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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2012 at 07:27
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

There are also alternatives like using different fuels in nuclear reactors, such as thorium, and burning coal and injecting the effluent underground.
 
Still though, I suspect the suburban lifestyle go the way of the hula hoop before too much longer, as energy becomes more of a focus. It takes huge amounts of energy to commute 100k to work or to do shopping, and bring in services over such distances, compared to living in a '40s style, streetcar neighbourhood. This is already happening to a modest extent in some juristictions. Those that cling to the past will likely have a rougher ride.


A rougher ride? the ride is going to just stop outright,  people are going to have to move back to the cities, others will have to take a role in agriculture all the while globalization will go into reverse, all of the resources not just the immediate fossil fuels that people are thinking about are depleting, there isnt even much space in the air anymore thanks to everyone's splendid 4G ultra techo gadgets for example 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote David Greenwich Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2012 at 09:42
Originally posted by fusong fusong wrote:

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

There are also alternatives like using different fuels in nuclear reactors, such as thorium, and burning coal and injecting the effluent underground.
 
Still though, I suspect the suburban lifestyle go the way of the hula hoop before too much longer, as energy becomes more of a focus. It takes huge amounts of energy to commute 100k to work or to do shopping, and bring in services over such distances, compared to living in a '40s style, streetcar neighbourhood. This is already happening to a modest extent in some juristictions. Those that cling to the past will likely have a rougher ride.


A rougher ride? the ride is going to just stop outright,  people are going to have to move back to the cities, others will have to take a role in agriculture all the while globalization will go into reverse, all of the resources not just the immediate fossil fuels that people are thinking about are depleting, there isnt even much space in the air anymore thanks to everyone's splendid 4G ultra techo gadgets for example 
People won't need to commute or travel for meetings. Home working is already technically feasible for most office workers and video conferencing is already well advanced. We will soon have v. realistic 3D conferencing.
What is past is not necessarily settled.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2012 at 11:31
But for the time people really needs to travel, there are better ways of commuting than today's.
Evacuated tube transportation (ET3) may be the answer.





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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote David Greenwich Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2012 at 12:14
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

But for the time people really needs to travel, there are better ways of commuting than today's.
Evacuated tube transportation (ET3) may be the answer.





Building tunnels, even cut and cover tunnels is incredibly expensive.
 
I think you'll get much better value from electric roads, robot driving and computer controlled convoys.
What is past is not necessarily settled.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2012 at 12:47

I wish I'd been more active in this thread. There have been some good posts.

Originally posted by Pinguin Pinguin wrote:

But for the time people really needs to travel, there are better ways of commuting than today's.
Evacuated tube transportation (ET3) may be the answer.

Definitely a fan. I've heard of this before, there are rumours that China is looking at building a test track.

The Alydro thing was interest too.

Originally posted by David David wrote:

Building tunnels, even cut and cover tunnels is incredibly expensive.
 
I think you'll get much better value from electric roads, robot driving and computer controlled convoys.

The two aren't mutually exclusive. Computer control will grow, but travelling at 1500 km/h (faster than jets) is an entirely separate problem.
You don't need to dig out tunnels, they just need to be pipes. They can be built on the surface.
Quote People won't need to commute or travel for meetings.

Yeah, right.
Quote Once we perfect Low Energy Nuclear Reaction (energy derived from nuclear reactions that produces no harmful radiation) and other forms of energy (e.g. solar satellites and jet stream wind turbines),  the energy problem will be at an end.

That won't happen anytime soon. The only future nuclear tech that could be built today is Thorium.
Originally posted by Penguin Penguin wrote:

We don't need more gas. Keep that to the chemical industry. We should bury that old technology of the internal explosion and diesel motors! It is unbelievable that people still thinks that outdated technology has a future.

