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American Energy Policy IV: The Price of Transition

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This is the fourth in a series of articles addressing our energy policy and its consequences.

Take a look at the following presentation about our energy future as seen by a very influential professor at Penn State, Dr. Frank Clemente. His vision of the future reveals the true impact of overpopulation. The study focuses mainly upon Coal and Clean Coal Technologies. It's a shock. What he says about natural gas from shale is quite a shock, too. He writes off any renewables as largely a waste of time. He sees nuclear power as a "ship that already sailed". He doesn't say too much about oil, since Peak Oil has already happened.

Here is the link: http://paul20854.110mb.com/CCLLC/texas.ppt

Despite its pro-coal bias, its call for a "level playing field" is exactly what we want. Make carbon users pay for the cost of the fuel at all locations. Pay the citizens for the rape of the land. Clean up the water supplies. Replace the mountain tops. Clean up the Gulf. Tax the fuel at its source. Tax the fuel imports that take away our jobs. Tax the pipelines and rights-of-way. Tax the nuclear industry instead of subsidizing their fuel cycle. Tax the CEOs who pay themselves 300 times what the workers earn. He stresses the notion that gas will replace coal except for the fact that we don't have enough, can't get enough, and there is nothing else in the pipeline.
It's really amusing how the "leaders" have their foot flat down on the gas as we approach the cliff. Evel Knievel! But he's dead.

Clean Coal is the oxymoron of our times. See http://www.coalisnottheanswer.org/ for a realistic view. Coal is no worse than oil and gas. They all kill.

R. Hans Kugler, a recent independent candidate for US Senate in California, wrote:

Harvard, Princeton, MIT, NASA, RMI, DOE, EPA, and every university energy department and alternative energy thinkers have shown us that there is no such thing as "clean coal," and that the burning of coal is the # 1 problem in reducing environmental pollution, ocean acidification, climate change, trees shutting down on CO2 usage, and much, much more.
Washington greed - - - including our questionable president whose first act in office was to inform the coal industry that this administration will not stand in the way of 24 coal strip-mining projects (- - and if you ask "why?", the answer can be found in the fact that coal unions contributed $ 38 million to his campaign).

Our addiction to oil led to three wars in the Middle East that have so far cost over 1.2 trillion dollars and much blood, more than a million casualties. It also led to the BP oil spill, which is not over in impact. Tar sands in Canada will send a new plume of filth into the environment. Fracking for oil and gas has already contaminated about a third of the watershed in the US impacting 100 million people. Thank you, Cheney and Halliburton, for the Energy Act of 2005. Our children thank you, too.

The level of toxicity on the Gulf Coast in the atmosphere is down significantly from mid-July. It's probably safe to breathe the air if you live over 50 miles from the Gulf. It's probably still deadly toxic on the water and near the marshes. The water supply will be contaminated for decades. The food chain has been affected, too. I wouldn't touch seafood from the Gulf for at least five years. Livestock fed with fish meal from the Gulf are probably contaminated as well. Is anybody out there checking? EPA, FDA, WalMart? Good luck with that.

The Japanese studied hydraulic fracturing (fraccing/fracking/fracing/frakking -- I've seen it spelled all four ways) as opposed to acoustic excitation of the strata back in the mid-'90's. It was apparent from the research that water, or a fluid designed to penetrate the formation, provided a medium that exerted a strong and uniform pulse or shock which propagated far and wide through the strata. Acoustic energy alone, without a hydraulic medium, dampened too readily and did not penetrate very far, which is why that line of research was discontinued. One reference is found at:
http://www.springerlink.com/content/vmlv336d39243ctm/
The paper costs $34.

John Russo, a concerned citizen from Desert Hot Springs, CA, wrote:

Many of us viewed the Gasland documentary. It was a real eye opener but at the same time very upsetting to see a cause we are fighting for (domestic petroleum production) is permanently polluting land and water. Truth is no one company in the world should have the right to poison the drinking water and surrounding lands that millions of people depend on. We should not have to fight with politicians and local government to prove what they can visually see. Put a bottle of that polluted fracking water in front of them and ask any of them to drink it. They need to start having their family members drink that polluted water. If they still can't see the light then the wake-up call will hit after they all suddenly become stricken with autoimmune disorders.   The people who have been affected need to ban together and sue the government as well as the companies for the pollution they caused. Someone has to clean it up and make it safe but I'm not sure the damage is reversible.

I'm not convinced by the frackers that their process is safe and reliable. The evidence points elsewhere. Not to rain on our parade, but the Energy Act of 2005 was so effective that more than half of all US-produced gas comes from fracking today. I produced a presentation nearly two years ago from a gas conference that verified that fact. The damage to the environment in the Midwest and far west is incalculable -- if you watched Gasland you'll get some idea. Millions of people already have their water supplies at severe risk in the Shale states (there are 34 states whose lands cover the 3 shale formations and are ripe for destruction). The impacts to date are not as bad as they will be in about ten years when most children living near the wells will have been rendered sterile or murdered by the gases and liquids. Their parents and the elderly will all be dead or dying horrible deaths. All this to buy home-made gas at over twice the price of imports? There is no middle ground on fracking. You either believe that murder is OK or you don't. Maybe Halliburton should be held accountable, along with all the frac boys, for crimes against humanity.

