T Nation

Energy Independence

If we make a cold war emergency type of effort like we did when the Russians put up Sputnik then I’m sure we can have hydrogen fuel cell cars and the whole refueling infrastructure in place in the next twenty years. But I’m gonna miss the noise of an internal combustion engine. Fuel cells are boring as hell.

[quote]DS 007 wrote:

How do you prejudge abortion and gay marriage?[/quote]

If you have to ask this question, I doubt it can be explained to you.

If I asked you to decisively state your position on abortion or gay marriage, then asked you what piece of data or evidence would dissuade you from your stance, and then produced that data/evidence, would you abandon that stance?

[quote]DS 007 wrote:
storey420 wrote:
DS 007 wrote:
I can be against abortion and gay marriage without having a problem with women or homosexuals. My interests might be in the protection of unborn children and the preservation of the instituion of marriage.

Ummm…no you can’t. Go tell your homosexual friends( I mean you’ve got some right, you’re not against them after all) that you are ok with them but just not them getting married. I’m sure they’ll understand.

Settle down, champ. You’ve got some flawed logic here. But let’s go slow, okay? I can see you rode the short bus. Seems in your world if you don’t have gay friends you are “against” them. If you don’t have black friends you are a bigot? That about right?

Do I favor civil unions? Do I favor gay couples having death benetifts akin to those of married couples? Do think that gay couples should be allowed to adopt children, or even have children (by whatever means) of their own?

I’m asking YOU to tell ME how I feel about all this stuff. Since you already know so much about what I think. Since you have already decided I have no gay friends and whatever other conclusions you may have drawn, Mr. Enlightenment.
[/quote]

A) Most anti-Gay marriage people want gay couples to get jack-shit. Not extra rights at all. So that arguement goes out the window. You may be one of the few, and if you explain it like that, guess what! You just took the liberal position on the idea!

b) The quotes wasn’t about people against gay marriage and abortion. It was about how the GOP and the Dems have made them into key issues because they are so easy to talk about, and they hold immense amounts of prejudice within them (the whole black or white thing). These issues are emotional, and not something that should be the focal point of a campaign (even though that is the case).

[quote]40yarddash wrote:
If we make a cold war emergency type of effort like we did when the Russians put up Sputnik then I’m sure we can have hydrogen fuel cell cars and the whole refueling infrastructure in place in the next twenty years. But I’m gonna miss the noise of an internal combustion engine. Fuel cells are boring as hell. [/quote]

Nobody else thinks the war on terror is a good enough reason to stop pumping riches into the Middle East?

Save a soldier, drive ethanol… :wink:

By the way, you bumwads can take your bigotry discussion to a more appropriate thread any time now.

[quote]vroom wrote:

Nobody else thinks the war on terror is a good enough reason to stop pumping riches into the Middle East?

Save a soldier, drive ethanol… :wink:

[/quote]

Yeah now that I actually think about it that’s must be how these terrorists get money to buy all their weapons. But even if America reduces its dependence on foreign oil you still have Europe and Asia and the rest of the world I don’t think it’ll make much difference.

[quote]lucasa wrote:
DS 007 wrote:

How do you prejudge abortion and gay marriage?

If you have to ask this question, I doubt it can be explained to you.

If I asked you to decisively state your position on abortion or gay marriage, then asked you what piece of data or evidence would dissuade you from your stance, and then produced that data/evidence, would you abandon that stance?[/quote]

Your scenario does not make sense but give it a try. What data and evidence can you provide that might change my stance? One’s stance on these things are informed by one’s values, feelings, experiences. If you can provide someone with data/evidence that can change their values, feelings, experiences then more power to you.

There were claims a few years ago that producing a gallon of ethanol required more energy than you could extract from a gallon of ethanol.

In other words, ethanol was not a viable energy source since overall, you ended up with a net energy deficit for every gallon you produced.

Has the tech progressed to the point where we pass the break even point and can actually produce energy from ethanol without investing more energy producing it?

Most alternative car fuels had similar problems too.

[quote]vroom wrote:
40yarddash wrote:
If we make a cold war emergency type of effort like we did when the Russians put up Sputnik then I’m sure we can have hydrogen fuel cell cars and the whole refueling infrastructure in place in the next twenty years. But I’m gonna miss the noise of an internal combustion engine. Fuel cells are boring as hell.

