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Tony Seba received the 2017 Clean Energy Action Sunshine Award

Tony Seba received the 2017 Clean Energy Action Sunshine Award for his contribution in accelerating the transition to a clean energy economy.

We are proud to share the Press Release launched by the Clean Energy Action:

Boulder, CO: On the 10th Anniversary of Clean Energy Action’s founding, the 2017 CLEAN ENERGY ACTION SUNSHINE AWARD can think of no one more deserving of this honor than Mr. Tony Seba.  As the author of several books, including Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation and Solar Trillions, as an educator at Stanford University, and as a leader in business and technology, Tony Seba exemplifies the qualities we seek to recognize with this award. Mr. Seba’s work has aided the cause of sustainability immeasurably, both by shedding light on the progress that has been made and by helping to illuminate the way forward, and it is in recognition of this work that we are honored to name our friend and sustainability champion the recipient of the 2017 Clean Energy Action Sunshine Award.

At this moment, when the world is unclear whether America will remain a leader in the clean energy revolution, it is ever more important to chronicle the resolute courage and optimistic voices of our new energy economy experts and champions of sustainability. Clean Energy Action has traditionally recognized our amazing supporters and advocates for all they personally do for people and planet.  The Sunshine Award acknowledges these individuals who have made significant contributions in the dissemination of new ideas, technologies and concepts and who, like the sun, take the light and heat of human ingenuity and help it to find its way out of academic journals and laboratories and into the mainstream of our culture and economy.

Clean Energy Action was founded more than a decade ago on the principle that education and empowering community action is the key to accelerating the transition from fossil fuels to a clean energy and resilient economy.  While technological and important regulatory challenges persist, the true challenge comes in mobilizing the knowledge we have at our disposal and implementing it throughout our communities and our marketplaces.

About Tony Seba: Tony Seba is the author of “Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation”, “Solar Trillions” and “Winners Take All”, a serial Silicon Valley entrepreneur, and an instructor in Entrepreneurship, Disruption and Clean Energy at Stanford’s Continuing Studies Program. His work focuses on clean energy, entrepreneurship, market disruption, and the exponential technology trends, business model innovation, and product architecture innovations that are leading to the disruption of some of the world’s major industries, such as energy, transportation, infrastructure, finance, and manufacturing.

He is also a co-founder of the think tank RethinkX and co-author of the report “Rethinking Transportation 2020-2030” released in May 2017.

This report was also cited by Senator Owen Hill, R-Colorado Springs, on the presentation of Senate Bill 213 that puts the autonomous vehicles into state law, signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper on June 1st.  

 

 

 

Clean Disruption Korea Book Cover

Clean Disruption published in Korea

I’m happy to say that the Korean version of my book “Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation” has been published by Kyobo Book Centre, Korea’s largest bookseller.

Here’s the link to the book on Kyobo’s website:

Clean Disruption Korea Book Cover

Clean Disruption Korea Book Cover Published by Kyobo Book Centre

 

I mentioned in a previous post that there has been incredible interest in the Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation in South Korea.

Clean Disruption can also be bought online at Yes24.com here.

I’m looking forward to the positive impact of Clean Disruption in Korea!

 

Toyota vs. Tesla – Can Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Vehicles Compete with Electric Vehicles?

The world has been abuzz about the recent Toyota (NYSE: TM) announcement that the company opened up licensing of its 5,680 HFCV patents (although only until 2020.) By taking a page from the Tesla playbook, Toyota  is hoping to encourage an ecosystem of fuel cell suppliers and hydrogen fueling stations.

Tesla Factory - Freemont California

Is this the last hurrah of a dead-end technology? Or will it re-invigorate the HFCV market which has gone nowhere for decades? Does the Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Vehicle (HFCV) Matter anymore?

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) has called the HFCV ‘bullshit’. “Hydrogen is suitable for rockets but not for cars,” said Mr Musk. (Video, starting min 29:20.)

But Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota North America says that his company is betting big on hydrogen fuel cell cars. Does the Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Vehicle (HFCV) have a chance against the Electric Vehicle (EV)?