I note with some disdain that many blame labor unions for the malaise of the current depression and dismantling of our manufacturing base. To these deluded and brainwashed souls I say, "Blame the people that work on assembly lines for the vehicles designed by foreigners. Blame the unions for negotiating livable benefits for workers families. Blame the workers families for wanting to eat and having a roof over their heads. Blame the assembly line workers for the parts made overseas and for the outsourced jobs that cut employment by 90% over 15 years in the US auto industry. Blame the unions for not cutting the pay of auto company execs and CEOs in their negotiations. Blame the workers families for Chinese knock-offs that they have to buy because nobody is left here to make American goods. Man, you have been breathing too much Bozone! Blame Washington for Bozone, made from gaseous emanations from Capitol Hill. Stupid Pills are also imported by our representatives in Congress. Swallow them down with fracking fluid from Halliburton."

The fossilized friends of this world are not the only liars. Our radioactive promoters are still hawking the nukes and the fantasies of fusion. When I studied at Yale 40 years ago and received a degree in Plasma Physics, I realized that the reason controlled thermonuclear fusion was 50 years away is that the plasma would be unstable unless contained and controlled by some means. The best processes at the time were based upon magnetic containment, but the temperatures and pressures involved are so high that no material known to man could withstand the stresses and survive the event of sustained fusion. That fact is still the Truth. It can't be done unless we discover new materials with such capability or the myth of "cold fusion" becomes a matter of science.

As an example of our foolish measures, DOE's support of electric vehicles stands out as another blunder, not unlike its support of commercial nuclear power and ethanol subsidies. If one calculates the energy equivalents for all the manufacturing, distribution, and utilization of electric vehicles, you will find that the average miles-per-gallon-equivalent for the Tesla is less than 6 MPG, for the Volt is 12 MPG, and for the Leaf is 16 MPG. So much for beating the competition.

The "battery pack" for the Tesla made from thousands of computer Li-ion batteries uses the equivalent of 10,000 gallons of gasoline for its manufacture, and costs $30,000. You go 100,000 miles over 7 years, and you get 10 MPG just for the manufacturing energy alone. BTW, you'll need a new battery pack at that time.

You may find the following article of interest, which does not address net energy analysis  
http://seekingalpha.com/article/183543-death-of-the-electric-car-li-ion-batteries-too-valuable-for-plug-in-vehicles  

Peterson briefly mentions the Tesla, Volt, and Leaf, but correctly identifies the shortages facing the industry in such high-resource-energy-intensive products such as lithium, rare earth elements (the Prius uses a kilogram of neomydium in each 200 kg battery pack), nickel-based specialty steels, aluminum, and copper. You would be astonished at how much energy is required to make lithium batteries, which makes up between 60 and 70 percent of its economic cost. The battery pack on the Prius hybrid, NiMH-based, is much cheaper than that of the Tesla. It only holds about 2 kWh. The Tesla holds 57 kWh, and is pure Li-Ion based.

You can independently calculate the energy requirement for each vehicle. The easy method is to find its economic cost (usually the price less about 30% for profit and middlemen mark-up) and take 25% of that value. Divide by $2. That's the number of gallons of gasoline equivalent embedded in the cost of its manufacture. Example: The Chevy Volt is priced at $40k. Its cost is about 70% of that, or $28k. The energy cost is about a quarter of that, or $7k. Its energy value for manufacturing and delivery is thus about 3500 gallons of gas equivalent. If the car runs 100,000 miles, it will use about another 2000 gallons at the pump and about 34000 kWh of electricity. Disposal costs will not be insignificant. The batteries must be recycled. Taking the 34 MWH of electricity generated at 10 million BTU/MWh and delivered at 80% efficiency to the plug and another 90% to the battery, this equates to another 3300 gallons of gas. That comes to 8800 gallons to go 100,000 miles, or 11.4 MPG.

The Leaf is better since it costs less. The Tesla is absolutely terrible, worse than an old Hummer.

The steel in the frame and body has about the same energy content per unit weight for all mass-produced autos and trucks. Energy costs for these components are relatively negligible per unit mass compared to that of the engines, motors, and batteries of the plugins and all-electrics. Some descriptions are here re: the batteries, but only tell part of the story. See http://www.hybridcars.com/hybrid-car-battery   . A more definitive array of issues is outlined at Wiki, as seen at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium-ion_battery#Specifications_and_design   .

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Designed first all-solar home for Ryland Homes in 1974. At MITRE, led a group of 35 of the best minds in the world (including Dr. Edward Teller, among others) who performed detailed engineering, scientific, socio-economic, and political analyses of (more...)
 

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Please take the time to look into this matter, and... by Paul from Potomac on Thursday, Dec 9, 2010 at 6:16:03 PM
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