• All Purchases made this month instantly go into the draw to win a USD $ 100.00 credit to your HoP account.
 

Forums > Social Discussion > Biofuels: the fake climate change solution

Login/Join to Participate

Pyrolific
BRONZE Member since Jan 2001

Returning to a unique state of Equilibrium
Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Total posts: 3288
Posted:Hi Everyone,

I just got this from a mailing list I'm on. It didnt show anything new to me, but I thought it might be an interesting discussion point for the HOP crowd.

 Written by = "Avaaz"



Each day, 820 million people in the developing world do not have enough food to eat1. Food prices around the world are shooting up, sparking food riots from Mexico2 to Morocco3. And the World Food Program warned last week that rapidly rising costs are endangering emergency food supplies for the world's worst-off4.

How are the wealthiest countries responding? They're burning food.

Specifically, they're using more and more biofuels--alcohol made from plant products, used in place of petrol to fuel cars. Biofuels are billed as a way to slow down climate change. But in reality, because so much land is being cleared to grow them, most biofuels today are causing more global warming emissions than they prevent5, even as they push the price of corn, wheat, and other foods out of reach for millions of people6.

Not all biofuels are bad--but without tough global standards, the biofuels boom will further undermine food security and worsen global warming. Click here to use our simple tool to send a message to your head of state before this weekend's global summit on climate change in Chiba, Japan, and help build a global call for biofuels regulation:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/biofuel_standards_now/11.php?cl=61898213

Sometimes the trade-off is stark: filling the tank of an SUV with ethanol requires enough corn to feed a person for a year7. But not all biofuels are bad; making ethanol from Brazilian sugar cane is vastly more efficient than US-grown corn, for example, and green technology for making fuel from waste is improving rapidly.

The problem is that the EU and the US have set targets for increasing the use of biofuels without sorting the good from the bad. As a result, rainforests are being cleared in Indonesia to grow palm oil for European biodiesel refineries, and global grain reserves are running dangerously low. Meanwhile, rich-country politicians can look "green" without asking their citizens to conserve energy, and agribusiness giants are cashing in. And if nothing changes, the situation will only get worse.

What's needed are strong global standards that encourage better biofuels and shut down the trade in bad ones. Such standards are under development by a number of coalitions8, but they will only become mandatory if there's a big enough public outcry. It's time to move: this Friday through Saturday, the twenty countries with the biggest economies, responsible for more than 75% of the world's carbon emissions9, will meet in Chiba, Japan to begin the G8's climate change discussions. Before the summit, let's raise a global cry for change on biofuels:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/biofuel_standards_now/11.php?cl=61898213

A call for change before this week's summit won't end the food crisis, or stop global warming. But it's a critical first step. By confronting false solutions and demanding real ones, we can show our leaders that we want to do the right thing, not the easy thing.

As Kate, an Avaaz member in Colorado, wrote about biofuels, "Turning food into oil when people are already starving? My car isn't more important than someone's hungry child."

It's time to put the life of our fellow people, and our planet, above the politics and profits that too often drive international decision-making. This will be a long fight. But it's one that we join eagerly--because the stakes are too high to do anything else.

With hope,

Ben, Ricken, Iain, Galit, Paul, Graziela, Pascal, Esra'a, Milena -- the Avaaz.org team

SOURCES:

[1] World Food Programme. "Hunger Facts." Accessed 10 March 2008. http://www.wfp.org/aboutwfp/facts/hunger_facts.asp

[2] The Sunday Herald (Scotland). "2008: The year of global food crisis." 9 March 2008. http://www.sundayherald.com/news/heraldn...food_crisis.php

[3] The Australian: "Biofuels threaten 'billions of lives'" 28 February, 2008. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23336840-11949,00.html

[4] AFP: "WFP chief warns EU about biofuels." 7 March 2008. http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5hpCFf3spGcDQUuILK5JFV-6NL1Dg

[5] New York Times: "Biofuels Deemed a Greenhouse Threat." 8 February 2008. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/08/science/earth/08wbiofuels.html

[6] The Times: "Rush for biofuels threatens starvation on a global scale." 7 March 2008. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3500954.ece ... also see BBC: "In graphics: World warned on food price spiral." 10 March 20


--
Help! My personality got stuck in this signature machine and I cant get it out!

Delete Topic

Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13920
Posted:Personally, with all the technology we have, I still find it odd that we still rely on BURNING STUFF to generate our power.

Kinda sad, huh?