I don’t even mention Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles in my book “Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation”! There are multiple reasons for that. Let’s look at the facts, starting with the basics.

1) Hydrogen is not an energy source.

Many industry insiders talk about hydrogen as if it were an energy source. For instance, they might compare it with, say, petroleum products like gasoline and diesel, and say that H2 produces no emissions. Hydrogen is not an energy source. It’s an energy carrier. It’s a form of storage. You need primary energy sources like the sun, coal, natural gas, or uranium to generate the power needed to extract Hydrogen from a source material like natural gas or water.

2) Electric Vehicles are at least three times more energy efficient than Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Assuming that at some point fuel-cells will be cheap and Hydrogen production will reach critical mass, it will still be at least three times more expensive to power an HFCV car than an EV. This figure from fuel cell expert Ulf Bossel explains how wasteful an HFCV is compared to electric vehicles. (Source: http://phys.org/news85074285.html)

 

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle vs Electric Vehicle - Energy Efficiency

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle vs Electric Vehicle – Energy Efficiency

But not all hydrogen vehicles are made alike. You can use compressed or liquefied hydrogen. You can also use either internal combustion engine of fuel cells to power the car. The following chart shows that whatever choice of type of hydrogen and engine results in the electric vehicle going three to six times more miles for the same energy when compared to hydrogen-powered cars. (Source: BetterPlace)

Hydrogen Cars vs Electric Vehicles - Better Place

Hydrogen Cars vs Electric Vehicles – Better Place

 

3) You need to build a multi-trillion dollar hydrogen delivery infrastructure.

To build a so-called “Hydrogen Economy” you need to build a multi-trillion dollar infrastructure with large factories/refineries, pipelines, trucks, storage facilities, compressors, hydrogen gas stations, and so on. If you haven’t noticed, this mirrors the existing oil & gas infrastructure. (Source: http://energy.gov/eere/fuelcells/hydrogen-delivery)

Department of Energy - Hydrogen Delivery Infrastructure

Department of Energy – Hydrogen Delivery Infrastructure

Electric vehicles, on the other hand, have a ready infrastructure: the power grid. Everyone who lives and works in advanced economies has access to electricity. Yes, our grid is aging and we need to upgrade it, but it works today. Some readers may remember that the Internet started with the plain old telephone system. It wasn’t fast but it worked. Then we upgraded it to get the fast pipes that we have today. We also built a brand new wireless infrastructure that required no pipes at all.

Distributed Solar PV and EV Charging Station. Copyright @2014 by Tony Seba

Distributed Solar PV and EV Charging Station. Copyright @2014 by Tony Seba

The electric vehicle equivalent of the wireless power infrastructure is distributed solar.

The multi-trillion dollar hydrogen infrastructure would have to be built from scratch.

 

4) Hydrogen is Not Clean.

About 95% of hydrogen in the US is made from natural gas in large central plants, according to the Department of Energy. It’s a method called natural gas reforming.

Hydrogen Methane Steam Reforming Process - Source HYFleet:CUTE - Global-Hydrogen-Bus-Platform

Hydrogen Methane Steam Reforming Process – Source HYFleet:CUTE – Global-Hydrogen-Bus-Platform

 

As I wrote in Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation:
Methane (the main component of natural gas) is 72 times worse than CO2 as a greenhouse gas (when measured over twenty years). Natural gas leaks throughout the supply chain. It leaks when it is lifted from the ground, when it is stored, and when it is transported in hundreds of thousands of miles of pipelines. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, three trillion cubic feet of methane leak annually. That figure represents about 3.2 percent of global production. This methane leakage is the global warming equivalent of half the coal plants in the United States.

Today, hydrogen is basically a repackaged fossil fuel – a fossil product line extension, if you will. If you like natural gas and fracking you should love hydrogen.

 

5) Hydrogen is not ‘Renewable’!

Hydrogen is classified as ‘renewable’ when it’s extracted from water by means of hydrolysis. This method involves applying high voltage electricity to split water into Oxygen and Hydrogen. When you apply conventional electricity to do the hydrolysis you still have to burn coal, natural gas, nuclear, petroleum, and so on, so you still have dirty hydrogen.

