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View Diary: For electric power generation, the end of fossil fuel is in sight (215 comments)

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  •  There remains the problem of transportation. (20+ / 0-)

     It will take a Herculean effort to convert our cars and trucks, etc. to electricity, not impossible of course, but we need the will.
       Also, the power grid has to be brought into the 21st Century first, and at that point, vastly improved.

       There's a lot of work to be done, but if you think about it, that work will allow our economy to boom again.

    "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

    by elwior on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 10:46:22 AM PST

    •  One Small Step, Electric Trolley Buses (16+ / 0-)

      We used to have them in cities all over the country. No battery losses, no track to lay, very easy and quick to implement and flexible to re-route.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 11:21:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not just the matter of converting them (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      oldpotsmuggler, elwior

      but the matter of powering them after that.  This study doesn't seem to have included future increases due to electrical vehicles, and those increases are going to be large.

      We need to get out of our cars already.

      •  jobs move. houses dont. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joieau, elwior

        Stuck with vehicles for awhile.

        The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

        by xxdr zombiexx on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 01:33:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Jobs move, Houses don't (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          So why not move the jobs closer to houses?

          •  It's a chicken and egg situation (1+ / 0-)
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            For many businesses none of their employees live in any one particular location. And even if they did, there's no saying that the business can find an acceptable facility where the people live.  Many businesses are location dependent, too, so they're not free to just up and move where ever they choose. A distribution warehouse,  for instance, has to be near its transportation links, but its employees might be equally distributed in all directions. On the other side of the equation it's not like people can easily pick up an move just because they had to change jobs and their commute has increased dramatically.  I think the cost of transportation is gradually forcing people to more carefully consider where they live, work, and shop, but we're not at a point where people can reliably find work within easy commuting distances.  As it is, people are willing to commute long distances to jobs, which makes it kind of hard for many businesses, even if a business is willing, to move closer to a meaningful percentage of their workers.

        •  GM and EPA (8+ / 0-)

          got a joint patent some years ago on a light transportation diesel engine (cars, 2-axle trucks) designed for 100% biodiesel. Current diesels would have to be retrofitted with different hoses/plastic/rubber components to operate on 50-100%, but that would happen over time if 50-100% were all they could get. Plus attrition on older diesels. After all, Rudolph Diesel invented his engine to run on peanut oil.

          Ships, trains, buses, tractors, combines, EDGs (Emergency Diesel Generators) in hospitals and other facilities, and the totality of our tractor-trailer shipping systems are already diesel. If cars and light trucks were also diesel, transportation wouldn't be an issue in the global climate change debates.

          We'd need a semi-radical new farm bill, though. Based on the raw materials used by producers. But if we weren't growing tens of millions of acres of corn for ethanol, land would be available for the preferred industrial crops. Better yet, that doesn't need to be food crops - they could be industrial crops. Like industrial hemp.

          We can go with most biomass per acre (hemp). Greatest high quality oilseed proportion (hemp). Greatest cellulose proportion as well (hemp) for plastics, paper and textiles. Hemp grows great on marginal land, needs no or very little fertilization (in proper rotation with green manures) or irrigation, and no herbicides because it grows as thickly as bamboo - like a weed!

          •  Renewable (3+ / 0-)
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            Joieau, BYw, elwior

            but not carbon-neutral.  All of these end up BURNING stuff, which doesn't solve the problem of putting carbon in the air.  I'd like to hear more about the loma prieta methods of controlled burning that leave most of the carbon as charcoal which can be plowed under as an excellent soil amendment.

            •  Emissions of a diesel engine 'burning' (1+ / 0-)
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              biologically-based oils have been evaluated. 67% less unburned hydrocarbons, 48% less carbon monoxide, 47% less particulates, 10% less nitrous oxide than petroleum diesel. NO sulfates, 80% less aromatic hydrocarbons, 50% less ozone.

              If biodiesel were combined with hybrid technology, emissions would reduce further. But if somebody comes up with a cleaner transportation engine I wouldn't mind a bit.

              BTW, charcoal isn't that great a soil amendment, cannot be "plowed under" in unlimited quantities without destroying the fertility of the soil. Given our ridiculous burden of coal ash (used for many years as 'inert filler' in agricultural fertilizers thus already "plowed under" as well as filling pits and ponds far and wide at great risk to communities), I'm leery of biomass for electrical generation. There's plenty of heat coming from the sun, if we've got to boil water to generate 'trons, use CSP. But development of kinetic energy sources is far more promising - no burning.

    •  Transportation is a secondary factor (13+ / 0-)

      Power plants are the single largest source of greenhouse gasses.  While vehicle tailpipe emissions are still significant,  power plants should be our first concern.

      Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

      by 6412093 on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 12:01:35 PM PST

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    •  See the posts starting 2 posts above yours (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, Calamity Jean

      From Liquid Metal Batteries. Something like those or Super batteries or graphine based Supercapacitor might make it happen much sooner than you think. Those power storage sources may do the all the Herculean lifting that we need.

      Besides, more renewable solar sources can lessen the need for a grid through decentralized power where excess goes back to the grid.

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