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 Quote by Topher925 methane doesn't make economic sense.
You mean for fuel cell vehicles, or combustion vehicles it doesn't make economic sense. Clearly methane is cheaper than H2 per million BTU, and easier to transport - either compressed of liquefied.

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 Quote by Topher925 All vehicles use 5Kpsi or 10Kpsi compressed H2 tanks.
I also was considering the existing truck based transportation system (i.e. by Air Gas), such as it is. That's overwhelmingly run at 3K PSI. Then the only way to refill would be to find an installation with a 10K PSI compressor system.

 GRID & WIND: =========== First I'd like to address the MYTH that the electrical grid is old and aging. Power delivery companies spend fortunes improving the grid to insure that when you flick a switch the power is there. It's in their propaganda that they send with each bill ;) The real issue is the wind turbines etc throw great spikes onto the grid and require capacitors to smooth the power out, otherwise it's a nightmare for the grid manager, they need smooth power and only smooth. Otherwise grid Equipment and end user electronics would fry. That Said, this is spun this way to get the ratepayer to pay for the experiments in wind power. IF the states were to require that the wind power investors pay for the improvements required to connect, we would instantly see that wind is not cost effective and not a viable alternative. it is barely cost effective WITH this large piece of the cost moved to the other side of the balance sheet. On an individual scale, it works for homeowners somewhat, but as a grid source not so much. I can guarantee that in 20 years the next hit on ratepayers will either be expensive repairs on great fields of these turbines or expensive demolition. it's a noble idea, but it is NOT working the way the current business and subsidy's for it are set up, it is only serving the shareholders and not the ratepayers. ANY way you look at it. in a word a boondoggle. OIL: ======== For the near future, it's drill baby drill. Regardless of your politics, there is no other available fuel that pound for pound compacts the huge amount of energy that is in petroleum oil. Technologies exist to extract and burn it with the least impact, and should be employed. What drives the price is multi-fold: 1) the manipulation of currency value by central banks, currency value goes down=prices of gold, oil, other commodities go up. period. 2) politicization of environmental conservation along with rigid absolutes. 3) federal and state taxes 4) refinement facilities see #2 5) transportation to markets 6) R&D in new technology and sources of raw crude in the mantel. Electric Transportation: ================== While possible super-"clean" (if you discount MFG process and materials) it is severely limited in scope & range. There simply is NOT a battery that can perform with reasonable costs to maximize the distances and load weights we transport. IE: you cannot change the laws of thermodynamics. To be sure battery technology can improve, and greater distances can be achieved, however it will never compete with the cost effectiveness of Oil-fuels. Repeat NEVER. The ONLY possibility is mass transit, as we know many subway and trolley's were electrically powered, this can be improved and makes sense in certain applications, however it will take a great change in behavior for people to give up individual modes of private transportation. I do not want to be part of a world that politically FORCES that behavior change. Make it cool, and desireable & affordable, and they will come... The golf-cart culture in florida retirement communities works. it is location specific. and no small amount of batteries used there. The batteries can be recycled so the impact can be reduced. so yes, small electric vehicles CAN be viable in specific locations. I don't foresee people commuting long distances in Texas or from Los Vegas to LA anytime soon in a golf cart. Currently, a viable transportation fuel that is much cleaner is Natural gas or propane. these vehicles have existed for a long time, retrofit is relatively easy, and the fuel abundant. More use should be encouraged and mass transit moved over to it where viable. Private rail, should be encouraged, if not subsidized. almost no mode of shipping can actually compete with the extreme tonnage a railroad can move. Distribution centers along the rail can easily move goods to their final destinations. I don't see hydrogen being a viable fuel either, while it may be cheap & abundant and would make great sense, there will always be some wako willing to spark it, and thus make everyone else a vulnerable target. Remember the Hindenburg ! NUCLEAR FISSION: ================ Considering Fukashima, I have changed my mind on fission. Hands down it is THE biggest bang for our buck in electrical production. however, considering natural disaster and the possibility of EMP terrorism, the resulting catastrophes of fission products released into the environment and the eventual core meltdown releasing even more toxic products. It makes as much sense as having a huge store of hydrogen next to your home. With Ceasium-137 having a half life of 70+ years and Uranium-235 has a half-life of 700 million years, it leaves little room for us. Given the threat of an EMP knocking out the grid and ALL electronic & electrical devices along with the eastern states each having one active or retired facility. The east coast all the way to the Mississippi river would be in danger of meltdown if the coolant pools had no circulating pumps. to use an over used word the disaster would be epic. Frankly, the current facilities should ALL be Military grade EMP hardened ASAP. if they could assure me of that I may change my mind. However it does not change the resulting Nuclear waste and it's millions of years half lives... so Nuke power is NOT the long term solution either. Summary & conclusion: =================== In all we have a mixed bag of energy resources with various real impacts on our health and well being, our daily routines and our freedoms of choice. All have pro's and con's and all have specific applications where they shine. Energy is political, it is a tool for manipulation, and it is a point of contention between countries and peoples. TO some degree individuals may find some sort of energy independence with expensive technologies, with varying results and no small degree of sacrificing the ease of collective energy abundance(at a cost) Independence is often abstinence from use, something people theorizing never experience for themselves. Off-grid living is often limiting your use and extreme awareness of consumption, something we may all be forced to do via politics, taxes and supply/demand costs along with debasing of currency. I see no viable alternatives as a macro scale technology. I do see limiting the politics and taxes on necessary energy. ONE potential does exist though and that is FUSION. The exotic plasmas are fragile and "break" and containment and prolonged reactions are necessary. As are new materials to support containment and chambers for the reaction. The employment of magnetic fields and geometry's of the containment space needs more research, as do all other aspects. What I envision is a National Quest for fusion much like the Man on the moon mission. R&D funding, New materials research funding. magnetic field research, containment research, elemental plasma(s) development. Whole new fields and business development surrounding it would provide a great number of job opportunities. Once solved power generation is the same as current nuclear facilities, Steam powered Generation. FAR less toxic in the event of disaster or containment breech and only localized damage and radiation exposure. Most current plasma reactions simply shut down once "broken". It would take a National effort, something we have done before and can do again. It takes political will and taxpayer dollars. It IS achievable ! What we require is a leader with VISION ! It can and should be developed alongside the current energy systems. Let the free market dictate those, leave it alone, focus on solving FUSION. once solved it will radically alter all energy issues and deployments. It can be scaled up or down. and can provide mankind with independence and freedom once again. Shared with the world it may improve worldwide relations as the heavy competition for resources is altered. Will the current leaders of all political stripe do it of their own accord ? No. We must make them. or do it ourselves.

