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Thread: Alternate Fuels

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    Lady Barronmore Arrianna has become well known Arrianna has become well known Arrianna has become well known Arrianna's Avatar
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    Alternate Fuels

    With all the discussion of gas prices I thought it might be interesting to discuss alternate fuels.

    Ethanol
    Now I don't approve of using corn to make ethanol with what it has done world wide in combination with the continuing crop failures of the last few years buuuut... evidently you can make ethanol with switchgrass. Never heard of it? It used to cover the great plains as far as you can see and feed the buffalo that grazed there. It is perennial so it can be harvested for 10 years without replanting, prevents soil erosion, is hardy and can be grown without commercial fertilizers, collects carbon dioxide and traps it naturally in the soil (at a much higher rate the trees do to boot), and you can make an average of 11,500 gallons of ethanol per acre. As a final bonus the remains after you have made the ethanol can be turned into methanol, methane gas, and even hydrogen.

    Methane Gas/Methanol
    Now speaking of Methane gas and Methanol... I think it has about the same properties of Ethanol and can be made from waste... any waste. An increasing number of cattle farms and dairies are using the waste from the cattle to make methane gas and hence electricity that they use to power the farms. They are now completely self sufficient power wise. That kind of electricity or fuel can be made from any waste though. You can tap landfills for it, in fact someone is looking into creating a diaper only conversion system because it would make the most methane for the buck. We could cap off our septic systems to drain of the gas while removing the solid waste and recycling the water. You can't beat taking crap, literally, and using it to make electricity or gasoline.

    Solar Electricity
    Not really an option for cars nor really for most of the world but in places like the West Coast of the US and deserts where I live a combination of solar panels and batteries could actually support up to 70% of electrical use. You are seeing more and more government subsidizations which drops your return investment to 7 years instead of 15 but with the energy crunch we have I would love to see the government set an example and add solar to all government buildings in those areas themselves.

    Wind Power
    Not reliable and requires a large land use for minimum return.

    Nuclear Power
    Actually one of the best sources of energy when done correctly. The waste is actually supposed to be burned in the reactor itself creating nearly no disposal necessary and modern security measures can prevent the kind of melt down that occurred at Chernobyl thanks to the moron running it deliberately breaking safety protocols just to see what would happen.

    Geothermal Power
    I don't really know much about geothermal energy. Maybe someone can fill that in. I do know that you can put a geothermic heat pump under your house however to create a constant temperature inside no matter what time the year, stabilizes humidity levels, and can heat your water for half the year for around $7,500 (down from the $20,000 of 10 years ago).


    So please educate me on anything I missed or just feel free to comment.
    Last edited by Arrianna; Apr 30, 2008 at 05:06 PM. Reason: adding Nuclear Power

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    Re: Alternate Fuels

    Grumble Grumble Grumble
    Quote Originally Posted by Arrianna View Post
    Geothermal Power
    I don't really know much about geothermal energy. Maybe someone can fill that in. I do know that you can put a geothermic heat pump under your house however to create a constant temperature inside no matter what time the year, stabilizes humidity levels, and can heat your water for half the year for around $7,500 (down from the $20,000 of 10 years ago).


    So please educate me on anything I missed or just feel free to comment.
    Now 'geothermal' heat pumps are really more of a source of 'heat', then in power. Heat pumps are already in wide use, and work on the same principal as running a air conditioner backwards. There much more efficient then using straight 'electric heat' from thermal coils (e.g. a toaster, electric stove, or oven) but their weakness is that they don't work well when the outside air drops below freezing (as you can't pull heat from something that doesn't have much heat...). The only differnce with 'geothermal', is that your substituting the mass of underground rock/water table for Air. You still need electricity to run your heat pump, as no power is generated.
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    Re: Alternate Fuels

    I know, I only included it since it would help reduce the amount of power needed for a building. Do you know anything about geothermal power though?

