Viewing 15 posts - 76 through 90 (of 107 total)
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    AvatarBrian H

    Tasmodevil44 wrote:

    And although it would not help the global warming problem any, nuclear energy can also assist in producing more hydrocarbons from things like conventional oil wells, oil shale, and coal. But to avoid global warming, I would prefer the renewable methods as much as posible.

    Yes, lots of theoretical, marginal and as-yet-unthought-of processes become very attractive with access to (proportionately) cheap energy.

    But zero out the global warming concerns and motivation. Unfortunately, AGW is a flimsy but very well-financed myth. Warm periods have been historically mankind’s ‘Boom Times’, and it’s a pity we can’t actually make it happen by choice.


    Enjoy it while you can.

    The current administration is, judging by what I have seen, on a path to remove coal from the options available for power generation. If FF is not commercial in the near term, and no real crash program developed for replacement power, energy shortages ARE in our future. If the only “acceptable” options are wind and solar, energy supplies will be less reliable, and from 3 to 5 times more expensive. Currently, in the US, wind power receives an extremely large (on the order of 75%) subsidy from the government. We, as tax payers, are footing that bill (Or our children and grandchildren, unless we inflate our way out of the massive federal debt.).

    I’m participating on this board looking for hope, like a passenger on a sink ship, looking for the distance sign of ship smoke on the horizon.


    EPA Finds Greenhouse Gases Pose Threat to Public Health, Welfare
    Source: POWERnews

    After a thorough scientific review ordered in 2007 by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposed finding on Friday that greenhouse gases contribute to air pollution that may endanger public health or welfare. 

    The proposed finding, which now moves to a public comment period, identified six greenhouse gases that pose a potential threat. “This finding confirms that greenhouse gas pollution is a serious problem now and for future generations. Fortunately, it follows President Obama’s call for a low carbon economy and strong leadership in Congress on clean energy and climate legislation,” said Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

    “This pollution problem has a solution—one that will create millions of green jobs and end our country’s dependence on foreign oil.” As the proposed endangerment finding states, “In both magnitude and probability, climate change is an enormous problem. The greenhouse gases that are responsible for it endanger public health and welfare within the meaning of the Clean Air Act.” 


    The above article ends with:

    The proposed endangerment finding now enters the public comment period, which is the next step in the deliberative process EPA must undertake before issuing final findings. It’s no surprise that climate change naysayers, including Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), have already spoken out against the finding, while environmental protection groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, have expressed their support for the move.

    The proposed finding does not include any proposed regulations. Before taking any steps to reduce greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, the agency would conduct an appropriate process and consider stakeholder input. Notwithstanding this required regulatory process, both President Obama and Administrator Jackson have repeatedly indicated their preference for comprehensive legislation to address this issue and create the framework for a clean energy economy.

    Congress begins hearings this week on the American Clean Energy and Security Act. At the end of last month, Chairman Henry A. Waxman of the Energy and Commerce Committee and Chairman Edward J. Markey of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee released a discussion draft of the proposed legislation and expressed the desire to have it moved out of committee by Memorial Day. Though its scope is broader than the purview of the EPA finding, the act’s draft includes a Global Warming Pollution Reduction Program that involves a cap-and-trade program.

    Sources: U.S. EPA, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sen. James Inhofe, U.S. House of Representatives


    And, I’ve also heard of rants by vegans discussing using the contribution methane to global warming as a reason to push for a ban on beef. Really. You see, cows fart methane, so….

    AvatarBrian H

    Rematog wrote: And, I’ve also heard of rants by vegans discussing using the contribution methane to global warming as a reason to push for a ban on beef. Really. You see, cows fart methane, so….

    So do we! You’ve inspired me to enhance my sig. Thanks!


    Brian H stated that :

    ” But zero out the global warming concerns and motivation. “

    You are indeed correct in that the so – called overwhelming ” consensus ” does not really exist. For the most part, the jury is still out on global warming as to how much drastic effect it will really have on anything. Jolly Roger and I already had a discussion about this on the global warming thread.

    Fossil records indicate an unusually warm period about 30 million years ago when the average climate was about 5 degrees celsius warmer than now. Sea levels were only six feet higher. Instead of total collapse of Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, there was only a warming of the Antarctic Penninsula with some grass and trees growing there. Current global warming trends indicate a similar trend : only a warming of the Antarctic Penninsula……not a total collapse of highly stable ice sheets.

    And although a six foot rise will still eventually wreak havoc to lowlands and shipping ports for ships, it will not happen overnight. It will happen gradually over several centuries, so that we can slowly adapt to the change (New Orleans and Houston may be eventually abandoned in another hundred years, or become like Venice, Italy).

