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The Worlds Energy Supply. Past, Present, and Future

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posted on Jun, 23 2004 @ 11:00 AM
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The Worlds Energy Supply. Past, Present, and Future by ATS Community Member, dbates Webster?s English Dictionary states that energy is ?the power for doing work.? This definition clearly states the two main features of having energy. The first thing that can be gained with energy is power, specifically power over others. An individual or society with more energy will usually be dominant over the members with less energy. How does one get this power? It comes from the work that is performed by energy. This work produces food for consumption, and brings water to those that have none. This work also produces tanks, bullets, and boats to secure more energy. In short, energy is used in everything we do. The amount of available energy, and how it is used has always been a major factor for all of mankind. How is this energy used, where does it all come from, and how much is left? These are questions that will determine the future of mankind? A Brief History of Energy. In the beginning, the sun was the only source of energy. People would gather food and hunt during the day, and when the sun went down at night, they would search for shelter from the cold. Mankind?s life was set by the rising and setting of the sun. If it rained and the sun was hid, they looked for shelter from the rain and lightning. Eventually someone noticed that the fires that were sometimes started by the lightning, brought comfort and warmth. Fire is one of the most important discoveries of all times. With fire, people could cook their food, and warm themselves on cold nights. This made people stronger and healthier. People also began to stay up later and talk, and discuss ideas. Now that they had warmth and light at night they were not dependant on the cycle of the sun for every thing in their lives. Fire is essentially converting energy into heat by releasing stored energy. Wood was the main source of this energy for thousands of years. The use of wood for fuel grew and grew, especially after Europeans discovered uses for iron and steel. As more and more wood was used in the steel making furnaces, Europe began to experience rapid deforestation, especially from the 15th to the 18th century. Even before this time Plato wrote about the effects of the loss of trees in Greece.[Fry 2003] He commented, ?the rich, soft soil has all run away leaving nothing of the land but skin and bone.? Older manuscripts such as the Bible speak of huge trees being cut down in Lebanon and floated down to Israel for Solomon to build the Temple. Some estimate that there were at one time over a million of these large trees growing in Lebanon [ M'Cheyne 1997] but there are now only 7. It was evident that the use of wood as fuel could not continue at its current rate. By 1558 England?s Parliament began passing laws that restricted the use of timber as fuel. England?s war with France in the 1620?s began to expose signs of a severe timber shortage.[Oostheok,2000] In order to obtain enough lumber to build its fleets of ships, England had to import wood from Scandinavia, and later from the colonies in America. Spain felled huge sections of forest to build the famous Spanish Armada, and once its fleet was lost, there wasn?t enough lumber in Spain to rebuild it. Coal By the middle of the 18th century, much of Europe was experiencing an energy crisis due to lack of timber. As a result, coal became the major source of fuel. Coal was a plentiful source of energy, and England led the change into this new era that we call the Industrial Revolution. Once Abraham Darby perfected the proper method of burning coal in furnaces, large quantities of iron could be produced. Before Darby?s attempts coal wasn?t use because of the sulfur impurities that burning coal left in the metal. When most people think of the Industrial Revolution, they think of the vast uses of iron that began appearing. What they fail to realize, is that it was the use of coal that allowed the iron to be made. Vast amounts of energy are needed to convert raw materials into iron and steel, and coal was the solution. Coal is a very abundant source of energy. At the current rate of use, coal will last another 200 years. [Bates 2004] Coal represents about 78% of the world?s available fossil fuels, [Moyers 2002] and can be found in many countries around the world. China and the United States together share 50% of the world?s coal, but for now there is enough dispersed in different locations to make it a plentiful source of energy. Coal is used in many industrial applications, especially in areas such as the steel industry. Another one of the main uses of coal is in the generation of electricity. 38% of the world?s electricity is generated by coal [Moyers 2002]. Even though coal is a very abundant energy supply there are concerns about its role in pollution. Pollutants released by burning coal include sulfur, carbon dioxide, and mercury. Carbon Dioxide is thought to be one of the main contributors to global warming. About 32 percent of the world?s carbon dioxide emissions are from coal burning plants. Still advances in making coal burn cleaner such as gasification are making coal one of the cleanest forms of power production. The United States currently has plans for 94 new coal-fired plants in 36 states [Clayton 2004] even as emission standards are getting tougher for new plants. Other Fossil Fuels Oil has been used as a source of energy for thousands of years. Sumerians, Assyrians and Babylonians used crude oil that seeped out of the ground along the Euphrates river [energyquest] for lighting and medicine. The Dead Sea in Israel was once called Lake Asphaltites, and large amounts of gooey petroleum used to wash up on the shores. This is where we get the name asphalt that we use today. Still, oil played a minor role in human life until the late 1800?s. On August 27, 1859, Edwin L. Drake started the modern petroleum industry by drilling a well at a local oil seep near Titusville, Pennsylvania. He began pumping the liquid oil out of the ground into barrels. It was then shipped and sold. We still use the same basic methods for recovering oil today. What do we use this oil for? Almost all plastic, and the fertilizers that we use to help our crops grow come from petroleum. Oil is the main source of fuel for transportation vehicles, and the roads that we drive our cars on come from oil. Modern life as we know it wouldn?t exist without oil. No other source of energy is so compact, cheap, and readily available. To really answer the question of the impact of oil you could start by looking at everything you own or eat that you didn?t grow or make in your own backyard. Fertilizers are needed to grow larger crops. Diesel is needed to power the tractors that plant and harvest. And finally, the food has to be shipped to its destination. Think of the difficulty of having coffee brought in from Colombia without oil powered transportation. Looking at the world?s population growth chart reveals when oil was discovered in its modern usage.