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  1. #14
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    Originally posted by billygoat22
    I believe this has come up over on heatinghelp.com. Nuclear vs fossil fuel, etc.
    Yesterday I heard that most of man's pollution doesn't even come from the US, but from all those home cooking fires in Eastern Asia/China.
    Direct use makes sense, no transmission losses. But 50% eff on transmission? Come on. They boost the power to 770kV to drop the amperage, Power loss is porportional to the square of amperage so 1/2ing the amperage cuts losses to a quarter, right?
    AT one time all that fossil fuel was plants and animals, which used solar energy to convert carbon dioxide in the air into carbon for living cells. Its not like the stuff was NEVER there to begin with.
    Actually I believe about 30% is lost during transmission. Transformers are also inefficient, and loses occur when you bring that 770kv done to household voltage.

  2. #15
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    Electric losses

    For transmission losses, 30% is a lot closer than 50%, and the true average is probably lower. It depends on how far it is transmitted, and the types of step-up and step-down transformers, and even the outdoor temperature. I used to work for a utility and have seen its reports with far lower transmission losses than those two figures.

    Sad to say, a lot of enviro issues are really a smokescreen for trying to stop the Western world from doing anything. It becomes a religious issue that mankind must stop whatever it is doing. It has also applied to the Communist world, but their tendency to shoot into crowds limits its usefulness. Still, some of the subversive organizations within the former Communist empire, tried to center their image around environmentalism.

    I'm definitely in favor of cleaning and preserving the environment too. But I have cynical ideas about what the enviro-wackos are really aiming for.

    If you are serious about getting energy without adding any to CO2 output and presumably man-made climate change, then nuclear energy is the obvious answer. The deaths and pollution are nothing compared to coal, for example. Even the radioactivity is less than coal burning, think about that.

    If you want to make our fossil fuels go as far as possible, then there is a lot to be said for on-site burning of natural gas instead of using electricity for heat. Yeah I hear that "cost no object" will lead you to heat pumps, but that's really too elitist for the majority of people. I am a skeptic, a cynic too, but do enjoy reading people trading opinions on this subject.

    One last thing... North America has a supply problem for natural gas. The rest of the world has no such problem, there are out-of-the-way places swimming in the stuff with no way to get it to market. At current prices you can expect LNG imports to limit future price rises.

    Best of luck -- P.Student

  3. #16
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    Mar 2005
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    Originally posted by jdenyer
    What Washington says and Washington does are 2 different things If the U.S. does reduce emissions voluntarily, it won't effect the heating bussiness that much. Also it would not be cost effective to get much more efficiency out of heating equipment. That money would be better spent getting automobile efficiency up, and getting power distribution efficiencies higher. New technologies will help, but even if they could get 99% efficiency out of fossil fueled heating equipment, it wouldn't be a drop in the bucket to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Heating equipment efficiencies won't be getting that much higher. Electric heat and electric heatpumps are actually worse, since so much energy is lost during the transmission of the power. A typical power plant can get 60% efficiency or higher, by the time it reaches your house it's something like 30%, not good The U.S. is looking into carbon sequestration as an option, basically taking the CO2 from power plants, liquefying it, and injecting it back into oil wells to make them productive again. The CO2 can also be injected deep into the ocean where it would remain for long periods. The U.S. depends on energy way to much to run it's economy to make any drastic cuts in use, without affecting our economy, or even our safety, after all a strong millitary requires a strong economy.
    You need to read some on the department of energy website to increase your study on the energy of the future. The gas and oil we know today are going to be price out of exsistance for energy. the Oil and Gas we know has been more than doubling ever 20 years and beleive me it will in the next 20 also. If nothing else it will cut down on its use which without a dought we must do.

  4. #17
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    Originally posted by nwgasman
    It won't happen... unless more hydro or nuke power generation is built. NG is now becoming the fuel of choice for electric generation here in the west and is one of the demand forces that is causing the cost to rise.

    As mentioned before, from a macro view, electric transmission loss is very high and doesn't make much sense to use NG to produce electricity. Direct use of NG is preferable.

