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Thread: Review My Energy Site.

  1. #1
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    Review My Energy Site.

    OK - I will go out on a limb (note wood connection) here and ask for some constructive criticism of my website


    FuelFrenzy.com


    I respect the wealth of knowledge possessed by the people here and would like to hear your thoughts and ideas.

    I worked in the Utility business so many friends still ask me about energy issues. I decided to do the website as a single place to have energy information.

    I often get questions about alternate power for a home or auto and the website is my attempt to answer many of those questions.

    Please let me know of any blatant mistakes or even if you think my ideas or examples are way off base. I want to present the truth and I will reexamine any possible errors you find.

    This is a work in progress so over time more will be added and some things will be updated.

    Thanks for looking. It is a lot of info.
    Last edited by Pete Simmons; 07-15-2008 at 12:22 AM.

  2. #2
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    It's wayyyy too wordy. You need to edit it quite a bit to reduce the amount of verbage. Try to figure out what the major points are that you want to make and cut to the chase. An abstract at the beginning of each article would also help and would help someone understand your points even if they don't read the entire article.

    Also, make your points clearer. For example, don't mix hybrid and hydrogen cars in the same discussion. Take one - maybe a plug-in hybrid - and discuss just that. If your position is that they're not efficient, offer the mathematics in a clear discussion that even math phobic people can follow.

    Try not to sound so shrill. Keep emotion out of the discussion and focus on the facts. You'll convince more people with a reasoned discussion of the facts than you will with emotional prose. You want to sound like someone the reader would enjoy having a discussion with, not someone who will browbeat them in a conversation. You need to be able to put yourself in the place of the reader and see if you would spend the time reading the text. Be your own worse critic.

    Finally, what action do you want from someone reading the text? Make that clear in the beginning. Tell them what you want of them, then offer your arguments to support it.

    Good luck! It's obvious you have a passion about the subject.

    Mike

    [Let's say someone was interested in whether hydrogen is a logical alternative for future cars. They want to go to a site that answers that question in as few words as possible but hits the most important concepts. The best for them might be just bullet items. Make it easy for the reader and they'll read it. Make it hard, and they'll move on to another site.]
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 07-15-2008 at 12:42 AM.
    Ancora imparo
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  3. #3
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    I would have to agree with Mike. The website should be more about the marketing and drawing the reader in to make them want to read more. Statistically most people don't read more than the first paragraph or spend more than 30 seconds trying to figure out what a website is about (shorter time than that for Gen-Y readers).

    You might consider putting the content of your page into separate (pdf?) documents and slim your pages down to catch the reader's eye and interest. You also might consider using a blog format instead. Add catchy headlines to the blog entries and allow users to easily scan for items of interest.

    Good Luck!
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  4. #4
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    You present some interesting figures, Pete. I haven't had time to really go through it much, but I did notice "Fossil" spelled with an extra "e" in the title, footer, and filename of fossile.html.

    I'd have to agree with the previous guys...any condensing you can do would help, and the suggestion for a summary at the beginning might be helpful to convince people to read more. More subdivision might also help to keep the pages shorter and more likely to be read all the way through. For example, fossile.html could be broken into separate for each of the fuel types. I saw several places I'd tweak grammatically, but that's an occupational habit for me.

    I also noticed that much of the text is in a the wrong font on Firefox. It shows up as Arial on IE (as your source code indicates it should), but Firefox displays is as Times New Roman. I'm not enough of an HTML jockey to tell you why it does that.

    I realize it's a work in progress, and commend you on your efforts to get this information out there.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the remarks.

    I cannot believe I spelled fossil wrong in some places.

    As you can quickly see I am not a writer or a speller.

    I thought some hybrid owners would jump all over me.

    Best I can tell hybrids gain some from regen braking but may lose about the same from extra weight required to have this feature. Also if you stop alot the quick and efficient on and off of the engine saves fuel.

    Other than those issues I see no other fuel savings. Remember all the battery power came from the fuel tank and there are losses at every transition.

    Anybody care to share some real world MPG figures for a hybrid?
    I would like to see how one does with AC on high, lights on and radio blasting driven in a typical American heavy foot style. Side by side with a non hybrid equal would be great.

  6. #6
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    I'll make a few comments about plug-in hybrids (which can get 40 miles on battery power but still have an engine/generator to prevent you from being stranded), independent of your web site. I'm a big fan of that technology.

    1. For many people, 40 miles daily capacity will serve their needs and they'll not have to use gasoline.

    2. The electric grid is in place to supply the power and charging is done at night when demand is generally low. This can actually lead to better efficiency in the grid.

    3. Better methods of electricity generation (green, nuclear, etc.) can be developed and implemented easier at a large generating station.

    There are a few negatives:

    1. It takes about 0.4kWh of battery power per mile. 40 miles is 16KWh. If charged on a 110volts, 15A circuit, it could take close to 10 hours to fully charge the battery. However, the battery is not likely to be fully discharged, so the charging time will be less. I assume most people will need about 8 hours of charging.

    2. If the car must be manually plugged in, people will forget to plug it in and will use gasoline the next day. Some techinque for automatic connection to power is needed.

    Mike
    Ancora imparo
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  7. #7
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    Mike:

    I should know this question but are plug-in hybrids available?

