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Old 06-29-2021, 10:00 PM   #31 (permalink)
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I'm always a fan of killing 2 stones with 1 bird.

That makes me wonder if running the electrical cables to electrify trains could double as interstate power transfer infrastructure? Provide a means of transporting goods electrically and build a more interconnected and robust power grid at the same time.

I do think our focus on EVs (seen as the perfect) is detracting from things like PHEV (plug-in hybrid vehicles) or as you point out, natural gas or other "cleaner" fuels.

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II believe the scientists that say that global warming is a problem. If global warming is just a scam and therefore I can't believe the scientists, then who can I believe??
Science can make predictions and record results, and nothing more. It doesn't say what is good or bad.

Scientism attempts to extend the utility of the best method of making predictions we have, the scientific method, into systems so complex that the amount of arbitrary assumptions that must be made render the results nearly meaningless.

Politicians then pounce on the imagined (so far) threat to seize authority (power) and resources (money) to further their agendas.

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What are practical solutions and what are false solutions? All I see among politicians are those who feel there is a problem and think they can fix it so make more restrictions, and those who say there isn't a problem and so loosen the restrictions. I don't think ignoring the problem and loosening restrictions is a practical solution. I don't think there is a practical solution. And politicians aren't the only ones with wants and desires. People in general have their own goals and desires. Telling them something they don't want to hear isn't easy. Just because everyone wants to drive a car doesn't make it harmless.
It's easier to identify terrible ideas because they lack any specific stated goals, lack any evidence of efficacy, and address a symptom rather than the problem.

The EV tax credit embodies every one of those deficiencies in thought. What is the specific stated goal? How much CO2 has been prevented from being released to the atmosphere because of the credit? How does the subsidy directly address burning of fossil fuels? No cost/benefit analysis was done, and if it was, they aren't releasing the info because nobody would stand for a 0.0000000001 C delay in global temperature rise at the cost of trillions of dollars. As an aside, it's a regressive tax policy that benefits the wealthy.

The best ideas have a stated goal, the results can be measured, and addresses the problem most directly.

As I continuously say, IF the problem is burning of fossil fuels, then the most effective, measurable, and direct way to address it is to slowly introduce progressive taxation.

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If cars and power plants and the like are destroying the planet and the quickest solution is to just stop driving, using electricity, etc., how do you implement that without disrupting the average Joe's life? If scientists say we need to reverse the damage done wouldn't measures that only lessen the damage being done still be damaging? I don't think there is a practical solution. I don't think EVs are the solution. I don't think public transportation is the solution. I really don't know what mankind can do about it.
Uncertainty is the beginning of wisdom.

The only research that gets funding is the type that looks for problems. Who is funding research to enumerate the positive effects of global warming?

Since the globe was warming before the industrial revolution (we're still exiting the most recent ice age, a period of uncommon coldness), at what point did warming go from being beneficial to humanity to being detrimental? How is that point measured?

There isn't a single solution because there isn't a single problem. Rapid environmental change stresses the species encountering the change. We'll adapt in a myriad of ways and possibly thrive in the process just like we've done in our relatively short history.

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I don't think politicians have the ability to fix the problem. If people are hooked on electricity and automobiles and we've already pumped too much CO2 into the atmosphere, what can be done? Build fireproof, hurricaneproof and tornadoproof houses and cars I guess and just continue as we have.
Adaptation is the greatest strength of our species. Easier to modify our microenvironments like our homes than to tweak the outdoor thermostat.

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Old 06-30-2021, 09:11 PM   #32 (permalink)
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I do think our focus on EVs (seen as the perfect) is detracting from things like PHEV (plug-in hybrid vehicles) or as you point out, natural gas or other "cleaner" fuels.
A good point regarding biofuels, besides their compensation of emissions and net-zero carbon footprint, is an eventual opportunity to decrease rural exodus as it may increase profitability even for small farmers whenever they can add value to residues from their main products (either crops or livestock).
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Old 07-30-2021, 12:04 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Many of us miss the big picture. Only 14% of national energy use is automotive. Even a 50% improvement here (impossible) means only a 7% reduction in national energy use, kind of a "nothing-burger" IMHO.

Mankind must make safe, then embrace and love nuclear power if we are to avoid a dark future. FWIW, we can do nukes safely, and nukes can provide billions of years of energy production at any level we'd like. Put another way, unlimited future generations can live in prosperity if we do so.

Burning hydrocarbons, including sustainable fuels, have some very specific uses, such as aviation. The rest can be done electrically.
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Old 07-30-2021, 01:35 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Many of us miss the big picture. Only 14% of national energy use is automotive. Even a 50% improvement here (impossible) means only a 7% reduction in national energy use, kind of a "nothing-burger" IMHO.

