The Energy Matrix
A Science Ebook e-zine
Spring 200
List of all editions

Green Stimulus Projects

The energy matrix examines the full spectrum of future energy sources and associated problems.  It is meant to be a thought provoking publication for students who will be our future technocrats, engineers, and physicists.  We will include concepts such as solar, DG, CHP and concepts that are not practical today such as ice engines.  Send Comments to


Go to Summer 2007 Edition

Green Stimulus Package

President Barack Obama has said that he wants to fund projects that promote green or alternative energy starting day one of his administration. New Green Energy projects like transmission lines for Wind or Solar power will take years to plan and litigate.  No one wants power transmission lines in their back yard even if the back yard is the desert.  

This article is not about the controversies surrounding alternative energy.  However, recognizing that the bickering will continue makes it clear that only old technology that is already in use, can provide employment for those who are out of work.  Yet, I never hear of these projects in the mass media or in political debates. Yet their are many old proven technologies that save energy and can reduce energy consumption or produce more energy. 

The best projects to fund on day one are the ones that were started yesterday.    

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Corn Solar Collectors

The United States is looking at ethanol from corn as a renewable source of energy. The ethanol gets its energy from corn and the corn gets its energy from the sun.
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Ice from Coal ( Alchemy?)

No, this article is about thermodynamics not alchemy.  Most people get their ice cubes from coal and water.  That is they get the electric power that turns water to ice from coal powered electric power plants.

At this point, I hope you anxious to know how many pounds ice can be made from a pound of coal, because I am going to tell you. 
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Storing Carbon Dioxide
Though the effects of green house gases are debatable ( if you disagree you make my point), one effect is certain the cost of generating electricity from fossil fuels is going up. This is not debatable because utilities have already spent money storing fossil gases and continue ...
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There are two "T" in Carnot
Thigh and Tlow
End Joke
Not Funny? Try to forget it.


Heat Storage and Carbon Dioxide.

Though much about carbon dioxide storage has yet to be determined, three things are certain, that is that these stores will be huge, dense, and have temperature. The quantity of carbon dioxide that will be stored will necessitate high compression, huge volumes, and useful temperature.  The reason I say that the temperature will be useful is that there is such a large range of temperature that could be useful. A store of dense gas at twenty degrees Centigrade above room temperature would be used by a CO2/Air radiator for room heating. Stored CO2 at twenty degrees centigrade below room temperature might work well for direct cooling  (blowing air over  tubes with circulating dense cold CO2). Circulation of dense CO2  at or near room temperature would be great source of heat for the evaporator of a heat pump in heating mode.  CO2 at the same temperature would a great source of cooling of a heat pump condenser when the heat pump was operating in cooling mode..

Above ground insulated tanks of CO2 could be used for peak heat of day heat storage for heating, or they could be used to store the cool of the night as a heat sink for cooling systems during the peak usage hours of the day.


Index for all Editions


Combined Heat & Power (CHP) 

DC Power Grid

District Cooling

Ethanol Viability

Hybrid Cars

Ice made with Coal

Ice Energy Density versus Battery

Heat Storage


Nuclear Energy

Solar Heat Storage in CO2

Solar Heat Storage in Water

Storing Carbon Dioxide

Stoves - Corn Burning

Stoves - Wood Pellet Burning

Stoves - Coal Burning

Tar Sand Oil


Yucca Mountain

Substituting Coal for Diesel

Compact Fluorescent Lights








Economic Stimulus Package
Projects Ready for Day One of Omaha's Presidency

The best projects to fund on day one are the ones that were started yesterday.  They are systems that support energy independence from existing sources. 

Natural Gas:  Natural Gas has been in use for over a hundred years.  In 1949 we had a natural gas stove and a gas absorption type refrigerator. We got the gas from Texas via a pipeline that connected Texas oil fields to New York City.  The gas line was really needed during WWII, because the U-boats made oil shipments difficult.  However, today many homes still burn diesel for heating their homes.  Possibly laying gas lines to homes on acreage is not considered profitable for utilities. Laying pipe to new developments is easier than laying pipes to old neighborhoods.  In the last depression we electrified rural America.  The Gasification of America would release huge quantities of diesel and propane for use by trucks or cars. Propane is better for vehicles than natural gas because it is a liquid under pressure at ambient temperatures, and has about 75% of the energy per gallon that gasoline has.

Their is an adequate supply of idle equipment and manpower to lay pipe or dig the trenches.  The cost will be partially offset by taxes paid by workers and reduction in unemployment insurance payments.  The remainder of cost could be printed by the treasury as stimulus.

There are existing easements for the main natural gas lines already in use.  More gas could be moved just by replacing existing gas lines with larger or higher capacity ones.  No environmental litigation required.  Power lines for solar or wind require years of litigation. The debate over new Nukes has been going on for decades.


Heat Pumps:  Homes with electric furnaces should be converted to heat pump heating.  Since forced air electric furnaces already have a duct air distribution system, conversion to a heat pump is not difficult.  Heat pump contractors already exist.  Installation of heat pump would costs less than $5000.00 and would generally double the heat output of a kilowatt of electricity.  It would better for the government to provide a two or three thousand dollar incentive for heat pumps for ten poor families, than it is to give $30,000 incentives for the $60,000 solar systems on some mansions.  Of course you should give incentives for heat pumps designed for heat only, not air conditioning.  I am not suggesting people should not be allowed to have air cooling systems, I am just saying that their is no reason for incentives for air cooling.  With new home construction at standstill, these conversions would provide jobs for Heating and Ventilation system workers, and save lots of small contractors from going out of business.    


Hybrid Cars: Reinstating and increasing the incentive for the purchase of hybrid cars to a hundred percent of the added vehicle cost would encourage the purchase hybrid cars.  Also ordering a fleet of hybrids to replace all government gasoline powered cars. A a partial advance payment for the hybrid fleet might save the car industry and promote energy independence at the same time.






District Cooling in Europe

The city of Amsterdam has an operating district cooling system.  Heat is dumped into a man made lake at depth of 30 meters.  Water is taken into heat exchanger at 6 degrees centigrade and returned...   

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U.S Congress to Investigate High Cost of Gasoline. ( 5-22-07)

They may not have to search very far.  In Brazil the majority of cars run on Flex fuel or pure ethanol.  In the United States less than a thousand gas stations sell flex fuel.  They are mostly in the Midwest where ethanol is produced from corn.  Brazil wants to export ethanol to us by ship.  They could supply ethanol to east coast and Gulf ports.  However, congress has placed a 54 cent per gallon  tariff on ethanol imports.

If populist congressmen really want to lambaste the oil companies, they should lambaste the oil companies for not placing  more flex fuel pumps in east coast gas stations.  Oh, but tariffs are cutting off the supply of ethanol to the east coast, so the pumps would not have much to pump.





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