Stoaty
Posts: 4490
Joined: Fri Jun 18, 2010 9:50 pm
Delivery Date: 12 Jun 2011
Leaf Number: 3871
Location: West Los Angeles

Re: What if we never run out of oil?

Wed May 22, 2013 8:41 pm

AndyH wrote:This piece start with the suggestion that a "little-known energy source" exists and that "fossil fuels may not be finite."
May not be finite??? What a ridiculous statement, even if a lot of the methane hydrates could economically harvested. The fact that there might be another source of fossil fuels would suddenly make them "not finite"? After reading that statement I have to question the authors grasp of the simple term finite. This is unlike solar energy which for practical purposes on our time scale (thousands or ten thousands of years) will go on "forever".
2011 Leaf with 62,000 miles given to Nephew
2013 Tesla Model S85 with 251 miles rated range at full charge
Leaf Spy Manual
Battery Aging Model Spreadsheet

Smidge204
Posts: 940
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 1:42 pm

Re: What if we never run out of oil?

Thu May 23, 2013 4:55 am

Stoaty wrote:May not be finite??? What a ridiculous statement
Well, if you really want to be pedantic, they truly aren't finite. It's not like the processes that formed those methane/oil deposits have stopped, and it's impossible to extract 100% of these deposits. These resources won't exist in usable quantities, but they will exist! Of course, that's not what anyone means when they talk of "finite" resources.

And we'll never stop needing gas and oil, either. Both of these are used for far more than energy production and are necessary as raw materials for manufacturing damn near everything modern society relies on. So if you're looking for an argument other than an environmental one for why we should stop using fossil carbon for energy, here's one: If you burn it all you won't have any left to make iPhones!

I'm still a supporter of compressed/liquified natural gas as a vehicle fuel to replace diesel. I understand the damage fossil methane extraction causes and I champion renewable methane (bio or synthesized) whenever I get the chance. I think renewable methane - and closing the "carbon loop" - is an important piece of the energy puzzle and hopefully we can transition to such a scheme quickly.
=Smidge=

WetEV
Posts: 4375
Joined: Fri May 04, 2012 8:25 am
Delivery Date: 16 Feb 2014
Location: Near Seattle, WA

Re: What if we never run out of oil?

Thu May 23, 2013 5:10 am

AndyH wrote:Don't we have a number of models that show wind and solar can and do provide their own baseload power?
Well, AndyH, I'm not convinced by these models. I went and looked carefully at one of the studies of wind power.

What I found was that a large network of wind turbines could be as available as an average coal fired or nuclear power plant, at three times the cost.

It would seem to me, at least, that the most effective way to use wind power or solar is peak canceling. As the electric load is correlated with wind speed, install enough wind turbines so that the peak load on the rest of the power sources is when the wind isn't blowing. Same with PV solar.

Thermal solar can shift some of the produced power later in a day. So can pumped storage.

Biofuels require a conversion of a lot of land to produce fuel. We need to use some, of course, but this needs to be limited. Just producing food is going to be a strain.

Geothermal is great, where there is some. But mostly, there isn't enough to matter. Same with hydro.

I don't see how to get a highly available grid at a reasonable cost with zero carbon, all of which I think are important, without some nuclear power.
WetEV
#49
Most everything around here is wet during the rainy season. And the rainy season is long.
2012 Leaf SL Red (Totaled)
2014 Leaf SL Red
2019 eTron Blue

AndyH
Posts: 6388
Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2010 3:43 pm
Location: San Antonio

Re: What if we never run out of oil?

Thu May 23, 2013 10:07 am

WetEV wrote:
AndyH wrote:Don't we have a number of models that show wind and solar can and do provide their own baseload power?
Well, AndyH, I'm not convinced by these models. I went and looked carefully at one of the studies of wind power.

