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Thread: America's economy and oil

  1. #1 America's economy and oil 
    Forum Bachelors Degree Shaderwolf's Avatar
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    Today, America's economy relies heavily on oil. Stocks, jobs, and transportation. If we just stopped using oil, and suddenly switched to some other source of alternate energy, what would happen? I'm writing a paper on the effects of oil and alternate energies on the economy. I believe that if we never used oil in the first place, it would be allot more simple (and cheaper) but, we're so deep in it, wouldn't a sudden change disrupt the economy?
    Please answer in sections, and if possible give solutions.
    section1- jobs
    section2- stocks
    section3- transportation (all products in the united states need to be shipped, so this effects the price of domestic products)
    section4- Anything I've left out?


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  3. #2  
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    Shaderwolf; "if we had never used oil, in the first place", begs the question, what would we have been using? Even with crude at 100.00 per barrel, it remains the cheapest, most efficient and accessible product for all forms of transportation.

    We are not nor could we simply STOP, in total, the use of oil, regardless what price it goes to. IMO, its pretty much at a peak now, if all the *coming on line* (New finds and refining capacity) would get on line.
    Many, honestly believe 25.00 or more is built in *speculation* which public trading will always create in a volatile commodity.

    To your scenario, which would create an international depression, everything would come to a complete standstill. Our world transportation systems alone has products for use 4-6 months already in motion. Virtually every non-perishable item is en-route for use next year. Most Christmas items, for instance, is at the stores location or in a chains stores warehouse. With no oil, all trucks, transportation systems (vital in metropolitan areas), trains, planes and shipping would stop...period. There could be no agriculture and if there were some, the products could not get to the markets. If your writing a paper on the issue, think you know the rest...

    If you give your scenario a ten year window, the exact opposite could be the result. Although I do not agree with the ethanol program, we currently do have a surplus of Corn, to produce the product which is growing fast enough to double or triple the 10% in short order. In three years agriculture could probably manage the 100% figure, but the cost of many food products would go up rather dramatically. Other alternative fuels or energy, already have investors pouring money into there products or business. Most, even those making no money, stocks are up 1-2-300% in the past couple years. The solar power industry, wind farms, battery power and other bio-fuel companies are building new factories and have future orders those factories could never fill. Jobs are plentiful, with an actual shortage in many fields.


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  4. #3  
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    Think of uses of oil beyond energy too


    * Alkenes (olefins) which can be manufactured into plastics or other compounds
    * Lubricants (produces light machine oils, motor oils, and greases, adding viscosity stabilizers as required).
    * Wax, used in the packaging of frozen foods, among others.
    * Sulfur or Sulfuric acid. These are a useful industrial materials. Sulfuric acid is usually prepared as the acid precursor oleum, a byproduct of sulfur removal from fuels.
    * Bulk tar.
    * Asphalt
    * Petroleum coke, used in speciality carbon products or as solid fuel.
    * Paraffin wax
    * Aromatic petrochemicals to be used as precursors in other chemical production

    Other uses in medicine and fertilisers

    http://www.endoil.org/fools_black_gold/uses_of_oil
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  5. #4  
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    Exactly my point! We obviously can't just stop using oil. We are dependant on petrolium for every aspect of our every day life! Obviously, the rad we are taking is not the best. I need to figure out a solution (just good enough to be accepted by my proffessor) to improve the future. A plan. Do you have any Ideas?
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  6. #5  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    If we just stopped using oil, and suddenly switched to some other source of alternate energy, what would happen?

    Do you mean stop using Oil as energy or stop using oil altogether (plastics, and everything else samcdkey mentions) ?

    section4- Anything I've left out?
    As was mentioned, theres the oil we eat.

    'begs the question, what would we have been using?'
    I agree it was the cheapest etc, but now the oil primacy is in part because Oil has been favored, reserached and developped for the past 100 years. At the start of the last century, electic cars were winning races. If electric cars had been favored by industrialists then, a hundred years of R&D might have made electric cars as efficient(if not more) than todays gasoline cars.

