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View Full Version : Investing in Solar and Wind... or Drilling for Oil?


Darth_Yuthura
07-18-2008, 05:22 PM
Al Gore recently declared that the US had the means and the resources needed to convert most of our oil demands to use solar and wind power instead. He said the US should spend the next 10 years investing in solar panels and setting up wind turbines.

What do you think?

Litofsky
07-18-2008, 05:32 PM
Has this been discussed already? Either way...

There's a reason that we're not using coal (or in the amount that you suggest). Although it is plentiful, it isn't as clean as solar, hydroelectric, or wind power. Not to mention that it won't last forever (that isn't to say that all resources will last forever. Some just last longer than others).

So, in my opinion, using hydroelectric and solar power would be a very good choice. The sun is going to be around for a lot longer (around four billion years, if I'm correct), and the Earth's supply of water isn't going anywhere fast. If you put a solar panel on the top of every building, we'd be in a very good situation.

As for nuclear power, that should, in my opinion, take a back seat to sustainable, cleaner sources of power, such as solar, hydroelectric or wind.

I'm still waiting for the solar-powered/battery-charged car. :p

Arcesious
07-18-2008, 06:20 PM
Hmm...

My list of energy sources that I think we should use:

Hydroelectric (We've got lots of water... And we can use hydroelectric power to power other energy producing systems.)
Solar and Microwave (Our sun is going to be in existence for a long time... IMHO, Microwave power is the perfected form of Solar power.)
Wind (I wonder what a hurricane could do in terms of wind power?)
Geothermal (Moderate usage, of course.)

Darth_Yuthura
07-18-2008, 07:17 PM
I personally would be for using alternate sources of energy, but not mostly wind and solar. The US has the largest coal reserves in the world and we should start using it to replace our demand for oil. The reserves would last for hundreds of years, so we would have a reason to switch to a more plentiful fuel supply for a short term solution. As important the environment is, it will take a back seat to economics.

In the long term, we should begin replacing coal power for nuclear. Despite its bad reputation, modern nuclear reactors would be a better investment for energy demands. The biggest issue is not that nuclear plants are expensive to operate, they are expensive to build... resulting in high interest payments that must pay for the powerplant before it is decommissioned. If you didn't account for the initial investment, a nuclear plant would cost a fraction that of a coal plant to operate. Even today, nuclear plants rival coal in economics and the environmental impact is almost negligible. As for nuclear weapons... it is very simple to monitor nuclear plants because any attempt to extract plutonium would be to obvious to do in secret.

Although I would favor wind and solar power more than even nuclear, the US energy grid must have at least 80% of its sources to be stable for it to be reliable. Wind turbines often get more power that they can't store and don't generate when the wind doesn't blow.

Overall, the US should start investing in nuclear with the expectation that it would eventually replace oil. As of today, coal would be the best short-term solution.

Totenkopf
07-18-2008, 07:28 PM
That is precisely the point. You don't abandon short term solutions trying to chase the "perfect" longer terms ones. The energy grid of the US is to big to just switch to patchwork solar and wind solutions. Not even sure I like the idea of govt programs for alternative energy solutions b/c govt is notoriously inefficient and thus would tie up great sums of money that could be put to better use elsewhere. I find it odd that people are quick to crucify "big oil" (ie the private sector), but are too willing to give govt a pass on it's own incompetence and self-serving greed (usually embracing the old "my guy is ok, but the rest of them are corrupt as hell").

Darth_Yuthura
07-18-2008, 07:30 PM
Hmm...

Hydroelectric (We've got lots of water... And we can use hydroelectric power to power other energy producing systems.)
Solar and Microwave (Microwave power is the perfected form of Solar power.)

Although these would be great to have, the sheer cost of sending a satelite into orbit to collect solar energy would be many times more than just using 'standard' photovoltaic cells for the same amount of energy. Even if conventional solar is unreliable, it would be more desirable to just spend the capital investment on conventional solar.

Hydroelectric has other environmental impacts that would almost negate the benefits that a dam would provide. Certain dams, such as Hoover, Three Gorges, and the Nile's are ideal because the power they supply and the flood prevention they provide. In addition, there are only so many rivers that are suitable for power stations. They would never provide more than 10% of America's energy at the most.

Darth_Yuthura
07-18-2008, 07:36 PM
That is precisely the point. You don't abandon short term solutions trying to chase the "perfect" longer terms ones. The energy grid of the US is to big to just switch to patchwork solar and wind solutions. Not even sure I like the idea of govt programs for alternative energy solutions b/c govt is notoriously inefficient and thus would tie up great sums of money that could be put to better use elsewhere. I find it odd that people are quick to crucify "big oil" (ie the private sector), but are too willing to give govt a pass on it's own incompetence and self-serving greed (usually embracing the old "my guy is ok, but the rest of them are corrupt as hell").

I agree with you on this. Many Americans think the way of the future is hydrogen and ethanol. If they stepped back and realized that 100% of America's corn crops would only alleviate 15% of our energy needs, then you've sacrificed all agricultural production for a fraction of what it would have been worth. As ethanol production rises, food prices rise because of the opportunity costs that were lost to the ethanol.

Americans must start embracing the realization that the future of energy is going to be painful one way or another. With nuclear and renewables, we would at least be able to take a foothold on our energy supplies.

Det. Bart Lasiter
07-18-2008, 08:56 PM
Al Gore recently declared that the US had the means and the resources needed to convert most of our oil demands to use solar and wind power instead. He said the US should spend the next 10 years investing in solar panels and setting up wind turbines.

What do you think?Wow, my thanks to Al Gore for telling me that the most powerful nation on Earth has the resources to use solar and wind power. He just blew my ****ing mind.

El Sitherino
07-18-2008, 08:57 PM
I smell foul play and a lot of people that don't know much about energy.


Also, I propose funding into magnetic propulsion. (Energy that will truely never run out until the end of the universe)

Burnseyy
07-18-2008, 09:26 PM
Aren't solar panels highly expensive?
and wind power highly unpredictable?

if you ask me, investing in those two things won't help much.

Darth_Yuthura
07-18-2008, 09:34 PM
There are expensive to buy, but solar panels are cheap to operate. The reason why I support nuclear energy most is because it has the best balance of performance and economy. Solar and wind have their flaws, but are cheaper in the long run than coal.

Burnseyy
07-18-2008, 09:39 PM
what I don't get is why everyone is so hestitant to try certain energies out. even coal had its troubles.
we learnt that, with the ALARA principle in tact, nuclear energy would be perfect for a new energy source. but because of protests over here, it's difficult to tell.

then again - profit should be the least of their worries.

Darth_Yuthura
07-18-2008, 10:08 PM
I smell foul play and a lot of people that don't know much about energy.


Also, I propose funding into magnetic propulsion. (Energy that will truely never run out until the end of the universe)


If you have a specific question to ask... I'll answer it. And I'll even back my answer with a reliable reference.

The problem with renewables being expensive is not the operating cost; it's the interest that goes into the capital investment.

Arcesious
07-18-2008, 10:49 PM
Well.. It seems that a lto of these power solutions aren't all that efficient... Perhaps we should theorize a bit ourselves on more efficient sources of power.

Anti-matter power would be nice but... Yeah that one's way far off. We have to stick with what's truly possible and harnessable for now.

Rev7
07-19-2008, 02:50 AM
Also, I propose funding into magnetic propulsion. (Energy that will truely never run out until the end of the universe)
That would be a pretty good idea. I think that would work pretty well to tell you the truth.

--

Hmmm, I think that more hydroelectric energy is a wonderful idea. I have had an opportunity to visit the Hoover Dam, and I learned quite a bit about it. The Dam provides a respectable (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoover_Dam#Power_distribution) amount of energy to surrounding areas and cities. I think that we should build more dams in opportune areas. However, it would take several years (at least) to build and get operational. I think, that in the long run, it could help, though.

Solar Energy-- I also think that it is a good idea. I mean, we do, and will, have the Sun now, and for many years to come. Why not utilize what it it offers to us? It is very much renewable. I think that Solar Satellite (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_satellite) would be a good idea. However, it is just so darn expensive. Nearly anything that uses solar energy is expensive. I think that it would be a good idea though. However, we can't just have ideas, we have to have solutions.

