Bob's Links and Rants

Welcome to my rants page! You can contact me by e-mail: Blog roll. Site feed.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Back in the Saddle

I attended the last day of the Midwest Regional Energy Fair on Sunday. I bought a 55-watt Evergreen solar panel and a basic charge controller, so I'll be able to start experimenting with solar power, maybe this weekend!

Author Richard Heinberg gave a very interesting talk about peak oil, suggesting that we may already be there. (Peak oil is the time when the maximum production of world oil is reached.) Heinberg suggests that several recent developments indicate that, try as they might, the world's oil producers cannot extract oil any faster than they are right now. All of the easy oil has been found, and most of that has already been extracted. What oil is extracted in the future will be harder and more expensive to get.

I think going to the Fair was worth it more from a motivational angle than from an educational one. The workshops weren't personal enough to get any real hands-on know how or to really question the presenters until I could understand; I think I learn the stuff faster by reading about it in books or on the Internet. But being there with some 15,000 people who are really into renewable energy was pretty cool.

I left the fair Sunday about 3:30 in the afternoon. I took the scenic route home, going through Green Bay and then up through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I spent last night in Manistique on the north shore of Lake Michigan. This morning, I drove northeast to Tahquamenon Falls, the biggest waterfall in Michigan. Very pretty country up there. I then got a quick glimpse of Lake Superior and turned south, crossing the Mackinaw Bridge around noon. I arrived back in Ann Arbor around 4:30.

I went about 580 miles on my tank of biodiesel before I had to refuel, approximately 45 miles per gallon. I had to use ordinary diesel coming back, since the rumors of there being biodiesel for sale at the fair proved to be false. I haven't fully refilled the tank yet, but I went about 630 miles on the ordinary diesel (Bear Creek, Wisconsin to Whitmore Lake, Michigan). The VW ran great all the way!