Mankind must make safe, then embrace and love nuclear power if we are to avoid a dark future. FWIW, we can do nukes safely, and nukes can provide billions of years of energy production at any level we'd like. Put another way, unlimited future generations can live in prosperity if we do so.

Burning hydrocarbons, including sustainable fuels, have some very specific uses, such as aviation. The rest can be done electrically.
From what I've learned with 50 years of government is they don't ever really want to solve a problem, just use a problem. Then again I have lived in basically world peace. I would say Lincoln solved a problem and Churchill solved a problem but so many others like to manage the problems.
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Old 07-30-2021, 03:01 PM   #35 (permalink)
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Perhaps you remember the term Peak Oil! Some terrified individual calculated that 1974 was going to be the year of peak oil production. With every subsequent year having less production.

As a 20 something college educated person back then I bought into it, well for a bit, but in a few short years, I realized what a joke it was. Just part of a religious cult like belief that mankind was ruining the earth. Gasoline today is well cheaper than it was back then. Even with higher taxes.

Having an electric car as a sole vehicle is putting all your eggs in one basket. I doubt if the electric grid could withstand any general near 100% electric car usage. Events in Texas late last winter pretty well proved it.







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Zero fossil fuels in you grandchildren's lifetime is probably a pipe dream.

Engineers say the perfect is the enemy of the good enough.

Going directly to non-fossil fueled vehicles is probably a bridge too far.

But there are a lot of partial measures to use to assure a prosperous transition.

1. We could at least partially beat the battery/recharging problem by using direct catenary electrification of railroads and long-haul truck. Electrified railroads are a long proven alternative. The Russians manage to operate 10,000 km of fully electrified railroad from Ekaterinberg to Vladivostok. Yeah, they power it with roadside coal plants but they also have plenty of natural gas.
A European consortium is experimenting with electrified eighteen wheelers in Scandanavia. I see no reason it can't work. All the tech is well-proven old-school stuff.

2. The US could substantially reduce its "carbon footprint" by transitioning independent IC motor vehicles by converting much of the transportation system to running on CNG or LPG - supplanting gasoline, ethanol, and diesel. Natural gas emits 60% less CO2 (in lb CO2 per HP-hr than gasoline or diesel. Don't believe that? Peruse EPA Publication AP-42. A night time satellite phot of the northern US shows a light signature nearly as big as Chicago out in the Dakotas. That's flaring of gas needed for pressure control of the wells. Just by building enough pipelines to market areas that flared gas could be compressed/liquified natural gas to run millions of vehicles. Just reducing CO2 by 60% from say ten million vehicles is quite a bit of progress.

Considering the most recent IPCC GHG emission inventory showed that China emits more GHG than the rest of the world combined - and that includes the US. If we cannot get China on-board, what's the point of impoverishing everyone else?

BTW, I am STILL of the opinion that Global Warming is an elitist scam.
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Old 07-30-2021, 03:09 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Perhaps you remember the term Peak Oil! Some terrified individual calculated that 1974 was going to be the year of peak oil production. With every subsequent year having less production.

As a 20 something college educated person back then I bought into it, well for a bit, but in a few short years, I realized what a joke it was. Just part of a religious cult like belief that mankind was ruining the earth. Gasoline today is well cheaper than it was back then. Even with higher taxes.

Having an electric car as a sole vehicle is putting all your eggs in one basket. I doubt if the electric grid could withstand any general near 100% electric car usage. Events in Texas late last winter pretty well proved it.
I generally agree with the above, but there will be a peak oil, I just don't think it will be a result of "running out".

The subsidies for EVs is putting all eggs in one basket, which is bound to have unintended negative consequences, and I suspect consequences worse than having not manipulated the market so heavy-handed.

That said, an ICE doesn't solve the problem of a blackout. When the electricity stops, the fuel stops.

Really though, people should prepare to be able to go without refuelling or electricity for a few days. People should own warm clothes, have access to drinking water, and have some battery powered light. (or stored fuel and a genset).

The infrastructure for sure could be made more resilient, especially if they properly exposed customers to the real-time pricing of fuel so that they have the incentive to not hoard scarce resources and thus cause a collapse of the infrastructure.

EVs will be a net benefit to grid stability and reliability with things as simple as raising baseload demand during off-peak charging, to things as complex as feeding power back to the grid when demand is high.
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Old 07-30-2021, 04:42 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Old 07-30-2021, 05:02 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Only 14% of national energy use is automotive. Even a 50% improvement here (impossible) means only a 7% reduction in national energy use, kind of a "nothing-burger" IMHO.
Saving@Home needs more attention. The only post there in the last year was about Elon Musk living in a tiny house. I've always thought if I bought into a quarter-million dollar house (the going rate?), that it should shelter me, feed me and put folding money in my pocket. Would you like to know more?

