I think one of the shining moments of human achievement happened during the 1960’s with the space program.
I’ve been watching the Moon Machines series on YouTube. For example, here’s part 1 of the Lunar Rover:
The Apollo program employed, as the program likes to say, over 400,000 engineers and technicians spread across hundreds of companies. Think about that for a moment.
Tell me, what projects and ideas could we use to push the United States firmly into the 21st and 22nd century?
I’ve written a lot about what I consider to be a disruptive change that we could accomplish and I’ll elaborate:
We need alternative energy sources but the key factor is that all of them have to produce electricity. If there is one thing we have learned over time is that electric power is the most efficient energy transmission method. So in that vein I am focusing on a common object that nearly everyone has or uses. It’s the motor vehicle.
Put it this way, there were over 60 million cars produced in 2011. As to the number of them on the road, it’s just shy of a billion cars. With an average of 12,500 miles per year and you get the following emissions per vehicle:
- Carbon Dioxide: 11,450lbs
- Carbon Monoxide: 575lbs
- Nitrous Oxide: 38.2lbs
- Hydrocarbons: 77.1 lbs
Now let’s exten those out by the billion cars:
- Carbon Dioxide: 11,450,000,000,000lbs – 11.45 Trillion Pounds of CO2
- Carbon Monoxide: 575,000,000,000lbs – 575 Billion Pounds of CO
- Nitrous Oxide: 38,200,000,000 – 38 Billion Pounds of NO2
- Hydrocarbons: 77,100,000,000 – 77.1 Billion Pounds of Hydrocarbons
Those are the four main pollutant groups for land based motor vehicles and excludes ships that use bunker oil.
13 Trillion pounds of pollutants. We can do better.
Now imagine if we put the money and talent behind electric energy storage devices. This is a game changer in a few respects as cars require about 20kW at a minimum. Your house on average uses about 1kW per hour.
So how do we pay for this? It’s simple, cut the military and Pentagon budgets by 33% to 50%. But don’t just put the money aside. Instead put it into advance research and development. Shore up the electric vehicles. Because I truly believe that we can create a battery of sorts that can store enough energy to propel a motor vehicle for 500+ miles between charges, and that we can also charge that battery pack withing 15 to 20 minutes.
Then of course there are government incentives to ditch internal combustion machines and change out for electric vehicles. Massive subsidies – again all of the money won’t go into R&D.
The positive impacts:
1) You no longer need a large military machine to protect the oil lifeline. Instead they can be purely for the defense of the country only. No foreign misadventure anymore.
2) The environmental benefits would be astounding. Imagine 13 Trillion pounds of pollutants and contaminants removed from our atmosphere. Incidence of asthma and other respiratory diseases would decrease. And then there’s noise, internal combustion engines waste a lot of energy as noise.
3) The Middle East radicals would be denied money to propagate their twisted views. Foreign policy gets a lot easier when we’re not subsidizing radicalism.
In essence, it would be another moon shot program of sorts, only this time one that directly benefits EVERYONE in the world.