[ExI] pentagon wants orbiting solar power stations

Jeff Davis jrd1415 at gmail.com
Wed Oct 17 21:35:37 UTC 2007

On 10/16/07, Samantha Atkins <sjatkins at mac.com> wrote:

> Why can't all cars and light trucks be electric?  And why wouldn't a
> substantial decrease in oil burned help?

Absolutely spot on Samantha.

This thread has gone in many directions.  Permit me to pull a few of
those diverse elements together.  Call this sub-thread The Smart Grid
Smart Transport System (SGSTS).

I think Eugen was the first to mention here(though it's otherwise an
old concept) the use of roof-top PV as a widespread decentralized
power generation system.   I would add to that a road surface PV
system.  This dual use strategy adds substantial power collection area
without using up more land.  Electrifying the roadway, that is making
the electricity available to the vehicles on the road, would merely be
an additional feature of an SGSTS system.

The electric vehicles, the roadway system, and the larger power grid
would all communicate and deploy their resources in a coordinated
fashion.  This coordination gives the system its "smartness" and
delivers substantial benefits.

Vehicles for the most part drive themselves, and receive the necessary
location, local road and traffic condition, and other vital data from
the system, which obviously would be thoroughly networked with a wider
world data network (www v5.0).  Safety, energy efficiency, and time
savings would be substantial.  Trucks would convoy nose to tail
markedly reducing energy use by reducing drag.  (An adjunct to road
transport would be high speed vacuum tunnel trains, further increasing
time savings and further reducing energy costs.)  All vehicles would
have their routing coordinated so there would be very little stop and
go, which reduces travel time and eliminates losses from unnecessary
acceleration and braking (the latter in any event would be

Each individual electric vehicle would have a battery pack of
appropriate capacity, and the combined inventory of hundreds of
millions (billions worldwide) of these "energy storage units"  would
be "smartly" connected to the larger power grid and employed(in the
many hours when not actually on the road and consuming electricity) in
a load smoothing function.  The capital costs of power generation
would thus be reduced because vehicle batteries would be charged at
night when power consumption would otherwise be low and expensive
power generation infrastructure otherwise operating well below (ie
wastefully) capacity.

These are the kinds of benefits to be derived from the information
revolution.  This is what "smart" means when we speak of smart cars
and roads and houses and business, etc.

Tip of the "smart" iceberg.

Are we having fun yet?  He he he he.
Best, Jeff Davis

              "Everything's hard till you
                    know how to do it."
                             Ray Charles

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