 Quote by Watchman2012 GRID & WIND: =========== First I'd like to address.....
There's a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding here. Where to start.....

Wind: The problem with wind isn't the economics, not even 20 years from now. As far as alternative energy goes wind is actually rather cheap when done correctly. The problem with wind power is that it isn't energy producing, its energy farming. Power is only provided when nature says so, not when the grid demands it.

Oil: "Drill baby drill" is one of the most imprudent catch phrases that I think has ever existed. Why does society think the solution to a problem is the same actions that caused it? The bottom line with oil, its a very very expensive energy source. The problem is that the true cost of oil isn't seen until long after its been purchased and burned. Pollution, oil spills, green house gas production, its all going to cost a lot of money in the end with regards to dealing with the aftermath of burning it. We just haven't been faced with those costs yet (not economically anyway).

Electric Transport: Granted, we will never have affordable electric cars that can go 300 miles while carrying 4 passengers. However, that doesn't mean that battery powered vehicles don't have their place in this world. A good fraction of the world lives in cities and high population density areas where electric cars make a lot of sense. Will they work for everyone, no of course not. Do they have the possibility of making up a large portion of the cars that will be on the road, absolutely.

I hate to burst your bubble about hydrogen buts its happening. All major auto manufacturers are planning on selling hydrogen fueled vehicles by the end of 2015. Several are already in the first phases of production. I actually had the pleasure of driving the fuel cell powered Toyota Hylander, Kia Tuscan, Honda Clarity, and GM Equinox earlier this summer. And another thing, hydrogen is not cheap and abundant. It doesn't exist anywhere on earth naturally, it must be produced from an energy source. Also, you do know gasoline is flammable right? Worse than that, it exists in liquid form at typical pressures and temperatures. And the Hindenburg didn't just burn because it was full of hydrogen, its skin had a chemical make-up similar to thermite. What do you think would have happened if it was filled with gasoline?

