Why is Uppsala the first City in the world to seriously consider building a podcar system based on solar power, especially as the city is at 60º North latitude? One explanation is that Uppsala recognizes an energy challenge which is more serious than many other important transportation issues. Can podcar networks actually produce their own energy?
Podcar advocates in Sweden are fortunate to have the benefit of the strong voice of reason from their fellow countryman, Kjell Aleklett
, Professor of Physics at Uppsala University, an internationally known leader who has broken the silence to speak out courageously about the phenomenon of "Peak Oil" - the fact that oil "production" is heading toward terminal decline.
Humanity now understands (with the notable exception of American politicians and Saudi princes) that the most profound long term consequence of burning hydrocarbons will be climate change. Less understood is the potential calamity that compelled Professor Aleklett to speak out. Before our cities are inundated by sea level rise, we may be caught in the rapid decline of modern civilization as oil production dwindles, figuratively bringing everything to a halt.
World crude oil production outlook
Some years back, Professor Aleklett invited a group of geologists, petroleum engineers and other professionals to the organizing meeting of what is now an international force in building awareness and promoting alternatives to oil, the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas
The Uppsala Protocol
Recognizing the need for a civilized process to end humanity's addiction to oil, ASPO founders Dr. Aleklett and noted geologist Dr. Colin Campbell created the Uppsala Protocol as a reasoned response. Two key provisions of the protocol are:
No country shall produce oil at above its current Depletion Rate, such being defined as annual production as a percentage of the estimated amount left to produce;
Each importing country shall reduce its imports to match the current World Depletion Rate, deducting any indigenous production.
Taking it further, Professor Aleklett created a new curriculum on Global Energy Systems research and formed the Uppsala Hydrocarbon Depletion Study Group. This group is now the world's leading academic force addressing the reality of peak oil. Thus it is not surprising that Uppsala is one city that is doing something about making the necessary changes to reduce its dependence on oil.
How Can We Turn Sun Radiation into Automotion?
At the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in late 2007, Tad Patzek, now Professor and Chair, Department of Petroleum & Geosystems Engineering, University of Texas, and Ron Swenson, CEO of General Transportation Fund in California, presented the case against biofuels and for solar powered podcar urban transport systems.
The Podcar structure, especially with the suspended type vehicle advocated by the GTS Foundation that is being implemented by Beamways, conveniently provides a very suitable platform for a canopy of solar panels. In the bargain, the podcar can free up streets for human activity.
This is not a pipe dream. Here is a real solar canopy recently completed in California by Swenson Solar.
Solar canopy recently completed in California by Swenson Solar
Uppsala can make it happen.