“Naked” Hooked Me Too

HOW MUCH DO YOU KNOW ABOUT BATTERIES?

written by Bruce Haedrich

When I saw the title of this lecture, especially with the picture of the scantily clad model, I couldn’t resist attending. The packed auditorium was abuzz with questions about the address; nobody seemed to know what to expect. The only hint was a large aluminum block sitting on a sturdy table on the stage.

When the crowd settled down, a scholarly-looking man walked out and put his hand on the shiny block, “Good evening,” he said, “I am here to introduce NMC532-X,” and he patted the block, “we call him NM for short,” and the man smiled proudly.

“NM is a typical electric vehicle (EV) car battery in every way except one; we programmed him to send signals of the internal movements of his electrons when charging, discharging, and in several other conditions. We wanted to know what it feels like to be a battery. We don’t know how it happened, but NM began to talk after we downloaded the program.

Despite this ability, we put him in a car for a year and then asked him if he’d like to do presentations about batteries. He readily agreed on the condition he could say whatever he wanted. We thought that was fine, and so, without further ado, I’ll turn the floor over to NM,” the man turned and walked off the stage.

“Good evening,” NM said. He had a slightly affected accent, and when he spoke, he lit up in different colors. “That cheeky woman on the marquee was my idea,” he said. “Were she not there, along with ‘naked’ in the title, I’d likely be speaking to an empty auditorium! I also had them add ‘shocking’ because it’s a favorite word amongst us batteries.” He flashed a light blue color as he laughed.

“Sorry,” NM giggled then continued, “Three days ago, at the start of my last lecture, three people walked out. I suppose they were disappointed there would be no dancing girls. But here is what I noticed about them. One was wearing a battery-powered hearing aid, one tapped on his battery-powered cell phone as he left, and a third got into his car, which would not start without a battery. So I’d like you to think about your day for a moment; how many batteries do you rely on?”

He paused for a full minute which gave us time to count our batteries.  Then he went on, “Now, it is not elementary to ask, ‘What is a battery?’ I think Tesla said it best when they called us Energy Storage Systems. That’s important. We do not make electricity – we store electricity produced elsewhere, primarily by coal, uranium, natural gas-powered plants, or diesel-fueled generators.

“So, to say an EV is a zero-emission vehicle is not at all valid. Also, since forty percent of the electricity generated in the U.S. is from coal-fired plants, it follows that forty percent of the EVs on the road are coal-powered, n’est-ce pas?” (French language for “isn’t it so.”)

He flashed blue again. “Einstein’s formula, E=MC2, tells us it takes the same amount of energy to move a five thousand pound gasoline-driven automobile a mile as it does an electric one. The only question again is what produces the power? To reiterate, it does not come from the battery; the battery is only the storage device, like a gas tank in a car.” 

He lit up red when he said that, and I sensed he was smiling. Then he continued in blue and orange. “Mr. Elkay introduced me as NMC532. If I were the battery from your computer mouse, Elkay would introduce me as double-A, if from your cell phone as CR2032, and so on. We batteries all have the same name depending on our design. By the way, the ‘X’ in my name stands for ‘experimental.’

There are two orders of batteries, rechargeable, and single-use. The most common single-use batteries are A, AA, AAA, C, D. 9V, and lantern types. Those dry-cell species use zinc, manganese, lithium, silver oxide, or zinc and carbon to store electricity chemically. Please note they all contain toxic, heavy metals.

Rechargeable batteries differ only in their internal materials, usually lithium-ion, nickel-metal oxide, and nickel-cadmium.

The United States uses three billion of these two battery types a year, and most are not recycled; they end up in landfills. California is the only state which requires all batteries be recycled. If you throw your small, used batteries in the trash, here is what happens to them.

All batteries are self-discharging. That means even when not in use, they leak tiny amounts of energy. You have likely ruined a flashlight or two from an old ruptured battery. When a battery runs down and can no longer power a toy or light, you think of it as dead; well, it is not. It continues to leak small amounts of electricity.

As the chemicals inside it run out, pressure builds inside the battery’s metal casing, and eventually, it cracks. The metals left inside then ooze out. The ooze in your ruined flashlight is toxic, and so is the ooze that will inevitably leak from every battery in a landfill. All batteries eventually rupture; it just takes rechargeable batteries longer to end up in the landfill.

In addition to dry cell batteries, there are also wet cell ones used in automobiles, boats, and motorcycles. The good thing about those is, ninety percent of them are recycled. Unfortunately, we do not yet know how to recycle batteries like me, or care to dispose of single-use ones properly. 

But that is not half of it. For those of you excited about electric cars and a green revolution, I want you to take a closer look at batteries and also windmills and solar panels. These three technologies share what we call “environmentally destructive embedded costs.” 

NM got redder as he spoke. “Everything manufactured has two costs associated with it, embedded costs and operating costs. I will explain embedded costs using a can of baked beans as my subject.

