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Thread: Leprechauns need fuel too.

  1. #1 Leprechauns need fuel too. 
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    I would be interested to hear opinions on what people think would be a suitable energy source(s) for Ireland in the near future. Some points to consider before contributing:

    We are an island nation on the edge of the Atlantic, at the end of the Russian Oil/Gas supply line.

    There is considerable public animosity towards nuclear (fission at any rate) energy dating back several decades.

    Our infrastructure (as with most countries) is largely based on distributing oil and gas only.

    A single company in the state controls the entire electricity distribution network, making it difficult for new companies to penetrate the market.

    There is some work being done in relation to wind and wave energy but efforts are still largely in their infancy.

    I would like a more rounded debate than typically occurs, i.e. not just which energy source is the best but also the implications for transport, storage and long-term viability. I am of the opinion that until the advent of commercially successful nuclear fusion plants the best bet for Ireland would be a combination of wind and wave energy backed up by imported nuclear energy. (Yes, I am aware of the hypocrisy of buying foreign nuclear energy when we won't build a plant in our country, but such is the calibre of our elected leaders).

    Please leave your thoughts as I am eager to hear the opinions of people who are doubtlessly more well informed than the average Joe.


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  3. #2 infinate resource 
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    i would strongly recommend an infinate resource because the prices will rise on sources that might fail us such as wind and sun they may be here and renewable but not infinate they could be disturbed and useless the sun may well be blocked by clouds for 100 years or so. and the wind is not going to blow all the time... consider this and the fact im just now turning 13.


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    In a recent magazine I read, can't recall the name or the article, it said something about new inventions to use natural resources in order to create energy. One of these was something that could gain energy by being at the bottom of the sea floor. Can't recall what the energy came from though. Another floating invention used wave action to produce energy.
    "The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt" - Bertrand Russell
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    Ireland has decent wind and tide potential. My (totally uninformed) sense regarding Irish public acceptance of conspicuous projects like wind farms and dikes, is they aren't believed to be hurting nature. Ireland just doesn't have a lot of virgin forest and pristine marine habitat to protect.

    The power of tidal current far exceeds the power of wind. Compare the density of water to the density of air, it's obvious. Currents are especially brisk and forceful around Ireland too. Have you seen the tidal action at the Shannon estuary? Imagine diking that with turbines.

    Waves seem significant to a human standing on the beach, but they are superficial - beneath the waves the ocean moves too. Waves are fickle as the wind, and require disproportionate investments of machinery to harness.

    All intermittent power sources have this (hugely under-appreciated) problem that the energy must be stored up to maintain continuous 24/7 generation. Chemical batteries are out of the question. What we usually do, is pump water uphill when there is power. Then the actual (consumer end) generator is a hydro turbine running off a reservoir. If you're depending on wind, that reservoir has got to be enormous because whole seasons may be supplying less than demand. Tide however goes like clockwork regardless of weather, so the reservoir may be an afterthought or even integral in the case of multiple tidal "barrages".

    Intermittent (surplus) power can be used by smelters and such but surely business prefers regular power like everybody else.

    I'd vote for tide over wind and wave if I could.

    Ireland can expect to see a great increase in tanker traffic within the next ...um, 20 years. That's European shipping that will take the Northwest Passage instead of Panama. The Passage has been open several summers now and though only cruise ships have tried this new route, industry is sure to catch on if that saves fuel cost/shipping time.

    The Beaufort Sea (now largely ice-free) does contain oil - how much is anyone's guess at this point. Crude bound for European consumption would naturally stop at Ireland if there was a terminal and refineries. I think the economic boost from such a super-terminal would make people blithe to burning gas for domestic electricity.
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    A reliance on Russia is a worry for all of Europe, so this debate is going on in many country's at the moment. Britain is going for a combination of wind and nuclear power, but if the Irish are generally opposed to nuclear power, wind farms alone are too unreliable and solar power is......well...... so it does look as if tidal power would be the most likely option along with carbon capture coal power stations.

    The two alternative that i can see are either a collective European effort to generate electricity from the Sahara though solar power, or Ireland with its large amount of land and small population, grows and exports large amounts of bio-diesel and import much of your electricity to top up your wind generated power on them nice calm days.
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    This whole discussion is always assuming that we keep on wasting energy like we do today. The first thing that comes to mind when you're running low on money is: how can I reduce my spendings?? How come that when you're running low on energy the discussion runns along the lines: we have to find new ways to generate energy?? I mean there are so many possibilites to save energy without sacrificing the standard of living. There are low-energy or zero-energy houses out there on the market. Yes, they cost more because the technology is more expensive than your conventional brick-buildings. But in the long run you save money. I mean, a friend of mine has built a low-energy house 6 years ago and lot's of people were laughing at him and calling him a tree-huggin' nutcase. Now the same people are paying more than 4000€ per year for oil and almost 1500€ for electricity for their single houses. He's spending 450€ per year for electricity and zero (read my lips, "0") for heating. Hmmmmmm, who's the nutcase now?? And yes, the house did cost 50.000€ more compared to same size "conventional" houses. But considering that the oil and gas prices will most likely not fall significantly below today's prices the return on investment is something like 10 to 12 years from now.