    If some freak accident straight out of a sci-fi B-movie would make all petroleum vanish, as jackson33 mention everything would stop, forget about jobs and the stock market, millions if not billions of people would starve and die within a year or so (for lack of food).

    As with cars, agriculture has been based on petroleum for decades, were poisonning ourselves with pesticides and poluting the crap out of water with chemical fertilizers. Basically our agriculture damaging for our environment and ourselves. Pesticides also suppress the immune system of bees, which is not a good idea since bees polinate massive amounts of food producing plants(fruits, etc). Industrial production of monoculture mono-variety also weakens the soil and makes these crops vulnerable to pathogens which creates a need for even more fertilizers and toxic pesticides and herbicides.

    we currently do have a surplus of Corn
    Ethanol is a scam and Ethaol made from Corn is an outrage. It has no way of making a significant difference and reduces the amount of crops for food that would be farmed and raise the price of food its total nonsense(and producing it pollutes and takes water). Corn is so subsidized if they could make toilets out of corncobs and cornsyrup glue they would.

    Jobs are plentiful
    I agree locally produced Renewable energy is a great and promissing sector that will be an engine of economic development.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaderwolf
    Exactly my point! We obviously can't just stop using oil. We are dependant on petrolium for every aspect of our every day life! Obviously, the rad we are taking is not the best. I need to figure out a solution (just good enough to be accepted by my proffessor) to improve the future. A plan. Do you have any Ideas?
    What I described as a "ten year window", induced by some political event would allow a solution. From my point of view, to eliminate dependency on unfriendly Countries. When AND IF, its ever determined we could or will run out of crude oil our open economical system will take over and a solution found. In reality the process is in motion, but with out a threat or 300.00 oil, the public backing is minimal. Long range, you might check out Nanotechnology, which among other things is dreaming of a combustible fuel, which can be reproduced from a number of other inorganic materials.
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    Ice; When looking back at the history of *Refining Crude*, the *Internal Combustible Eugine* and the development of the *Automobile* you will find a coming together of all three about 1885. The first refinery was built in where Poland is now, in 1854. Small and little to no demand. Combustible engines date well back as do some forms of powered travel.
    Then Benz, developed an engine (later used in his own auto) and others used the ideas for other cars. The 1st in the US was built by Mr. Olds...

    Back then we were not concerned with Global Warming, where crude came from or the host of issues we are now concerned with. Keep in mind Crude, virtually worthless until the late 1930's (1-2.00 per barrel tops) the combination could have never been trumped by solar, wind or any of todays ideas.

    I agree on the Ethanol Issue, for economic reasons. Food cost are up and transporting this product to where its added to gas products is very high, with no pipe lines suited for the purpose. However, since the worlds current refining capacity is below actual usage its a little effort to keep prices stable. I also think we could find a bio-fuel (sugar beets or the new idea Trees) where a supply could easily be maintained w/o disruption in food supplies.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackson33
    Ice; When looking back at the history of *Refining Crude*, the *Internal Combustible Eugine* and the development of the *Automobile* you will find a coming together of all three about 1885. The first refinery was built in where Poland is now, in 1854. Small and little to no demand. Combustible engines date well back as do some forms of powered travel.
    Then Benz, developed an engine (later used in his own auto) and others used the ideas for other cars. The 1st in the US was built by Mr. Olds...

    Back then we were not concerned with Global Warming, where crude came from or the host of issues we are now concerned with. Keep in mind Crude, virtually worthless until the late 1930's (1-2.00 per barrel tops) the combination could have never been trumped by solar, wind or any of todays ideas.

