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## YOU!: Fix the US Energy Crisis

 Quote by Jakoeb ...But the fact is that there's just gonna be too many of us in a couple of decades or a century. Sooner or later we're going to have force some kind of population control laws. For example in China, parents are only allowed to have one child. IMO, thats the way to go.
I disagree:
http://www.google.com/publicdata/exp...en_US&dl=en_US

Replacement birth rate is 2.1

 Quote by mheslep Which would do what, take the developed world back to 19th century technology and population where the answer was to mow down the natural landscape? I think the best approach is to get the developed world on the same track as the developed: trending down in energy use per head. http://www.google.com/publicdata/exp...=1234587600000 I'd also like to see fossil fuel energy use per capita in developed countries, which must be falling even faster.
I was just joking about the WWIII thing. Obviously that would not be a good solution. But what do you mean by "developed" country? Are you referring to a developed country like France or a developed country like China?

 Quote by mheslep I disagree: http://www.google.com/publicdata/exp...en_US&dl=en_US Replacement birth rate is 2.1
Your graph only accounts for some of the worlds most developed countries, not all of them. Fact is that many researches in the field of sustainability anticipate the world population to be unsustainable around 2030.

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 Quote by Topher925 I was just joking about the WWIII thing. Obviously that would not be a good solution.
Yes I know, my target was more the often expressed idea that all would be well with energy needs if the world just returned to its 18th-19th century behavior.

 But what do you mean by "developed" country? Are you referring to a developed country like France or a developed country like China?
Developed, as in little or no abject poverty - France, not China.

