A solution to the gas crisis

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Superion33, Apr 27, 2006.

  1. Superion33

    Superion33 Banned

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    Hi,

    All of you know that the gas prices have gone through the roof. I hope all of you know that the price is only going to go higher as we move years, decades, and centuries into the future. Some facts aren't debatable. Fact: there is only a set (finite) amount of fossil fuels in the ground. The world will eventually HAVE to switch to something else for energy. Coal, oil, natural gas, liquefied natural gas will all run out.

    I think the government is pulling a fast one on us by talking about "flex fuels", ethanol, natural gas, or hydrogen (fuel cell) vehicles. The fact is that ethanol actually produces more smog than normal gasoline. The fact is that ethanol reduces gas mileage as it is burned less efficiently than gasoline. You sometimes barely break even with the amount of energy required to create ethanol as ethanol produces. A byproduct of combusting ethanol is water. Water is harmful to a regular combustion engine and the engines have to be designed differently to handle ethanol. Ethanol also cannot be shipped via pipelines and will require freights to carry it to supply terminals - truck, rail, vehicles, etc. Thus it is more expensive purely due to the distribution cost. Ethanol cannot be piped as it corrodes pipelines.

    As far as "fuel cells", they too have their disadvantages. Fuel cells run on hydrogen. Of course, hydrogen isn't normally found naturally in the environment. It is the most highly reactive element (one proton, one electron). Also, hydrogen needs to come from somewhere - and guess what - it comes from fossil fuels! It costs energy to create it.

    Of course, I think I have what I see as a solution to all this. SOLAR POWER. Solar Power is clean. Plants use the sun for energy, why can't we harness the sun also? Think of it - no more need for coal, oil, gas. No more need to pay at the pump, pay electric bills, pay heating bills. Add solar panels to your roofs and your energy source is guaranteed. Store the excess energy for cloudy days or sell it back to the grid for a profit! With the mass production of solar panels and greater technical progress, it will become a viable option. You can even use the solar panels to power your electric car! Electric cars have poor ranges now (40 - 80 miles) but with the advent of LiOn (Lithium Ion) batteries - the ones found in laptops - they can get the range of cars today.

    Of course, this will harm the livelihoods of millions of people. People in the oil industry, utilities industry, coal industry, shipping industry, gas station owners, mechanics who work on the internal combustion engine, etc and ALL family members will have to find a different livelihood.

    So what do you guys think? What are your thoughts?

    TFW2005 Board Moderators:

    Would this thread be alright to move to the General TF Discussion Forum? That Forum is seen more often and I am curious to what the regular American thinks of this issue. Gas prices are on everyone's minds and I want to ask you if it is ok for me to post this thread on that forum?
     
  2. funkatron101

    funkatron101 TFW2005 Supporter

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    It is something I have thought about. Some states actually give you a partial rebate for having solar power.

    Minnesota wouldn't seem to be ideal for solar power as there are long periods of time with little sunlight. To compensate, you would need far more panels, raising the costs and a potential need for more land.

    Also, fossil fuels are used to create solar panels and install them. Same arguement against fuel cells.
     
  3. Ktulu

    Ktulu Whoosh TFW2005 Supporter

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    I think we should all grow some fucking wings
     
  4. Joe Moore

    Joe Moore Is Not Jim... Administrator

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    No, this has no relevance to Transformers discussion.

    EDIT:
    And if this discussion gets even remotely political, it's gone.
     
  5. McBradders

    McBradders James Franco Club! Moderator

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    Rollerskates.
     
  6. Ops_was_a_truck

    Ops_was_a_truck JOOOLIE ANDREWWWWWS!!!!!!

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    See, I think singling out one particular energy source and saying "THIS IS THE ONLY SOLUTION" is moot...and rather ridiculous. In my opinion, the only way we, as a species, are going to adapt our energy consumption to the needs we have in an information society is to use ALL the "green," alternative energy solutions available.

    Solar power will not alone help solve the problem. The Flex Fuels, the peanut-oil-powered-cars alone will not help solve the problem. It's a combination of all of these, used as a concentrated effort to AVOID traditional, smog-producing energy sources, that will solve our problem.