[atmos 1996] The United States was once the worlds leading producer and exporter of oil. It was this oil that boosted the United States to victory in WWI and WWII. Oil powered the tanks, airplanes, and navy. Shortly after WWI Britain and France defeated Turkish domination and divided up the area we now call the Middle East. Most of the divisions were agreed upon, except for the area of Mosul (Iraq)[. The cause of this contention was that Iraq was known to have large undeveloped areas of oil deposits. You know the end result of this story. The U.S. now occupies and controls the entire country, and the entire Middle East is in conflict of some sort. This is what some economist call the ?natural resource curse?. Since these countries have vast riches in one area, little is done to encourage development of other areas of income. The result is everyone wanting to control the same resource, which ends up leading to wars. Japan?s attack on Pearl Harbor, and Germany?s invasion of Russia in 1941 were partly due to dependence on oil [Bates 2004]. The most recent struggle in Iraq is not the first oil war, and before oil, people fought over coal and timber rights. To make matters worse, oil is unevenly distributed around the world. This is because the geological conditions that were needed for oil formations are special conditions. As was mentioned before, the countries that have these resources are usually corrupt. How long can the world continue to count on oil as a source of energy? Some estimates put the end of the oil period in the middle of this century. Dr. M. King Hubbert, a geophysicist in the middle of the 1900?s predicted that the United States? oil production would peak in the 1970?s, and the world?s oil production would peak around 2005. Although he was correct in his assessment of the U.S. supply, the world?s total amount of oil left is a more complex matter. Mainly, the rest of the world has not been studied and mapped for oil as well as the United States. Still there are signs that point to a looming problem a.. This year Shell oil has cut their total estimated reserve estimates by almost 25 percent, and the amount of oil reserves in the rest of the world is questionable. Asian countries such as China continue to grow and their demand for oil increases every year. Even if the supply of oil never decreases, the growth of demand is currently outpacing the supply growth. The world?s oil supply has been relatively flat since 2000.[Francis 2004] Alternative and Future Energy Sources. Nuclear power appears to be somewhat renewable, but there are many risks involved in using this kind of power. Waste disposal, and safety are the chief concerns. On April 25th, 1986, a nuclear reactor number 4 in Chernobyl blew off its top. After numerous safety concerns were overlooked, the reactor had an uncontrolled chain reaction that melted the steel and concrete lid. Deadly doses of radiation were released into the atmosphere in a 20-mile area. Much of the area is still uninhabitable today. The long-term effect of this accident is still unknown. The only thing we do know is that we can?t use this type of energy if it isn?t safe or handled properly. There has been a lot of talk lately about having hydrogen cars, and using hydrogen fuel. This is not a solution in that hydrogen is an energy carrier, and not an energy source. This is the same reason that you don?t see electricity listed above as an energy source. Using hydrogen as fuel is in fact a net loss of energy. More energy is required to produce and store the hydrogen than is gained from it?s use. [Bates 2004] What does the future hold for the world?s energy demand? We don?t necessarily have to run out of oil for there to be a problem. If you look at previous energy models, such as the wood energy period, you will see that difference in supply and demand is all that matters. The world did not run out of trees, but as demand increased and supply lagged the problems became substantial. After we run out of petroleum, we can increase our dependence on coal, but eventually the coal will be gone too. The Earth has a finite amount of energy available. What we really need is a renewable source of energy. The only truly renewable sources of energy are solar, wind, and water. Truly all energy on this planet comes from our sun. Energy from the sun is absorbed by plants and converted to useful form for all other forms of life. The energy from the sun heats the ocean and land, and produces the water cycle and wind currents. Harnessing the energy from the sun is currently cost prohibitive. Solar energy panels are expensive, and only gather energy during daylight hours. Wind generators are slightly more dependable, but these too rely on weather conditions. Hydroelectric power is actually the only cost-effective, renewable source of energy that we currently have. More research needs to be done in these other areas to ensure a renewable energy supply. Too much is at stake for us to ignore the development of renewable energy sources. Our current lifestyle and sustaining the world?s current population is dependant on our success. Mankind is at a critical point in history. Either we find a renewable source now, so we can go forward and explore more of the universe, or we fall back to earlier times and life will go back to being the way it was 2000 years ago. References: Fry, Tony ?Ecologies of Steel?, Eco Design Foundation (2003) www.edf.edu.au... Oostheok, K.J.W. ?The Role of Wood in History?, (2000) forth.stir.ac.uk... Bates, D,?The Oil Supply and Demand Situation, An ATSNN Outlook?, ATSNN..com (2004) www.atsnn.com... Moyers, Bill, ?Coal Facts and Folklore?, PBS.org (August, 2002) www.pbs.org... Clayton Mark 2004 ?America?s New Coal Rush?. The Christian Science Monitor (Feb 26, 2004) www.csmonitor.com... M'Cheyne, Robert Murray,? "Lebanon - its Scenery and Allusions", ukonline.com (1997) web.ukonline.co.uk... ?Fossil Fuels - Coal, Oil and Natural Gas?, energyquest.ca.gov www.energyquest.ca.gov... ?World Population Growth Chart? , atmos.umd.edu (1996) www.atmos.umd.edu... Francis David R. 2004. ?Has Global Oil Peaked?. The Christian Science Monitor (Jan 29,2004) www.csmonitor.com...




