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March 23, 2006

Comments

Cervus

I first encountered Peak Oil almost a year ago. And I have to say that I obcessed about it so much it nearly ruined my life.

Then I discovered Green Fuel Technologies. And this article from Mike Briggs of the UNH Biodisel Group. GreenFuel Tech is one of three companies researching algae as a fuel source. The growth rates and volumes get you thousands of gallons per acre/year of oil that can easily be turned into biodiesel. If the emissions from our powerplants were utilized, we'd get 40 billion gallons per year. GreenFuel hopes to start full scale production by 2009.

From reading your blog and others, I now have hope for the future. I expect to pay $4 a gallon for gas soon, though. We have a rough patch to get through.

Rod Adams

There are sure a lot of players in the game, providing lots of opportunities for interesting articles and for government subsidized research and demonstration projects.

Of course, the nuclear industry loves its subsidies, but the payback has been a little different. Despite focused and intense opposition that is not faced by any other new energy source, the nuclear industry managed to build about 450 commercial reactor plants that produce the equivalent of 12 million barrels of oil per day. They do this without producing any pollution at the plants and with very minor impact on land and transportation systems.

Though you only briefly mentioned new projects and talked about 3rd generation plants, there are a number of very real 4th generation plant projects in the works that will also add to the total energy picture in ways that most other alternatives can only dream about.

The decreasing quantity of easy oil would definitely concern me more if we did not have much uranium, plutonium or thorium. Fortunately, those heavy metal resources are quite abundant and we now know a lot more than we did 50 years ago about how to put them to work for the benefit of mankind.

amazingdrx

"They do this without producing any pollution at the plants"

http://amazngdrx.blogharbor.com/blog/_archives/2006/3/17/1825975.html

Have a glass of tritium? Anyone?

amazingdrx

Jim I think you overlooked a very important battery development. It goes on the market any day now in the form of power tool batteries.

http://amazngdrx.blogharbor.com/blog/_archives/2005/12/9/1442710.html

DeWalt power tools will feature this battery very soon. Then estimates of weight, cost, and range in electric cars can be specified.

Wind, water, and solar electric power charging these batteries in electric vehicles can provide national distributed energy storage for the grid as well as a cost effective solution to global climate disaster, energy wars, and the economic decline of these US of america.

This is the KEY technology in this energy revolution.

JN2

Congratulations on your blog's first year! I read it every day :)

But as for nuclear, would it really be viable without (socialist) government backed insurance and waste disposal?

amazingdrx

You got it Jim! Nice article.

http://thefraserdomain.typepad.com/energy/2006/03/altairnanos_lit.html

I think this could be THE electric car design. Too bad Toyota or Honda (forget Detroit they are being outsource to China) did not get the job of developing it.

I'm afraid this Nevada company may be designed to bury this technology. Just as the Cape Wind project seems to be designed to bury wind power.

amazingdrx

"...would it really be viable without (socialist) government backed insurance and waste disposal?"

Nope. Nuclear power poses uninsurable risks.

No insurance company would ever touch 'em. Without that legislated pass on liability nuclear power would be shut down tomorow.

This latest leak of tritium in Illinois should be the death knell of nukes. There is NO economical way to get that tritium out of groundwater once it is in it.

Separating heavy water (containing tritium)from water is so energy intensive it would use up orders of magnitude more energy than ever was produced by nuclear power.

amazingdrx

Jim do you have any news on large scale superconducting energy storage?

It would seem to be the ultimate solution to the variability problem of renewable energy.

Cervus

drx:

And what would you replace the nukes with? Coal? Dams? A hundred square miles of wind turbines?

The fact is that we need it. And we need more of it.

amazingdrx

No, I am suggesting 15,000 square miles of wind,over a national prairie restoration park. That would replace half of current electric power needs.

Then solar cogeneration on every suitable roof and over every suitable parking lot. Along with small and medium wind power in home and small business installations.

And offshore floating wind power stations that incorporate wave power in their base.

Electric plugin vehicles that store power and superconducting energy storage would even out the supply and demand.

With solar heating/cooling and geothermal heat pumps the energy load would be reduced precipitously.

Nukes are not needed. The catastrophic pollution that they create and the very high cost compared to renewable sources makes them obsolete and way too dangerous.

Rod Adams

amazingdrx:

I would willingly drink the water coming out of the wells to which you refer where there is a slight amount of tritium. The levels are far below the EPA's own drinking water standards, which are quite conservative in the first place. There is no grounds whatsoever for thinking that tritium leaks should spell the "death knell" for nuclear power.

Tritium is a dangerous sounding term, but it is a naturally occurring isotope that emits a very low energy beta particle. Since water moves through human bodies quite rapidly, there is little retention or build up of this isotope even if it is consumed.

If you want real information about tritium - rather than scare tactics like those used in many posts by people like amazingdrx, you can find it at

http://www.epa.gov/radiation/radionuclides/tritium.htm

Here is a sample quote from that page: "However, tritium is one of the least dangerous radionuclides because it emits very weak radiation and leaves the body relatively quickly."

amazingdrx

What about the cancer incidents rod?

That "it passes right through" dodge would be fine if this contaminant was only spread through one glass of water, but when it permeates all our groundwater it will pass through all of us everyday in the food we eat and drink.

Tritium will not be removed by filtration or even distillation. To quote General Ripper in "Dr. Strangelive", tritium will contaminate all of our precious bodily fluids. No laughing matter!

JesseJenkins

Congratulations on an excellent year of blogging, Jim. Your blog was the first and still the best energy blog I've found and it inspired me to start my own. You do an excellent job. Keep it up; I look forward to the coming year full of posts.

And thanks for a nice summary of where we currently stand.

One question: you write, "These plants [IGCC plants] are more expensive that clean coal plants, but offer even lower emissions of species pollutants."

I'm not sure what your comparison is here. I was under the impression that IGCC plants with sequestration was what 'Clean Coal' referred to? What do you mean here by 'clean coal'?

amazingdrx

This so-called "sequestration" by pumping CO 2 down old oil wells is pure propaganda.

It will depend upon industry "self regulation". Which means no regulation. We will be told to just accept industry/government claimds with zero proof.

Even if CO 2 is ever pumped into the earth, no one will moniter it to see it is not leaking out somewhere else.

Only renewable electric powered transportation will save us from global climate disaster.

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