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Oil (23/10/18 19:34:48) Reply
    US shake oil (with the notorious method of fracking) was a big thing a few years ago. Not so much any more.
    "Yet, even as drillers extract ever greater volumes of oil from the ground, they still are not turning a profit. “To outward appearances, the U.S. oil and gas industry is in the midst of a decade-long boom,” IEEFA and the Sightline Institute write in their report. However, “America’s fracking boom has been a world-class bust.”"

    In sunny areas of the world, photovoltaic electricity now is competitive, Still Saudi-Arabia is burning oil for electricity. They keep their old equipment running instead of scrapping it and investing in new and clean technology. Methinks they may not be able to afford the investment in building PV systems without cutting subsidies to the population and risking social unrest.

    Anyway, there is an interesting debate on renewable vs fossil/nuclear energy.


    So far it isn't possible to run aluminium smelting on solar or wind electricity because intermittent stops ruin the ovens.

Re: Oil (24/11/18 19:13:07) Reply
    there's some interesting trends going...

    one goes "as photovoltaic+wind is that cheap, why bother inventing anything else."

    another is energy harvesting... remember those watches that self-wind-while-shaking them? now there are much smaller devices, mechanical, electro-magnetic, whatever, deployable on much larger scale

    third is energy storage... usual chemical batteries stuff is not less messy than burning oil.. apart of not being efficient enough. Hence appear all kinds of things, some new, some very old.. compressed air, Supercapacitors, "warm" superconductors, gravity-based stuff (water poweplant pumping water back in reservoir above), new chemical stuff.. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2016/12/13/vanadium-flow-batteries-the-energy-storage-breakthrough-weve-needed/#25892f65bde8

    lets see where this leads...
    i guess as/if energy becomes dirt-cheap, we will multiple the wasting-it-for-any-crap.. seems human nature. Same as what happened when information-exchange became zero-cost... each stupid site pumps a gigabyte of bullshit. so knowledge/information just drowned in noise.

Re: Dirt cheap energy (26/11/18 09:56:07) Reply
    Fossil energy has been dirt cheap for ages, even though it has not seemed like that in the less privileged countries. In rich countries it is so affordable that it can be wasted like in cheap petrol for oversized cars.
    Historically, coal was mined by slave labourers (like in the UK) and used to run low-efficiency steam engines for transportation and industry.


    In Africa, today, solar competes favourably with diesel-powered generators says my source.

    The storage problem isn't solved, but there is work on temporary relief.
    Between .no and .eu/.uk there are cables, and will be more - so that .no hydro power can buffer the unpredictable wind power on the continent and post-Brexit UK. Backpumping of water in hydro power stations is another option which already is there, but which may be extended. So wind power can be accumulated as hydro power.

    Vanadium may be OK in Australia.

    I see from other sources there are projects working towards regenerating CO2 electrically into carbon-based fuels. Nothing can match hydrocarbons for energy density combined with such low toxicity. Big passenger or cargo planes can't be run on batteries, I think. I don't think the system can function well without transcontinental air transport.

Coal (07/12/18 16:34:31) Reply
    Emerging economies, as they are called, are installing coal-fired power stations in great numbers according to my sources. In view of the threatening climate changes this seems like a suicide path for the entire planetary ecosystem. Whatever one may think of the causes so far - increasing the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will be not be helpful in limiting the rise in temperature.

    I know from other areas that obsolete technologies are dumped into poor countries. Production is cheap, there is minimal competition, the buyers are corrupt - so the profits for the providers are satisfactory.

    There is one remedy for this: A ban on building and running of fossil-fired power stations, and with harsh penalties for the guilty (read: prison sentences for ministers and CEOs). For light and cooking in warm countries there should not be a need for continuously-running system like coal-fired stations. Use of modern technologies should be mandatory.

    Quite a few political compromises need to be made. But the people in power are leaders - aren't they?

    Show me.

Re: Coal (15/12/18 17:18:01) Reply
    long time ago, coal in .bg was only imported from ussr. That is, one black sea away. Mined in 2-3-4 physical locations. Half the industry was made to run well/only on that coal - as energy, temperature, or whatever other (repeatable) parameters.

    Then one day there was cheaper coal coming from china. Far cheaper - despite the distance. But.. It almost made some power stations go kaput.. as it was totally different, each ship, and each tank in that ship, and of unpredictable quality/parameters. Turned that it was "mined" by thousands of "uncle lao" families, bag by bag, collected, mixed, sent over.

    btw, the emissions needed to produce one car are 10x more than the emissions it would produce if running for 10 years. And btw, Neither of the consumption of oil-per-kilometer, or the number-of-cars-per-family has gone down. The former may have some marginal improvements in last 50years, but the latter more than compensates for those..

    so i dunno. Producing cleaner energy might be fine, but not needing that energy would be far better, esp. of invented-to-be-wasteful "needs".

Re: Re: Coal (17/12/18 17:53:38) Reply
    A balance between emission and extraction is badly needed. It needs to be a multiple-pass process. Lots of small steps and lots of political and technical setbacks.
    So it must be kept going by people who do not lose heart from failing.

    I think I'm in.

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