The last days of oil

Reflections on fusion history, current events, and predictions for the 'fusion powered future.
AnGuy
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Re: The last days of oil

Post by AnGuy » Fri Jul 23, 2004 2:03 am

First off, It looks like we are indeed headed for a oil crisis. I've been reading many articles about depletion in Saudi Arabia, and some of the other Middle east states (such as Iraq). As Larry said, All of the oil produces have over estimated their proven reserves.
The largests fields are approaching depletion. We also have rapid production declines in the North Sea fields and Alaska. We may already have breached Hubbert's Peak.

Unfortunately, America is completely unprepared. Americans are driving SUVs and other low milage vehicles, More than half of US Electrical production is provided by NGAS and Oil to meet clean air regulations. However countries like Russia and China are building hundred of new Coal and Nuclear plants. Perhaps Iran really needs to start building Nuclear plants to meet future energy demand.

Because the politicians refuse to discuss this (its virtually a taboo, just like Social Security reform). We will face huge energy shortages. Rolling blackouts and fuel rationing will no longer be the realm of third world nations. The US has a terrible public transportation and 99% of homes are heated using either NGAS or oil. Whats going to happen to home prices if no can afford to heat them?

Secondly, Alternative energy solutions are simple a waste of money. Ethanol,Methanol, and Biodiesel are energy losers. Meaning it takes more energy to distill/refine them, then they create when consumed. Currently Alcohol is distilled using heating oil. (I suppose coal could be used as a replacement heat source.) But it highly unlikely it will make economic sense to manufacture alternative fuels and it would be extremely difficult to meet current demand.

Solar cell also require more energy then the produce. It takes huge amounts of energy to smelt and refine sillicon for solar cell prodution. Assuming a solar cell operation life of 15 to 20 years, it takes more energy to produce them, then the cells will deliver for their entire life span.

What I see in the near term solution is to ramp up in low-gravity oil production (such as oil from shale and tar sands). By current estimates, 285 billion bbls can be recovered from the Canadian tar sand fields using existing technologies. However the global pruduction from tar sands is less than 500,000 bbls PER YEAR.. The US along uses 8 million bbl per day! However, its going to take time to ramp up production. If tommorow the ghawar field is breached with sea water (ie it becomes depleted), we wouldn't be able to close the production gap for years!

3l
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Re: The last days of oil

Post by 3l » Fri Jul 23, 2004 2:16 am

Hi AG:

It is a problem that just won't go away.
I guess the next thing is that old Joules Verne gizmo .
Use the temperature gradiants in the ocean to make electricity.
Nuclear is the only solution even close at this point.
Solar needs years more developement.
A mind blowing developement is the fact that GE wants to move the turbine division to Japan.
They site no new major orders in four years in the US.
My question is why is this country sitting on it's hands?

Happy Fusoring!
Larry Leins
Fusor Tech

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Frank Sanns
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Re: The last days of oil

Post by Frank Sanns » Fri Jul 23, 2004 2:55 am

Why don't we technical people unite? Why not pick the top 3 problems facing this country and find technical solutions. Circulate what we find to other top technical circles and forward the results to the top. Maybe it would get lost in acedemia or would be ignored at the top but if we sit around and just talk about it, then we have not helped to make the change either.

Frank S.

3l
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Re: The last days of oil

Post by 3l » Fri Jul 23, 2004 3:45 am

Hi Frank:

That is why we are here.
The internet will spread the work near and far.
I think the group has hit many topics here from nuclear powered stuff to low tech and everything in between.
College students Google us to tramp on the new stuff in search of paper materials.
We are living proof to anyone that will read about us that the people are not mindless little dweebes as some folks picture us.
Collectively we are working on large aspects of the future right now. We are not the ones with our tail in the air and head in the sands. The group is proceeding to a goal that is far off but necessary.
As I have done fusion many skills have been learned ,much research in the energy field has been done.
Loads of instruments and apparatus get build on a day to day basis by many folks here.
I share many of the construction tips on line.
Some unexpected but neat solutions have shown up.

