Go big BlueFuel

After all the hubub this past year about the great advances in Bosch fuel injection technology, it is no surprise to hear about

BLUETEC diesel technology, which will make its U.S. debut this fall on the 2007 Mercedes E 320 sedan. DaimlerChrysler says BLUETEC is so clean it can meet emissions regulations in all 50 states, including the five states where diesels aren’t currently sold because they can’t meet emissions standards: California, Massachusetts, Maine, New York and Vermont.

That’s encouraging, but of course Mercedes has some of the most advanced diesel engineering in the world. This isn’t your grandma’s grumbling, smelly clunker, we’re talking about. Personally, I’m curious whether the 2.5L V6 turbo-diesel quattro Audi Allroad will finally be imported — talk about the ultimate active-lifestyle high mpg with comfort road-warrior vehicle, it’s almost enough to make you want to move to Canada, eh? Ok, ok, I never said I was good at marketing.

Back to engineering, the article explains…

…diesels are 30 percent more efficient than gas engines, and unlike gas-electric hybrids, which get better fuel economy in city driving, diesels are equally efficient on the highway.

Silent but deadly And diesel-electric hybrid? Even the HumVee is going to DEH (rebranded the Shadow RST-V), according to military.com. They wax poetic about “going green”, but let’s face it, dependence on fuel is a giant security vulnerability issue — the more efficient a vehicle the less risk to soldiers from a supply chain.

Special Forces are about the only group that bother with any real concept of environmental friendliness since it plays to their favor, whereas Army is about mowing down and establishing control, Sherman style, but I digress.

The AP article about the Mercedes and new diesel technology also mentions:

…a big boost this October, when U.S. diesel retailers are required to begin selling low-sulfur diesel. In the past, diesel could have a sulfur level of up to 500 parts per million; low-sulfur diesel has no more than 15 parts per million.

The real question for the future is whether car manufacturers will start allowing pure-veg-oil to run in their vehicles rather than whether someone can improve petro production by reducing a toxic additive. The additive was introduced in the first place to get rid of the inherent shortcomings of petro-diesel versus the bio alternative.

Of course less sulfur is better and should have been forced years ago, but the real solution is to move away from overly centralized distribution and refinement and proprietary assets that have artificially high (protected) value.

When information started being pushed around on workstations and PCs it exploded the processing market. When fuel creation can be localized in a similar fashion then we will really see advances in energy technology and a drop in risk. It’s like the shift from mainframes (petroleum production) to the PC (bio-diesel refinement), which again creates a whole new set of security issues (more resilience, but need for managing decentralized controls).

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