Homepage Forums Economic Forums Petroleum Products: Life after Fusion

This topic contains 14 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by Avatar rashidas 5 years, 4 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #577
    Avatar
    Tasmodevil44
    Member

    Also not to mention the fact that even if there was no warming, the planet’s remaining natural deposits of carbon are far too valuable for other uses than to burn it all up.

    #3481
    Avatar
    Rezwan
    Member

    Tasmodevil44 wrote: Also not to mention the fact that even if there was no warming, the planet’s remaining natural deposits of carbon are far too valuable for other uses than to burn it all up.

    Can you elaborate on this? I appreciate it in theory, but do you know of any sources that quantify this? I live in Iran, and some days feel like I am betraying this country by putting an end to their cash cow.

    I have a vague idea that they can re-tool their economy to go upstream and develop high end petroleum based products, and that this is valuable, but other than an assertion, I have nothing to go on.

    Thanks!

    #3482

    Hi All:

    Decided to move this to a new thread. Seems like a new topic. Split from Branson Prize post.

    #3491
    Avatar
    JimmyT
    Participant

    Rezwan,
    This reply really requires an encyclopedia, not a paragraph. But here’s the gist of it.

    Currently here in The United States about 20% of the petroleum we use is used for chemical feedstock, not fuel.

    Plastics are the first thing that comes to everyone’s mind, but the complete list would fill volumes. Everything from paints to pharmaceuticals to pesticides start their life as petroleum.

    And if you wanted to know how this is done…..Well that’s many many more volumes. And certainly no one individual knows all of it.

    Assuming that the deployment of focus fusion causes a general increase in the standard of living worldwide; We expect that the demand for petroleum as a chemical feedstock will increase, even as its use as a fuel decreases.

    Hope this helps a little.

    #3492
    Avatar
    JimmyT
    Participant

    Having given this a little thought. If I were a petroleum exporter here is where I would want to be:

    There is a group of chemicals, derived from petroleum but precursors of virtually all finished products. And the good part is that they are relatively few in number. Perhaps 20-30 chemicals total. I’d make and export them.

    #3496
    Avatar
    Tasmodevil44
    Member

    Sooner or later (preferrably sooner), we’re still going to have to deal with and solve the same problem: that planet Earth’s natural deposits of carbon in the form of coal, oil and gas are limited and finite …… and that it’s a major waste to burn it all up, leaving nothing for other purposes. Even if Al Gore and much of the scientific community turned out to be wrong, and the global warming skeptics were right, it’s still a big waste of resources to burn anything that has carbon in it.

    We need hydrocarbons for other things like petrochemicals, rubber and plastics. And although there’s other ways to make steel without coal, it’s been the only way known so far to make it in cheap enough commercial quantities. It’s no exaggeration by any means to say that the entire industrial revolution was made possible only by coal. (Although in the future, a high temperature plasma torch driven by focus fusion may be able to convert iron ore to steel without any use of coal).

    But Rezwan brought – up a very good question: how do you make the switch to something else without harming oil companies, coal mining companies and energy exporting countries? Perhaps there’s some way these businesses and nations can gradually diversify into other things before it all runs out?

    One possibility is if there was more diversification into growing renewable hydrocarbons like industrial hemp and algae. But it will take time for the enormous scale – up due to the landspace involved. In the past, oil companies have fought against such things, which I think is a mistake. Instead, they should embrace change, and even jump on the bandwagon of change.

    And of course, we need more nuclear power in place of conventional fuels, whether it be focus fusion, or whether it be vastly improved fission, such as using thorium instead of uranium. But the Bush Administration has always been paranoid about letting Iran develop it’s nuclear capability. Perhaps forms of nuclear that is inherently safer will allay a lot of fears and paranoia? I think that every nation needs more nuclear energy if we are to solve many problems of economic development throughout the world. More nuclear power would even free – up more petroleum for export.

    #11128
    Avatar
    dennisp
    Member

    Keep oil companies in business by continuing to use diesel and gasoline for vehicles. Make it from water and ambient CO2. There are half a dozen technologies in development to do it with. Owning an oil well won’t be a good business anymore, but pipelines, refineries, and gas stations stay in business, and the car companies don’t have to retool.

    #11130
    Avatar
    zapkitty
    Member

    dennisp wrote: Keep oil companies in business…

    … why?

    You’ve heard of the buggy whip makers?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marketing_myopia

    #11132
    Avatar
    dennisp
    Member

    Buggy-whip makers didn’t have the economic and political power that oil companies do.

    Exxon alone has revenue comparable to the GDP of the tenth largest country in the world.

    #11137
    Avatar
    Tulse
    Participant

    Companies that provided whale oil were also large. Companies that provided coal-based home heating were also large. It doesn’t matter how big you are if consumers aren’t buying your product, and there is only so much that economic and political power can do to ensure that consumers buy your product.

    #11139
    Avatar
    dennisp
    Member

    Customers will only stop buying their product after focus fusion attains wide usage. I’m not going to underestimate the oil companies’ abilities to (1) propagandize the public about scary nuclear technology, no matter how benign it actually is, and (2) get oppressive regulations enacted.

    Aside from that, as I just posted in another thread, I think keeping hydrocarbons is the easiest solution, and a good one as long as we’re getting them from CO2. Why swap out an entire infrastructure and vehicle fleet if we don’t have to?

    #11142
    Avatar
    Tulse
    Participant

    Burning hydrocarbons produce their own problems, even if the source of those hydrocarbons is carbon-neutral. Soot, NOx, even unburned vapour are all not-great-things health-wise.

    Also, if we get FF, then the possibility of relatively compact generation makes the current existence of a liquid fuel distribution system rather moot, as your source of motive power can be located anywhere, without any need to hook into a larger distribution system. (Indeed, the military may be the first to go largely electric, as it is far cheaper to plop down a shipping-container-sized FF generator than ship in tons of fuel or build a hydrocarbon generator that requires a lot of water.)

    #11143
    Avatar
    dennisp
    Member

    For vehicles large enough to carry their own FF reactor, it’d be crazy not to just do that. Ships for sure, maybe trains and large aircraft.

    For smaller vehicles, nothing yet beats the energy density and fast refueling of hydrocarbons. Even the military has to consider that, unless they know for sure their vehicles will only be out for short trips. If batteries get good enough, that might change….but I’ve gotten tired of holding my breath for that. (That said, there are some pretty interesting projects in the labs.)

    Boron is another interesting possibility, described in Tom Blees’ book. Even better energy density than gasoline, but it only burns in pure oxygen, and at pretty high temperature. It’d be a technical challenge, but if you can get it to work, you’re emission-free…you just ship the solid oxidized boron back to the factory.

    #11190
    Avatar
    Brian H
    Member

    dennisp wrote: Customers will only stop buying their product after focus fusion attains wide usage. I’m not going to underestimate the oil companies’ abilities to (1) propagandize the public about scary nuclear technology, no matter how benign it actually is, and (2) get oppressive regulations enacted.

    Aside from that, as I just posted in another thread, I think keeping hydrocarbons is the easiest solution, and a good one as long as we’re getting them from CO2. Why swap out an entire infrastructure and vehicle fleet if we don’t have to?

    Lerner’s plan, as I understand it, is to make licenses to manufacture inexpensively and UNIVERSALLY available. This implodes all regulatory and national/regional barriers. Once some locales start to make/use FF, it will be suicidal, impossible, to resist matching them. A 10-50X energy cost advantage is that powerful.

    #13019
    Avatar
    rashidas
    Participant

    How will Lerner’s company be able to collect license fees or royalties from its licensees, especially the ones overseas?

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.