Wind--Wind power currently produces about 1% of the world's electricity use. That is just the thing, it is mainly used to make electricity. Anything helps though. This emmits not pollution, greenhouse gasses, ect. It is also very renewable. The thing is, there are not enough turbines out there to produce more energy than it is, or it is just doesn't produce enough energy. :giveup:

There is also Tidal Power (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tidal_power)-- Could really help with energy electricity wise. Waves are more predictable than wind. ;)

Offshore Drilling-- as we all know, it can be very destructive to the environment. I am kinda split in the middle with this one actually. If we could drill offshore responsibly (if there is even such a thing), then I think that we should. Gas is over $4.00 per/gallon! It is effecting everyone. We need to do something about it. As we all know, we ultimately, need to stop using it in such quantities. The United States consumes about 400 million (http://auto.howstuffworks.com/question417.htm) gallons of gas in one day! If there is a responsible way of drilling offshore, and in places like Alaska, which is one of the last truly 'wild' places in the U.S, then I so go for it.

As I said earlier, we can't just have ideas right now, we need solutions. Just my :twocents:

RyuuKage
07-19-2008, 04:13 AM
vehicles: hydrogen, tis wonderous

infrastructure: nuclear, tis actually very clean as well as efficient compared to others




hmm, mobile magnetics for propulsion? that'll be expensive! but hey, we can get hovercars that way... :)

Darth_Yuthura
07-19-2008, 08:16 AM
Hydrogen is not a source of energy; it's a means of conveyance. In order to use hydrogen for vehicles, it must be backed by a powerplant. In addition, extracting hydrogen from water always results in wasted energy. We should be trying to reduce the amount of energy we demand... not increase it.

Fuel cells are not the best solution fir vehicles... plug-in hybrids are. When electricity is least demanded, hybrids could take advantage of the excess electricity not being used at night and reduce the demand for gasoline.

Relenzo2
07-19-2008, 07:24 PM
Waves are more predictable than wind. ;)


Waves are almost perfectly reliable. Nuclear power, most of the enviornmental concern is magnified some I'm sure because ever since Hiroshima, "Nuclear" has been an unneccesarily scary word. Wind power can actually be pretty predictably AND fairly profitable if you can get your windmills up in the right spots, which is the hard part. I just wanna' kick all those people who say that those windmills are "Visual pollution". They don't seem to be complaining much about skylines.

Litofsky
07-19-2008, 07:56 PM
Waves are almost perfectly reliable. Nuclear power, most of the enviornmental concern is magnified some I'm sure because ever since Hiroshima, "Nuclear" has been an unneccesarily scary word. Wind power can actually be pretty predictably AND fairly profitable if you can get your windmills up in the right spots, which is the hard part. I just wanna' kick all those people who say that those windmills are "Visual pollution". They don't seem to be complaining much about skylines.

I agree with most of the above post. Wind, solar, and water energy are all fairly predictable. However, I would avoid nuclear power if possible. I'd prefer cleaner types of energy, but I'd take nuclear over coal/oil any day.

As for the "visual pollution," that's just an excuse (at least, to me). The skyscrapers are more of a damage to the environment than the windmills are. Those that use the term "visual pollution" are trying to combine a word with a negative-sound (pollution has become a term of icky-stuff, nowadays). It's like the term "tree-hugger."

Totenkopf
07-19-2008, 11:31 PM
Seeing as how the Kennedy name is one of the more prominent amongst the "visual pollution" crowd, I always took it to mean that he could drive his yacht like it was the Exxon Valdez w/o having to worry about hitting one of those things. :D

Darth_Yuthura
07-20-2008, 10:33 AM
The skyscrapers are more of a damage to the environment than the windmills are.

Actually, high population density is the best way to save the environment. American cites have a huge ecological footprint because we love Single Family Detached Homes (SFDH). It is best to stack people on top of each other than it is side by side.

High population density also allows for mass transportation to be the most effective means to get around. New York is the most environmentally friendly city in the US because of its subway and bus system... a direct result of its high population density.

Darth_Yuthura
07-20-2008, 10:41 AM
Solar power has a major disadvantage compared to other energies... even wind: they require a significant amount of land. However, this may be an advantage if solar thermal plants were placed on desert terrain. Deserts offer the ideal conditions for solar thermal power to operate and the land is almost worthless. Why not take advantage of desert land?

A powerplant must pay for itself through the sale of electricity... it is purchased with borrowed funds. Because of this, most of the cost of solar electricity goes to paying interest on the investment. Coal power is cheaper than solar because the power plants are so cheap and produce huge sums of electricity, but the 15,000 tons of coal per day for a 1GW coal plant makes it expensive to operate.

There are also a number of solar systems that could be used:

Photovoltaic cells are among the most popular means of collecting solar energy because there is almost no restriction to where they can be used. The biggest disadvantage is that they only capture a fraction of the potential energy of electricity.

Solar Thermal plants are the best means of collecting solar energy on a huge scale. Despite its reputation as an expensive energy, it only requires a huge capital investment. The biggest issue with solar thermal is that they don't produce electricity at night. The issue of storing energy is where renewable energies lose their luster. Because wind turbines can't store excess energy when it's abundant, they won't be able to harness all the wind energy they capture. Same thing goes for solar.

Solar thermal chimneys are rarely known, but they may be the best means of builind solar thermal plants on a huge scale. They even could generate power at night because the ground would retain a significant amount of heat. Solar thermal chimneys are quite simple: a 2000 foot chimney in the center of an area covered by a canopy would produce a wind current through the chimney.

Nedak
07-20-2008, 06:32 PM
Ever wonder why we haven't figured out how to run our cars on something else besides fossil fuels? The thing is, we have. For a while.

Hydrogen Powered:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_EUm3eqyHE

Further info:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8stApCmxYEM

Air Powered:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztFDqcu8oJ4

EnderWiggin
07-20-2008, 06:45 PM
Ever wonder why we haven't figured out how to run our cars on something else besides fossil fuels? The thing is, we have. For a while.

Hydrogen Powered:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_EUm3eqyHE

Further info:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8stApCmxYEM

Air Powered:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztFDqcu8oJ4

I feel like this could have been posted in one of the other three fuel threads we have here in Kavar's.

_EW_

Nedak
07-20-2008, 06:49 PM
The one active one didn't seem like the right place to put these links IMO.

The other ones haven't been active for a month so I didn't want to resurrect them.

MdKnightR
07-20-2008, 06:59 PM
What I'd like to know is why we have synthetic oil, but not synthetic gasoline.

Rev7
07-20-2008, 08:55 PM
Ever wonder why we haven't figured out how to run our cars on something else besides fossil fuels? The thing is, we have. For a while.

Hydrogen Powered:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_EUm3eqyHE

Further info:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8stApCmxYEM

Air Powered:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztFDqcu8oJ4
Well, the there are several things that pop-uo into my head. One, they are too expensive for everyone. I will explain a little bit more of that later on in my post. Second, there is the factor of it being unpractical.

Unpractical-- I have a large family myself (currently 6 people) and something that small is unpractical for large families. I really don't think that there is much more to say other than this.

Expensive-- As I said, it is unpractical, for large families. Lets assume that my family members are all of legal driving age and each get one of these vehicles lets say for $15,000. That is $90,000 just right there! Way too expensive. I wish that they were much less. :/

--

One of my more recent teachers told us that he thinks that the hydrogen engine is already been made. But the companies have paid them off...

Nedak
07-20-2008, 09:08 PM
Expensive
I believe the video was made some where around the 80s. I'm pretty sure if more research went into it, it could be done much cheaper.


One of my more recent teachers told us that he thinks that the hydrogen engine is already been made. But the companies have been paid-off...

Clearly it has been made as the video shows it. I heard somewhere however that the man in the video died. I'll have to look into that more though.

Rev7
07-20-2008, 10:34 PM
I believe the video was made some where around the 80s. I'm pretty sure if more research went into it, it could be done much cheaper.
True, but it will most likely still be expensive. :/

Clearly it has been made as the video shows it. I heard somewhere however that the man in the video died. I'll have to look into that more though.
Yes this is true, but why don't the majority of people have one?

Web Rider
07-20-2008, 10:39 PM
What I'd like to know is why we have synthetic oil, but not synthetic gasoline.

I'm pretty sure it's because synthetic oil has little or no octane to be refined from it.