    I agree on the Ethanol Issue, for economic reasons. Food cost are up and transporting this product to where its added to gas products is very high, with no pipe lines suited for the purpose. However, since the worlds current refining capacity is below actual usage its a little effort to keep prices stable. I also think we could find a bio-fuel (sugar beets or the new idea Trees) where a supply could easily be maintained w/o disruption in food supplies.
    I agree with both top paragraphs, good points btw, but for paragraph 3, I still think Ethanol is a really bad idea and a total decoy and waste of research, focus, energy and funds.
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    Ethanol; Remembering were talking energy to primarily drive the world transportation systems, cars, trucks, rail, air, shipping etc...Also, I am not bringing GW or any need to reduce carbon based products. Simply the economics...

    Corn, IMO was not the correct way to go. Frankly, except for a few politicians in Washington or the corn belt and a few farmers, there seems to be little support.

    Saw a report on CNBC, Monday; In California, they are well into a project to use Trees to produce fuel. Trees are 50% carbon, with stored carbons similar to oil or coal. The lumber industry has long produced more forestry than it can use and there is a surplus of planted acreage. This MAY be the route to go, until Nanotech or some technology comes into play which could even come close to the worlds needs. This currently around 80 Million Barrels PER DAY worldwide, fueling untold numbers of vehicles. Battery (electrical) transportation, is a reality and even if improved, there is no infrastructure to support a system or is it a convenient means. Many warehouse operations, have spent millions to support internal fork lift operations. Aside from the higher cost of the lifts, they have an elaborate recharging requiring longer times to recharge than can use. This means buying twice the lifts for larger operations.
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  11. #10  
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    Electricity does require investments and would take time to develop but imo its worth it because you have a fighting chance to have the energy produced locally in a renewable manner or in many ways(more competition in the means of producing it).

    If you look at the TGV (european high speed train) and the Bullettrain from japan, they beat the living crap out of petrol guzzling trains and are electric and dont need to recharge. Tramways in several european cities also offer an alternative to buses without a need to recharge(that I know of).

    An Apollo like EV-infrastructure project could make considerable advances in electric transportation within a decade, but would require political power and the old poluting industries have too much money and influence to see something like that take shape, they most likely will stall for time while semi-endorsing solutions that require a supplier-distribution infrastructure so they can corner the market and become the providers of alternative X instead of having a situation where individuals, farmers, and corporations might get a change to become self sufficient and produce the energy thus liberating their captive market addicted to their oil or distribution services.


    Speaking of Fork Lifts, have you seen small vehicles with (compressed) air engines? Recharge time is quick and done with electricity but it uses compression of air to store the energy. (edit: I should say recharge time is quick when filled with air that has already been compressed, the onboard compression unit is small and takes time if you dont have access to a compressor)
    you have to check this out

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dq8aZVLpf-c

    (hum, I think its worth putting up in a seperate topic)
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    I certainly can't argue the efficiency of *High Speed Trains*, or those that operate on overhead electrical systems. In the US we had street cars in every metropolitan area for years, but buses became the preferred mode during the cheap oil periods. Am Track, is our National Rail Passenger system and could carry hundreds of people, more economically than the Autos or Bus Systems. Last I heard Am Track was running on 5-10% occupancy and Greyhound was bought up for pennies on the dollar by Trailways Bus. Haven't seen one in years.

    Yes, that you tube vehicle, was at Fox News a couple weeks ago. Forget the price, if mentioned, but may be a problem.

    We can go round and round on much of this, however people (especially in the US) are going to go with the most convenient mode of transportation. Then there is a safety problem, where cars are using the same road 40 ton trucks are traveling along with them. They want fast heavy vehicles. They will pay extra for this safety.
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    The prices mentioned on the website's FAQ

    http://www.theaircar.com/

    are reasonable (more so if the cost of Oil goes up) but we cant be totally sure yet the actual price will be close to the predicted price.

    I'm sure a lot of people wont want such a car instead of their safer main battle tank armored vehicle :wink: , but the idea is for people to have a choice.
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    I don't see air cars going very far per fueling. Electric went out of style mostly because they couldn't get a far enough range between chargings. Hydrogen probably won't ever happen because it's too hard to build a good fuel cell that doesn't require a lot of platinum to work (and who can afford that?).