 Blog Entries: 2 Set goals, ie: 1. Operating WarExperientialal Fusion Reactor near Hoover Dam grid by 2017 and ITER in France. 2. Ten updated Warm/Iron Fusion Reactors at Main Electrical Grid Nodes in US. 2027. 3. 75% Federal Energy Dept budget and Research Constructed to fund this effort. 4. Refunds to National Debt made if goals met by 2027. HOW TO SAVE OUR ECONOMY by Joe Shea American Reporter Correspondent Bradenton, Fla. http://www.american-reporter.com/4,403/458.html ...And like the Internet once did, they can save the American economy - this time for good. Now there is a greater imperative than there has ever been to adopt and fund them: without such a boon, we will become a bankrupt nation, unfathomably deep in debt to China and other trading partners. Those in power have a hard, cold choice: take what the good Lord has given us in these new technologies, and abandon those that have failed and polluted this lovely planet, or die as other civilizations have, in debt, desolation and disgrace. Those are choices that separate the real patriots from the flingers of rhetoric and defenders of the status quo. Too many people presume that putting the oil industry out of business would be a terrible thing. That's not true. With a new source of electricity that is pretty close to free, hundreds of thousands of small businesses would spring up overnight, both to replicate the technology under license and to develop new applications for it. In turn, that would stimulate jobs for hundreds of thousands of well-educated engineers and millions of people who will assemble these devices from newly-manufactured parts. Finally, energy-intensive businesses that have gone broke on $3 gas can spring back to life without that burden of cost and maintenance. Mentor Blog Entries: 1  Quote by brerabbit Set goals, ie: Operating Warm Experental Fusion Reactor near Hoover Dam grid by 2017 and ITER in France. Ten updated Warm/Iron Fusion Reactors at Main Elictrical Grid Nodes in US. 2027. Somewhat unfortunately this is highly unlikely. By 2017 construction of ITER won't even be finished yet. Also ITER is only a step towards commercial fusion, it's meant to be followed up by DEMO that hasn't even started its design phase yet. Sadly commercial fusion is still years away. Blog Entries: 2  Quote by Ryan_m_b Somewhat unfortunately this is highly unlikely. By 2017 construction of ITER won't even be finished yet. Also ITER is only a step towards commercial fusion, it's meant to be followed up by DEMO that hasn't even started its design phase yet. Sadly commercial fusion is still years away. thanx, Ryan I absolutely agree. ...but that is the problem. Nobody has a sense of urgency! Pres Kennedy set us us on a impossible goal to go to the moon and return on the Soviet Union urgency of Sputnik. Now the urgency is mired down but is known that we are running out of fossil fuel and the other options are filthy. We need to kick the Universities and Government sponsored 75% of their research dollars are to be spent on Fusion until the goals are met. Mentor Blog Entries: 1  Quote by brerabbit thanx, Ryan I absolutely agree. ...but that is the problem. Nobody has a sense of urgency! Pres Kennedy set us us on a impossible goal to go to the moon and return on the Soviet Union urgency of Sputnik. Now the urgency is mired down but is known that we are running out of fossil fuel and the other options are filthy. We need to kick the Universities and Government sponsored 75% of their research dollars are to be spent on Fusion until the goals are met. 75% is a bit excessive, for all we know all that would achieve is for us to find out slightly faster that there are more obstacles that we haven't taken into account and that we are further away from fusion than we thought. Personally if we in the developed world were going to spend massive amounts of money on energy we would be better off investing in things we know that work like the latest generation of nuclear reactors, biofuel, renewables and energy reduction methods like passive housing.  Quote by brerabbit thanx, Ryan I absolutely agree. ...but that is the problem. Nobody has a sense of urgency! Pres Kennedy set us us on a impossible goal to go to the moon and return on the Soviet Union urgency of Sputnik. Now the urgency is mired down but is known that we are running out of fossil fuel and the other options are filthy. We need to kick the Universities and Government sponsored 75% of their research dollars are to be spent on Fusion until the goals are met. The space race was largely fueled by fear, not ambition. That element of fear and communism isn't part of today's energy crisis. Everyone knew that the US was in an undeclared war of science with the USSR and that the development of nuclear arms and other advanced technological weapons would decide the victor. But with the energy crisis, people only care about how much cash they have to give to the Saudi's for their oil, not if they will get nuked by them. The majority of the population doesn't even think climate change is real. There's just not enough motivation form the general populous to pursue fusion at the same scale of the Apollo missions. But thats not to say that their shouldn't be. If there was some sort of large catastrophic event, perhaps natural disasters, that could be directly tied to climate change or the energy crisis then you would probably see the government and the public show a serious interest in the situation. But we've already had massive oil spills and the warmest and coldest winter on record (depending on where you live) and all that came out of it is just some people complaining. Mentor Blog Entries: 1  Quote by Topher925 There's just not enough motivation form the general populous to pursue fusion at the same scale of the Apollo missions. But thats not to say that their shouldn't be. Applying this to energy in general the majority of people probably do not even realise that there is an energy crisis to avoid. They may hear that we've only got X years of fossil fuels left but what they hear from the media is contradictory regarding how long left and what the alternatives are (witness the strong anti-nuclear sentiments that most western countries have). What might change this is rising fuel costs. In the UK energy costs became a rather important political issue over the winter with several scandalous reports about the increase upon increase that consumers are receiving. A lot of the argument so far has surrounded the profit margins of the energy companies however it could be that as this trend continues eventually people put less energy into arguing about profit margins and face the inevitable issue of increasingly scarce and hard-to-reach fuels. Eventually the economic impact of this on the public may galvanise political opinion. Regarding public opinion and politics in general on big issues I always feel that it's one of slow/no change followed by massive/quick change once critical mass of "something-must-be-done" is reached. Not enough people care and care not enough about tackling present and future energy demands for it to be a big political issue. That will change but unfortunately probably long after something could have been done to avoid hardship.  