Nedak
07-20-2008, 10:51 PM
Yes this is true, but why don't the majority of people have one?

The Oil Companies would go out of business, which is also bad for the government. There is no way they would allow it to happen unless they could profit from it.

Det. Bart Lasiter
07-20-2008, 11:19 PM
The Oil Companies would go out of business, which is also bad for the government. There is no way they would allow it to happen unless they could profit from it.Pfft, it's bad for the oil companies. And anyways, I'd rather have the government go through some tough times times than **** up the planet beyond the point of it being livable.

Rev7
07-20-2008, 11:26 PM
The Oil Companies would go out of business, which is also bad for the government. There is no way they would allow it to happen unless they could profit from it.
That is exactly my point. ;)

"One of my more recent teachers told us that he thinks that the hydrogen engine is already been made. But the companies have paid them off..."

That is what I meant in my original post. Sorry!

Nedak
07-20-2008, 11:31 PM
^
Gotcha

Ray Jones
07-21-2008, 04:20 AM
Solar thermal chimneys are rarely known, but they may be the best means of builind solar thermal plants on a huge scale. They even could generate power at night because the ground would retain a significant amount of heat. Solar thermal chimneys are quite simple: a 2000 foot chimney in the center of an area covered by a canopy would produce a wind current through the chimney.I'm not sure if it's a good idea to create constant air streams and stir up winds which are not there naturally.

Actually, I am pretty sure it is a bad idea.

Ray Jones
07-21-2008, 04:35 AM
To use the alternative energies at big scale levels, they'd have to be provided constantly and with secured supply. As of now this is not possible, or has not been done due to massive costs. I mean, why produce a huge amount of alternative energy, when almost no one has a car or whatever to use this energy? Many people still want big strong cars, and while they are obviously willing to pay tons of money for big cars and the gas they need, they are obviously not willing to invest that money in alternative methods to drive a car just because it cannot reach a top speed of X in 4 seconds like the a gas driven car.

The only way to handle peoples stupidity is to make the old technology so expensive that it makes the new technology interesting to the common human being, despite all its "drawbacks", which is what we see happen today.

Web Rider
07-21-2008, 04:49 AM
The Oil Companies would go out of business, which is also bad for the government. There is no way they would allow it to happen unless they could profit from it.

Actually, oil companies are not so foolish as to limit their options. Oil companies are not about producing oil and supplying a nice demand. Oil companies are about producing profit. They will sell whatever turns the most profit for them. If solar energy provides bigger revenues than oil, they'll do it. There are several oil companies that are investing in wind power because putting up wind farms generates them more money then drilling, processing and shipping oil products.

So yes, nothing will happen until oil companies feel there is more profit in non-oil-based tech than oil. However, with the rising cost of oil, non-oil-tech is starting to look better every day.

Arcesious
07-21-2008, 12:37 PM
This site always seems to always have lots of interesting stuff in relation to the environment and whatnot. (http://www.popsci.com/)

Nedak
07-21-2008, 03:43 PM
Actually, oil companies are not so foolish as to limit their options. Oil companies are not about producing oil and supplying a nice demand. Oil companies are about producing profit. They will sell whatever turns the most profit for them.

Of course, but I don't believe that Oil Companies could profit as much from Water or Air as they can from Oil. :lol:


when almost no one has a car or whatever to use this energy?

Actually, I read that the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Engines could easily be retrofitted to your car. It wouldn't be a new car you need, but new "organs" if-you-will.

Ray Jones
07-21-2008, 04:06 PM
Yes, but it would still cost much money, often almost more than the car's actual value. "Retro-fitting" basically means you keep the old stuff and add the new stuff, which means more weight, thus a loss in power and range.

Web Rider
07-21-2008, 04:39 PM
Of course, but I don't believe that Oil Companies could profit as much from Water or Air as they can from Oil. :lol:

depends, oil/gas power facilities need to be constantly fed fuel, wind and solar do not. While there is a higher one-time cost to build the thing, there is an overall lower cost of not needing to operate drilling, refining, and shipping facilities to feed it oil.

Nedak
07-21-2008, 07:16 PM
Yes, but it would still cost much money, often almost more than the car's actual value. "Retro-fitting" basically means you keep the old stuff and add the new stuff, which means more weight, thus a loss in power and range.

Not so much as keeping everything old. You're pretty much just taking out everything that the car doesn't need with the hydrogen fuel cell (example: Engine, new battery, etc.).


depends, oil/gas power facilities need to be constantly fed fuel, wind and solar do not. While there is a higher one-time cost to build the thing, there is an overall lower cost of not needing to operate drilling, refining, and shipping facilities to feed it oil.

So what you're saying is that other facilities will still need oil?

Web Rider
07-21-2008, 08:28 PM
So what you're saying is that other facilities will still need oil?

Perhaps I am reading you wrong, but I don't quite grasp your question...

Will "other facilities", such as solar and wind need oil? Well, technically, yes they will, though it will be in much smaller qualities and due to being rather small and refined parts, synthetic oil could probably be used. The difference between an oil power plant and a solar one would be like the difference between how often you change you oil in your car vs how often you fill the tank. And in the amounts used.

You put tens of gallons in your tank on a bi-weekly basis, you put a few quarts in your engine on a bi-annual basis.

Nedak
07-21-2008, 08:36 PM
Perhaps I am reading you wrong, but I don't quite grasp your question....

Maybe we're reading eachother's wrong.

I was asking if that's what you were saying since I didn't get your point in your previous post.

Web Rider
07-21-2008, 08:50 PM
Maybe we're reading eachother's wrong.

I was asking if that's what you were saying since I didn't get your point in your previous post.

no, I was saying that solar and wind would be more profitable because they would allow the elimination of the support structures that go with an oil-based plant.

Nedak
07-21-2008, 11:51 PM
no, I was saying that solar and wind would be more profitable because they would allow the elimination of the support structures that go with an oil-based plant.

Ooh okay, my bad.

Rev7
07-21-2008, 11:58 PM
Actually, I read that the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Engines could easily be retrofitted to your car. It wouldn't be a new car you need, but new "organs" if-you-will.
The question is, why isn't anyone using them?

Darth_Yuthura
07-22-2008, 12:43 AM
I have another power source... electricity. The only catch is that it would be used for mass transit more than anything. NY is the best example of this. Large power plants are more efficient than smaller ones... so use a universal power source for an entire grid of electric trains.

Darth_Yuthura
07-22-2008, 12:47 AM
I'm not sure if it's a good idea to create constant air streams and stir up winds which are not there naturally.

Actually, I am pretty sure it is a bad idea.

The wind current is simply directed to a single location... it's nothing more than hot air, which is lighter than cooler air. It doesn't make a difference to wind currents. Hot air always rises above cooler air.

Nedak
07-22-2008, 12:56 AM
The question is, why isn't anyone using them?

Again.

Oil Companies and the Government would not make nearly as much profit.

MdKnightR
07-22-2008, 03:39 AM
I'm pretty sure it's because synthetic oil has little or no octane to be refined from it.

I'm not suggesting that they try to refine gas from synthetic oil. I'm just wondering why we can "grow" oil in a test tube, but we can't seem to make something that'll go "boom" when sparked and get those pistons moving.

Ray Jones
07-22-2008, 04:34 AM
The wind current is simply directed to a single location... it's nothing more than hot air, which is lighter than cooler air. It doesn't make a difference to wind currents. Hot air always rises above cooler air.You do realise that this is how the weather works? You create an upstream of hot air, which would otherwise not be there in the first place. That again creates a downstream of cold air, which also would otherwise not be there in the first place. The air that gets heated to go up the chimney does not come out of nothing as well, it is sucked towards the chimney from the side, and that will create a more or less constant wind in that direction, which, as you might guess, would not be there in the first place as well.

Ergo, you create winds and currents which are not there on a natural base, thus you influence at least the local weather with events that usually cause storms and hurricanes. I do not think this is advisable in any way.

Q
07-22-2008, 06:56 AM
^^^
No arguments here, RayRay. Manipulating nature to that extent would not be a good idea at all, even if one ignores the rather questionable feasability of such a scheme.

I believe that the best short-term solution for generating power is nuclear energy, and that it has been the best option for quite some time now (~30 years). As the French have more than aptly demonstrated, nuclear energy can be both safe and economical. Spent nuclear fuel can be reprocessed to reduce both the net amount of radioactive waste and it's radioactivity.