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

Delete

LazyAngel
GOLD Member since Jul 2004

LazyAngel

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Cambridge UK

Total posts: 2895
Posted:this might interest you then...
cars that run on compressed air

part 1




part 2




Because ActiveAngel sounds like a feminine deodorant

Like sex, I'm much more interesting in real life than online.

'Be the change you want to see in the world around you' - Ghandi

Delete

Gnor
BRONZE Member since Mar 2003

Gnor

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Perth

Total posts: 5814
Posted:Biofuels in primary industry have a place I believe. Farmers can cut production costs significantly by using self-produced biofuels. Ironically some of the byproducts of some biofuels are sold for stockfeed and so make the process even more cost effective. This enables some farmers to actaully farm more area effectively. The primary industry use of biodisal in West Aust seems to be more for farmer self use rather than general public use. I believe Gulls biodesal is from palm oil rather than canola which is what the wheat belt farmers here tend to use.
Our darling government has made using biodiesal in agriculture a right pain, the drought has also stymied farmers from recently using biodiesal even more so than before.


Is it the Truth?
Is it Fair to all concerned?
Will it build Goodwill and Better Friendships?
Will it be Beneficial to all concerned?

Im in a lonely battle with the world with a fish to match the chip on my shoulder. Gnu in Binnu in a cnu

Delete

Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 2830
Posted:I can understand there is a certain efficiency when bio diesel is produced from by product fish and chip oils, but Im not so sure about the efficiency of producing bio diesel from canola oil.



There is a large fossil fuel input required to grow a crop of canola. In addition to the high amount of fossil fuels that go into sowing and harvesting the crop, there are also the fossil fuels that go into the production of the herbicides and fertilizers used to grow canola. Canola has a large requirement for nitrogen, phosphorous and sulphur. Then, there is the cost of the fossil fuels that go into the production of the crops used to produce methanol. Plus infrastructure etc.



Id like to see an accurate cost benefit analysis on the efficiency of canola bio diesel compared to other fuels.



I'm thinking that when the real inputs of fossil required to produce bio fuels are taken into account, then they are far higher than than just using fossil fuels.

EDITED_BY: Stone (1205679145)


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

Delete

Gnor
BRONZE Member since Mar 2003

Gnor

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Perth

Total posts: 5814
Posted:A family I know produced enough biodiesal from a canola crop to put in 1000s of acres of land under canola itself, wheat and some other grains. This included planting, harvest and other processes. The cost of biodiesal production process itself is lessened by selling the by products of production and the biodiesal is used pure in the machinary and the machinery runs better (and smells better)
Once small local crushing plants becomes available the cost will be further reduced as will the carbon footprint I guess. However a number of years of drought has put projects on hold as you need seed to make fuel.(of course) Its irrelevant when there is no crop for food or fuel, although there is still a significant debt to putting a failed crop in. I believe the cost of putting a crop in was around $500 000 at least.

If you are really interested I can get actual costings.


Is it the Truth?
Is it Fair to all concerned?
Will it build Goodwill and Better Friendships?
Will it be Beneficial to all concerned?

Im in a lonely battle with the world with a fish to match the chip on my shoulder. Gnu in Binnu in a cnu

Delete

Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Buses running on fish and chip oil smell like fish shops.



Im not trying to start an argument. The point was about the real cost of fossil fuel inputs, not necessarily the cost of production. This might be different to what a farmer estimates it takes to grow a 1000 acres of crop.



I agree about the problems with Government.



Id like to see an accurate cost benefit analysis on the efficiency of canola bio diesel compared to other fuels, which may be different to what a farmer estimates. Especially when all the inputs of fossil fuel (including the inputs that go into the production of herbicides and nitrogen) are taken into account.

EDITED_BY: Stone (1205681080)


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

Delete

Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Ok, drought is a part of life.

Where abouts in WA is the farm located, and how many t/ha of canola does your farmer family estimate they need to break even on the bio fuel project?


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

Delete

GeoffonTour04
SILVER Member since Nov 2005

enthusiast
Location: Oxford

Total posts: 360
Posted:I completely agree with the OP; using food for fuel production is ridiculous. The global wheat shortage is likely to get worse even without biofuel production increasing for several reasons. The growing economies (and therefore income per capita) in India and China are increasing demand for meat products there, which uses a lot more grain to produce than if it's consumed directly by people.