    Part of the problem is that even a lot of our power grid is run off of oil. We could switch to coal, but only if we can keep pollution down.
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    Battery powered vehicles, will improve with technology. Smaller systems with greater storage capabilities. Hybrid autos, remember use alternative power to there limits (speed/distance) then turn to regular gasoline or diesel. As the technology improves, power packs are easy to change giving future hybrids a good shot for being the mode used during some form of transition...

    Power grids, assuming electrical power we use and in the US. Its been a little while since I researched the figures; 55% Coal, 20% Natural Gas, 18%-20% Nuclear and less than 3% of the power plants generate from fuel oils. The remainder being from non-fossil fuel or alternatives, which include Wind, Solar, Tidal, bio-fuels and geothermal. GT has really been growing in California with a State/Federal program has spent millions. Calpine Electric, California largest provider of electricity is also building facilities to use geothermal energy. They had been 100% Gas generated,
    had filed bankruptcy and are said will come out of that next month.

    Power grids are another issue, with potential problems beyond that fuel cost or source, concerning distribution to where needed. Improvements are underway, but there progress seems to be in question.
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    I agree it was the cheapest etc, but now the oil primacy is in part because Oil has been favored, reserached and developped for the past 100 years. At the start of the last century, electic cars were winning races. If electric cars had been favored by industrialists then, a hundred years of R&D might have made electric cars as efficient(if not more) than todays gasoline cars.

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  17. #16 Re: Hi... 
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    Quote Originally Posted by simon398
    I agree it was the cheapest etc, but now the oil primacy is in part because Oil has been favored, reserached and developped for the past 100 years. At the start of the last century, electic cars were winning races. If electric cars had been favored by industrialists then, a hundred years of R&D might have made electric cars as efficient(if not more) than todays gasoline cars.

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    Research on alternative engines have not ceased. In the mid-late 1800's there were many different ideas some of which are still practical for other than mass transportation. NYC is expected to be totally electric (battery) in the near future and I suppose in other metropolitan areas these ideas are in motion. Of the hundreds (some say thousands) of Auto and other transportation vehicle companies that form and failed (in the US or the world) have tried various forms of power or the fuel for that power.

    Today however, most all economies are based on dependable means to transport. Getting to work, the store to moving raw products to where needed and then the products to markets. Many are not critical, but those that are depend on the efficiency of oil based fuels (gasoline/petrol/diesel) where long distances can be covered. Any disruption in food, fuel, medical and other items could be a cause for mass death, disease or one of many social problems.
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  18. #17  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    Come on

    The game is rigged in favor of Oil because it makes people dependant of and under the Control of Big Oil

    For ages now Big Oil has been buying pattents to use as litigation tools to prevent the arrival of the most promissing technologies and buying small companies only to destroy them.

    A consotium of dinosaurs(companies profiting from the combution engine, oil, tires) bribed politicians to privatize a cities public transport and then scrapped it.

    GM bought the pattent of the batteries they were using in the EV1(and that Toyota was buying to put in the Rav-EV I think) and sold it to Texaco (before Texaco was bought by Chevron). GM has gone on a PR campaign to parade various excuses why they couldnt sell the EVs but its baloney. If its so not possible they should have made the pattent public open source instead of selling it to Texaco.

    Our infrastructure is Oil based but could easily be Electric based. Make a law that voids any pattent older that 4 years old and thats retroactive for all unused pattents, the EV1 batteries and others the Oil corporations have been sitting on will be available and there will be an explosion of EVs on the road. And the more EVs there are the more there will be EV infrastructure and options.

    The TGV is better and much much faster than the old combustion polution cloud spewing trains in North America and they are electric!

    You could have electic trains, electric tramways, and with a little ingenuity electric interstate highways where trucks could run on the highway's electricity and recharge their batteries in transit then the truck would use the batteries to drive out of the highway.
    University students made an electric snowmobile that compared favourably to a factory made typical combustion engine snowmobile, it even beat the gas snowmobile on acceleration on flat terrain.