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Mankind must make safe, then embrace and love nuclear power if we are to avoid a dark future.
The dark future is inexorable. The only question is whether society can marshal it's resources and get interplanetary ASAP. That's why I like Thorium. One could loft a cold reactor and use the acceleration to jump-start it after Max q.
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Old 07-30-2021, 05:03 PM   #39 (permalink)
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It seems really popular right now to say everything should go electric to be green. There are some fundamental issues....most especially is that Electricity is not "green". Electrical grid efficiency is about 36% at best. The grid efficiency of natural gas is about 85%. Fossil fuels are largely used to power this incredibly inefficient electric system in the US. Most of the balance is being provided by throw away Nuclear plants.... typically 30 year life. I believe our newest plant is at least 10 years past its design life. Also, if electric cars are so efficient, why can't they beat the fuel economy of most Diesel vehicles that are often larger.
Also, if nuclear sources are so safe, why is it that not a single insurance company worldwide will insure a nuclear plant? All of the plants in the US are essentially subsidized by the Feds.
The simplest solution to our energy and pollution issues has been available to us for decades...taking our existing buildings and systems and making cost effective improvements to them and using the appropriate power sources for the use.
I work with buildings quite regularly in the Chicago area and I go into building after building which are still using flourescent lighting for sales floors, offices etc. The payback to upgrade this lighting is only a couple years in Chicago. Mechanical systems are in decrepit condition, incorrectly sized, improperly managed and everyone in the building is uncomfortable. Forced air heating and cooling system continue to be installed almost exclusively despite having energy usage needs about 20 to 40% higher than better conventional systems. Buildings and homes have never even upgraded attic insulation. The U.S is filled with gasoline powered vehicles despite the fact that they use about 80% more fuel than an equal diesel vehicle.

It is often said that the U.S. is addicted to energy use.....and the word addiction seems to be the truth. We could have an increased standard of living, with more comfortable homes and buildings, more money available, and address the fundamental issues of energy and pollution but refuse to make the changes necessary. Is there any better definition for an addiction than this?

To me electricity will not be the answer until the loses are not 60% and clean and insurable generation sources can be found. In the meantime, we can go back to much more efficient generation methods...cogen or in todays terms "combined heat and power." Moving from a gas fleet to a diesel fleet, moving back to railroads for most of our commerce instead of trucks in the U.S will kick in a nice chunk of energy and pollution savings.
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Old 07-30-2021, 05:09 PM   #40 (permalink)
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I had always assumed that ion engines could power a vehicle so long as it didn't run out of electricity and gas. Turns out the grid that ionizes the gas wears out, so there's a mechanical limit to how long it can run, which kinda puts a limit on the speed the vehicle can reach.

I'm wondering now if linear accelerators can last longer since they don't use a grid to ionize the gas? The company I work for makes proton accelerators. Could such a machine be made to last several decades of continuous operation?

Let's do a round trip to the nearest solar system and get some photos and measurements back in say, 100 years. Some speculate that it would be pointless because we would develop better technology that would pass whatever spacecraft we sent, even if we started a decade or 2 later. Gotta start somewhere though.

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Also, if nuclear sources are so safe, why is it that not a single insurance company worldwide will insure a nuclear plant? All of the plants in the US are essentially subsidized by the Feds.
Nuclear has basically been criminalized due to misplaced fear of catastrophe. The regulatory process is so cumbersome that prices are so high that nobody would privately invest because the payback is so far out into the future. While risk is low for a major catastrophe, the price is high if one occurs.

This is why it requires government-sized backing. Either that, or maybe we just need a Go Fund Me. Regardless, it will require eliminating the unnecessary red tape.

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The simplest solution to our energy and pollution issues has been available to us for decades...taking our existing buildings and systems and making cost effective improvements to them and using the appropriate power sources for the use.

It is often said that the U.S. is addicted to energy use.....and the word addiction seems to be the truth. We could have an increased standard of living, with more comfortable homes and buildings, more money available, and address the fundamental issues of energy and pollution but refuse to make the changes necessary. Is there any better definition for an addiction than this?

To me electricity will not be the answer until the loses are not 60% and clean and insurable generation sources can be found. In the meantime, we can go back to much more efficient generation methods...cogen or in todays terms "combined heat and power." Moving from a gas fleet to a diesel fleet, moving back to railroads for most of our commerce instead of trucks in the U.S will kick in a nice chunk of energy and pollution savings.
I'm all for increasing efficiency. That doesn't really address the demand though because we'll just find new ways to expend more energy as we improve efficiency. Larger vehicles, larger homes, more of everything.

Saying we're addicted to energy is like saying we're addicted to money. Obviously more is better and represents greater freedom.

Again, I'm all for improving efficiency, but that doesn't solve the fundamental problem of reliance on fossil fuels.

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