I believe that the best solution for the future is another form of nuclear energy: fusion. Fusion produces no waste, is vastly more efficient and the fuel source is practically limitless. It may take a few decades to perfect the fusion reactor, but we can get by with fission until then.

As far as the whole offshore drilling thing is concerned, the harsh reality is that it's going to be a necessary evil for the time being until a practical hydrogen fuel cell vehicle can be produced.

ForeverNight
07-22-2008, 10:49 AM
I dunno... maybe because the real stuff is still the most efficient way to get the energy known to man?

But, as for my two cents, I don't really have a problem with Oil based products, I guess I've never bought into all this: "The World's Oil Supply Will Be Totally Used Up In X Years!" hype, nor have I fully bought into the "fact" that CO2 emissions from Cars are some of the greatest additions to Global Warming...

So, I'm young, stubborn, and set in my ways....... Doesn't sound as funny as it did in my head.

Oil Companies and the Government would not make nearly as much profit.

@Sala: I can't figure out this, are you saying that that's a bad thing? Or is it just being thrown out there?

And, remember, Government doesn't make profit. If it did -at least within the US- it would not be running at a deficit. So, you might want to change the Government part...

Oil Companies: I can't say this for absolute fact... mainly because I'm too tired right now to check it out, -so, its pure hearsay- if you look at the percentage of profits that Oil Companies make, it's really low... supposedly.

Totenkopf
07-22-2008, 02:16 PM
Yeah, the % is lower than in most cases with even companies like Walmart. However, since the price of the product has gotten higher, so has the amount that that % represents in real terms. If you only make 3%, say, on a product that sells @ $10, it won't generate you as much money as if the price of the product goes to $30. Oil is no different. "Big Oil" makes money b/c their end product is heavily used on a global scale. As the price of a barrel of oil has gone up, so have the profits. Nothing screwy about it.

Darth_Yuthura
07-22-2008, 03:52 PM
I think that the issue of oil being depleted is a good thing for the US. Since we don't have that much oil within our boarders, we must make due with what we have. We simply need to use a universal means of transporting energy. Hydrogen seems like a good idea, but it results in a loss of energy every time it's produced. Not a good idea to require more energy than we already use.

Darth_Yuthura
07-22-2008, 03:59 PM
You do realise that this is how the weather works? You create an upstream of hot air, which would otherwise not be there in the first place. That again creates a downstream of cold air, which also would otherwise not be there in the first place. The air that gets heated to go up the chimney does not come out of nothing as well, it is sucked towards the chimney from the side, and that will create a more or less constant wind in that direction, which, as you might guess, would not be there in the first place as well.

Ergo, you create winds and currents which are not there on a natural base, thus you influence at least the local weather with events that usually cause storms and hurricanes. I do not think this is advisable in any way.

Conventional solar thermal energy would have the same effect... detracting heat that otherwise would have been absorbed or reflected by the ground. There is one other thing: What difference would it make in a desert if wind currents were affected? There is little moisture in the air to cause such effects. And if that isn't done... coal smog would be much much worse. Are you suggesting we stop gathering energy all together? What would you suggest?

Ray Jones
07-22-2008, 04:45 PM
Conventional solar thermal energy would have the same effect... detracting heat that otherwise would have been absorbed or reflected by the ground.That is correct.


There is one other thing: What difference would it make in a desert if wind currents were affected? There is little moisture in the air to cause such effects.I don't know the effects it would actually have in a desert or where ever. All I say is it is not as perfect and simple as it may seem. At the end of the day we may merely switch one problem with another.


And if that isn't done... coal smog would be much much worse. Are you suggesting we stop gathering energy all together? What would you suggest?Considering that we have no economic enough clean way to mass produce energy, but a huge potential to reduce energy consumption, I'd choose that option first.

Arátoeldar
07-22-2008, 05:12 PM
Al Gore recently declared that the US had the means and the resources needed to convert most of our oil demands to use solar and wind power instead. He said the US should spend the next 10 years investing in solar panels and setting up wind turbines.

What do you think?

I think that Al the WHORE Gore is a lunatic hypocrite. While the arch priest of Global Lunacy is spreading his "gospel". He stand to make big bucks from his carbon credits "business". Yet is fortune is based on the thing that he preaches against. His father "made his fortune" after leaving the U.S. senate "working" for Occidental Petroleum. :roleyess:

Web Rider
07-22-2008, 08:01 PM
I'm not suggesting that they try to refine gas from synthetic oil. I'm just wondering why we can "grow" oil in a test tube, but we can't seem to make something that'll go "boom" when sparked and get those pistons moving.

I would surmise that we can, it's just inffecient, very polluting, and highly toxic. Imagine if your car got 2 miles to the gallon of formaldehyde. Anything is not better than gas.

Web Rider
07-22-2008, 08:08 PM
I personally would be for using alternate sources of energy, but not mostly wind and solar. The US has the largest coal reserves in the world and we should start using it to replace our demand for oil. The reserves would last for hundreds of years, so we would have a reason to switch to a more plentiful fuel supply for a short term solution. As important the environment is, it will take a back seat to economics.

lol. The pollution in cities with coal-fired facilities was, in many cases, WORSE than pollution today. I'm sure you've heard about how in London at the time people often needed umbrellas just to walk around? They weren't avoiding rain, they were avoiding coal ash that blanketed the city. The ash was so think, there was a type of white moth with black spots that used to blend in with the trees. The trees became so dark from the ash, a black moth with white spots survived better.

Have you heard what coal miners get? it's called blacklung. It shortens their lives upwards for 20 years. Flat out killing some. Not to mention that this happens to anyone exposed to massive amounts of coal or coal ash. Ask the northern Chinese who work in/near/around the coal mines and factories.

A short-term fix? sure. if you want to create a thousand more long-term problems. The American population, 300 million+ all running on coal? The country would be so black you'd think there was a volcanic winter.

Totenkopf
07-22-2008, 11:48 PM
lol. The pollution in cities with coal-fired facilities was, in many cases, WORSE than pollution today. I'm sure you've heard about how in London at the time people often needed umbrellas just to walk around? They weren't avoiding rain, they were avoiding coal ash that blanketed the city. The ash was so think, there was a type of white moth with black spots that used to blend in with the trees. The trees became so dark from the ash, a black moth with white spots survived better.

Have you heard what coal miners get? it's called blacklung. It shortens their lives upwards for 20 years. Flat out killing some. Not to mention that this happens to anyone exposed to massive amounts of coal or coal ash. Ask the northern Chinese who work in/near/around the coal mines and factories.

A short-term fix? sure. if you want to create a thousand more long-term problems. The American population, 300 million+ all running on coal? The country would be so black you'd think there was a volcanic winter.

http://www.laissez-fairerepublic.com/indocoal.htm
http://science.howstuffworks.com/clean-coal.htm

It would seem to be that you're implying a few things. First, that all coal has more or less the same property (ie no such thing as "cleaner coal"). Second, that technology hasn't progressed very far over the last century. >50% of the electricity in the US alone is the result of coal, but where are all the blackened cities in America? Probably in the past. Face it, man-made global warming is a sham concocted by charlatans like Al Gore, Maurice Hinchy and like minded opportunists and their stooges in the scientific community that share their political and social outlooks. There's money in science....look at who controls the money and you can begin to glean what passes for "science" in the current era. I agree that people should strive to be less wasteful in their daily lives. I just wish the scaremongers would stop selling their bilge to a gullible and larely dumbed down public (including learned fools w/uni degrees).

Darth_Yuthura
07-22-2008, 11:57 PM
Face it, man-made global warming is a sham concocted by charlatans like Al Gore, Maurice Hinchy and like minded opportunists and their stooges in the scientific community that share their political and social outlooks. There's money in science....look at who controls the money and you can begin to glean what passes for "science" in the current era.

Global warming might be a scam... it might not. It is definitely true that oil is non-renewable, coal is extremely dirty, and renewable sources are riddled with problems that don't make them economic. However, if there is no energy... how well can an economy function? Hard choices have to be made and the more everlasting the fuel, the better.

