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When do you think alternative energy....

Discussion in 'The OT' started by News Junky, Apr 30, 2006.

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  1. News Junky

    News Junky Icon

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    ...in the automotive sector will out number traditional petroleum based vehicles?

    http://www.voanews.com/english/2006-04-28-voa47.cfm

    Bush Calls Higher Oil Prices Wake-Up Call
    By Barry Wood
    Washington
    28 April 2006

    President Bush Friday said that the tripling of the price of oil since he became president in 2001 is a wake-up call that should hasten the development of alternative sources of energy.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Fifty Caliber

    Fifty Caliber Banned User

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    I would say he is right. More research is also needed on solar and wind power generation.
     
  3. Danny R

    Danny R Goblin the Pug DBSTalk Gold Club

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    More research is also needed on solar and wind power generation.

    Hehe... hoist the sails matey... we're merging onto I-85!

    Bio-type substitutes for gasoline such as ethanol are a stopgap measure and probably the next thing we'll see. The means to distribute them is already available (current pumps and tanks) but its simply never been feasible to have large refineries because of the cost of development and negatives in using these products.

    For a truly alternative fuel such as hydrogen to take over, a completely new supply system needs to be developed, and that will take decades. The price of gasoline would need to probably increase far far more than what we see now before that happens. And ultimately hydrogen isn't all that great of a fuel, as its energy density related to is volume is rather poor and containment is difficult. Also since hydrogen isn't readily available in pure form, it has to be created, thus using significant energy just to create an energy source, drastically reducing its efficiency.

    Ultimately I think the hybrid electric type vehicles will be the wave of the future if petroleum prices skyrocket. As battery and capacitor technology advances, these vehicles will become more and more popular as their range and space needed for batteries goes down.
     
  4. the_bear

    the_bear Godfather

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  5. dpd146

    dpd146 Godfather

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    Stoke the fire, we gotta merge onto I-95....:D
     
  6. jonstad

    jonstad Hall Of Fame

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    "Wake-up call"???:lol:

    Finally, an admission that he's been asleep at the wheel for at least the last five years!:p

    I just love how Bush states the obvious like he's just thought of something that never occured to anyone before.:grin: For at least decades now, environmentalists and others have been warning of an energy crunch. And yet we're supposed to be impressed by George's recent epiphany?:rotfl:

    Still, there are those who claim we have nothing to worry about. I saw an "industry expert" the other day(on of all places Democracy Now!) who claimed we had only used 10% of available petroleum supplies. Really? Well, where the hell's the other 90%, and how do I get it to my local Chevron?:scratchin

    Of course what he didn't mention is that we, especially places like India and China, are burning it up at about ten time the pace also.

    Danny's right though. We can't grow enough corn and "switch grass" to fuel the world economy as configured today. There's simply not enough arable land on the planet unless we all agree to give up something else, for instance EATING!:eek2:

    It's going to have to be a combination of things. Ethanol and other alternative fuels like bio-diesel and hydrogen can be part of it, at least as transitory technologies while we develop others. Solar and wind can help a lot even in places where you might not think it feasible. Cleaner and safer technologies for nuclear energy, especially fusion, can fill a big part of the gap.(we've GOT to figure a better way to deal with waste besides burying it and hoping nobody messes with it for 20,000 years!)

    But most of all, we're going to have to drastically alter our lifestyles. We're going to have to walk and ride bicycles more.(might make us less obese and healthier too) We're going to have to develop and USE more efficient mass transit too where walking or pedaling is not feasible. We're going to have to stop having wars, undoubtedly the most destructive, wasteful and least energy-efficient, and ultimately futile and negative human activity.

    And eventually, we're going to have to significantly reduce the human population of the planet. With a third, or even a half of the current world population, there's a chance that with higher technologies we MIGHT be able to generate the energy to maintain an advanced society and still be able to feed everyone. There would be less demand for limited resources and therefore less wars and other conflicts fought over competition for them. For those of you who believe in God, when He said "go forth and multiply" He probably didn't mean expotentially! If there is a God, He is certainly an astute mathemetician and knows that multiplying forever inevitably gets you into trouble forever.