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    Electric vehicle are available today. Hybrids vehicles, also involve battery power and are efficient, because they can easily convert to fuel power. Most all of todays 'fork lifts' in all the thousands of warehouses, use electric power. Delivery truck in metropolitan areas use electric or some alternative fuel. Street Cars were electric, well before bus or cabs were around and we have electric trains in the US, as well.

    GM is knee deep in 'electric power' (battery) and Ford is testing an infrastructure for alternative power replenishment from Chicago to LA.
    Stories of patten buy outs have been going on for at least 80 years, most involving major auto manufacturers or oil companies.

    Nothing is going to happen overnight or in a decade, to change the need for oil based products in our lives. Whether your coming from Capitalism or from the Global Warming issues, things are looking pretty good, for world 6+ billion people, who will benefit.

    I'll make your day; The latest two confirmations of undeveloped oil reserves alone, are more than we as a world society has ever used....
    Its going to be around and used, best get used to it and the people who made it what it is to our standards of living and those around the world...
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  20. #19  
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    hey guys, check this out

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYsRl9Mh6yE


    (Its about using Solar power and EVs)
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  21. #20  
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackson33
    I'll make your day; The latest two confirmations of undeveloped oil reserves alone, are more than we as a world society has ever used...
    Source please.
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  22. #21  
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    Jackson33, are you sure those finds can be extracted at reasonable profit? For example we have oil-sands in Canada which though friggin enormous are just too expensive to get out of the ground and process for consumption. "Too expensive" means even with today's oil prices, alternative fuel is looking competitive.
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  23. #22  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Jackson33, are you sure those finds can be extracted at reasonable profit? For example we have oil-sands in Canada which though friggin enormous are just too expensive to get out of the ground and process for consumption. "Too expensive" means even with today's oil prices, alternative fuel is looking competitive.
    Your oil sands are being extracted and processed (at tremendous environmental cost). Apparently the price is right. A lot of it is shipped to the Suncor refinery here in Denver.

    The recent huge discovery Jackson is referring to might the Brazilian offshore one, which is not fully proven but appears to be gigantic. It will take 10 years to come on line and really affect the market.
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  24. #23  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    The recent huge discovery Jackson is referring to might the Brazilian offshore one, which is not fully proven but appears to be gigantic. It will take 10 years to come on line and really affect the market.
    That would be a few orders of magnitude less than Jackson's claim that the latest two confirmations of undeveloped oil reserves alone, are more than we as a world society has ever used....

    The Brasilian discovery is estimated to be about 8 billion barrels. This is certainly big, but it is still only 10% of the largest field in Saudi Arabia. Or, for another comparison, it represents about ten years production from the UK sector of the North Sea.

    The only things that match Jackson's claim in magnitude are oil sands (which we have known of for many decades) and clathrates (which we have known of for a few decades).
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  25. #24  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    Your oil sands are being extracted and processed (at tremendous environmental cost). Apparently the price is right.
    I checked and you're correct. We stopped propping it up with tax incentives last year.
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    Most of my information on oil reserves, does come from 'Investment Groups', who tend to exaggerate potentials looking for investors. The most recent additions were in the Bakken Field Formations, North Dakota, Wyoming and Canada, with a modest addition to a very large total, which has been known of for some time. This will be all sweet crude and easy to refine, with existing refinery capacity in the US.

