PDA

View Full Version : Peak oil...ideas?



peteshimmon
2006-Jan-22, 02:20 PM
Depressing supplement in the paper recently.
It looks pretty certain to be a crisis in 5 to
10 years! But what to do? Panic when we have
to? Lets start an ideas list in Brainstorming
mode. After all there will be plenty of work
to be done in getting used to expensive
energy. My idea is to massivly insulate
homes and use photocells to electrolysise
water during the day for burning the
hydrogen at night. Not much output but with
ventilation heat recovery it should work!
Anything else on transport, farming, everything?

Candy
2006-Jan-22, 06:47 PM
Iceland the First Country to Try Abandoning Gasoline (http://www.abcnews.go.com/WNT/story?id=1518556)

REYKJAVIK, Iceland, Jan. 18, 2005 — Iceland has energy to spare, and the small country has found a cutting-edge way to reduce its oil dependency. Volcanoes formed the island nation out of ash and lava, and molten rock heats huge underground lakes to the boiling point.

The hot water — energy sizzling beneath the surface — is piped into cities and stored in giant tanks, providing heat for homes, businesses and even swimming pools.

The volcanoes melted ice, which formed rivers. The water runs through turbines, providing virtually all the country's electricity.

Iceland wants to make a full conversion and plans to modify its cars, buses and trucks to run on renewable energy — with no dependence on oil.

Water Turned Into Fuel

Iceland has already started by turning water into fuel — hydrogen fuel.

Here's how it works: Electrodes split the water into hydrogen and oxygen molecules. Hydrogen electrons pass through a conductor that creates the current to power an electric engine.
I thought this article was very interesting.

The Supreme Canuck
2006-Jan-22, 08:15 PM
Nuclear power plants for electricity. Use them to make hydrogen to use in cars. Problem solved.

Besides that, oil isn't likely to run out for a very long time. 5 to 10 years? Alarmist at best.

LurchGS
2006-Jan-23, 06:46 AM
yeah - discussed on other thread not too long ago. 50 years is better guess.

Keep in mind, though, Iceland is not a good model for other countries. Aside from one or two in the Mediteranean, are there any active volcanoes in europe?

Population is negligible in comparison to most other countries,too.

(is similar issue to railfans who insist that since railroads work marvelously in europe, they ought to here in the states. difference in scale means nothing to them)

Nuke plants are a better idea than solar cells - cleaner. I admit, though, I'm contemplating adding solar water heating to the house.

The Supreme Canuck
2006-Jan-23, 06:47 AM
Hey, it beats a do-it-yourself PBR. :shifty:

montebianco
2006-Jan-23, 06:56 AM
Depressing supplement in the paper recently.
It looks pretty certain to be a crisis in 5 to
10 years! But what to do? Panic when we have
to? Lets start an ideas list in Brainstorming
mode. After all there will be plenty of work
to be done in getting used to expensive
energy. My idea is to massivly insulate
homes and use photocells to electrolysise
water during the day for burning the
hydrogen at night. Not much output but with
ventilation heat recovery it should work!
Anything else on transport, farming, everything?

Well, the usual solution proposed at this forum is not to wait until the future to switch to more expensive sources of energy, but rather to switch to the more expensive sources now. I will leave it to the forum members with no training in or understanding of economics to explain why that makes good economic sense.

Wolverine
2006-Jan-23, 10:15 AM
yeah - discussed on other thread not too long ago.

I was looking for that thread but couldn't find it. Anyone have a link handy?

Argos
2006-Jan-23, 12:57 PM
The Oil Depletion (http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php?t=32481&highlight=depletion) thread.

peteshimmon
2006-Jan-23, 01:14 PM
There There....Dont let nasty man upset you...
Oil and Gas will be there for ever and ever
and ever...there. Now how about some ideas
just in case:)

Fram
2006-Jan-23, 02:06 PM
(is similar issue to railfans who insist that since railroads work marvelously in europe, they ought to here in the states. difference in scale means nothing to them)
What differences would that be?
Europe: +- 10,790,000 km², population about 700,000,000
US: 9,631,418 km², population about 300,000,000

The US have a much sparser population, but (apart from some regions like Alaska probably) I don't see why that would be a real problem. A system like the high speed trains that are being built in France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, the UK, and probably some other countries (Spain and Italy, I think) that links essentially the big cities could work on the east coast of the US as well, perhaps, and certainly looks to me as if there are no serious differences in scale. The gap between the East coast and West coast may be too big and too sparsely populated to have a good railraod system though, so perhaps is that what you meant.
Oh, and the railroad system in Europe isn't so marvelously good everywhere either, although it is fairly good.