Recognitions: Gold Member Yes I think the UK is the country farthest out on point and will be the one to watch as a predictor of how to proceed. North Sea oil and gas has declined substantially. The UK was self sufficient in gas a few years ago and now imports 40%. UK energy imports tripled in a 5-6 year period. Mentor Blog Entries: 1  Quote by mheslep Yes I think the UK is the country farthest out on point and will be the one to watch as a predictor of how to proceed. North Sea oil and gas has declined substantially. The UK was self sufficient in gas a few years ago and now imports 40%. UK energy imports tripled in a 5-6 year period. Yup. Depressing really but hopefully will soon force large commitment to weaning ourselves off of oil and gas. We've got a whole lot of coal left that we never finished mining (because it couldn't economically compete) that we could use in the meantime, we've got new nuclear reactors on the way (albeit delayed) and there's been significant investment in other technologies like fracking and renewables but we need to press far more. Blog Entries: 2  Quote by Ryan_m_b Yup. Depressing really but hopefully will soon force large commitment to weaning ourselves off of oil and gas. We've got a whole lot of coal left that we never finished mining (because it couldn't economically compete) that we could use in the meantime, we've got new nuclear reactors on the way (albeit delayed) and there's been significant investment in other technologies like fracking and renewables but we need to press far more. Ryan: Let there be no doubt that a few generations away, humans will consume all the energy resources we have. It will face us at a time if we are ready or not. If we are ready we survive. If not, those who have planned to do without will survive. As said above, we suffer because we need a catostrophe as the first responder to set in motion a staggering effort and catastrophe is a very poor red flag. IMHO, Nothing but clean Fusion is on the horizon to replace Neuclear, coal and oil. So we can start aggressively now or pay much, much, more later. Recognitions: Gold Member  Quote by Ryan_m_b Yup. Depressing really but hopefully will soon force large commitment to weaning ourselves off of oil and gas. Yes I'll be curious to see which technical moves UK transportation makes.  We've got a whole lot of coal left that we never finished mining (because it couldn't economically compete) that we could use in the meantime,... Exactly. UK's coal mining era boom and bust is often used to illustrate peak energy arguments in an attempt to show the resource is depleted which is nonsense in this case. UK coal has been economically unavailable (for the moment), not geologically. The UK also seems to have some of the best offshore wind resource in the world, which should eventually help if the cost can be driven down.  Yes I think the UK is the country farthest out on point and will be the one to watch as a predictor of how to proceed. North Sea oil and gas has declined substantially. The UK was self sufficient in gas a few years ago and now imports 40%. UK energy imports tripled in a 5-6 year period.  Quote by Ryan_m_b Yup. Depressing really but hopefully will soon force large commitment to weaning ourselves off of oil and gas. On the contrary, I'm really please we're winding off production, but would feel much better if we turned it right down to 'idle' - there is still oil and gas out there and we bloomin' well should stop pulling it out the ground whilst other countries are still selling their oil! We need to keep our own oil for ourselves for when the real bad times come to hit the global economy, and I'm talking about commodities getting so expensive they are effectively barred from export to us by other countries. If it was my country to control, I'd turn all production down to minimum to keep the engineering infrastructure of those production sites ticking over (even if that is an expense to the country) and buy oil from others while they are still selling. The black stuff will be worth an absolute fortune in the future, and right now we're selling it cheap when we could, instead, be buying it cheap. It's worse that Brown selling off the nation's gold - I mean, we'll really need this oil in the future!  Blog Entries: 7 Recognitions: Gold Member Homework Help Science Advisor If you have an idea (and resources) for a "transformational energy technology" you can apply for a grant through ARPA-E (US Department of Energy). Deadlines: Letter of Intent: March 30, 5:00 ET Concept Papers: April 12 5:00 ET Full Applications: TBD Grant:$250M - \$1MM Recipient expected to cost share 20% minimum. More information on the web at: http://www.arpa-e.energy.gov/media/n...9/Default.aspx