Totenkopf
07-23-2008, 12:14 AM
Man-made is the scam part of it. The earth is probably warming naturally, but all the bs and sturm und drang (sp?) of chicken little like "the earth is melting, the earth is melting" is the problem. I suppose if one truly wanted to green the planet, those people ought to do what the conspiracy nuts claim they want to anyway.....reduce the planet's population by 75-80% via plague and starvation. Then you won't have to worry about whether there's enough alternative energy to replace the current conventional means in place. There'll be dramatically less consumption and theorhetically, at least, less lasting impact on the environment by humanity. All the more so if the new "lords of the universe" go about controlling the breeding habits of their remaining chattel. ;)

In all seriousness, though, people have to realize that Al Gore's prognostication of "change your ways, the end is near.....like in 10 years or less, even" is steeped in self serving BS. He wants to be a new high priest of the "green age" and is setting himself up to sell eco-indulgences to the sinners.....always at a price. The only real viable solution is continue the use of "fossil fuels" to avoid major disruptions in the economy while transitioning over the next 20 or so years to more completely diversify the sources of energy available to the US and ultimately the globe at large.

Web Rider
07-23-2008, 02:08 AM
http://www.laissez-fairerepublic.com/indocoal.htm
http://science.howstuffworks.com/clean-coal.htm

It would seem to be that you're implying a few things. First, that all coal has more or less the same property (ie no such thing as "cleaner coal"). Second, that technology hasn't progressed very far over the last century. >50% of the electricity in the US alone is the result of coal, but where are all the blackened cities in America? Probably in the past. Face it, man-made global warming is a sham concocted by charlatans like Al Gore, Maurice Hinchy and like minded opportunists and their stooges in the scientific community that share their political and social outlooks. There's money in science....look at who controls the money and you can begin to glean what passes for "science" in the current era. I agree that people should strive to be less wasteful in their daily lives. I just wish the scaremongers would stop selling their bilge to a gullible and larely dumbed down public (including learned fools w/uni degrees).

I wasn't arguing a single thing about global warming. To build up an argument around the idea that I did is rather silly. I was only addressing the idea that coal was good. Additionally, I was not only addressing the power industry, I was also addressing coal for the every day usage, heating your homes with coal instead of gas or oil, running your car on it, and even mining it. Which was one of my strong points were the health issues related to the workers.

So thank you for your tirade against global warming, however, global warming was not even part of my consideration. Simply the health impact on the workers and surrounding envionment, not in raising temperatures, but simply in creating more pollution by running from a dirtier source of fuel.

Rev7
07-23-2008, 02:22 AM
lol. The pollution in cities with coal-fired facilities was, in many cases, WORSE than pollution today. I'm sure you've heard about how in London at the time people often needed umbrellas just to walk around? They weren't avoiding rain, they were avoiding coal ash that blanketed the city. The ash was so think, there was a type of white moth with black spots that used to blend in with the trees. The trees became so dark from the ash, a black moth with white spots survived better.
That is the Peppered Moth (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peppered_moth). As for the incident in London, I have yet to find more information on it. I remember reading about this in a science and/or history book. It was during the Industrial Revolution (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_Revolution) though, so I am sure that it has to do a lot with it. ;)

EDIT:

Found this (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25719194/) while doing some science homework.

I think that it should be sooner, but...

Totenkopf
07-23-2008, 03:28 AM
Actually, Web, I was addressing two things. The first two questions were vis-a-vis your post. I should have separated the global warming "tirade" into another paragraph. Also, the bit about the mmgw myth isn't predicated merely on your post, which I was only referencing regarding the first two points. Apologies for any confusion. However, much of the push for the alternative fuels biz, and the false urgency tied to a single minded pursuit of "anything but oil/coal" is directly related to the whole mmgw argument and not merely questions of potential depletion of "fossil fuel" sources or even how "dirty" they are.

However, your health concerns don't seem to be overly relevant to anything other than essentially 3rd/2nd world nations and miners in general. Coal is responsible for a substantial amount of electricity generation in the US, but where are all the sooty conditions you decry? Technology has left much of that in the past in developed nations, so your examples appear overblown/wrought. I don't doubt that places like the PRC have massive problems in this area, but that's a problem their pols will have to work out and isn't relevant to us. Apples and oranges, basically.

Web Rider
07-23-2008, 03:40 AM
However, your health concerns don't seem to be overly relevant to anything other than essentially 3rd/2nd world nations and miners in general. Coal is responsible for a substantial amount of electricity generation in the US, but where are all the sooty conditions you decry? Technology has left much of that in the past in developed nations, so your examples appear overblown/wrought. I don't doubt that places like the PRC have massive problems in this area, but that's a problem their pols will have to work out and isn't relevant to us. Apples and oranges, basically.

Coal mine deaths and blacklung are still quite common in the US. Mining conditions are hardly favorable to any sort of good health. QUICK EDIT: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_lung_disease there, some info on blacklung. yes it's wiki, if you don't like it, feel free to read it's sources. Their first citation states that those carbon-caused diseases are found in urbanites(ie: city dwellers), because of carbon pollution, so yeah, I think I have good reason to believe that more coal plants will be unhealthy.

The lack of pollution has several parts to it:
1: most coal plants are not in the inner city, nor anywhere near cities. We used to have a coal plant near Ventura(it went oil later), it was several miles from any kind of civilization. Power plants are also large, which allows for the addition of many other power generating technologies to burn the excess.

2: most factories in the US are not coal-fired. Not as they used to be anyway.

3: transportation vehicles do not operate on coal. Trains run on diesel. Have you seen the kind of black smoke an old locomotive produces? It's a wonder you can see the sky near them. From military ships to personal cars, everything is oil based.


To remove oil from the power situation is a rather minimal step, and has little overall effect on the demand for oil in the country due to the demand largely coming from other sources(heating oil, cars, ships, trains, planes, ect...).

Sure, you can switch power plants from oil to coal, but you can't run cars on coal. You can't install boilers in the latest aircraft carriers, and you certainly can't fly a plane across the sea on coal. And if all you're getting rid of is oil power plants, you're really not making much change. You can build solar, wind and nuclear NOW and not need coal OR oil for plant operation. And at the same time, with at least solar and wind, you eliminate a long list of negative enviornmental and health impacts.

Totenkopf
07-23-2008, 06:07 AM
As I said, technology has rendered most of the concerns you seem caught up in moot. I wasn't aware anyone was calling for putting a coal operated boiler in a car anyway. :lol: As I understand it, most of the use of coal proposed is to be used to run the plants that generate electricity. As you've noted, they can be located a sufficiently safe distance from populated areas to abate many/any health concerns. Nobody is talking about putting coal fired boilers into homes again either. Something I'm sure makes many a fire marshal happy. Fact is, I've already stated that I'm for the diversification of power sources. Unlike you, I don't see solar, wind or nuclear as replacing fossil fuels in the short term in a manner conducive to not wrecking the economy. As to oil, you can't likely remove it (or its distillates--gas and heating oil) from the power equation in the short term either w/o causing major disruptions due to its pervasive nature in modern society.

Re things like black lung, it's an occupational hazard in that industry. But I granted that point above already anyway.

Darth_Yuthura
07-23-2008, 10:03 AM
Has anyone studied Maslow's hierarchy of needs? It states that there are certain needs or demands that must be met before others take priority. In the case of America's economy, profit is the first thing that must be met. As desirable renewable energies are, they aren't profitable as oil and coal. As supplies of fossil fuels dwindle, the price of the fuels increase.

The current issue is that there are still untapped oil reserves. There are two possible solutions to the future of oil in America: either start tapping into our own supplies, or substitute oil for another source of energy. Coal is favored most because it is the most reliable fuel for the distant future, but its price is rising as solar and wind drop. Renewable energy is at a point where its price has made it competitive with fossil fuels, but its reliability is still questionable.

As stated earlier, most transportation doesn't operate on coal. What we need is to reform our transportation systems to use electricity. Odds are that we will have to give up cars in favor of electric trains because almost any form of energy could be converted to electricity.

Q
07-23-2008, 10:25 AM
Odds are that we will have to give up cars in favor of electric trains because almost any form of energy could be converted to electricity.Good luck with that. ;)

Darth_Yuthura
07-23-2008, 10:28 AM
I've thought about the means by which unreliable energies could capture and store excess energy.

Wind turbines are great, but we should use vertical axis generators instead. Because they are vertical axis, the majority of the construction would be done at ground level. By simply having the generator on the ground, repairs and maintainence are easier and cheaper.