There's also a particularly nasty fungus (edit: Ug99, a 'virulent strain of black stem rust, new scientist p14 15.03.08) that eats crops currently working its way from Africa & the middle east through to Pakistan India, and probably China in the next few years. It's looking unlikely that we'll be able to engineer a resistant strain in time to stop it (it's already adapted to at least one resistance gene), and the Chinese govt has recently made a high priority of finding a solution.



Another reason is that crops take fresh water to grow, something many parts of the world are short of. Certain parts of the middle east & large parts of africa are already struggling for fresh water, desalination is expensive & only really practical near the coast, and there aren't very many good alternatives.



The only convincing future for biofuel I've heard of (apart from waste conversion, which to be honest is unlikely to generate enough to make a significant difference on a global scale) is algae - it requires no arable land, grows in salt water, sucks huge amounts of co2 out of the air quite quickly, and the organisms are simple and therefore can hopefully be engineered quite easily. Unfortunately it's going to take a few years to develop, so in the meantime we shall just have to wait & see how severe the global food shortage gets.

EDITED_BY: GeoffonTour04 (1205713284)


Delete

fanged_angel
BRONZE Member since Jul 2007

fanged_angel

poiromaniac
Location: liverpool, uk

Total posts: 162
Posted:i agree that biofuels are poop, as far as CO2 emissions go theyre pretty nasty stuff, especially when there are things out there like stirling engines which use heat to drive them and iv seem one of them get up to about 70mph just off the heat given off by a roast dinner and can be adapted to run off any heat source imaginable. theres also hydrogen cell pwered vehicles which admittedly have their problems (e.g exploding quite a bit) but when you consider that all they release as an emission is water, its definately worth looking into.

what everybody needs to remember though is that the world is constanly yo-yoing around temperatures, were sure as hell not helping with climate change but it happened before the last ice age and personally i dont think cavemen started it all by driving hummers smile

seriously though, algae are responsible for a hell of a lot of co2 and if we get rid of all the algae it would really mess things up.


Delete

GeoffonTour04
SILVER Member since Nov 2005

enthusiast
Location: Oxford

Total posts: 360
Posted:Hydrogen powered fuel cells are currently being put into production vehicles - Honda has made the FCX which is being sold in limited numbers in California. Problems with it are not so much to do with exploding, but the rare materials required for the fuell cells, very limited hydrogen refuelling stations, and the fact that electrolysis is not really that efficient yet. They could help reduce localised emissions in cities, for example, but overall you're not gaining an awful lot because you have to generate the power somewhere else (usually by burning fossil fuels in a power station).
Honda FCX in the news
Official FCX site

Also you can't really get rid of all the algae as such, what I was on about is farming it, you would have to grow it first (and allow for increasing demand) so it would have a benificial impact as you'd always be well ahead of what was being refined.

Wiki page on algaculture
Shell Hawaiian biofuel pilot


Delete

Gnor
BRONZE Member since Mar 2003

Gnor

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Perth

Total posts: 5814
Posted: Written by :Stone









Id like to see an accurate cost benefit analysis on the efficiency of canola bio diesel compared to other fuels, which may be different to what a farmer estimates. Especially when all the inputs of fossil fuel (including the inputs that go into the production of herbicides and nitrogen) are taken into account.





The fossil fuel costs of herbicides isnt going to change whether you do biodiesal or not, broadacre low till production involves serious herbicide input but allows use of tramline and satellite technology for lessened impact on the soil. From the primary producers with large acreages POV biodiesal allows more production not less as the over all production cost is lower.


Is it the Truth?
Is it Fair to all concerned?
Will it build Goodwill and Better Friendships?
Will it be Beneficial to all concerned?

Im in a lonely battle with the world with a fish to match the chip on my shoulder. Gnu in Binnu in a cnu

Delete

Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Thanks, I found a partial budget from the WADA, I think. I havent had time to go through it. They found the decision to use oilseed for biodiesel reduces the value of the canola by $266.35/ha. The net margin for biodiesel in their example was -$48.94/ha. This compares to $217.40 for canola in pool production.

Now, there are some difference is your system. Like your grower uses straight canola oil. Id be interested to know if the tractors are modified to run on straight canola oil.

The cost of inputs is relevant to yield, and canola is a high input crop. Like if you get 0.5 t/ha yield compared to 4 t/ha yield. Input costs are the same. So, Id be really interested to know expected yield t/ha of canola and rainfall for the area.

Mustard may be a better option than canola.

Economics of Biodiesel Using Canola

smile


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

Delete

Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13920
Posted: Written by :GeoffonTour04


but overall you're not gaining an awful lot because you have to generate the power somewhere else (usually by burning fossil fuels in a power station).




