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Re: [hreg] DOE Priorities

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  • Mike Johnston
    Hi, A question was asked about the priorities of the US Department of Energy. There are many forces which govern where our energy dollars go, not the least of
    Message 1 of 7 , Dec 20, 2003
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      Hi,
      A question was asked about the priorities of the US Department of Energy. There are many forces which govern where our energy dollars go, not the least of which is money. Not money for development of alternatives or money for public education on how to conserve energy without giving up your standard of living, but money provided by the people who are profiting from the current energy infrastructure, to the political system, in order to maintain the status quo. This is the "free speech" that the conservative pundits are working so hard to preserve; "whoever has the most cash to contribute also has the most 'free' speech".
      Real change never happens from the top down. it takes the efforts of many people who are willing to be committed to an idea with very little hope for much of a financial return in the short term. And time, lots of time. The priorities of the DOE are the priorities of this administration and, by default, of the people who put the administration into power (the majority of voters).
      I see power produced by nuclear fission reactors as being a great example of what is wrong with the way that many people think. It has never ben profitable without huge government subsidies and will never be safe because it generates waste that will be passed down from generation to generation for eons. But at the same time, to be realistic, we have to ask what else is there that can replace fossil fuels in order to continue things as they are on a national or global scale within the projected 20 year window of opportunity to replace the existing infrastructure. Solar? No. Hydro? No. Wind? No.
      These power sources are great for specific locations or smaller sized installations and while these applications could no doubt help to extend the life of the larger, overall system by diminishing the demand they cannot realistically replace the larger system.
      Hydrogen on the other hand, could. There is currently so much misunderstanding about the "hydrogen economy" that it seems pointless to even mention it in most circles. We get to read all of the grandiose statements in the media about this "new" fuel source and how it is going to cost trillions of dollars to put an infrastructure in place so that we can use it and probably 20 years or so (coincidentally enough) for this change over to take place, etc., etc. But what nobody seems to get (or to say anyway) is that we have a hydrogen economy NOW and that hydrogen has been our primary fuel for over 100 years.
      [A silence falls over the room]
      Fossil fuels are hydrocarbons (emphasis on the hydro, as in hydrogencarbons). When fossil fuels are burned the hydrocarbons are oxidized by oxygen molecules in the air. Oxygen pulls the hydrocarbons apart because both hydrogen and carbon are more attracted to oxygen than they are to each other so the hydrogen from the hydrocarbons bonds with oxygen to form water and the carbon bonds with oxygen to form carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. Most of the energy released by this reaction comes from the hydrogen to oxygen bonding. The oxygen to carbon bonding releases energy too but much less.
      So the carbon in hydrocarbons is acting as a storage vehicle for the hydrogen fuel that we use now. We have a perfectly good infrastructure in place to process, store, distribute and utilize hydrogen fuel right now and have had it for a long time. It is more realistic to say that we are trying to find ways to improve the existing hydrogen economy than to act as though hydrogen fuel is a whole new concept. All of the problems that we have with pollution are created by the carbon storage vehicle that we are using because it is the one that nature has provided.
      Another source of hydrogen fuel is water. Water and oil are very similar in many respects. Both can be seen as storage vehicles for hydrogen. Most of the carbon atoms in a hydrocarbon chain are linked to two hydrogen atoms. Oxygen atoms in water are linked to two hydrogen atoms. Both hydrocarbons and water are the byproducts of an oxidation/reduction reaction (burning if you will) so both can be considered to be the "ashes" of a previous reaction. In water the H20 molecule is formed by hydrogen being oxidized and oxygen being reduced. Hydrocarbons are formed by hydrogen being oxidized by the carbon and carbon being reduced. both of these compounds require the application of additional energy to cause the release of the hydrogen atoms that are bound to them.
      All that needs to be done to switch from carbon to oxygen as the storage medium for our hydrogen fuel is for some simple methods to be devised by which water will release it's hydrogen atoms in a more efficient manner or a manner that can be capitalized on in the same way that the hydrogen in hydrocarbons are now. That will allow water to replace hydrocarbons as the hydrogen storage medium of choice and at the same time eliminate the need for huge expenditures on a new storage and distribution infrastructure while making everyone with access to water able to produce their own fuel. Unfortunately countries which are largely arid and landlocked will have to import their water fuel (like..um..the OPEC nations?) hehe
      So you see hydrogen from water is much more than a "stop gap" energy source, it is currently available in limitless quantities and totally renewable. All that needs to be done is a little serious R&D and we will be able to continue onward with our self imposed mission of worldwide conquest with few if any growing pains associated with the transition to a different source of hydrogen.
      Then, when we develop fusion energy with the other isotopes of hydrogen, we will be better able to take our species to the stars where there must be millions of worlds awaiting our arrival. Whole solar systems to exploit for the glory of the Homeworld. Perhaps even creatures there who need our help in order to become productive, democratic societies of freedom loving creatures who will work for us at low wages and no benefits so that our galactic corporations can export the fruits of their labors and the resources of their planets back here to the Homeworld in an orgy of profit making such as has never been seen before. In this way we can expand our God given mission of effective economic Stewardship outward and "dress and keep" other worlds just as we have our own. Yes my friends, if we make the correct choices today, our future looks very bright indeed.
      MJ