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    Re: Alternate Fuels

    Grumble Grumble Grumble
    Quote Originally Posted by Arrianna View Post
    I know, I only included it since it would help reduce the amount of power needed for a building. Do you know anything about geothermal power though?
    Now Geothermal power is actually quite limited, as there are only a few places in this country where naturally occurring steam from volcanic heat can be used. (such as Yellowstone National Park). The Geysers up in California wine country is now maxed out, as they found that drilling new exploratory wells ended up reducing the steam pressure in existing facilities. And I've heard reports that another natural geyser field (in either Utah or Nevada) that was second only to Yellowstone in size, was destroyed after only four exploratory wells were drilled (oops!), which makes it very unlikely that commercial exploitation of Yellowstone will ever be allowed...

    They have also been attempts to tap the heat from dry deep granite formations (by drilling and cracking rock, similar to some secondary oil extraction techniques) to generate steam, but so far, none of the attempts have resulted in a commercially viable power generation source...
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    Re: Alternate Fuels

    Great Topic...but I would have to disagree with some wind power
    Wind power is the conversion of wind energy into useful form, such as electricity, using wind turbines. In windmills, wind energy is directly used to crush grain or to pump water. At the end of 2007, worldwide capacity of wind-powered generators was 94.1 gigawatt's. Although wind currently produces just over 1% of world-wide electricity use,it accounts for approximately 19% of electricity production in Denmark, 9% in Spain and Portugal, and 6% in Germany and the Republic of Ireland (2007 data). Globally, wind power generation increased more than fivefold between 2000 and 2007. Wind power is produced in large scale wind farms connected to electrical grids, as well as in individual turbines for providing electricity to isolated locations.
    Wind energy is plentiful, renewable, widely distributed, clean, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions when it displaces fossil-fuel-derived electricity. Wind power consumes no fuel for continuing operation, and has no emissions directly related to electricity production. Operation does not produce carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, mercury, particulates, or any other type of air pollution, as do fossil fuel power sources. Wind power plants consume resources in manufacturing and construction. The intermittency of wind seldom creates insurmountable problems when using wind power to supply a low proportion of total demand, but it presents extra costs when wind is to be used for a large fraction of demand.
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    Re: Alternate Fuels

    Quote Originally Posted by Arrianna View Post
    Methane Gas/Methanol
    Now speaking of Methane gas and Methanol... I think it has about the same properties of Ethanol and can be made from waste... any waste. An increasing number of cattle farms and dairies are using the waste from the cattle to make methane gas and hence electricity that they use to power the farms. They are now completely self sufficient power wise. That kind of electricity or fuel can be made from any waste though. You can tap landfills for it, in fact someone is looking into creating a diaper only conversion system because it would make the most methane for the buck. We could cap off our septic systems to drain of the gas while removing the solid waste and recycling the water. You can't beat taking crap, literally, and using it to make electricity or gasoline.
    This method I believe is already being used by some companies. But instead of cattle feces, they were really using garbage to create methane gas. They had the garbage kept underground, have it heated or something in order to derive the gas. Then it is kept in a tank to burn as energy of course.

    And isn't it true that we already have methane gas right under us?? It's practically everywhere underground right??

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    Re: Alternate Fuels

    I agree with ethanol - poor planning and thinking on their behalf - considering that corn feeds the worlds population - which we already have trouble feeding.

    wind - I feel it is a reliable option. As for whether its viable, seems to be some articles out there that say it is. But from just a brief search it seems that it really depends on the governments and community support. Some examples are Denmark (as Astaroth has already mentioned) has a policy to be powered by 50% wind by 2030 (correct me if I'm wrong- read the article ages ago). Though if we are talking strictly about cars - I would question it, but as technology gets better, who knows?

    I don't see why we can't pay farmers (probably stock) in suitable areas an amount to use there land to put these things up. Another thing - is there any technology so we can mount them on top of high buildings, where there is good wind? I don't know the answer to these just throwing ideas out there.


    Though you did miss one thing out Arrianna - What about Nuclear? Just to throw it out there

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    Lady Barronmore Arrianna has become well known Arrianna has become well known Arrianna has become well known Arrianna's Avatar
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    Re: Alternate Fuels

    Ah shoot, I forgot Nuclear.

    Nuclear Power
    Actually one of the best sources of energy when done correctly. The waste is actually supposed to be burned in the reactor itself creating nearly no disposal necessary and modern security measures can prevent the kind of melt down that occurred at Chernobyl thanks to the moron running it deliberately breaking safety protocols just to see what would happen.

    (Added to original post.)

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