The real fossil fuel problem and alternatives...

Discussion in 'Environment' started by gslack, May 2, 2010.

  1. gslack
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    gslack Senior Member

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    A lot of people associate petroleum with automobiles, coal with generating power, natural gas with heating, and so on and so forth. And rightly so, these things are indeed correct. But how many of us actually know what other things these fossil fuels provide us with? Some may know about a few other applications and things; many of you may know that oil refining brings us some plastics, kerosene and a few others, but most of our knowledge on it stops there...

    Well lets take a look at it shall we? Following is a link to a brief from a wikki article on oil refining and a pic showing a small example of how it works.

    Oil refinery - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    [​IMG]

    okay there you have a short example of base products, and a graphic on how its gotten from the oil. But what about direct products other than those we already know about? Other things we use directly which relies on petroleum-based or derived ingredients?

    Well for this I will need a few more posts... The fact is petroleum is used in nearly any industry we can think of in some way. Either directly, such as Transportation of the product, or indirectly as in additives to another product, if you can name it petroleum is in it somehow.

    A couple links to study on your own...

    Petroleum - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Petroleum, Economic Uses of: World of Earth Science
    petroleum refining :: Petroleum products and their uses -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia

    please take some time and educate yourself on this. Start with what I provided and/or look for yourself. Actually I really hope you do look for yourself and stay away from either left or right leaning media outlets or websites/blogs.

    If you want to be an educated citizen who votes responsibly, you cannot take anyone's word for it any longer. you have to get your hands dirty and do some research. if you rely on the magic box to tell you or a one-sided or agenda driven source, you will get the government you deserve...

    I will post more on this very soon....
     
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  2. gslack
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    gslack Senior Member

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    Hopefully you have done some reading and research on your own by now, and have found a proper bit of perspective on petroleum and the industries/products involved. It literally is nearly everywhere and in almost everything. Here are a few major products...

    Products Made from Petroleum

    Common Products That Use Petroleum:

    Plastics
    Ink
    Paint
    Shoe Polish
    Nylons
    Roof shingles
    Novelty Candy
    Cosmetics
    Candles
    Vaseline
    Bug Killer
    Ammonia
    Tires
    Asphalt
    Crayons
    Paper cups
    Wax paper

    Those are just some of the major products mind you, the actual full list I wouldn't even want to try and compile here. There are many other smaller applications which we do not even realize comes from distillates and petrochemicals which as the name "petro-chemicals" would imply, comes from petroleum and its by-products.

    A more robust list can be found here... be prepared, its truly shocking...

    petroleum refining :: Petroleum products and their uses -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia

    So if you have checked the Encyclopedia Britannica article, you can get an idea of the reality behind petroleum. The reality is fuel for transportation is just the tip of the Iceberg.

    Now please ask yourself some very realistic questions about alternatives. How many viable alternatives do we have? As far as actual petroleum all we have heard about are alternatives involving our automobiles and transportation related. Things like Ethanol... A similar product made from alcohol derived from cellulose or plants. Corn-based being the most often mentioned.

    Okay so whats the deal with ethanol? is it a viable alternative? Well, lets look over the facts...

    1. Ethanol energy content per gallon for E85 (85% ethanol,15% gasoline) is around 80,000 btu. Compared to gasoline at 109,000 -125,000 btu. No.2 Diesel at 128,000-130,000 btu. And even Biodiesel at 117,000-120,000 btu. So ethanol is significantly less efficient in regards to energy per gallon.

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    2. Ethanol E85 burning in transportation produces CO2, as well as nearly the same harmful chemicals as gasoline. As well as some other harmful chemicals in higher amounts than gasoline...

    Ethanol - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    3. Ethanol production produces harmful chemicals. Including compounds called VOC's (volatile organic compound), you can guess by the name what the problem is...
    Ethanol fuel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Do I really need to go on here? I think we get it... Ethanol or E85 as we use it today is in reality no more "clean" than gasoline, and a lot less efficient. That goes for production costs to energy production, increased cost of corn as a food (corn prices quadrupled after E85 got big), and not only produces CO2 but also larger amounts of formaldehyde and other chemicals. And as I recall there was a post regarding formaldehyde regulation earlier last week, and its not so good a chemical according to the eco-crowd....