When there is an excess of energy captured by a windmill, the energy can't be stored. The best solution would be to use the energy for some purpose. Either the energy could desalinate seawater for freshwater, or it could pump water into a valley and be used for hydroelectricity when needed. Hydrogen would also be a better solution to simply wasting excess energy, but it's the most difficult to use on a large scale.

It would also be important to build renewable energies where they would be best utilized before tapping unfavorable locations. Although electricity results in a loss the greater it has to travel, but it's more efficient for florida to receive wind energy from North Dakota than it is to build a turbine closer to where electricity is demanded.

The US has a large desert that would be perfect for solar power. The land should be used for solar energy to maximize its effectiveness... nowhere else should be considered unless there is not enough desert to go around.

The best solution to renewable energy is to determine what makes them unfavorable and correct the deficiencies before using them on a large scale.

Darth_Yuthura
07-23-2008, 10:30 AM
Good luck with that. ;)

Alright... cars will have to use either hydrogen or electricity, but they'll be much more expensive. Europe uses mass transportation regularly, why not follow their example?

Web Rider
07-23-2008, 01:18 PM
As stated earlier, most transportation doesn't operate on coal. What we need is to reform our transportation systems to use electricity. Odds are that we will have to give up cars in favor of electric trains because almost any form of energy could be converted to electricity.

Yeah, um, that's not even remotely feasible. You would literally have to replace every road in the country with electric rails and have a train traveling on them every waking moment since there's always somebody who needs to get somewhere and "schedules" and "routes" don't cover it.

Alright... cars will have to use either hydrogen or electricity, but they'll be much more expensive. Europe uses mass transportation regularly, why not follow their example?
Because Europe was built around mass transit. the US isn't. You just can't switch from cars to trains like that. Especially electric trains.

Wind turbines are great, but we should use vertical axis generators instead. Because they are vertical axis, the majority of the construction would be done at ground level. By simply having the generator on the ground, repairs and maintainence are easier and cheaper.
You mean building them with the blades pointing horizontally? Well, there are several reasons they don't do that. First, because it's really easy to get killed by a giant blade spinning at 30mph, and second, winds get significantly stronger when you get away from the surface of the earth. Not to mention that the device as a whole requires far less space to build it.

When there is an excess of energy captured by a windmill, the energy can't be stored. The best solution would be to use the energy for some purpose. Either the energy could desalinate seawater for freshwater, or it could pump water into a valley and be used for hydroelectricity when needed. Hydrogen would also be a better solution to simply wasting excess energy, but it's the most difficult to use on a large scale.
Electricity isn't stored from ANY power plant. I don't know why you're ragging on wind/solar for not storing it's energy when no plants store their energy to begin with.

And people keep mentioning "hydrogen" like it's some kind of burnable commodity. Do you mean nuclear fusion?

It would also be important to build renewable energies where they would be best utilized before tapping unfavorable locations. Although electricity results in a loss the greater it has to travel, but it's more efficient for florida to receive wind energy from North Dakota than it is to build a turbine closer to where electricity is demanded.
Then you don't know jack about electrical systems. Namely what you're missing is line volatage drop. If you were to set up a wind farm in N Dakota and run a wire to Florida, you could produce massive quantities of power, and nothing would come out on the other end. Power comes from the nearest generator. Even if you're paying for power from a station in N Dakota, what happens is that it's power goes to the next power plant, and the next, and the next, until the closest(or a rather close one) power plant is the one actually supplying you with power.

The US has a large desert that would be perfect for solar power. The land should be used for solar energy to maximize its effectiveness... nowhere else should be considered unless there is not enough desert to go around.
again, line voltage drop. If you want solar power, actual power coming from a solar facility in New York, you need a plant, in New York. You simply cannot push electricity from the Mojave Desert(california) to New York City.

The country has a lot of sun all over it, we'd do well to replace the shingles on our roofs with solar. You'd cut down the need for power plants of any kind massivly if every home could supply itsself during the day with electricity, and if they weren't using it, it would supply somebody else.

Darth_Yuthura
07-23-2008, 03:18 PM
In response to Web Rider...

I'm don't actually think that any of this is going to happen. Odds are that we'll keep using fossil fuels and demand for energy will keep rising faster than solar and wind can keep up. The development of renewable energy must yield to the dollar. The only reason we would chose to use unreliable energy is when it's the only one left to use.

When oil supplies are depleted, it will be very rapid. When that happens, the transition from one energy to another will be extremely difficult and we will be hit hard by it. All these solutions... could work... but they won't even under favorable conditions. Solutions like this are just too simplistic and disregard many factors on a large scale.

Web Rider
07-23-2008, 04:26 PM
In response to Web Rider...

I'm don't actually think that any of this is going to happen. Odds are that we'll keep using fossil fuels and demand for energy will keep rising faster than solar and wind can keep up. The development of renewable energy must yield to the dollar. The only reason we would chose to use unreliable energy is when it's the only one left to use.

When oil supplies are depleted, it will be very rapid. When that happens, the transition from one energy to another will be extremely difficult and we will be hit hard by it. All these solutions... could work... but they won't even under favorable conditions. Solutions like this are just too simplistic and disregard many factors on a large scale.

Wind, solar, nuclear, tidal, these all work. They are not "unreliable". So long as there is wind, sun, uraniuam, or the moon(tides), all of these non-oil powered options are functional and able to be built right now.

I find it strange that you call these technologies "unreliable", when it's quite obvious that oil is the unreliable tech. We're going to run out of oil soon, that seems like a pretty big hole in the "reliablility" of oil-based power.

And yes, I did also notice how you dodged every counter-point I put up with "oh well it all won't work anyway."

Darth_Yuthura
07-24-2008, 12:22 AM
Wind, solar, nuclear, tidal, these all work. They are not "unreliable". So long as there is wind, sun, uraniuam, or the moon(tides), all of these non-oil powered options are functional and able to be built right now.

I find it strange that you call these technologies "unreliable", when it's quite obvious that oil is the unreliable tech. We're going to run out of oil soon, that seems like a pretty big hole in the "reliablility" of oil-based power.

And yes, I did also notice how you dodged every counter-point I put up with "oh well it all won't work anyway."

Yes. That was very pathetic of me. I'll just say that I had nothing to counter your argument... so I have no choice but to yield to those counter-points you made and admit defeat.

However, what you just posted was not something I'd agree with. Nuclear energy would be reliable, yes. Most of the others can only be used for up to 20% of America's electricity demands. Anything over that would require significantly more wind turbines or solar panels than needed in order to prevent brownouts and blackouts on a regular basis.

Any fuel has the advantage of generating a consistent output of energy at any given time... as long as there is fuel. With wind, the average energy one would generate is not consistent with actual output. If wind remains consistent all the time, then yes. Whenever you have windy or calm days, there is either an excess of energy lost or not enough wind to meet demand. Wind is unreliable because it can't be depended on if you can't control their output. With oil... you know exactly what it will provide at any given time. Solar and wind are not reliable because we have no control over their output.


Hydroelectricity, geothermal, tidal energy are reliable, but can only be used on a limited scale... or are still not economic.

solar(to a limited degree) and nuclear energy are the only forms of energy which will deliver a consistent stream of energy that aren't influenced by environmental conditions.

ForeverNight
07-24-2008, 12:45 PM
solar(to a limited degree) and nuclear energy are the only forms of energy which will deliver a consistent stream of energy that aren't influenced by environmental conditions.

:confused: What the heck???

I hope by Solar you are not referring to Photovoltaic Cells, but the Thermal Ones. But, either way those are are very influenced by Environmental Conditions, after all, Solar takes Sunlight and works its magic to agitate some things which does this, that, and the other to convert it into electricity. That is TOTALLY dependent upon Environmental Conditions, after all, if its overcast, that means there's little to no sunlight, thus little to no electricity produced.

Nuclear is the only one on that list that is not influenced by environmental conditions, excepting disasters that could cause a breech of the core, in which case you could totally turn off the system. And pray.

Edit: As for Thermal Cells, that's still dependent upon a semi-stable ambient temperature, in which case Winter is going to totally ruin that. I live in Minnesota, and our winters will consistently get into the negatives, Thermal Solar doesn't work up here...