    And I do not see the necessity to drive an Audi Q7 or somesuch nonsensical car and at the same time screaming bloody murder about the prices for gasoline. Hey, is there anybody on this board (except for us Germans) who ever drove faster than 150 or 160 km/h?? So why do you need a car with more than 150 hp? And no, cars with moderate gas-mileage do not have to be a modern version of the Morgan Threeewheeler. Take a look at the Volkswagen Passat and Polo "Blue Motion" or the Audi A2. Or even the BMW 1-Series with the 2-liter Disel engine, 170 hp. Average fuel consumption: 5 liters per 100 km for a car that I would not call a lame duck. Problem: people do not buy those cars.

    And for the energy generation:
    There has to be a mix of sustainable energy sources, there's no single source for the future that can cover éverything. Wind and tidal come to mind for the Leprechauns. And there is no need to put windmills all over the countryside. Offshore windfarms are an alternative. And don't gimme this crap with "Oh my god, the poor marine mammals and seabirds!!" Funny how people who most of the time laugh about GreenPeace convert to whale-kissing buttnuts as soon as it comes to Windpower. There's a pilot-project for tidal power generation starting someplace in the north sea.
    But in oppinion the most underestimated sustainable power source is geothermal energy. I mean 99% of the eart are hotter than 1000°C and of the rest 90% is hotter than 100°C. Geothermal energy does not generate any greenhouse gasses or other pollutants and is available 24/7 and I can hardly imagine the earth running out of internal heat for the next couple of million years or so.
    Then farming for energy-generation can be the next big thing on land that's not usefull for food-production. Not the way it's done today where you get the oil from plants and discard the rest. This way you cannot get enough fuel to run the farming machines used. One needs a way to use all parts of the plant as seen in the CHOREN-process (google is your friend).

    As for energy distribution: major nonsense to haul oil and gas from places at the asscrack of the world to where it is needed. With sustainable energy sources this could be alleviated by:
    a.) power saving and
    b.) generating the power where it is needed

    Just DO IT!
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    It was my impression that Ireland hauled itself up by its bootstraps from what was virtually third world status fifty years ago through imaginative, innovative and progressive policies. I was therefore slightly suprised by your small dig at your politicians.

    On your main point it has to be remembered that you are not looking to replace oil and gas, but to complement it. Based on your position exposed to all the Atlantic can throw at Europe then wind power and wave power are naturals (literally and metaphorically). Alternatively you could wait five million years for the peat bogs to turn in to coal. :wink:
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    It was my impression that Ireland hauled itself up by its bootstraps from what was virtually third world status fifty years ago through imaginative, innovative and progressive policies.
    Oh, I thought it was because of EU subsidies.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zitterbewegung
    This whole discussion is always assuming that we keep on wasting energy like we do today.
    No, the discussion is about the best energy source for Ireland, not about how much energy Ireland will use. So unless you have figured out a way to use zero energy, the question remains. Since you have typed the above message on a computer, I will assume you haven't figured out away to reduce your energy use to zero.
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  11. #10  
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    Or even the BMW 1-Series with the 2-liter Disel engine, 170 hp. Average fuel consumption: 5 liters per 100 km for a car that I would not call a lame duck.
    Unfortunately US emissions regulations will prevent most European diesels from being marketed here (not to mention the dollar/euro exchange rate). The Mini diesel, supposed to get somewhere around 50+ mpUSg, is likely to be sadly absent from these shores for the same reason.

    (Sorry, temporarily forgot this is about Ireland.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    No, the discussion is about the best energy source for Ireland, not about how much energy Ireland will use. So unless you have figured out a way to use zero energy, the question remains. Since you have typed the above message on a computer, I will assume you haven't figured out away to reduce your energy use to zero.
    Well here we go again, let's not change anything and have houses with windowpanes that basically are better saran-wrap and insulation made of cardboard. You do not get it, don't you?? It is impossible to seperate the two. The basic question it boils down to is this: how can we possibly expect a lifestyle with ever increasing levels of resource use to be sustainable in an environment (=planet earth) with limited resources? Do you have an answer for this? Yeah, I know, there will be more and more oil fields discovered and the decreasing ice sheet at the north pole will ease the exploration in as of yet inaccessible regions and energy saving is out of the question becuase....because.........americans do not want to save anything. They have the godgiven right to use earth because god told us to do so. This IS about availability of resources. and if you do not have any resources left then you can sit in your non-insulated wooden houses and...well sit there with your coat on. Go ahead. Energy you do not spend is energy you do not have to generate (I know it's energy conversion yaddayaddayadda). So tell me what is wiser? To hope for the best and keep on wasting heat and hope there will be a major discovery of new oil fields to keep the prices down or prepare yourself and make shure you do not need to buy any more gas and oil on a market with fierce compatition and thus no hope for decreasing prices? BTW...did you read what I wrote about the low energy houses??????? ZERO cost for heating means Null, nothing, nada, zip, zilch, nix. And 450€ for electricity isn't exactly nothing but this is what the average US citizen pays in three months.

