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Old 12-08-2008, 11:02 PM #1
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Default Energy

Energy Thread

Ethanol

How many of you agree with ethanol based fuels made from corn? [rant] I don't at all. To produce as much energy as we used in 2003, 80% of the worlds land area would need to be farmed. That's including non arable land, mind you, so this works out to having all of the land you will probably ever see in your lifetime being used for farming corn. As of right now, 37% of the land area is being used for agriculture. Forests would need to be cut down, increasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.To produce all of the fuel, we would need 17 trillion gallons of water, with a resulting 15 trillion gallons of wastewater.
[/rant]

Most of these statistics were taken from a biased source (a popular fishing magazine), but the point still stands. Some of these facts seem really farfetch'd though.
IMO we should harvest solar and wind energy. And maybe, if technology advances enough, nuclear fusion.
Discuss the energy crisis here.


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Old 12-08-2008, 11:58 PM #2
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Default Re: Energy

Trying to use ethanol was a short-sighted idea, which most people agree.

Right now, the most immediate and potentially attainable goal would be to improve efficiency of our engines and cut down on waste and overuse. In the mean time, we can work on designing better alternatives, like renewables like solar and wind energy, but those will never (in our lifetime, anyway) be the sole source of our energy. We'll have to wean ourselves off of oil once something else comes along, whether that be in the form of electric vehicles or some new source of energy (anyone still hoping for cold fusion? ). For now, we just have to make better use of what we have rather than trying to outright replace it with something new.
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Old 12-09-2008, 12:01 AM #3
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Default Re: Energy

Quote:
Originally Posted by LRMNmeyer
Energy Thread

Ethanol

How many of you agree with ethanol based fuels made from corn? [rant] I don't at all. To produce as much energy as we used in 2003, 80% of the worlds land area would need to be farmed. That's including non arable land, mind you, so this works out to having all of the land you will probably ever see in your lifetime being used for farming corn. As of right now, 37% of the land area is being used for agriculture. Forests would need to be cut down, increasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.To produce all of the fuel, we would need 17 trillion gallons of water, with a resulting 15 trillion gallons of wastewater.
[/rant]

Most of these statistics were taken from a biased source (a popular fishing magazine), but the point still stands. Some of these facts seem really farfetch'd though.
IMO we should harvest solar and wind energy. And maybe, if technology advances enough, nuclear fusion.
Discuss the energy crisis here.
I agree with you COMPLETELY. I think that we should try extremely hard to switch to renewable sources of energy, but not one that is so environmentally damaging! Solar and wind energy will never go away, and technology is developing.

Nuclear energy is also a good source; it may not be the best option in the long run, but we already have the technologies (and established plants, but I think we need more) to make a large quantity of energy. Nuclear fusion would be great.

I do not IN ANY WAY support new drilling. Does it really matter where our oil (a.k.a. cocaine) comes from? I know we can't be switching to alternative energy sources immediately, but we can use the money we are currently spending to permanently destroy a protected ecosystem to research renewable energy sources.

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Old 12-09-2008, 12:02 AM #4
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Default Re: Energy

IMHO, we should go with nuclear power. Clean, cheap and plentiful...
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Old 12-09-2008, 12:07 AM #5
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Default Re: Energy

Wind energy ftw!!1

...wait, what?
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Old 12-09-2008, 12:19 AM #6
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Default Re: Energy

Here in British Columbia over 95% of all our energy comes from hydroelectric dams.
In Iceland over 95% of their energy comes from geothermal vents.

I suggest everyone just moves near mountains or hotsprings.
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Old 12-09-2008, 07:00 AM #7
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Default Re: Energy

Quote:
Originally Posted by digital_blue
IMHO, we should go with nuclear power. Clean, cheap and plentiful...
I totally agree. so much so that I own parts of (in stocks) the two largest nuclear companies in the US. nuclear power will be the future, whether people want it to be or not.

and yeah, ethanol wasn't a solution for an alternative energy. it was a solution to increase the cost of corn and farm products.
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Old 12-10-2008, 05:03 AM #8
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Default Re: Energy

If only we devised a way to obtain ethanol from cellulose
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Old 12-10-2008, 09:58 AM #9
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Default Re: Energy

^We have that. It's just not efficient, so I'm going to fix it and say

"If only we devised an efficient way to obtain ethanol from cellulose."

It's also a dirty process, often involving sulfuric acid or other not friendly such things. Basically, you use chemistry to break up the cellulose chains into sugar, and ferment the sugar into ethanol. Very old technology, very usable, but not great. Some of the problems you run into also include lignin, which inhibits the chemistry from getting at all of the cellulose. You wanna make some money? Find a way to selectively remove lignin from wood/grass/cellulosic materials without removing the cellulose, and a companion reaction to break up the cellulose into sugar at the same time or in another easy step. Taht would be spectacular.

----------------

Ethanol from corn was always about how powerful the corn lobby is in the US government. Pouring food into gas tanks is never a good idea. Corn stalks into biofuel, that I would buy, since it's often waste. Any other waste into biofuel, also great. The corn itself, terrible idea.

We need more energy efficiency everywhere, first. Plug-in electrics and plug-in serial hybrids (current hybrids don't plug-in and are parallel, not serial) will be a great step in the right direction. High-efficiency power distribution. Remove the distributed energy conversion from the equation, and get all the energy conversion happening in large-scale plants. Make LEDs a little more efficient (we're getting close), and replace incandescent bulbs with LEDs throughout the home; this alone saving HUGE amounts of power.

Look up a Scientific American article about their "Solar Grand Plan". It was a very cool back-of-the-envelope calculation about how the US could be converted to solar energy supplying most all of the country's energy needs by 2050. Very cool ideas they had there.

We'll always need something else to help out the wind and solar; nuclear, natural gas back-up generators like power-plants use now in times of great need, etc. But I think the biggest thing we can do, and luckily also one of the easiest, is to increase efficiency. Huge efficiency gains can be made in both lighting and transportation in the next couple of years with how technology is moving.
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Old 12-11-2008, 12:31 AM #10
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Default Re: Energy

ENERGY THREAD?

1/2 m*v^2 + m*g*h + 1/2*k*deltaX^2 + 1/2*I*w^2 W00T
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Old 12-12-2008, 12:05 AM #11
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Default Re: Energy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Niko
ENERGY THREAD?

1/2 m*v^2 + m*g*h + 1/2*k*deltaX^2 + 1/2*I*w^2 W00T
That's what I thought when I first saw this thread!

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Old 12-12-2008, 12:27 AM #12
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Default Re: Energy

When I think of energy:

E=-kT*ln(Nd/ni)

Kudos to whoever can figure that one out.
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Old 12-12-2008, 12:51 AM #13
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Default Re: Energy

i heard corn-alcohol pollutes a lot :-[



imo, one company did it right.
their advertisement is right, ready for the world, when the world is ready




we just need that machine behind the car hooked up to wind/solar/water energy source, and problem solved.

and THEN start using the produced hydrogen as a heat source to melt the metal for cars, ect ect ect. its use should snowball if we get the technology right.

but that aint gonna happen anytime soon.
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