As for running out of fuel soon.... Look at Saudi Arabia, that place is floating on oil! Then, in Brazil, they discovered an off shore pocket of oil that supposedly contains at least as much as Saudi Arabia. Add in what the US and Canada has, Russia, Venezuela... we're not going to run out of oil any time soon. Besides, oil is discovered all the time in areas, we don't have a fricking clue how much oil there is on this planet. So, to say that we're going to run out soon is ludicrous!

Darth_Yuthura
07-24-2008, 12:57 PM
:confused: What the heck???

I hope by Solar you are not referring to Photovoltaic Cells, but the Thermal Ones. But, either way those are are very influenced by Environmental Conditions, after all, Solar takes Sunlight and works its magic to agitate some things which does this, that, and the other to convert it into electricity. That is TOTALLY dependent upon Environmental Conditions, after all, if its overcast, that means there's little to no sunlight, thus little to no electricity produced.

I said 'to a limited degree' for a reason. I was referring to solar thermal plants that would be used in arid regions. It is fairly safe to assume there wouldn't be many cloudy days in a desert. As for when it's night... the solar thermal chimney can still provide electricity at night because the ground retains heat from the previous day. When I said solar was reliable... I should have said it was more reliable than wind, but only when it is used in favorable locations. Anywhere other than a desert would make it unreliable and not dependable.

The point I'm trying to emphasize is that renewable energy has the disadvantage of not being reliable and can only be used in limited locations. It's better to build a new wind turbine in NDakota than Maine. It's better to build a solar thermal plant in Navada than Iowa. If we start using renewable energy, we should start where it's most favorable and then think about placing them elsewhere.

ForeverNight
07-24-2008, 01:40 PM
Ah, sorry. I guess I've heard my friend say close to the exact same thing too many times and not said anything to let this one get by.

It might've been easier just to mention it in the first place, but, oh well.

mur'phon
07-27-2008, 04:58 PM
Tot: Agreed oil companies drilling in norwegian waters pay something like 90-95% tax on their profits, ad they still make a killing.

Darth_Y: I have very little faith in hydrogen mainly because of the trouble when it comes to storage.

"The govt is making a killing folks": The Economist had a rather nice article showing that all the fossil fuels are actually subsidised.

My view, the improvement in batery/capacitor tech, and the atempts to "merge" the two techs, coupled with all the improvements in clean electricity, better grids, "smart" chargers, and an up and running distribution system makes electric powered transport the likely "winner".

El Sitherino
07-27-2008, 09:27 PM
Merged these threads to avoid any further redundancy of topics.

In the future, please make sure the new thread you are making isn't something that can simply be a relevant post, I apologize if there was any confusion. However considering one of the main topics was investing in solar and wind power, with the links provided, I'd say all matter is relevant. If there are questions feel free to PM me.

Darth_Yuthura
07-27-2008, 10:17 PM
Darth_Y: I have very little faith in hydrogen mainly because of the trouble when it comes to storage.

My view, the improvement in batery/capacitor tech, and the atempts to "merge" the two techs, coupled with all the improvements in clean electricity, better grids, "smart" chargers, and an up and running distribution system makes electric powered transport the likely "winner".

I am not an advocate for the hydrogen economy, but I think it's better than nothing on a large scale, such as a powerplant producing more electricity than is demanded. I am completely against it as a replacement for electricity. Since hydrogen comes with a loss, I'm more for using electricity for vehicles than anything else. Cars can't use anything other than gas. Electric cars could potentially rely on any fuel that a local powerplant relies on... that at least is a solution for transportation.

I'm just suggesting that hydrogen is a means of storing potential energy that would be lost otherwise.

Web Rider
07-28-2008, 12:56 AM
Wait wait, I still haven't gotten a straight answer. When you all talk about "hydrogen", are you talking about hydrogen fuel cells like in cars? Or are you talking about nuclear fusion? There's a difference that's...well...like the grand canyon.

And yes, cars can run on things other than gas. Diesel cars can be easily modified to run on fry oil. Yes, you can fill up at your local McDonalds and smell like a french fry all day.

Darth_Yuthura
07-28-2008, 01:11 AM
Wait wait, I still haven't gotten a straight answer. When you all talk about "hydrogen", are you talking about hydrogen fuel cells like in cars? Or are you talking about nuclear fusion? There's a difference that's...well...like the grand canyon.

And yes, cars can run on things other than gas. Diesel cars can be easily modified to run on fry oil. Yes, you can fill up at your local McDonalds and smell like a french fry all day.

When I say 'hydrogen,' it's always fuel cells. I'm not saying I favor this as an alternative to electricity, but it does have the advantage of storing potential energy that may otherwise be lost. I DO NOT favor the 'hydrogen economy' idea, but there are limited ways it can be applied where nothing else will suffice.

I do encourage the development of fusion energy, but it is still a long way from consideration. Even if/when it is, it may still be too expensive to be economic. Until a fusion reactor can break even in the investment to output ratio, I don't take the technology into consideration.

Even after the 'holy grail' of energy is achieved, it may still not be competitive if the capital costs are too great. Because a powerplant's capital costs are paid during a plant's life, a cheap energy to produce would still be too expensive to consider. That's why renewable energies are so expensive, despite being free to produce.

mur'phon
07-28-2008, 04:34 PM
Darth: Huh? Storing hydrogen is the main problem with it, making it at power plants won't solve it. Besides,single current cables dosen't loose nearly as ,such as regilar ones, and improvements are still made. Besides, excess power can be stored in damms, As for renewables not being competetive, wind power is allready competetive in many places, and the tech is improving fast. And in Brazil, ethanol is doing quite nice.

Darth_Yuthura
07-28-2008, 10:23 PM
Darth: Huh? Storing hydrogen is the main problem with it, making it at power plants won't solve it. Besides,single current cables dosen't loose nearly as ,such as regilar ones, and improvements are still made. Besides, excess power can be stored in damms, As for renewables not being competetive, wind power is allready competetive in many places, and the tech is improving fast. And in Brazil, ethanol is doing quite nice.

I'm not saying renewable energies are not competitive. I'm saying that behind every renewable energy is a HUGE capital investment. Although they are virtually free, they are not as great a business investment as they seem. Most people would rather invest in something that yields a higher profit than in a renewable energy.

As for the means of storing energy... if wind turbines could pump groundwater with excess energy and then have it translate to hydroelectric power, then that would be even better potential energy than hydrogen fuel cells.

The US would also have to invest 100% of the agricultural land to alleviate 15% of all our energy demands with ethanol. It's a terrible investment unless a better crop can be used... switchgrass. Brazil uses sugarcane and has lower energy demands... that's why they do so well. Corn is a terrible choice to use for ethanol... the reason food prices are so high is because we now have to import corn to substitute for what was wasted for ethanol.

mur'phon
07-29-2008, 04:35 AM
I'm not saying renewable energies are not competitive. I'm saying that behind every renewable energy is a HUGE capital investment. Although they are virtually free, they are not as great a business investment as they seem. Most people would rather invest in something that yields a higher profit than in a renewable energy.

But you have the same huge capital investment behind other power plants.

Biofuels

Eh, look at how much Brazil actually produces, if it wheren't for some stupid laws, they would be exporting a lot to the U.S. And while I agree that corn is a terrible choice, new kinds of crops are being designed, and it's not like it's impossible to import the stuff from places it's competetive.

mimartin
07-29-2008, 12:32 PM
the reason food prices are so high is because we now have to import corn to substitute for what was wasted for ethanol.So the high price of diesel has nothing to do with the increase in the price of food?

Totenkopf
07-29-2008, 12:45 PM
Was under the impression that diesel was more expensive due to refining practices (not as much produced as "regular" gas).

mimartin
07-29-2008, 12:56 PM
Was under the impression that diesel was more expensive due to refining practices (not as much produced as "regular" gas). Wasn't speaking to diesel cost, but to the cost of food. Diesel cost is a major reason why food costs have skyrocketed as most farm equipment and transportation runs on diesel. Now using corn in ethanol is a factor in both the costs of vegetables and meats, because we could use that same land to grow the type of corn used for human and animal consumption, but the price of diesel is having more of an influence on our cost than ethanol is.