Agreed.
Hydrogen, such as fuel cells, is a developed technology ready to go. People argue about as if there are no alternatives to hydrocarbons. That simply isn't true. Entrenched laziness is the only thing keeping petroleum on its pedastool. A Solar-Thermal Hydrogen economy is achievable and simpler than a coal-oil one. The only thing it lacks is an economy of scale.

For those who think that the car is unsustainable. Trust me, it isn't going anywhere. We could run a car on bloody gunpowder if we wanted to.

Originally posted by ralfy ralfy wrote:

We can use other sources of energy for some needs, but overall global mass manufacturing and mechanized agriculture are heavily geared towards the use of oil, not only for energy but even for petrochemicals, which is critical. (Most do not know this, but even renewable energy is dependent on oil, especially for the manufacturing process of various components. And the energy returns for other sources is often lower.)

Doesn't matter. You don't need to eliminate oil, and unless you think we're going to give up plastics it won't happen. You need to reduce consumption, and particularly burning. Oil is, in the long term, renewable too. And it can be fabricated from sugars.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2012 at 12:56
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:

Northman is right. What prevents renewables from taking over is a lack in major government investment into the power infrastructure. Coal and Oil would never have become cheap without massive government subsidies, and the same is true of replacement technologies such as Solar Thermal.
Nuclear is still a waste of money. It only justifies itself if you have a vested interest in having it for military reasons.
 
Hydrogen is portable fuel for other renewables.
 
@North: Personal Photovoltaic installations were very popular here about 4-5 years ago. They mostly proven a bust because they weighed too heavily on state government budgets (they had to artificially raise the sale price of electricity to make it work). It's better to build big installations in power plants.
More money may help, but there is no silver bullet when it comes to research. It still takes that leap of intuition, or that fresh insight, to make things work. More money is better than less money, but no guarentee. Infrastructure could be built, but there are still problems with many of these technologies.
What problems are there with solar thermal or hydrogen? A solar thermal plant is still a steam engine like coal & nuclear, but with a different - and simpler - heating element. Hydrogen then provides the portable fuel, generated from sea water with the energy created by the solar thermal plant.
 
Research will always continue. But it occurs faster in a deployed technology than it does in universities. Industry has always been better at research than academia. (And frankly, fresh insights are dime a dozen compared to funding)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2012 at 15:35
Solar energy in the surface of the planet has a huge potential. However, more brilliant it seems the technology of solar satellites, or powersats. That's the solution for our energy needs.





Edited by pinguin - 05 Aug 2012 at 15:37
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2012 at 16:02
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:

Definitely a fan. I've heard of this before, there are rumours that China is looking at building a test track.

The Alydro thing was interest too.

Indeed


Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:


The two aren't mutually exclusive. Computer control will grow, but travelling at 1500 km/h (faster than jets) is an entirely separate problem.
You don't need to dig out tunnels, they just need to be pipes. They can be built on the surface.

Exactly.

I will add an extra advantage of the ET3 proposal.  Imagine a city with network of maglev vacuum-tubes, connected to traffic switches. You could control traffic in a similar way you switch in a computer network, and the wagons would fly inside the tubes at 200 to 500 mph! Everything computer controlled. And if you need to commute to long distance travel, just switch to the right tube, where the wagon would speed at 2000 to 5000 mph! Really accelerating our lives.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ralfy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2012 at 19:27
Originally posted by David Greenwich David Greenwich wrote:

I think this is alarmist. 
 
There is plenty of water on the planet.  Energy can be used to extract fresh water straight from the atmosphere or out of sea water.
 
Pollution free energy is becoming a growing part of the energy scene: wind energy, photovoltaic (solar) energy, geothermal and so on.  Once we perfect Low Energy Nuclear Reaction (energy derived from nuclear reactions that produces no harmful radiation) and other forms of energy (e.g. solar satellites and jet stream wind turbines),  the energy problem will be at an end.   And with sufficient energy we can grow food underground or in farm towers as well as on farmland (substituting artificial light for solar radiation).
 
