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YOU!: Fix the US Energy Crisis

by russ_watters
Tags: crisis, energy
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anaximenes
#847
Sep1-12, 03:14 AM
P: 19
what if we added bigger engine valves and self cleaning systems to an engine and used sap ethenol.
Topher925
#848
Sep18-12, 10:55 AM
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P: 1,672
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/
mheslep
#849
Sep18-12, 11:04 AM
PF Gold
P: 3,081
I found this part interesting:

Quote 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.
mheslep
#850
Sep18-12, 11:14 AM
PF Gold
P: 3,081
Quote Quote by Topher925 View Post
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.
rufu
#851
Nov25-12, 06:22 AM
P: 2
I suggest to develop Nikolas Tesla's Patents. I had read about his one of the work that can produce huge amount of energy from LIGHTNING and other natural disturbances by using high quality capacitors.
Its heard that Tesla in 1889 had set up a wireless lighting of 200 incandescent bulbs from a 26 mile away source.
martix
#852
Nov25-12, 06:20 PM
P: 128
Yeesh... here we go again.

But anyway. Here's something to puzzle about: Why is only the US in crisis. And if it's not just them, why only fix it in the US.
rufu
#853
Nov25-12, 08:59 PM
P: 2
Every nation has her own energy crisis. Some of them are waiting other countries to bring up new energy projects. The benefit is that the last one who install a new project will have less draw backs of implementation. US does't have time to wait,because it will hinder their present financial rhythm.
Felchi
#854
Dec31-12, 10:32 AM
P: 25
I don't live in America nor am I particularily well educated in science compared to many but here's my opinion:

1. Improve public transit. I don't know about the average US city/suburb but where I live, buses are slow, fares are continuously climbing and there are a ridiculously low amount of buses in certain routes. I personally once ran 5 km to my destination. On my way, I saw 4 buses--go the other way. It was only when I reached my destination that a bus came my way. Unless mass transit is convenient and practical, no one will be willing to stand half an hour at a bus stop when they could drive somewhere in 20 minutes.

2. Nuclear is a nice idea, but in essence, isn't this repeating history? Coal was seen as a long lasting energy source in its time and look at us now. Nuclear is no more renewable than coal is. It's just a band-aid solution we would put on the energy crisis that would only escalate the problem when the day comes that energy demands are even higher and we only have a limited amount of nuclear fuel.

3. For biomass, it all depends on the fuel you use. I have no objection to the burning of feces--we have that in high supply and it is definitely a renewable resource. However, the use of ethanol is a bit more problematic. To my knowledge, the US is in a bit of an economic slump right now and the market economy contributes to poverty and so, higher dependence on food banks. Ethanol is derived from organic products, namely plants and seeing as the US has fields of corn at the ready, corn would be the "ideal" source of ethanol. Corn is the feed for livestock and source of one of the most widespread sweeteners. If you start placing other demands on corn, you boost the prices of food all over the US. It is definitely not the ideal energy donkey on which we should dump USA's energy needs.
russ_watters
#855
Dec31-12, 04:47 PM
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P: 22,252
Welcome to PF!

Neither coal nor nuclear have a longevity problem. The problem with coal is that it pollutes and the problem with nuclear is people think it pollutes.

Biomass pollutes as well.
Tarti
#856
Jan10-13, 04:22 PM
P: 11
Oh come on russ_watters...
there are so many stories about nuclear power plants that have minor failures (not to be reported) causing children to be disabled. I also disagree that coal pollutes. There are a lot of technologies available that make it basically clean, more info on wiki.
Nevertheless I do agree that any transition to green energy has to be made very carefully.
russ_watters
#857
Jan10-13, 04:36 PM
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Quote Quote by Tarti View Post
Oh come on russ_watters...
there are so many stories about nuclear power plants that have minor failures (not to be reported) causing children to be disabled.
None are true. There has never been a nuclear power accident in the US with more than very small/trace release of radioactive material and the worst of them, Three Mile Island, resulted in no increase in health problems as documented in a 20 year study. You must be looking at crackpot sources. The wiki on TMI:
No significant level of radiation was attributed to the TMI-2 accident outside of the TMI-2 facility. According to the Rogovin report, the vast majority of the radioisotopes released were the noble gases, Xenon and Krypton. The report stated, "During the course of the accident, approximately 2.5 million curies of radioactive noble gases and 15 curies of radioiodines were released." This resulted in an average dose of 1.4 mrem to the two million people near the plant. The report compared this with the additional 80 mrem per year received from living in a high altitude city such as Denver.[37] As further comparison, you receive 3.2 mrem from a chest X-Ray – more than twice the average dose of those received near the plant.[38]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_M...terial_release
And more directly about the health effects: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_M...health_effects
I also disagree that coal pollutes. There are a lot of technologies available that make it basically clean, more info on wiki.
There are ways to improve the cleanliness of coal, but coal is at best still coal. It is carbon and burning it makes carbon dioxide. There currently is no way to get around that.

