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Old 07-27-2008, 04:58 PM   #81
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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".


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Old 07-27-2008, 09:27 PM   #82
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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.


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Old 07-27-2008, 10:17 PM   #83
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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.
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Old 07-28-2008, 12:56 AM   #84
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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.


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Old 07-28-2008, 01:11 AM   #85
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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.
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Old 07-28-2008, 04:34 PM   #86
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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.


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Old 07-28-2008, 10:23 PM   #87
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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.
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Old 07-29-2008, 04:35 AM   #88
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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.

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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.


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Old 07-29-2008, 12:32 PM   #89
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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?


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Old 07-29-2008, 12:45 PM   #90
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Was under the impression that diesel was more expensive due to refining practices (not as much produced as "regular" gas).


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Old 07-29-2008, 12:56 PM   #91
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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.


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Old 07-29-2008, 01:14 PM   #92
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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....


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Old 09-30-2008, 05:50 PM   #93
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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.
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Old 09-30-2008, 06:51 PM   #94
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(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.
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Old 10-11-2008, 09:37 PM   #95
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(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.
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Old 10-12-2008, 03:07 AM   #96
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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.
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Old 10-12-2008, 03:20 AM   #97
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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.
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Old 10-12-2008, 03:27 AM   #98
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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"
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Old 10-12-2008, 11:45 PM   #99
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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)
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Old 10-13-2008, 12:33 AM   #100
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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.
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Old 10-13-2008, 02:10 AM   #101
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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.
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