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Correcting the record on Obama #2

By iwog   2012 Mar 24, 6:16am   12,747 views   112 comments   watch (0)   quote      

This one is particularly lame considering how hard Republicans are pushing this misinformation. Here's the argument:

Newscorp and Clear Channel: Obama is responsible for oil going up because he refused to open up new drilling and is ordering the EPA to squash production.

Reality: I'll just let the graphs do all the talking.

Looks like Bush is the one responsible for the oil crisis:

Drill baby drill

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/10/14/energy-oil-rigs-idUKN1E79D11420111014

#politics

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73   leo707     2012 Mar 26, 11:02am  ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike   quote    

iwog says

Civilization ends when all new energy sources on this graph approach 1, and all the old energy sources are depleted. This is not an exaggeration.

Come now iwog, this is getting a touch melodramatic.

Civilization existed before "cheap" energy and will continue after. Of course though civilization as we know it will end.

Great graph, BTW, it illustrates perfectly what I have tried communicating to people who think that solar and biodiesel are going to easily replace oil and coal.

74   EBGuy     2012 Mar 26, 11:16am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

Great graph, BTW, it illustrates perfectly what I have tried communicating to people who think that solar and biodiesel are going to easily replace oil and coal.
Yes, it must be very difficult to do. Oh wait, I just did that very thing in my household. Okay, I admit, YMMV (and I do get the larger point). But bear in mind, these are renewable energy streams.

75   freak80     2012 Mar 26, 12:07pm  ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike   quote    

leoj707 says

Civilization existed before "cheap" energy and will continue after. Of course though civilization as we know it will end.

True. But it is a civilization much like that of the Amish. Nasty, brutish, and short. And thus deeply religious ("the meaning of life MUST exist in the hereafter because the here-and-now is so awful")

76   freak80     2012 Mar 26, 12:29pm  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

iwog says

That's pretty much what's already happening in Canada where huge volumes of natural gas are being sacrificed to wash oil out of the oil sands.

True. What's so bad about that though? As they say "the market is always right."

One piece of this puzzle: natural gas is more difficult to transport to global markets than oil. LNG terminals and special ships are required. Also, oil is used for much more than just energy: petrochemicals, plastics, asphalt, fertilizer, etc etc.

Maybe those facts help explain the price differential. If the issue was *only* about energy, the price differential probably wouldn't be there to begin with.

77   edvard2     2012 Mar 26, 12:51pm  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

I remember listening to the radio a few weeks ago and these days the US is having what amounts to a new oil boom, thanks in many ways to newer oil extraction techniques- like fracking and horizontal drilling. There is even some speculation that by 2020 we could wind up being either one of the or "the" largest energy producer in the world.

Now... something that is interesting is that we also have a LOT of natural gas. 200 years worth of the stuff. That has a few implications. First of all, it could mean cleaner electrical generation plants. That translates to cleaner electricity. One of the false fronts folks on the right like to counter electric cars with is the claim that if we switch to electric cars... why then we would burn more coal and that would pollute more. But what if it was natural gas? Then you would have electric cars powered from clean electrical generation sources. On top of that, natural gas powered cars have been around forever. That too is an option.

But either way, I believe the right is going to have a difficult time trying to keep using the " Drill baby drill!" statement since we already are and doing so on a massive and very productive scale.

78   freak80     2012 Mar 26, 1:27pm  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

edvard2 says

First of all, it could mean cleaner electrical generation plants. That translates to cleaner electricity.

True. But try burning coal in your car...unless you have a steam powered car! And try cleaning up the emissions from your coal-powered car. It's easier to put pollution controls on large stationary sources (like power plants) than cars.

I'd rather save the natural gas for transportation. But as they say, "the market is always right." At least until the gummint steps in. ;-)

79   edvard2     2012 Mar 26, 1:39pm  ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike   quote    

wthrfrk80 says

True. But try burning coal in your car...unless you have a steam powered car! And try cleaning up the emissions from your coal-powered car. It's easier to put pollution controls on large stationary sources (like power plants) than cars.

