Sunday, April 3, 2011

Organic Driving and the Mini-E.

Can we Organically Drive?

Organic farming is the form of agriculture that relies on techniques such as crop rotation, green manure, compost and biological pest control to maintain soil productivity and control pests on a farm. Organic farming excludes or strictly limits the use of manufactured fertilizers, pesticides (which include herbicides, insecticides and fungicides), plant growth regulators such as hormones, livestock antibiotics, food additives, and genetically modified organisms.

At Herons’ House we organically farm Brunello (a clone of Sangiovese.) The cover crop of California Poppy provides pest control and dead organic material in the root zone, We compost our must (grape skins and seeds) and return it to the vineyard as organic material. Free range chickens provide the best fertilizer in the world and a few dozen super tasting eggs a week, We use a natural mineral oil to control mildew.

The result of this is five years of beautiful wine with nothing brought in and nothing leaving our vineyard, not one pesticide, fungicide, fertilizer or any additives whatsoever in the vineyard and not one ounce of trash or waste from the production of grapes leaves the vineyard. Beginning in 2007, the vines reward us each year with 400 bottles of outstanding estate grown Brunello.

What does this have to do with the Mini-E? Everything.

“Organic Driving” “Organic driving” is the form of driving that relies on motive power from renewable non polluting sources to power a vehicle that is made from material that is 100% recyclable, reusable, or compostable with zero contributions to landfills. The energy source shall be local and located in close proximity to where the vehicle is used. The vehicle shall have zero emissions, contributing zero manmade emissions by driving the vehicle or by supplying the energy/fuel to power the vehicle.” “Organic Driving” prohibits the use of fossil fuels, combustion, exhaust, or emissions from any vehicle or from any source of energy/fuel required to provide power for the vehicle. Organic Driving prohibits the discarding of any portion of the vehicle in landfills or any other form of waste at the conclusion of the normal life cycle of the vehicle and it’s components. Organic Driving is the ultimate symbiosis of nature, machine and driver” Peder Norby

The Mini-E and the power for the Mini-E, rooftop solar energy, comes very close to this ideal. No emissions by the Mini-E, or by the power source, sunshine of the Mini-E. It is true that the grid acts as an energy bank, depositing our daily sunshine over production of electricity and allowing us to make withdrawals at night. The net result of this “bank” is a positive, fewer emissions for society as less energy is needed during peak hours thanks to our independence and over generation, and wasted energy previously run to ground is now stored during the evening hours in the battery of the Mini-E. So I consider this zero emissions from the car and the source of the energy.

Most of the Mini-E including the battery is recyclable or reusable. As a field test vehicle and a prototype I am pretty sure that it would not meet the 100% that would be required for Organic Driving. A glider made in England, shipped to California for a power plant from AC Propulsion, shipped to Germany for final fitting and then shipped back to California for me to drive has some serious carbon footprint issues, but as I said it’s a prototype, an experiment.

Organic farming is what we do. “Organic driving” is just down the road.

We have a great opportunity with the BMW I3 for “Organic Driving” 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable, zero emissions, and renewable energy powered.

The future is an amazing place to be.

Cheers Peder Mini-E # 183, 27,000 sunshine powered miles.