Nobody else thinks the war on terror is a good enough reason to stop pumping riches into the Middle East?

Save a soldier, drive ethanol… ;)[/quote]

What fuel does the car you drive run on, vroom?

Why do you think we aren’t all cruising around in E85 vehicles?

Not a ‘call out’ just that, your criticisms are slightly askew to buffballswell’s original post.

[quote]vroom wrote:
What about this dude…

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5407551

I mean, grass is pretty common, simple and low maintenance. It should grow back every year - like my yard, right? Heck, if you dry it, it’s easy to burn as a fuel for distilling too.

Obviously, I have no idea of the comparative economics.
[/quote]

NPR just covered this about two weeks ago. Yes, it would seem prairie grasses would be a very viable option because it doesn’t need to be farmed in the conventional way thus cutting out much of the farmer?s time and resources.

I am not an expert on this topic at all but know something of the physics involved and I can say without a doubt the cost will eventually go down in terms of efficiency as processes become more efficient and we discover more convertible means to create fuel. For our purposes efficiency means what must go into creating energy verses what we get out of it. This includes money, time, resources, and energy. At the end of the day we want a ratio that is greater than 1.

If you want to get technical all matter contains some sort of energy it’s just a matter of being able to convert it and get it into a more useful state. As Boston mentioned, “Nuclear!”, is still the cheapest.

[quote]pookie wrote:
There were claims a few years ago that producing a gallon of ethanol required more energy than you could extract from a gallon of ethanol.

In other words, ethanol was not a viable energy source since overall, you ended up with a net energy deficit for every gallon you produced.

Has the tech progressed to the point where we pass the break even point and can actually produce energy from ethanol without investing more energy producing it?

Most alternative car fuels had similar problems too.[/quote]

There is some debate as to whether there is a negative energey balance or not, the US DoE appears to have a pretty good (and somewhat balanced) overall view:

http://www.eere.energy.gov/afdc/altfuel/eth_energy_bal.html

The production of ethanol is energy efficient as it yields almost 25 percent more energy than is used in growing the corn, harvesting it, and distilling it into ethanol. The most recent findings show that corn ethanol fuel is energy efficient and yields an energy output:input ratio of 1.6.

[quote]lucasa wrote:
There is some debate as to whether there is a negative energey balance or not, the US DoE appears to have a pretty good (and somewhat balanced) overall view:

http://www.eere.energy.gov/afdc/altfuel/eth_energy_bal.html

The production of ethanol is energy efficient as it yields almost 25 percent more energy than is used in growing the corn, harvesting it, and distilling it into ethanol. The most recent findings show that corn ethanol fuel is energy efficient and yields an energy output:input ratio of 1.6.[/quote]

Good news then.

Anyone knows what the energy balance for gasoline is? I’ve seen 0.74, but that makes no sense at all.

[quote]pookie wrote:

Good news then.[/quote]

Now if only I could find an E85 station within an hour drive (total), I’d be ready to buy one once I’ve put enough miles on the Lamborghini.

[quote]lucasa wrote:
pookie wrote:

Good news then.

Now if only I could find an E85 station within an hour drive (total), I’d be ready to buy one once I’ve put enough miles on the Lamborghini.[/quote]

I meant “good news” in the sense that there’s a viable alternative, not in the sense that we can all switch to ethanol tomorrow.

I think gas is still much too cheap for anyone to be interested in ethanol. Once we get to 5 dollars per liter, I’m sure the incentive will become much more apparent.

[quote]pookie wrote:
lucasa wrote:
pookie wrote:

Good news then.

Now if only I could find an E85 station within an hour drive (total), I’d be ready to buy one once I’ve put enough miles on the Lamborghini.

I meant “good news” in the sense that there’s a viable alternative, not in the sense that we can all switch to ethanol tomorrow.

I think gas is still much too cheap for anyone to be interested in ethanol. Once we get to 5 dollars per liter, I’m sure the incentive will become much more apparent.[/quote]

I think, as vroom pointed out, the cost of dumping money into the Middle East vs. dumping it into American (or Canadian) farmland hasn’t been taken into account yet. Also the cost of lower emissions (if it’s even calculable) isn’t chipped in either.