    Also, service sector jobs do not just "go away," as your initial post seemed to imply. Just because the coal miners or gasoline industry workers will be put out of a job does not mean they'll never be ever employed again. Service workers have, time and again, rolled over and adapted to the next change in technology or production and, knowing America's work force, they'll do it again, once the bigwigs come to them and say "We're changing the way we make energy from this to this, start learnin'."

    Will it happen in the next 10 years? Probably not. Next 50? Possibly. Next 100? I'd say that's a little bit more believable.
     
  7. Predaking

    Predaking Well-Known Member

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    I heard somewhere that we aren't even using 1% of the solar energy that hit the earth. A great way to harness the power of the sun is building solar panels in space and feed the energy to earth through a cable or a line that links the panel to earth. Another solution is a solar panel that spans 100mile x 100mile. It can be built in a desert and would be able to provide power for US and perhaps other countries too. Of course neither of this solution is feasible right now but I agree that solar power is the way of the future. Eventually the fossil fuels will dry up and the world will be in a major pickle then.
     
  8. MegaMoonMan

    MegaMoonMan www.megamoonman.com TFW2005 Supporter

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    I like to believe that the earth produces fossil fuels of it's own accord, so they will never run out. There is a small amount of evidence that suggests this.

    Probably not true, but I like to believe.

    And yay for you solving all the world's energy problems just like that! Woot! Call the president.
     
  9. Superion33

    Superion33 Banned

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    The main componenent in Solar Panels is Silicon. Silicon is basically the same element as carbon (same number of valence electrons). It is found one row under carbon on the Periodic Table of Elements. It has all the reactive properties of Carbon but doesn't come from carbon type sources.

    True, solar panels will require energy for contruction. They aren't going to magically appear. However, we don't have to use fossil fuel if the factory that produces solar panels is powered by solar panels itself! Solar panels will require material for construction also. But so does everything else.

    Anyways, which is better in the long run - to make ONE solar panel that has the potential to provide energy for DECADES. Or to constantly produce fuels that only provide energy for a few miles?

    Plastic is not natural, true. Plastic comes from polymers that come from the oil industry. That is all true. However, plastic IS recyclable. Once the solar panel has run its life after a few decades - recycle it. No need to hunt for more plastic.

    Of course, I realize that the people who lose their jobs will find something else to do. They aren't just going to sit around. I just wanted to point out that they would be affected, just like how GM and Ford workers are affected as consumers switch away from SUVs. These workers will probably make subcompacts.

    I also think a consortium of "green" technology is the best bet. Its best to not have all your eggs in one basket. However, I don't think ethanol or fuel cells are truly green. Wind, solar, geo-thermal, hydro - those are the truly green technologies.

    Dude, I didn't want to come off as a fanatic that was going to be the savior of the world. Think of it tho - solar power is our best long term option.
     
  10. MegaMoonMan

    MegaMoonMan www.megamoonman.com TFW2005 Supporter

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    All we need is a few self-replicating solar powered nanobots that can be set loose in a field of silicon. They could slowly build a huge solar array that would grow exponentially as they also produced copies of themselves, no effort needed by us, other than producing the nanobots to begin with. Some sort of programming or control signal could keep them in check.

    Find a big enough area, provide enough time and raw materials, problem solved.

    Of course, we're still a ways away from developing complex nanobots.
     
  11. Orodruin

    Orodruin @deathformer TFW2005 Supporter

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    West Wing did an episode (6x05 - The Hubbert Peak) that touched on alternative energy. Now I'm not sure how accurate their information is, but here's the summary. All the energy being used from fossil fuels could be replaced by solar power from 220,000 square kilometers of solar cells. A piece of land 300 miles on each side. Now there's plenty of room for that out west, but the problem is making that many cells. All the cells made up to this point would barely cover 10 square kilometers.

    Now whether those numbers are accurate or not, I think the general idea holds true- that solar power is a good idea, but to be practical on such a large scale would require such a rediculously massive construction effort as to render it impractical.
     
