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Old 10-21-2017, 09:26 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Hydrocarbon Fuel

So, I wanted to ask you how much hydrocarbon fuel is being improved?
I found an article that says scientists have found a potential in converting acids to hydrocarbons using an algal enzyme which is activated by light.
Is this serious news? And should we expect free energy in next 5-10 years??
Take a look at this hydrocarbon fuel article

Best!

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Old 10-22-2017, 01:06 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Assuming it works - a big if - why would you expect it to be free? It costs* to produce whatever feedstocks are used, more to do the conversion, still more to haul it to gas stations... TANSTAAFF! (There ain't no such thing as a free fillup :-))

*One of the advantages of biodiesel is that some of the feedstocks are things that would otherwise be considered waste (like used frying oil), that the producers have to pay to have hauled away.
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Old 10-22-2017, 02:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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They said nuclear power would be free or almost free....
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Old 10-22-2017, 03:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oil pan 4 View Post
They said nuclear power would be free or almost free....
It is...until the bill comes due. (Boom!)
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Old 10-23-2017, 01:56 PM   #5 (permalink)
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They said nuclear power would be free or almost free....
Well, it is pretty cheap - so cheap that most people think nothing of wasting it.
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Old 10-23-2017, 06:32 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Nuclear power is not cheap. My grandfather helped build the plant in Shippingport PA. They don't go boom just sizzle. The piping gets brittle and slightly radioactive eventually needing to be replaced. Gasoline was originally a waste product before the Otto cycle engine. Whether biodiesel vegetable oil or algae based fuel there will be costs.
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Old 10-24-2017, 03:23 PM   #7 (permalink)
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James was just being clever.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant-53 View Post
Nuclear power is not cheap. My grandfather helped build the plant in Shippingport PA. They don't go boom just sizzle. The piping gets brittle and slightly radioactive eventually needing to be replaced. Gasoline was originally a waste product before the Otto cycle engine. Whether biodiesel vegetable oil or algae based fuel there will be costs.
Other than geothermal energy, pretty much all of the energy available to humanity is driven by the sun. Either in a storage mechanism ( fossil fuels ) or in the renewable form ( radiation, wind, waves, etc. ). Nuclear power is from star dust.

And the nuclear plant your grandfather helped build is nothing like the new nuclear designs. Cost SHOULD be much lower for new designs, but the fearful populace and legal costs will multiply the reasonable value to the point of questioning. Safety will be far better, but the general populace will be hard to persuade after the track record of the older nuclear designs.
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Old 10-24-2017, 03:31 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Fuel density and conversion efficiency are key for land vehicles.
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Old 10-24-2017, 03:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
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This is just one of many pathways to synthetic hydrocarbons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ian132 View Post
So, I wanted to ask you how much hydrocarbon fuel is being improved?
I found an article that says scientists have found a potential in converting acids to hydrocarbons using an algal enzyme which is activated by light.
Is this serious news? And should we expect free energy in next 5-10 years??
Take a look at this hydrocarbon fuel article

Best!
There are dozens under investigation.

The process I am most familiar with is one the Navy is developing to produce a JP8 equivalent from excess electricity ( nuclear powered ships ) and CO2 from sea water. The cost is about double what pump diesel costs in even the most expensive time and place in the United States. However, when you compare it to the actual cost to deliver JP8 to the battlefront, the cost is small.

There will always be a need for hydrocarbon fuels even after electrification of personal transport is achieved to the degree it can. Aircraft and heavy payload vehicles will need the compact energy provided by hydrocarbon fuels. The challenge that is ongoing is to use these increasingly expensive fuels more economically and cleanly.
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Old 10-24-2017, 03:48 PM   #10 (permalink)
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The molten salt reactors are getting more attention. Once they were considered for strategic bombers. As for military use, being able make aviation fuel on board is a huge advantage over having to rely on tankers. Amateurs discuss tactics and professionals study logistics, from Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy.

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