America loves Sporks!
Today is the First day of Tomorrow
I hope they have a good plumber…
Thats killer, You know, we are so far beyond ‘polar Vortex’, we are now ‘Bomb Cyclone’ .
who comes up with these weather terms ? Maybe Paul Giamatti is hiding under a table at USC thinking of new weather terms. Way better than ‘superstorm Sandy’ .
Hope the train is on time.
Without Global Warming, we would have all been dead from the Coming Ice age. Its the Yin and Yang of “The Quickening” lol
If you believe that, I have some Quickening Sand to sell you… and an Hour Glass as well so that you can measure whether the government trains are running on time.
When was that little Ice Age? 1400’s or so? I know that it was linked to a Maunder Minimum (large decrease in solar flares and sunspots). I suspect we are looking at that likelihood – not global warming. Besides global warming would increase growing seasons and produce more food and better quality for the world’s population – and we can’t have that.
Don’t forget Acid Rain (which was supposed to kill all the trees)
Ethanol subsidies kill more trees than Acid Rain.
Turn on, tunein to Acid Rock and Purple Rain.
I think ethanol has traditionally been made from corn. So we rob the world of corn crops to make inefficient fuel additives for the sake of “cleaner air”.
Robert Dole and ADM are the reason we tried using corn. The prototype country (Brazil) uses sugar cane, but pretty much any plant you can make booze from will work.
Michigan has a huge crop of sugar beets – so many in 2014 that the Michigan sugar factories asked farmers not to harvest them
According to this UK study, sugar beets are around 7x the energy output at the sugar factory compared to the fertilizer energy inputs. Note that the conversion to ethanol and transportation to the end user are not in the estimate.
One study I read a long time ago says ethanol from corn is around break-even under ideal conditions.
That is part of the issue. The bigger part is that as food is diverted away from the people that need it, more forests, including rain forests are burned down and the huge trees and jungle that remove tons of carbon dioxide from the air are replaced with 6 foot high corn stalks that grow for a few months of the year and remove very little carbon dioxide in comparison.
I think ethanol equivalence is something like 1.5 gals of Ethanol is equivalent to 1.0 gals of gasoline in terms of stored energy. Ethanol from corn was slightly positive on the energy balance: energy used to produce vs. energy as a fuel.
Fascinating stuff. Where do we come up with these things? 🙂
briand75 , I think we get it mainly from the Iowa caucus that is the first for not just one of the major political parties but both of them. It is designed to get money flowing from the other 49 states into Iowa.
You made some good points about the energy stored in ethanol verses the energy to produce it. I made some about how it adds carbon to the atmosphere.
Another thing it does is ruin gasoline engines used in boats.
Looking only at the energy of ethanol, I suspect it would be more efficient to chop down trees and burn the wood to create steam to generate electricity than to create energy from ethanol. The electricity generated this way would free up oil and natural gas for the transportation industry. I haven’t done the math, but neither have the politicians.
10% ethanol gets poorer mileage than straight gasoline, maybe even to the point it has a negative affect. QuikTrip is offering non-ethanol gasoline, but it was about $2.60 a gallon.
Now that we are fracking natural gas, burning the gas has 1/2 the carbon of burning coal or gasoline, and burning it centrally means the CO2 can be sequestrated easily.
Bob Brinker used to tout compressed natural gas because existing cars can be converted, but that doesn’t solve the need for CO2 capture.
The reason behind the Dominion takeover of SCANA (South Carolina Gas and Electric) is motivated by extending the natural gas pipeline under construction into South Carolina.
Because the number of heating degree days in the South is relatively low, using natural gas for heat is relatively rare, but that might start to change.
The low and stable price of natural gas has changed the economics. In the south, it still may not be worth running gas lines very far from the existing pipeline that runs from Houston to Boston. Compressed gas in tanks is more expensive per unit of energy but the south does not require much for heating.
Another factor coming on line is the new two-stage heat pump. It is efficient at heating homes when the outdoor temps are below zero F. New computer controls keep it running in an optimized manner. It requires more moving parts than the single stage units and has not gone into production yet… still a toy in the lab.
The constraint on usage of natural gas for heating has been lack of storage capacity. In Derby, CT, my bed was about 100 feet from a 14” natural gas pipeline that feeds New England and runs during the entire summer just to replenish the underground storage for winter. Diversifying the supply sources will take pressure off the storage issue. Since electricity transmission losses are not large, it makes sense to generate electricity close to the gas fields rather than the consumer, but regulations and tariffs can distort the economic forces.
The natural gas and electricity generation industries have long been fascinating to me and I have worked in both. I don’t know how they were designed in the first part of the last century but the gas pipelines have long pumped at maximum capacity 24/7 365. The prices in the summer are much lower than in the winter and some utilities have a business model of buying all the gas they need in the summer so they do not have to pay winter prices or worry about shortages during cold spells. The City of Philadelphia is an example of that. Smaller utilities tend to lack storage capabilities…. and most of the electricity generation can switch to more expensive oil in the even of a natural gas shortage.
On of the fascinating things about Japan is that they have been doing the opposite of what we do here and in Europe.. and the opposite of what you suggest. Honda has long sold a slightly modified car engine that runs on natural gas and is stationary. It is used to generate electricity for a single home and its “radiator” is the radiator system of the home so that the natural gas supplies both heat and electricity. For that to work economically, it needs to run whenever heat is required and supply surplus electricity to the grid. In the US and EU the grid legally will not accept surplus electricity unless it is from solar or wind, so it does not work here due to regulation.
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