Biodiesel
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19-06-2012, 08:51 PM
RE: Biodiesel
(19-06-2012 11:00 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Hydrogen cells coupled with electric motors sounds pretty awesome to me Smile There was an episode of Top Gear (UK of course) where they showed Honda's new one. It looked pretty slick and worked well, now all we need is the infrastructure to support them.

That is the crux in 2 ways. Designing and implementing a new infrastructure. Places like the US certainly need a new one to replace the scores of coal plants, but actually building them takes a good deal of $$. So doing it means making sure it is done right. I'm disagreeing with that, but at the present time, it does not appear viable to invest that kind of $$ into it when our current infrastructure is still doing the job just fine, albeit a bit dirty.

As for public transport, that simply won't work for the majority of the US. It works in big cities, but that is about it. The US really is too large for our current system to support public transport. What we need is a more reliable and cleaner fuel source for cars, that is also abundant enough to be stored at service stations.

As has been said before, there is no magic bullet
It wouldn't have to be for everyone/everywhere.
Even just public transport like I say in the cities where commuters would use it rather then 1 person 1 car which is what happens now, would be enough. Or at least a start.
Public transport about what I am talking about could work in cities like 100,000-200,000+ people which I am sure is a large percentage of the American population. That is where all the smog and car emissions etc come from anyway.
Better public transport in cities is the magic bullet.

As for the current infrastructure, I know it's doing just fine. That is why I present my model of better public transport. Existing rail can easily be converted to electric. Yes the initial investment is a bit of money BUT electricity is cheaper then diesel, especially if transport started using less diesel, and so would pay itself off. The earlier the better.
As can roads. Roads can be converted to accommodate electric buses.
And that is all you really need, rail and buses, subway (which is rail), monorail.
All this is not as expensive as you would think and it pays itself off.
It makes financial and economical sense.

And no you are not to large, you are to lazy. Americans enjoy the "freedom" of 3hour commutes stuck in traffic to much for something like this to work.

I don't talk gay, I don't walk gay, it's like people don't even know I'm gay unless I'm blowing them.
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19-06-2012, 09:54 PM
RE: Biodiesel
Perhaps I should have said America is too spread out. Commuting from place to place with any efficieny is really only achievable via car, especially in the Midwest, southwest, southeast, and pacific west. The NE is really the only area dense enough to enable effective use of public transit from city to city.

Americans are lazy but that isn't the sole reason here.

Diesel is also pretty cheap compared to a lot of other fuel sources and while electricity is also cheap, producing it in great quantities is not quite so cheap. Especially transmitting it. Our efficieny at transmission is abysmal and would require numerous more plants online to maintain such systems plus an upgrade to our existing transmission system. And the electricity produced en masse has to come from something and the cheapest methods are currently coal and natural gas. Natural gas is much cleaner but both are non-renewable resources. The remaining options are nuclear which is great but people get all up in arms about that one and the renewable sources like solar and wind which just are not efficient enough at the present time.

Our dependency on fossil fuels is still deeply rooted in their necessity because of their efficiency and cheapness but they are limited and that will have to be dealt with sooner rather than later. Changes to the system should start early but should also be parsed out over the coming decades.

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20-06-2012, 05:59 AM
RE: Biodiesel
(19-06-2012 09:54 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Perhaps I should have said America is too spread out. Commuting from place to place with any efficieny is really only achievable via car, especially in the Midwest, southwest, southeast, and pacific west. The NE is really the only area dense enough to enable effective use of public transit from city to city.

Americans are lazy but that isn't the sole reason here.

Diesel is also pretty cheap compared to a lot of other fuel sources and while electricity is also cheap, producing it in great quantities is not quite so cheap. Especially transmitting it. Our efficieny at transmission is abysmal and would require numerous more plants online to maintain such systems plus an upgrade to our existing transmission system. And the electricity produced en masse has to come from something and the cheapest methods are currently coal and natural gas. Natural gas is much cleaner but both are non-renewable resources. The remaining options are nuclear which is great but people get all up in arms about that one and the renewable sources like solar and wind which just are not efficient enough at the present time.

Our dependency on fossil fuels is still deeply rooted in their necessity because of their efficiency and cheapness but they are limited and that will have to be dealt with sooner rather than later. Changes to the system should start early but should also be parsed out over the coming decades.
Spread out has got nothing to do with it.
If you can drive your car to work you can catch a bus. Even if it means you have to catch 2 buses, one local (like suburb) and then one into the CBD. It is doable.
And it doesn't have to be every single person, but if you get like 90%...