BINGO!!!!!

Look, hydrogen is wonderful and great but it has two problems.

1) Water (the product of fuel cells and burning hydrogen) is a greenhouse gas. Now this isn't a problem as long as the hydrogen you're using is the product of the electrolysis of water because it won't change the amount of water in the hydrosphere. However, if you're getting hydrogen from other sources (hydrates, hydrocarbons, etc.) then you aren't helping the global warming problem at all.

2) In order to separate hydrogen and oxygen from water, you need energy. That energy currently would come from burning fossil fuels. I look forward to a day in the future when solar, wind, hydroelectric, and even fusion could power that process.

3) We are going to eventually run into another problem: waste heat. Even if we could drop CO2 emissions to zero by next year and we then developed a method of extracting energy directly from the vacuum (which isn't entirely impossible, although nothing any of us will see in our lifetimes), if we wind up using enough energy we are going to start generating enough waste heat to start changing the climate again. Efficiency will never go away.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

Delete

Gnor
BRONZE Member since Mar 2003

Gnor

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Perth

Total posts: 5814
Posted:The machinary runs on Biodiesal made from canola oil and the many thousands of litres needed are produced on site.
The original decision to use biodiesal was to reduce use of fossil fuels and had an economic impact.
The oil is crushed off site and the cost of transport was covered by selling the meal by product.
They assume a blended product which is not the case and the biodiesal plant is a one off cost, not an annual cost. The plan was to make small "community" style plants to pool resources.
I believe one of the problems was they may have had to start paying a fuel excise for the fuel they made for themselves, to me this is not govt supporting green values.
The ag dept did studies to show it wasnt viable,if it was the one done in Geraldton it has some interesting costings that the farmers questioned ....some farming families have found it is viable.
The labour cost is a moot point isnt it? Many farmers factor it into their schedule as opposed to it stopping them having other paid work. They make the fuel in downtime. There is little mineral diesal cost and Im not even sure there has been the chance to test each batch as such either. If you take out Labour and diesal costs does that make it now $130 in the black per hectare? I dont know enough about the way the diesal subsidies work to know how the real cost of it is. The cost of fuel in geraldton is different to the cost in carnavon, enough to skew the figures nicely if you are 200km north of geraldton
The biggest pain has been pushing for the legislation. Rural women of the year for WA 3(ish) years ago won it for her pioneering work in this feild. The other cost to them has been the constant calls they feild and the travelling to talk about biodiesal to the point where that interferes with farming, not the actual production of biodiesal for themselves.
But its been a moot piont for a few years as there was no crop so the biodiesal push in that area lost impetus.


I agree with Joshes original idea that turning agricultural land over to biodiesal is not a good longterm plan. As is the idea of turning good land into housing as happens here and over the world all the time.


Is it the Truth?
Is it Fair to all concerned?
Will it build Goodwill and Better Friendships?
Will it be Beneficial to all concerned?

Im in a lonely battle with the world with a fish to match the chip on my shoulder. Gnu in Binnu in a cnu

Delete

Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Im not saying its not viable, I dont know, thats why Im asking the questions.



I did ask about rainfall, tonnes per ha, and tractors running on straight canola oil.



I made a point about real costs being different to what a farmer estimates. Like labour cost is a real cost, not a moot point. These schemes often seem ideal because farmers often overlook the real costs of labour and depreciation on plant etc.



Herbicide prices have gone through the roof, so that will make a big difference.



Many thousands of litres produced on site, does not necessarily mean economic production.



I'm thinking there are still a few pieces missing from the viability scenario.


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

Delete

Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13920
Posted:Here's the thing: ultimately biodiesel is solar power. But plants are horribly inefficient at using solar power. I am not sure what the number is but we can come up with far more efficient forms of capturing solar power now.

For example, right now we can construct solar plants that use mirrors to heat a fluid to drive turbines and produce electricity. These plants are capable of capturing as much as 30% of incident sunlight. THAT power could be used to hydrolyze water to produce hydrogen to power cars, aircraft, and ships. And it would be a heck of a lot more efficient and use a lot less land than ethanol or biodiesel.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

Delete

GeoffonTour04
SILVER Member since Nov 2005

enthusiast
Location: Oxford

Total posts: 360
Posted:A good point Doc, but solar panels are very expensive, require a good amount of sunlight, and if you compare them to the algae solution, they don't absorb any co2 and don't self replicate.

Delete

Dragon_Drafin


member


Total posts: 51
Posted:There is so much more to the energy crisis than meets the eye.