We need to pause to consider the water-energy-food nexus. Conventional energy is thirsty. In my books Clean Disruption and Solar Trillions I write at length about the obscene amounts of freshwater that coal, natural gas and biofuels consume. By adding Hydrogen to that list we would have yet another way for energy to dry up our planet.

A well-to-wheels analysis by University of Texas Professors Carey W. King and Michael E. Weber found that a HFCV would need to withdraw 13 gallons of water per mile driven. The same study concludes that a gasoline car would need withdrawals of needs 0.63 gal H2O/mile and a diesel car would need 0.46 gal H2O/mile. That is, gasoline petroleum-based transportation is 20 to 28 times more water efficient than hydrogen.

If we use solar or wind power as the source of the electricity for hydrolysis then you could have ‘clean’ and technically ‘renewable’ Hydrogen. I say ‘technically’ because the world is already pumping water at non-sustainable, non-renewable rates and the massive amounts of water you’d need for hydrogen would just contribute to the world’s water crisis. A 2015 World Economic Forum report ranks water crises as top global risk, up from number three the previous year.

Powering EVs using solar and wind would use no water, according to Prof King and Weber. Plus EVs are at least three times more energy efficient than Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles.

 

6) Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles can’t compete with Electric Vehicles.

It makes sense for the fossil fuel industry to lobby for the hydrogen car because hydrogen is essentially a product line extension for them. In other words, the “Hydrogen Economy” is the “Fossil Fuel Economy” with a green sheen.

The HFCV is a substitute technology. If successful, hydrogen would just substitute the fossil fuel infrastructure with a mirror hydrogen infrastructure.

Former DOE Secretary Steven Chu said: “We asked ourselves, ‘Is it likely in the next 10, 15, or 20 years that we will convert to a hydrogen car economy?’ The answer was no,”

It’s obvious why I don’t even mention HFCV in my book “Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation”! Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles are neither clean nor disruptive. At best, a hydrogen economy would still be a massively wasteful economy that would at best use three to six times more energy than an electric vehicle and solar/wind infrastructure and many times more water than even gasoline uses. There are many good reasons why hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles are stuck in reverse while electric vehicles are on hyper-drive.

By 2030, 100% of cars will be electric and they will be 100% powered by solar and wind. (Watch my AltCars keynote here)

 

It’s time to move on from hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Clean Disruption to be Published in Korea by Kyobo Book Centre

I’m happy to say that the Korean translation of my book “Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation” will be published by Kyobo Book Centre, Korea’s largest bookseller.

Seoul Korea Gwanghwamun

There has been incredible interest in the Clean Disruption in South Korea.

I’m looking forward to the publication of Clean Disruption in Korean!

 

Tony Seba Speaking at the Global Leaders Forum, Seoul, Korea, Nov 19th, 2014

Speaking at the Global Leaders Forum 2014 in Seoul, Korea

I had the pleasure of participating in The Global Leaders Forum 2014 in Seoul, Korea as a speaker and moderator. The main keynote speaker on day 1 (Nov 19th) Technion Professor Dan Schechtman who won the Nobel Prize in 2011 for his discovery of ‘quasicrystals’.

Technology: Creative Thinking” with four world-class thinkers and entrepreneurs:

  • William Hallal, Founder of TechCast Global and Professor at George Washington University,
  • Patri Friedman, Founder and Chair of the Seasteading Institute,
  • Daryl Oster, CEO of ET3 (Evacuated Tube Transport Technologies) and
  • Alex Min, Cofounder of Terafugia.

All their talks were fascinating and I recommend you visit these websites.

I was then interviewed by Chosun Biz, which published a story here.

 

New Zealand and the Clean Disruption of Public and Private Transportation

I recently had the opportunity to give my “Clean Disruption of Public and Private Transportation” talk in Auckland, New Zealand.  A sold-out crowd of 500 people packed the beautiful new Viaduct Events Center in the city’s vibrant Wynyard Quarter.