The Supreme Canuck
2006-Jan-23, 02:37 PM
There There....Dont let nasty man upset you...
Oil and Gas will be there for ever and ever
and ever...there. Now how about some ideas
just in case:)

We're not saying that. We're just saying that there is no cause for immediate worry. Also, I would appreciate it if you didn't use such a patronizing tone.

Wolverine
2006-Jan-23, 03:24 PM
The Oil Depletion (http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php?t=32481&highlight=depletion) thread.

That's the one, thanks. I couldn't remember what other term was used (and "oil" is too short a search syntax for the forum software).

peteshimmon
2006-Jan-23, 04:25 PM
I hope most of you recognise good natured ribbing! But you know the main
point, when output starts to fall behind demand, prices go up. And this
may be a brutal process when it is upon us in todays world! Lets
think about house heating. When low income groups need to keep their
families warm, will they start trying to build fireplaces on homes not
designed for them? Will there be fights over the small amount of wood in
urban areas? Will some folk start to suffer more cold related illnesses?
Will there be water shortages due to many burst pipes? Not nice thoughts
are they! Nations have to be ahead of the curve on this issue and I
believe there are solutions for sustainable living but they take time to
implement. I like the idea of solar cells for electrolysis as a steady DC
current is needed so no inverter is required. Next idea please!

Taks
2006-Jan-23, 04:40 PM
What differences would that be?
Europe: +- 10,790,000 km², population about 700,000,000
US: 9,631,418 km², population about 300,000,000
i think this definition of europe inclues all the "new" portions from the former eastern bloc nations. typically when people talk about the rail system that works so fabulously, they're referring to the "old" europe, which is significantly smaller (1/3 i think?) and still has well over half of that population (400-500 million, right?). of course, i don't know how well the new countries are integrated into the rail system...

i have a friend that just came back from the czech republic... i should inquire.

taks

PS: i fully understand that europe as a continent always included the eastern bloc nations... it's just travel in and out of that area was not allowed, so the western europe infrastructure was built up without them.

Eric Vaxxine
2006-Jan-23, 05:24 PM
I used to work on a magazine called GreenFleet.
Fleet vehicles account for 45% of vehicle sold in the UK. A small % are
a) Hybrid (Gas, petrol)
b) Use Bio Fuel (renewable fuel from crops)
c) Hydrogen. (Hydrogen power that makes electricty)

How much fossil fuel is burned for industrial power? I expect it far outstrips our domestic vehicular useage?

I was appalled when I learned the electric car was scuppered in
the late 1800's.

The oil companies are far too quiet about this looming problem. Perhaps they plan to just stop operating after the last barrel is pumped !!!
I think our energy will ultimately come from mirrors and photocells in space.

Taks
2006-Jan-23, 06:04 PM
i would think that as we approach the end of the oil dependency, the exponential growth in prices will force alternative fuel ideas. the oil companies are capitalst entities, and will, by nature, strive to find alternatives as people simply stop using their products. there may be a lag in which many of them fail and close their doors, of course, with only the strongest surviving. but i couldn't even begin to guess how long of a lag that is, nor how many would fall by the wayside.

the latter thought, btw, requires that oil companies see themselves as energy brokers, not just fossil fuel developers. i.e. they're in the business of selling energy, not just oil.

taks

Argos
2006-Jan-23, 06:14 PM
the oil companies are far too quiet about this looming problem. Perhaps they plan to just stop operating after the last barrel is pumped !!!