What I found was that a large network of wind turbines could be as available as an average coal fired or nuclear power plant, at three times the cost.
Cost? Is that with or without externalities? As for the rest - the appearance of a need for traditional baseload power is either a myth or an artifact of the way one looks at the problem.

http://www.skepticalscience.com/renewab ... -power.htm
http://www.canrea.ca/site/wp-content/up ... -feb09.pdf
http://www.energyscience.org.au/BP16%20BaseLoad.pdf
http://www.unendlich-viel-energie.de/up ... ants-1.pdf
http://www.awea.org/learnabout/publicat ... tsheet.pdf
WetEV wrote:It would seem to me, at least, that the most effective way to use wind power or solar is peak canceling. As the electric load is correlated with wind speed, install enough wind turbines so that the peak load on the rest of the power sources is when the wind isn't blowing. Same with PV solar.

Thermal solar can shift some of the produced power later in a day. So can pumped storage.
Of course. The problem is not one of removing 100GW of coal and plugging-in 100GW of wind or solar. We are allowed to learn from the past 100 years and redefine the problem.
WetEV wrote:Biofuels require a conversion of a lot of land to produce fuel. We need to use some, of course, but this needs to be limited. Just producing food is going to be a strain.
Nobody is talking about biofuels (as in ethanol or biodiesel), what's used for power generation is bioMASS. This includes wood waste, sustainably-grown and used wood and other plant matter, and biomethane (landfill gas, miomethane generated from animal waste, etc.). This material is used in a conventional thermal power plant. This has nothing to do with more land or food.
WetEV wrote:Geothermal is great, where there is some. But mostly, there isn't enough to matter.
Geothermal could be a significant player because of the same horizontal drilling tech used before hydraulic fracturing. I'm pretty sure it's warmer underground nearly everywhere there are humans on the planet.
WetEV wrote:I don't see how to get a highly available grid at a reasonable cost with zero carbon, all of which I think are important, without some nuclear power.
That's fine. I think we'll be able to watch Germany. Stay tuned...
"The stupid become extinct."-Bill Mollison
2018 Outlander PHEV
2015 smart Electric Drive (lease ended Feb, 2018)
OpenEVSE Plus DIY

WetEV
Posts: 4375
Joined: Fri May 04, 2012 8:25 am
Delivery Date: 16 Feb 2014
Location: Near Seattle, WA

Re: What if we never run out of oil?

Thu May 23, 2013 4:43 pm

AndyH wrote:
WetEV wrote:What I found was that a large network of wind turbines could be as available as an average coal fired or nuclear power plant, at three times the cost.
Cost? Is that with or without externalities? As for the rest - the appearance of a need for traditional baseload power is either a myth or an artifact of the way one looks at the problem.
Comparing wind power to wind power, so no difference between "with or without" externalities. The more available wind power needs to be, the more it costs. Using wind power as peak reduction is far more economical than trying to use it as baseload power.

AndyH wrote:
WetEV wrote:Geothermal is great, where there is some. But mostly, there isn't enough to matter.
Geothermal could be a significant player because of the same horizontal drilling tech used before hydraulic fracturing. I'm pretty sure it's warmer underground nearly everywhere there are humans on the planet.
Geothermal can not be a significant player, other than locally. Mean heat flow is 65 mW/m2 over continental crust.
WetEV
#49
Most everything around here is wet during the rainy season. And the rainy season is long.
2012 Leaf SL Red (Totaled)
2014 Leaf SL Red
2019 eTron Blue

AndyH
Posts: 6388
Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2010 3:43 pm
Location: San Antonio

Re: What if we never run out of oil?

Thu May 23, 2013 5:24 pm

WetEV wrote:
AndyH wrote:
WetEV wrote:What I found was that a large network of wind turbines could be as available as an average coal fired or nuclear power plant, at three times the cost.
Cost? Is that with or without externalities? As for the rest - the appearance of a need for traditional baseload power is either a myth or an artifact of the way one looks at the problem.
Comparing wind power to wind power, so no difference between "with or without" externalities. The more available wind power needs to be, the more it costs. Using wind power as peak reduction is far more economical than trying to use it as baseload power.
Using energy efficiency for peak reduction is even less expensive.