    So ethanol is a no for now I would say....

    To be continued.....
     
  3. Old Rocks
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    Old Rocks Diamond Member

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    It seems reasonable then that using fossil fuels for transportation, when there are viable alternatives, is foolish. Were we using petroleum only for such things as you list, we would not need to drill off shore, we could provide enough from existing wells onshore.

    We have the technology, it is time to terminate the use of petroleum as fuel. Same for coal.
     
  4. Big Black Dog
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    Big Black Dog Gold Member Supporting Member

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    Fossil fuels? If we use up all of our fossils for fuel, what will we look at when we go to the discovery centers?
     
  5. konradv
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    konradv Gold Member

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    Development of fusion power would eliminate the need for any fossils being used for fuels or anything else. The nearly unlimited, cheap power would enable us to make everything we need from resources already available or reusuable without the need for further drilling or mining in environmentally sensitive areas. Contact your representitives and ask them to earmark more money for research. It's the only long term solution. For more info go to:

    ITER - the way to new energy or Department of Energy - Fusion
     
  6. gslack
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    gslack Senior Member

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    Nice try douchebag, why don't you try and read the second post?
     
  7. gslack
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    gslack Senior Member

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    Okay so ethanol is not going to happen yet. Whats left?

    Biodiesel? Well biodiesel already comes with the same problems we get with regular diesel. It requires agents added to it to function in colder climates. These agents are expensive, mostly come from petrochemicals(oil), and producing/using them on the scale required to replace gasoline right now is just not possible. Not to mention it also produces CO2 along with other chemicals or GHG's...

    Also, despite the claims by the media, we cannot produce enough of it to sustain it as a fuel replacement.

    It like ethanol is a an okay supplement, but barring some miracle scientific breakthrough will remain that way.

    Biodiesel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Okay how about Propane? Well propane is a by-product made from oil refining or in smaller amounts, natural gas processing. First it comes from oil refining meaning oil still being drilled for and refined, and second its a BY-PRODUCT, so the kind of production levels required to make it a viable alternate fuel would just be impossible right now. Not to mention inefficient.

    Propane - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    So-called "Clean Coal"? Well this is currently very expensive, and still has not been shown to any scale that would make it viable. And again it is still a fossil fuel which will produce CO2 as well as other GHG's.

    Clean coal - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Electricity? Well again electricity is predominately created by burning fossil fuels such as coal. And one of the big things we want is to reduce the use of fossil fuels. So unless there is a drastic change in the electricity generation infrastructure, this is a no go.

    Also there is a problem with storage of power in the vehicles, and recharging the vehicles takes a very long time. Making it even less viable as far as reliability functionality.

    Electric car - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Okay so we have gone over the largest portion of proposed alternatives and find none of them can fill the needs for fuel we require right now. The facts are simple so far. All the alternatives we have looked at to this point either do not address the problems of Green house gas emissions, do not address the needs of the world well enough, or are either too inefficient, too costly, technologically unattainable currently, or we cannot make the quantities required.

    Well we have one more to examine so let's keep an open mind....

    to be continued.....
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2010
  8. Big Fitz
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    Big Fitz User Quit *****

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    You don't seem to grasp that gasoline will result from any refining process. Why would we bother WASTING it like we did a hundred years ago by dumping it in the river or burning it off as a torch for no purpose? This isn't an option we can just turn off you know.

    Oil truly is a miracle product. It is why all modern life is based off it's acquisition, refinement and use, and why you will never go to an alternative product world with the current level of technology. We're going to need a major leap in materials science and energy storage before we'll free ourselves from oil.
     
  9. Big Fitz
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    Don't forget hydroelectric. What large valleys can we flood for power? Think the Econazis will freak out at the devestation wrought on the habitats? Shit, we can't even build a much needed, low impact bridge because of them.
     
  10. konradv
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    konradv Gold Member

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    Nice try douchebag, why don't you try and read the second post?
    ------------------------------

    If you're going to use the term, at least use it properly. Douchebags are people who point out picky little problems and turn them into big problems. That would make YOUR post a prime example!
     

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