 Regardless of your politics, there is no other available fuel that pound for pound compacts the huge amount of energy that is in petroleum oil.
Incorrect. Hydrogen has 2.7 times the specific energy of gasoline. H2 actually has the highest energy density than any other chemical fuel. You just can't beat protons for energy density.

Nuclear: You need to understand the circumstanced of the Fukishima disaster. This was a power plant that was designed in the 50's, built in the 60's, survived a very powerful earthquake, and was then hit by a tidal wave. The plant was placed in a terrible location and didn't have adequate protection from tsunami's (obviously) like it should have. I'm not an advocate of nuclear power, but it can be a very safe and practical form of power production when done correctly. With the advent of the computer and other technologies, much safer and more efficient nuclear power plants can be built. It justs costs an enormous amount of capital to build one. Germany and Japan's decision to nix all of their nuclear power and replace it with coal was just plain idiotic IMO. I'm not a big fan of nuclear but I think its the best practical option we have for "clean" power in the near future.

Summary:
 Let the free market dictate those, leave it alone, focus on solving FUSION.
Fusion is very very very very very hard. It is an immense engineering and scientific challenge to create a reactor that is just only self sustaining. I doubt I'll ever see it in my lifetime and I'm in my mid 20's.

As for politics, don't count on anyone is washington to make the effort. I don't care if its democrats, republicans, or the wizard of Oz in office the only thing politicians care about is getting re-elected. The American people just don't really care about the environment or sustainability when compared to other issues like the economy and gay marriage so politicians aren't going to focus on it until it becomes a major issue. Besides, new technology costs money which no one wants to spend with the huge deficit and wars. When the droughts continue on through this year and the next, food prices increase, and potable water becomes scarce, then people will start to care. Of course by then we will already be up the creek.

Now the rest of the world on the other hand is a different story. I had hopes that Europe would be the pioneers of clean energy until their economy began to collapse. Guess its up to Japan and Iceland now.

 Recognitions: Gold Member Small moves... small moves... A Plug-In Hybrid For $3,000? Thank These College Folk For That Recognitions: Gold Member  Quote by OmCheeto Small moves... small moves... A Plug-In Hybrid For$3,000? Thank These College Folk For That
Nice idea. No on-the-road charging but if cheap enough it might still fly.

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 Quote by Topher925 ...All major auto manufacturers are planning on selling hydrogen fueled vehicles by the end of 2015.
What is the intended infrastructure mechanism for fueling H2 at 5k or 10k psi to the thousands (?) of vehicles come the 2015?

 Quote by mheslep What is the intended infrastructure mechanism for fueling H2 at 5k or 10k psi to the thousands (?) of vehicles come the 2015?
Japan, Iceland, Germany and other parts of Europe have collaborations between the OEM's and government for creating a suitable infrastructure come 2015. The source of hydrogen will primarily be natural gas as is the status quo today. The initial estimate of FCHV sales in 2015 is estimated to only be in the 10's of thousands so stations will/are only being built by the hundreds. But as they say, if you build it, they will come.

http://www.intelligent-energy.com/ne...ustry_news/10/
http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/in...infrastructure

 Last week Honda, Toyota and Nissan and 10 hydrogen suppliers (including Idemitsu and Tokyo Gas) issued a joint statement at the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry promising to introduce ‘mass production’ fuel cell vehicles (FCV) into ‘four major urban areas’, beginning in 2015. The car makers say they expect these future FCVs to be less expensive, helping drive sales upwards in the second half of the decade. This greater market penetration should underpin the establishment of 100 Hydrogen fuelling stations in Japan by 2015. The Japanese economic ministry said that ‘the government will support the mass introduction of FCVs in 2015 and more penetration beyond it and will take the necessary actions’.

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 Quote by Topher925 Japan, Iceland, Germany and other parts of Europe have collaborations between the OEM's and government for creating a suitable infrastructure come 2015. The source of hydrogen will primarily be natural gas as is the status quo today. The initial estimate of FCHV sales in 2015 is estimated to only be in the 10's of thousands so stations will/are only being built by the hundreds. But as they say, if you build it, they will come. http://www.intelligent-energy.com/ne...ustry_news/10/ http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/in...infrastructure
You stated earlier that "all" major auto manufacturers were going into production of FCHV's by 2015. So GM, Chrysler and Ford will enter production of a model that has Europe and Japan only sales, at least initially?