It appears you're trying to use wind the same way we use coal and nuclear today in our current grid. That's not how one integrates wind and solar into a renewable grid. That's really the point of the other studies and examples we've talked about on the forum for more than a year. Wind and solar are providing baseload power today in the real world. That makes the baseload myth a myth.

As for judging what's economical, it's pretty clear that the current assumptions and economic 'truth' about energy generation has led us into a heap of trouble. Maybe it's just me, but it appears it's long past time to redefine the problem and shift priorities around.

How about this: Including externalities, is it less expensive to install natural gas thermal generation or enough wind to replace it?
WetEV wrote:
AndyH wrote:
WetEV wrote:Geothermal is great, where there is some. But mostly, there isn't enough to matter.
Geothermal could be a significant player because of the same horizontal drilling tech used before hydraulic fracturing. I'm pretty sure it's warmer underground nearly everywhere there are humans on the planet.
Geothermal can not be a significant player, other than locally. Mean heat flow is 65 mW/m2 over continental crust.
Isn't all generation local to the power plant?

As to the available resource here are two views. The first is an average resource map:
geothermal_resource2009-final.jpg
Full-size here:
http://www.nrel.gov/gis/images/geotherm ... -final.jpg

This chart doesn't include lower temperature areas, or current oil reservoirs that can be used to generate steam - such as these:

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/enviro ... 784784.php
http://smu.edu/geothermal/Oil&Gas/Geoth ... zation.htm
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
"The stupid become extinct."-Bill Mollison
2018 Outlander PHEV
2015 smart Electric Drive (lease ended Feb, 2018)
OpenEVSE Plus DIY

roperld
Posts: 77
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:54 am
Delivery Date: 07 May 2012
Leaf Number: 019536
Location: Blacksburg VA
Contact: Website

Re: What if we never run out of oil?

Fri May 24, 2013 3:44 am

Check out my web pages:
http://www.roperld.com/science/minerals/CrudeOilUs.htm
http://www.roperld.com/Science/Minerals ... lWorld.htm
http://www.roperld.com/science/minerals ... lGasUS.htm
http://www.roperld.com/Science/electricityus.htm

You will see that the extraction of crude oil and natural gas in the U.S. is happening so fast, that the peaks will occur soon even for ridiculously large reserves estimates.
Leased for 3 years on 5 May 2012 a Cayenne-Red 2012 LEAF SL http://www.roperld.com/science/LEAFRoper.pdf
http://www.roperld.com/science/ElectricCarsMusings.pdf
Leased for 2 years on 3 Mar 2015 a Pearl-White 2015 LEAF SV

WetEV
Posts: 4375
Joined: Fri May 04, 2012 8:25 am
Delivery Date: 16 Feb 2014
Location: Near Seattle, WA

Re: What if we never run out of oil?

Sat May 25, 2013 10:30 am

AndyH wrote:It appears you're trying to use wind the same way we use coal and nuclear today in our current grid. That's not how one integrates wind and solar into a renewable grid. That's really the point of the other studies and examples we've talked about on the forum for more than a year. Wind and solar are providing baseload power today in the real world. That makes the baseload myth a myth.
I'm trying to see how we can supply energy requirements for an industrial society completely based use of renewable power.

Can wind and solar provide "baseload power"?

Or is baseload power a myth?

Pick one.

AndyH wrote:Including externalities, is it less expensive to install natural gas thermal generation or enough wind to replace it?
Why restrict the choice to wind vs natural gas? Oh, and over what time period, and how much total energy production? With or without carbon sequestration?

Minor point: Natural gas is best used in a combined cycle plant, with 60+% efficiency, than a thermal plant with 40% efficiency.
WetEV wrote:
AndyH wrote:
WetEV wrote:Geothermal is great, where there is some. But mostly, there isn't enough to matter.
Geothermal could be a significant player ...
Thermal mining, could, perhaps, for a while, if assorted technical problems can be solved. Thermal mining isn't renewable geothermal. Do note, however, that thermal mining of "hot dry rock" is not without externalities:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Induced_se ... y_in_Basel" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Even more interesting is the realization is that this is fossil heat. The flow of heat and the generation of heat by the decay of radioactive elements is far too slow to support even current uses of energy. Trandor doesn't work. And the realization that extracting enough heat will have an impact on plate tectonics. Stopping plate tectonics would be a very bad thing.

