Efficiency? Or Just Big Oil at it Again.
This looks to me very much like a desperate grasp by 'big oil' to hang on to their oligopoly and enormous profits. I just can't see how this method could beat other contenders for renewable-based transport energy in a fair competition.
To consider any of the alternative transport energy sources, one must keep a firm eye on the big picture - efficiency - though there are other considerations. This assumes minuscule or zero greenhouse emissions at the tailpipe, of course.
Nick has a point about those harmful by-products, even if not derived from combustion per se. If synthetic fuel is used to avoid them then where's the point in adopting GIT CHAMP at all? Why not use other more efficient approaches?
@Dr Mouse - just a point of clarification if I may - geothermal power uses heat derived from the gradual fission of radioactive isotopes in rock. Few locations are suitable, but where it is suitable, the energy potential is truly huge. Australia supposedly has many suitable sites.
@AC @Dr Mouse - "deserts are crap places for solar power". Well, no, actually. Have a look at where several solar installations are being built. And then there's the Mars rovers, driving about in the biggest desert of them all, purely on solar power. One consideration against deserts is the distance to population centres (where the power is used and from where the labour force and building materials are derived).
In previous articles, El Reg seems to have taken a stance against battery-electric vehicles. I don't understand why this is. Battery-electric vehicles are by far the most efficient and are improving year-by-year. With the latest technology, battery life is not dissimilar to the life of mechanical components in existing vehicles. And recharge times are improving, plus there's the promise of a couple of imminent technological developments (lab-demonstrated but not yet prototyped) to significantly improve that parameter. Given we already have efficient electricity trading markets and distribution infrastructure, and the ability to 'plug in' any renewable energy source we like to the electricity grid, it just looks obvious to me. An electric-based transport energy sector provides not only zero emissions at the tailpipe, but also all of the incentives for renewable energy development and energy-source competition with no 'lock in'. I studied this in detail in 2007, and I know where I'm investing my money. But finding the information isn't easy, and there are a lot of counter arguments. IMHO, many of those counter arguments are a deliberate ruse aimed at preserving the power if current energy market suppliers.
If we (the people) do anything, it should be to ensure our governments legislate for free and open competition in all energy sectors, within a national/global carbon-cap and emissions trading scheme. The market will take care of the rest.