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#323277 - 03/23/20 08:34 PM Re: small nuclear reactors (SMR) [Re: Greger]
Jeffery J. Haas Offline
It's the Despair Quotient!
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/04
Posts: 15728
Loc: Whittier, California
Originally Posted By: Greger
Conventional engines will soon be a thing of the past. Ethanol might still find some use in the small engines industry but it's probably destined for extinction, we never needed it to begin with.

There's no need for atomic cars when everything just plugs in to charge. No need for fuel tankers either, no need for refineries.
No need to drill in arctic waters.



It's still going to be a petroleum economy for a while yet, just gradually smaller. We aren't going to be able to shut down conventional ICE engines wholesale, and there will always be a small and fiercely loyal contingent of gasoline engine enthusiasts...MOTORHEADS...myself among them.

But as things do gradually phase out, being a motorhead will gradually become more of a hobby ONLY, and as hobby ONLY becomes more of a thing, the use of such hobby-oriented vehicles will be gradually restricted.
Hard to say what will become of the fuel used for such vehicles because once demand sinks enough, on some sunny day decades from now, will it become more expensive?

When only twenty percent of road vehicles use gas, what will happen to the true price of oil?

And will we even need to sink trillions into a global military to defend it?
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#323299 - 03/24/20 04:35 AM Re: small nuclear reactors (SMR) [Re: jgw]
pondering_it_all Offline
veteran

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 10345
Loc: North San Diego County
The reason for ethanol is it's something we can make easily, not necessarily from corn or even anything edible. We could even make it from atmospheric or waste CO2. And it way better than any battery is now or ever will likely be at storing energy. Here's a graph:
Energy Density

But if you prefer gasoline or diesel, we could make either of those without oil. Just a little harder. As long as you don't use fossil fuel to make them, they are carbon neutral. Just look at all the totally synthetic oil we make now.

For that matter liquid ammonia is about 10 times better than lithium ion batteries. And of course, this is just for vehicles where they have to carry their own fuel.

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#323303 - 03/24/20 11:01 AM Re: small nuclear reactors (SMR) [Re: Jeffery J. Haas]
Ujest Shurly Offline
journeyman

Registered: 10/16/16
Posts: 661
Loc: Sterling Heights, MI, USA
Originally Posted By: Jeffery J. Haas
Originally Posted By: jgw
I am REALLY against ethanol. ... On top of that its just not good for the environment.


The old arguments about battery tech are dissolving as new battery formulations come online.

The old arguments about range anxiety and recharging are dissolving, too.


Does not ethanol release carbon when you burn it? Ergo ethanol is a polluter. Thus no good.

Arguments about battery range and recharging are fading, but concerns about battery fires are increasing.

Why not just develop Solar and Hydrogen for vehicles. These two when used, do not produce any pollutants, just electrons and the other just water, for which we just have to figure a way to put back into the ground.


Edited by Ujest Shurly (03/24/20 11:03 AM)
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#323326 - 03/24/20 06:04 PM Re: small nuclear reactors (SMR) [Re: Jeffery J. Haas]
jgw Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 05/22/06
Posts: 3595
Loc: Port Angeles, WA
You are probably right about battery tech and cars. I am sure that is going to be the way it goes as that tech just keeps on getting better and better.

Sometimes I get a bit carried away - apologies..........

I just had a thought about nuclear batteries. i thought I had remembered something about that so I google "nuclear battery" and there it was! There is something like that, they are expensive, lasts a very long time, and there is stuff going on there right now. (thought that might be interesting)


Edited by jgw (03/24/20 06:08 PM)

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#323335 - 03/24/20 08:51 PM Re: small nuclear reactors (SMR) [Re: jgw]
pondering_it_all Offline
veteran

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 10345
Loc: North San Diego County
Ethanol burns to yield carbon dioxide and water (mostly). If the carbon comes from something other than fossil fuel, and you don't use fossil fuel to make it, it is carbon neutral. For example, making it from crop waste using solar energy to run your process, all the carbon comes from the atmosphere. No net gain in atmospheric CO2.