posted on Jun, 28 2004 @ 03:20 AM
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Its all very interesting to ponder. Especially if you feel we have are soon going to hit Peak Oil. Our entire civilization right not is based on the simple fact of cheap pletiful fossil fuels. Take it out of the eqation, and we revert bact 2-300 years



posted on Jun, 28 2004 @ 08:05 AM
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A Very Interesting Thought To Ponder, I'm well aware of the Peak Oil theory

Here:
www.the7thfire.com...

Is a website that supposedly proves it to be untrue, i havent had the time to read it yet. but have a look



posted on Jun, 28 2004 @ 08:13 AM
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Originally posted by Azza
A Very Interesting Thought To Ponder, I'm well aware of the Peak Oil theory

Here:
www.the7thfire.com...

Is a website that supposedly proves it to be untrue, i havent had the time to read it yet. but have a look


It was an interesting site. Both sides make thier claims well and it is hard to sort the wheat from the chaff. The article talks about food could become more valuable in the next decade and the dependance of our agriculture on oil is staggering.



posted on Sep, 18 2004 @ 06:21 AM
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i think that we will reach a time when power supplys will run high either that or the powers of today and i am talking about the illuminatie and freemasons will just let us all die
did you know that area 51 and pine gap in Australia are completly self sufficient with underground biospheres which supply oxygen and food i am planing in my life to build and under ground base which will sustain me my family and workers this base if you will call it will have thurmostats which are long pipes which run under ground deep into the earth the heat then turns turbins which supplys electricity and water from the rising steam this will the power the base and its instalations as well as uv lights for the underground bio spheres and these provide us with food oxygen and most of all leaves the surface of the earth for trees



posted on Sep, 18 2004 @ 06:25 AM
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if you would like to know more about my ideas you can mail me at

rexreynoldsr2002@yahoo.com.au



posted on Sep, 18 2004 @ 06:45 AM
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Lets get some things straight, your comments on nuclear energy are ignorant at best and only perpetuate the lies the greenies, politicians and the oil-profiteers spew to scare people into votes and relying on other fossil fuels. Nuclear energy is incredibly safe, way more safer than coal or oil plants and way less harmful to the environment (including the waste).

Thanks to Lloyd Mielke and Dr. Lovelock for these facts

Let's start shall we :

MYTH: The public is concerned that the combination of human fallibility and mechanical failure can set off catastrophic accidents at nuclear power plants.

