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An Action Hero Approach to Energy

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A few months ago (before the recent batch of scandals), Arnold Schwarzenegger gave the keynote speech at the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit that several of my colleagues attended. His perspectives as a bodybuilder (“Stephen, how are your glutes?”), a Republican who believes in global warming and the promise of bipartisan environmental legislation, and an action movie star are important and inspiring, and I highly recommend watching the whole thing. If 24 minutes is too long, the first 6 minutes and the last 2 are especially juicy. Enjoy!

Christina Agapakis About the Author: Christina Agapakis is a biological designer who blogs about biology, engineering, engineering biology, and biologically inspired engineering. Follow on Twitter @thisischristina.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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  1. 1. Uncle.Al 7:59 pm 07/16/2011

    The only relevant energy metric is [(joules output) - (total joules input)]/(total joules input). Nobody evades thermodynamics. “Alternative” and “renewable” energy sources are clown cars of criminal incompetence. Ignorance is not a form of knowing things, nor is faith.

    40% of America’s corn crop goes to fuel ethanol that is no better than energy breakeven and is overall subsidized ~$(US)0.60/gallon from cornfield to fuel tank. Ethanol is 35 wt-% unburnable oxygen, grievously hygroscopic, and marveously corrosive to metal fuel systems. 1/3 the photosynthetic fixed oxygen goes off as fermentation CO2, and the cellulose is wasted. Yeah, that is a “sustainable resource.”

    Petroleum refineries generate their own energy by burning wastes. Fuel ethanol facilities run off the fossil fuel grid. Take the economic and thermodynamic hints – THEY ARE LYING TO YOU. Follow the money.

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  2. 2. Uncle.Al 8:03 pm 07/16/2011

    Make that “1/3 the photosynthetic fixed **carbon** goes off as fermentation CO2, and the cellulose is wasted.”

    Social advocacy is too big to fail! The rest of the planet will collapse around it.

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  3. 3. Christina Agapakis in reply to Christina Agapakis 9:06 am 07/17/2011

    Thanks for your comments. You’re absolutely right that corn ethanol is not a sustainable fuel, and Arnold here is talking to a group of researchers working very hard to understand where those failures are and to improve them in a next generation of fuels and systems to replace fossil fuels.

    Link to this

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