10-29-10, 10:45 AM #641
horses wont do the job, With coal gasification it is still spewing carbon and coal quality and quantity both decline. We have to get away from carbon. The reason I like the GreenGas.cc machine is there is no carbon, also Hitler or Bin Laden or the US army cant get rid of millions of GreenGas.cc machines. we need to start now. Even if you forget about the carbon pollution, oil and coal have a limited life. Scientific American (September 2010 issue) peak in 2014. All carbon sources are declining so if we start now as oil in ground declines these new technologies can be taking over (increase). As for algae in sewage ponds like french fry oil, sewage ponds are limited.
10-29-10, 11:33 AM #642
1. As was noted earlier, oil products are used for pretty much everything in modern life, not just as an energy source. Plastic, you name it, made out of oil.
So unlike earlier in human history when we were able to switch from wood to coal and from coal to oil and later nuclear or water/wind, the transition won't be as peaceful, easy or simple....
2. It is only in theory that the coal would be sufficient. There is such a thing as peak coal (in the US calorie-wise it already peaked) so we would only get a little extra time, but it would be very bad for the enviroment.
And I won't even mention the insane energy needed to do the gasification....
So let's keep it real, shall we? Switching to coal isn't a real alternative...
10-29-10, 12:43 PM #643
A few weeks ago BrasKem started operating its 200,000 TONS / year* polyethylene plant that uses sugar cane as its source material. They have a larger one for polypropylene starting construction, now, closer to the cane growing area of Sao Paulo state.
We are not lacking "technology" - We are (in the US) victims of politician who are in "Big Oil's pockets" but fortunately that is not true in Brazil where ~90% of all new Brazilian made cars can run on any mix of gasoline or pure alcohol. (There is a time lag factor as older cars are slowly retired, but now more than half of all the miles driven use pure alcohol fuel as it is cheaper per mile.)
*More details plus links to chemical journals discussing Braskem's new plants here:
They hope to become the world's cheapest source of these two plastics and will as oil prices rise.
Last edited by Billy T; 10-29-10 at 12:56 PM.
10-29-10, 01:00 PM #644
Not accurate IMHO
Which is what you are saying as well. So we agree that things can be done but do we have the leadership to move in the right direction ?
We are not lacking "technology" - We are (in the US) victims of politician who are in "Big Oil's pockets" but fortunately that is not true in Brazil where ~90 of all new cars made can run on any mix of gasoline or pure alcohol. (There is a time lag factor as older cars are slowly retired, but now more than half of all the miles driven use pure alcohol fuel as it is cheaper per mile.)
US 20.6 million bbl/day
Brazil 2.3 million bbl/day
Can you tell me if the 2.3 Brazil uses is on top of what they produce with cane and other sources ?
10-29-10, 01:07 PM #645
I don't know if Skeptical is advocating that anyway. I think he/she is just pointing out that we will find another way. Which I also agree with.
Yes, there is no way IMO that coal gassification will solve our energy needs.
I think it's going to take a move to nuclear power for electric powered transportation. Also, there is long term hope in solar with nano-tech if we can find a massive breakthough, I thought I would throw that in since we are in a thread on pipe dreams.
Here is something interesting:
Thorium reactors. Nothing new but again we will see how the politics affects more common sense solutions.
10-29-10, 01:37 PM #646
No combination of things will meet our energy needs. Therefore contraction will be the inevitable consequence.
10-29-10, 01:55 PM #647
I agree that the path we are on is not sustainable. And when you say contraction I agree that we may need to modify some behavior to make it work. But that doesn't mean not growing.
We can find ways to reduce use in almost every area of use. This will in turn free up the energy for other uses. The problem is that we have to find a way to reduce use to the point that even with additional sources of use being added is still far less then what we have today.
So the solution to me is moving away from a transportation system based on oil, because we will need the oil for a myriad of other industries.
We can solve the transportation problem with electrical power via nuclear, for cars, trains, buses and trolleys etc.
It's not hopeless.
10-29-10, 02:13 PM #648
Yes, necessarily. Even with mass transit, our economy and entire way of life will downsize. We won't have any choice about it.