Plants can be used to create polymers to substitute for oil based hydrocarbons.


Only three pct is fresh water, and around half of that is polluted or involve problems such as drought. De-salination increase energy costs, and we already have problems with that, as explained earlier.

Some of these sources of energy are not exactly pollution-free as various components need to be manufactured and include petrochemicals. Geothermal is not necessarily clean.

LENR still require various petrochemicals and minerals throughout the whole infrastructure, and we face problems with those, too.

According to the IEA, we should have solved this energy problem at least a decade ago, and likely even earlier if one looks at oil production per capita (which peaked in 1979). The same organization argues that to maintain current global economic growth, we will need the equivalent of one Saudi Arabia every seven years, and that's not possible.

Thus, at best whatever technologies we put online will be critical to maintain basic needs. To maintain a middle class lifestyle which most human beings want will require even more than what you mentioned.

Finally, plants can be used to create polymers, but they are usually bio-degradable. We still need oil for much of our manufacturing process.

One more point: we have been using biofuels extensively since 2006, but that is causing problems. For example, recently various U.S. farmers are asking the government not to encourage using corn for biofuels as the former is being used for animal feed. It's worse given a drought.

Food or fuel?



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ralfy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2012 at 19:30
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:


If there is no upper class how can the middle class be 'middle'? The mistake is merely a reflection of originally particularly US prejudices under which no-one wants to be called 'working-class' let alone 'underclass', nor do they want to be seen as snobbish 'upper class' by devotees of old-fashioned concepts of a degenerate aristocracy.


The middle class refers to 15 pct of the world's population that earn between 10 and 20 dollars a day or more and are responsible for more than 60 pct of personal consumption. 60 pct of human beings earn only around two dollars daily, although that has gone up from a dollar three decades ago.

Also, those numbers also reflect purchasing power, so it's not a matter of one still earning enough because the cost of living is lower elsewhere.

Finally, I don't care what terms you want to use instead of "middle class," as my arguments still stand.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ralfy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2012 at 19:36
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

There are also alternatives like using different fuels in nuclear reactors, such as thorium, and burning coal and injecting the effluent underground.
 
Still though, I suspect the suburban lifestyle go the way of the hula hoop before too much longer, as energy becomes more of a focus. It takes huge amounts of energy to commute 100k to work or to do shopping, and bring in services over such distances, compared to living in a '40s style, streetcar neighbourhood. This is already happening to a modest extent in some juristictions. Those that cling to the past will likely have a rougher ride.

Excellent points! I have the same argument. The U.S., for example, has less than 5 pct of the world's population but has to consume up to 25 pct of world oil production in order to maintain a middle class lifestyle which includes having over 250 million passenger vehicles, or more than one for each adult citizen. Similar consumption rates can be seen in Canada and Australia, and now even in countries like China. For example, annual meat consumption per capita in China in 1984 was 20 kg. By 2004, it had reached 50 kg, and meat is a very energy- and resource-hungry product.

We usually imagine that this or that technology will allow us to maintain such lifestyles, but it's not very likely. I recall one article stating that we actually need something like 8 to 10 calories of energy to produce one calorie of food, and that we need something like a thousand tons of fresh water to produce one ton of grains. The same can be seen across the board, including significant components of cars and many other products made from petrochemicals to large quantities of ultra-pure water needed to process one wafer used for computers and other electronic gadgets.

Those who are interested in this aspect can also look at the point regarding ecological footprint mentioned earlier.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ralfy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2012 at 19:47
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:

Agreed.

Hydrogen, such as fuel cells, is a developed technology ready to go. People argue about as if there are no alternatives to hydrocarbons. That simply isn't true. Entrenched laziness is the only thing keeping petroleum on its pedastool. A Solar-Thermal Hydrogen economy is achievable and simpler than a coal-oil one. The only thing it lacks is an economy of scale.