If nuclear power was safer, it would be the most effeciant way to power everything. Well until they cracked that whole anti-mater theory (yay Star Trek).



Solar and wind energy are the safest two forms of energy "farming".



Wind energy is probably the healthiest for the environment. Wind turbines take up very little room and the land and ecosystem around it can recover very quickly after the construction. Up keep of the individual turbines is also rather minimal.



Even large farms for wind turbines can be set up in the waste lands where there is even less threat to major ecological systems.



Solar power takes up a lot of space and causes more harm to the ecological system around where it is placed.





 Written by :Stone



I can understand there is a certain efficiency when bio diesel is produced from by product fish and chip oils, but Im not so sure about the efficiency of producing bio diesel from canola oil.







So what exactly do you fry your fish and chips in if not canola oil? I mean sure you can use sunflower seed oil and other stuff, but canola oil is great for frying up food.



I do love me some hot wings and deep fried turkey legs *droos*



Point being, you'd still be using canola oil, just once used canola oil.


Delete

Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13920
Posted: Written by :GeoffonTour04



A good point Doc, but solar panels are very expensive, require a good amount of sunlight, and if you compare them to the algae solution, they don't absorb any co2 and don't self replicate.





Solar panels are not a good way of generating power on a large scale. Mirrors are. The solution is to use Concentrating Solar Thermal technology, in which mirrors, not solar panels, concentrate sun on a single point.This example in Spain shows the idea nicely.



These plants are not free by any means, but nor are coal-powered plants.



As for the impact that they have on the environment, I think it is important to remember that every structure, even a teepee, has an impact on its environment. I would much rather have an impact on several square km of arid desert than spew more greenhouse gases out into the atmosphere, not to mention smog and soot into the air around a fossil fuel plant.



It is also true that a cloudy day would generate less electricity than a sunny day and that the plant would generate no energy at night. There are a few ways to handle this issue. First of all, electric power can be stored relatively efficiently in a number of ways. Second, a network of solar plants spread around the world would be very good at maintaining a constant world supply of electricity.



Solar power alone will not provide for all of our energy needs. It theoretically could, but it probably won't. However, it could solve a lot of problems that we currently face.



Look, consider this entire mess in the Middle-East. Do you know why it exists? Fossil fuels. With solar power we could completely stop depending on the Mid-East. We could pull all troops out and let things there sort themselves. The huge amount of cash flow into the area isn't helping things either. While self-appointed "Sultans" cruise the world in A380 flying palaces, the vast majority of the mid-East still lives in poverty without basic infrastructure.



And imagine how that would change the political face of the world.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

Delete

hamamelis
BRONZE Member since Jan 2006

hamamelis

nut.
Location: Bouncing off the walls.

Total posts: 756
Posted: Written by :Dragon_Drafin



 Written by :Stone


I can understand there is a certain efficiency when bio diesel is produced from by product fish and chip oils, but Im not so sure about the efficiency of producing bio diesel from canola oil.




So what exactly do you fry your fish and chips in if not canola oil? I mean sure you can use sunflower seed oil and other stuff, but canola oil is great for frying up food.

I do love me some hot wings and deep fried turkey legs *droos*

Point being, you'd still be using canola oil, just once used canola oil.



Um.. I think you're missing the point here, I mean, the used-chip-oil is a great way to not waste, but there's not very much *of* it..
I doubt we're going to see lines of cars queueing up outside the chippy in the hope that today *they'll* get the single tank of waste oil..

That said, I do believe there's a lot more sources of fuel we could use, though no single one will supply all the energy we need/want- anything from methane from rotting waste through to food surpluses..
Yes, I know there are people starving, but the issue isn't actually overall shortage of food, but the unequal distribution, it may seem wasteful to use a perfectly good grain supply for fuel, but take a good look at a food pyramid, then figure out how much perfectly good grain goes into your average steak. If we changed habits, ate more locally produced food, and less meat, the planet could be well fed, with the population and food production as it is now.. No, I've not done the calculations myself, but I've read 'em in a few places, and can probably dig one up if anyone wants me to..

I'm of the opinion personally that we need to stop thinking we have to always operate on a large scale- if every village, or even every house had their own small wind/tidal/solar generators, depending on local conditions, we could certainly cut back on the need for large power plants, and in some cases eliminate the need altogether. Environmentally, a small impact in lots of different places is probably less damaging than a big impact in one place, even if it is what would be classed as 'wasteland'.