Happy Fusoring!
Larry Leins
Fusor tech

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Adam Szendrey
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Re: The last days of oil

Post by Adam Szendrey » Fri Jul 23, 2004 6:46 am

I wonder if there is an efficient solar cell technology out there...
I once read about 75 % efficient panels, but i guess that was just a boo-boo.
Wind turbines are good stuff...where there is enough wind...I would hate to see coal making a major come back (well it was never gone really), but i guess i will have to live with it.
I bet there is some new technology that already exist, but is top secret...it has always been this way. I just wonder where the real logic in that is.

Adam

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Richard Hull
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Re: The last days of oil

Post by Richard Hull » Fri Jul 23, 2004 2:02 pm

Solar is a great renewable, but the very finest efficiency is about 37% and that is in the outrageously expensive NASA cells only. The average consumer, if they have the bucks, is at about 22% in the most expensive panels. Common panels are about 18%. Solar is getting there, but slowly.

Nuclear (fission) is indeed the only solution on the horizon that makes sense.

Coal WILL be used as a stop gap. Get used to it. We have over 300 years worth in the US right now! It may get so bad that we just say to hell with the atmosphere as we slip and slide into the Malthusian climax.

Hydroelectric is a bit limited, but just about the finest power source on the planet. Folks still whine about the impact on the land when a hydro dam is built. This attitude will just fade into the background when the angry mobs are in the streets.

Usually, just before the mobs hit the streets....like when politicians can't get second terms across the board.........something will be done....What that is and when it will occur is for all of us to see and live through.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

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Adam Szendrey
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Re: The last days of oil

Post by Adam Szendrey » Fri Jul 23, 2004 4:12 pm

I wonder if those 37 % efficient panels would be cheaper if they would be mass produced. Or is it their material that costs much?

You know a great model for corporate politics, is the computer industry. Let's look at optical drives...
When CD-ROMs have appeared for the public they gradually got faster and cheaper, then when CD-RW units appeared they did the same, same with DVD-ROMs, and the latest, DVD-RAM drives.
I would bet a lot of money on it, that they have ALL the needed technology, plans, and everything for the fastest drive, before the first, slowest is released. They make a lot of money by gradually releasing new stuff, because people will replace the old with the new as they follow the trend.
Those business people calculate a lot, to release new stuff JUST at the right "moment". They wait until the need builds up.
Same with everything else i think. I'm sure the same will happen with solar cells. It's almost certain that a highly efficient solar technology already exists, but it is not "economical" to release it just yet. They will announce age old stuff as revolutionary science...
This is no conspiracy theory, this is corporate politics.

Adam

davidtrimmell
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Re: The last days of oil

Post by davidtrimmell » Fri Jul 23, 2004 4:51 pm

Hi, the problem with solar cells is that they are not going to be very profitable for the manufacturers when and if the prices dramatically drop. That is unless they find a way to make them fail every 5 years or so, like how incandescence light bulbs are designed to fail. Currently PV panels have 20-25 year warranties, manufacturers will replace them if they drop below 80% or if internal contacts fail.
What I would like to see is federal subsidy. Like what we have done with the oil industry. If we could have taken $150billion and invested it in solar PV, and pebble bed reactor technologies, instead of spending it in creating a puppet government in Iraq to ensure our access on their oil. Then we would have inexpensive access to renewable PV and have a pretty darn fool proof nuclear power infrastructure!

It is all doable folks! It will just take some politicians with backbone; unfortunately they are a rare (if not extinct) breed. But popular uprisings have a way of convincing even the spineless. Remember it is our world, not theirs. At least as long as some semblance of Democracy remains…

David Trimmell

Starfire
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Re: The last days of oil

Post by Starfire » Fri Jul 23, 2004 5:31 pm

Hydroelectric generation does not always require big dams. While living in Switzerland I was always impressed with the multiple generators on a single stream. If you went to the top of a mountain and found a stream coming from the snow - you would find a small turbine generator or Pelton wheel. If you moved down a hundred feet or so you would find another generator on the same stream and so-on every hundred feet down the mountain I recall counting 94 on one mountain road which followed a stream down to a river valley - no energy wasted and at 10kw a time.

Starfire
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Re: The last days of oil

Post by Starfire » Fri Jul 23, 2004 5:41 pm


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