Completely wrong. A "solar-thermal hydrogen economy" requires petrochemicals. That's the reason why what we think is "achievable and simpler" has not been put in place. What's keeping "petroleum on its pedastool" isn't "entrenched laziness" or similar nonsense but energy returns and petrochemicals.

Quote

For those who think that the car is unsustainable. Trust me, it isn't going anywhere. We could run a car on bloody gunpowder if we wanted to.

It's not just running a car "on bloody gunpowder" but making one with "bloody gunpowder." Of course, we can make one "if we wanted to," but very likely not on the scale that we have right now.

With that, trust me, the claim that cars are sustainable "isn't going anywhere."

Quote

Doesn't matter. You don't need to eliminate oil, and unless you think we're going to give up plastics it won't happen. You need to reduce consumption, and particularly burning. Oil is, in the long term, renewable too. And it can be fabricated from sugars.


I am not referring to eliminating the use of oil or of plastics. If any, I am actually giving the same argument, which is why peak oil is inevitable.

Your third sentence is contradicted by your first two.

Your fourth sentence is not relevant as we can't wait "in the long term."

For your last sentence, you need to consider energy returns.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ralfy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2012 at 19:50
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:

 
What problems are there with solar thermal or hydrogen? A solar thermal plant is still a steam engine like coal & nuclear, but with a different - and simpler - heating element. Hydrogen then provides the portable fuel, generated from sea water with the energy created by the solar thermal plant.
 
Research will always continue. But it occurs faster in a deployed technology than it does in universities. Industry has always been better at research than academia. (And frankly, fresh insights are dime a dozen compared to funding)

Energy returns for other sources are much lower, which is why we've been using oil for several decades. We also need petrochemicals, and we obtain that primarily from oil.

The same industry you praise has actually been engaged in that for some time, so I think there's more to this than just "entrenched laziness."

Finally, it's the same industry that's warning of peak oil. See my web log for links to reports. Organizations include a consortium of British businesses, banks, insurance companies, and even military forces, oil companies, and the IEA.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ralfy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2012 at 19:52
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Solar energy in the surface of the planet has a huge potential. However, more brilliant it seems the technology of solar satellites, or powersats. That's the solution for our energy needs.



It's not a solution but something that we will have to use with other sources of energy to deal with peak oil. That's because of a problem involving an "energy trap":


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote David Greenwich Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2012 at 20:45
The "energy trap" idea is very naive.  It assumes that nothing else happens - a bit like   those old population projections from the 1960s that would have the whole of humanity  living cheek by jowl with each other by now, whereas in reality other things have changed and fertility has declined remarkably all around the world.
 
The first thing that happens when energy prices go up is that fields which were not economic before become so.
 
The second is that green energy becomes more competitive.
 
The third is that people are spurred to look for alternative technical solutions e.g. energy efficiency.
 
Finally, you are ignoring the possibilities of something like LENR being brought to market - which will make all your speculation redundant. 
What is past is not necessarily settled.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote David Greenwich Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2012 at 20:54
Originally posted by ralfy ralfy wrote:

Originally posted by David Greenwich David Greenwich wrote:

I think this is alarmist. 
 
There is plenty of water on the planet.  Energy can be used to extract fresh water straight from the atmosphere or out of sea water.
 
Pollution free energy is becoming a growing part of the energy scene: wind energy, photovoltaic (solar) energy, geothermal and so on.  Once we perfect Low Energy Nuclear Reaction (energy derived from nuclear reactions that produces no harmful radiation) and other forms of energy (e.g. solar satellites and jet stream wind turbines),  the energy problem will be at an end.   And with sufficient energy we can grow food underground or in farm towers as well as on farmland (substituting artificial light for solar radiation).
 
Plants can be used to create polymers to substitute for oil based hydrocarbons.


Only three pct is fresh water, and around half of that is polluted or involve problems such as drought. De-salination increase energy costs, and we already have problems with that, as explained earlier.