Forgive me for not being clear to which one I was complaining about today.;)

Totenkopf
07-29-2008, 01:14 PM
Wasn't speaking to diesel cost, but to the cost of food. Diesel cost is a major reason why food costs have skyrocketed as most farm equipment and transportation runs on diesel. Now using corn in ethanol is a factor in both the costs of vegetables and meats, because we could use that same land to grow the type of corn used for human and animal consumption, but the price of diesel is having more of an influence on our cost than ethanol is.

Forgive me for not being clear to which one I was complaining about today.;)


No problem. You make a decent point, though. Was sort of under the impression that the switching of some of the corn crop to ethanol took it out of production for foodstuffs and hence created a kind of "artificial shortage" that was consequently affecting the value of the crop. Used to trade corn (and other ag commodities) and hadn't followed it very closely the past few years (focused more on currencies and such), so I tended to remember the price of a bushel being in the vicinity of $2.5-3.35 and the margin being under $500. Now the price is around $5-6+/bu and the margins over $1000. Man, the things that happen when you ain't looking....:D

Darth_Yuthura
09-30-2008, 05:50 PM
This is just a vein attempt to revitalize a dead thread, so I don't expect anything to come of this... feel free to do so if you want. After seeing the meltdown of the US economy, I realize that this entire thread is full of false hopes that can't work out even if the US were in a position to save itself.

Even if the US could make use of all the wind energy and solar energy that could be harnessed, the US power grid has never been designed with the intent to share electricity over long distances or in huge quantities. There is no way to substitute oil for any other sources of energy before we have the means to pay all the capital costs and deal with physical limitations.

I'm not claiming that I'm wrong about the majority of what I've shared, but have lacked much of what else is required and can't be done unless other objectives have been dealt with first. Hope I didn't raise any false hopes in which to kill.

Rathoris
09-30-2008, 06:51 PM
(i haven't read the thread so if i'm not making sense please ignore me)
even if the us economy crashes and burns it will still recover eventually. Obviously replacing the current system is going to take an immense effort from both the government and companies involved in this but it's far from impossible.
I even think the hydrogen economy isn't such a bad idea. Obviously we will need to invest in new technologies to support this. But any change requires effort and money and obviously the current reliance on oil isn't going to get us anywhere in the future.
Fuel cells for cars would be a good start.... The PEMFC is a very good candidate and delivers an amazing 60% efficiency vs something like 20% in the combustion engine.

Darth_Yuthura
10-11-2008, 09:37 PM
(i haven't read the thread so if i'm not making sense please ignore me)
even if the us economy crashes and burns it will still recover eventually. Obviously replacing the current system is going to take an immense effort from both the government and companies involved in this but it's far from impossible.
I even think the hydrogen economy isn't such a bad idea. Obviously we will need to invest in new technologies to support this. But any change requires effort and money and obviously the current reliance on oil isn't going to get us anywhere in the future.
Fuel cells for cars would be a good start.... The PEMFC is a very good candidate and delivers an amazing 60% efficiency vs something like 20% in the combustion engine.

I think that it is important that we invest our resources into perpetual sources of energy(solar and wind) because they are the only permanent long-term solutions that we can trust. The hydrogen-ethanol thing is adding more work for less benefits in providing for the growing demand of energy in the US.

We can only expect that any long-term solution will carry a huge price tag in capital costs and not always be reliable. In theory, it may work out well, but in practice, there are many economic and social issues that can't easily be overcome.

Keep renewable energy in mind, but don't trust in any one simple solution to solve our energy crisis. One of the best ways to conquer supply is to try and reduce demand, but Americans will only give up so much.

Tommycat
10-12-2008, 03:07 AM
Solar is very inefficient. But it is a sustainable resource. Actually in AZ, they offer incentives to persons to add solar panels to your home. You also get cash from the power company for spinning the meter backwards. The problem is not everyone lives in AZ where you have 99% sunny days. It also uses batteries that can go bad and become hazardous waste. Large solar plants tend to take up HUGE areas and until the efficiency gets above 25% for solar, we're gonna need a lot of them.

Nuclear is a cleaner short term alternative. At least it doesn't toss out tons of CO2 emissions. Lets not throw the baby out with the bathwater though. We can drill for oil and search for more of the limited resources to temporarily sustain us.

Corinthian
10-12-2008, 03:20 AM
The only reason people are so uncomfortable with Nuclear Power is because of incidents like Chernobyl and Three Mile Island. Chernobyl was an accident, a terribly designed reactor, and a result of a complete screwup by Soviet Engineers, and Three Mile Island was chronically insignificant.

If we began actively pursuing Nuclear Power, we could actually improve our energy situation NOW instead of decades down the road when and if Solar and Wind energy actually becomes viable. I don't think it really ever will become viable.

Tommycat
10-12-2008, 03:27 AM
The only reason people are so uncomfortable with Nuclear Power is because of incidents like Chernobyl and Three Mile Island. Chernobyl was an accident, a terribly designed reactor, and a result of a complete screwup by Soviet Engineers, and Three Mile Island was chronically insignificant.

If we began actively pursuing Nuclear Power, we could actually improve our energy situation NOW instead of decades down the road when and if Solar and Wind energy actually becomes viable. I don't think it really ever will become viable.

Ah the irony of 3 mile Island... The movies made it out to be a disaster. The reality of it was that 3 mile Island was a demonstration of how the safeguards worked... The alarm sounded, and the reactor shut down. The movies picked it up and made it a disaster.

Soviet reactors have been known to be rather iffy. The reactors on their subs are a testament to that. If there si a malfunction in the reactor control system it pulls out the carbon control rods.... US Sub reactors if they detect a failure, immediately drop in all the rods and effectively shut down the reactor. I had to learn that when I was qualifying for my "Dolphins"

Darth_Yuthura
10-12-2008, 11:45 PM
I am absolutely committed to using nuclear energy as well. Most analysts use statistics of US nuclear reactors to describe how affordable they are... they don't take into consideration that every American nuclear plant was first generation (a far cry from French reactors or fast-breeders)

If you were to compare the specs from a French nuclear reactor and compare it to a coal plant of the same capacity, you end up spending big for the nuclear plant, but the operating costs are tiny compared to coal (needing 15,000 tons a day) The waste produced is also tiny (A single coal plant produces more tons of ash per year than all the US reactors for 50 years) The dangers are also very low (Every disaster occurred under circumstances that would not be allowed under today's safety regulations) And they can be placed virtually anywhere (Coal must be near rail lines or a river. They also can't be near populated areas.)

Nuclear is the overall winner of dealing with the energy issues today. The biggest issue is that they are expensive to build and are ALWAYS long-term investments. If you are willing to make the investment, then a nuclear reactor would be more economic over its 60-year life than coal (with a fixed fuel price)

Yar-El
10-13-2008, 12:33 AM
Al Gore recently declared that the US had the means and the resources needed to convert most of our oil demands to use solar and wind power instead. He said the US should spend the next 10 years investing in solar panels and setting up wind turbines.

What do you think? I didn't like Al Gore when he ran for president. I ended up watching his movie, and I saw another side of him. I think he is onto something important. We have so many other potential energy resources; however, we never give them a chance to brew. Solar and wind power are a good start; nevertheless, we should not stop searching for other means. General Motors is working on a fuel cell. We might be able to harness enough power in cells; thus, giving everyone more flexability for expansion. We might find a means to use large fuel cells to power homes; however, they would need to have a recharging mechanism. Al Gore is a humble guy now, and I can see a man who should be president. I like his ideas and environmental concerns.

Darth_Yuthura
10-13-2008, 02:10 AM
Well when I started this thread, it was at the time where oil prices were skyrocketing and it seemed that oil supplies had hit their peak and now demand will always be increasing faster than supplies can become available. If the US were not in a depression right now, the price of oil would keep skyrocketing and only become more scarce.

The US has oil reserves it isn't tapping into, but regulations keep those wells from being exploited. The most recent issues have been the hurricane Ike damage, but gasoline prices have fallen as a result of the depression. Prices don't directly correlate to how much oil is still underground, but the amount of tapped sources are drying up more quickly than new pumps are established.

The best solution? There is no one solution that works for everyone. The best universal means to deal with scarce resources is to reduce the demand before anything else is done. It is the simplest way because it can be done today. Any new oil wells drilled today would start returning on their investment years later.

The better option to more efficient cars is the use of mass transit... then that requires overcoming another set of challenges.