Renewable geothermal is tiny.
WetEV
#49
Most everything around here is wet during the rainy season. And the rainy season is long.
2012 Leaf SL Red (Totaled)
2014 Leaf SL Red
2019 eTron Blue

AndyH
Posts: 6388
Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2010 3:43 pm
Location: San Antonio

Re: What if we never run out of oil?

Sat May 25, 2013 10:59 am

WetEV wrote:
AndyH wrote:It appears you're trying to use wind the same way we use coal and nuclear today in our current grid. That's not how one integrates wind and solar into a renewable grid. That's really the point of the other studies and examples we've talked about on the forum for more than a year. Wind and solar are providing baseload power today in the real world. That makes the baseload myth a myth.
I'm trying to see how we can supply energy requirements for an industrial society completely based use of renewable power.

Can wind and solar provide "baseload power"?

Or is baseload power a myth?

Pick one.
There's no need to 'pick one' when both apply and are accurate. Can you see how and why?

Here are some hints:
http://climatecrocks.com/2013/01/15/run ... enewables/
http://climatecrocks.com/2013/03/14/a-r ... ork-state/
http://www.rmi.org/ReinventingFire

WetEV wrote:
AndyH wrote:Including externalities, is it less expensive to install natural gas thermal generation or enough wind to replace it?
Why restrict the choice to wind vs natural gas?
I'm allowed to 'restrict' the choice because it's my question. Either you can or will answer the question or you won't/can't. ;) So far there are plenty of Eeyore moments (It won't work) but no indication that some are capable of considering solutions. Prove me wrong!
WetEV wrote:Even more interesting is the realization is that this is fossil heat. The flow of heat and the generation of heat by the decay of radioactive elements is far too slow to support even current uses of energy. Trandor doesn't work. And the realization that extracting enough heat will have an impact on plate tectonics. Stopping plate tectonics would be a very bad thing.

Renewable geothermal is tiny.
Right - don't frack on fault lines. Duh! Is that all you've got? Wait - you might have hit on something important - maybe we shouldn't put nuclear plants on faults either? Or near the ocean?

Are you truly suggesting that we're talking about 1. using geothermal as a sole energy supply or that 2. we're capable of sucking all the heat out of the planet? Seriously? Shall we toss solar because the sun will eventually die too?
"The stupid become extinct."-Bill Mollison
2018 Outlander PHEV
2015 smart Electric Drive (lease ended Feb, 2018)
OpenEVSE Plus DIY

GRA
Posts: 12880
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 1:49 pm
Location: East side of San Francisco Bay

Re: What if we never run out of oil?

Sat May 25, 2013 2:16 pm

AndyH wrote:
GRA wrote: As to Mann's article, your takeaway is very different from mine. You think it's all about hydrates and the miracle of fracking; my take is that Mann's worry is that it will allow us to remain complacent about AGCC for years yet, and may well lead to increased instability in various countries around the world. Same story, different parsing.
Not the same story at all! This piece start with the suggestion that a "little-known energy source" exists and that "fossil fuels may not be finite." The author then proceeds to interweave a bit of history with info on fracking and hydrates while doing little more than brushing aside the negative impact of fracking on water (and completely ignoring the rest of the problems that include surface water and land contamination, emissions from the drilling/fracking process, and effects on human health). Then he does a what-if as if to suggest that we can recover enough methane from hydrates to completely upset the world's geopolitical power.
The 'negative impact from fracking' is still largely speculative. When and if it's proven, it may well be able to be mitigated; certainly it will be regulated more tightly than it is now. As to the waht if, sure. That, along with the worries abotu complacency, was the point of the piece, as I read it. He never said hydrates would work, in fact he put in plenty of caveats.
AndyH wrote: Natural gas isn't that clean... (Toss a small bone...) But man, o man look at how much of this stuff we have and how fast it's growing and how much money it's creating and... Wait - WHAT?! "...natural resources cannot be used up..." ??!!!