    Until fuel cell technology comes of age, NG is one of the best fuels we have.
    That is not the second best choice Biomass, wind, solar are in there but burning gas is not a choice of the future. Go to the DOE website.

  5. #18
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    GAS and oil, vs. oil and gas

    Geo, you need to revisit the idea that gas and oil are two different commodities. Worldwide oil depletion is probably about to become visible, but gas depletion is on an entirely different curve. We have maybe 20 years more gas than we have oil, and that buys a lot of time to create further solutions. There is every reason to expect LNG shipping to create a worldwide market for gas, as opposed to pipeline markets which are relatively local. While I would expect price to be on a new higher plateau compared to the past, I would not expect prices to move only upward for this commodity.

    In the longer run I do expect oil pricing to move upward, marking a transition from a BTU commodity to a more specialized commodity.

    With higher pricing for competing alternatives, it is reasonable to expect better use of *every* energy saving technology, including yours. Do not forget coal, if we can learn how to burn it cleanly this would be a big North American energy source for quite a number of years into the future.

    Best of luck -- P.Student

    P.S. The DOE has careened from forecasting plentiful natural gas at a cheap price, to the opposite forecast. The 1990's gas power plant building boom was encouraged by DOE forecasts which we now know were highly unrealistic. Does that tell us anything about forecasting by the DOE?

    [Edited by perpetual_student on 03-15-2005 at 12:01 PM]

  6. #19
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    Much of the stuff coming out of the DOE is still in the development stages, it's too early to predict which ones will be the winners. Also new energy technologies like wind power are now being fought by some environmental groups, they claim the blades kill migrating birds. Hydro power is claimed to disrupt fish spawning. Fact is no matter what energy source is used, there will be environmental impacts. Even hydrogen energy is not without serious environmental problems. Even if hydrogen could be produced from water by using solar energy cheaply, all those fuel cells require platinum as a catalyst. Platinum must be mined, mining is very ecologically unsound. So you see even "clean technologies" are actually dirty once you see what's truly behind them. JMHO

  7. #20
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    Originally posted by jdenyer
    Originally posted by nwgasman
    It won't happen... unless more hydro or nuke power generation is built. NG is now becoming the fuel of choice for electric generation here in the west and is one of the demand forces that is causing the cost to rise.

    As mentioned before, from a macro view, electric transmission loss is very high and doesn't make much sense to use NG to produce electricity. Direct use of NG is preferable.

    Until fuel cell technology comes of age, NG is one of the best fuels we have.
    Well said nwgasman. Fuels cells would allow on site power and heat generation, but what would fuel the fuel cells? Direct hydrogen is to volatile and explosive. I think we will end up seeing NG, oil and coal gas being run through reformers to give up its hydrogen. Also biodiesel is one way that greenhouse gas emissions could be cut, both in transportation and heating.

    geoexchangeman, cost and efficiency are two very different things. How is generating electricity 500 miles away at 60% efficiency, tranporting it and distributing it, loosing another 30% more effiecient than burning it directly on site with an 80% or better efficiency? In the northeast we pay about 12cents a kwh, and $1.79/gallon for oil. For me to use electricity to generate 100,000 btu's it would cost me about $3.63. I could generate 112,000 btus of heat from one gallon of oil costing me $1.79, and that includes losing 20% of it's heat value up the stack. Hmmmm, which form of heat do you think I should use? Geothermal is not accesible in all areas, and on a residential scale would be very cost prohibitive. Sure geothermal would be great to produce electricity, but it alone will not solve our thirst for energy.
    I can produce that some 112,000 btus with my GEO exchange unit for $.78 using your electricity prices. You are right GEO alone will not solve our thirst for energy, but it is the best we have for cooling and and heating and couple it with hydro heat using 90% gas fired units is the best we have.

  8. #21
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    Originally posted by geoexchangeman
    Originally posted by jdenyer
    Originally posted by nwgasman
    It won't happen... unless more hydro or nuke power generation is built. NG is now becoming the fuel of choice for electric generation here in the west and is one of the demand forces that is causing the cost to rise.

