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#298366 - 01/25/17 05:49 PM Re: A resilient economy [Re: NW Ponderer]
rporter314 Offline
old hand

Registered: 03/18/03
Posts: 5917
Loc: Highlands, Tx
I posit (without benefit of any scientific or otherwise evidence) as populations increase, there will be a critical value at which point IQ's go down and the consequent rational thinking

if you think Mr Trump paints a bleak America, I think he is an optimist.
_________________________
ignorance is the enemy
without equality there is no liberty

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#298384 - 01/26/17 07:49 AM Re: A resilient economy [Re: NW Ponderer]
pondering_it_all Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 6426
Loc: North San Diego County
Given energy, all the fresh water you want is right off shore on three coasts. Right now San Diego has so much fresh water available they are dumping potable treated water into reservoirs for the fish to drink. The Carlsbad desal plant is making 50 million gallons a day.

And high cost? No, it actually costs 30 percent less to desalinate water than it costs to move it from the Sacramento Delta. The plant is a great success and was the test case so other plants are under construction now.

I know there must be some parts of the US far from the coasts that are not getting enough precipitation, but even so with enough cheap energy we can desalinate it at the coast and pump it inland.

This may not be very practical in the Gobi, but much more so in Australia and Africa. They could even start with solar power and do it, considering the price of solar panels.

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#298487 - 01/31/17 02:37 PM Re: A resilient economy [Re: logtroll]
logtroll Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 8439
Loc: New Mexico (not old Mexico)
I have been working assiduously on the biochar project lately, writing a business plan for entering full-scale manufacturing of community scaled equipment to co-produce heat and biochar. It is a frustrating experience having a system and product that has so many incredible benefits that people shut down when hearing the pitch, and become blankly unreceptive.

There are three major benefits to this project - "free" energy; more productive soils; and a reduction of greenhouse gases. Yet an impressively low number of people who hear about it respond with even a degree of enthusiasm or support.

As I am writing grant proposals, recruiting partners is a task that requires a good deal of careful salesmanship (I find it especially maddening that sleazy salesman can get people to buy all kinds of crap that has no real benefit to the buyer, but I have trouble getting folks to sign up for free things that will save them money...).

Later this week I plan to visit the Alamo Navajo Chapter to look at setting them up to make biochar and fuel pellets, then using the pellets in a heat/biochar boiler for heating one of their tribal government buildings. It will be a grant funded demonstration project - if I can get the funding. The angle that is getting me in to at least meet with them is a basic energy and cost calculation that goes like this:

They do a lot of heating with propane, which is about the most expensive fuel that we have around here, maybe electricity is a bit higher). Assuming a 3000 sqft building with an average heating load, it currently costs them $3,300 a year for propane. With the biochar system I have designed, they could make pellets and biochar at a community wood lot (out of slash and junk), then used the stored pellets as feedstock for a smaller heat/biochar unit installed at the building. The cost for the pellets (which actually result from making local jobs while disposing of a waste product) would only be $2,500 for the same Btus as the propane, but would produce $3,750 in biochar annually, for a "negative" energy cost of $1,250. The net differential between the propane and biochar systems would be $4,550 annually.

You would think that this concept would sell itself - I wish.
_________________________
"You can't fix a problem until you know what the problem is." Logtroll

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#298512 - 02/01/17 02:01 PM Re: A resilient economy [Re: logtroll]
logtroll Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 8439
Loc: New Mexico (not old Mexico)
End of the Oilocene

Quote:
Energy and Money

Fundamental to all energy and economic systems is money. Debt is being used to prop up a contracting oil energy system, and the scale of money created as debt over the last few decades to compensate is truly phenomenal; amounting to hundreds of trillions (excluding “extra-terrestrial” amounts of “financials”), rising exponentially faster. This amount of debt, can never ever be repaid. The on-going contraction of the oil/energy system will exacerbate this trend until the financial system collapses. There is nothing anyone can do about it no matter how much money is printed, NIRP, ZIRP you name it – all the indicators are flashing red. The panacea of indefinite money printing will soon hit the thermodynamic energy wall of reality.

Quote:
The coming failure of the global economic system will be a systemic failure. I say “systemic” because for the last 150 years up till now there has always been cheap and abundant oil to power recovery from previous busts. This era is over. Cheap and abundant oil will not be available for recovery from the next crunch, and the world will need to adopt a completely different economic and financial model.
_________________________
"You can't fix a problem until you know what the problem is." Logtroll

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#298523 - 02/02/17 05:40 AM Re: A resilient economy [Re: logtroll]
pondering_it_all Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 6426
Loc: North San Diego County
Quote:
for the last 150 years up till now there has always been cheap and abundant oil to power recovery from previous busts


PV panels are so cheap now the payback period is just a couple of years. Even WalMarts are putting up massive PV arrays in their parking lots to offset their power use. WalMart does nothing because "it's good for the environment" or good PR. This is pure economics.

You can put up enough PV panels on your roof to run your house with no oil used to generate electricity. Add more panels and you have enough to charge your electric car. Add passive heat panels and you can heat your water and house. (Much cheaper than PV panels.) So it is easy to use absolutely zero oil for the energy you need.

Oil is very soon going to be obsolete anyway.