This article is using many of the same tactics used to create any other controversy - peak oilers VS non-peak-oilers, economists VS. geologists, ASPO VS. OPEC...
Oh, nonsense. The argument that extractable natural resources can't be used up is an economic one, and Mann wasn't the person making it, he was providing contrasting views. It is an economically accurate statement, but not how most non-economists look at things. As to the rest, natural gas use is growing owing to its economic advantage, and we are seeing a shift in this country and elsewhere to it. But it's by no means a guaranteed one-way shift that will never be reversed:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... 03848.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

And Mann didn't just 'throw a bone'; here's the complete quote:

"Yet natural gas isn’t that clean; burning it produces carbon dioxide. Researchers view it as a temporary “bridge fuel,” something that can power nations while they make the transition away from oil and coal. But if societies do not take advantage of that bridge to enact anti-carbon policies, says Michael Levi, the director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change at the Council on Foreign Relations, natural gas could be “a bridge from the coal-fired past to the coal-fired future.”

"“Methane hydrate could be a new energy revolution,” Christopher Knittel, a professor of energy economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told me. “It could help the world while we reduce greenhouse gases. Or it could undermine the economic rationale for investing in renewable, carbon-free energy around the world”—just as abundant shale gas from fracking has already begun to undermine it in the United States. “The one path is a boon. The other—I’ve used words like catastrophe.” He paused; I thought I detected a sigh. “I wouldn’t bet on us making the right decisions.”"
AndyH wrote: He talks about the tar sands (at least he calls them tar...) and describes in situ mining (as if to suggest it's just like regular oil drilling) but ignores the whole 'open pit mine' and 'cutting all the trees' and 'poisoning complete downstream environments' things... He suggests that tar sands dilbit will be conveyed to its "biggest potential markets, in the United States" - that in itself is incorrect - and the truth of it is well documented.
The final destination of the oil will be wherever it makes sense to send it. Whether it stays here or gets shipped overseas will be determined by economics and environmental regs. Correct me if I'm wrong, but AIUI it will be refined here, regardless of where it ultimately ends up.
AndyH wrote: And those pipeline protesters - not citizens concerned about their land and water - no - they're "vituperative" - bitter and abusive. Seriously? It's bitter and abusive when landowners work to stop corporations from condemning their land without permission in order to build a pipeline? The State Department's process to approve or deny the pipeline is "stalling"?
While a bit over-generalizing, 'vituperative' certainly describes some of the anti-pipeline rhetoric I've read. Trans-Canada undoubtedly came in for its share of vituperation. Over-the-top rhetoric is pretty standard for a segment of the green crowd (I include myself in the crowd, but not the segment). And 'stalling' is exactly what the State Dept. and the administration was doing during the campaign last year. They didn't want to make a decision either way, because they wanted to avoid alienating anyone who might vote for them. I'm in no doubt that they could have made a decision then, but instead they punted until after the election.
AndyH wrote: Renewables aren't ready for prime time? "Natural gas, both from fracking and in methane hydrate, gives us a way to cut back on carbon emissions while w work toward a more complete solution."
Yup, and excepting mention of hydrates, that's basically what Amory says in "Reinventing Fire". Mann gives the two opposing viewpoints of NG, one purely economic/nat. security, one as a bridge to zero carbon.
AndyH wrote: If Mann wanted anyone to consider him to be a serious journalist, rather an an opportunist writer profiting from the "greenies VS oilies" debate, then we would have published only his conflict of interest statement and left it at that.
What conflict of interest? He says he dismissed fracking as having any practical value, and as is obvious he and many other people were wrong, so he's reserving judgement on hydrates.

Have a nice holiday weekend, I'm off for some diving tomorrow.
Last edited by GRA on Sun May 26, 2013 2:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Guy [I have lots of experience designing/selling off-grid AE systems, some using EVs but don't own one. Local trips are by foot, bike and/or rapid transit].

The 'best' is the enemy of 'good enough'. Copper shot, not Silver bullets.

Return to “Environmental Issues”