In this scenario, baked beans are on sale, so you jump in your car and head for the grocery store. Sure enough, there they are on the shelf for $1.75 a can. As you head to the checkout, you begin to think about the embedded costs in the can of beans.

The first cost is the diesel fuel the farmer used to plow the field, till the ground, harvest the beans, and transport them to the food processor. Not only is his diesel fuel an embedded cost, so are the costs to build the tractors, combines, and trucks. In addition, the farmer might use a nitrogen fertilizer made from natural gas.

Next is the energy costs of cooking the beans, heating the building, transporting the workers, and paying for the vast amounts of electricity used to run the plant. The steel can holding the beans is also an embedded cost. Making the steel can requires mining taconite, shipping it by boat, extracting the iron, placing it in a coal-fired blast furnace, and adding carbon. Then it’s back on another truck to take the beans to the grocery store. Finally, add in the cost of the gasoline for your car.

But wait — can you guess one of the highest but rarely acknowledged embedded costs? NM said, then gave us about thirty seconds to make our guesses. Then he flashed his lights and said, “It’s the depreciation on the 5,000 pound car you used to transport one pound of canned beans!”

NM took on a golden glow, and I thought he might have winked. He said, “But that can of beans is nothing compared to me! I am hundreds of times more complicated. My embedded costs not only come in the form of energy use; they come as environmental destruction, pollution, disease, child labor, and the inability to be recycled.”

He paused, “I weigh one thousand pounds, and as you see, I am about the size of a travel trunk.” NM’s lights showed he was serious. “I contain twenty-five pounds of lithium, sixty pounds of nickel, 44 pounds of manganese, 30 pounds cobalt, 200 pounds of copper, and 400 pounds of aluminum, steel, and plastic. Inside me are 6,831 individual lithium-ion cells.

It should concern you that all those toxic components come from mining. For instance, to manufacture each auto battery like me, you must process 25,000 pounds of brine for the lithium, 30,000 pounds of ore for the cobalt, 5,000 pounds of ore for the nickel, and 25,000 pounds of ore for copper. All told, you dig up 500,000 pounds of the earth’s crust for just — one — battery.”

He let that one sink in, then added, “I mentioned disease and child labor a moment ago. Here’s why. Sixty-eight percent of the world’s cobalt, a significant part of a battery, comes from the Congo. Their mines have no pollution controls and they employ children who die from handling this toxic material. Should we factor in these diseased kids as part of the cost of driving an electric car?” 

NM’s red and orange light made it look like he was on fire. “Finally,” he said, “I’d like to leave you with these thoughts. California is building the largest battery in the world near San Francisco, and they intend to power it from solar panels and windmills. They claim this is the ultimate in being ‘green,’ but it is not! This construction project is creating an environmental disaster. Let me tell you why.

The main problem with solar arrays is the chemicals needed to process silicate into the silicon used in the panels. To make pure enough silicon requires processing it with hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, nitric acid, hydrogen fluoride, trichloroethane, and acetone. In addition, they also need gallium, arsenide, copper-indium-gallium- diselenide, and cadmium-telluride, which also are highly toxic. Silicon dust is a hazard to the workers, and the panels cannot be recycled.

Windmills are the ultimate in embedded costs and environmental destruction. Each weighs 1,688 tons (the equivalent of 23 houses) and contains 1,300 tons of concrete, 295 tons of steel, 48 tons of iron, 24 tons of fiberglass, and the hard-to-extract rare earths neodymium, praseodymium, and dysprosium. Each blade weighs 81,000 pounds and will last 15 to 20 years, at which time it must be replaced. We cannot recycle used blades. Sadly, both solar arrays and windmills kill birds, bats, sea life, and migratory insects.

NM lights dimmed, and he quietly said, “There may be a place for these technologies, but you must look beyond the myth of zero emissions. I predict EVs and windmills will be abandoned once the embedded environmental costs of making and replacing them become apparent. I’m trying to do my part with these lectures.

Thank you for your attention, good night, and good luck.” NM’s lights went out, and he was quiet, like a regular battery.

* * *

The format is stupid, but the info is right on target. If you want to inflict maximum damage on the environment, you support EVs, wind turbines and solar panels – all with their associated batteries. They don’t even come close in being as environmentally clean as coal, natural gas, and nuclear power. Likewise, their (EVs, WTs, and Solar) cost is going to be exorbitant. WTs and Solar reliability is poor.

Electric vehicles are taxpayer subsidized for the purchase of each hybrid or fully electric vehicle with a discount of about $7,000. Then, the government does not collect road-use taxes. Further, the new infrastructure bill provides several billion dollars of taxpayer funds to build charging stations. Do we really want our Government in the “electric filling-station” business?

This is exactly what all these self-proclaimed, highly educated, intellectual, “ECO Nazi-es” need to read.