    The technologies involved in extracting crude however, are where large reserves are or are thought to exist, can now be explored and crude extracted. Cross drilling, angles are allowing the Chinese to drill in the Florida straights, from Cuba and many other places. Deep Sea drilling as in Jack II, a Chevron Project or the Brazil Projects and others off the Chinese Coast or the Caspian Sea project (50B). Even the current Alaska operation, will soon be pumping from where they currently exist into field not allowed to drill from. Estimates on recoverable reserves do run a very large range, with the total Bekken Formation running to a trillion or so and the new deep sea technology potentials well above that. Shale or oil sands which also are known in Canada, US (Utah/Colorado and Wyoming) and China (large reserves) with many other smaller deposits are becoming more practical, again by technology. Last I heard, with all the start up cost involved, the Canadians expect (think this year or next) to be self sufficient on that one source, still allowing large exports to not only the US, but China as well. The cost per Canadian Barrel of this type are not over 30.00 per, at least a year or so ago....I fail to see how cleaning sand or shale of oil, redepositing then clean, in other places is environmentally harmful. (Related item, would be expectations North of the Arctic Circle)

    My point to Ice and remains a point; Oil based fuels are here to stay and for some time, easily 100 years and possibly a couple hundred more. If you get into 'ebionics' or the replenishments of deposits (opposed to fossilized) your talking much greater time periods.

    IMO; The US Government is becoming concerned with DEPENDENCY, on otherwise unfriendly Nations to supply our or the industrialized Nations needs. Then you have the realization, that the World is developing and more and more, of the more and more people, will want a share of the prosperity pie, energy can produce. Then saying nothing, about the massive transportation infrastructure to maintain this supply and under constant strain. Alternative forms of energy, where local reliable sources can be drawn from, makes sense to the constant struggle to simply keep up with demands.
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    The reason I perfer EVs powered by solar panels, is that it creates less concentrated polution when next to cars(when I walk next to a busy street or stuck in traffic it smells disgusting), it creates less GHG emisions, it requires less maintenance(few moving parts, no frequent oil and filter change, and last but not least it reduces the dependancy on Oil. (and oil vapors are toxic)

    So even if there's enough oil to create a venusian atmosphere where metal melts, Id still like an electric car instead of an internal combustion engine.
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    I fail to see how cleaning sand or shale of oil, redepositing then clean, in other places is environmentally harmful.
    The environmental damage involves the removal of forest and wetland and replacing it with tailing ponds. The Alberta Dept. of Employment and Industry estimates there are 50 km2 of toxic tailings ponds where there used to be forest and wetlands.

    The extraction process requires very large quantities of water that is removed from the Athabasca River, and about 10% of it is treated and returned there. The rest goes down hole, or into the tailing ponds.

    That is the direct environmental problem. The indirect problem is that the extraction method involves pumping steam into the formation and the steam is generated using natural gas. A barrel of oil produced in that environment results in three times as much CO2 emitted to the atmosphere as in conventional production.

    All the oil companies, and the govt. of Alberta are talking about, planning, designing better systems, but the oil production will not stop and wait.
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    Ice; You know oxygen is toxic to plant life and you know to much or to little oxygen to our biological systems would be fatal. As a species we exist only because conditions changed over time, with the correct time in the evolutionary process for the expansions we now enjoy. Put another way, before mankind became a reasoning creature, we could well have ceased existence if plant life alone had not thrived. I fear more our attitude, that we can alter or change conditions we live in, even if possible and could be done, that those changes could or would alter that natural cycle.

    Nature has shown us through a number of means, a natural action/reaction to what is here today or at most any point in at least the past 240 million years. If you think about it, its done a pretty good job, with mankind's increases from near a billion people to our current 6.5 billion in a little over 150 years. All those cars, all that farming, transport vehicles, mining and all we go through to keep warm or entertain ourselves. Yet, we have not changed weather patterns, caused massive extermination of ourselves or altered the earths action/reactions in any measurable way.

    Venus, has 95+% CO2, because there is nothing to counter the planets natural activity, no plant life. There are scientist, although not many, that think Venus would make a good candidate for humans to colonize. All that CO2 does offer plenty of Oxygen (2 parts per) and Carbon for plants and some ligament reason for exploring the idea.

