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Thermodynamics and Alternative Energy

Discussion in 'The Philosopher' started by Justin S., Apr 18, 2005.

  1. Justin S.

    Justin S. Member

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    Hi all. Just realized this forum existed...

    Im currently researching/writing a paper on energy and the infrastructures needed to harness it. The focus is a post oil-peak world in which many changes will be forced upon us.

    Ive spent a great deal of time reading not only proposals and their details, but also the physics (specifically thermodynamics) behind them. Once im finished (in a week or two) id like to share my results with you all. In the meantime id be curious to see what ideas you all have and how interesting you find this topic.

    To me, this is probably the most important issue facing us as it will determine, to a large extent, what will be possible in terms of development in the short and long term.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Kenneth R.

    Kenneth R. Cináed

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    i think oil will run out sometime soon and when it does, we will be forced to find something else. they say we've used half of what there is.
     
  3. Zack

    Zack charting my way to top :)

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    Actually, its much worse than that. Sometime in the last few years or so, we hit what is called Huberts peak. It is when the consumption of oil meets the amount left to use.
    It is true we have used a little more than half of what is left, but the numbers would be drastically larger if we would be going at the same rate we were 50 years or so. The rate of usage is increasing so much, we will depleted this world of oil in less than 100 years. I personally cannot wait for this to happen, because the consumer world will be forced to deal with what has happened, and technology will evolve into element splitting cars that take hydrogen out of water and run off of it. It will also be great because the market won't be able to screw us over and charge 1 million dollars for a car like this. Unless we come up with another way to mess up our environment, it can only get better after oil is gone.
    In the long run though, it doesn't really matter. We have control over what we do to the earth, and can prolong our existance, but we cannot control what the earth can do to us. Read Bill Bryson's "A Brief History of the Universe" to grasp how dangerous it really is. Also, the cosmos are not a friendly place. There are hundreds of thousands of asteroids that could put our earth out of existence that haven't been discovered yet. For instance, in 2004 the asteroid 2004 Cvn came extremely close to us, and went undetected for 1 month after the close encounter. It was so close, if it came 4 hours earlier, we would all be dead. When this asteroid returns in 30 years, it has been calculated that there is a .0000000001 chance of hitting us. Whose to say that there isn't another one out there to end the human race?
    Sorry I went off topic, but some things have to be said. Anyway, I don't know much about Thermodynamics, can't wait to read your paper.
    -Zack
     
  4. Furious B

    Furious B Member

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    I'm not much worried about that because I know if that happens, Bruce Willis will land on that bitch, fuck it up by planting a bomb, and thusly, saving the world.
     
  5. Zack

    Zack charting my way to top :)

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    YESSS! I shit my pants on this one.
    -Zack
     
  6. MasterOLightning

    MasterOLightning Optimator

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    I also can only see positive consequences arising from using all the oil in the world. However, the cars we have will be electric. A hydrogen powered car is not feasable because the process that separates water molecules uses as much energy as burning the gases produces.
     
  7. Kenneth R.

    Kenneth R. Cináed

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    my issue with nuclear powered vehicles is the potential for accidents. car accidents are common, and with that kind of fuel, they would become exponentially more dangerous.
     
  8. Sepsis

    Sepsis Brutal

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    I don't think that we'll run out of oil any time soon (I was reading in Fortune magazine that they found oil in the basement rock and that there may still be as much as 3 trillion barells-worth of oil left), but anyway General Motors has already got a working hydrogen fuel cell car, all they're doing now is getting it to go 300 miles on one 'refueling' or whatever.

    As far as alternative energy, I'm all about it. Can't wait to read your paper sir.
     
  9. LDGuy

    LDGuy The other guy

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    As far as oil is concerned, I don't have a clue. But on the subject of altenative energy, I do remember being told by a guy that Cannabis is an extremely efficient natural fuel (I'm not joking, honestly. He said something like a 10 hectare field burnt could provide enough energy for the whole of california for a day, or something like that). It was on a forum, and the post has probably gone into the abyss, but I'm sure if you looked it up you might find something. Or maybe I'm too gullable for my own good. Who knows. HTH!
     
