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End of the Age of Oil

Discussion in 'Speaker's Corner' started by LabR@t, Nov 10, 2009.

  1. ntg

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Nov 24, 2008

    Posts: 2,472

    Well, ethanol costs $2/gallon even at sky-high corn prices. At the moment the blendwall is around 16% (mix of ethanol with gasoline for fuel) due to the technology used in car engines. Isobutanol, a cleaner form of ethanol, can be blended up to 24% (I think). All you need essentially is to replace the current car engines to an ethanol/isobutanol friendly type (i think they are called flex-something) and they can use much higher % of the stuff.

    It already happens widely in Brazil, so it's not a futuristic idea.

    More importantly, both ethanol and isobutanol can be produced anywhere where you have feedstock that contains easily accessible sugars (sugarcane in Brazil, corn in USA), releasing you from Middle East oil.

    All that is feasible today, and is practiced today, and costs about 2$/gallon, which at a high blend with gasoline could probably keep prices under 3$/gallon easily.

    Once the advanced biofuels are here in large quantities, i.e. when the tech to use waste feedstock is refined, you will see even larger price savings. There are companies that have already demonstrated the technology to achieve that, they just need to scale it up succesfully.
     
  2. Glaucus

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Mar 11, 2004

    Posts: 76,645

    And we don't have enough sites for all these nuclear power plants, they would also need to be 4th gen and of course they cost billions each.
     
  3. Tefal

    Capo Crimine

    Joined: Jun 30, 2007

    Posts: 66,559

    Location: Wales

    well there is sotmhing to fear in that regard as making it from things other than oil is very energy intensive (and would take up vast areas of arable land that we will need for food production)
     
  4. Glaucus

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Mar 11, 2004

    Posts: 76,645

    Trouble with bio fuel, is it won't work for most countries. Brazil has huge arable land and low population density, which is why they can do it. There's few places like that, some Africa nations, other south American places.

    As for packaging, going back to recyclable goods. Why the hell more stuff doesn't come in glass is minded boggling in this supposed green and recyclable era.
     
  5. phil675

    Mobster

    Joined: Jan 15, 2005

    Posts: 4,389

    Location: UK

    Well you could say that glass is heavier, so if you can transport more plastic than glass at a time you might be saving some fuel..

    Too much stuff comes in overcomplicated plastic though. Many things could be transported in cardboard with paper padding which you could just pop in the recycling bin.
     
  6. Dave

    Mobster

    Joined: Oct 30, 2004

    Posts: 4,927

    Location: Aberdeenshire

    I always think this as well. I also don't see why the EU hasn't standardised glass bottle sizes to enable better sharing of recycled glass bottles, given that they like to standardise virtually everything else!
     
  7. Glaucus

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Mar 11, 2004

    Posts: 76,645

    Yep and if you don't want to use a standised packaging you pay an extra X% tax, to help fund green schemes.
     
  8. ntg

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Nov 24, 2008

    Posts: 2,472

    It doesn't have to work for most countries though, as long as it works for a few democratic and free markets, and they have can supply the rest. It's going to be much better than having very-very few questionable regimes who supply oil at the moment.

    Also, other renewable energy sources can be used in most countries (wind, solar) to supplement their needs.

    Biofuels are just the next step. When we get to cellulosic biofuel then it is conceivable that most countries will be able to be self-sufficient to a large degree.
     
  9. NeilFawcett

    Capodecina

    Joined: Nov 15, 2003

    Posts: 13,282

    Location: Marlow

  10. Glaucus

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Mar 11, 2004

    Posts: 76,645

    They can't even supply themselfs with bio fuel, let alone the rest.
    Even brazil only uses a fraction of bio fuel.
     
  11. Tefal

    Capo Crimine

    Joined: Jun 30, 2007

    Posts: 66,559

    Location: Wales

    One of the more obvious answers.

    Glass is heavy, fuel is expensive.

    hence plastic beats glass.
     
  12. Dave

    Mobster

    Joined: Oct 30, 2004

    Posts: 4,927

    Location: Aberdeenshire

    Makes sense, but I think that a locally-centralised (if that makes sense!) recycling centre and distribution of the stuff to go into the glass, like the milk bottles of old, would be much better. We could use the chemical feedstocks used for plastic to make higher-value commodity chemicals - the UK chemicals industry is still a very strong global player and we should be taking advantage of this position!
     
  13. clv101

    Sgarrista

    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 9,892

    Location: Bristol

    My milk still gets delivered to my door, in a glass bottle, with a foil top and a wonderful slug of cream on top. :cool:
     
  14. Tefal

    Capo Crimine

    Joined: Jun 30, 2007

    Posts: 66,559

    Location: Wales

    So now you've got to ship every single thing in the sauce isle of your local tesco to every local region then bottle it there then ship it back out to the stores? :confused:

    not to mention having to now have god knows how many more glass factories making the multitude of shapes rather than a couple of big ones.

    so probably doubling or more the amount of travel.
     
  15. PsychoPigeon

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Dec 20, 2008

    Posts: 1,312

    Anyone know much about the companies the council give contracts to which cover recycling? I heard they make a fortune..

    We need big versions of this
     
  16. ntg

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Nov 24, 2008

    Posts: 2,472

    Which is why we are discussing its potential. If it was available at supply rates to cover their whole demand then we wouldn't be talking about it as a future solution.

    In that sense we shouldn't be discussing any alternative fuel sources, renewable or not, simply because 'no country can meet their own demand with XYZ yet'.

    The thing is that renewable biofuels do have the potential to replace oil, whereas most other renewable sources of energy (solar, wind, geothermal etc.) are unable to do so effectively.
     
  17. jak731

    Soldato

    Joined: Mar 17, 2007

    Posts: 5,474

    Location: Plymouth

    Not all recycling is equal, recycling glass for instance saves 2-21% (depending on the %age of recycled glass in the new item) of the energy required to create it from raw materials. So even in the best case scenario four fifths of the energy to make it from raw materials is still being consumed to recycle. Using less will obviously save more energy. Recycling aluminium on the other hand can save 95% of energy required to make it from the raw materials (extracting aluminium from bauxite is very energy intensive). There are also quality problems with recycling.

    http://greenliving.nationalgeographic.com/energy-recycle-glass-bottles-vs-aluminum-cans-vs-plastic-2376.html
     
  18. jak731

    Soldato

    Joined: Mar 17, 2007

    Posts: 5,474

    Location: Plymouth

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23284506

    Wouldn't have figured that 5 years ago. My initial reaction was 'that's ridiculous'.
     
  19. NeilFawcett

    Capodecina

    Joined: Nov 15, 2003

    Posts: 13,282

    Location: Marlow

    I hope it's expensive to extract it.

    We're on borrowed time really, and need to be more careful with this dwindling resource to give us as much time as possible to move over to alternatives while we have time!
     
  20. ubersonic

    Capodecina

    Joined: May 26, 2009

    Posts: 20,569

    Great news, hopefully as US supply goes up then their demand for non US oil will go down and so will the prices we pay :)