Statement Of Newton Ellison
Environmental Protection Agency
Aging Initiative Public Listening Session
San Antonio, Texas
April 8, 2003
"Two solar energy technologies -applied to two issues for the elderly"
1. Polluted air at bus stops
2. High air-conditioning costs
In San Antonio, Texas, two major providers of services used by virtually all of us, energy and transportation, have, in house, many of the answers to these problems.
First, Toyota will soon have a large assembly plant for trucks here. Toyota is testing hydrogen fuel cell buses, 60 passengers, 300 miles in daily range. These quiet buses have no pollution. They run on hydrogen, which can be produced with solar energy.
Such buses can replace SA Transit city buses that presently spew clouds of unhealthy diesel exhaust that is concentrated in some places where people, many elderly, wait for a bus. Their bus may be one of a dozen or so that pass by where many buslines use the same street.
Costs of these new buses, creation of the hydrogen infrastructure and the production of the solar electricity are very large, but doable, and well worth it, considering the many benefits that substituting hydrogen for fossil fuels will mean for us, especially the elderly.
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Second, San Antonio's gas and electric supplier, City Public Service (CPS), has a new building that needs only infrequently to use expensive electricity for its air-conditioning. They use a different type of cooling, one driven by heat from natural gas and/or solar.
Fixed-income elderly spend a dis- proportionate percentage if incomes for high-priced electricity to keep cool. There are horror stories, of course, but we need not repeat them.
It seems to me that CPS and other entities of the public sector, such as EPA, can find ways to overcome the high capital outlays for conversion, in many residences for the elderly, from expensive electric cooling to more economical solar, gas-assisted heat-drive air conditioning.
Sincerely, Newton Ellison
San Antonio, Texas