I used to work for RoyalDutch-Shell. They had a R&D program on Hydrogen back in the 90´s, although I can´t say how is it faring now. The Brazilian Petrobras distributes a fair amount of ethanol throughout the country. So I think they´re not sleeping.

korjik
2006-Jan-23, 07:26 PM
I hope most of you recognise good natured ribbing! But you know the main
point, when output starts to fall behind demand, prices go up. And this
may be a brutal process when it is upon us in todays world! Lets
think about house heating. When low income groups need to keep their
families warm, will they start trying to build fireplaces on homes not
designed for them? Will there be fights over the small amount of wood in
urban areas? Will some folk start to suffer more cold related illnesses?
Will there be water shortages due to many burst pipes? Not nice thoughts
are they! Nations have to be ahead of the curve on this issue and I
believe there are solutions for sustainable living but they take time to
implement. I like the idea of solar cells for electrolysis as a steady DC
current is needed so no inverter is required. Next idea please!

I personally prefer to worry about an asteroid strike as my irrelevant worry subject.

economic forces (supply and demand) will work perfectly fine to keep society running. I think most of the problems with energy inthe next couple decades will be from kooks trying to control the process so that there pet project will be helped.

As the easy sources dry up, the harder sources will be used and alternatives developed. efficcency will become more important and life will go on. Things will change, but life will go on. There will be some chaos, but life will go on!

montebianco
2006-Jan-24, 01:00 AM
I think most of the problems with energy inthe next couple decades will be from kooks trying to control the process so that there pet project will be helped.

I'm with you on that one. I'm not sure who is going to save us from the people who keep saying they want to save us...


As the easy sources dry up, the harder sources will be used and alternatives developed. efficcency will become more important and life will go on. Things will change, but life will go on. There will be some chaos, but life will go on!

I would add that this process is happening now.

peteshimmon
2006-Jan-27, 04:07 PM
Did not a past President state that energy shortages are the moral
equivalent of War? Its a thought. When aggression comes, does the
government issue tenders for the lowest quote in defeating the
aggressor? Common sense suggests you are ready way beforehand!

Candy
2006-Jan-27, 09:15 PM
yeah - discussed on other thread not too long ago. 50 years is better guess.

Keep in mind, though, Iceland is not a good model for other countries. Aside from one or two in the Mediteranean, are there any active volcanoes in europe?

Population is negligible in comparison to most other countries,too.

(is similar issue to railfans who insist that since railroads work marvelously in europe, they ought to here in the states. difference in scale means nothing to them)

Nuke plants are a better idea than solar cells - cleaner. I admit, though, I'm contemplating adding solar water heating to the house.
I've been thinking about this. Do you think when (and if) oil ever runs out that people will migrate to areas where alternative energy sources are a plenty? Or will Nuclear Energy be our savior? Just wondering. :D

lek
2006-Jan-27, 09:28 PM
Oil will never "suddenly end", it will do so gradually, and not by surprise.

When oil gets more difficult (expensive) to get, the price will go up, at some point some alternative source for energy will become viable option. What's the big deal?

End of oil isn't end of mankind, stop worrying about it.

edit: and i dont think we'll run out or oil in my lifetime

SolusLupus
2006-Jan-27, 09:35 PM
As it is, car companies are finding it harder and harder to sell gas guzzlers.

LurchGS
2006-Jan-27, 09:58 PM
yeah, witness the 'Hybrid SUV' (which, in my test drive, can't get out of it's own way, much less go off-road.)

peteshimmon
2006-Jan-29, 11:21 AM
You will be driving slow but sure vehicles that
give you time to think. And come to think
about it, transit vans have a good 3 square
yards of roof space for photocells!

randb
2006-Jan-31, 08:11 AM
Nuclear power plants for electricity. Use them to make hydrogen to use in cars. Problem solved.

Besides that, oil isn't likely to run out for a very long time. 5 to 10 years? Alarmist at best.

Nuclear "fuel" is only gonna last 50 years or so....The best way would be to figure out a way to use solar energy effectively!!!

Van Rijn
2006-Jan-31, 08:57 AM
Nuclear "fuel" is only gonna last 50 years or so....The best way would be to figure out a way to use solar energy effectively!!!

