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June 27, 2005

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Hi Half Sigma
I agree that the price mechanism should take care of the rise in oil prices. Only a few days ago, I remember reading about how Brazil was producing lots of low-cost ethanol out of sugar cane. High oil prices makes ethanol and other gasoline alternatives more attractive.

I would like to see Nuclear power make a comeback. At one point, it looked so promising that people theorized electricity would be "too cheap to meter". It still has the potential to produce electricity for a whole lot less than other means, with less environmental damage.

Nuclear is the only alternative to fossil fuels other than hydro that has been PROVEN to be able to generate large amounts of electricity.

There can be no disagreement on the need for more nuclear power to reduce demand for fossil fuels when generating electricity. But, the only viable alternative to gas-powered cars is inertial batteries.

Inertial batteries are heavy flywheels positioned next to each tire. The batteries use a clutch-like assembly to transfer some of the inertial energy to the wheels when the user pushes on the accelerator. There was even research into transferring some of the car’s inertial energy back to the inertial batteries during the braking process.

The inertial flywheels are returned to their full spin rate by an electrical trickle-feed. If the electricity to do this comes from nuclear powered electric stations, it eliminates the need for fossil fuels.

This approach was used with great success several years ago by an amusement park in Florida. The owners of the park were told that they could not install a new roller coaster that would require millions of watts of peak power at the start of each ride (a few seconds out of each several minutes). Instead, the designers of the ride trickled-charged an inertial battery between rides and delivered megawatt bursts of equivalent inertial power at the start of each ride.

This approach to commuter cars was touted by Popular Mechanics and Popular Science as the wave of the future. Inertial batteries provide better acceleration and performance than gas and there are no explosive chemicals like gasoline or hydrogen on board to explode in a collision. In recent years, there has been no press on inertial batteries. Whatever happened to this promising approach to commuting?

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