FACT: It is indeed remarkable that the combination of human fallibility and mechanical failure over the last 40 years has resulted in a nuclear safety record unsurpassed by any other industrial activity. The record is so outstanding that the comparisons are ludicrous. For example, commercial nuclear electricity in the United States has killed zero members of the public over the last 40 years. Compare this record with coal, which kills at least 10,000 members of the public EVERY SINGLE YEAR from respiratory ailments caused by the air pollution (World Health Organization). Nuclear electricity in the whole world (which includes Chernobyl) has killed less than 100 members of the public over the last 40 years (World Health Organization). That makes nuclear electricity (worldwide) at least FOUR THOUSAND times safer than coal. For Pete's sake, how much safer do we want it to be and how much are we willing to pay for such safety? Every time we build a natural gas plant instead of a nuclear plant, we are condemning at least 100 people to a premature death. Every time we build a coal plant instead of a nuclear plant, we are condemning at least 1,000 people to a premature death. This is what the public should be concerned about.

MYTH: The core at the Three Mile Island plant was within hours of an uncontrolled melt with Chernobyl-like consequences.

FACT: The core at TMI did, in fact, melt. Huge chunks of molten core were sitting on the bottom of the reactor vessel until cooling water could be restored. The worst case had already happened. Yet, no harmful amounts of radiation were released. There is no possibility of a Chernobyl-like failure at any Western power plant because the designs are completely different.

The maximum credible accident occurred at TMI and yet there were no deaths or injuries. This is a remarkable result considering that, every day, we accept deaths from natural gas explosions, gasoline explosions, the air pollution from burning fossil fuels, oil refineries blowing up, hydroelectric dams failing, and so forth.

MYTH: Older plants are more dangerous because of a rash of forced shutdowns due to equipment failures caused by aging.

FACT: The forced shutdowns are to repair the aging equipment so that it can be used for many more years to produce zero-pollution, zero-risk electricity. There's nothing wrong with that.

MYTH: Security is weak at nuclear plants because some plants have failed to repel mock attackers in N.R.C.-supervised exercises.

FACT: A would-be terrorist would be insane to attack a nuclear power plant. What would be the point? If it is to blow up the reactor and disperse radioactive material over a wide area, the consequences would not be terrible enough. Consider Chernobyl. In this case, the reactor DID blow up and disperse radioactive material over a wide area (excess radiation being measured as far away as Western Europe). But the actual consequences, although grim, were only 31 firefighters killed and 3 children dying from thyroid cancer. The major effect on the populace was millions of people exposed to excess radiation doses that were not any higher than natural background levels in many places of the world (World Health Organization). For example, Colorado has double the background radiation level of Florida because Colorado is higher in elevation and there is more cosmic radiation (200 mrems per year vs. 100 mrems per year). Such excess radiation has been shown to be harmless. After 40 years of study, the International Committee on Radiological Protection concludes that an acute exposure of 10,000 millirems or less has no harmful health effect. Furthermore, recent studies of radiation hormesis show that excess radiation stimulates the immune system such that it is beneficial to health at low levels. So there would be few civilian deaths and there is even a possibility that the health of the population would be improved. What kind of "terror" is that?

Or would the attack be aimed at stealing the fuel to make a nuclear bomb? Assuming the terrorists could get to the fuel, they would then have to steal it without killing themselves from the radioactivity. (Used nuclear fuel, before being allowed to cool for a few years, is highly lethal if not properly shielded). Once they were able to steal the fuel safely, they would then have to spend millions of dollars to extract some usable weapons material. It would be much cheaper (and safer for the terrorists) to simply build their own nuclear production facility to make the weapons material from scratch or to steal an existing bomb from a country that had one. Or better yet, to just drop some poison in the city water supply. How many mock attacks have been performed to test the security at major city water supplies?

MYTH: Instead of more nuclear power plants, we should use energy conservation and increase energy efficiency.

FACT: According to this argument, all we need is a law that requires our air-conditioners to run on 100 watts (the same as one light bulb). Unfortunately, the laws of physics get in the way. There is only so much "efficiency" available. If you need 1,000 kilowatt-hours to heat your house during the snowstorm or to air condition it during the heat wave, it really doesn't matter that your furnace/air conditioner/utility are all supplying the 1,000 kilowatt-hours at 100% efficiency. Of course, you can always "force" people to use LESS than 1,000 kWh and suffer the consequences. This is now taking place in California and everyone there is very proud of their government for limiting how much energy is available to them.

MYTH: We should not use nuclear power because certain nations disguise their nuclear weapons program inside their electrical generation facilities.

FACT: This is like saying we should discontinue the use of all gas and oil because some terrorist uses these materials to make Molotov cocktails. As indicated earlier, using nuclear electricity power stations to produce weapons material is a dumb and unethical idea. But if certain nations want to build their own weapons production facilities, there is nothing we can do about it. Instead, we should turn our own swords into plowshares and reap nuclear energy's benefits.