What I was talking about was the use of natural gas as a means to power electrical plants, which then would mean cleaner power generation thus removing the argument that electric cars means more burning of coal.

That said, I grew up around 10 miles from an enormous coal plant. It had a very tall stack that I'm guessing was at least 500 feet tall. The stack had layer upon layer of various scrubbers so that you didn't actually see anything coming out of the top unless it was winter, in which case it was condensation. We were told the plant was very clean. It at least looked clean.

80   thomas.wong1986     2012 Mar 26, 1:55pm  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

edvard2 says

But what if it was natural gas? Then you would have electric cars powered from clean electrical generation sources. On top of that, natural gas powered cars have been around forever. That too is an option.

Yes, for local city and county natural gas vehicles and public transit would be a great market to implement.

and certainly eletrical sources have already been around and used for decades...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Francisco_Municipal_Railway

"Muni operates about 1,000 vehicles: diesel, electric, and hybrid electric transit buses, light rail vehicles, streetcars, historic streetcars, and cable cars. Many buses are diesel-powered, but more than 300 are zero emissions trolleybuses powered by overhead electrical wires. The electricity to run all of Muni's trolleybuses and streetcars comes from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park.[59]

In 2006, Muni purchased 86 hybrid electric transit buses from Orion Bus Industries that are diesel-fueled but feature lower emissions and 19% reduced fuel consumption"

81   thomas.wong1986     2012 Mar 26, 2:02pm  ↑ like   ↓ dislike (1)   quote    

edvard2 says

But either way, I believe the right is going to have a difficult time trying to keep using the " Drill baby drill!" statement since we already are and doing so on a massive and very productive scale.

We should set an agenda to use our own fuel for next several decades and implement a much broader plan for +100 years to include all other sources of energy.

The question is what do we do NOW ?

So yes today and for decades to come. Drill Baby Drill is really your only option! You have no other solution on a broad based consumer scale. Hopeing someone somewhere will have a miracle solution tomorrow is like hopeing for AIDS cure to be found next month. It just isnt gonna happen....

82   freak80     2012 Mar 26, 2:16pm  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

edvard2 says

What I was talking about was the use of natural gas as a means to power electrical plants, which then would mean cleaner power generation thus removing the argument that electric cars means more burning of coal.

Yep I get it. But it's probably more efficient to just burn the natural gas directly in your car rather than at a power plant, right?

Option one: convert natural gas to mechanical energy in your NGV

Option two: convert natural gas to mechanical energy in a power plant, convert mechanical energy to electricity w/ a generator, convert the electricity into chemical energy in a battery, convert the chemical energy back into electricity, and convert the electricity back into mechanical energy with the electric motor in your electric car. Yikes! ;-) None of those steps can the energy conversion happen with 100% efficiency. And don't forget the time it takes to charge the battery.

83   marcus   670/674 = 99% civil   2012 Mar 26, 3:32pm  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

wthrfrk80 says

But it's probably more efficient

Maybe, but I don't know that the turbines in the power plant aren't far more efficient than the engine in the car. Economies of scale ? I'm not arguing that I know you're wrong, but just that I don't see that more steps in the process guarantees less efficient use of the natural gas.

Definitely would have to be cheaper though. To use it directly that is.

84   freak80     2012 Mar 26, 6:19pm  ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike   quote    

marcus says

Maybe, but I don't know that the turbines in the power plant aren't far more efficient than the engine in the car.

Combined cycle plants can reach a thermal efficiency of 60%. I don't think that includes the losses involved in converting the shaft power into electrical power via the generator. You're right, it's much better than most car/truck engines which are about 30% efficient (at best). But then you still have the inefficiencies involved with the battery and vehicle electric motor.

It'd be interesting to see a direct comparison of the "well to wheel" efficiencies of the two options. I'm sure someone somewhere has worked it out.