      *********** REPLY SEPARATOR ***********

      >Message: 1
      > Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2003 22:30:01 -0600
      > From: "Roxanne Boyer" <rox1@...>
      >Subject: DOE Priorities
      >
      >I went through DOE's budget proposal for 2004. Here is a breakdown of the
      >spending:
      >Nuclear Power: 20.3 Billion
      >Fossil Power (90% Coal): 750 Million
      >Renewables and Energy Efficiency (~30% Renewables): 1.4 Billion
      >Administration: 840 Million
      >TOTAL 23.4 Billion
      >(I'm doing this from memory and I may be off a little, but the magnitudes
      >are right.)
      >
      >WOW! 87% of DOE's budget funds nuclear programs. About half of this
      >nuclear spending is for security and international pacifying. The
      >department of defense also has a large nuclear program, but I don't know
      >those numbers. People put their money where their priorities are; we
      >have a clear picture of where DOE sees America's future energy source.
      >What do you think of that?
      >-Chris
      >
      >
      >[This message contained attachments]
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      >
      >________________________________________________________________________
      >________________________________________________________________________
      >
    • tjwangvs
      What do I think of that (below)? I think that if we don t quickly get our renewable energy act together, our nation will be in deep doo-doo. reply to solar at
      Message 2 of 7 , Dec 29, 2003
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        What do I think of that (below)?

        I think that if we don't quickly get our renewable energy act
        together, our nation will be in deep doo-doo.

        reply to solar at tjunker dot com

        --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, "Roxanne Boyer" <rox1@a...> wrote:
        > I went through DOE's budget proposal for 2004. Here is a
        breakdown of the spending:
        > Nuclear Power: 20.3 Billion
        > Fossil Power (90% Coal): 750 Million
        > Renewables and Energy Efficiency (~30% Renewables): 1.4 Billion
        > Administration: 840 Million
        > TOTAL 23.4 Billion
        > (I'm doing this from memory and I may be off a little, but the
        magnitudes are right.)
        >
        > WOW! 87% of DOE's budget funds nuclear programs. About half of
        this nuclear spending is for security and international pacifying.
        The department of defense also has a large nuclear program, but I
        don't know those numbers. People put their money where their
        priorities are; we have a clear picture of where DOE sees America's
        future energy source. What do you think of that?
        > -Chris
      • tjwangvs
        ... It s intolerable that associations would stand in the way of renewable energy in this way. We need to work with Austin to get a law that reads the riot
        Message 3 of 7 , Dec 29, 2003
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          --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, "C.C. Foster" <c_c_foster@h...> wrote:

          > ...

          > We have an aborted solar electrical installation because the
          > neighborhood association does not permit "unsightly" panels to be
          > visible from their yards or from the street. They also prohibit
          > fences more than 70" tall.

          It's intolerable that associations would stand in the way of
          renewable energy in this way. We need to work with Austin to get a
          law that reads the riot act to homeowner associations with regard to
          photovoltaic in particular and solar panels in general.

          > Lets get behind energy efficient mass transit systems with an
          > eye to getting the gas hogs off the highways. Personal
          > transportation is still the largest controllable pollution
          > source and energy guzzler.