Some of these sources of energy are not exactly pollution-free as various components need to be manufactured and include petrochemicals. Geothermal is not necessarily clean.

LENR still require various petrochemicals and minerals throughout the whole infrastructure, and we face problems with those, too.

According to the IEA, we should have solved this energy problem at least a decade ago, and likely even earlier if one looks at oil production per capita (which peaked in 1979). The same organization argues that to maintain current global economic growth, we will need the equivalent of one Saudi Arabia every seven years, and that's not possible.

Thus, at best whatever technologies we put online will be critical to maintain basic needs. To maintain a middle class lifestyle which most human beings want will require even more than what you mentioned.

Finally, plants can be used to create polymers, but they are usually bio-degradable. We still need oil for much of our manufacturing process.

One more point: we have been using biofuels extensively since 2006, but that is causing problems. For example, recently various U.S. farmers are asking the government not to encourage using corn for biofuels as the former is being used for animal feed. It's worse given a drought.

Food or fuel?



All atmospheric and desalinated water is non-polluted.
 
Of course, we have to work much harder to control pollution, but if you look at the work does in the big cities of UK you can see it is possible e.g. to control air pollution.
 
The fact that per capita oil consumption has declined over the last 30 plus years despite the huge growth in production per capita is a good thing and just shows how wrong-headed your gloomy prognostications are.
 
There are issues with bio-fuel for sure and no one would wish to go wholesale over to biofuels, but they are certainly part of the mix. 
 
If petrochemicals become expensive people will seek out substitutes. We could go back to glass in a lot of cases (and there are technical advances that make it much more appealing).  You can use papier mache, bamboo,  fibre glass from basalt etc etc. There are many alternatives for most uses of plastics.
 
 
What is past is not necessarily settled.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2012 at 23:27
But we don't need bio-fuel at all for transportation. That's just old thinking technology: replace the archaic oil with another fuel that also burn and pollute. The solutions are already there, and they are electricity and hydrogen. And to produce electricity in the first place, with solar satellites and fusion (if it ever works) will be enough.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2012 at 23:31
Originally posted by ralfy ralfy wrote:

Completely wrong. A "solar-thermal hydrogen economy" requires petrochemicals. That's the reason why what we think is "achievable and simpler" has not been put in place. What's keeping "petroleum on its pedastool" isn't "entrenched laziness" or similar nonsense but energy returns and petrochemicals.


That argument doesn't make sense to me. Could you explain why solar-thermal hydrogen economy requires petrochemicals? Sure, there is ONE process to obtain hydrogen from oil, but that is just the solution oil companies want to impose. You can obtain hydrogen directly from sun produced electricity, and water, without resorting to the petrochemical interests.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Aug 2012 at 00:44
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

US prejudices? The same prejudices are here as well. Ask any Chilean and everybody will say it is middle class... That's crazy.

I said originally US. I agree it's since spread pretty well everywhere.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Aug 2012 at 00:53
Originally posted by ralfy ralfy wrote:

Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:


If there is no upper class how can the middle class be 'middle'? The mistake is merely a reflection of originally particularly US prejudices under which no-one wants to be called 'working-class' let alone 'underclass', nor do they want to be seen as snobbish 'upper class' by devotees of old-fashioned concepts of a degenerate aristocracy.


Finally, I don't care what terms you want to use instead of "middle class," as my arguments still stand.


Words have emotional and political power. Moreover simplifying the picture by taking daily income as a sole criterion avoids the reality that hierarchical structures are functions of decision-making power more than anything else. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ralfy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Aug 2012 at 19:54
Originally posted by David Greenwich David Greenwich wrote:

The "energy trap" idea is very naive.  It assumes that nothing else happens - a bit like   those old population projections from the 1960s that would have the whole of humanity  living cheek by jowl with each other by now, whereas in reality other things have changed and fertility has declined remarkably all around the world.

Completely the opposite. Naivete requires imagining that no petrochemicals and other resources are needed for renewable energy. The same goes, by the way, for any project: there's a start-up and initial capitalization that needs to be amortized.

