Hawaii: Sanctuary State?
Dear Editor February 18, 2019
Interesting that our "enlightened" government is considering "Sanctuary State Status". I thought we, as a state, are broke and deeply in debt. Why would we want to welcome folks who most likely will become a burden to our system either in dependency or worse, in crime. After all, does not sanctuary infer a safe haven for criminals and illegal aliens? How would these folks help our key asset...tourism? How would these folks impact our homeless problem?
I guess we wish to follow California in its community bankruptcies (Stockton, Nevada City, Vallejo, San Bernardino and five hospital districts) and the state's threatening insolvency due to debts and unfunded obligations.
Note, if our legislators are truly following California and New York, maybe they should also consider terminating the boondoggle rail project. Just a thought toward being consistent.
Oh, one other point...its our money not the legislators. Also, government's number one job to keep its citizens safe.
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Plasma Arc Gasification—Clean Energy for Hawaii
Dear Editor, February 6, 2019
The State of Hawaii’s aim is to supply 100% renewable energy by 2045. Similarly the City of Honolulu wants to use 100% renewable fuels by 2045 for all ground transportation. That’s the year when some of these policy makers may simply not be alive, so they won't have to face any music. Moreover, some may remember how this target year has been slipping from 2000 in the mid-1970s to 2010, 2030, 2035, and now 2045. So, first off, none of the promises sound reliable.
Real energy planning still escapes these “boys” who make policies. They like to pick technologies off the shelf, but few of the technologies that can succeed in this age sit on shelves. Real planning is for the pros, not for elected officials or bankers or attorneys.
Remember, energy has different shapes. First, there’s electrical energy. Oil, coal, and natural gas are fossil fuels; solar and wind are unreliable and expensive; tidal wave energy has weak power and spoils our shoreline; geothermal has religious resistance. So, how is the state going to fulfill their promises?
Next, we need automobile fuel energy. Gasoline is the worst thing that could happen to our civilization; synthetic fuel from coal is bad enough; fuel from palm, soy and corn is not feasible to grow in large quantities; sugar ethanol requires lots of water; the lithium for electric cars is in limited supply on earth; and so is the platinum for hydrogen cars limited. There are few choices here, except to use the green fuels you can for the next hundred years till they get exhausted and new technologies are realized.
But, a major part of the permanent solution for electricity is Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion, whose construction must immediately begin in the 25 MW and 100 MW scales to meet the 2045 timeline, if at all, to produce the 1600 MW installed capacity needed by Hawaii. Ocean thermal energy is practically inexhaustible and Hawaii is well located for this. Moreover, hydrogen is produced as a byproduct for automobiles and buses. We can hope to use this hydrogen for a hundred years, on estimate. In one fell swoop, Hawaii can overcome two of the worst pollutants of this industrial era and move into a fresh future. But, boldness and innovation are required, and despite tourists reaching 10 million people, this state claims to be surprisingly short of money. One wonders what is going on. In this regard, I believe that residents of Hawaii should give greater attention to the State Auditor’s reports. It is imperative that we visit our priorities with responsibility.
While the city and state lament the landfill problem on Oahu, they wish to ignore the biggest elephant in the room that can solve their problems in one stroke. The entire search for a new landfill or maintenance of the existing one will disappear, electricity will be produced as a byproduct, and aggregates for use in roads and concrete will be supplied simply by adopting plasma arc gasification. Here, all waste products, including fly ash are converted into plasma (not burned) at 10-15,000 C. A synthetic gas of hydrogen and oxygen drives a turbine, while the waste is reduced to an aggregate residue. The fly ash from H-Power that is presently disposed in the Waimanalo landfill and is the largest contributor to the landfill will be converted to plasma. Moreover, existing landfills can be mined as a fuel source. Again, bold investments, imagination, and innovation are required. Essentially, we need lion hearts in government and the legislature, but have lots of foxes, instead. When it takes decades to do something that can be done in years, and when it takes years to convince someone when it should take only minutes, something is seriously wrong with human beings.
To truly make Hawaii an “innovative” economy, innovative technologies must sincerely be adopted to solve the biggest problems we face. It is one thing to claim that Hawaii is innovative, but quite another to walk the talk. I barely see any innovation coming from Hawaii, but the opportunity to strike it big by revolutionary waste management and landfill mitigation, as well as producing clean electricity and green automobile fuels are staring us in the face. Of course, we lost our opportunity in rail when we could have gone to magnetic levitation instead of using the 19th century technology of steel wheels. For now, clean air and energy security are nothing trivial.