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YOU!: Fix the US Energy Crisis

by russ_watters
Tags: crisis, energy
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thennigar
#37
Oct10-04, 07:29 PM
P: 7
Quote Quote by Rothiemurchus
It's 100 per cent reliable and an endless pollution free resource - tidal power.
Initially, it would cost a fortune to build enough dams in the sea,and they would be
costly to maintain, but in the very long run, they would be worth the trouble.
You'd get a lot of hassle from marine ecologists though and people who like
a nice view over the sea.
Being from the part of canada with highest tides in the world i agree with you for sure. Its been thought about even plans been done before.
Only bad things are the impact it would have on wildlife for example, and if it would have an impact on tidal patterns.

Whatever the solution is it has to be something that is constant in the world and will be for a very long time.... This basically leaves things like Nuclear, Tidal, Solar, and Wind...
Dayle Record
#38
Oct11-04, 11:47 AM
P: 464
Here is an article from today's Salt Lake Tribune, regarding apomixis a property of some plants that asexually produce seeds, eliminating the need for costly hand fertilization of hybrid seed crops. The potential for energy savings is huge, and the potential for organic fuel sources is also huge. This will fly in the face of those that profit from the hybrid process, holding patents and selling seed. It has great promise for the third world. There are many facets to fixing the energy crisis, and this is a big one. The article discusses the potential for better feeding one billion of the humans on earth.

http://www.sltrib.com/utah/ci_2424248
Rab
#39
Oct18-04, 07:56 PM
P: 5
i like the way you think about clean energy, but nuclear energy can cause disasters ( a hurricane in florida), plus nuclear waste cost too $$$ to get rid off. It has to be shipped and kept in special locations, it has to stay under controlled temperature for 10000 years or it will melt plus it has to be guarded from terrorists. and when the building has to be demolished even after xxx years after intense maintence has to be rebuild and if an earth quake take on the building you ll have contaminated water....
smaller steps can be taken : ppl dont have to drive SUVs 8 cyl and a massive fuel consumption.more solar and wind energy ( switching to those will create jobs in north america)
plus lets say you wanna make fuel out of corn ( u need manpower,water,fertilizers- polluting water- and machines to get this clean fuel).
in our university we r having a nice project buses that run on bio diesel ( used cooking oil)
but it is always about politics and $$$.
tumor
#40
Oct19-04, 10:19 PM
P: 312
Quote Quote by thennigar
Being from the part of canada with highest tides in the world i agree with you for sure. Its been thought about even plans been done before.
Only bad things are the impact it would have on wildlife for example, and if it would have an impact on tidal patterns.

Whatever the solution is it has to be something that is constant in the world and will be for a very long time.... This basically leaves things like Nuclear, Tidal, Solar, and Wind...
They have one huge tidal dam in France, and it works preety well I guess.
However you might right about impact on wildlife, dams always create problems.
We, each one of us have to conserve energy that is the only conclusion.
4newton
#41
Oct20-04, 02:56 AM
P: 197
Rab
i like the way you think about clean energy, but nuclear energy can cause disasters ( a hurricane in florida), plus nuclear waste cost too $$$ to get rid off. It has to be shipped and kept in special locations, it has to stay under controlled temperature for 10000 years or it will melt plus it has to be guarded from terrorists. and when the building has to be demolished even after xxx years after intense maintence has to be rebuild and if an earth quake take on the building you ll have contaminated water....
Nuclear power is the only solution at this time. It is easy to make a list of all the problems. It is however more productive to find solutions to the problems. There is an easy way to control the danger of nuclear power. Put the reactor core 500 to 3000 feet underground. Atom bombs have been tested at this depth and the results are well known. This also prevents theft and safeguard from terrorists. Nuclear waste is 100% recyclable and reusable. There is no need for storage. France has been doing this for the countries of the would even the US is sending material to France for recycle.

Nuclear power is less expensive today than any other form of energy, costing about 5 cents per KWH. Coal is running about 15 cents and gas 17 to 20 cents per KWH. Wind and solar are up to 35 cents per KWH.

Most of the problems with nuclear power plants are the result of trying to build to large a plant. This was done by GE to try and make nuclear power compete with oil back in 1950 when oil was $3 to 5$.