Never mind, they’re too intellectually deficient to comprehend how intertwined this information is with the damage being inflicted on our earth’s environment thanks to their “Green New Deal”

* * *

royexum@aol.com

Green New Deal-Dream to Reality

While driving north on interstate 355 this week I passed a familiar air inflated dome on the East side. My mind was racing through many wild thoughts like a newsreel gone wild. Flashes of ideas burning their way through my brain. It seemed like the wheels on a slot machine whirling through waiting to settle on something. Then the images stopped just as the dome came into view. Emblazoned across the balloon was the name “Bo Jackson’s Elite Sports.”

What if we were to enclose the entire country under one giant humongous air building like Bo Jackson’s? We might actually be able to achieve the dream of the Green New Deal? Without any dirty air coming at us from different parts of the polluted world it could be possible. Constructing the cocoon over America would be easier than convincing countries like China to cut their emissions. We could definitely control the air inside our cocoon. Or could we? Then, the practical aspects of living in a balloon began to spin in my slot machine idea generator. How would we cover the mountains? Building the fence between Mexico and the USA was a large enough task, but it would be declared a piece of cake compared to covering the Smokies and the Rockies under a balloon. The idea generator began spinning again, and a new picture developed. What if we merely covered the cities and towns all around the States? In other words, just put balloon buildings where people live. That way they can breathe absolutely 99.9999% pure air and be allergy and asthma free. The town balloon can be connected by balloon tunnels between. Oh yeah, well what about all the emission you generate inside the balloon? Not a problem with electric vehicles. Where will you get the electricity? Also not as big a problem when all the balloon structures are also encased in photovoltaic cells generating as much power as needed. Also, it will be without the unsightly acres and acres of solar panels.

When millions of people are enclosed within a limited air building they will generate tons of exhaled carbon dioxide which will have to be dealt with, how? Well we could just displace the carbon dioxide with pure filtered air without pollutants. In nature, the trees and vegetation do that work for us by using the carbon dioxide to power photosynthesis. But still, we will have to dispose of the tons of exhaled carbon. Where? How about we build a balloon chimney to blow the needed carbon into the space beyond our stratosphere? One novel idea proposed by science is to convert the carbon into coal. Isn’t that where all this began? Coal? My idea generator stopped spinning at two cherries and a lemon. Thankfully, by this time I arrived at my destination and my mind was forced into thinking about other matters like lunch and where to buy gasoline.

Tea Party Ahead of Obama

During his recent speech in El Paso, President Obama thought he was being funny when he stated the Republicans want him to “build a moat along the Mexico-USA border, and, they want to put alligators in it.”

Maybe the President reads chain e-mails because I received this suggestion many times from my Tea Party friends for two years. What he fails to realize is that building a moat would bring the economy back by putting millions of people to work. It would be a joint venture with Mexico and the U.S.A. Think about the number of Mexicans that would stay home to work on the moat. The economy of the world would improve. How?  I suggest the moat be expanded into a canal connecting the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. What a bonanza to shipping that would become. Oil being shipped to the Gulf refineries and to the Eastern U.S. would save hundreds of miles and save thousands of gallons of diesel fuel, thus reducing the carbon footprint and guaranteeing the end of man-made global warming.

This supposedly intelligent man fails to see the wisdom of this idea. It is a win-win situation. Implementing this plan would guarantee his second term. He can then steer his excess campaign funds to a Swiss bank for later retrieval. During his retirement he can use the Swiss account to buy Saudi Arabia and rule the Mideast as the true muslim he is.

By the way, this is my second serious proposal for solving the illegal immigration problem. I posted a piece titled Shovel Ready in October of 2010. Follow the link.
Obama will get a bill for a trillion dollars for my consulting services. I will put the money into a trust for all the grandkids he stole it from.

Wabbits-20, Grumpa Joe-1

The Wabbit War took a turn for the better yesterday. Grumpa Joe transformed himself into Jose the illegal grass cutter and mowed the lawn. He dreamt about how to deport all the illegal aliens from his garden. I would let them stay if they would only eat grass, he thought. They insist on steak instead. Over the course of the summer, the Wabbits took out twelve Asiatic lilies, a prize geranium, Sum and Substance hosta, sedum, lobelia, Rose of Sharon sprigs, moonflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, my Count Dracula day lily, and they killed a huge number of tulips while I was in Arizona. They ate everything but grass. If they ate my grass, and kept it short, I would love them.  Instead, I am spewing CO and CO2 into the atmosphere and contributing to global warming.  I knew it, the damn Wabbits are melting the polar ice cap.

I was nearly half way finished with making stripes in the front lawn when I noticed some fur and guts on the stripe next to me. How did that happen? I ran over a baby “Oh isn’t he cute,” Wabbit. All I can say is that the Wabbit world is better off by not having this stupid genetically defective individual multiplying their kind. Any Wabbit stupid enough to hide in the grass, while Jose the Illegal grass cutter daydreams stripes into the lawn, deserves to be chopped into pieces.

I know, I know. My readership will drop because of my terrible attitude and lack of compassion for the poor. After all, they are only trying to make a better life for themselves. Well, shit happens. The Wabbits are still out scoring me twenty to one.

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