Category Archives: Energy

Greenland halts new oil exploration to combat climate change

Source: Greenland halts new oil exploration to combat climate change and focus on sustainable development – CBS News

Reality: There are currently no oil wells in Greenland. There has been little exploration. There are theories that oil may lie offshore but this has not yet been proven. The weather situation (ironically, extreme cold) makes exploration and extraction very difficult in or near Greenland.

Tesla upgrading Supercharger network to 300 kW

This work with Tesla vehicles designed to charge at the 300 KWH rate. Regardless, the Tesla charging network is a major competitive advantage for Tesla (certainly true when I look within 150 miles of where I live).

Elon Musk confirmed that Tesla is upgrading the Supercharger network from 250 kW to 300 kW max capacity in order to enable faster charging.

Source: Elon Musk: Tesla is upgrading Supercharger network to 300 kW faster charging – Electrek

OnePlus phones throttle app performance

To reduce battery power demand, OnePlus phones are, without user permission, prohibiting hundreds of apps from running on the faster CPU cores.

The result is that many apps run up to 75% slower than expected.

But everyone—OnePlus included—seems to agree that OnePlus is taking control of app performance out of the hands of users and deciding what is and isn’t allowed to run at maximum speed on the user’s device.

Source: OnePlus admits to throttling 300 popular apps with recent update | Ars Technica

As noted, OnePlus effectively lowered performance of their phones via software updates AFTER the initial releases gave them good performance reviews.

Longer battery life is made possible by just a few functions:

Batteries with higher capacity

Reducing power of the device

Power can be reduced by disabling unneeded hardware, and reducing the speed of the CPU, when possible. Multi-core phones today also include both fast and slower cores – by moving apps, where possible, to a slower core, more power intensive cores can be throttled or powered off.

One of my patents is in the power management area (involving app level network protocols to reduce power demand). My thesis for my Master’s in software engineering is about the impacts of software algorithm design decisions on power management. The traditional view is the fastest algorithm uses the least amount of power – but that turns out not to be true. Ultimately, some algorithm choices use hardware features that increase power demand – and a seemingly less efficient algorithm can be more effective at reducing power without significantly impacting performance.

Because apps are compiled into byte codes, which in turn may be converted through Just-In-Time compilation into machine instructions – and there are different implementations of byte code interpreters and JIT – there may be variation across devices. Thus, there is no obvious way to predict how one algorithm may perform across different devices, which complicates the selection of algorithms from a power perspective. About all you can do is to measure actual power consumption on a device while the test app is running to determine real world power demand and effects of design choices.

California residents asked to avoid charging EVs

To avoid power grid demand problems, residents are asked to please charge EVs early in the day and avoid doing so in the evening.

Interestingly, the issued a similar alert a week ago for 2 days.

If they intend to fully electrify transportation and kitchen appliances (no more natural gas stoves and ovens), they need to build an electrical infrastructure that matches their requirements.

Source: Press Releases California ISO’s Network for Energy Conservation and Flex Alerts

Autonomous boats and water taxis tested in Amsterdam

Currently, Amsterdam is testing autonomous boats that run electric power on the many canals running through the city. Amsterdam has more than 60 miles of waterways that host all types of ships and watercraft. The Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions and MIT are collaborating on the Roboat project to develop new ways of navigating waterways without a human controlling the craft.

Officials in Amsterdam say the technology is very relevant and highly complex port operations where there are many vessels and ships and a lot of quays and peers. Stephan van Dijk says the technology can improve safety using autonomous systems and make it more efficient with a 24/7 operation approach.

Source: Amsterdam is testing autonomous boats on its famous canal system – SlashGear

The carbon problem in electric vehicle manufacturing

I have written about this topic in the past – when we look at the total life cycle energy costs of EVs, they are usually better, but only a little better, than gas powered vehicles:

“To gain the environmental dividend that governments are looking for, users are going to have to keep them longer, drive them further than they may have done with a conventional internal combustion energy vehicle,” Powell, head of global thematic research at the firm, told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Wednesday.

He explained that a “huge amount” of carbon is emitted when materials such as steel, aluminum and glass are created and put together to manufacture vehicles. He said the problem is compounded for electric vehicles, which currently tend to be heavier on average than their gasoline-powered counterparts.

Source: Jefferies on the carbon challenges in electric vehicle manufacturing

More on the embedded lifecycle energy costs in my past posts here, here and here.

In the 1970s, I read a small book in my university library titled “Eating Oil”. This book looked at the energy costs of food production and other common activities. At that time, the majority of a vehicle’s life cycle energy costs were used in the vehicle’s manufacture. This is like an accounting fixed versus variable cost problem. The fixed costs remain high, even if you cut the variable costs (gas usage). At the article above points out, current EVs may take more energy to manufacture than current gas powered vehicles (ICE). Over time, EV production will likely improve.

California proposes to steer new homes from gas appliances

Gas appliances will still be permitted, for now.

The California Energy Commission released a draft building standards code on Thursday that would require new homes to be equipped with circuits and panels that support all-electric appliances for heating, cooking and drying clothes.

Source: California proposes to steer new homes from gas appliances

We are going to put some large demands on the electric grid – electric heating and water heating use a very large amount of electricity. So too does EV charging. Simultaneously, the Biden administration has proposed shutting down 12-13 fossil fuel power plants every month through 2035. It is not clear how that power generation capacity will be replaced – that would be building the equivalant of 3 alternative power plants every week for the next 14 years.

20% of EV owners end up switching back to gas powered vehicles

“Here, on the basis of results from five questionnaire surveys, we find that PEV discontinuance in California occurs at a rate of 20% for plug-in hybrid electric vehicle owners and 18% for battery electric vehicle owners. We show that discontinuance is related to dissatisfaction with the convenience of charging, having other vehicles in the household that are less efficient, not having level 2 (240-volt) charging at home, having fewer household vehicles and not being male.”

Source: New study explains why nearly 20 percent of electric car owners return to gas | TheHill

Charging seems to be a key issue. Survey also says Tesla owners are least likely to switch back to gas vehicles.