    In order to achieve all this, we must abandon the dearly held concept that "growth is always good!" Cancer is a growth and we're on track to be a cancer on the Earth if we're not already malignant! The Earth is finite. The resources of the Earth are finite. We cannot survive if we grow infinitely. Unless we face that, we're going to get another sudden and final "wake-up call" that indeed humanity itself is very finite!
     
  7. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Since you pointed it out... actually, reducing the population is the one "good" that comes from war.

    I'm actually a believer that wars are partially motivated by race-memory of a sort... and that as the population increases, and resources get scarcer (or at least appear to be scarcer) a natural instinct kicks in that says "kill the enemy" which accomplishes two things at the same time...

    Gets you access to their resources... and reduces the overall population.

    Unfortunately, while war does waste resources during the war... the resultant reduction in overall population can be a longer-term benefit to the planet in terms of reduced need for resourced for a time.

    Mind you, I'm not saying I'm for war... but since you brought it up... Stopping war actually might help to increase population faster, and thus further the problem... Unfortunately a big world war that wipes out a bunch of people *might* one day prove to be the salvation of the rest of the people.

    Strange and sad... but possible.
     
  8. dpd146

    dpd146 Godfather

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    Then we can all prance in the tulips wearing our birkenstocks and hug trees.

    So how long have you been a college professor? :)
     
  9. jonstad

    jonstad Hall Of Fame

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    You make valid points.

    Perhaps it's a bit pollyannish, but I refuse to buy into a fatalism that organized warfare is a natural consequence of an advanced, ordered civilization. If that's the case, we certainly are all doomed!

    And I would propose to you that population reductions by warfare are insignificant anyway and any positive effect of such reductions are almost always more then offset by the difficulties faced by the survivors. For instance, WWII is estimated to have resulted directly in the deaths of 50-100 million. But that was from a world population of 2-3 billion. So at best a 5% of so reduction realized, albiet concentrated in particular areas. And during that period, I expect world population increased by the same 50-100 million at least. So at the end, population-wise it was essentially a wash. But to acheive even that, devastation and destruction of infrastructure was on an unprecedented scale, not to mention the misery and suffering of civilian populations before, during and after the conflict. Was it really easier to destroy and then have to rebuild large swaths of Europe, Japan and Russia, and China, SE Asia and Pacific island nations rather than deal with that extra 50-100 million? Was it worth all that destruction for at best a temporary stay in the world's population?

    War is a manifestation of our worst human instinctual impulses. Those that originate in our "reptilian brains", that of greed, envy, fear, hate and naked aggression. And this is especially true when we initiate unnecessary wars.

    As a caveat, let me explain that wars, or at least reactions to and entrance into existing wars may be justifiable and necessary. This was certainly true for WWII. The USA, and indeed our allies were forced to defend themselves from the aggression initiated by Germany and Japan(and Italy:D). However, while it's all too easy to be the Monday morning quarterback/President/general, there probably were ways to have mitigated the scale and destruction eventually required if not avoided the conflict altogether. Less apathy and a little foresight and understanding might have helped starting with what the draconian sanctions, restrictions and reparations imposed on Germany after WWI would eventually lead to. And lest we forget, there were prominent American interests forstalling our own entrance into WWII. Interests that continued even after we were officially at war.

    In the end though, I can't believe war is an inherent and necessary endeavor for a civilized society to exist. To me, war is antithetical to both civilization and society, the occasional reduction in population notwithstanding.
     
  10. dpd146

    dpd146 Godfather

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    War is necessary because, believe it or not, there are people in this world who do not share your bleeding heart philosophy, they would rather see your heart bleeding.

    War is not pretty and of course not always necessary, but war is a reality, has been from the dawn of man's time. So until we are all taking our soma, it best to have the biggest and baddest military on the planet to ensure our survival. The problem with the US war policy over the past few decades is the inability to go full tilt. If your gonna go, go all the way. Getting involved in questionable conflicts where you try to fight a war that doesn't make people mad is our problem.
     