    If so from who?

    Did you see my section on the Tesla car?

    They have a few problems:

    Safety requirements before being sold in the US

    Untested/unproven batteries


    I would also like to know more about their charging methods. Initial look seems to require a large electric supply to charge in their stated timeframe.



    BTW - Myself and a a number of friends travel about 10 miles most days in a golf cart. So we know about charging each night, battery replacement (every 4 or 5 years), adding water etc. I should take a look at what the charger uses but to tell the truth I did not notice a change in my monthly bill when I first started using the golf cart. Some of the new electric carts have reg braking. I have contacted Club Car for some Tech info but so far no good info.
    Last edited by Pete Simmons; 07-15-2008 at 05:27 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Simmons View Post
    Mike:

    I should know this question but are plug-in hybrids available?

    If so from who?

    Did you see my section on the Tesla car?

    They have a few problems:

    Safety requirements before being sold in the US

    Untested/unproven batteries


    I would also like to know more about their charging methods. Initial look seems to require a large electric supply to charge in their stated timeframe.



    BTW - Myself and a a number of friends travel about 10 miles most days in a golf cart. So we know about charging each night, battery replacement (every 4 or 5 years), adding water etc. I should take a look at what the charger uses but to tell the truth I did not notice a change in my monthly bill when I first started using the golf cart. Some of the new electric carts have reg braking. I have contacted Club Car for some Tech info but so far no good info.
    No, plug-in hybrids are not available yet - at least not from major manufacturers. The Chevrolet Volt has been announced - you can see more about it on Wikipedia. Chevy has a bunch on their web site - just google for it. Other car companies have announced similar vehicles.

    Regarding cost, let's assume that electricity to your home costs $0.15/kWh. If you had to fully charge the battery (let's assume a charge efficiency of 90% and 16kWh of usable capacity of the battery), it would cost you $2.67 per night to charge the battery. This works out to 6.67 cents per mile for "power". A 30 MPG car at $5.00/gallon gas would cost 16.67 cents per mile for "power" - two and a half times the electric vehicle. A 20MPG car works out to 25 cents per mile, 3.75 times the cost for the electric vehicle.

    Now, that's not a fair comparison because there's tax on the fuel and not as much tax on the electricity. [side note: taxing electricity for automobiles is a problem so some other method will be needed to pay for the roads.]

    But no matter how you slice it, electric power is much less expensive than gas or diesel.

    Regarding charging, a 110volt, 15 amp residential circuit can supply about 1.6kW or about 1.6kWh per hour. Of course, you can't have anything else on that circuit so the homeowner may have to put in a separate circuit for charging the car. From what I've seen, the input to the car is just the power - all charging electronics is built into the car.

    The batteries are the biggest problem right now. They will be lithium-ion batteries and will be good for at least 100,000 miles - probably be guaranteed for that amount of mileage.

    Like all technical things, I expect the batteries to get better and cheaper over time. The first car will cost a lot, and will have limited capability. But the second generation car will be better and more reliable. And it'll keep improving, just like gasoline cars improve each year.

    Remember the Prius. When Toyota first started shipping it, everyone said they lost money on each one sold. I doubt if that's true any more - or they wouldn't be making so many (lose a little on each but make it up on volume).

    Mike
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 07-15-2008 at 09:31 PM.
    Ancora imparo
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  9. #9
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    Anyone know why there are no plugin-hybrids from the majors?

    another comment - There is a blog going on cnn about what happened to electric cars. It is amazing how many people think you can put a few sq feet of solar cells on the roof of your car and drive forever (at least daytime) for free.

    Others want to run their car on fuel cells (which just use water as fuel) again for no cost.

    Or even better just hook a generator to the axel to recharge the battery as you drive.

    Now I know why I made the website.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Simmons View Post
    Anyone know why there are no plugin-hybrids from the majors?

    another comment - There is a blog going on cnn about what happened to electric cars. It is amazing how many people think you can put a few sq feet of solar cells on the roof of your car and drive forever (at least daytime) for free.

    Others want to run their car on fuel cells (which just use water as fuel) again for no cost.

    Or even better just hook a generator to the axel to recharge the battery as you drive.

    Now I know why I made the website.
    As far as why there are no plug-in hybrids from the major manufacturers - it's because of the battery technology. For a plug-in hybrid you need a much higher capacity battery (bigger in kWh capacity), but with a long life and not too much weight. There's lots of work going on to develop such batteries right now - and those batteries will be developed. And they'll get better as time goes by. Look for the first plug-in hybrids in 2010.

    As you point out, it takes a lot of solar cells to generate any significant amount of electricity. Additionally, it takes a lot of energy to make them. There are serious questions about whether solar cells can generate more power during their lifetime than it takes to make them. For certain applications, like spacecraft, you don't care if it takes more power to make them, but when you're looking for energy independence, it does matter.

    I think most people who are knowledgable of alternate power sources realize that fuel cells require something like hydrogen as a "fuel" and not water. My opinion is that going from electricity (electrolysis of water) to hydrogen, then transporting the hydrogen to use in cars with a fuel cell to generate electricity, is a wasteful process. But it does allow faster fueling than charging a battery.

    Mike
    Ancora imparo
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

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