    Asteroid impacts, tsunamis, and super volcano eruptions are a far greater concern, however. Those are the real worries that could really do us in.

    However, if global warming does become a major problem, we are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Realistically, there’s just no way we can make the transition fast enough. Not without collapsing the entire economy. No matter how much you tax industry to death for CO2 emissions, they can only make the transition to other technology just so fast.

    As for people like Barack Obama and Al Gore, thier ambitious goals are far too unrealistic. Although I’m all for small – scale, decentralized production from wind and solar, there’s just no way it can reduce CO2 emissions 80 % by the year 2020. That is a complete fantasy. Especially when China, India and all the rest of the world are rapidly ramping – up their output. And cap and trade is nothing but a big ponzi scheme that will do absolutely nothing to reduce emissions except possibly open – up the potential of endless abuses by crooks, etc. the way well – intentioned goverment programs often do……and will probably just cause all kinds of distortions of the free marketplace that otherwise would not occur.

    And if you tax industry to death before it can change to something else, it’s like burning down your bridge before you can cross it. Or like killing the goose before it lays the golden egg. Does Barack Obama think that all these windmills and solar panels will simply construct themselves without any fossil fuel consumed or CO2 produced during their manufacture ?

    So while we’re at it, I guess it probably wouldn’t hurt to use cheap nuclear fusion as an energy extraction aid…… for going after fusion oil and gas from tar sands, oil shale, coal, methane hydrate, and etc. ……in addition to all the renewables we can bring online.


    By the way, exactly how is cap and trade going to work simply by selling and swapping off your greenhouse pollution credits off onto somebody else ? When reducing CO2 emissions, it all seems like a complete joke and a lot of inconvenient paperwork to me. As if everybody isn’t already completely snowed – under by too much red tape.



    To start, I’d read the Wikipedia entry on Cap and Trade. It gives a reasonable description on how this emission control method works.

    Cap and Trade is currently in use in the US in regulating NOx and SOx emissions. Generally, when additional reductions are required, the “allowances” held by industry are reduced across the board, say requiring two allowances per ton emitted instead of one allowance, etc. Then, individual plants either install equipment, shut down operations, or buy credits, depending on that sites economics. It works pretty well, really.

    As to adding red tape, all regulated emissions, as well as some not yet requiring controls, have to be monitored and reported. So the cap and trade is no more burden than other emissions control regulations.

    And yes, complying with governmental regulations is a “burden” on industry. The plant I work at has had to add a second environment engineer to deal with reporting and compliance with the literally dozens of different environment regulations and agencies with jurisdiction over air pollution, water pollution, radiation (we are not a nuclear plant, but have nuclear sources in some instruments, etc) , ground water, noise, toxic chemical usage, zoning, levy boards (we are located on a river), stack lighting (aircraft warning lights), etc.

    These real world requirements are one of the reasons I don’t buy into the idea that FF modules will, within a few years of introduction, be allowed to be sited for unattended operation in urban areas.


    I made an error in my previous statement about how the goal by Barack Obama and others is 80 % reduction of CO2 emissions by 2020. But instead, it’s 80 % reduction by 2050.

    This may actually be a more realizeable goal, provided we have the motivation and enough will to carry it out. But unfortunately, alas, America seems too complacent and lame – brained these days to get off the sofa and switch – off the t.v. It wil take nothing less than something on a scale like Manhattan or the Apollo kind of a crash program for nuclear fusion.

    And even if successful, deeply entrenched interests like the oil and coal industry may fight it. Unless the oil industry themselves hop onto the fusion bandwagon and start using fusion to assist in their production of fusion oil.


    By the way, Rematog, I love your purple alien creature with orange glowing eyes. Does he already use focus fusion on the planet where he comes from ? Perhaps he can give Lerner some design and engineering pointers on how to make the DPF operate better ! ! ! LOL. 🙂

    AvatarBrian H

    Brian H stated that :

    However, if global warming does become a major problem, we are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Realistically, there’s just no way we can make the transition fast enough. Not without collapsing the entire economy. No matter how much you tax industry to death for CO2 emissions, they can only make the transition to other technology just so fast.

    We’re actually in for about a half-century or so, at least, of Global Cooling. Pray it doesn’t get serious, as it is FAR harder to deal with.

    IAC, as Freeman Dyson observes, relatively inexpensive modifications to agricultural and horticultural practices would have much faster, larger, and PROVEN impact on CO2 levels than any conceivable affordable or un-affordable industrial-scale fixes.


    The picture was from a card in the “Magic the Gathering” collectable card game. The creature gained power from “consuming” artifacts. I adopted him as my mascot in the early 90’s, as the RX-7 I drove at the time took a steady steam of spare parts…….

    He was named the “ATOG”….guess the rest.