    As mentioned before, from a macro view, electric transmission loss is very high and doesn't make much sense to use NG to produce electricity. Direct use of NG is preferable.

    Until fuel cell technology comes of age, NG is one of the best fuels we have.
    Well said nwgasman. Fuels cells would allow on site power and heat generation, but what would fuel the fuel cells? Direct hydrogen is to volatile and explosive. I think we will end up seeing NG, oil and coal gas being run through reformers to give up its hydrogen. Also biodiesel is one way that greenhouse gas emissions could be cut, both in transportation and heating.

    geoexchangeman, cost and efficiency are two very different things. How is generating electricity 500 miles away at 60% efficiency, tranporting it and distributing it, loosing another 30% more effiecient than burning it directly on site with an 80% or better efficiency? In the northeast we pay about 12cents a kwh, and $1.79/gallon for oil. For me to use electricity to generate 100,000 btu's it would cost me about $3.63. I could generate 112,000 btus of heat from one gallon of oil costing me $1.79, and that includes losing 20% of it's heat value up the stack. Hmmmm, which form of heat do you think I should use? Geothermal is not accesible in all areas, and on a residential scale would be very cost prohibitive. Sure geothermal would be great to produce electricity, but it alone will not solve our thirst for energy.
    I can produce that some 112,000 btus with my GEO exchange unit for $.78 using your electricity prices. You are right GEO alone will not solve our thirst for energy, but it is the best we have for cooling and and heating and couple it with hydro heat using 90% gas fired units is the best we have.
    Cool, can I move to where your at Seriously though, energy availability is a regional thing. If GEO was available here at that price people would be using it, provided the equipment was cost competitive with what is already in place. Most people don't want and can't afford a second mortgage just to have heat or have A/C. Here in Maine oil heat is the most common form of heat, due to availability, and a lack of NG infrastructure. There are a couple of oil companies that are starting to sell B-20 which is regular heating oil blended with 20% soy oil. It cost a few cents more a gallon but it's price is more stable. Eventually they will be using 100% soy oil to replace #2 distillate heating oil.

  9. #22
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    Oil, the worlds economic engine, is not going to be with us forever. China in the not to distant future will surpass the United States as the worlds largest consumer of energy. The demand for energy worldwide will only continue to increase as second and third world governments attempt to modernize and compete in a modern global economy. I wonder what will be the state of civilization a 100 years from now.
    Dogs truly are man's best friend!!

  10. #23
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    lonnirat

    No oil will not be with us forever. There are still vast amounts of oil in the middle east. Kuwait alone sits on a lake of oil, and other Arab nations have massive amounts of oil. How much, well they won't say exactly Natural fuels like soy oil will provide a lot of energy, and petrochemicals can be gotten from corn waste. Any petrochemical that comes from oil can be had from corn waste. Over the next several decades there will be a lot of new energy sources explored, some will prosper and others will fail. China will eventually need to start using cleaner burning technologies, otherwise it's people will suffocate in smog. Within the next 10 years or so China will be relying more on nuclear energy to meet it's vast energy needs.

  11. #24
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    GAS, Natural GAS is the next phase

    Gotta thank Geo for starting this thread. His original proposition is pretty bold and I don't yet agree, but it's got me to thinking that eventually he might be right. Except for that "regardless of cost" thing, capital cost will always be important. Money is money.

    The old familiar NATURAL GAS (NG) is poised to take over as the energy leader. It's not utopian but has solid advantages over oil and coal as a BTU source. It's about time we stop thinking of *oil* as the main energy source, and start recognizing that gas is the fossil fuel for the near-to-mid future. Again, it's a fossil fuel and will *someday* be as tough to discover and deliver as oil is getting today. But that day is at least a couple decades off, and that makes it a prudent solution for now.

