Alternative energy sources... which are best to support?

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posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 04:40 PM
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I would like to start this thread to discuss the many alternative /sustainable energy methods presently available and soon to be available, as well as the practical institution of use.

I believe there are already threads dealing with hypothetical energy sources, so lets stick with presently studied or released methods and practicality of use.

solar energy
wind power
hydroelectric
geothermal
fuel cell
hydrogen
methane
natural gas
coal
biofuel (including biodiesel)

each costs money "per watt" but some can generate power with just light maitenance after construction, so energy cost will drop after introduction.
some cost money to produce, and use...

with so may other options, and each benefiting from decreased cost with increased production, which ones would be the best to devote future grants and public funds to help push?

my thoughts are solar and wind, due to the minimal effects on the environment to use. All others have some sort of discharge into the environment. Also consider the discharge of factorys that produce the energy products (solar cells require many chemicals that are not so freindly)
wind power kills birds (only the stupid ones)
and so forth...

here is a link that lists all the options, and some of the benefits and deficits to each...alternative and sustainable energy

hopefully our governments will start to switch to a non oil based economy and become more energy independant. Funding is available to push a few of these into cost effective production,
but which ones?




posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 04:56 PM
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Originally posted by LazarusTheLong
my thoughts are solar and wind, due to the minimal effects on the environment to use.


Well, two things to consider about solar and wind:

SOLAR - Takes up a large amount of land, less sun = less power (so it couldn't be used in several places), and from what I understand, the panels themselves are toxic to the environment. Used in enough places, it could conceivably disrupt weather patterns due to abnormally high concentrations of heat.

WIND - Takes up HUGE amounts of land to be effective, displacing large sectors of ecosystems, is very susceptable to damage by birds and weather. Is a bit of an eyesore, and would need constant maintenance and replacements.

Unfortunately, most alternative fuels are presently like this. There's no free meal ticket (not that I'm implying you said there was). Rather, our energy needs cannot be met with existing technology, and I'm not sure Wind and Sunlight will do the trick.

From what I've seen of the direction, funding, and abundance, my money is on Hydrogen being the next big energy source. More later... Great thread!



posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 05:04 PM
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From what I've seen of the direction, funding, and abundance, my money is on Hydrogen being the next big energy source


H2 is not an energy source, it's more like an energy storage medium.



SOLAR - Takes up a large amount of land, less sun = less power (so it couldn't be used in several places), and from what I understand, the panels themselves are toxic to the environment. Used in enough places, it could conceivably disrupt weather patterns due to abnormally high concentrations of heat.


There is new Metallic Solar panels out now, check out this link and watch the third video


www.pbs.org...

Enjoy



posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 05:13 PM
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The problem with alternative energy use is simple: change.

People don't want anyone taking away they're wubby, comfy bunky that they like to hold and rub on. They'd rather have the same old high prices, squeeze your own gas, pay stupid amounts to the electric company....people, when asked to think about a different way have to actually change the electrical patterns in their brains and this in fact hurts.

On the other hand, the big wallop will hurt when folks decide that they have to live out of refrigerator boxes instead of paying for the change over.

Slowly, but surely, the United States is slipping from the top-most ranks of the first world countries and it is due to greed and the uncontrolled capitalism that has left rotten the foundation of our society.

Don't get me wrong, capitalism is a powerful force that our country needs and should harness, but we need to control it.

The "why can't" here has a lot to do with profit taking in the short term. The "why not" should be asked more often and faster. We're headed to a new era, so either you're on your rear-end looking backward or on your feet walking forward.



posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 05:17 PM
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Hydrogen, in my opinion, is the most likely candidate for a new energy source. It has great potential. However, we must find a way to refine the hydrogen to make it cost effective, as it is not at the moment; more energy is lost by our methods than we acquire.



posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 05:21 PM
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I think very much so that this link(s) might prove most informative to all of us:
Alternatives to Oil, Energy Efficiency, and Oil Wars, Page Two

Life After the Oil Crash

Even Bush is well aware of this when he said:


Not surprisingly, George W. Bush has echoed Dick Cheney’s sentiments. In May 2001, Bush stated, "What people need to hear loud and clear is that we’re running out of energy in America.







seekerof

[edit on 6-4-2005 by Seekerof]



posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 06:13 PM
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www.feasta.org...

It looks like the best bet is to have a local refinery (a biodiesel refinery costs about 3k) but you have to have some form of vegetable oil and methane to make it.

Germany has proven that solar can be made effective even at inefficient lattitudes. (but it's government helped subsidize it)

A combination of wind and solar, with biodiesel generator as a back up

build a society rather than an economy- if you use local resouces to meet community needs- and produce food and clothing locally-


www.feast.org... Primer on sustainability and that ugly word that most Americans can't fathom-socialism


[edit on 6-4-2005 by accountability]


pao

posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 06:25 PM
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i vote hydrogen.
maybe solar power?

whatever the case may be, we need to start working on it ASAP



posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 07:37 PM
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In my opinion, we should begin to build new nuclear fission power plants. New engineering designs make them much safer and there's really not any other viable clean solution on the horizon.

