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Alternative fuel sources

Well your cover is blown.

  • Did you know there is an 85% chance that you, portiz, are in fact Al Gore?!?
  • Did you know that there is a 90% chance that your entire post is plagiarized from a pamphlet?

You are exactly the reason why we have this problem. You live your life without a clue what is going on till there is some major crisis. It was a year or two ago the president gave the State of the Union address talking about switchgrass. From the sound of things everything was being taken care of and everyone went back to sleep. Little Europe decided to put solar panels on everyones roof. That simple process will take over 20 years with massive effort. At the same time we failed to renew tax breaks for windmills and energy saving on demand water heaters. The people in control are perfectly happy the way things are and are still making money. Things won’t change till that changes. If they cut off the gas tomorrow, I will be driving in a week with wood chips!

A funny story. I am going to the gas station to fill the tank and I make a quick glance and I see the prices are around $3.14 a gallon for regular. Well, when I get onto the parking lot 5 seconds later I do a double take because the prices have been increased to $3.16, in just a few seconds.

As far as solar power. Would it produce any exhaust? If so, will this solar exhaust stuff pollute the air? What goes into the fuel tank as gasoline comes out the exhaust as a pollutant. I know we have devices to cut down on pollutants but are they 100% effective? Like when you burn coal as a fuel source you are left with ashes. It seems to me solar will reduce or eliminate pollutants. Why not take some of this Middle East money and spend it here in the USA on an alternative safer fuel source?
Sorry I am just rambling since I am not a chemist or a physicist.

We are so spoiled by cheap fuel. Consider an alternative… walking, bikes, skate boards. Maybe not skateboards for older types. Heck as prices increase our health may improve. Buffet investing in rail transportation. DAH! Investing in infrastructure again in America would be a grand opotunity right about now? China has solar water heating on just about all homes. Here we are installing instant on gas fired heaters…

“On hybrid cars the batteries are charged by applying the brakes.”

On hybrids, all the energy ultimately comes from the gasoline engine. Regenerative braking just reduces the amount of energy that is wasted.

I feel this is the best way to utilize biofuels-- you eat some food, and then use the energy to propel yourself on foot or by bicycle.

portiz,

I sure wish some of those were right, but as of today, must of that is wrong. However I do agree with at least part of what you are saying. We are not spending the kind of money to address the energy problem which is more real than we are spending to fight terror in a war (or is that to capture oil resources?) Anyway IMO it would be better to shift much of that effort to finding solutions for the energy problem.

I would feel a lot better if we were bring those boys home and letting them help grow the corn and research the various ideas to reduce our dependence on oil, coal etc. They deserve better than to be fighting a war.

The Europeans are now paying less for a barrel of oil. Remember when a US dollar was was 1.23 EUROS? Now a dollar is .69 EUROS. The price of oil hasn’t gone up, the dollar has just gone down. Besides an energy policy we need a financial policy!

Actually, it’s a little of both and the amount of oil imports is contributing to the weak dollar. Wait until oil starts trading in euros.

Sorry, I’m not Al Gore. FWIW, I wrote every word of that myself… had I known that someone else had written it first, I would have been happy to save my typing effort and cut/paste it!
PS I’ll assume that you’d rather debate the personal merits/behavior of Al Gore rather than the issues. Too bad.

Mr. Meehan,
It’s not wrong. Take a look at the Jan issue of Scientific American (there’s a great article on the costs of switching to solar), or “Renewable Energy” by Boyle, or “Whither Wind” (http://www.motherearthnews.com/Renewable-Energy/2007-02-01/Whither-Wind.aspx), or 1000’s of other sources. The technology is ready (and improving every day), all that is missing is our will to change it. Can I ask that you call your senator and ask that they help end our dependence on oil and coal? Please?
Thanks,
PO

Lorenzo,
You have proven that a person need not be a chemist or a physicist to know what’s right:
“Why not take some of this Middle East money and spend it here in the USA on an alternative safer fuel source?”
You are RIGHT ON!!!
Thanks,
PO

Please name a better US-grown crop better. You said yourself that sugar cane can’t be grown in much of the US. My understanding is that the over-all acreage suitable for corn in the US is substantially large. Is there something better?

Craig–You are correct. And, since the dollar is collapsing before our very eyes, it is only a matter of time before OPEC decides that oil will trade in Euros rather than dollars.

At that point, we will fondly recall the era of $3.50/gallon gasoline, and we will wish for the return of those “good old days”. As was previously stated–wouldn’t it be nice if the current administration had some forward-thinking policies regarding our fiscal situation, as well as regards the energy situation?