 A little late to the game on this one, but is there really a "crisis" of energy? I've only had power outages when I lived on a military base, which were usually scheduled and posted to the public about 5 days in advance, and I never turn on a light switch and the power not be there. Is the energy crisis one of those propaganda things? Not trying to troll, I however would like some credible sites to visit so I can become a little more educated. The usual google search brings up some unrelated or outdated information. So if anyone can perhaps educate me a little I would appreciate it as this is a curious subject for me. Thank you.

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 Quote by Justinmcg67 A little late to the game on this one, but is there really a "crisis" of energy? I've only had power outages when I lived on a military base, which were usually scheduled and posted to the public about 5 days in advance, and I never turn on a light switch and the power not be there. Is the energy crisis one of those propaganda things? Not trying to troll, I however would like some credible sites to visit so I can become a little more educated. The usual google search brings up some unrelated or outdated information. So if anyone can perhaps educate me a little I would appreciate it as this is a curious subject for me. Thank you.
Are you familiar with peak oil and similar phenomenon?

 Batteries, Compressed Air, Hydrogen, and Gasoline are all energy storage devices. Some methods of storage are MUCH more efficient than others. Within the area of currently mass produced technology, liquid/gas hydrocarbons are the best we have for energy density. We now have processes for making methane out of water and Co2. http://www.fraunhofer.de/en/press/re...orage-gas.html It may not be an energy efficient conversion, but it stores and transports well. The infrastructure is already in place. If we can make methane, we can make any hydrocarbon. http://www.carbonsciences.com/applications.html Yes the cost may be high, but high is relative to none available. I could imagine solar and wind power houses all over the country, not net metering electricity, but net metering natural gas.
 Hello, my two cents I’m from Australia, and recently (last 6 years) our state government introduced a scheme where an electrician will come to your house, install a electricity monitor, replace your incandescent globes with CFTs and replace your shower head with a more efficient (lack of water over here). Plus the electricity company introduced a tariff where people could sell power to the company, promoting solar panels to be installed on houses and businesses. So instead of building more power stations, maybe try to ease the demand by installing solar panels first. I admit it won't do much unless every house has a roof covered in them and yes, places like New York, Alaska and Nth Dakota won't be suitable places, but hey, a roof is wasted space
 what if we added bigger engine valves and self cleaning systems to an engine and used sap ethenol.

It appears that the US Energy Secretary Stephen Chu has changed his mind on hydrogen and fuel cells.

 When Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize winning physicist, was named Secretary of the Department of Energy in the Obama Administration, he quickly redirected much of the Department's automotive research efforts into battery electric vehicles. So much so that proponents of hydrogen fuel cells complained loudly that the Secretary was starving their research efforts. Automakers will no doubt welcome the Secretary's change of heart. General Motors, Ford, Toyota, Honda, Daimler, BMW and Hyundai, not only have decades-long development efforts in this area, they claim they can have fuel cell cars showroom ready by 2015.
http://www.autoblog.com/2012/07/26/h...ies-after-all/

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I found this part interesting:

 Quote by Sec Chu "We have an emerging technology where you take natural gas and you burn it in a partial oxygen atmosphere, generate the electricity, capture a lot of the heat energy, and you also get hydrogen and carbon monoxide," he explains. "You take the carbon monoxide (and) pass it over in a steam process called a shift process. You get a stream of hydrogen, you get a pure stream of carbon monoxide and you get electricity. That will change things."
That process could run until depletion of the all natural gas reserves (and coal to gas? hundreds of years?) with little or no impact to the environment.

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 Quote by Topher925 It appears that the US Energy Secretary Stephen Chu has changed his mind on hydrogen and fuel cells. http://www.autoblog.com/2012/07/26/h...ies-after-all/
The actual quote in the article from Chu on FC's (only one) is this:
 "I was not that high on hydrogen fuel cells," he admits, "but several things changed my mind. The most important thing that changed my mind is that we have now natural gas in abundance.
He may be referring mainly to stationary cells like a Bloom Box.