Improving batteries to be 10 or 20 times better is a lovely but impossible dream. It's not a political or money problem. It's a physical chemistry problem. Vanadium flow batteries might be better than we have now, because you could keep the metallic battery parts in your car and just change your discharged electrolyte fluid for charged fluid at a filling station, but they are horribly expensive.

Hydrogen is horrible to work with. It leaks right through everything, and ignites with an explosion. It's also very hard to compress. You need a very large tank, too, because the joules per liter are so low. About 5 times as big as the ethanol tank. This is all in the chart I linked to above. Ammonia is seven times as good in terms of weight and twice as good in terms of volume.

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#323338 - 03/24/20 09:29 PM Re: small nuclear reactors (SMR) [Re: pondering_it_all]
Greger Offline


Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 17271
Loc: Florida
I don't see any reason not to continue with fossil fuels as we gradually shift to nuclear, solar and wind. We certainly aren't worrying about anything else in the short term so I don't see much reason to fret over this either If ethanol is a marketable and profitable product they will continue to manufacture it, but IC engines in trucks and automobiles are basically a dead industry. It's 20 years out or so before the last of them is manufactured and I expect small engines will still be needed for tons of applications.

I don't imagine they'll ever do much about aviation, not much besides fossil fuels deliver the per ton punch required to get aircraft off the ground and from point A to point B. They're serious energy hogs and it's entirely possible that one day it won't be necessary for everyone to flit about the world like jetsetters visiting faraway places on a whim.
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#323360 - 03/25/20 06:09 PM Re: small nuclear reactors (SMR) [Re: Greger]
jgw Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 05/22/06
Posts: 3595
Loc: Port Angeles, WA
They will continue to make ethanol as long as our 4 billion dollars a year subsidy continues to pay farmers to grow the corn.

the military actually developed an atomic airplane, years ago. We abandoned it after the oil folks got busy and reminded everybody that nuclear is very bad (even when its not)


Edited by jgw (03/25/20 06:11 PM)

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#323409 - 03/26/20 08:44 PM Re: small nuclear reactors (SMR) [Re: jgw]
pondering_it_all Offline
veteran

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 10345
Loc: North San Diego County
Like I said, you can actually make gasoline, diesel, or even jet fuel out of crop waste or atmospheric CO2. Then they are carbon neutral. It is just more expensive than starting with oil, because we externalize much of oil's costs. The key to stop adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere is not particular fuels: It is the energy source, and fossil fuels are actually the most expensive possible once you add in all the externalized costs.

Our government subsidy for ethanol is actually cheaper than our subsidy for oil.

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#323417 - 03/26/20 10:29 PM Re: small nuclear reactors (SMR) [Re: pondering_it_all]
Jeffery J. Haas Offline
It's the Despair Quotient!
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/04
Posts: 15728
Loc: Whittier, California
Originally Posted By: pondering_it_all
Like I said, you can actually make gasoline, diesel, or even jet fuel out of crop waste or atmospheric CO2. Then they are carbon neutral. It is just more expensive than starting with oil, because we externalize much of oil's costs. The key to stop adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere is not particular fuels: It is the energy source, and fossil fuels are actually the most expensive possible once you add in all the externalized costs.

Our government subsidy for ethanol is actually cheaper than our subsidy for oil.


Reversing the externalization of those costs does not appear possible.
Imagine what it would take to tip that over on its ear.
_________________________
"The Best of the Leon Russell Festivals" DVD
deepfreezefilms.com

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#323432 - 03/27/20 09:45 AM Re: small nuclear reactors (SMR) [Re: jgw]
pondering_it_all Offline
veteran

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 10345
Loc: North San Diego County
We already did that in effect with solar panels and the federal tax credit. That (and dropping prices on panels) made solar cheaper than buying fossil-fueled electricity from the utility company.

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