[edit on 4/6/2005 by djohnsto77]



posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 07:45 PM
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[


b]WIND - Takes up HUGE amounts of land to be effective, displacing large sectors of ecosystems, is very susceptable to damage by birds and weather. Is a bit of an eyesore, and would need constant maintenance and replacements.
Are you sure it takes up large amounts of land? I know a group here in Michigan that has prospected (mapped and tracked) the wind speed of areas of the Great Lakes and Eastern Rockies at a height of 100ft. The winds at that height are 7.4 to 11 m/s on average that high up. One 600 kW wind turbine can produce conservetively 1,467,328 kW-h. This is based on actual data of 8,283 hours (94.5% of a year). Municipalities are looking into this technology to power their government and school buildings and selling the excess energy back into the grid. I am no expert and would like to here from others on this. The Company is Alternate Energy Solutions Inc. It sounded very interesting to say the least.



posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 07:50 PM
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Unfortunately, I think it's a little late to think about alternative energy. I don't think it could replace fossil fuels in time to make a difference, particularly in transportation. Too little, too late. Nuclear and hydro power might be able to take up the slack on the grid, but cars, trucks, places, boats...

DE



posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 08:00 PM
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Originally posted by djohnsto77
In my opinion, we should begin to build new nuclear fission power plants. New engineering designs make them much safer and there's really not any other viable clean solution on the horizon.


- It doesn't really matter what the supposed 'appeal' of nuclear power is, the public - the world over - hate it, quite rightly do not trust it and simply insist that we find something else.

Sorry but that really is the end of it, there is no point in 'yes, buts...' the public don't want it and what comes with it.

My own view is that a combination of wind, wave and solar power together with a far greater efficiencies, awareness and much more aggressive conservation strategies will ultimately be the path that is followed.

IMO the sooner we start putting the kind of level of investment nuclear power has previously had into the alternative sources the sooner they will prove capable of meeting the need we have.



posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 08:00 PM
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What about pressure from gravity? We do have an endless supply.

How you ask? Two large contained cylinders filled with hydraulic fluid, inside at the top is a large plunger weight. As this weight slowly falls by pressing the fluid through a hose into opposing cylinder motion is created to shaft cylinders are attached to, when cylinder is about empty the cylinder sets off balance flips and the process repeats to next cylinder.

I can't give you the drawn plans or show you the working model because.... Well because of conspiracy.
You only get a few RPH but the torque is the player in this design.



posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 08:15 PM
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Many good points.
particularly the first link from seekerof.
It points out oil is a more powerful energy producing method than any other.
which means that big energy users(industry) will be the last to give in.

Whatever we switch to, it needs to be sooner rather than later.
we cant really continue to use the fuel we have now, due to the need of it in the future (it would make a great backup source).

Change will be difficult. what is interesting though is that gas has remained cheap all these years. If it was equated to any other commodity, it would be three times what it costs.
Some of that is the natural process of industry building.
The introduction years are always the most expensive.

Any method we choose to develop will become much cheaper thru evolution of operation.
We do need to start using wind and solar in rural areas, so that the density of the solar acreage and danger to birds is not high. Many people dont know how easy it is to convert a house to an efficient comfortable space. No compromise of lifestyle neccessary, just a new bank loan to pay, instead of an electricity bill.

Local integration of biodeisel generators is a realistic option.
Basically, we can break down the usage of "oil fuel" energy production to mainly Industry, while every other segment of population can start to find other options.

The reason i say this, is Big Oil is powerful, and they will need a concession to allow development of other fuels, and energy production. (just look at patents for alternative energy sources. big oil owns many). And industrial giants might support a fuel cell energy generator for PR purposes, but most others will still want a cheap alternative. The good news is, that once the civilian population accepts and adopts energy alternatives, the costs will have decreased considerably.

I would like to use the ideas generated on this thread for an open letter to all of the senate and house members. Perhaps if enough PR can be stirred, This could end up as a suggestion form for introducing a related bill. I think everyone could appreciate an America that uses less oil, and produces no less electricity
AND develops for its own use and export new cheaper alternative energy sources...
be they biodiesel, wind generators, solar cells (there is quite a buying spree for american solar cells right now) or whatever we come up with.

djohnsto77 I agree that the new nuclear reactors are much better than the old ones, but we still havent figured out how to get rid of the radiotive material we have right now, much less the small amount more that the new plants would generate. zerosum... the point is to put money where it will do the most good over the long haul... not just another stopgap...
I think we leave nuclear out unless it is a non waste producing design.