  10. Mormagil

    Mormagil bring back the corvee

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    :lol:

    Hydrogen fuel cells will be fairly safe, probably no more dangerous than a tank of gasoline. People hear "hydrogen" and they immediately think "OH SHIT THE HINDENBURG!!" which is just silly.
     
  11. Kenneth R.

    Kenneth R. Cináed

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    true enough. i was referring to the process of splitting atoms though. that's not exactly the safest process....
     
  12. MasterOLightning

    MasterOLightning Optimator

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    ^Splitting atoms is not the same as splitting molecules. Still, as I said before the laws of conservation prevent there from being a viable way to get fuel from water.
     
  13. Rekkr

    Rekkr Member

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    What will we use to power our cars when oil runs out?

    Some are attempting to create hydrogen-powered cars. But this poses a problem... (1) 1 gram of hydrogen (110 kJ) has almost three times as much energy as 1 atom of gasoline (42 kJ), but (2) because oil is a denser liquid than hydrogen, 1 gallon of oil has three times the energy 1 gallon of hydrogen has (hydrogen has a density of 0.071 grams per cubic centimeter versus nearly 10 times that for gasoline). As you can see, hydrogen cars are not practical.

    What will we use?
     
  14. LDGuy

    LDGuy The other guy

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    Compressed Hydrogen in containers?
     
  15. Justin S.

    Justin S. Member

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    MasterofLightning is correct about the law of conservation and how that undermines hydrogen (along with many other factors) as a viable economic subsitute for petroleum. Thermodynamics has a nasty habit of revealing most proposals as fantasy.

    I will cover all these issues in my paper, so i dont want to be redundant and type it here.

    I will say that one important point of my thesis is that we have to get rid of the idea of one energy source fueling everything- there simply isnt any other source like petrol. It will be a composite of various systems and types to maximize thier potential and minimize the negatives.

    The main problem with hydrogen is its volumetric density- sure its very powerful per gram, but its the lightest element in the uinverse!
    Compression and liquidation is EXTREMELY expensive and will only be used in mobil applications where cost effectiveness is not a priority or restraint (ie, high profile like NASA, Defense etc.) I dont have my notes in front of me here at school, but i recall you have to supercool hydrogen to around 20 Kelvin (!!) to get it to a liquid... all that energy to compress or cool it is being generated by fossil fuels, so not only do you burn more petroleum (what you are supposedly trying to minimize with hydrogen) your useable energy is also decreased. Double fuck.

    Glad to see interest in this topic. Should have this paper done in a week or so, but in the meantime ill drop some links. Over at the European Fuel Cell Forum, there is a man named Ulf Bossel, who has written some thought provoking articles on Hydrogen and its flaws: http://www.efcf.com/reports/E11.pdf

    In that link he basically covers in detail everything I just said and much more. Good read.
     
  16. Goreripper

    Goreripper Metal as fuck

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    I reckon we harness the power of the solar wind, like Dooku in Attack of the Clones.
     
  17. Zack

    Zack charting my way to top :)

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    If we could, only a few days of it would probably be enough for the whole world to last on for months. Solar wind is so poewerful, I can't really give a true example of its energy. But a few years ago, one particular surge wiped out the entire noartheastern part of the United States (and a lot of Canada). I'm not sure we can though, but if we did....wow.
    -Zack
     
  18. Darth Kur

    Darth Kur Misanthropic Naysayer

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    ^^
    The northeastern part of the United States was never "wiped out" or I wouldn't be here tying this. Actually, if you are referring to the Sept 2000 event there were a few voltage fluctuations but aside from that no major devastation as you suggest. There was a large power outage about 3 or 4 years ago that did cause a very wide spread black out, and this is what you're more than likely speaking of. It was caused by a malfunction created by human error if I remember correctly.

    Here's a link to the 2000 event on Space.com:
    http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/astronomy/aurora_000918.html
     
  19. Zack

    Zack charting my way to top :)

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    Ya I didn't mean wiped out as in death, as in power. But I specifically remember seeing something somewhere about a major blackout. I'll ask more about it on another forum, because there are some real experts there. Thanks for the link, that is a great site.
    -Zack
     
  20. Intoxicator

    Intoxicator Hell On Earth

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    Yeah, there was major power outage a couple years back. I was in Arizona at the time, so I dodged it.

    I knew hydrogen fueled cars seemed too good to be true.
     

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