We must start to build new nuclear power plants now. Oil and gas will be above 50 cents per KWH in less than 25 years.
russ_watters
#42
Oct20-04, 10:00 AM
Mentor
P: 22,283
Rab, while it is true that in a theoretical sense, nuclear power can be dangerous, its never happened in the US. Let me be perfectly clear: nuclear power has never killed anyone in the US not associated with the power company. Coal power, on the other hand, kills roughly 10,000 a year. The difference in safety record makes he choice (based on safety alone) perfectly clear.
LENIN
#43
Oct20-04, 01:25 PM
P: 107
I totaly suport nuclear power. There is very little risk if you have good technology and US probalbly does. There is also very little polution created by nuclear power plants, and aldo nuclear waste are very dagerous they don't realy present a thread, if they are stored properly. The only real problem I see with nuclear energy is the reaction of the population.
tumor
#44
Oct20-04, 01:59 PM
P: 312
France gets almost 80% of electricity from nuclear power stations,and it works very well.Of course all is under goverment controll and question of profit is non existent.
RuiMonteiro
#45
Oct21-04, 06:19 AM
P: 30
Even not being american and therefore, not very aware of the energetic crisis that currently affects the US I think that my options fit the US as any other country, and because of this Iíll often use as an example what has or will be done where I live, in Portugal.

First, there is a need to diversify the energy sources for each country because this brings obvious benefits for the economy. Here are some measures I propose to achieve this taking into account the factors already stated:

1.Solar Energy
This is one of the energy sources that we can implement at present time as the technology in this area is very advanced and has been used for several years but not taking profit of its maximum benefits. I can give you the example of Portugal where is planned to start constructing any time soon the biggest solar plant in the world with a capacity of 60 MW wich is supplied by 100 hectars of solar panels. Of course I must add that the region where it will be built is number one in the world on getting the most hours of sun per day. This, however, shouldnít be seen as an impediment for other centrals for obvious reasons. What is also planned is to build micro-stations around the country to serve small populations. On that same region a school is taking advantage of solar energy by consuming it and sell whatís left to the electric network bringing profit to the school, a good measure. I would extend this to hospitals, other schools and public services. Besides reducing costs in the long term should make people more aware of the benefits of the sun.

2.Biogas
Another source that should be implanted and can be implanted right now, the technology is already available, is the use of biogas to produce electricity. Biogas can be produced using common house garbage or animal excrements. There is a small station here in Portugal using biogas from garbage producing enough energy to supply 1200 families, wich can be extended to 5000 families in about 2 years. This is great to supply small populations and to reduce environmental impact of the big problem that is garbage.

3.Ethanol/Gasoline
It was already mentioned the use of ethanol in transports. If it is possible to produce at large scale enough ethanol to supply a good amount of transports Iím totally in favour of this. But if possible and happens something like what happened in Brazil where the ethanol prices were initially low but gradually increased to the level of gasoline its not worth and the ethanol market eventually was not profitable. So I propose increasing the general use of a ethanol/gasoline mixture wich is already used in some countries if Iím not mistaken, this mixture has the advantage of decreasing the CO2 emissions and the oil dependacy (the percentage of ethanol in the mixture is relatively small I think but enough to produce effetcs).

4.Tidal Energy
I also agree that this type of energy is one of the future sources to have a big real impact on each country. I would however correct something that was said. There is not anywhere in the world a tidal power plant that is working and supplying energy to the electric network. There is several projects being studied. I could also tell you about the first and only tidal station to be connected to the electric network that was working during the year of 99 in Azores, Portugal. However after some time being working it had to be disconnected for problems cause by the adversities of the sea and inexperience in this area. The station is being recovered. I believe that it shouldnít take long to make tidal power available as there are already several large projects being prepared, of course that with new technologies how long is too long is very hard to tell.

5.Eolic Energy
Another source that should be explored and where the potential is huge, of course it takes a lot of investment to produce at mass scale but itís widely accepted that it should be profitable and doesnít present many difficulties. It could be at a first stage introduced to small populations has its done now and in the future improve its capacity.

6.Network Improvment
It is more than accepted that a good electric network is one of the steps to have more flexibility and prevent blackouts like those in NY. The US should invest a lot of money in the network as a first step because they have a very weak network that needs a lot of improvement. Essential to any country.

7.Public Transportation
Another measure to decrease oil dependacy is to reduce the number of cars increasing the public transportation offer of hydrogen, electric and gas bus and metro and trains. This is essential too if a government wants to take seriously the environmental impact, and most importantly the economy.

8.Fiscal Benefits
As itís been said already I also agree on this. Fiscal benefits should be given to buying home solar panels even if its just for water heating, public transportation, etc. It should serve essentially as an education tool to alternative forms of energy sources.


Finally I would just add some facts. As I said a long time ago in another thread, fusion reactor will only be available around 2050. thatís according to a treaty the US signed with other countries and where the US is responsible for the appear of this technology, I should also add that its estimated the oil ends around 2050Ö But when this technology is available and if its clean and secure enough Iím in favour.
Another note is on coal plants, the US has already planned the construction of 90 new coal plants to prevent economy crisis and asian countries like China, IndiaÖ have around 1000 new coal plants planned.