There are no references to "population projections" in the article. The analogy is wrong.

Quote
 
The first thing that happens when energy prices go up is that fields which were not economic before become so.


But that doesn't change the amount of energy needed to obtain energy. The use of prices is ultimately worthless because money can be created easily. The current crisis is proof of that, and that only involves a credit crunch, something which will look like a walk in the park compared to a resource crunch, for which no money creation can solve.

Quote
 
The second is that green energy becomes more competitive.


Definitely, but the point isn't competition between sources of energy but energy returns. If the returns for green energy are not large enough, then current lifestyles will not be sustainable.

Again, don't look at the issue in terms of money but the amount of energy and resources needed to obtain the same. That's what makes the idea of an energy trap logical compared to the use of prices, which is very naive.

Quote
 
The third is that people are spurred to look for alternative technical solutions e.g. energy efficiency.


They have to but not because of energy efficiency but because of lack of oil. The problem is that "alternative technical solutions" will not have the same energy returns compared to oil, something which I'll explain in another message.

Quote
 
Finally, you are ignoring the possibilities of something like LENR being brought to market - which will make all your speculation redundant. 

Completely the opposite, especially given the point that we are looking at "possibilities," which leads to the same problem of speculation.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ralfy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Aug 2012 at 20:02
Originally posted by David Greenwich David Greenwich wrote:

All atmospheric and desalinated water is non-polluted.

Again, note the energy needed to obtain the same and include that in the cost of water. Note, too, the effects of flooding on dams, soil erosion, etc.

What I am describing, by the way, isn't something that will happen in the future but what is happening right now.

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Of course, we have to work much harder to control pollution, but if you look at the work does in the big cities of UK you can see it is possible e.g. to control air pollution.


Yes, but given the lifestyle that we want, it is not possible to do so, as manufacturing and mechanized agriculture are heavily geared towards the use of oil. And global demand continues to rise. More on that later.

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The fact that per capita oil consumption has declined over the last 30 plus years despite the huge growth in production per capita is a good thing and just shows how wrong-headed your gloomy prognostications are.


Completely the opposite! It's per capita oil production that peaked in 1979. Per capita oil production continues to rise, with one of the largest increases taking place last decade! More on that later.

I am not giving "gloomy prognostications" but what happened during the last four decades or so.

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There are issues with bio-fuel for sure and no one would wish to go wholesale over to biofuels, but they are certainly part of the mix. 


Actually, what you wish we shouldn't be doing we started six years ago. Again, check the BP Statistical Outlook report linked in my web log for details.

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If petrochemicals become expensive people will seek out substitutes. We could go back to glass in a lot of cases (and there are technical advances that make it much more appealing).  You can use papier mache, bamboo,  fibre glass from basalt etc etc. There are many alternatives for most uses of plastics.


Of course, but it will take decades to retool manufacturing to accomplish that, and we don't have decades. More important, we need initial start-up to make the transition, i.e., oil needed to work on renewable energy to use less oil. But we're not preparing for that, either. Finally, increasing global demand for energy and resources means that not only do we need to make the transition, but we will need more resources even for substitutes, and that's excluding the lower energy returns involved in such. More on that in my last message.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ralfy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Aug 2012 at 20:04
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

But we don't need bio-fuel at all for transportation. That's just old thinking technology: replace the archaic oil with another fuel that also burn and pollute. The solutions are already there, and they are electricity and hydrogen. And to produce electricity in the first place, with solar satellites and fusion (if it ever works) will be enough.  

Indeed, as we need oil for that, especially for cargo ships!

The energy returns for solar are much lower, which means the amount of resources needed to ensure such and to meet demand will be much greater than we imagine. I'll explain that later.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ralfy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Aug 2012 at 20:06
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:



That argument doesn't make sense to me. Could you explain why solar-thermal hydrogen economy requires petrochemicals? Sure, there is ONE process to obtain hydrogen from oil, but that is just the solution oil companies want to impose. You can obtain hydrogen directly from sun produced electricity, and water, without resorting to the petrochemical interests.