A bit more than that, and then only assuming just the basic U235 fuel cycle and conventional reserves. Uranium and Thorium are quite common in the world. Even with conventional reserves, U238 and Thorium breeding would bring that up to thousands of years assuming heavy energy use. With unconventional extraction (seawater extraction, for instance) the numbers go up substantially.

With unconventional extraction you would have centuries just with the U235 fuel cycle alone.

Argos
2006-Feb-16, 12:32 PM
Peak oil reached (http://www.princeton.edu/hubbert/current-events.html) in December, 16th, 2005. (from Slashdot´s the-sky-is-falling dept., lol)

Eric Vaxxine
2006-Feb-16, 01:03 PM
Now I understand why Iran is so keen to get Nuclear power. They obviously see the problem looming too.

Argos
2006-Feb-16, 01:14 PM
I just don´t understand why Americans keep beating the "corn ethanol" drum. It´s cheaper to produce ethanol from sugar cane, and it would be cheaper to adapt sugar-cane varieties to grow in temperate climates [as we (Brazilians) adapted pines to grow in tropical and subtropical zones] than to develop technology to make corn ethanol viable. There´s already a complete set of technologies ready to operate on sugar cane processing.

Eric Vaxxine
2006-Feb-16, 01:29 PM
They produce petrol from Coal in South Africa. Does America have large coal fields?

The_Radiation_Specialist
2006-Feb-16, 01:34 PM
Here in Malaysia, there are plans to use palm oil as an energy source in the future. Theres about 2.5 million hectares of palm tree plantation.

Argos
2006-Feb-16, 01:54 PM
Brazil has also an ambitious bio-diesel program (http://www.greencarcongress.com/2005/05/brazil_opens_an.html) (to be extracted from soybeans, castor beans, and cottonseed).

Argos
2006-Feb-16, 02:03 PM
They produce petrol from Coal in South Africa. Does America have large coal fields?

It seems Montana (http://www.billingsgazette.com/newdex.php?display=rednews/2005/05/21/build/state/35-coal-oil.inc) has significant reserves. I´m not sure about the conversion efficiency though.

Swift
2006-Feb-16, 02:12 PM
I just don´t understand why Americans keep beating the "corn ethanol" drum. It´s cheaper to produce ethanol from sugar cane, and it would be cheaper to adapt sugar-cane varieties to grow in temperate climates [as we (Brazilians) adapted pines to grow in tropical and subtropical zones] than to develop technology to make corn ethanol viable. There´s already a complete set of technologies ready to operate on sugar cane processing.
My only disagreement with what you say is I'm not sure if one can adapt sugar-cane to grow in temperate climates. I'm no botanist, but it would seem easier to grow a cold-tolerant plant in a hot climate (in fact, in the US, a lot of pines grown in the wamer southeast, without any modifications), then to get a cold-intolerant plant to grow in cold.

Swift
2006-Feb-16, 02:14 PM
They produce petrol from Coal in South Africa. Does America have large coal fields?
Yes. Not just in Montana as Argos mentioned, but also in the east. I believe coal is the most abundant hydrocarbon fuel the US has. There have been research efforts on clean-coal and coal liquidification for decades, with varying degrees of success. I believe such technologies could not compete economically with oil until recently, but are getting closer, now that oil prices have risen.

Eric Vaxxine
2006-Feb-16, 02:17 PM
It seems Montana (http://www.billingsgazette.com/newdex.php?display=rednews/2005/05/21/build/state/35-coal-oil.inc) has significant reserves. I´m not sure about the conversion efficiency though.


"The coal-conversion process produces no air pollution, uses no water and creates electricity as a byproduct."

It's wonder fuel ! Seemingly.!

Argos
2006-Feb-16, 02:24 PM
My only disagreement with what you say is I'm not sure if one can adapt sugar-cane to grow in temperate climates. I'm no botanist, but it would seem easier to grow a cold-tolerant plant in a hot climate (in fact, in the US, a lot of pines grown in the wamer southeast, without any modifications), then to get a cold-intolerant plant to grow in cold.

Yeah, you may have a point here. In fact there´s no sugar-cane in Brazil bellow the parallel 23. It would be interesting to investigate the viability of GM cold resistant sugar-cane, though.