    As for smell; We all have our desired reactions. I smoke, have no sense of it smelling bad, but many other do. I used to spend many hours in Truck Stop Parking Lots, with hundreds of diesel engines running, with out any irritation, yet many others disliked that oder.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    I fail to see how cleaning sand or shale of oil, redepositing then clean, in other places is environmentally harmful.
    The environmental damage involves the removal of forest and wetland and replacing it with tailing ponds. The Alberta Dept. of Employment and Industry estimates there are 50 km2 of toxic tailings ponds where there used to be forest and wetlands.

    The extraction process requires very large quantities of water that is removed from the Athabasca River, and about 10% of it is treated and returned there. The rest goes down hole, or into the tailing ponds.

    That is the direct environmental problem. The indirect problem is that the extraction method involves pumping steam into the formation and the steam is generated using natural gas. A barrel of oil produced in that environment results in three times as much CO2 emitted to the atmosphere as in conventional production.

    All the oil companies, and the govt. of Alberta are talking about, planning, designing better systems, but the oil production will not stop and wait.
    Well you got me there; I didn't realize they were digging up forest and or wet lands to get to the sand. I was aware of the water usage & energy problems. Is it possible as as they move along the area involved could be better off down the road. In Arizona, they have mined copper for 80+ years, especially south of Tuscon, Bisbee and the Mountains NE of Phoenix. What they in the end do is created new hills or vast flat lands, which are now used for other purposes. In short, when the projects are completed and extraction completed, wouldn't the scenic values return to a little cleaner area. The wet lands and trees are coming back rather strong around Mt. St. Helens and where talking hundreds of square miles, in this case.
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    What they in the end do is created new hills or vast flat lands, which are now used for other purposes.
    Did the mining companies do this of their own volition, or were they made to do it by government?
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    The oil sands are being exploited, and are horrible for the environment. However, his first post that they are too expensive to mine wasn't so far off, as the Athabasca oil sands are the only ones feasable to mine, and only 3 mines are in operation because of the cost. Canada has the world's second largest oil reserves in those sands, but very little of it is worth mining.

    The Alberta government has been an unfortunate conservative bastion in Canada for too many years, and their influence on federal politics is the primary reason for Canada pulling out of Kyoto.
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    The more recent projects use steam injection instead of mining. The Wiki article is quite good on the economics and the environmental issues. The engineering firm I work for is doing oil sands projects with three of the oil companies listed in the article. I know, I should just shoot myself.

    Engineering - it's the second oldest profession.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athabasca_Tar_Sands
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  34. #33  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    What they in the end do is created new hills or vast flat lands, which are now used for other purposes.
    Did the mining companies do this of their own volition, or were they made to do it by government?
    Most all the older mines, have done whatever has been done, on there own. New mines, why there are none, are regulated by both EPA and State Laws, which makes mining simply too costly...

    Bisbee 'Queen Mine' started in 1877, closed in 1976 and Green Valley 'Sierrita Mine' (one of worlds largest man made open pits) also started in late 1870's and virtually closed today, both placed there slag, in formations away from the pits, probably just to get it out of there way. Most others, I suppose for the same reason. These two mentioned mines, today are tourist spots, with tours and are quite scenic. Not to mislead you, of what copper is mined in the US, Arizona still is number one in that production and many of the mines run very high levels of copper ore per ton, ranging up to 75%, with larger amounts of by products.

    The 'wiki' account of Tar Sands, IMO doesn't paint quite as dismal picture of environmental effects, at least compared to my imagined account of your post. If read correctly, they inferred most lands would naturally revert back to what was, when operations close. (possibly from new systems, you mentioned).
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackson33
    Battery powered vehicles, will improve with technology. Smaller systems with greater storage capabilities. Hybrid autos, remember use alternative power to there limits (speed/distance) then turn to regular gasoline or diesel. As the technology improves, power packs are easy to change giving future hybrids a good shot for being the mode used during some form of transition...

    I totally agree with you on hybrids. The chief advantage here is that a gasoline powered hybrid can easily be retro-fitted with some other kind of engine later on, as long as it fits in the same space.

