Hamtramck is in addition to GM’s $364 million of investment in seven other GM facilities including:

  • $37 million in Bay City, Mich. to produce cam shafts and connecting rods for the Volt’s engine generator. You know, that generator that will allow the Volt to travel more than 300 miles in addition to the initial 40-mile, all-electric range when the Volt won’t use any gasoline or produce any tailpipe emissions.
  • $23 million in our Flint, Mich. Tool and Die facility to build the dies to stamp metal parts for the Volt.
  • $202 million at our Flint Engine South plant — this is where we’ll build the 1.4-liter engine generator that provides Volt an extended-range capability of more than 300 miles.
  • $1.7 million at the Flint Metal Center, in presses to stamp parts.
  • $30 million in the Weld Tool Center, in Grand Blac, Mich., to produce the robotic weld tool cells that were installed at our Detroit/Hamtramck plant.
  • $27 million in the Alternative Energy Center at the GM Tech Center in Warren, home of our new, state-of-the-art battery lab where we test and refine the Volt battery pack.
  • $43 million in Brownstown Township, Mich., to open the world’s first OEM-owned, high-volume, lithium-ion battery pack plant.  We expect battery-pack production to begin there early next month.

General Motors Calls For Electric Evolution
We have significantly expanded our commitment to electrically-driven vehicles at GM, and are now in the midst of an extraordinary transformation. GM is moving from a company that, for 100 years, has been based on mechanically driven automobiles, to one that will eventually be focused on electrically driven vehicles. This is a big deal. The Volt is powered by our exclusive Voltec electric propulsion system. When running off its battery, the Volt operates as a traditional battery-electric vehicle. In this mode, it has a gas-free range of up to 40 miles – which is more than the average daily commute for three-quarters of Americans. And when the driver of a Volt needs to go farther, the car’s engine-generator kicks in, seamlessly, to produce enough electricity to power it for another 300 miles. The engine-generator eliminates the “range anxiety” of electric-only vehicles – the fear of being stranded by a depleted battery

First Algae Powered Car Will Cross the U.S. on 25 gallons
Just yesterday San Francisco saw the unveiling of the world’s first algae fuel-powered vehicle, dubbed the Algaeus. The plug-in hybrid car, which is a Prius tricked out with a nickel metal hydride battery and a plug, runs on green crude from Sapphire Energy — no modifications to the gasoline engine necessary. The set-up is so effective, according to FUEL producer Rebecca Harrell, that the Algaeus can run on approximately 25 gallons from coast to coast! MORE ON ALGAE BASED FUEL: CLICK HERE

Green Car of the Year
The Audi A3 TDI (as in turbo diesel) was the winner. It is the same basic power-plant seen in last years winner with some changes to the engine management system for a bit more torque and “engine hum” to better fit Audi’s sport-luxury image. All of this was done and it achieves 42mpg on the open road (32 city), while reducing its CO2 output by 50% over the “base” A3 with a 2L turbocharged gas engine. Warren Buffet this week predicted in 20 years that all cars sold here will be electric. That’s pretty bold, but I have to agree that the electric car in urban areas will be a significant player if some of the hurdles in the infrastructure can be fixed. The hydrogen fuel cell is another key player in our future, again providing we have a clean source for the gas and overcome the infrastructure hurdles. In my not so humble opinion I think the fuel cell will be the bigger player in our future as the infrastructure to support will be easier to put into place.

Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell Passes 1 Million Miles
DETROIT (September 11, 2009) — The Chevrolet Equinox fuel cell electric vehicles today passed 1 million miles of gasoline and tailpipe pollution-free driving by homemakers, accountants, computer game designers and others using the vehicles every day in real-world conditions. More than 50,000 gallons of gasoline have been saved so far in the fuel cell Equinox, more than 100 of which are part of the largest consumer fuel cell demonstration fleet in the world.

Been There—Done That

1969: GM's Clever Hybrid Was Decades Ahead Of Its Time
The Stir-Lec I was a hybrid gasoline-electric version of the Opel Kadett. It was a wickedly clever design incorporating a Stirling engine that could conceivably run on a wide variety of fuels. A vintage GM ad enthused, "It's got an Opel body. But it's powered by electricity. The power plant consists of 14 conventional lead-acid batteries that you could buy down at the corner. The energy from the batteries is transferred to an electric motor which in turn drives the rear wheels. And the car can tool along at speeds of up to 55 miles an hour. While the car's running, the batteries are constantly recharged by a small Stirling engine in the rear. It's so quiet that you can hardly tell whether it's on or off. And since the Stirling is an external combustion engine, the exhaust has no odor and pollution levels can be made very low."

1968: AMC's Amazing Amitron Electric Car
Keith Chapman writes, "Electric cars are a subject of increasing interest lately. But, of course, they aren't all that new - work was going on long ago to try to get a modern electric car into consumers' hands. Way back in 1968, the long-defunct American Motors company showed an interesting prototype called the Amitron. Besides being, in my ever-humble opinion, one of the cooler-looking electric prototypes I have seen, it also had some interesting claims and features. The car featured a dual-battery arrangement, with nickel-cadmium and lithium-nickel-fluoride batteries, made possible a claimed range of 150 miles (241 km) per charge, with a top speed of 50 mph. Regenerative braking was also part of the deal.

1901: Porsche Builds The World's First Hybrid
Yes, we're talking about that Porsche. At the tender age of 26, Ferdinand Porsche built a four wheel drive gasoline-electric hybrid car. Although famous for his conventional automobiles, Porsche got his start at the Béla Egger Electrical company in Vienna, Austria, where he designed an electric hub motor. Fatefully, he joined coach builder Jakob Lohner & Co. in 1898. To solve the car's weight problem, Porsche added a gasoline engine that ran a generator to power the electric drivetrain; the world's first series electric hybrid. He even raced such a vehicle, which was capable of hitting speeds of up to 60 km/h.


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