The estimated operations difference between FFV and petrol is ~$150-200/yr. assuming you don’t have to drive to BFE to get E85.

http://www.eere.energy.gov/fleetguide/cost_anal.php?0/E85FlexFuel/

[quote]lucasa wrote:
What fuel does the car you drive run on, vroom?

Why do you think we aren’t all cruising around in E85 vehicles?

Not a ‘call out’ just that, your criticisms are slightly askew to buffballswell’s original post.[/quote]

What criticisms? I burn gasoline like everyone else, but if ethanol was sold around here I’d be willing to consider going to a flex fuel situation.

I think we aren’t driving ethanol because there is too much financial incentive and lobbying effort to keep it from being reasonably available.

All it would take is the government to mandate flex fuel vehicles. These things have sensors and make a slight adjustment based on the fuel in use.

Then, you have one large company that decides to create the market by adding it to all their stations. Throw in a “save a soldier, drive ethanol” campaign and all the lemmings will flock to buy it.

Bingo. It’s just not in consumers minds right now, and nobody has created the social pressure to opt out of how we do things today.

In all honestly, I’m guessing most gas stations could easily adjust by dropping the “medium” blend of gasoline… in the short term. That’s no big deal, the tanks are already in place that way too.

People are quick to cry gloom and doom when you suggest change. Heck, gas stations offering a little less variety in regular gasoline but having ethanol wouldn’t be a major calamity. Having widely available flex fuel engines wouldn’t be a calamity either.

The only problem left is to get enough of the stuff produced to keep it in supply. Well, that and the fact that no oil company is going to go this route, because they don’t make serious money at the gas pump!

There was recent news about some breakthroughs in solar cell technology: http://www.energy.gov/news/4503.htm

Coupled with an interesting technology called EEStor: http://money.cnn.com/2006/09/15/technology/disruptors_eestor.biz2/index.htm

…which is apparently a device that can store enough electricity in 5 minutes to allow a car to drive for 500 miles (for a cost of 9$) and you have all the ingredients for a viable electric car industry.

Most concerns with electric cars are lack of autonomy and time to recharge. 500 miles is more than many gas cars and a 5 minute recharge time is about on par with refueling at the pump.

Add to that the advantage of zero emissions (from the car, we might still get emissions if the electricity is produced by burning coal or oil, but at least the powerplant is more efficient than your combustion engine…) and the future might not be so bleak.

Interesting stuff Pook. Perhaps a little heavier on the up-front switchover costs though.

For example, most people couldn’t convert (if it was available now) without replacing their current vehicle.

[quote]vroom wrote:
Interesting stuff Pook. Perhaps a little heavier on the up-front switchover costs though.

For example, most people couldn’t convert (if it was available now) without replacing their current vehicle.[/quote]

Well most people will eventually change their vehicles. Hybrids were extremely costly 4-5 years ago. Now they’re getting close to price parity with 100% combustion engines. If a large automaker can produce an electric car that actually sells, then the rest will slowly fall into place.

An electric sports car would blow away any comparably priced combustion engine car; the electrics might first appear at the high-end of the spectrum and slowly trickly down year by year. ABS and traction control used to be only available on luxury brands. Now you can get them on your Kia.

And there’s nothing that prevents electric adoption from proceeding in parallel with more efficient fuel engine systems. We could have a market with some electric cars, some hybrids, some biodiesels, etc. Competition, in fact, would be great. Let the market decide the best technology.

Yeah, I’m with you, I wasn’t disagreeing with the concept when I mentioned the up-front cost issue.

I suspect an “easy” transition via something like flex-fuel and it’s ability to reuse many of our current distribution systems followed later by a slower transition to alternate technologies would be a likely scenario… assuming anything ever does happen.

Since we are still on the topic of automobiles what do you think of laws that would restrict driving? I thought about this a little bit and it would seem in larger cities to make sense where the density of traffic is higher. Specifically, I think restricting certain license plates on certain days during rush hours would help–kind of like water restrictions where odd houses are allowed to water on certain days and even houses on the other days.

I think if we were to just force people to car-pool or take alternative means to work we would be heading in the right direction since the majority of traffic happens in conjunction with our jobs; which I am guilty of myself.

Also, getting public transportation and shipping vehicles to switch to bio-diesel would have a huge impact. The only downside I could see is that it would probably bring down the cost of conventional fuels thus lowering the incentive to make the hard switch to alternative fuels overall.