Rui Monteiro.


P.S. I apologise for my English errorsÖ.
Cliff_J
#46
Oct21-04, 07:51 AM
Sci Advisor
P: 789
Well said Rui. Couple thoughts reading your post.

Tidal energy wouldn't be very simple to implement - the enviromental studies alone could hold it up for years and is the new tool used by those who wish to slow progress. Its not like I'm in support of ruining the environment, far from it, but the ability to implement large public works projects takes a lot of political savvy to keep the scope larger than focusing on a few acres of habitat.

And public transportation is not a viable option in many places based on the years of poorly managed expansion. When I lived in Minneapolis the city bus was a great option as it went from my apartment in a nice suburb directly to downtown where the jobs were located. But here in Atlanta its very different as the downtown area is incredibly expensive and businesses have many advantages to being located in the suburbs and its similar for housing. So as a result of simple economics the expansion has created a massive amount of suburb-to-suburb traffic over a huge geographic area that would be near impossible to service with a train or bus system. Having a lot of land isn't a good thing when it is utilized poorly and without good foresight.

Cliff
RuiMonteiro
#47
Oct21-04, 08:19 AM
P: 30
Thank you for the words Cliff.


Tidal energy wouldn't be very simple to implement - the enviromental studies alone could hold it up for years and is the new tool used by those who wish to slow progress. Its not like I'm in support of ruining the environment, far from it, but the ability to implement large public works projects takes a lot of political savvy to keep the scope larger than focusing on a few acres of habitat.
I understand your concern, but i don't really know to what extent environmental studies would prevent the implementaion of tidal energy, i'm saying this taking into account the Azores example i stated because i don't recall hearing or reading objections in terms of environmental impact, i'm not saying there wasn't any but i don't recall. And, at least here, it had the support from politicians.



And public transportation is not a viable option in many places based on the years of poorly managed expansion. When I lived in Minneapolis the city bus was a great option as it went from my apartment in a nice suburb directly to downtown where the jobs were located. But here in Atlanta its very different as the downtown area is incredibly expensive and businesses have many advantages to being located in the suburbs and its similar for housing. So as a result of simple economics the expansion has created a massive amount of suburb-to-suburb traffic over a huge geographic area that would be near impossible to service with a train or bus system. Having a lot of land isn't a good thing when it is utilized poorly and without good foresight.
That's very intersting to hear, i wasn't familiar with those situations or at least never thought of them. It sure would be complicated to have a effective system of public tranportation in those areas, i would be very intersted in reading any studies regarding that. Do you know if there is any available?



Rui M.
Cliff_J
#48
Oct21-04, 01:02 PM
Sci Advisor
P: 789
For the tidal generation I don't have any direct examples but a large number of improvements ranging from cleaning beaches to rebuilding highways seems to get bogged down in enviromental concerns. If it is going to be built on the beach and have access to the water, it better have a lot of public support so the politicians can support it without fear. Many people living on the western coast are strong enviromental supporters and make haste decisions that would likely not include proper information - for example they increase smog controls on their cars but yet do little to control the power generation plants that creates 80% of their pollution. (and without sounding like too much of a cynic, if you watch/read any of what's happening here for the elections, a lot of the country makes decisions based on little information)

For the suburb phenomenon I don't have any sources but the concept of changing traffic patterns was mentioned on a Discovery program about traffic. It went on to inteview the guy who came up with congestion pricing which allows people to pay for using the carpool lane even if they are not qualified. It speeds up the commute for everyone else with less traffic in the other lanes, raises money to help build more roadways, and cuts pollution. Sounds good to me! But here in Atl they voted down the "Lexus Lane" saying it discriminates. All my neighbors want to vote down a measure to expand the local roadway.

There seems to be a lot of info on the net about suburban sprawl and its negative effects but not as much on studies in terms of costs and solutions to fix it. If you find something would you please post a link.

Cliff
Burnsys
#49
Oct21-04, 02:06 PM
P: 655
[deleted] Sorry, but we won't be discussing politics or conspiracy theory in this thread.

