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From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Amory Lovins as "Butterfly Scientis
Message-ID: <!>
Date: Sun, 14 Feb 93 04:46:56 GMT

Essential Information <> writes:

>which is all very well and fine, with the exception that Amory Lovins happens
>to be an advocate as well as a scientist, which may seem like a very fine
>line to walk.  Of course, the notion of complete "objectivity" in science
>may be a little difficult to find in any situation, given the need for
>funding, etc., etc.  "Butterfly scientist" indeed.  Would you care to
>include Arthur Rosenfeld of LBL, also a renown energy efficiency advocate,
>in the same class   Pheh.

Yep.  As coincidence would have it, today's (sat's) paper has more anal
oozings from Lovins.  This time he is playing automotive engineer.

A 36 point headline screams: "Technology, not demand, exists for
100 mpg cars".  One has to read the article a bit before one figures out
this article is not news but instead Lovins ooze.  Here are his technology

"Safe, dependable cars that get 100 mpg could be built with existing
technology if automakers were willing and consumers wanted them."

Now dig this "existing technology".

"Cars made of a carbon-fiber composite like that used in the Voyager, the first
plane to fly nonstop around the world, could be produced for about the
same cost as conventional automobiles with production changes."

Let's see, carbon fiber's about, what, $400 a pound and steel is maybe $0.70
or so?

How does he address this cost difference.  Why the magic of fantasyland
manufacturing, of course.  He says "Although carbon-fiber costs about 100 X
as much as sheet steel per lb, the savings in fabrication and assembly means
the cars should cost about the same as steel cars to produce."


Let's see, on one hand, to make a steel body, one invests perhaps half
a million dollars in dies and then starts stamping out bodies out of
70 cent a pound steel.  And stamps and stamps and stamps.  Now we look
at carbon composite.  We lay in $500 a pound prepreg in a mold and
then pack the thing in an autoclave for vacuum curing for a few hours.
And then throw away a significant percentage of the output because of
quality problems.

He cites a GM ultralight concept car as the example of a practical production
car.  He claims this little roller skate "comfortably accomodates 4 large
adults and has only 1/100th the number of parts as a conventional car."

Now here's the coup de gras.

"They are also likely to be safe in crashes for several reasons.  Their
and drivers with seatbelts and air bags would fare well in such accidents."

The image come to mind of an air bag, a shred of seatbelt, a few carbon
fibers and a leg sticking out from under a semi truck wheel.

Anyone want to contemplate the acceleration factors involved in elastic
collision as opposed to the inelastic, damped thud we get with today's

"Another reason is in cases where carbon-fiber composite is crushed,
it crumbles rather than breaking into sharp, jagged pieces as sheet
metal does."

Anyone else old enough to remember when the same claims were made for
polycarbonate motorcycle helmets?

Hmm, wonder if he's confusing sheet metal with neutron embrittled reactor
vessel metal? :-)  Still waiting to see a piece of sheet metal break into
sharp, jagged pieces.

THIS is the kind of nutcase the likes of jym and the other green weenies
worship.  Can there be any doubt as to this man's credentials as an engineer
or scientist?


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