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No more fossil fuels!

by Manraj singh
Tags: fossil, fuels
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Evo
#37
Jun2-14, 03:07 PM
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Quote Quote by Manraj singh View Post
Well ,it seems like we have a decent chance of finding some by 2028. I read in the may edition of popular science that if everything goes according to plan, we will have captured an asteroid, which will probably have vast reserves of fossil fuels. There is a good chance.
How would an asteroid have "vast reserves of fossil fuel", that would mean a lot of life was present and conditions to change that life to a substance which can be made into fuel.

Please post the peer reviewed scientific research from a qualified journal that states that, not some pop-sci magazine.
SteamKing
#38
Jun2-14, 03:29 PM
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I once read in a tabloid newspaper that George Bush found oil on the moon. Doesn't mean any of it was true.
D H
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Jun2-14, 03:46 PM
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Quote Quote by Evo View Post
Quote Quote by Manraj singh View Post
Well ,it seems like we have a decent chance of finding some by 2028. I read in the may edition of popular science that if everything goes according to plan, we will have captured an asteroid, which will probably have vast reserves of fossil fuels. There is a good chance.
How would an asteroid have "vast reserves of fossil fuel", that would mean a lot of life was present and conditions to change that life to a substance which can be made into fuel.
The article was almost certainly addressing methane, but possibly in a bad popsci way. There's lot of water and methane in them thar asteroids, at least in those from near Jupiter's orbit and beyond. Water and methane will probably be the first things mined from asteroids. Why? Because they are the easily accessible, low hanging fruit in space, and they are potentially very valuable if used in space.

There would be zero value in bringing space-mined water and methane back down to Earth. That makes absolutely no sense. Water and methane are just too abundant right here on the Earth (and contrary to the peak water and peak methane nuts, they will stay that way for some time). The reason they are valuable in space is the extremely high cost of launching anything into space. Even if the new space companies accomplish everything they have dreamt of, and then some, it will still be very expensive to launch fuel and water into space.

Picking the low hanging fruit is a good idea in any field, and in space mining, the low hanging fruit are the volatiles in icy asteroids.
Evo
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Jun2-14, 04:16 PM
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I believe the Op misunderstood this paragraph in the article.

Asteroids could also make for a very big payday. According to Planetary Resources, an asteroid-mining company founded by commercial-spaceflight pioneers Peter Diamandis and Eric Anderson in 2010, a single 500-meter-wide space rock could contain 1.5 times the current world reserves of platinum-group metals like iridium and palladium. A water-rich asteroid of a similar size, meanwhile, might contain 80 times more water than a supertanker. If it were converted to hydrogen and oxygen, the company says, it could provide enough fuel to power all the rockets ever launched in human history. Attracted by the same staggering numbers, a second asteroid-mining firm, Deep Space Industries, launched in 2013.
http://www.popsci.com/article/scienc...s-they-find-us

You're right about the water and how it could be used DH.

New NASA mission to help us learn how to mine asteroids

Asteroids could one day be a vast new source of scarce material if the financial and technological obstacles can be overcome. Asteroids are lumps of metals, rock and dust, sometimes laced with ices and tar, which are the cosmic "leftovers" from the solar system's formation about 4.5 billion years ago. There are hundreds of thousands of them, ranging in size from a few yards to hundreds of miles across. Small asteroids are much more numerous than large ones, but even a little, house-sized asteroid should contain metals possibly worth millions of dollars.

There are different kinds of asteroids, and they are grouped into three classes from their spectral type -- a classification based on an analysis of the light reflected off of their surfaces. Dark, carbon-rich, "C-type" asteroids have high abundances of water bound up as hydrated clay minerals. Although these asteroids currently have little economic value since water is so abundant on Earth, they will be extremely important if we decide we want to expand the human presence throughout the solar system.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0809010232.htm
DHF
#41
Jun2-14, 04:20 PM
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Quote Quote by phinds View Post
And what would you propose we DO with it if we do find one? You can't seriously believe that bringing fossil fuel to Earth from space would be even remotely economically viable, can you?
Quote Quote by Manraj singh View Post
I agree with you. Although it is a possibility, it will be expensive, and then again, so much fuel will be used in sending the rocket to space in the first place. As of now, not viable, but maybe later, considering how we are progressing.
By the time we have made it cheap enough to bring down more fuel then we spent going up, it would mean we had perfected a fuel source far superior to chemical fuels we used now. That being the case we would have no use for said fossil fuels.
D H
#42
Jun2-14, 04:45 PM
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Peter Diamandis and Eric Anderson have oversold the value of asteroids, mainly because their investors are clueless about what does and does not make sense in space. Yes, it is true that "a single 500-meter-wide space rock could contain 1.5 times the current world reserves of platinum-group metals like iridium and palladium." It's a simple calculation. It is also true that that huge reserve has zero economic value now, and that will remain the case for a long, long time. The near-term future (25-50 years) is that with the possible exception of helium-3, anything mined in space only will have value in space, and then only if there is infrastructure in space to take advantage of that space-mined material.

Biological processes are not needed to make hydrocarbons. The Horsehead Nebula galaxy is loaded with propynylidyne (C3H). Titan is loaded with methane and ethane (CH4 and C2H6). These hydrocarbon volatiles may eventually be very valuable as fuel used in space. Bringing such materials back down to Earth doesn't make sense; they're abundant and cheap on the Earth.

Splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen has a value: the oxygen. That's how the Space Station gets the breathing oxygen needed by the crew. It's much easier to haul liquid water into space than it is to haul gaseous oxygen. The hydrogen? That's a waste product that is currently dumped into space.
DHF
#43
Jun2-14, 06:32 PM
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The hydrogen can be further processed by combining it with CO2 to make more O2, the by product would then be methane which could be stored and used as fuel or dumped into space. Originally NASA had such plans for the ISS but they were never implemented. I would imagine it either proved more of an engineering challenge then they expected or the process was more energy expensive then they could budget.
johnbbahm
#44
Jun12-14, 06:32 AM
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I first heard that work was going on in man mad fuels about 5 years ago.
The first article was from Germany.
http://www.fraunhofer.de/en/press/re...orage-gas.html
Then the NRL said they had refined the process for making jet fuel,
http://www.nrl.navy.mil/media/news-r...ks-to-the-seas
NRL has developed a two-step process in the laboratory to convert the CO2 and H2 gathered from the seawater to liquid hydrocarbons. In the first step, an iron-based catalyst has been developed that can achieve CO2 conversion levels up to 60 percent and decrease unwanted methane production from 97 percent to 25 percent in favor of longer-chain unsaturated hydrocarbons (olefins).

In the second step these olefins can be oligomerized (a chemical process that converts monomers, molecules of low molecular weight, to a compound of higher molecular weight by a finite degree of polymerization) into a liquid containing hydrocarbon molecules in the carbon C9-C16 range, suitable for conversion to jet fuel by a nickel-supported catalyst reaction.
If they can make olefins, a modern refinery can make almost any liquid fuel needed.
If the source of carbon is part of the active cycle (air or water),
the fuel produced would be carbon neutral.
This is not a new source of energy, just a storage method, with an existing infrastructure.
I think when the cost of the refineries buying natural oil for feedstock,
becomes higher than making their own feedstock, they will choose the cheaper path.
Also it may not be 100%, because some sources of oil are much less expensive
than others.


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