85   edvard2     2012 Mar 27, 12:55am  ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike   quote    

thomas.wong1986 says

So yes today and for decades to come. Drill Baby Drill is really your only option! You have no other solution on a broad based consumer scale. Hopeing someone somewhere will have a miracle solution tomorrow is like hopeing for AIDS cure to be found next month. It just isnt gonna happen..

There has been a dramatic improvement in just the last 10 years in the development of alternative energy sources. On top of that the costs have come down dramatically. Solar panels used to be insanely expensive. Now they're a fraction of the cost that they were just a few years ago. Many will now operate even on cloudy days. Biofuels derived from algae is coming along. More efficient hydrogen fuel cells make it possible for some of the current drivetrains to operate for 250-300 miles between refueling.

Are any of these solutions yet at a stage where they can replace fossil fuels entirely? No. But given that we apparently seem to have an abundant supply of fossil fuels it would be prudent to use the time we have bought as a result to further develop these alternative sources so that when the day comes ( which it eventually will) we will have a backup plan.

86   marcus   670/674 = 99% civil   2012 Mar 27, 2:15am  ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike   quote    

edvard2 says

But given that we apparently seem to have an abundant supply of fossil fuels it would be prudent to use the time we have bought as a result to further develop these alternative sources so that when the day comes ( which it eventually will) we will have a backup plan.

Or do we need to move in this direction sooner because of climate change ?

87   leo707     2012 Mar 27, 2:43am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

marcus says

Or do we need to move in this direction sooner because of climate change ?

Sooner as in we should have done this by 2000. I think that our current momentum is such that the negative effects of climate change is inevitable. Maybe if we switched off fossil fuels tomorrow, but that is not going to happen for both logistical and political reasons.

88   leo707     2012 Mar 27, 2:50am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

edvard2 says

Solar panels used to be insanely expensive. Now they're a fraction of the cost that they were just a few years ago. Many will now operate even on cloudy days. Biofuels derived from algae is coming along. More efficient hydrogen fuel cells make it possible for some of the current drivetrains to operate for 250-300 miles between refueling.

However, none of these things are going to ever be as efficient as oil and coal (see iwogs graph). There may be some breakthrough energy -- dilithium crystals? -- source, but I am not going to hold my breath. The era of cheap energy will probably come to a close before our children are middle aged.

edvard2 says

But given that we apparently seem to have an abundant supply of fossil fuels it would be prudent to use the time we have bought as a result to further develop these alternative sources so that when the day comes ( which it eventually will) we will have a backup plan.

Yeah, I totally agree with this. I think that we are foolishly using the cheap energy that we have remaining. I of course am also guilty in this as well.

89   YesYNot   1058/1059 = 99% civil   2012 Mar 27, 3:12am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

iwog - that murphy and hall chart should be re-scaled to be energy return on energy extracted. They went out of their way to make conventional oil look much better than it is. It takes more fossil energy extraction to make a MJ of conventional oil than it takes to make a MJ of ethanol from corn. Murphy and hall simply exclude the energy extracted from the denominator.

90   iwog   1500/1501 = 99% civil   2012 Mar 27, 3:44am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

YesYNot says

iwog - that murphy and hall chart should be re-scaled to be energy return on energy extracted. They went out of their way to make conventional oil look much better than it is. It takes more fossil energy extraction to make a MJ of conventional oil than it takes to make a MJ of ethanol from corn. Murphy and hall simply exclude the energy extracted from the denominator.

Actually corn ethanol has one of the worst EROEI of any fuel once all the inputs are calculated. Tax policy to encourage ethanol was ill advised and most likely due to corruption instead of a sincere desire for energy independence.

Energy inputs for corn are fertilizer, water, cultivation machinery, depletion of soil, harvest costs, fermentation costs, and delivery costs. Estimates vary, but they are horrible compared to oil and generally hover around 1:1. Ethanol is not the future, it's a dangerous diversion.

http://netenergy.theoildrum.com/node/6760

91   EBGuy     2012 Mar 27, 4:42am  ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike   quote    

@wthrfrk80
Option Three: burn (combust) natural gas using a small efficient engine in your home to generate electricity. Use the thermal energy to heat water and your home. Like this. Slap some solar panels onto your roof to charge your EV and become your own power plant.