10-29-10, 02:16 PM #649
I suggest that spidergoat goes and buys his few acres in the mountains, builds his shelter/fortress, and goes there with his steel tools and seed potatoes to establish his survivalist subsistence agriculture way of life. History tells us that such people do not live anywhere as long as modern man. When, inevitably, spidergoat dies young, the rest of us can go there and have a huge party to see him on his way.
The rest of us will continue to enjoy the modern way of life, driving around our battery operated/algae biodiesel operated/ synfuel operated cars. We will enjoy all the benefits of the technological and medical developments of the near future, and finally die at the ripe old age of 150.
10-29-10, 02:32 PM #650
Modern life in a dense urban environment is the future. But cars will not be a part of it. Localized agriculture will also be important, but we will depend on each other more, not less. Community is the future, the isolated man in their fortified McMansion compound pretenting to be a feudal lord is a way of life that will soon be extinct.
10-29-10, 02:36 PM #651
I think it will change. I guess if you are talking about driving Hummers and the like then yes. But that doesn't mean it won't grow. It will just grow in another direction.
For example. Consider how we go to work. Wake up, get in a car (for the most part) drive to work, use gas, get to work (another building that requires 1 to be built and 2 use energy typically ineffeciently).
Now consider large population numbers being able to work from home instead.
Yes they will be using energy at home, but we eliminate the commute, we eliminate the additional buildings to build, maintain and which also use energy.
We can also improve the energy effeciences of the homes being built and improve on the energy sources for the home as well.
So yes we will be forced to make changes, but there are too many factors involved to say exactly what those changes will entail.
We are entering a technological age that we don't know how far it will or can take us. Considering how far we have come in such a short time period I don't think anyone can say for sure what we will have available to us even 20years from now.
10-29-10, 02:39 PM #652
Which will force this change. But like I suggested there is no reason to think that we can't make it work and grow. It will just be a different economy with different things driving it. Just like our economy is different than it was 200 years ago.
10-29-10, 02:44 PM #653
I don't think the population is going to increase substantially. It won't be able to. Agriculture will lose it's energy inputs in terms of oil-based fertilizer, oil-based mechanization, and oil-based transportation. A technology-based economy is equally unlikely, given it's requirements for a high-energy manufacturing base and a ready supply of prosperous consumers willing to buy the latest gadget.
10-29-10, 03:08 PM #654
The United Nations has already made its population projections. Total of 9 billion by 2040. Then population stability. This, plus or minus a billion or so, is the most probable prediction.
The idea of work from home is a very good one, and will help improve the way of life for many people. The technology is available, and should be put to use. It will not suit everyone, of course, since the workplace is also a vitally importance socialising centre.
On energy. If we look at the energy that is available in theory, we see that there is no shortage. It is massively abundant. It will require some technological and economic development to tap, but there is no theoretical imprediment to doing that. In fact, the amount of energy available in theory is many, many times that which humanity will require.
10-29-10, 03:22 PM #655
10-29-10, 03:37 PM #656
I am not exactly sure what you are asking, but as far as alcohol production, it is nearly all from sugar cane in Brazil. (None from sugar beats, corn etc.) There are quite a few other plants being grown for diesel fuel, some on small farms in the NE where the beans or seeds are crushed at the farm and the raw oil stored. Periodically a truck mounted benefication processor will visit the farm, process the raw oil into diesel fuel it takes away.
As some poster pointed out, the energy available each day as sunlight is far more than man needs, even if only that falling on tropical forests is counted. Sugar cane is by far the most economical way to currently capture the tiny part of this energy man needs.
True, mankind would need to do to a tiny fraction of these forest what was done to more than half of the forest covering Ohio etc. in the US beginning ~250 years ago but that is better than continuing to burn oil, gas and coal, even from a CO2 POV in the long run.
I.e. a sugar cane based energy system is sufficient* for man's needs and sustainable as long as the sun shines without continuously increasing CO2 pollution. Not even nuclear, nor coal and certainly not oil or gas, can make that claim. Mankind will switch away from these non-sustainable energy sources and the sooner we get seriously started the better. - I.e. alcohol fueled cars are a large scale economical reality now** - electric cars probably will not ever be,** IMHO.
*Especially with efficiency improvements, like more use of mass transit and telecommuting, less "suburban sprawl," products designed for re-cycling etc.
