The Real Energy Crisis

Discussion in 'Environment' started by Achilles, Dec 12, 2008.

  1. Achilles
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    Achilles Senior Member

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    Much has been already said about humanity's energy crisis, but there is a much bigger problem that has been suggested; not just the depletion of our natural resources. If we are truly to deal with the problem, we must first know what it is, and right now the bigger and whole picture is appreciated in our society.

    Recently, I experienced a blackout, as much of the United States population has. This one was especially big in my life, because for the first time in my life I realized how vulnerable much of the "modern" population is to a severe energy shortage. Everything that we know and trust around us is basically useless without energy, our cell phones, refrigerator, freezer, t.v., radio, lights, the list just goes on and on. There is almost nothing that is not affected by a severe energy shortage. Hospitals, fire stations, and police would be knocked out; our entire infrastructure. Food and medicine would spoil, and starvation and crimes would skyrocket.

    Everything that we know is centered around technology and the use of energy. From our birth to our death we all rely on technology and energy to aid us in simple tasks, big or small. Nature adapts to its environment, and we have adapted to our environment, only in the process we have broken the cycle of life that have been running for billions of years. The food chain is breaking up, the water cycle is collapsing under pollution; humanity will soon have to bear the price of our neglects.

    There is no short term solution for the energy crisis; we must start now so that the future generations will also have future generations. Humanity is addicted to energy, and can't stop using it, because it doesn't know how. The solution is either stop using energy altogether or use it very sparsely, or turn to renewable energy sources. Much of the world's populations won't give up their ability to generate energy, and in order to achieve not using energy at all would require most, if not all of us to live like Native Americans, hunting and gathering. This is not a very realistic solution to anyone, but with the second option of converting to renewable energy, we can achieve a much more realistic way of saving our world. Our world is like a gem in the universe, harboring many different kinds of life, to save it should be our dream.
     
  2. editec
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    editec Mr. Forgot-it-All

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    Man, I so know what you're talking about.

    About ten years ago this area in Maine and much of Easter Canada had a massive ice storm.

    Nobody had power for about a week.

    That means almost nobody had heat, light, phone or internet either.

    People ended up living in public shelters.


    Had it not been for the fact that I had a gas driven candle factory in my basedment, my family would have had absolutely no heat, and we'd have had to abandon our home and sleep in a shelter.

    Let me tell yas, talking a HOT shower after a week of no hot water convinced me that I really truly like civilization.
     
  3. Old Rocks
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    Old Rocks Diamond Member

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    :clap2:
    :clap2:

    We already have the technology to do this. All that has been lacking is the will. From the standpoint of our nations health, from a national security standpoint, and from the standpoint of a sustainable infrastructure, alternative energy makes sense.

    We also have the technololgy to vastly reduce each citizens use of energy, and also make each home a producer as well as a consumer of energy. This is another direction that we need to go. And get it done in the next decade, not some far and distant future.
     
  4. Skull Pilot
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    Skull Pilot Platinum Member

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    I have been working to get my home and business off the grid as much as possible. We're still a slave to the electric co but I am planning to get my own generator up and running. I looked into a windmill but we just don't live in a good wind zone.

    That along with a biodiesel cooker I am learning to use will unplug me from the power grid for the most part. My next truck will be a diesel and when we get rid of my wife's car, she'll get a diesel. No more of my $$$ will go to oil companies and I won't be paying gas taxes either. Bonus.

    A boiler upgrade next year to a multi-fuel model that burns wood, coal or oil and a forced hot water system will allow me to heat my house even in a power outage or fuel shortage.

    I am also playing with a solar forced hot air generator design. I have a couple prototypes in the barn I'm playing with. Since we have a good amount of SE,S and SW exposure, I am seriously considering putting as many as 8-10 of these solar hot air heaters on my house.

    Food is my next concern. My wife and I have friends that preserve a lot of their own produce. They're teaching us how to can our own food.

    Self sufficiency can save you thousands of dollars a year as long as you're not too lazy.
     
  5. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    We are Borg. You must assimilate. :lol:
     
  6. editec
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    editec Mr. Forgot-it-All

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    I was with right up the point where you felt obligate to insult people, Skull.

    Tell me MR GREENJEANS, how much money have you invested to buy the high horse you think you're sitting on?

    Do you think most Americans wouldn't get off the grid if they could afford it?

    Get a clue.
     
  7. Chris
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    Chris Gold Member

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    If we spend the $700 billion dollars we wasted in Iraq on American energy independence, the problem would be solved by now.
     
  8. Skull Pilot
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    Skull Pilot Platinum Member

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    FYI Ed, you can build your own solar hot air furnace for about 200 bucks even less if you reuse stuff. For example 384 empty soda cans, a few 2x6 s, some plywood, some Styrofoam, some silicone caulking, some black stove paint and a couple recycled tempered glass shower doors and you have a 4 foot by 8 foot solar heating panel that can pump out air at over 150 degrees. You can install it yourself with a few tools and some ducts. If you want to get fancy you can add a solar powered fan to the set up for a few extra bucks. But it takes time to build and install.

    I bought a biodiesel cooker for about 4500 but I saved for it. I put money away every week. I didn't buy 5 dollar coffees and didn't eat out 3 nights a week like my friends did. it took me over a year and a half to save up. I needed one that would put out a least 40 gallons at a time with upgrades available for 100 gallons, but you can buy a kit and build your own for less than a grand that will easily make enough for a car or two.

    The generator is the biggest ticket item, but I need one considerably larger than the average homeowner because it will power my business and wood shop as well. But I had the business buy it with very favorable financing terms.

    And Ed, all this takes a lot of time. You have to make deals to collect waste oil from restaurants. Right now I don't have enough of a supply to do much more than make 40 gallons a month which I pour into my heating oil tank, you have to drive around and pump the oil into a transport tank, filter titrate and cook your fuel. I will work on a better supply chain over the winter and I'm thinking of hiring my son to do some of the work.

    I am just getting started and the time commitment is huge. A lot of my friends think I'm nuts because if I called all these chores work, I easily am putting in at least 30 hours a week on top of my business obligations most of it on weekends, some early mornings and some weekday evenings.

    But once the solar heaters are done, I'll have a lot more time because they are nearly 100% maintenance free once installed. I'll probably have them all in by next winter.

    You know as well as I do that most people want to come home from work and park their arses in front of the boob tube than to spend 4 or 5 hours on projects like these I probably watch only 4 hours a week of TV all of it on tivo. In fact this forum is my biggest time waster and if you haven't noticed, I am not posting near as much as I used to. Partly because I am pretty much recovered from a bad back strain which had me sidelined for a while but mostly because I am too busy.

    So yes if you're not lazy you can do it.
     
  9. Old Rocks
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    Old Rocks Diamond Member

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    Skull, I applaud you. This is exactly the direction that we need to go. For those of us that routinely work with our hands, photovoltaic is not that expensive, as long as you just buy the cells, and build your own panels. Plenty of how to information on that on the net. Wind, for those that live where there are times it is usable, is also quite cheap if you build your own small, 1 to 20 kw, units. The simple units that you are talking about can be very effective in reducing your heating bills. Did you get the plans from Home Power? This is a very good resource for simple tech that reduces reliance on the grid.
     

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