Thursday, November 13, 2008

What a difference a quarter makes ...

Well it was during June/July of this year that gasoline in RI was selling for $4.30 a gallon. Yesterday I paid $2.15. So in four months, the price has been cut in half, with no bottom in sight.
You have to go back to Spring of 2005 to find similar low prices. An in case you forgot, gas was selling for $1.25 a gallon back in December of 2001 (when I bought my current truck).

Will we see another halving of prices? Depends on how deep the recession goes.

With GM on the verge of going bankrupt, I feel their only chance of survival (short of the ever popular taxpayer funded bailout) is reinventing themselves as a hybrid company (as in Chevy Volt). But with fuel costs dropping so low I suspect the American consumer is not going to be very interested in paying more money for a car that uses less gas.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

A "Home" Sized Nuclear Generator?

Not quite, but how about small community sized? A company called Hyperion is now fabricating self-contained nuclear "power-modules" that are about 3 meters tall and 2 meters around. The power unit is unconditionally stable (you can't cause it to melt-down or go critical).

It produces about 25 Megawatts of energy, enough for a community of 10,000 to 20,000 homes. The initial cost is approximately $2500 to $1250 per home. The produced energy costs approximately $0.10 per KWh.

It's designed to be buried deep underground which makes it pretty inconvenient to steal (unless you have weeks to do the job), it produces little waste (a softball sized fuel pile replaced every 7 years or so), it's safe (reactor breach shuts down the reaction by physical design). And best of all there are no emissions of any kind.

Fascinating technology. Website A story about it