(*) In Brazil they are GM for productivity.

Fram
2006-Feb-16, 03:23 PM
That depends: are they going to make ethanol from the corn itself (the grains), or from the waste from it (the stem, the leaves, and so on). I know that research into the second option is being done, and if that is achieved (in an economical way I mean), then it would be very good, as there is already a huge corn growth.

farmerjumperdon
2006-Feb-16, 03:42 PM
They produce petrol from Coal in South Africa. Does America have large coal fields?

Vast quantities.

farmerjumperdon
2006-Feb-16, 03:54 PM
Here's just one report . . .

http://www.iied.org/mmsd/mmsd_pdfs/066_mccloskey.pdf

. . . but their estimate is that the coal supply is good for 200 years.

Top producing (and consuming) countries:

1 - China
2 - USA
3 - India

Eric Vaxxine
2006-Feb-16, 04:03 PM
Does the USA make any fuel from coal at the moment?
In South Africa the company is called Sasol, and I think they have been making it since 1970's.

The Supreme Canuck
2006-Feb-16, 04:46 PM
Germany made gasoline from coal during the Second World War. It normally isn't economically viable, but the Germans had little choice.

So, it's been possible for a while, just not practical.

Eric Vaxxine
2006-Feb-16, 04:56 PM
The joke in SA was that it smelled bad when combusted, but it was available everywhere. Sasol sponsored The Jordan F1 Racing team in the 80's or 90's.
I don't think they supplied the fuel though.

Swift
2006-Feb-16, 05:14 PM
Does the USA make any fuel from coal at the moment?
In South Africa the company is called Sasol, and I think they have been making it since 1970's.
Sure, they make lots of fuel from coal, they burn the coal as fuel and use it to make electricity, as people have for 100 years. But I suspect that is not what you meant, and what you meant is do they make any liquid fuel from coal? To the best of my knowledge, the only work done on this research, it is not being done commercially, because of the economics.

Bobunf
2006-Feb-16, 05:54 PM
[UOTE=korjik]
…most of the problems with energy inthe next couple decades will be from kooks trying to con-trol the process so that there pet project will be helped.
[/QUOTE]

Do I agree with that. Some of the truest words ever spoken.

There are so many options with respect to oil substitution. Energy is very obviously not really a serious long-term issue:

Coal—good for at least 200 years.
Nuclear—good for 50 years to thousands of years depending on which technologies one decides to use.
Sale oil, tar sands and methane hydrates—more than oil, coal and natural gas combined.
Ethanol and other bio-fuels. Forget about GMing sugar cane or corn—just import sugar (or ethanol) from Brazil, Cuba and other places—good for them, good for us.
Not to mention increasing efficiencies.
Even wind might make a tiny contribution if costs can come down a lot.

And what is this fascination with photovoltaic cells? PV cells produce about the same amount of energy over a normal lifetime as it takes to extract and transport the materials, to manufacture, transport, install and maintain the cells and the energy storage required for them. They’re like batteries.

Why not use a solar boiler and steam turbine? Much more efficient and cheaper. Not as sexy, I suppose.

Just let nature, and economics, take its course, and the transitions will hardly be noticed.

Now back to an actual danger--like the asteroid.

Bob

Argos
2006-Feb-16, 07:15 PM
Forget about GMing sugar cane or corn—just import sugar (or ethanol) from Brazil, Cuba and other places—good for them, good for us.

Better yet, you could buy ethanol from Brazil. Good for everybody.

LurchGS
2006-Feb-16, 07:34 PM
I think the reason the USians are focused so much on corn is that we have this HUGE surplus every year - and we ship it all over the world just so it won't go bad (well, ok, there are other reasons - but if we didn't, our farmers would starve)

You can use the chaff - the stalk and leaves - but why not use the whole plant if you are going to do this at all? I would assume that there is about as much available energy in the fruit of the plant as there is in the rest of the plant combined..and I bet I'm not far off. If the process is essentially the same, separating the kernal from the stalk is a waste of time and energy.

Argos
2006-Feb-16, 07:43 PM
I think producing ethanol at home (using GM´d sugar-cane or corn) would meet the best interest of the American people, since a big problem today is the dependence on foreign oil. With imported ethanol the dependence would linger.

