Thursday, October 06, 2005

Changing fuels.

Calculations show there is abundant fossil fuel for the world for many decades or even longer. Calculations also show that the world will run out of fossil fuel and that fossil fuel supplies will become both more difficult to recover and much more expensive to use. In addition, we are damaging our environment by the massive use of these fossil fuels. It's time to change fuels.

There are abundant, even a plethora, of options for alternative fuels. The Governor of Florida recently stated approval for returning to building and using nuclear power plants to generate electricity. He noted that nuclear power generation is the safest, cheapest, most environmentally friendly method of producing electricity known (other than natural hydro-electric, or wind, or solar, or.....). For the massive generation of electricity, nuclear power is, indeed a safe method. Three Mile Island showed the actual safety of these light water plants rather than the danger. A bunch of bozo's doing everything possible wrong still couldn't contaminate the State Capital. Pretty good safety drill.

Electric power generation for homes aside, what about the electric power generation for vehicles? Using hydrogen is nice but it takes electric power to create the hydrogen in the first place. Why the secondary method with all the attendant losses? Iinstead of working on methods to use hydrogen why not work on methods to use electricity directly. Batteries have become smaller, last longer, and have more storage capacity than ever before. Break throughs occur at least weekly on battery storage and usefulness. It seems that would be a much better way to go than to use the electricity to generate hydrogen and lose so much of it on the way.

Then there's home heating methods. Wood stoves are certainly not the answer (no matter that I'm using one) in that they pollute more than you'd believe. Our wood stove smokes and smokes and smokes. I can just imagine every other home in the area smoking away on a cold morning. Talk about pollution! But, wood aside, there are many methods of storing heat and generating heat that avoids using fuel oil or natural gas. All right, that's got me. Natural gas is one of the fossil fuels I do approve of to some extent. There is an abundance of natural gas in our world and the gas only damages our environment and the world when released. Burning natural gas improves it. On the north slope of Alaska, the oil producers are using many large jet engines to pump the abundant natural gas back into the earth to avoid the pollution created if they just let it into the atmosphere. We could use that natural gas either as the gas or as a methane additive to the fossil fuel we are using so prolifically. Why are we paying to pump it back into the earth? Also, under the Escalante Wilderness is cubic miles of natural gas. Now, it can't be gotten because of Wilderness rules. It isn't difficult to get natural gas out of the ground and any damage to the area would be offset by the lives saved with abundant natural gas for heating. Since when does a rock come ahead of a human?

Other methods of producing electric power include wind (kills birds), solar (have to polish them mirrors, costly), tide (but who has an ocean nearby?), and zero-point energy (yeah, sure, "free" energy) among many potential methods.

The point is that there are many methods and opportunities for producing energy to heat/cool homes, generate electricity, motivate our vehicles, and more but we keep moving in "traditional" directions. We don't look carefully or deeply at electric for the vehicles because we want hydrogen to "burn" in our engines so they can rotate and go up and down and "putt putt" as we are used to hearing. Also, we want to have a "0 to 60" single digit second statistic for bragging rights. Time to grow up. As Tom Wolfe said "Look Homeward, Angel" and it's time to look at what we have and make it work.

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