I have heard that even in the UK there's a few houses who even with relatively old solar panels, and homemade turbines are actually selling power back to the national grid. And we're hardly known for sunshine.
Admittedly, they're probably a bunch of hippies who never shower and don't own a fridge wink but you get the idea..


THE MEEK WILL INHERIT THE EARTH!


If that's okay with you?

Delete

Dragon_Drafin


member


Total posts: 51
Posted:I agree I think I did miss Stone's point.

Here in the SW if you have solar power by law you have to be connected to the grid so that the energy co-op can buy the power that you don't use.

I'm sure that it is also the same for wind turbines but I've never heard of a private turbine on someone's house.

Though in all honesty it makes a lot more sense to use both wind and solar seen as how when it gets breezy we can get winds up in the 70 MPH range. And if you're out on the mesa or in the plaines somewhere 70 sounds like a cool summer breeze in comparison.


Delete

Dentrassi
GOLD Member since Apr 2003

Dentrassi

ZORT!
Location: Brisbane

Total posts: 3044
Posted:in reference to biodiesel & other fuels for car use, theres an interesting article here:

http://autospeed.com/cms/A_110155/article.html

theres a few lines of thought id like to check before i endorse it - but its got some interesting data.

D.


"Here kitty kitty...." - Schroedinger.

Delete

jeff(fake)


jeff(fake)

Scientist of Fortune
Location: Edinburgh

Total posts: 1189
Posted:Biofuels has crept up on us as a problem because people became complacant about land use. The efficiency at which modern agriculture produces food meant prices were low and the possibility of a jump in price was unthinkable. If biofuels becomes economically viable independent of subsidies then basically this jump could well be permanent.

FYI, modern designs of nuclear reactors are safe and efficient, pretty much the most environmentally friendly option we have at the moment. There's a pretty good review on skeptoid. http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4092


According to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle of Quantum Dynamics, we may already be making love right now...

Delete

Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13920
Posted: Written by :jeff(fake)


FYI, modern designs of nuclear reactors are safe and efficient, pretty much the most environmentally friendly option we have at the moment. There's a pretty good review on skeptoid. http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4092



My concern with nuclear reactors isn't accidents.

1) What do you do with the waste?
2) What happens when one gets bombed?
3) How do you keep the uranium out of the hands of terrorists? (No, reactor-grade uranium cannot make a bomb, but it can make a dirty bomb).
4) Uranium is expensive as hell and we do have a limited supply. It's not a good long-term solution.

We need to get a commercial fusion reactor on-line soon.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

Delete

jeff(fake)


jeff(fake)

Scientist of Fortune
Location: Edinburgh

Total posts: 1189
Posted: Written by :Doc Lightning


 Written by :jeff(fake)


FYI, modern designs of nuclear reactors are safe and efficient, pretty much the most environmentally friendly option we have at the moment. There's a pretty good review on skeptoid. http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4092



My concern with nuclear reactors isn't accidents.

1) What do you do with the waste?
2) What happens when one gets bombed?
3) How do you keep the uranium out of the hands of terrorists? (No, reactor-grade uranium cannot make a bomb, but it can make a dirty bomb).
4) Uranium is expensive as hell and we do have a limited supply. It's not a good long-term solution.

We need to get a commercial fusion reactor on-line soon.


(sorry to derail)
Valid concerns, I'll say what I know so far:
1)Generation 3 and 3+ reactors generate little waste, and generation 4 are expected to generate next to none (mabey too optimistic though). After that you need a reasonable geologically stable area for deposition. Not perfect by any means, but consider that Coal and Oil waste is just pumped straight into the air killing thousands every year without an iota of the hostility that nuclear gets.
2)They are ridiculously well built. You'd pretty much need to nuke one.
3)Security and organization, really. It's not a sexy answer, but remember that dirty bombs aren't the life ending threat
they are portrayed as in the media.
4)Pretty much all of the power sources is getting more expensive. We've got a few hundred years of uranium left though, and a little of it can go a long way.

None of this is perfect, but overall it's a better option than the fossil fuels at present until renewable technologies reach maturity.


According to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle of Quantum Dynamics, we may already be making love right now...

Delete

Dragon_Drafin


member


Total posts: 51
Posted:I really can't imagine the power sources of the future. Though to be honest I'd love to believe Sci-Fi that we'll be able to mine asteroids and what not.

Delete

Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13920
Posted:The power source of the forseeable future is nuclear fusion.

After that, who knows? Zero-point energy or something?


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

Delete