That article you linked, by the way, doesn't mention "clean coal" and discusses many of the major pollution problems of coal. It doesn't support your argument, it supports mine.
Buckleymanor
#858
Jan11-13, 08:23 PM
P: 488
Quote Quote by rufu View Post
Every nation has her own energy crisis. Some of them are waiting other countries to bring up new energy projects. The benefit is that the last one who install a new project will have less draw backs of implementation. US does't have time to wait,because it will hinder their present financial rhythm.
It's difficult to understand if there is an actual energy "crisis" or that it the whole thing is just politicts.
Where I live GB. there are finacial incentives to insulate your home to save energy and disincentives if you don't which seem reasonable. However automobile and comercial vehicles escape.I don't know what your vehicle uses but I know mine uses more energy than my house. So how come the automotive industry avoids legistlation to save energy yet households don't.
I don't just wan't to imply that the engine could be insulated but the cab and battery etc.
So tell me I am wrong!
As far as I can see it's all political bull.
Felchi
#859
Jan12-13, 03:09 PM
P: 25
Quote Quote by russ_watters View Post
Welcome to PF!

Neither coal nor nuclear have a longevity problem.
Really? I thought the coal deposits in the earth and the usable radioactive elements deposits in the earth are finite, or at least don't renew themselves fast enough.
Alfi
#860
Jan12-13, 05:30 PM
P: 151
Quote Quote by Buckleymanor View Post
It's difficult to understand if there is an actual energy "crisis" or that it the whole thing is just politicts.
Where I live GB. there are finacial incentives to insulate your home to save energy and disincentives if you don't which seem reasonable. However automobile and comercial vehicles escape.I don't know what your vehicle uses but I know mine uses more energy than my house. So how come the automotive industry avoids legistlation to save energy yet households don't.
I don't just wan't to imply that the engine could be insulated but the cab and battery etc.
So tell me I am wrong!
As far as I can see it's all political bull.

Ok ... you're wrong.

There used to be herds of bison on the plains in the Millions. Some people probably saw them as inexhaustible and killed them by the thousands for no reason from trains.

Look at any city and see the lights left on over night. People see energy as inexhaustible in the same way.
Buckleymanor
#861
Jan12-13, 06:16 PM
P: 488
People see energy as inexhaustible in the same way.
It is, you and I will run out of energy long before the world or the universe does.
Bison depletion does not have anything to do with any gain or loss of energy.It just trying to get some kind of political green empathy.
You know poor helpless animals dying in there millions by the thoughtless act's of man.
Light's on same result.
No!
Alfi
#862
Jan12-13, 08:01 PM
P: 151
Perhaps you are correct Buckleymanor.

why try?
It just trying to get some kind of political green empathy.
OmCheeto
#863
Jan13-13, 12:04 PM
PF Gold
OmCheeto's Avatar
P: 1,420
Quote Quote by Buckleymanor View Post
It's difficult to understand if there is an actual energy "crisis" or that it the whole thing is just politicts.
Where I live GB. there are finacial incentives to insulate your home to save energy and disincentives if you don't which seem reasonable. However automobile and comercial vehicles escape.I don't know what your vehicle uses but I know mine uses more energy than my house. So how come the automotive industry avoids legistlation to save energy yet households don't.
I don't just wan't to imply that the engine could be insulated but the cab and battery etc.
So tell me I am wrong!
As far as I can see it's all political bull.
Political bull?

Why don't you patent your insulated engine, cab, battery idea and make a billion pounds?
Money attracts politicians. Being a billionaire will make you politically powerful.

Then you could be the one pulling the political bullshtrings.


-------------------------------
As always, a song pops into my head:
Would you like to see Britannia Rule again, my friend?...Pink Floyd
Thanks for being from GB, btw.
russ_watters
#864
Jan13-13, 10:40 PM
Mentor
P: 22,252
Quote Quote by Felchi View Post
Really? I thought the coal deposits in the earth and the usable radioactive elements deposits in the earth are finite, or at least don't renew themselves fast enough.
Finite, but very, very long-lasting. Admittedly not a great source, but here's one on coal that says 112 years with currently known sources and current rates of production in the world. That's more than twice similar estimates for oil and natural gas. http://www.worldcoal.org/coal/where-is-coal-found/

That's a long enough time that predictions about what the world looks like then is very difficult, but given the unpopularity of coal in developed countries and the recent drastic drop in American coal electrical production, it may go unused for a very long time.

Nuclear's longevity is much, much longer. Hundreds? Thousands? Tens of thousands of years? Depends on what assumptions you use: http://www.scientificamerican.com/ar...-deposits-last
Right now we are being very wasteful with our nuclear fuel usage because of the economics and politics of recycling and making breeder reactors, but as the cost goes up, the economics will get better, which adds orders of magnitude to nuclear's longevity.

In either case, since the fuel will last through several new generations of power plants (50-75 year lifespan), the longevity is way too long to factor into our energy decisions today.

Conversely, the stability of other fuels will have big impacts on our coal and nuclear usage. If you strip away the scaremongering, "Peak oil" does indicate potential supply constraints and vastly changing economics. Ironically though, we are currently seeing the opposite "problem": the explosion of American oil and gas production has driven down prices. As a result, a power company that built a coal plant 5 years ago may be kicking themselves due to the crash in gas prices.


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