92   YesYNot   1058/1059 = 99% civil   2012 Mar 27, 4:57am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

I'm not saying the corn ethanol is a good way to go. Just stating that even if you pick a bottom of the barrel alternative energy like corn ethanol, it looks better than oil from a natural resource extraction perspective. Most estimates for oil extraction, shipping, and refining are that it takes between 1.1 and 1.2 MJ of oil extracted per MJ of refined product. 1 MJ goes into the product and 0.1 to 0.2 are used to extract, transport, and refine it. If you calculate an energy return on energy extracted, that would be 1/1.1 = 0.91. If you calculate an energy return on energy investment using Murphy's method, it is 1 / 0.1 = 10. If you calculate the energy return on energy extracted for ethanol, it is typically around 1.1 MJ produced / MJ extracted. From that perspective, 1.1 is better than 0.9. If you are worried about running out of oil, the energy extracted (depletion of reserves) is the important aspect. It is the other problems with farming corn that cause a real problem. These are eutrophication, land use & associated food costs, destruction of rain forest & the global warming it causes, and waste of phosphorus, which is limited and necessary to feed the world.
There are other biomass options. Corn was picked in the US due to lobbying pressure. I do hope that we do not lose the political options of exploring better biomass options due to the issues with corn.

93   iwog   1500/1501 = 99% civil   2012 Mar 27, 5:14am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

YesYNot says

1.1 and 1.2 MJ of oil extracted per MJ of refined product. 1 MJ goes into the product and 0.1 to 0.2 are used to extract, transport, and refine it. If you calculate an energy return on energy extracted, that would be 1/1.1 = 0.91. If you calculate an energy return on energy investment using Murphy's method, it is 1 / 0.1 = 10. If you calculate the energy return on energy extracted for ethanol, it is typically around 1.1 MJ produced / MJ extracted. From that perspective, 1.1 is better than 0.9.

I simply don't believe any of those numbers. You can't sustain energy production on .91, especially on a global scale over decades. How did you determine it takes 1.2MJ of energy to produce 1MJ of oil?

You're basically saying it takes 10 barrels of oil energy to produce 9 barrels of oil. My example with natural gas applies today, but it didn't apply 3 years ago when natural gas prices were higher than gasoline. If you were correct, all oil production would have terminated in 2009 because it would have bankrupted the oil companies. There's a fatal flaw in your calculations.

94   edvard2     2012 Mar 27, 5:19am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

marcus says

Or do we need to move in this direction sooner because of climate change ?

Ideally... yes. While I have a fairly liberal stance on energy, the reality is that energy usage will only change when the form of energy used is profitable, and easily accessible and as of now coal and crude as well as natural gas are cheap. Luckily alternative forms are becoming cheaper and there are also many people willing to pay for a premium in order to gain access to those options. I know more than a few people who are powering their homes fairly heavily with solar, which is as of even now a very costly endeavor.

Another thing that is significant and seemingly under the radar is the improvements in internal combustion technology. There are cars like the Chevy Cruze ( on my list as a possible next car) that have fairly peppy 4 banger engines that in some cases are getting 40-45MPG, which is actually about the same as some hybrids. I drove one of these and the car is actually pretty fast. Not at all like the awful sluggish econo-car 4-bangers of yore. There are also full sized trucks that are getting 20-25MPG which used to be 4-banger economy just 10-15 years ago. 15 years ago you'd be lucky to get 12 MPG out of a full size truck. That change is incredibly significant. If that is the course of things to come then it means overall drastically less fuel usage overall.

95   YesYNot   1058/1059 = 99% civil   2012 Mar 27, 5:29am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

iwog says

How did you determine it takes 1.2MJ of energy to produce 1MJ of oil?