    Canada, the US and Mexico (North America) have no surplus of NG and our prices right now are high because there is little global supply. Transportation is the reason, at $2.00 price there was too little incentive to build LNG facilities but at $5.00 or higher it's go-time. If the oil market were local and not global, we would not be using nearly the oil we are today. Making a global market allows us to buy huge amounts of oil that we need today, making a global market in NG will do the same.

    At today's energy prices every alternative energy source will expand to a higher market share if it is at all feasible. Wind seems one of today's leaders, the bird-killing thing is 1) overblown and 2) yesterday's news. Recent designs mitigate bird deaths a whole lot, and if the problem is small enough we don't really care. Try to guess what is the biggest human killer of birds today... surprise, it's cars and trucks! Yet no normal person is going to argue we should get rid of cars and trucks just because a few birds accidentally get killed from them. Same with wind power, it will be a minor problem.

    I like nukes myself, with their heat-removing ponds they enhance wildlife and don't kill it. I'm partial to American nuclear plant designs, don't bother to even mention the Russian ones. Maybe the Canadian and West Europe designs too.

    Regards -- P.Student

  12. #25
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    There are some natural limits to the cost of fuel oil. We aren't all that far from hitting them. Small plants have been built that can produce fuel oil from biomass (garbage) at about $70 a barrel.

  13. #26
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    Mar 2005
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    Originally posted by jdenyer
    Originally posted by geoexchangeman
    Originally posted by jdenyer
    Originally posted by nwgasman
    It won't happen... unless more hydro or nuke power generation is built. NG is now becoming the fuel of choice for electric generation here in the west and is one of the demand forces that is causing the cost to rise.

    As mentioned before, from a macro view, electric transmission loss is very high and doesn't make much sense to use NG to produce electricity. Direct use of NG is preferable.

    Until fuel cell technology comes of age, NG is one of the best fuels we have.
    Well said nwgasman. Fuels cells would allow on site power and heat generation, but what would fuel the fuel cells? Direct hydrogen is to volatile and explosive. I think we will end up seeing NG, oil and coal gas being run through reformers to give up its hydrogen. Also biodiesel is one way that greenhouse gas emissions could be cut, both in transportation and heating.

    geoexchangeman, cost and efficiency are two very different things. How is generating electricity 500 miles away at 60% efficiency, tranporting it and distributing it, loosing another 30% more effiecient than burning it directly on site with an 80% or better efficiency? In the northeast we pay about 12cents a kwh, and $1.79/gallon for oil. For me to use electricity to generate 100,000 btu's it would cost me about $3.63. I could generate 112,000 btus of heat from one gallon of oil costing me $1.79, and that includes losing 20% of it's heat value up the stack. Hmmmm, which form of heat do you think I should use? Geothermal is not accesible in all areas, and on a residential scale would be very cost prohibitive. Sure geothermal would be great to produce electricity, but it alone will not solve our thirst for energy.
    I can produce that some 112,000 btus with my GEO exchange unit for $.78 using your electricity prices. You are right GEO alone will not solve our thirst for energy, but it is the best we have for cooling and and heating and couple it with hydro heat using 90% gas fired units is the best we have.
    Cool, can I move to where your at Seriously though, energy availability is a regional thing. If GEO was available here at that price people would be using it, provided the equipment was cost competitive with what is already in place. Most people don't want and can't afford a second mortgage just to have heat or have A/C. Here in Maine oil heat is the most common form of heat, due to availability, and a lack of NG infrastructure. There are a couple of oil companies that are starting to sell B-20 which is regular heating oil blended with 20% soy oil. It cost a few cents more a gallon but it's price is more stable. Eventually they will be using 100% soy oil to replace #2 distillate heating oil.
    I did use your electricity prices with that calculation. My electricity rate is $.09. And I have Geoexchange with hydronic backup, this makes the duel fuel system. Dominion Power and Virginia power gives me a reduced price for high efficeint duel fuel systems from November to March of $.05 Per kwh so I am producing that 11200 BTU for $.33. Hey Come on down. Bring some Lobster when you come.

    [Edited by geoexchangeman on 03-16-2005 at 11:07 AM]

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