          Surely you jest. Mass transit is only appropriate in heavy
          population concentrations, and those are on the way out. The
          underlying factors responsible for the formation of cities in the
          first place are all changing, and U.S. populations patterns are
          shifting toward wider dispersement.

          > Does anyone have a value for gasoline burned in Houston traffic
          > each day, month or year? The figure must be in the order of a
          > million gallons per day.

          If you want to save vast amounts of fuel on the highways, think
          about the perpetual construction projects that tie up traffic in
          most Texas cities and that usually start work at 8am and knock off
          at 4pm. It's no so much that people use the highways, it's that
          highways in and around larger cities are grossly mismanaged and
          often turn into parking lots.

          Also, encourage the idea of businesses relocating *out* of city
          centers. Working in downtown Houston is a nightmare, and already
          businesses there have to pay a salary premium to get people to put
          up with the hour-long commute. Businesses and their staffs who are
          located peripherally to Houston have a much smoother time of things
          and much shorter commutes.

          > Lets also ban drivers who have auto accidents like we ban
          > power plant operators who make poor decisions that may lead
          > to an accident.

          Until I moved to Houston I never knew anyone who had totalled a
          car. In a coffee room at a company in Houston I was stunned to hear
          that people here mark important phases of their lives as "before my
          wreck" or "after my wreck." I even met someone who had totalled
          seven cars in her young life. I won't even go into the countless
          bizarre things I have seen on the roads of Houston. There's
          definitely something wrong with this picture, and if you ban bad
          drivers in Houston there pretty much won't be anyone left driving.

          > It should be obvious that I support individual and corporate
          > conservation & renewable energy applications for low power use
          > and clean coal and nuclear for long term, intense energy use.

          And your point in saying that is?
        • Michael Christie
          ... From: tjwangvs [mailto:tjunker@tjunker.com] Sent: Monday, December 29, 2003 10:29 AM To: hreg@yahoogroups.com Subject: [hreg] Re: DOE Priorities It s
          Message 4 of 7 , Dec 29, 2003
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            -----Original Message-----
            From: tjwangvs [mailto:tjunker@...]
            Sent: Monday, December 29, 2003 10:29 AM
            To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [hreg] Re: DOE Priorities


            "It's intolerable that associations would stand in the way of
            renewable energy in this way.  We need to work with Austin to get a
            law that reads the riot act to homeowner associations with regard to
            photovoltaic in particular and solar panels in general."

            Individual homeowners associations have different rules. The first place to start in getting associations to change is within the association itself.

            "Surely you jest.  Mass transit is only appropriate in heavy
            population concentrations, and those are on the way out.  The
            underlying factors responsible for the formation of cities in the
            first place are all changing, and U.S. populations patterns are
            shifting toward wider dispersement."

            Have you been downtown lately? As a matter of FACT, Houston is CONCENTRATING toward it's center, in it's usual big way.

            "If you want to save vast amounts of fuel on the highways, think
            about the perpetual construction projects that tie up traffic in
            most Texas cities and that usually start work at 8am and knock off
            at 4pm.  It's no so much that people use the highways, it's that
            highways in and around larger cities are grossly mismanaged and
            often turn into parking lots."

            It takes 1/2 hour to go from the park-and-ride at the Grand Parkway out here at Katy to the dwntown (if you take the bus, that is...). Now just think how nice it would be if we built commuter trains instead of those dreary old freeways.

            "Also, encourage the idea of businesses relocating *out* of city
            centers.  Working in downtown Houston is a nightmare, and already
            businesses there have to pay a salary premium to get people to put
            up with the hour-long commute.  Businesses and their staffs who are
            located peripherally to Houston have a much smoother time of things
            and much shorter commutes."

            Most Houston businesses ARE located outside of the downtown area, and, even to my dismay, are spreading out onto the Katy Prairie, where I live.

            "Until I moved to Houston I never knew anyone who had totalled a
            car.  In a coffee room at a company in Houston I was stunned to hear
            that people here mark important phases of their lives as "before my
            wreck" or "after my wreck."  I even met someone who had totalled
            seven cars in her young life.  I won't even go into the countless
            bizarre things I have seen on the roads of Houston.  There's
            definitely something wrong with this picture, and if you ban bad
            drivers in Houston there pretty much won't be anyone left driving."

            No disagreement on that point!

            Michael Christie





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