Hard work for Burning Man to be Green

This year’s theme for Burning Man is “the Green Man.” It represents a lot of things. For many it just is an inspiration for art centered on nature or the environment. Others are taking it as a signal to try to be better environmentally. That’s going to be a very tough road for a festival centered on building a temporary city far from everything and pyrotechnic art.

So I wrote up some thoughts on the challenges involved. The toughest problem is that transporting an entire city to the desert and then taking it back is a great personal and artistic endeavour, but not one that can be considered green. All efforts to reduce the pollution at the event are dwarfed by the fuel burned to get there. So what can be done?

Read about the problems of having a green man.

Hybrid vehicles as Generators

Sorry for being late to the game on this one, but I've often wondered why car companies haven't started marketing their Hybrid vehicles as standby (or camping) generators: for the extra money (as an option) and the extra hardware, how difficult would it be to use the existing automobile power plant to supply a few amps of Alternating Current at 120V?

Such an option would also be helpful for emergencies, especially were home power to be restructured to be able to disconnect from the grid (during power outages) and power high-priority circuits from your car (e.g. draw enough power to keep your food from spoiling, and let the engine recharge the batteries as necessary, or provide the full power).

Of course, you'd have to drive your generator to the filling station every now and again.

And if it can reduce the waste associated with dedicated generators which would no longer be required, all the better.

P.S. My experience would be consistent with your "last name" filter doing a comparison without 'lcase'ing the user's input.

It's been talked about

I think some models are considering it.

One proposal that's gone out is that for plug-in hybrid cars, which are normally plugged into the grid for charging as they try to use as much grid power as they can, and only burn gas when out of grid power, this would make even more sense.

The reason is the car could sit in the driveway, plugged into the grid. When the grid faced a shortage (hot summer day with lots of AC causing brownouts) it could send a data signal to the cars to fire up and provide power back to the grid. Since peak capacity is the real cost of the power generation system, this could be a win -- though these generators are not nearly as efficient as big ones, and thus would make more pollution. And it had better not fire up in a garage.

But this requires a fancier hookup.

Maybe rather than reselling

Maybe rather than reselling into the grid, the signal could be to take office buildings and other mid-size industrial or government users off grid, and power them from their parking lot. Companies could make their employees whole for the contribution, and there would be less risk to powerline workers in case of an outage. Residential users could continue to be considered in base load, and large industrial users could take responsibility for their own draw.

Sure, the multiplicity of smaller generators is less efficient than single large generators, but as you say this is peak power (and a large generator sitting idle most of the day is pretty inefficient, too). And there's already lots of investment going into making those small power plants highly efficient - it is conceivable that increased effort to make large generators more efficient could lose out because of economies of scale going into automotive research.

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