 This note will start out summing up a negative situation, and then will then show reason for hope toward solving this mess and even growing to greater heights. I’ve been a strong advocate of finding alternant energy sources since the early 1970’s. From time to time, I’ve had the privilege being a part of that effort. But time and again I keep running into two indisputable facts: > For the time being, nothing will be as cheap as fossil fuel and nuclear. >Science, engineering, and a deep love for Mother Earth aside, most people will always go with whatever is cheaper. The following things further complicate the matter: > While alternant sources have become less expensive, they will not be ready to compete with conventional sources for a very long time. >Every time we think we are getting short of fossil fuel, someone discovers another huge and vast supply of it. >The developing countries will continue to demand a larger share of the global energy market as they rapidly make up lost ground in economic development with the United States. >Everyone’s energy demand will continue to increase. >Recently and at various times in the past our government has made huge volumes of money available for research into energy solutions. It has never done much real good such that we can see evidence of it in our current energy market place. >No rational person can argue that this world is not getting warmer. It is not profitable to argue as to if that is a good thing or not. (It can and has been in the past argued that throughout history periods of warming have always brought a higher level of peace, health, and prosperity for the humans; whereas we tend to see wars, famine, and plagues during periods of cooling.) It is also not profitable to argue the reason, whether the warming is caused by human or natural means. It is only important to accept that we are getting warmer and develop means of dealing with it rationally, while at the same time perhaps slowing it down a bit if we can. I will always strongly support the spending of large amounts of research money. That is never a bad thing. Even if the original intention turns into nothing useful, research always improves our collective knowledge base and inspires new and creative ideas. That is how we evolve as a human race and culture. But to solve this problem quickly, we need much more than that. Most of the companies who are best able to use this recent supply of green research money profitably have not touched it. Those who have taken it have done nothing to apply it to real solutions. For the most part, they spent it on making big things small, only using public domain knowledge—being very careful not to use public funds to develop any new technology that might solve anything. The reason is that anyone using public funds must turn what they develop over to the public domain. To the academic this is so routine and fair that they don’t even give it a thought, because it is deeply imbedded in their subconscious as being fair, just, and right. But to the business community it is the most evil and wicked thing possible as they seek the holy grail of energy, the solution that will solve everything and enable them to make Wal-Mart, Microsoft, and Apple look like tiny mom & pop operations. Business guards their intellectual property with the highest degree of zeal. They are also very good at obtaining private funding for any idea that might be profitable. In other words, we have all the resources in the business community to solve the energy problem; but the only way to make it happen is to make it profitable. That is exactly what is happening right now, but for the most part in the highest secrecy as they continue to guard their intellectual property. But we can gain insight as to what they are doing from the rare media report that is actually useful, or from their business advertisements or marketing reports, or by noticing what skills they are hiring. They cannot be 100% secret when they are looking for investors or potential customers. Here is what I see happing on a huge scale right now. The combined effect can very likely make this whole energy crisis a thing of the past:  Carbon sequestration. Many companies and research organizations are collectively spending billions on research. A combination of the huge investment with in many cases a high degree of secrecy makes it likely that they see real solutions in sight. One very large and long established company is already looking for customers for a CO2 pump that will make it cheaper and easier than anyone else has dreamed possible. This can turn a fossil fuel plant into a zero emissions plant. How would that change the Big Picture?  Companies that design nuclear power plants have made it clear for some time now that they now understand how to design a plant that has zero probability of a meltdown or any other serious accident. All safety controls are completely passive and depend on simple physics to be completely safe. They are now advertising that they have new designs on the books and are ready to build. All new power plants will incorporate this new technology. How will that change the picture? One of the commodities they need to build these plants is derived as a byproduct of natural gas production, and we now have plenty of that.  We are worried about extremely long term storage of spent nuclear fuel. Yet it has always been possible to cheaply recycle it so that we have almost no waste at all. The road block is not technical. It has been done in the past. The current road block is political since Jimmy Carter signed legislation making the recycling of nuclear fuel illegal.  The reason we selected our current common design of a nuclear plant is because our original objective was to obtain bomb grade Plutonium from them. It turns out that is one of the byproducts of recycling the fuel, which is the reason it is currently illegal. But one huge company that has always been a major player in nuclear power is currently looking for customers for a new process that will continue to extract usable energy from spent fuel for another 35 years. Once they are done with it, it will be relatively safe with no need to store it for hundreds of thousands of years. We currently have enough spent fuel in storage to supply power at the current world consumption rate for 1800 years--if that was our only source of power. None of our barriers to doing this are technical. They are all political. So we have the ability in the near future to burn as much fossil fuel as we want with zero emissions, to build new nuclear plants that are 100% safe, and to eliminate our problem with spent nuclear fuel. What else do we need to solve this problem? What we need is the political will to do it. We lack nothing from the technical perspective. Note: I have purposely not mentioned the names of any companies. I’ve not said anything that cannot be quickly found with Google searches. The reason is that the company I work for forbids me from mentioning the names of any of our current or potential customers or suppliers. You see, we also zealously guard our intellectual property.
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