[edit on 6-4-2005 by LazarusTheLong]



posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 08:24 PM
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Originally posted by Lanotom
What about pressure from gravity? We do have an endless supply.

How you ask? Two large contained cylinders filled with hydraulic fluid, inside at the top is a large plunger weight. As this weight slowly falls by pressing the fluid through a hose into opposing cylinder motion is created to shaft cylinders are attached to, when cylinder is about empty the cylinder sets off balance flips and the process repeats to next cylinder.

I can't give you the drawn plans or show you the working model because.... Well because of conspiracy.
You only get a few RPH but the torque is the player in this design.




I am up for hearing about any of the "perpetual motion" deals that can be shown... I have had some notions myself, ones that have already been integrated into the new hybrid vehicles...(charging the battery from the braking motion. this is a practiced science, and is actually the main force behind wave, hydroelectic, and some other processes.



posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 08:26 PM
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www.aesmichigan.com...

This is the website of the company that I was speaking of here in Michigan.



posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 08:47 PM
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Originally posted by djohnsto77
In my opinion, we should begin to build new nuclear fission power plants. New engineering designs make them much safer and there's really not any other viable clean solution on the horizon.


I thought the same till I read this:


Uranium supply issues aside, a large scale switch over to nuclear power is not really an option for an economy that requires as much energy as ours does. It would take 10,000 of the largest nuclear power plants to produce the energy we get from fossil fuels. At $3-5 billion per plant, it's not long before we're talking about "real money" - especially since the $3-5 billion doesn't even include the cost of decommissioning old reactors, converting the nuclear generated energy into a fuel source appropriate for cars, boats, trucks, airplanes, and the not-so-minor problem of handling nuclear waste.

Speaking of nuclear waste, it is a question nobody has quite answered yet. This is especially the case in countries such as China and Russia, where safety protocols are unlikely to be strictly adhered to if the surrounding economy is in the midst of a desperate energy shortage.

Life After the Oil Crash





seekerof

[edit on 6-4-2005 by Seekerof]



posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 08:51 PM
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Personally, according to alot that I have read, coal would be the only possible real alternative. But converting a oil-based industry back to environmentally safe coal-based would be a feat within itself.





seekerof



posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 09:33 PM
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Is there Alternative Energy ???
- what can sustain modern energy consumption ?
- Oil will not run out imediatly - it will become verry expensive
- oil is more then fuel for cars , its plastic's , rubbers , all modern motor oil's , fertilizer for agriculture and a lot more
- The expensive oil will no longer be used as fuel for warming or as fuel for transport => to expensive
- Alternative energy is fine for creating Energy => electricity but thats all
try to stock a lot off it its almost impossible
So the big problem will be transport , i can imagine all transport going back to train rail's whit electric lockomotives but personal transport will be a lot more complex forget about personal car or going to Europ or US on vacation , you will go on vakation to the place you get on foot
that first stage - here in modern country's
all industry will have to be moved to the rail roads as truck will no longer run - boats will run for a a time back on steam or sailing like the old day's
it will take a few weeks or more to go to the us so comercialy speekin whe go back to the 14 th century
Eatch region for its own , as country's will become a lot more complex to oversee ,
The biggest problem is as i said transportation , all modern tool are made off components all components are made on diferent plants - cities , country's same for the basic material they are made off .
In lets say 150 years whe will face the fact that all expert whe are whe can just see one littel part off the industry whe work on .
A plumber can place piping and draining but can he make his own tools ??or pipes ??
He can not he has to order them to the guy who makes the pipes - who is dependent off the guy who makes the oven to melt the iron and so on
its a chain when you destroy mobility and comunication it will take a wile but basicly whe will go back living like in 1300 but whit somme modern and some off the old way's .
My point is put Bill gates in the busch and he will not comme back whit a pc , he will be lucky to just survive .
Basicly that what evry body will try to do => Survive because it will not be that Easy .
one more thing :> bio diesel , alcohol driven engines => to plant and recolt is energy negative its take more energy to produce then recolted
Hydrogen ? - actualy its produced verry cheap whit petrol driven industry but an alternative in nowhere to be seen
Nucleair driven trucks ? littel to dangerous and expensive
solar energy ? nice when you live in the desert , pannels are hard to get when poeple are killing eatch other for food .
BUT 1 GOOD point find a solution for transport and you resolve the complete problem => beam me back sko


XL5

posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 10:25 PM
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Hydrogen is not the answer, its not just floating around somewhere. We need to spend energy to make hydrogen and you get less energy in the hydrogen then you spent to get it. Hydrogen will just be another "gas" they can "war" over and charge you more for, pure energy is normally a set price.

What has more average energy density per foot at 100% eff. solar, wind or hydro? If even 80% eff solar cells were made, we could get around in 1KW gocarts or use batteries and ultra capacitors as well and get around in 3 seater 20HP buggies.





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