-Russ
RuiMonteiro
#50
Oct21-04, 02:53 PM
P: 30
For the tidal generation I don't have any direct examples but a large number of improvements ranging from cleaning beaches to rebuilding highways seems to get bogged down in enviromental concerns. If it is going to be built on the beach and have access to the water, it better have a lot of public support so the politicians can support it without fear. Many people living on the western coast are strong enviromental supporters and make haste decisions that would likely not include proper information - for example they increase smog controls on their cars but yet do little to control the power generation plants that creates 80% of their pollution. (and without sounding like too much of a cynic, if you watch/read any of what's happening here for the elections, a lot of the country makes decisions based on little information)
It's somewhat disturbing to me how people are against effective and positive measures but at the same time are not against big real problems... Cynism and hypocrisy (not referring to you) is how US citizens are perceived by the Europeans and it seems correct. Of course and fortunally not all US citizens don't fall into that category and there are many Europeans with those charecteristics too, just to make sure people understand what i just wrote...




For the suburb phenomenon I don't have any sources but the concept of changing traffic patterns was mentioned on a Discovery program about traffic. It went on to inteview the guy who came up with congestion pricing which allows people to pay for using the carpool lane even if they are not qualified. It speeds up the commute for everyone else with less traffic in the other lanes, raises money to help build more roadways, and cuts pollution. Sounds good to me! But here in Atl they voted down the "Lexus Lane" saying it discriminates. All my neighbors want to vote down a measure to expand the local roadway.
I see, the traffic patterns should be interst to study.

I don't really know what a carpool lane is? I went searching into the dictionary what a carpool is but can't find a translation...

I'll try again to look for some information on the net.



Rui M.
russ_watters
#51
Oct21-04, 04:03 PM
Mentor
P: 22,283
Quote Quote by RuiMonteiro
I don't really know what a carpool lane is? I went searching into the dictionary what a carpool is but can't find a translation...
Some cities have special lanes for cars carrying 2 or more passengers. When a group of people get together and take turns driving each other to work, that's a carpool.
RuiMonteiro
#52
Oct21-04, 04:47 PM
P: 30
Some cities have special lanes for cars carrying 2 or more passengers. When a group of people get together and take turns driving each other to work, that's a carpool.

Thanks for the information. It's really intersting and an imaginative solution.

Now i can answer what Cliff said more properly regarding carpool lanes.
It does sounds good the idea of people who are not qualified paying to have access to this lane but in practise i don't see it working properly because a great amount of people either would join that system and pay to use the lane and therefore congestionating both the carpool lane and the other lanes or people wouldnt simply join and making this new method useless. I am taking into account that people would vote "yes" primarly, but of course they vote yes as an opinion that it would work but they aren't necessarly going to use it.

This could work however if it's set up a maximum of users that don't qualify but want to pay to use the carpool lane so that there isn't a saturation in the special lane, and as i see it this is the only solution that could work because it would prevent the system to become pointless. In the begining the number of users should be an estimative and then if this works properly the number of users should be adapted to the time of the year and the results of the first test.

And i don't see this being discriminatory.


Rui M.
tumor
#53
Oct21-04, 09:34 PM
P: 312
I don't think there is any real energy crisis,everything is made for profit.We could switch at any moment to the hydrogen or some other form of cleaner economy ,but
as long as oil makes more money for energy companies,humanity will live in misery.
Cliff_J
#54
Oct22-04, 12:41 AM
Sci Advisor
P: 789
Rui - my bad on the word confusion - I thought carpool would be easier than High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane. Sometimes its too easy to assume..

The basis of congestion pricing is supply-demand and the author won a Nobel Prize for economics. Here's a page that has a link to the PDF of his paper (verbose) near the bottom and a link to his guidlines right after it and the guidlines is far easier to read.
http://www.vtpi.org/0_price.htm

In short, the price is set high enough to keep the usage low. Somewhere in California they have this system implemented and while more than half the motorists have the ability to pay to use the carpool lane it is still well below saturation. A survey revealed that most people purchased it as a backup in case they were late for work or congestion was bad and it would be worthwhile to pay the $3 or whatever fee on that day but otherwise they use the regular lanes. Computers monitor the carpool lane and the price is adjusted to keep the traffic level appropriate in that lane to keep all the cars moving at the speed limit or better.

I don't see discrimination either but there are deep historic wounds that have yet to be resolved by some. That's pretty common anywhere, especially when times are tough and blame is assigned to the usual suspects.

Maybe instead of saying "think globally, act locally" it should have just been "think globally, act globally" so people would think of things more as a system instead of discrete elements. Once everything is reduced to pieces its easy to be selfish and get local optimization but hurt the overall system. Where's my magic wand....

I think the idea of increased nuclear power production is a very good use of technology and resources with low costs (unlike solar with its hidden costs of manufacturing the panels). But the implementation challenge is massive, 3 mile Island and Chernobyl were very well covered by the media and the Chernobyl site is still a mess. All a politician would need to say is "...do you want that in your backyard..." and emotion overrules intelligent discussion about the real dangers.

Cliff


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