Fram
2006-Feb-16, 08:08 PM
I think the reason the USians are focused so much on corn is that we have this HUGE surplus every year - and we ship it all over the world just so it won't go bad (well, ok, there are other reasons - but if we didn't, our farmers would starve)

You can use the chaff - the stalk and leaves - but why not use the whole plant if you are going to do this at all? I would assume that there is about as much available energy in the fruit of the plant as there is in the rest of the plant combined..and I bet I'm not far off. If the process is essentially the same, separating the kernal from the stalk is a waste of time and energy.

Of course, if you have a surplus, use the whole plant. I was thinking from the perspective of the "best" use of each part, i.e. the fruit as food and the rest for fuel. The fruit as waste is obviously not the best use...

LurchGS
2006-Feb-16, 08:20 PM
lol, obviously - but yeah, there are gihugic surplusses of corn.. sweet corn, pop corn, seed corn, feed corn...

on the other hand - I wonder at using corn - wouldn't soy beans be even better?

korjik
2006-Feb-16, 08:25 PM
I think producing ethanol at home (using GM´d sugar-cane or corn) would meet the best interest of the American people, since a big problem today is the dependence on foreign oil. With imported ethanol the dependence would linger.

I think the problem with dependence on foreign oil is more who has the oil, not that we dont have the oil. I doubt there would be nearly as much resistance to buying fuel from Brazil than there is in buying from Saudi Arabia.

Swift
2006-Feb-16, 08:35 PM
I think the problem with dependence on foreign oil is more who has the oil, not that we dont have the oil. I doubt there would be nearly as much resistance to buying fuel from Brazil than there is in buying from Saudi Arabia.
I think it is both, but the who is at least as important, if not more, than the simply fact that it is imported. Call it 60/40, IMHO.

Van Rijn
2006-Feb-16, 08:49 PM
Sure, they make lots of fuel from coal, they burn the coal as fuel and use it to make electricity, as people have for 100 years. But I suspect that is not what you meant, and what you meant is do they make any liquid fuel from coal? To the best of my knowledge, the only work done on this research, it is not being done commercially, because of the economics.

There was a huge push for synfuels in the '70s. There were heavy tax breaks and so on. I believe there was some limited commercial production, but low oil prices killed that. There is something called "synfuel" production now, not for vehicles, again pretty limited.

Argos
2006-Feb-16, 08:56 PM
Re importing ethanol: there´s the fact that ethanol is a value-added product, unlike classic commodities. I haven´t done the maths, but I think importing ready-to-use fuel in large amounts would be prohibitive. And there´s always domestic producers pressing for protection...

LurchGS
2006-Feb-16, 11:57 PM
I agree with both statements (not that I could do the math even if I knew the equations - zero formal economic education)

Also, fuels require specialized vessels, where raw pre-product (I'll call it) - mulch - can be shipped in darn near anything - and shipped to darn near any port, to boot.

If the processing can be done economically, you can almost see 'refineries' cropping up (I just HAD to say that) all over the place. The american midlands could process their own, while coastal regions could import the mulch.

There'd still be a lot of shipping of product around - any midlands surplus could easily go to the coast...

Come to think of it, think of all the rapeseed oil we use (.. more commonly known as canola)

no comment on tariffs and other such 'protections'

peteshimmon
2006-Feb-17, 03:20 AM
Got to get away from burning stuff sometime!
I see vast plants in hot sunny countries
producing solar cell modules for the World.
Their initial production becomes their own
power source. If the cells last ten years
and return energy of manufacture in one or
two years the economics should be OK. But
the support structures would have to last
for 50+ years at a guess. They are small
things yet convert sunlight magically into
power. They become a source of refined
material when they wear out and are
recycled. I talked about using them to
electrolysise water as only direct current
is needed so no electronic invertor. If it
is the will of people to do it this way then
the economics follow!

hewhocaves
2006-Feb-17, 03:41 AM
re: the RR question... I don't see scale as a problem since most of the commuting will be city commuting. And the biggest problem there is the loss of RR right of ways over the last 50 years.