Not cheap?
Solar panels, wind turbines, water current turbines etc.. are cheap as fucking chips to run. Coal, oil, nuclear are the expensive ones. Yes solar and wind have a large initial investment but the sun and wind are free. So once that inital investment has been made it's extremely little running costs from there. Running costs would only include things like a generator, a couple staff two or so to operate and "watch", maybe a mechanic. Theoretically you could probably machine operate the whole thing. Where as oil, coal you have to have staff on heavy machines (which use gas) loading the coil or oil, you have to buy the coal or oil and you still need staff to operate. Nuclear you don't need much staff but you need trained staff and perhaps security guards (?). And solar in particular is becoming ever so cheaper to build. And actually in saying that you can build cheap solar plants, just more efficient ones are initially more expensive. But there are cheap to build solar plants out there.
Natural gas is an interesting one. You say it's not renewable but I disagree. I have thought a lot about geothermal. Geothermal works because of super heated water in the earths crust that you extract. It turns to steam and you build pipes so that steam powers the turbines. The whole issue to making power is finding a way to heat water into steam (burning coal, oil. Nuclear. Use the sun to heat water into steam. Wind being the exception). So if you can find a easy cheap way to heat water that can be maintained you're in the money. So anyway, geothermal. Geothermal plants deplete when the pocket of water in the crust empties right? Sooo.. just fill it up again. You are using the heat of the earth to heat the water into steam (free clean energy). If you had two pipes, one extracting steam and one pumping in water, I think that would eliminate depletion of geothermal plants. You could even open old geothermal plants.

I don't talk gay, I don't walk gay, it's like people don't even know I'm gay unless I'm blowing them.
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20-06-2012, 12:35 PM
RE: Biodiesel
Spread out has everything to do with it. Essentially half of the US population lives in rural areas, such as where I grew up in middle-Tennessee in a small town of ~20,000. For areas like these, public transit is essentially pointless because everything is so spread out. People work and live in areas that are separated by significant differences and there are no real concentrated areas people visit. So, a 15 minute drive to work becomes a 1 hour public-transit ride because of stops and routes based on the current set-up.

Even areas like where I got my undergrad have limited reasons to use public transport. I went to school in Chattanooga, TN which has ~350,000 inhabitants, but once again, everything is spread out. There is a public transportation system there but using it means A) doubling or tripling travel times and B) Limited use because of operating times. A subway system would fair no better because there are only a few areas where people frequent with any regularity.

And for both scenarios it is all about cost too. These are not particularly wealthy areas and significant investments in these systems would be difficult and/or impossible to acquire and would go largely unused because of their limited practicality. Some would benefit, but the majority would still not use them because of their inefficiency.

I agree these systems work really well for the large cities, and in those cases they are utilized by the populations (Washington DC and New York to name a couple), but rural areas like those of where I grew up are typically separated from large cities by hundreds of miles (the closest real city to my hometown is a 1 and 1/2 hour drive away with several rural areas in between). A train would be sweet connecting them, but what practical use would it have? People in my hometown don't really visit it frequently and would not visit it any more often if a train was available.

Also, when I say natural gas, I am talking about a hydrocarbon. Something like coal-bed methane or gas obtained from hydraulic fracturing of rock or obtained from oil reservoirs. Natural gas burns much cleaner than coal and could be readily used to fuel powerplants, but is not renewable over human timescales.

As for the geothermal energy source and steam, injection of water back into the system is already done. So, the threat of running out of water is not the significant challenge. The biggest issue is the longevity of the system. We have no way of predicting how long a particular geothermal system will remain active. Almost all geothermal systems are at plate boundaries and those that aren't are usually near hot-spots (like Hawaii or Yellowstone). The issue here is that these systems are fickle over geologic time and there is no way of predicting when they will shut-off or migrate. This can easily happen via an earthquake (even a minor one) that alters the plumbing of the system. A small earthquake changes the plumbing and the plant is rendered completely useless or sees a significant drop in its ability to produce energy. I like geothermal systems but using them is limited by area and if they are the primary energy producer for an area and the system is disrupted, there goes your energy source.

I really like the idea of integrating small-scale geothermal into homes though. These systems use water storage in the ground. Once you achieve a depth of a few meters, temperatures remain essentially constant year-round (low 70's on the Fahrenheit scale mid-20's Celsius). That means you can heat the water in the winter up to these temperatures or cool in down to these temperatures in the summer and use it to supplement your heating and cooling system in your house. Thereby greatly reducing your energy needs year-round. These systems are fairly expensive but these along with other improvements can save money on the long-term and some of them are available for government subsidies, but it still requires a significant investment from the homeowner.

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20-06-2012, 08:02 PM
RE: Biodiesel
Fair enough.
I was meaning cities, I come from a rural backround so know what you mean when you say the city is 1hr away.
But hardly anybody here works in the city when it's that far away, you just move to that city (but then again 1hr away here is considered a long distance). I'm meaning like suburbs, not towns away.

Quote: As for the geothermal energy source and steam, injection of water back into the system is already done.
Its already done!! Well fuck me! There goes another of my million dollar ideas down the drain...
Back to the drawing board.

I don't talk gay, I don't walk gay, it's like people don't even know I'm gay unless I'm blowing them.
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