If you re-read my quote, I stated that 0.1 to 0.2 MJ of oil were used (combusted) to run the pumps to extract oil, power the ships to transport it from the middle east or south america, and to power the refineries. So to get 1 MJ of gasoline in your car you have to take that MJ of oil out of the ground. You also have to take another 0.1 to 0.2 MJ out of the ground to process it. So on the optimistic side, you have to extract 1.1 MJ of oil to produce 1 MJ of gasoline. Meanwhile, you extract less than 1 MJ of fossil fuels to produce 1 MJ of ethanol from corn.

This does not bankrupt the oil companies, because oil in the ground is free assuming you own the well.

96   iwog   1500/1501 = 99% civil   2012 Mar 27, 9:22pm  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

YesYNot says

So to get 1 MJ of gasoline in your car you have to take that MJ of oil out of the ground. You also have to take another 0.1 to 0.2 MJ out of the ground to process it. So on the optimistic side, you have to extract 1.1 MJ of oil to produce 1 MJ of gasoline. Meanwhile, you extract less than 1 MJ of fossil fuels to produce 1 MJ of ethanol from corn.

I'm not sure what this is but it's not EROEI.

If you extract 1.1MJ of oil and net 1MJ of gasoline, it means your energy cost of production is .1MJ and the EROEI is 10.

If it takes .9MJ of fossil fuels to produce 1MJ of ethanol, you have an EROEI of 10:9 or 1.11

This means oil production is 10 times more efficient than ethanol production, in fact ethanol production is a huge waste in both resources and pollution. Again I'd like to know the source of your numbers because I've never heard anything like this before.

97   marcus   670/674 = 99% civil   2012 Mar 27, 11:49pm  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

edvard2 says

the reality is that energy usage will only change when the form of energy used is profitable

government can expedite us getting there by subsidizing the development and use of alternative energy. Obviously politics and corruption can get in the way of this being done well. But because of the importance of clean energy it seems like a very worthwhile reason for subsidies. Better than spending infinite sums on protracted wars that can't be won.

98   YesYNot   1058/1059 = 99% civil   2012 Mar 27, 11:58pm  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

iwog says

If you extract 1.1MJ of oil and net 1MJ of gasoline, it means your energy cost of production is .1MJ and the EROEI is 10.

If it takes .9MJ of fossil fuels to produce 1MJ of ethanol, you have an EROEI of 10:9 or 1.11

This means oil production is 10 times more efficient than ethanol production

Iwog, Let's say you had 11 gallons of gasoline in a barrel in your garage, and you could pump it into your car, but in the process you spilled 1 gallon on the ground. Assuming you got 25 mpg, you could drive 250 miles. You would be very happy, because you knew that you had an EROI of 10, and a very efficient process.

Let's say that I also have 11 gallons of gasoline in my garage. I pump it into my backyard device, which converts each 1 gallon of gasoline and some sunlight into two gallons equivalents of ethanol. In the process, I spill a gallon on the ground, so only 10 gallons make it into my device. However, I now have 20 gallon equivalents of ethanol to put in my car. I get to drive 500 miles, so I am very happy.

My EROEI was only 1.8, because it took 11 gallons to make 20 gallon equivalents. Would you be happy with your 250 miles knowing that your EROEI was so much superior to mine or would you ask about my backyard device?

Corn Ethanol is a similar device, but instead of making 2 energy equivalents for 1 energy input, it is somewhere between 0.8 and 1.5. Most of the discrepancies are based on accounting systems rather than statistical variations in measurements, and understandable to those who take enough time to understand the literature. I agree that it is not good enough, and we need to keep looking. However, you and Murphy should use a more appropriate denominator when discussing effective use of finite resources.

I can get you a reference list, but it is not needed. You could put in 10.2 gallons instead of 11 in the analogy above. Your EROEI in that case would be 50 and mine would be 2, but you would still only go 250 miles. I would still go 500.