Look at the parts needed to make the solar panels, batteries, casings, and many other aspects of electrical infrastructure. Then look at the components needed to manufacture them and deliver them to different regions. Then look at the gadgets and other consumer goods which will use that energy.

Most people don't know this but much of what they use involve or are even made from oil and by-products!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ralfy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Aug 2012 at 20:07
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:


Words have emotional and political power. Moreover simplifying the picture by taking daily income as a sole criterion avoids the reality that hierarchical structures are functions of decision-making power more than anything else. 

What other criterion did you have in mind?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ralfy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Aug 2012 at 20:37
This is my last message on this topic, as I don't gain anything by having to explain the basics to others. I strongly advice forum members to read up on the matter very carefully first before considering this issue further. I already posted the link to my web log containing reports on peak oil. Read them first. Meanwhile, here's a short article containing facts that most know almost nothing about:

"Don’t Count Oil Out: Alternative energies won’t replace oil, gas, and coal anytime soon"


Put simply, as a growing global middle class move to better lifestyles, then expect increasing demand for oil and other resources. Oil will still be used for three reasons:

Cost. Price is often used, but energy returns are much more important, as they cannot be masked by increased money-making. Put simply, the world can create money easily (almost all of it today consists of numbers in accounts, with unregulated derivatives making up between $600 trillion and over a quadrillion dollars) but energy cannot be invented in the same way. That's why oil discoveries peaked in 1964. That's why U.S. oil production peaked in 1970. That's why per capita oil production peaked in 1979. That's why over 80 pct of our oil today comes from fields that were discovered before 1985. That's why we've been using biofuels and other non-conventional sources to meet increasing demand since 2006. This has nothing to do with silly nonsense like "petrochemical interests" or other conspiracy theories but the simple fact that oil is the best source of energy we have and that our manufacturing and mechanized agriculture are geared to use the same. That's it.

Ultimately, oil will not be used only when the energy returns decrease considerably. That's peak oil. But the problem isn't replacing one source of energy with another, it's that both won't provide the same energy returns initially provided by oil. And that was for a much smaller global population with lower resource and energy demand per capita. The case today is the complete opposite.

Transition period. It will take decades to make the transition, and with the higher cost (in energy returns) of alternative sources, much more energy. And don't forget to add increasing demand.

The only way out in terms of this factor is to decrease demand. That's it. Do not believe the incredible nonsense of producing many more cars as sustainable. Even today we can barely meet operations and maintenance of around a billion cars, what more if we triple that number? Based on the article and my estimates (e.g., 250 million cars for the U.S., which uses something like 7 mb/d out of a quarter of world oil production to keep its fleet running), we will need the equivalent of ten Saudi Arabias to make this ridiculous idea come true. And, mind you, that's just for providing petrol for the vehicles. It doesn't include the cost of manufacturing and distributing them, not to mention the cost for constructing and maintaining transport infrastructure.

Scale. This is hardly discussed even by the dreamy-eyed when it comes to all sorts of techno-fixes. For example, right now we use the equivalent of almost 30 Saudi Arabias in terms of energy to keep the global economy running, and only around a third of that consists of oil. Thus, what we think we will be doing decades from now we've actually been doing the last few decades. And now oil production has barely gone up. This together with increasing demand has added more problems for us.

What about demand? During the last decade, our energy demand went up by more than a quarter, and much of that involved oil and gas. But we're not finding enough conventional oil, and we're now using non-conventionals which are more expensive. That won't be good enough. That increase was equivalent to more than five Saudi Arabias, and the IEA states that we will need more than that during the next ten years just to keep the global economy running. Take note that this refers only to a global economic growth that involves only around 15 pct of human beings belonging to the middle class. Now, there are more human beings that are joining the same, so we face:

- conventional oil production that is barely rising, which is why we are now resorting to heavy-sour oil, bio-fuels, tar sands, etc.