** Approximately three million alcohol fuel cars are being produced each year now. - Electric cars can only hope for 10% of that scale a decade from now, if sufficient source of lithium for the batteries and certain rare earths for magnets in motors, etc. can be both found and economically produced.
Last edited by Billy T; 10-29-10 at 03:50 PM.
10-29-10, 04:01 PM #657
10-29-10, 04:36 PM #658
We will need to eat a lot less meat.
Oil-based fertilizer, that won't be too difficult as well as removing the damage done by it, could be a win win.
Oil-based mechanization, why couldn't we run the machinery on some other source ?
Oil-based transportation, this will be a little tougher if we are talking about large trucks. But we can improve efficiency and do more with rail.
I am not disagreeing with you on the pain part. I do think we are going to experience a lot of adjustment as a society. Maybe that is what is needed for us to then re-think it and move in the better direction.
But I am less pessimistic, but I also see it as change and change only and it could be a good thing in the long run. What we need of course is a direction that offers us longer term sustainablility.
10-29-10, 04:37 PM #659
We need to re-think the city (no private cars) etc. I have done so in old post I will try to find of a very green city with tilted pyramidal buildings (vertical North wall in Northern Hemisphere and each level smaller so has perimeter "U shaped" green space on all levels - from high above the city looks like pasture or forest.
Most of my old post deals with the "autocar" shared transportation system, which resembles a "horizontal elevator" - I.e. you push a few buttons telling the system where you want to go, how many of you are traveling together and it prints your bar code key to the autocar that takes you there via a controlled access pathway, very fast in a locked autocar than never stops until you arrive at the autocar terminal in each building ground floor center as there are no intersection, stop lights, or traffic jams, etc. I.e. it is very much like an elevator - controlled access pathway, a locked car with limited exit spots, etc.
If you need or want to exit sooner, you can hit your only control, the "stop button," (like hitting the next floor button coming up in an elevator) and autocars stops at the closest auto car terminal for you to get out. The entire system is under computer control, again like an elevator, just more complex.
Did you know that elevators are the safest form of transportation by far on a passenger mile basis - the autocar system will be even safer as the computer has alternate route to go from A to B and controls all movement within the system. When you leave the autocar it goes to the local cleaning center. (If you messed it up, your monthly bill will be higher or your pre paid deposit may be eaten up.) Autocars come in 2, 4 or 6 passenger sizes.
This brief description given as I may not be able to find the full description of the city (or you may not want to read about the internal layout / uses of the pyramidal buildings, covered bike pathways, time of use billing system of autocars to avoid demand over loads etc.)
Just one comment on the internal use of the buildings -People live on the higher levels (and can smoke only in the top roof park) and most commute to work places in the lower levels by elevator or if they work in a different building, the bike pathway level or the autocar terminal on the ground level
Later, by edit: It was easy to find links to old my old post via machine search of all my posts with "autocar" as the entry item:
For more on the autocar system see: http://www.sciforums.com/showpost.ph...9&postcount=74
For more about the city plan see: http://www.sciforums.com/showpost.ph...1&postcount=71
but there is an earlier more detailed post in some thread about modern cities I did not find.
Last edited by Billy T; 10-29-10 at 05:09 PM.
10-29-10, 05:13 PM #660
I don't think we can make or create too many answers for the future generations. What they will have available to them both technologically and what resources remain etc are not known to us at least on a specifics.
But the example you gave might certainly become a reality to future generations.
I do disagree on the electric car part.
Any society that currently has the car as an integral transportation device has electricity basically everywhere.
So the infrastructure is for the most part in place and easily convertable as needed. The issue is the car and what power source for the electricity.
We are looking at a very simple technology in the powertrain of the cars. So it's really about the battery and charge times.
In the long run, if we can advance that tech we are in business because we can create electricity by a myraid of sources and then provide that power to anyplace, without have to truck or train the supplies there.
So what you are doing with gas/alchohol powered cars is adding more consumption into the mix just to get it to it's destination. It's a much more power intensive proposition. Not to mention shipping the crap all over the place. So the only way that you remove that is to have local production only to eliminate the additional drain.
We can not know what the future holds when it comes to technological breakthroughs but I am very hopefull that we will find them for the electric powered cars.
The other point I will make on this is:
What is the efficiency improvement expectations for a gas/alcohol powered ICE in the next 30 years ?
Apply the same question to electrics.
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