Yes, both switch grass and wood waste from lumber mills are better, simply because they do not eliminate a substantial portion of the food crop. As I recall, this is called “cellulosic” ethanol production. In addition to corn not being the most efficient crop to use for ethanol production, by diverting corn to the production of ethanol, we have helped to drastically drive up the price of corn as well as beef, chicken, etc. It is really like shooting yourself in the foot, IMHO.

While the technology for cellulosic ethanol production is not yet optimal, the technology is rapidly advancing. Hopefully, we can achieve the technological advances necessary within the next couple of years. Of course, if the Reagan Administration hadn’t shut down the Synthetic Fuels Corporation a few decades ago, it is likely that this technology would have been in use already.

Pump prices have deffinetly drawn attention to the so-called evil petroleum industry. BUT, if you do your research, staying away from media influenced resources, you will find out as I did that most of the pump prices are going to taxation.

Could you show me your research…Taxes account for less then 20% of the total cost of oil…That’s no where near MOST. Here’s a link for you… http://www.energy.ca.gov/gasoline/statistics/gas_taxes_by_state_2002.html

MOST of the increase is going straight into the oil companies stock holders and executives. Exxon has posted RECORD BREAKING PROFITS for the past year. Far exceeding ANY OTHER US company.

The key issue here is research and development towards self reliance, not alternative fuels which can be exploited just like petroleum.

YUP and it has…

Most of the taxed portion of pump prices goes to research into alternative fuels

No it doesn’t. Especially the state tax portion (which in some states account for more then half the taxes on gas). Very very little is ever spent by our government on environmental research…The total amount spent on research is no where near what the US government collects on Gas tax…NOT EVEN CLOSE.

The key issue here is research and development towards self reliance, not alternative fuels which can be exploited just like petroleum. And think about it, the petroleum industry employs thousands. Do we want to make those thousands unemployed and see families living in cars again?

It’s NOT displacing jobs…is called job shifting. Jobs in the oil industry that are eliminated will be replaced by jobs in other industries like the ones now being created in the BioDiesel industry…or the solar industry (which is growing leaps and bounds).

We don’t have to switch everything over to alternative fuels or energy sources to make a MAJOR impact in environment and fuel consumption. Just 20% would be extremely significant.

Solar is getting cheaper by year…There has been a hugh push for this in other countries like Germany that has really increased a new interest in the technology and is sparking new research. Solar panels today are producing twice the power and costing half as much as they did just 10 years ago. New research with Nano-Technology is making great headway into making solar very very feasible in the not to distant future.

Other technologies - One I liked was this wave generator. Basically you put a generator in the bottom of a lake or Ocean…There’s a rod that turns the generator and it’s attached to a buoy that’s floating on the surface. Since the water is constantly in motion…it’s constantly moving the rod that’s turning the motor…that’s generating electricity. Some estimates say that this technology can supply all the electrical needs for the east and west coast…

I agree that fusion is probably the most promising mid-term solution, but the U.S. has never been serious about it’s funding, it’s been 40 years away for the last 40 years (and will be for the next 40 if we don’t throw some real money at it). It is not close enough to commercialization to attract private R&D money yet.

A good friend of mine from high-school is one of the project heads at Princeton University for the Nuclear Fusion project. He started there when he finished up his Phd at MIT back in the 70’s. I’ve taking a tour of the project. It is being done on a shoe string budget. They can conduct experiments when the funding is available. Sometimes they get private funding when they can prove to the companies who do the funding that the experiment can benefit them in other ways. The US spends more money every year on the war in Iraq then they’ve spent in the TOTAL amount of fusion research in the past 40 years. It would be great if we could actually get there some day.

I must be very old I remember when gasoline was $1.25 cents a gallon and we thought the gas stations on the interstate were ripping us off by charging $1.40 a gallon. Those were the days.

Yup, it’s very unfortunate that we are not taking this seriously, fusion is probably the most hopeful “big” technology for the next century. Maybe some future U.S. administration will issue a “JFK type” challenge to develop and commercialize this energy source by the year 20XX (and get it funded), the equivalent of the 60s space program. With the current world politics, it would probably actually have some public support. Also, H2/fuel cell technology might actually start to make sense if we weren’t generating 70% of our electricity from fossil fuels.

Who knows, that might even get a few high school kid to actually take a math or science class. Another “big issue” that needs some attention.