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Old 08-24-2008, 09:41 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Thumbs up Future Fuels

Internet car freaks probly know that autospeed.com has some awsome stuff.

This article is about total energy and environmental impacts of some possible future fuels. I've been a big fan of biodiesel, and it gets a little respect from some nice graphs.

It leaves me wondering what the environmental impact of solar-cell production is.

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Old 08-25-2008, 10:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Tier II kills bio-diesel as surely as it kills dino-diesel. Why pay a $5,000-$20,000 premium for a diesel engine that won't get better MPG than a gas-pig?
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Old 08-26-2008, 01:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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This may not be a popular idea among many here, but the consumer had better push-back on the big enviro and big oil lobbys if any of the interim solutions (like bio-Diesel) are to have a fighting chance. I don't mean go back to the 1960's pollution standards, but an affordable compromise means the average Joe or Joesephine can afford transportation, say, a small 3 cylinder turbo Diesel with 1998 emission standards (no blu-tec or eurea tanks). BTW, big oil would like nothing more than bio-Diesel to just go away.

The same is true IMO for electric generation... our laws hamstring the big utilities with tons of enviro restrictions in developed nations, yet we complain when energy prices go through the roof. On the flip-side, developing nations such as China and India are bringing up half megawatt (largely unregulated and very filthy) coal fired power plants at the alarming rate of 1-2 per week! Didn't we all see the views from the China Olymics and the air that needs a knife to cut through? That was after many big polluting plants were closed down just before the games, to minimize the visual impact. We are all in this big ole bubble called the earth's atmosphere, it doesn't seem reasonable that my neighbor can throw his trash into the same lake that I am not allowed to even swim in... yet we eat fish from and all drink from that same lake.

I think a sensible electricty solution is twenty years away (maybe laser initiated fussion-fission hybrid plants?), and we need something to bridge the tecnology gap. That is, unless the technology is still-born because of the unpopular word 'fission'.

There's going to have to be some compromises made on the enviro front, IMO.
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Old 08-26-2008, 01:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Here we accept higher energy costs because we would like to protect the environment. In china, they accept pollution because they need to eat enough food to stay alive. We just need to stay on the high-horse till those countries can afford to keep food on every(ish) table, then put the pressure on for them to reduce their emissions. North america was pollution-happy till we because financially powerful. Let the next guys do the same, to a point. I'm sure they won't be as bad for as long as us.

For china and india's sake... how is wave-power coming along? Anybody mass-producing commercial wave generators yet?
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Old 08-26-2008, 02:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I use B20 in my F250. A LEAST it is using 20% less diesel. If they sold B100 at a reasonable price AND if I could actually buy it for my truck (vice having to buy it 1000 gallons at a time), I'd be using it. I have been using B20 for at least 6 years, got the license plate frame also... I'm all for renewable, or at the very least, minimizing our oil dependence. I'm still a work in progress... next house I build will be off-grid.
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Old 08-27-2008, 09:32 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sickpuppy318 View Post
It leaves me wondering what the environmental impact of solar-cell production is...
One report I read said we don't have enough raw materials to make enough photovoltaic cells to effect much change, at least not even close to replacing fossil fuel power plants. It also said that those same photovoltaics put out about 100watts/sq. meter... which says you need a lot of panels and sunny days for a little electrical power.

Does anyone have a reliable source of good info on photovoltaics? Preferably, not from a company who sells them, or an orginization who's funded by cell makers... I need some relatively unbiased information
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Old 08-28-2008, 08:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Unhappy Re: Post #3

In post #3 Metromiser posted:
“…consumer had better push-back on the big enviro and big oil lobbys…”

Dave says:
I agree.

One of the things that has always infuriated me is the makeup up EPA “stakeholder meetings.” When the EPA is in the process of developing new regs they have “stakeholder meetings” between what the EPA considers the players in the game. The stakeholders are mostly the usual suspects: Big environmental extremist groups like NRDC and/or Sierra Club, industries involved (automakers or oil companies, utilities, etc), and state/local government. Notice who is missing: consumers (including motorists and utility rate payers) and labor. The EPA excludes these groups specifically because they would realize who is gonna get screwed and raise Cain. Especially ratepayers because AARP is interested in utility rates and they are one of DC 800 lb gorillas (old people vote and they listen to AARP). Such Cain-raising would delay the regulatory process and maybe derail some regs. If consumers and labor (the people whose jobs are lost when regs make it uneconomical to make something in the US) were in the process, we’d see a lot more moderation in regulation.


Metromiser posted:
“…I don't mean go back to the 1960's pollution standards, but an affordable compromise means the average Joe or Joesephine can afford transportation, say, a small 3 cylinder turbo Diesel with 1998 emission standards (no blu-tec or eurea tanks).”

Dave says:
I agree entirely. 1998-vintage regs are A-OK with me. I don't seem to remember the air quality being so toxic back in 1998. Maybe Windows 98 was toxic, but not the air.


Metromiser posted:
“…big oil would like nothing more than bio-Diesel to just go away.”

Dave says:
I disagree. If they could get feedstocks for biodiesel cheaper than petroleum they would sell bio-diesel. Who do you think would sell bio-diesel? Big Oil has the distribution networks and distribution is the profit center. If “Big Oil” could make a saleable product out of a cheap feedstock (like politicians’ promises) they would abandon oil in a New York minute. We could make gasoline and diesel from coal using proven technology, but who stands in the way? Not Big Oil. Who do you thinks owns the coal reserves? Big Oil, of course. It is government than blocks development of synthetic fuel plant construction.
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Old 08-29-2008, 01:03 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Dave View Post
We could make gasoline and diesel from coal using proven technology, but who stands in the way? Not Big Oil. Who do you thinks owns the coal reserves? Big Oil, of course. It is government than blocks development of synthetic fuel plant construction.
But then you'd have the same problem as with oil, but even worse, plus all the problems caused by the additional coal mining on top of them. If there's anything that could make the current situation worse, coal-based synfuel is it.
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Old 08-29-2008, 11:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Synfuels from coal are no free lunch by any means but using coal-based synfuels beats importing oil. The US has enormous reservesxof coal. Coal usage could be switched away from electric power generation with more nuclear power plants.

Synfuels also ccould be used to reduce the down sides of biofuels. Synthetic diesel has a very low cloud point and blended with biofuel could mitigate the scourge of biodiesel.

But theres no point in talking about diesels. Tier II/ULSD/ CA ban have pretty much killed diesel cars in the US.
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Old 08-30-2008, 09:08 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Hello,

There is a plant that grows on scrub land and in drought conditions, that has a fruit that is non-edible that can be used to make biodiesel:

Jatophra

I first read about it in 'Plan B 3.0' by Lester Brown.

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