The talk was widely covered in both the mainstream and trade media. The New Zealand Herald, the country’s largest newspaper, interviewed me and published an article with the following headline: “2030: No Drivers, No Traffic Jams”.

Energy News also interviewed me and wrote an article titled “EVs to Dominate Global Car Market by 2030” (subscription required.)

The full video of my talk is here.Clean Disruption of Public and Private Transportation – Auckland Conversations – July 15th, 2014

 

My upcoming keynote on the Disruption of Public and Private Transportation

BYD Electric Bus – Stanford Caltrain shuttle
Copyright Tony Seba (@tonyseba)

Public and private transportation will undergo a transformation over the next fifteen years that will be larger in scope than it has in a century. The tools of the industrial revolution have run out of steam and will be rapidly replaced by the tools of the information technology revolution. History tells us that the cities that lead technology disruptions are wealthier than the ones that don’t.

It’s good to see that California is again on the forefront of this disruption. I’m getting ready to give a keynote to the California League of Cities Planning Commissioners on Friday, March 28th. The title of my talk is “The Future of Transportation: Technology Mega-Trends that will soon disrupt Public and Private Transportation”.

The most visible on-the-ground manifestations of the disruption of transportation will be the electric vehicle and the self-driving car. They will bring the era of the internal combustion engine automobile and the age of oil to a screeching halt. I have written about these technologies in my upcoming book “Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation” which I expect to publish by the end of April.

But technologies on wheels are not the only innovations that I will be talking about. The combination of mobile Internet and cloud technologies is already disrupting the taxi business. Unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) and nano-satellites will change traffic management. Cars are becoming connected and with ever-cheaper and smarter sensors they are joining the Internet of Things. The huge amounts of data that vehicles generate will help create new industries and disrupt existing ones such as the car insurance business.

The clean disruption of energy and transportation is already happening. Stay tuned for more.

Disrupting Energy & Transportation – Why Business Model Innovation Matters

In 1918 one in thirteen American families owned a car. Eleven years later 80% of American families owned one. The main reason the US auto market went from early adopters to nearly full penetration in just over a decade was an innovation launched by General Motors. It was not a new engine, transmission, or even a technology innovation.

In 1919 GM partnered with DuPont to form the General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC) to offer a new financial innovation: consumers car loans. (1)

Seven years later 75% of all car buyers bought cars on credit. It was a business model that made cars affordable to the American mainstream buyer. In other words, it was a business model innovation that disrupted the transportation industry in the early 20th century.

 

From Car Loans to Solar Loans

Fast forward to the 21st century. In 2008 a company called SunEdison introduced the concept of solar-as-as-service. Residential and commercial solar power buyers would no longer need to invest capital in purchasing solar panels.

SunEdison offered to finance, install, own and maintain the solar panels on the rooftop of its customers. Homeowners did not have to take any technology, financial, or maintenance risks. At the end of the (20-year) contract, the customer had a choice of purchasing the equipment at deep discounts or having them taken off the roof.

Soon after SunEdison, another Silicon Valley solar installer SolarCity [NASDAQ: SCTY] created the SolarLease and the solar market exploded. The concept caught on and other Silicon Valley companies such as Sungevity and SunRun joined SunEdison and SolarCity in offering ‘Solar Leases’ or ‘Solar PPAs’.

Partly as a result of these financial innovations, the solar market in America quadrupled over the following four years. About 80% of residential and commercial installations are now financed by third party-companies. In Colorado the number is closer to 90%.[2]

Technology innovation is clearly important. Making the right Strategic Choices (whole product, positioning, product/market fit, etc) is clearly important. But Business Model innovation may be the key that unlocks a new market or disrupts an existing market.

Sources:
[1] “Cars in the 1920’s”, Kim Kenney, Suite 101, http://suite101.com/article/cars-in-the-1920s-a90169
[2] “Sunrun Closes $630M in Rooftop Solar Funds From JPMorgan, US Bank“, GreentechMedia, June 26, 2013: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Sunrun-Closes-630-Million-in-Rooftop-Solar-Funding-from-JPMorgan-US-Bank

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