  11. Richard King

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    Where is it you ask? Under tundra, offshore from vacation mansions, etc. How do I get it to my local Chevron you ask? Drop the NIMBY attitude when the evil big oil wants to build a refinery.

    You're kidding, right?
     
  12. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    As unfortunate supporting of my points about war and culling the population... India and China are the most populated countries in the world, and they are relatively self-contained and haven't been in a major war for a very long time.

    You see this in animals today that have a high mortality rate or have various predators after them in nature... they tend to have more babies per litter, with the natural selection hope that a few will survive... but if you suddenly moved them all to a safer location without the predators, suddenly the population of those animals would survive and thrive at larger numbers, but the reproductive process would continue in large litters throwing off the natural balance that had been previously achieved.

    In the long past, people were more nomadic. Even when there weren't wars, not everyone survived the journeys to new places so that helped curb things.

    But a combination of a more peaceful world, more cures/treatments for diseases, and people living longer lives on average... and we end up with a world that can easily fill up with more people than the natural resources on the planet can support.

    Frankly, I'm less worried about say a crazy from a third world nation nuking the planet for his country... than I am some genius figuring out that the solution to the oil shortage would be less people needing the oil, and that a mass culling is needed. I actually see that as a more likely WWIII scenario, because unlike a religious or national self-defense or survival of his way of life war... this would be some nuts who decide that people of all races need to die in order to save the planet. That kind of scares me.
     
  13. Richard King

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  14. GeorgeLV

    GeorgeLV Godfather

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    Nuclear energy is the way to go. With proper care it's safe, clean, and emission free.
     
  15. Richard King

    Richard King Hall Of Fame

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    And, properly placed, this could be the solution to thin the population by 1/3 as some advocate.
     
  16. DonLandis

    DonLandis Hall Of Fame

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    "Ultimately I think the hybrid electric type vehicles will be the wave of the future if petroleum prices skyrocket. As battery and capacitor technology advances, these vehicles will become more and more popular as their range and space needed for batteries goes down."

    First we need to develop a battery technology to replace the current Lead acid type rechargeable. The only technology that appears feasible is the Lithium Ion cell which is rechargeable and produces a good flat burn curve. It is the lightest weight per watthour battery we currently have in manufacturing. The recharge rate is about equivalent to the lead acid life which, IMO is not good. BUT and a BIG BUT is that the LiION battery costs about 25 times what a lead acid battery costs even with a weight savings that is less than 8% of the lead acid battery, the cost differential is not going to account for the energy lost in overcoming inertia. NO matter how you slice it, the only way hybrid will survive is if they can solve the impact of the battery cost/ performance ratio which today is poor.

    Then there is still the recharge costs that are astronomical. I recall I did a rough calculation on the number of windmill turbines that would be required to power 10% of the Urban vehicles on recharge for city commute and it was 600,000 of the largest wind turbines made today, or 42,000 1Gwh Nuclear powered steam turbines. Frankly the current power grid cannot supply the energy expended by our city driven automobiles if they were electric/gasoline.

    The only viable solution is the E-85 infrastructure by converting present refineries, and delivery systems of liquid burnable fuel to ethanol.

    Beyond that I can only dream of a new way to power the vehicles with, say, fusion engines. But this technology is not going anywhere today. In theory it works but we are a long way off from having this technology work.

    But with all this talk of alternative energy sources for transportation, we must never lose sight of the FACT, that there is no shortage of oil today. Only artificial shortages that are greed driven. IMO, while E-85 could be put into place the fastest all it would really do is starve off the oil crude drillers and force then back to reasonable profits to pump it out of the ground. This could put gasoline and diesel #2 back to 1.25 per gallon range and that would put E-85 production out of reach as a cost competitive product. If the OPEC price fixers on crude would lock their price at an amount to put gasoline at the pumps at $1.65 per gallon, they still would be making filthy profits and keep their product competitive with E-85.

    In trying to play my own devil's advocate I have this scenario that allows the OPEC price fixers, to include the futures speculators to position crude at greed levels until such time as they see the major consumer of their product begin to wane. Then they will roll the crude back to a point where E-85 looks less attractive. They have this option today. Not good for us but excellent for them.