99   iwog   1500/1501 = 99% civil   2012 Mar 28, 2:22am  ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike   quote    

Example 1: One gallon expended to aquire 10 gallons.
Example 2: Eleven gallons expended to aquire 20 gallons.

Example 1: A cost of 10 gallons will aquire 100 gallons of fuel.
Example 2: A cost of 10 gallons will aquire 18 gallons of fuel.

You're confusing the issue by saying "You just have 11 gallons of gasoline in your garage", however taking your gas to a magic sunlight machine and taking your gas to a magic hole in the ground where oil is stored are equivalents.

100   leo707     2012 Mar 28, 2:44am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

iwog says

You're confusing the issue by saying "You just have 11 gallons of gasoline in your garage",

Yeah, you pretty much nailed it. The math is wrong.

101   TwoScoopsMcGee   1217/1217 = 100% civil   2012 Mar 28, 2:56am  ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike   quote    

The Ethanol process requires:

Oil to make fertilizer
Oil to transport the fertilizer to the corn field
Oil to spread the fertilizer onto the corn field
More Oil to spread the seed onto the corn field
More Oil to harvest the corn off the field.
Oil to deliver the corn to the silo
Oil to deliver the corn from the silo to the refinery
Oil to deliver chemicals to the refinery
Oil to deliver commuting laborers to the refinery
Oil to power the refinery and make the ethanol.
Oil to transport the ethanol to distribution points.

and of course... Wealth Transfers (subsidies) to Commodity Agriculture to make the turning of grassland into cornfields with all these inputs, without which this whole process would be very uneconomic.

102   YesYNot   1058/1059 = 99% civil   2012 Mar 28, 3:25am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

iwog says

You're confusing the issue by saying "You just have 11 gallons of gasoline in your garage", however taking your gas to a magic sunlight machine and taking your gas to a magic hole in the ground where oil is stored are equivalents.

These are only equivalent if you assume that oil is infinite. Oil, and particularly the stuff that is easy to get, is finite, as evidenced by it's price. Sunlight is free and comes back every year. You do need land to access though.

Let's use real examples.
The US has an estimated 21 billion barrels of oil according to EIA.
http://www.eia.gov/oil_gas/natural_gas/data_publications/crude_oil_natural_gas_reserves/cr.html
So, at a daily US consumption rate of 20 million barrels, we have about 1000 days or 3 yrs of consumption in proven reserves in the US. So, if we could not import oil and we did not find any more (obviously poor assumptions), we would run out of oil in 3 yrs at current consumption.

Now, lets say that the EROI on ethanol is 1.5 (optimistic). Then, the country could get 30 million barrels of energy out of the 20 million barrels of oil. Or, we could just use the 20 million barrels of oil as is. Which would you prefer?

103   Honest Abe     2012 Mar 28, 3:29am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike (1)   quote    

Thunderlips, good job! But as good and as clear as your post is, you probably forgot a step or two which would make the outcome even worse.

AND, while the cornfields are being used to make fuel, they CAN'T be used to make food. So it turns out to be a double negative...which is just about right for liberal mathematics.

104   YesYNot   1058/1059 = 99% civil   2012 Mar 28, 3:36am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

thunderlips11 says

The Ethanol process requires:

Oil to make fertilizer

Oil to transport the fertilizer to the corn field

Oil to spread the fertilizer onto the corn field

More Oil to spread the seed onto the corn field

More Oil to harvest the corn off the field.

Oil to deliver the corn to the silo

Oil to deliver the corn from the silo to the refinery

Oil to deliver chemicals to the refinery

Oil to deliver commuting laborers to the refinery

Oil to power the refinery and make the ethanol.

Oil to transport the ethanol to distribution points.

and of course... Wealth Transfers (subsidies) to Commodity Agriculture to make the turning of grassland into cornfields with all these inputs, without which this whole process would be very uneconomic.

Homo Economicus. A Legendary Creature, like Bigfoot, claimed to exist by Pseudoscientists.