    So really, hybrids are the best hedge technology to develop, because we'll be glad we made them no matter what direction the alternative fuel dream ends up taking.

    Power grids, assuming electrical power we use and in the US. Its been a little while since I researched the figures; 55% Coal, 20% Natural Gas, 18%-20% Nuclear and less than 3% of the power plants generate from fuel oils. The remainder being from non-fossil fuel or alternatives, which include Wind, Solar, Tidal, bio-fuels and geothermal. GT has really been growing in California with a State/Federal program has spent millions. Calpine Electric, California largest provider of electricity is also building facilities to use geothermal energy. They had been 100% Gas generated,
    had filed bankruptcy and are said will come out of that next month.

    Power grids are another issue, with potential problems beyond that fuel cost or source, concerning distribution to where needed. Improvements are underway, but there progress seems to be in question.
    Yeah, using fossile fuels for the power grid is really sad. I see the main advantage being that it's more reliable than solar or wind in terms of being able to decide when you want to generate it, and control how much.

    A power grid's main problem is that any energy that isn't consumed within a few seconds of being generated is just plain lost.
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  36. #35  
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    Hybrid autos, remember use alternative power to there limits (speed/distance) then turn to regular gasoline
    The devil is in the details, the Prius for example is not made to be autonomous on battery power alone, so it wastes much of the electrical potential. Plug-in Hybrids that can use the electric power and nothing else for at least a commute before the combustions starts and that can be pluged-in overnight are great, since you can make your commute without using a single drop of oil, but some hybrids are more for show.
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    Ice; I know there not perfect, but its a start...I understand most would take 10 years to pay for the added cost, but it is now a status symbol.

    kojax; I recently saw something on that transmission loss, which is quite high. Think the purpose of local grids and then to the Nationals is a constant supply. That supply does reduce generation needs, somewhat...

    Got me to wondering about a perpetual supply though, almost back wards to anything ever mentioned that I know of, but similar to what I have long though would be more efficient. DC into a battery supply for use on demand, opposed to that continuous supply. If some non charged material (substance), when stationary, material was in the tube type conduit, but charged with motion or flow, began this motion by attempted use (which in practical use would be continuous) then the power could have just as natural low resistance, but from the power need. The silver, copper or aluminum (think resistance profile) transfer and/or loss, minimized.
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  38. #37  
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    they inferred most lands would naturally revert back to what was,
    I read that boreal land destroyed by mining would become buffalo pasture. As for the produced water from SAG projects, this will continue to go into tailing ponds that have replaced forests. Presumably this will continue until the oil is exhausted.

    One brighter note, there does seem to be a government initiative underway to develop a Canada-wide CO2 sequestration system. Window dressing perhaps, we'll see.

    I have been looking for an Alberta Dept. of Employment, Immigration and Industry report that I read some time ago that gave more details than Wiki, but so far haven't found it again.
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo
    Hybrid autos, remember use alternative power to there limits (speed/distance) then turn to regular gasoline
    The devil is in the details, the Prius for example is not made to be autonomous on battery power alone, so it wastes much of the electrical potential. Plug-in Hybrids that can use the electric power and nothing else for at least a commute before the combustions starts and that can be pluged-in overnight are great, since you can make your commute without using a single drop of oil, but some hybrids are more for show.
    Yeah, parallel hybrids probably won't help us much. There's two kinds: serial and parallel.

    Prius is a parallel hybrid, which means it has a really complicated axle designed to let the gasoline engine serve both as a generator and a means of moving the car forward. Those are ok, but I don't think they'll be easy to retrofit later, if a better engine technology emerges.


    Serial hybrids use the gasoline engine portion only to generate electricity, and all moving of the car is done exclusively by electric motors. My thinking is that, if they make the gasoline engine easy enough to remove and replace, then you could replace it later on, if a better, more efficient technology emerges.

    An example of a serial hybrid, and what I'm talking about can be found here: http://www.ecoworld.com/blog/2007/03...to-revolution/
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