    So, the real answer is to put the OPEC and speculators out of business but biting the bullet and outlawing any fuel that isn't E-85 with a 2 year phaseout. Those with incompatible cars will need to add the $200 retrofit kit to make their non-flex fuel cars compatible. Those with cars that can't run may need new fuel injection system but I doubt those people will be making the retrofit at the cost of that. Therefore the solution is to just allow those vehicles to suffer with difficult to find "gasoline" in say 5 years and what is available is E-85. First step is all new cars must all be E-85. Second step is gas stations must all begin selling E-85 at one pump in 2 years. 3rd step is to phase out all sales of gasoline in 5 years.
    Now, if the OPEC greedy *******s say we will price gasoline at $20 cents than I suppose that will just make our E-85 cheaper! :) I'm being ridiculous here but hopefully you get my point. The time has come to put an end to the robbery of us by price fixing and shut the mid eastern greedy *******s down. I'd like to see then try to grow corn in the desert! That was a joke too. :)
     
  17. Geronimo

    Geronimo Native American Potentate DBSTalk Gold Club

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    I hope that you know that it does not work that way.
     
  18. dpd146

    dpd146 Godfather

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    Yes, just a joke.

    Do we really want to get into coal gasification here? ;)
     
  19. Tom in TX

    Tom in TX Icon

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    Poppycock! There is plenty of oil for many, many years. It's just going to cost more. Maybe alot more. The era of cheap oil is over. But there is enough to last a long time. But as the price goes up, alternative sources will be developed. When the cost of current fuel makes it worthwhile, others will be more affordable. But it won't "drastically" affect our lifestyles - you'll just need to allocate more of your expense funds to energy.
    Jonstad - I know you love to play the "doom and gloom" game, but there is no "drastic" change to our lifestyles coming anytime soon!
    Tom in TX
     
  20. jonstad

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    Except that it might lull us into believing we can continue to drive Escalades and Navigators into the indefinate furure, I'm all for more exploration and drilling for oil as long as it doesn't muck up the planet more than it already is. And windmills above Cape Cod or Kaunakakai are fine with me too.

    And you're really not going to hand me the old line it's environmentalists who are stopping refineries from being built, are you?:rotfl:

    The last thing oil companies want is excess capacity. The very term "excess" means you might not need it all the time and it may sit idle, sucking up maintainance costs with little or no production to pay for it. Besides, then when there's a shortage of refined product, you wouldn't have an excuse to raise prices. Funny isn't it? We hear about "shortages" all the time. But when you get to the Chevron station, there's always enough to top off the tank, if you're willing to pay the price that is.:scratch:

    I'm sorry, I don't recall suggesting marching the Indians or Chinese 100 abreast into the ocean?(not that it would do a lot of good anyway)

    Reduced population is a long term goal. First you need to educate people they need not continue to "go forth and multiply". And that if they have few children or none, they will not be completely abandoned by their societies to die alone in a ditch somewhere. The more affluent and educated nations of the world already have zero or negative population growth rates, at least among their "native populations". You know, the affluent and educated ones!

    However, this requires some kind of commitment to health care and retirement income for all. This might eventually wean adults from the notion they must have lots of children in the hopes when they are old and feeble, one or several of them will have the means to keep a tin cup from being their only means of support and sustenance.

    So let's not get carried away here. I'm not advocating mass annihilation of half or 2/3rds of the world's populations.:nono: That's the folks who think it's perfectly fine and dandy that thousands of nuclear weaopns are at the disposal of multiple nations(excepting only certain ones) and that the nation(guess who?) with by far the most(75-80%?) has clearly stated they will use them if they so desire.:yesman:

    In the meanwhile, even if we've only used 10% of the world's petroleum reserves, at current rates(rates that are increasing rather than decreasing), that'll last us what? Maybe through the coming century? And of course, this is not taking into consideration what other adverse effects pumping all that carbon, sulphur, CO2, etc. into our air and water might precipitate. But before you say it, that needs more stydy!:p
     
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