    AvatarPete Keech

    This post has meandered through some interesting topics, but it has drifted from the original title, fusion oils… I hope this goes to refocussing the discussion…

    If FF is viable, liquid fuels will be all produced using electricity, and oil will be over within 5-10 years, and here is why. Even with existing technology, we simply make loads of methanol (wood alcohol for non-chemists). We can crudely use some #’s to see why this approach is possible:

    Hydrogen can already be generated (inefficiently) using electricity and (salty) water. I say inefficiently in that you lose up to 1/2 the energy you get back out, even on the best catalysts, but electricity is essentially free with FF, so efficiency doesn’t matter as much as with other fuels. Still, assuming existing efficiency, you find citings that say H2 is 58 kwH electrical power per kg:

    H2 production

    Chemical production is even better, using the sulphuric acid cycle, but look that up on your own if you don’t like my numbers…

    Remembering that 1 kg of H2 is a lot of H2 (it’s so light), we can switch to moles & we have:
    500 mol H2 using 58 kWh

    Carbon dioxide can be captured from the atmosphere directly using electricity. That’s how they make dry ice & store it in gas cylinders. That’s essentially free with FF. There’s even a group that claims they can do it at a cost of 100 kWh/tonne, or about 0.1 kWh per kg with their numbers. We can assume crappy efficiency, so that even at 1 kWh/kg, (since CO2 is 22 g/mol we get 45 mol/kg). To scale up to 250 moles, (since we need 2 H2 per CO2 to make this work, we need) we need 6 kg CO2, which puts our energy budget up to 6 kWh on this process, and a total of 64 kWh to make suitable amounts of H2 and CO2

    CO2 sequestering from the air

    Hydrogen reacts with carbon dioxide over many catalysts to produce methanol. Assuming efficiency of 50% (extremely low for a chemist), and other losses, lets assume our 64 kWH input energy is actually closer to 130 kWh (i.e. total efficiency of chemical process is only 50%). Just google co2 h2 methanol to see.

    For cars, methanol burns with minor injector / carb adjustments, at 70% gas efficiency, meaning we can scale our 130 kWh up by another 30% to be 180 kWh. You can easily convert methanol to dimethyl ether and run it directly in diesel engines. We can assume only this fuel has 70% the energy of diesel and say 180 kWh electrical energy is needed. Existing refineries have all the necessary abilities for these chemical step & could probably drive up the efficiency above 90% for these chemical conversions. The ether formation is especially easy already.

    For $2, you can generate the required 200 kWh of electricity, assuming .01 $/kWh using FF (and yes I know higher is possible using Lerner’s calcs, but being pessimistic about FF). That means $2 gas or diesel per gallon. End of story, since those days are already behind us. Assume any gains in efficiency, or decreases in electricity cost, and you can make hydrogen with any (dirt cheap) catalyst, like iron, instead of palladium or platinum.

    Don’t like methanol? Ethanol (diethyl ether) is possible too.
    That one is a bit further away, but it would come on line very quickly in the age of cheap electricity.

    You can eventally make any number of alcohol hydrocarbons, or even hydrocarbons themselves (i.e. put H2 and CO2 back together to make CH4 and H2O at high temp). It’s actually quite easy to do this, as it is just high temperature equilibrium chemistry – keep adding CO2 and H2 and bleeding off the CH4.) Of course, we could just burn the hydrogen in many applications (heating, etc).

    Give the chemists the cheap (free) electricity, and liquid fuels will come very very quickly.

    On a related note, you can also make loads of carbon (i.e. coal) using nickel catalysts to put that shite back in the ground (agricultural lands are quite carbon hungry nowadays – see biochar discussions).

    Consumer reports on fuels:


    The subject of using methanol as a motor fuel is suprisingly complex.

    Point 1: The reaction of making methanol out of Carbon monoxide and Hydrogen is exothermic and reversible. What that means practically is that the methanol contains significantly less energy than the Carbon monoxide and hydrogen that produce it. However it is much easier to store than the component gases. This effect can be used to advantage my adding a “reformer” to each auto. The reformer would use waste engine heat to break down the methanol into the two gases used to produce it which once again will have much more energy than the origanal methanol. Result: an increase of efficiency of about 30%, if I remember my chemistry correctly.

    Point 2: Methanol is highly toxic. Even it’s vapors are toxic, and the liquid methanol is readily absorbed thru the skin. The effect of exposure, even low level exposure repeatedly, is irreversible blindness. This material is far too toxic to be used in do it yourself fuel centers. So we would be back to attendants filling your car. And despite precautions, many of them will go blind. So an additional “cost” of widely adopting this fuel will be an army of blind ex-fuel attendants.

    This is not meant to be an argument against using methanol as a fuel. It is just to point out a couple of unmentioned considerations.

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