Fertilizer uses primarily gas, not oil. Otherwise, that is about correct. And when you add all of those up, the oil that is extracted to drive a mile is less than if you use conventional gasoline.

105   iwog   1500/1501 = 99% civil   2012 Mar 28, 4:11am  ↑ like (3)   ↓ dislike   quote    

YesYNot says

These are only equivalent if you assume that oil is infinite. Oil, and particularly the stuff that is easy to get, is finite, as evidenced by it's price.

This is an entirely different issue from EROEI calculations. Corn is renewable, however it uses nearly as much fossil fuel to produce as it returns in energy. Therefore it is a huge waste of resources.

Extracting oil from a well might be temporary, but you can be assured that if you spend 1 barrel of oil, you'll get back 10 or 20.

The reason I brought up EROEI was because Canada is operating at the margins of sustainable EROEI. As the pits get deeper, and the ecological damage gets more significant, the energy returned is going to drop to the point where it would be more prudent to simply burn the natural gas instead of using it to wash oil droplets off of grains of sand.

The fact that we actually rely on this oil shows just how far down the road to collapse we've traveled. There WILL be billions of barrels of both Canadian and United States oil left in the ground forever. The laws of thermodynamics guarantee it.

106   YesYNot   1058/1059 = 99% civil   2012 Mar 28, 4:36am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

Well, we agree that there will be a ton of oil left in the ground. The oil you are talking about that is so efficiently extracted is done with primary extraction methods. These only recover 15 to 25% of the oil in a good well.

Much of the oil coming out now is using secondary methods, like injection of water or co2.

Getting at the oil sands is classified as a tertiary method.

You can pretty much exclude 50% of the oil that was originally in the ground (much more than half of what is left) from the discussion at the moment, because it is not coming out any time soon. Corn ethanol is not good enough to be the solution, but each gallon that is made and used as a fuel decreases the consumption of these cheap oil reserves.

107   EBGuy     2012 Mar 28, 4:42am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

The paper I usually use for corn ethanol is this one from Berkeley which takes data from several different studies into account. As you can see, corn ethanol takes a limited amount of petroleum; the major fossil fuel inputs are (domestic!) natural gas and coal, the largest input used for generating electricity. There are some green house gas emission reductions (due to the 'renewable' portion of energy captured by corn), but they are limited given an EROEI of around 1.3. I'm certainly no great defender of corn ethanol (more of a biodiesel guy), but there is a lot of misinformation on this thread.

108   YesYNot   1058/1059 = 99% civil   2012 Mar 28, 5:23am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

And for those who do not follow simple mathematical arguments, you can look at the fossil inputs for corn 0.77MJ fossil extracted / MJ fuel compared to those for conventional gasoline 1.19 MJ fossil extracted / MJ fuel from the Science article that EBGuy cited.

109   thomas.wong1986     2012 Mar 28, 9:37am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

Ethanol yield (gallons/acre) for sugar cane under good tropical conditions is double that for corn

http://www.cleanandgreenfuel.com/WhySugarCaneandnotCorn.asp

110   freak80     2012 Mar 28, 10:06am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

leoj707 says

Sooner as in we should have done this by 2000. I think that our current momentum is such that the negative effects of climate change is inevitable. Maybe if we switched off fossil fuels tomorrow, but that is not going to happen for both logistical and political reasons.

There's a reason we haven't done this yet. It's not possible...yet.
See: http://www.withouthotair.com/

It's not a big conspiracy by Big Oil or Big Coal. Just like global warming isn't a big conspiracy by greenies.

111   freak80     2012 Mar 28, 10:14am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

iwog says

Tax policy to encourage ethanol was ill advised and most likely due to corruption instead of a sincere desire for energy independence.

God Bless America.

112   freak80     2012 Mar 28, 10:17am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

EBGuy says

@wthrfrk80
Option Three: burn (combust) natural gas using a small efficient engine in your home to generate electricity. Use the thermal energy to heat water and your home. Like this. Slap some solar panels onto your roof to charge your EV and become your own power plant.

Like it! +1.

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