    I have been living close to Buffalo for 4 years and we had an energy bill for a 1000 sqare-feet house of 250$ per month allthough we kept the temperature at around 20°C and the gas at this time was dirt cheap compared to what it is right now. BTW, there is no human right to cheap energy.

    Unfortunately US emissions regulations will prevent most European diesels from being marketed here
    Even the ones fulfilling the Euro-5 specification with particle filters?? I really doubt that. The Rpoblem is IIRC the "dirtier" Diesel fuel used in the US with insanely high sulfur-content. But this actually does not matter as they Europeans do not buy them either. And this with fuel costs as high as 8,2 $ per gallon here in Germany.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zitterbewegung
    Well here we go again, let's not change anything and have houses with windowpanes that basically are better saran-wrap and insulation made of cardboard. You do not get it, don't you?? It is impossible to seperate the two.
    Sure, it's possible. All you have to do is stick to the topic instead of going off on a tangent.
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    Hopeless.......
    If you still insist that it is possible to generate the energy necessary for our western lifestyles without change, well, good luck to you then. But you will never get enough energy out of a limited supply to sustain the lifestyle we are currently livin'. And you DO realize the supplies ARE limited, do you??

    BTW...do you have something to add to the topic at hand or are you just blabberin' to increase your post-count??
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    Gentlemen,
    you are on opposite sides of the issue. You both hold your beliefs firmly and, you believe, logically. Let's keep it polite while you debate it.
    Thank You
    Ophiolite
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    The Rpoblem is IIRC the "dirtier" Diesel fuel used in the US with insanely high sulfur-content.
    Are you sure about that?

    In the USA ultra low sulfur diesel is already the standard, with a maximum of 15 ppm. In Europe Euro V will become mandatory next year, with 10 ppm max.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zitterbewegung
    Hopeless.......
    If you still insist that it is possible to generate the energy necessary for our western lifestyles without change, well, good luck to you then.
    You do know how to set up a straw man. I'll give you that.
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  18. #17  
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    Same old tired shit......
    So what - in your oppinion - are the options here. Except from "keep it up the same way as it ever was". I still have to hear one argument from you concerning this topic.


    And for the strawman........I figured I adjust my level to match your's, that's all

    So unless you have figured out a way to use zero energy, the question remains. Since you have typed the above message on a computer, I will assume you haven't figured out away to reduce your energy use to zero.
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  19. #18  
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    My apologies for not having further input sooner, I had some exams to take care of. Thank you to everyone who replied, however this post seems to have suffered the same fate as most other debates on future energy options in that people are falling into the same old arguments. I would prefer if we could stay away (as much as is reasonable) from considering oil/gas as I believe that in the long term more progressive technologies will need to be adopted. I agree with Zitterbewegung that low-energy houses are an effective and realistic step that the average person can take to reduce their energy usage. In lieu of new energy sources an increase in efficiency is the most logical step.

    As an aside, in relation to Ophiolite's comment:

    It was my impression that Ireland hauled itself up by its bootstraps from what was virtually third world status fifty years ago through imaginative, innovative and progressive policies.
    It is true that the above is true to a certain extent, however it can be argued that we have wasted our gains. The strength of our economy was largely due E.U. grants that we are no longer eligible to receive and to the success of the construction industry. In light of the recent "Credit Crunch" the aforementioned industry is entering into a recession, which in turn is having an effect on the rest of the country. Our health service, for example, is roughly equivalent to that of medieval London. Many of our politicians maintain an irrational "small town" mentality that prevents the introduction or even debate of truly progressive policies. However, I digress... :wink:

    I think it is naive to presume that everything will be dandy if we trundle on the way we are going- finite resources are named so for a reason. A 'head-in-the-sand' approach will get us nowhere, as will this 'Europe vs America' bickering. Everyone knows that the U.S. is one of the most wasteful countries in the world, but many European cities don't come off much better. A little country called China should also be taken into account.

    New ways of thinking are required in order to tackle this problem.
    Dramatisation; may not have happened.
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