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Re: oil replacement

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  • turpin <turpin@yahoo.com>
    ... Fifty years from now, I would not be the least surprised if phytogenetic engineers design artificial plants that not only produce ethanol, but whose
    Message 1 of 14 , Jan 4, 2003
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      "J.H. Crawford" <mailbox@c...> wrote:
      > According to the latest information
      > I have seen, ethanol production is
      > now a net energy gainer, albeit not
      > by all that much. One of the
      > questions will be whether or not we
      > have enough land and water to use
      > it for growing a crop that produces
      > only moderate net energy gain.

      Fifty years from now, I would not be
      the least surprised if phytogenetic
      engineers design artificial plants
      that not only produce ethanol, but
      whose growing roots link into a
      network allowing the workers to plug
      the field straight into a collection
      pipe. Of course, this is as
      speculative as betting on fusion or
      any other plan. It is even more
      speculative think that the 21st
      century will be the one where energy
      availability declines. My suspicion,
      which I'll repeat, is that we'll see
      a bigger problem in the materials
      and chemicals industries. It's one
      thing do something other than burn
      oil for energy. It's harder to find
      CHEAP replacement processes for
      making plastic or asphalt. But in
      fifty years, we'll see something
      better than rubber tree plantations.
      There's no going back.
    • Mike Harrington
      I m no scientist, but I recognize unbridled optimism when I hear it, and expensive processes like coal gassification and ethanol from bio sources will be poor
      Message 2 of 14 , Jan 5, 2003
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        I'm no scientist, but I recognize unbridled optimism when I hear it, and
        expensive processes like coal gassification and ethanol from bio sources
        will be poor substitutes once the primary energy sources, oil and natural
        gas, start their permanent production declines. I stand by my original
        statement that there are no good replacements for these primary energy
        sources.

        Hydrogenation of coal was widely used by the Nazis because of the sparse oil
        reserves in their blockaded territory. It requires much energy input, and
        was made "economically" possible only by a million slave laborers that were
        worked to death. Coal gassification also has serious environmental
        consequences when employed on a vast scale. Oil shale processing is even
        more environmentally destructive.

        Your claim that the 71% additional energy required to transform biomass into
        fuel has now turned into a net energy gain sounds like the information
        recently intimated to Congress by well-paid agribusiness lobbyists. When
        you look at the subsidies and tax breaks companies like Archer Daniels
        Midland get, it's not surprising that they would attempt to circulate
        fraudulent scientific "facts" about ethanol production to get Washington to
        send them even more money. The agricultural oligopoly pay off both the left
        and the right, there doesn't seem to be much difference between Bush and the
        Democrats:
        http://www.townhall.com/columnists/michellemalkin/mm20020828.shtml

        Whether your production cost savings claim is correct or not, when energy
        prices permanently rise at the time global production peaks, the cost of
        agricultural products will climb accordingly, likely leading to widespread
        famine.

        Rationalizations such as these come from the last, desperate attempts of the
        elites to sustain the twin urban sprawl/unlimited auto use taxpayer subsidy
        schemes hatched in post-WWII America. The whole system presumes unlimited
        cheap land and energy, and both Bush and the Democrats are grasping at
        straws to maintain the fiction that this wasteful, high-consumption economic
        system can somehow perpetuate itself, rather than the more realistic option
        of coming to terms with energy conservation. Unbridled optimism is just
        another term for wishful thinking, and that will increase as the end of the
        current era gets closer. The obligation to extend utilities and highways
        into greenfield areas at the expense of taxpayers and utility ratepayers has
        created a mechanism of spiraling energy and land use. Developers build
        gated subdivisions, big box stores with wraparound parking lots, and
        business strip centers which then become suburban slums in twenty years.
        The whole cycle repeats endlessly as new heretofore rural areas are
        expropriated due to the pressure of developers and highway interests. This
        cycle always results in increased energy waste, since the normal constraints
        against ever more land and energy use are subsidized out of existence. It
        always has been a real house of cards, and the leadership have been in
        denial since US domestic oil production hit its peak in 1970. Economists
        religiously avoid the topic of the coming energy crisis, as if energy
        problems weren't at the root of the most recent stock market crash. Even
        though all the warning signs are clear, the economics community chooses to
        ignore them.

        The longing members of carfree_cities have for a society built on the scale
        of the individual, not the automobile, is a lawful result of the perversion
        of the laws of science and economics by the unnatural influence that
        taxpayer subsidy of sprawl has had on North America. Urban sprawl is not
        the result of a free market, but is instead reflective of governments that
        attempt to legislate and adjudicate against a free market, by making people
        in existing developments subsidize the suburbanization of greenfields. In
        addition to the unconscionable squandering of energy resources, the
        phenomenon of carburbs has created the loneliest, most isolated and obese
        society ever known. There are more people physically stranded than ever
        before in North America since walking, bicycling, and streetcars were
        replaced by the automobile and the off-ramp, and their numbers will only
        increase. Until the greenfield development/brownfield abandonment cycle is
        broken, things will get worse, not better. Fix the problem in North America
        and the rest of the world will follow. There's never been a more important
        time for a group such as this.

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "J.H. Crawford" <mailbox@...>
        To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Saturday, January 04, 2003 2:48 AM
        Subject: [carfree_cities] Re: oil replacement


        >
        > Mike Harrington said:
        >
        > >You have more faith in technology than I do. Oil, a high-density
        > >hydrocarbon that has no known replacement, will see declining production
        > >worldwide early in this century, so I don't think traffic jams will even
        be
        > >remembered fifty years from now.
        >
        > Gas and coal can easily substitute for petroleum. The conversion is
        > not especially efficient or inexpensive, but it's quite feasible at
        > costs not far above today's oil prices.
        >
        > >The problem with ethanol/methanol production is that it is much more
        > >expensive than refined oil products. It is also dependent upon cheap
        energy
        > >prices, because refiners need to add 70% more energy than customers get
        out
        > >of it. When energy prices go up, the price of ethanol will rise even
        > >faster.
        >
        > According to the latest information I have seen, ethanol production is
        > now a net energy gainer, albeit not by all that much. One of the questions
        > will be whether or not we have enough land and water to use it for growing
        > a crop that produces only moderate net energy gain.
        >
        > Regards,
        >
        >
        > -- ### --
        >
        > J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
        > mailbox@... Carfree.com
        >
        >
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        >
      • John O. Andersen
        ... This is one of the negative fallouts from teamplayermania. After so much teamplayerish brainwashing, people start to believe that anything of value is
        Message 3 of 14 , Jan 23, 2003
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          > And from these conversations, which happened quite often (hmmm, maybe
          > that's why I don't work there anymore ;-) it occured to me that many
          > if not most people feel that they as an individual can't make a
          > difference. This feeling seems to involve not only making a
          > difference positively but also making a difference negatively.

          This is one of the negative fallouts from teamplayermania. After so much
          teamplayerish brainwashing, people start to believe that anything of value
          is accomplished by a team. Individualism, by implication, is inferior.

          John Andersen
          http://www.unconventionalideas.com
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