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#298531 - 02/02/17 11:24 AM Re: A resilient economy [Re: pondering_it_all]
logtroll Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 8439
Loc: New Mexico (not old Mexico)
It's not that simple or easy:
The global industrial economy runs on oil

Quote:
Oil is the vital and crucial link in virtually every production chain in the global industrial world economy partly because it supplies over 96% of global transport energy – with no significant non-oil dependent alternative in sight.

Our industrial food production system uses over 10 calories of oil energy to plough, plant, fertilise, harvest, transport, refine, package, store/refrigerate, and deliver 1 calorie of food to the consumer; and imagine trying to build infrastructure; roads, schools, hospitals, industrial facilities, cities, railways, airports without oil, let alone maintain them.

Surprisingly perhaps, oil is also crucial to production of all other forms of energy including renewables. We cannot mine and distribute coal or even drill for gas and install pipelines and gas distribution networks without lots of oil; and you certainly cannot make a nuclear power station or build a hydroelectric dam without oil. But even solar panels, wind and biomass energy are also totally dependent on oil to extract and produce the raw materials; oil is directly or indirectly used in their manufacture (steel, glass, copper, fibreglass/GRP, concrete) and finally to distribute the product to the end user, and install and maintain it.

So it’s not surprising that excluding hydro and nuclear (which mostly require phenomenal amounts of oil to implement), renewables still only constitute about 3% of world energy (BP Energy Outlook 2016). This figure speaks entirely for itself. I am a renewable energy consultant and promoter, but I am also a realist; in practice the world runs on oil.
_________________________
"You can't fix a problem until you know what the problem is." Logtroll

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#298546 - 02/03/17 01:33 AM Re: A resilient economy [Re: logtroll]
pondering_it_all Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 6426
Loc: North San Diego County
That's the situation currently, but oil is rapidly becoming non-competitive: It takes energy to make solar panels, and you can measure that energy in barrels of oil or KWHrs. If oil is just a tiny bit cheaper than KWHrs, most of the infrastructure will use oil. If electricity is cheaper, it will convert to using electricity.

Why do you think the price of oil is so low? It's because that is a few cents below the cost of KWHrs. As the cost of electricity drops, pretty soon it gets below the caloric content of oil and oil production for energy drops like a rock. Then we will only use oil for a lubricant. Until it becomes cheaper to synthesize oil instead of drill for it. This is not new: During WW II Germany lost a lot of access to oil so they used some simple organic chemistry to synthesize it.

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#298558 - 02/03/17 11:35 PM Re: A resilient economy [Re: pondering_it_all]
Greger Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 13660
Loc: Florida
I like the way you put that PIA.

For transportation, agriculture, and heavy construction oil will remain the primary source of energy for a long time. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. But for most of our other energy needs electricity has been king for a long time and there are lots of other ways to generate all the electricity we need.
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"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken."— Oscar Wilde

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#298559 - 02/04/17 02:06 AM Re: A resilient economy [Re: logtroll]
pondering_it_all Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 6426
Loc: North San Diego County
There is absolutely nothing about petroleum that is unavailable via other methods and processes. Back in the 1920's Fischer-Tropsch (FT) synthesis in Germany was used to make a wide variety of higher hydrocarbons from carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Every useful component in oil can be synthesized in bulk, given the energy. It's not even especially inefficient: All of the reactions of consuming petroleum product can be run backwards. So oil just represents a lot of energy that you can pump out of the ground more or less for free. Or at least we think of it as free.

But all the "easy oil" is gone now. No more gushers. You have to spend money to drill deep wells in horrible places, and then spend more money to pump it out. Then you have to spend a lot of money to refine it, transport it, sell it, etc. And maybe some aholes want to highjack your tanker or tap into your pipeline in the middle of some god-awful country so you need some military to protect it. It all adds up.

But as soon as you have hydrogen fusion and want liquid fuel for your trains or trucks, just make ethanol from CO2. So much easier than supporting the world-wide oil infrastructure. And it's carbon-neutral. Or you can make anything, like kerosene, gas, diesel, jet fuel, etc.

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#298561 - 02/04/17 01:56 PM Re: A resilient economy [Re: logtroll]
NW Ponderer Offline
Moderator
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 15014
A primary roadblock to energy conversion is investment. It takes money (financing) to build the infrastructure needed to extract the energy from other sources, and there is a distinct bias in the petro-financial world toward oil - because it is "known." Everyone else has to compete against oil for funding. The tilt is incredible largely because the return horizon for investors is so short. Financiers want to make money NOW, not over decades.

If the economy were turned toward long-term, steady returns rather than make-a-quick-buck schemes, the boom-bust cycle would be reduced (or even eliminated). But bonds are not nearly as "sexy" as stocks, and no one has the patience for infrastructure. Now that the Donald and his financier cronies are in charge, it is a guarantee that non-petroleum infrastructure spending will be eliminated. Trump's attention horizon is 144 characters.
_________________________
A well reasoned argument is like a diamond: impervious to corruption and crystal clear - and infinitely rarer.

Here, as elsewhere, people are outraged at what feels like a rigged game -- an economy that won't respond, a democracy that won't listen, and a financial sector that holds all the cards. - Robert Reich

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