A century ago, Diesel Power and Hemp Products
In 1893, German inventor Rudolf Diesel published a paper entitled “The Theory and Construction of a Rational Heat Engine” which described a motor in which air is compressed by a piston to a very high pressure, causing a temperature spike where injected fuel is auto-ignited and efficiently burned in the expanding compression during the down-stroke. This basic concept results in a simple, safe, cool, highly efficient engine that could run on locally produced vegetable oils – and therefore level the playing field for those who otherwise couldn’t compete with the large steam-powered Industries and Shippers of the day.
Unfortunately, in the early 20th century big-banks and financiers were already exerting their powerful will, in support of their oil and forestry interests, and thus assuring the dominance of emerging petro-chemical industries. So instead of seeing how Diesel’s vision would have played out, we’ve had to wait until the combined and destructive effects of a Financial, Energy, and Environmental crisis, here the 21st century, could obviate the ideals and benefits that Rudolf Diesel had envisioned for Society, well over a century ago; when he built his first engines to be run on the same types of bio-fuels that we now have available today, and which could have cut coal and oil out of the picture from the very start.
Our various electrical grids have been built, rebuilt, and patched up in an ongoing process that began when electric power first began to be generated well over a century ago. Of course plenty of new power plants and transmission towers have been patched into the existing infrastructure since those early days, and the costs of maintaining these have been paid for (repeatedly) by ratepayers who would presumably like to benefit from these fully amortized assets (at least for awhile) before incurring any new costs, or adding to already enormous public debts. So why exactly should anybody be bothered to consider the staggering expenses of undertaking a major upgrade of our various electrical grids at this particular point in history?
Most people are in fact much more interested in the development of newenergy (re)sources, rather than in understanding the boring details of delivering existing electricity into our homes and commercial spaces, so why worry about the distribution of power in a ‘smart’ electrical grid, when the old grid seems to be doing an adequate job ?
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Simplistically speaking, someone, somewhere might just call it “Corporate Welfare” (or worse), but a couple of smaller renewable energy players are planning something really big in the State of Michigan
The central hub to these plans would be a sprawling 320 acre facility in Wixom Michigan where the Ford Motor Company has held silent watch over its shuttered auto plant since the huge facility was shut down in 2007. Now in 2009, two renewable energy players have stepped up with a bold plan to change the state of affairs in Michigan.
Xtreme Power of Kyle, TX is a 5 year old company employing 90 people that provides solid-state power management and storage systems, which would dovetail very nicely with it’s larger partner in this grande venture. Clairvoyant Energy of Santa Barbara, CA is the American presence for a Spanish solar panel company that has already deployed a 12-Megawatt installation on top of a General Motors plant in Zaragoza, Spain, and expects to generate big change from the derelict infrastructure in Wixom
Xtreme expects to directly create some 2,500 jobs, with 1,500 of these being either right in Wixom, or within a 10 mile radius. An impressive topspin is added to this proposed venture with 10,000 additional supplier jobs supposedly being created – under their best projections of course. Anyone familiar with UAW negotiation tactics and PR strategy might be able to determine (and share with us) how such “spin-off” job figures are actually derived, because clear sources for such things just never seem to be credited, much less readily available in support of such claims. I presume this figure includes the extra morning drive-through attendants at the local McDonalds, or something equally distended.
From it’s own side of the venture, Clairvoyant expects to run one solar panel manufacturing line initially to employ 300 people, with projections to operate 3 more lines eventually. We are left to presume that they ultimately expect to employ 1200 people, but I’ve not found any sources at this early stage of the proceedings.
You see both companies have been fairly reserved in the dealings with the Press thus far, since they are both seeking State and Federal loan guarantees and tax incentives to move ahead with the project. When the timing is right however, there would be several prominent politicians involved who’d certainly like to (at least) share in the enormous PR value, if not the actual economic impact associated with the very first venture to transform a mothballed auto plant into a new Green manufacturer. Of course, brandishing the bragging rights to being the first political leader to get ex-autoworkers in the “rust belt” back to work in the new jobs of a budding Green economy, is made even more pointed by the piercing irony that the Wixom Ford plant had previously been rolling out the legendarily luxurious, gas-guzzling Lincoln Town Car.
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