  12. Superion33

    Superion33 Banned

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    Not looking at things in the long haul. It wouldn't be impractical then. There are two things working for solar panels - economics and the environent. The environment is a no-brainer. It would reduce pollution from power plants as well as cars (if electric cars were used also). Less global warming, less drilling, less polluting, cooler temperatures meaning having to use the AC less, less hurricanes, less odd weather patterns.

    The economics works for solar power also. No reliance on foreign oil or a power company. Don't have to worry about electric bills, heating bills, or whatever. The prices of fossil fuels will only keep going up and up as there is less and less fossil fuels found.

    As far as that large field you were talking about. I don't think we have to do that. It could be done on an individual basis. Each homeowner could put up solar panels on their roof that power the home AND also charge their electric car.
     
  13. Optimus-JD

    Optimus-JD Team Laser Explosion!

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    Fossil Fuels aren't the only source of hydrogen. Through electrolysis it can be extracted from water. Very pure hydrogen. Of course the process requires plenty of electricity, but if that can be obtained from a green source so much the better.
     
  14. funkatron101

    funkatron101 TFW2005 Supporter

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    Where do you live? Have you been to Minnesota? There is very little sun for about 5 months out of the year.
     
  15. Scrapper6

    Scrapper6 Lord of Constructicons

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    The whole point is moot anyway; we as a species will die out in the next two hundred years or so due to collasal asteroids or something colliding with the Earth and then some other species of animal life will rise up from the primordial soup that's left behind. There's no scientific fact to back this statement up; it is merely a statement of a statement intended for humoristic purposes nothing more... All this talk about fuel consumption and the rising economical problems caused by it seriously depresses me... Of course those rich snobs won't suffer at all; save for the fact that all forms of transportation will effectively be halted save your own legs, horses and such...



    To be perfectly serious though; the big oil companies have BIG FARKIN BLINDERS on when it comes to the fact that there just isn't enough replenishable fossile fule sources left to produce their precious money trees, as it were. As such; the greedy fools won't try to do one damn thing about it, and they'll find profits falling considerably as more and more low salary people are forced to stop using their cars because they just can't afford Gas any more... I predict we'll be faced with another Depression era in the next couple of decades, which might break the economical standing of the world and allow the pandemics to sweep in and crush the population... Without proper means of transport there's just no way to medically combat outbreaks... And as we all know Pandemics are mother natures way of keeping our population in check anyway. (Though I woudn't quote me on that.)
     
  16. Chaos Muffin

    Chaos Muffin Misadventure Veteran

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    Yay, Biogenetic Evolution!!

    *injects hawk stem cells
     
  17. Superion33

    Superion33 Banned

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    I posted this post on two different websites - this one and a football one. I was expecting this one would be the more educated of the two as the sci-fi aspect of Transformers meant more science oriented individuals.

    Oddly enough, the opposite is true. The football forum talked a lot more and actually debated on a factual, scientific basis the merits or faults of my argument.
     
  18. Switchblade

    Switchblade Just a raggedy man

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    The problem is that solar panels aren't going to always be absorbing energy at 100% efficiency. Not only are they useless at night, but they don't work as well if the sky is cloudy. What do you do if there's no direct sunlight for a couple of weeks? (it happened here in Iowa a few months back, over two weeks with no sunshine) What if you're like me and you have a lot of tall trees around your house? Am I supposed to cut them down so my solar panels will work? What are people in the Arctic Circle supposed to do when they can have over 24 hours of solid night?

    Solar energy works as a good supplemant to standard electricity, but it's just not a feasible alternative for most people.
     
  19. funkatron101

    funkatron101 TFW2005 Supporter

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    and you have chosen to ignore my points. Don't attack us because we see flaws in your vision.

    Bottom line is, there is no one fix for this. Solar power, as another pointed out earlier is good for supplimental power, but in many areas it is just not economical or practical to be the main energy source.

    If you are going to continue questioning our education level, I suggest you take this conversation somewhere else.
     
  20. Joe Moore

    Joe Moore Is Not Jim... Administrator

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    Make sure to share this with everyone at the football forum.
    [​IMG]
     

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