- increasing demand which also requires light oil

- increasing demand to start-up renewable, and we will need more of that because energy returns are much lower

Again, I am not referring to the future but what has been taking place the last five to ten years. This is not some "gloomy prognostication" but a fairly accurate explanation of what is currently happening sans conspiracy theories about this or that "interest" or even melodramatic binary nonsense (e.g., either we're doing well or you're calling doom).

Given that, it is very clear that we will be forced to use other sources of energy besides oil, gas, and coal, but I do not think a growing middle class can be supported by such for reasons given in the article.

One more thing: don't forget the effect of that one quadrillion in unregulated derivatives on the money-based economy. Only a trillion dollars from that courtesy of subprime lending was needed to bring the global economy to its knees in 2008, with the "solution" involving an injection of over thirty trillion dollars in new debt to stem a credit crisis caused by....increasing debt.

Finally, don't discount the effect of pollution, including global warming, on the same economy, and even resource availability. Take note of the current drought and calls by farmers not to have more corn used for biofuels because there won't be enough for livestock, not to mention the effect of floods in Thailand and many other manufacturing centers in Asia, not to mention combinations of floods, droughts, and heat waves affecting not only crop harvests in Russia and elsewhere but even mining in countries like Australia.




Edited by ralfy - 06 Aug 2012 at 20:41
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Aug 2012 at 21:12
Originally posted by ralfy ralfy wrote:

Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:


Words have emotional and political power. Moreover simplifying the picture by taking daily income as a sole criterion avoids the reality that hierarchical structures are functions of decision-making power more than anything else. 

What other criterion did you have in mind?


As I hinted, decision-making power. But this is too off the topic to really discuss here, since class structures have nothing to do with alternative forms or sources of energy. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote David Greenwich Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Aug 2012 at 23:42
Originally posted by ralfy ralfy wrote:

Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:



That argument doesn't make sense to me. Could you explain why solar-thermal hydrogen economy requires petrochemicals? Sure, there is ONE process to obtain hydrogen from oil, but that is just the solution oil companies want to impose. You can obtain hydrogen directly from sun produced electricity, and water, without resorting to the petrochemical interests.

Look at the parts needed to make the solar panels, batteries, casings, and many other aspects of electrical infrastructure. Then look at the components needed to manufacture them and deliver them to different regions. Then look at the gadgets and other consumer goods which will use that energy.

Most people don't know this but much of what they use involve or are even made from oil and by-products!

Yes, but there is huge potential to increase plastics and other materials recycling.  I wouldn't be surprised if we could get to a 90% recycling rate globally.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2012 at 11:22
Originally posted by ralfy ralfy wrote:


Look at the parts needed to make the solar panels, batteries, casings, and many other aspects of electrical infrastructure. Then look at the components needed to manufacture them and deliver them to different regions. Then look at the gadgets and other consumer goods which will use that energy.

Most people don't know this but much of what they use involve or are even made from oil and by-products!


Well, in the past people believed whale oil was a central part of economics, because "everything" was made of it Confused ... Nope. We don't need oil. What needs oil is an obsolete technology that, somehow, it is living its last days.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2012 at 17:02
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Solar energy in the surface of the planet has a huge potential. However, more brilliant it seems the technology of solar satellites, or powersats. That's the solution for our energy needs.



 
I think so too, and the best place to have surface solar power is where it rarely ranes, little vegetation or animal life, and is relatively accessible. I would think that Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, some of Texas, and Southern California would be perfect for these solar panels. That area alone would most likely be able to power a large percentage of, if not the majority of the US with massive solar fields. Maybe then the Hoover Dam will be able to stop pumping more water for electricity than the average recharge, and Lake Meade could slowly rise back to its original depth.
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