Tuesday, September 13, 2005

On alternativy energy sources

I've being thinking lately about all the aternative to fossil fuel. You know really thinking and frankly I find that the answers are kinda depressing. First, aside from the fact that the alternative fuel will cut/remove our dependance on fossil fuel there is not really any advantages to most alternative fuel. Everything that implies burning carbon based compound (such as oil, bio-dieseel, methanol and everything organic basicly) end up producing CO2 and H2O, two very efficient green house gaz. (I think in fact that water vapor is a more dangerous green house gaz than CO2). That means that if for exemple every vehicule used methanol, we would still produce dangerously high level of green house gaz.

Another alternative would be hydrogene as a fuel, well the combustion of hydrogene produce water vapor, which as I said before is another green house gaz. Finally there is electric car, well then we have to produce the electricity and that as most/all energy production methods produce polluction in one way or another.

The point of this post is not to say that the current green house/pollution crisist in unsolvable but to get people to think a little more long term about the effect of the new fuel source. Our main problem is not really the one car or one fuel source, it is the fact that there are over 6 billions of us using a fuel source that produce pollution. I wonder if it is possible to keep our technology and standard of living with that many people on the planet, in fact I wonder if any standart of human living can be maintained on the planet with the number of human there are now. Remember also that the number of human is constantly increasing...


yofed said...

If I go live on a farm, have a few sheeps, and use wood for warmth and cooking, no car, nothing else, except the occasionnal fart, would it help?

asaathi said...

I don't think so frankly event if a full 90% of the population moved to that level of "confort" the amongts of green house gaz produced by the burning wood would still be staggering and probably be producing a lot of green house gas. And if you are the only one or just a few people you probably won't make a big difference in the final level change.

yofed said...

Wich one pollute most, though, having cars, using all the crap we use on a daily basis, or doing that "awful" woodburning, doing manual work, eating what our land produces, no junk food, no over packaging, etc.... and lotsa composting.... I know everybody couldn't do it, but I am pretty sure that way of living is healthier for the planet as well as for the body!

Gimme a few days to think about a way to save the planet! I'll come up with something!

Dfasdf said...

There currently are no real viable alternative to hydrocarbon based fuel. The economics simply don't work right now. When oil reaches $200 a barrel, then we'll talk. In the near future, 10 - 25 years, expect that we will be moving towards liquified natural gas (LNG) imported from the Middle East. From a strictly CO2 basis, natural gas is 4 times better then coal, and 2 times better than oil, based strictly on chemistry.

Yofed, as for burning wood, wood burns with a lot of particulate matter that chokes the air if a lot of people burn it in the same place at the same time. Currently in southern Asia the people there are burning a lot of organic matter, (wood, dung etc). I've heard that from space one can see a large brown cloud above this region consisting of the particulate matter from these fuel sources.

As for Hydrogen, a lot of people think this will be the answer in the future, but the reality is that Hydrogen acts like a battery, it is not a fuel source, but an energy transportation mechanism, we still need to collect the raw energy from somewhere to produce the hydrogen. There are several possibilities around for this, including solar, wind, hydrocarbon fuels, fission, or fusion.

I expect we will see viable hydrogen fuel usage in approximatly 30 years. There are still a lot of technical hurdles to meet yet. In the short term, methanol fuel cells look very promissing.

As for long term solutions to the earths energy problems, nuclear fusion seems the only truely viable option in the very long term. Say 50-200 years. Unfortunatly, we can't quite get a reactor to work yet. Hopefully the new ITER reactor, being build in Italy I think, will work.

anyway, I could talk forever about this subject.


yofed said...

Ok, then let's build a time machine and sterilize 50% of the people.... let's say 150 years ago.... making sure not to do it to our ancestors.... so there will be less people, and this will give us more time to find something else to do.... :) lol

anyflower said...

Hey! Finally someone can answer those technical blogs from you Asaathi :o) Don't hesitate to comment again dfasasd ;o)