If you read some papers on nuclear energy it's amazing how much safer it is than what we are using now. Like all current energy sources, there are problems with it and they aren't perfect but nuclear energy is a superior choice to Coal, Oil and Natural Gas plants.

"what about Chernobyl?!!" Yes Chernobyl was a bad accident and the consequences were horrific. But if you consider how many people are dying every year from the result of using Coal, Oil and Natural Gas power plants and the harm this is doing to our environment long term and short term plus all the accidents that happen at these plants that have killed thousands upon thousands of people it just goes to show that there are risks for all types of current power generation from fossil fuels but it is obvious that nuclear is the safest.

I wouldn't expect this from ATS,
drfunk

Source : www.ecolo.org...&factsLloydMielke01.htm











[edit on 18-9-2004 by drfunk]



posted on Sep, 18 2004 @ 07:03 AM
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Here is an article on pebble reactors being ceveloped by power hungry china.
www.wired.com...

Theses are a new style of reactor that CAN NOT MELTDOWN.

THe big test was that they shut off the cooling system and let the reactor just go haywire just to show that it is not dangerous. Without cooling or control systems the reactor just peaked in heat then shut off.

Note, this is not control systems or protection from meltdown, its is actually set up so the reaction itself will stop without control.

Nuclear is a great short term power fix. The lame russian and american reactors of the 1950s-1990s created a false impression of what nuclear is.



posted on Sep, 18 2004 @ 07:22 AM
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good read
the use of pebble reactors is one of many innovations that should of come around sooner if it wasn't for the public hysteria and disinformation of the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl incidents.

thanks,
drfunk



posted on Sep, 18 2004 @ 01:57 PM
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Until fussion arrives fission is the way to go.



posted on Sep, 18 2004 @ 03:09 PM
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Nobody ever notices the silent killer. Ever wonder why cigarettes are still being sold in every conveniece store in America?

All it takes is one accident in which more than 50 people to die for the public to become gunshy.


Hey, at least our generation is in for one hell of a show: The Death of Planet Earth.



posted on Sep, 19 2004 @ 01:39 AM
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Researchers said on Friday they have invented an antenna that captures visible light in much the same way that radio antennas capture radio waves.

Full Story here

www.reuters.com...;jsessionid=PYOCHBWDNSXEUCRBAE0CFFA?type=scienceNews&storyID=6268375

Carbon Nano-Tubes come into their own.
This type of device should be able to capture emmitted radiations across the spectrum of energy. being a layman in Physics I have often surmised
That the frequencey Harmonics could be captured using this technology on a small scale at least and used to charge a capacitor, Oh how I have been laughed at.
Finally some vindication


[edit on 19-9-2004 by RedHerring]



posted on Sep, 19 2004 @ 01:51 AM
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Originally posted by TJ11240
Nobody ever notices the silent killer. Ever wonder why cigarettes are still being sold in every conveniece store in America?
All it takes is one accident in which more than 50 people to die for the public to become gunshy.


I totally agree with you.

But the problem is that the majority of the people, or let us say 99.99993 of people (you know 84.3 of statistics are made on the spot) just think that nuclear power is bad. Much of the credit goes to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Whenever they hear Nuclear, they connect it to Japan and the horrible things and nothing else. I was one of those people, until I read this post.



posted on Sep, 19 2004 @ 02:00 AM
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Points up some of the things we as a nation/planet need to look at going into the future. Energy efficient designs seem to be in order. If you have a house that is energy efficient you are somewhat protected against moderate fluctions in supply and price of energy.
The ability to get around without expending huge amounts of energy Is one of the more challenging aspects of the issue. Will we come up with solutions to individualized transportation or lean towards more mass transit, or most likely some mix of the two?

Just an aside note: we are paving over large portions of our urban areas, many of which are built over some of the best farm land. The better and more appropriate use of land would also seem in order.

Like most things CYOA. Best not to depend on industry or government to take care of you.
.



posted on Sep, 19 2004 @ 02:31 AM
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And G_D said to mankind "I gave you a chemical soup with excellent lubricating properties and great product potential that should have lasted thousands of years and You burned it all up in only a few hundred years?"

I find this very interesting regarding Chernoby.l
www.kiddofspeed.com...



posted on Oct, 24 2006 @ 08:50 PM
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"bump"Interesting read.

I wonder if the use of energy will change a little or a lot,or not at all in the future(near future or distance future).



posted on Oct, 25 2006 @ 09:58 AM
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Originally posted by TJ11240
Nobody ever notices the silent killer. Ever wonder why cigarettes are still being sold in every conveniece store in America?


Sorry for the off-topic: here in Finland all bars & restaurants are non-smoking areas from 1.6.2007 onwards. Any similar developments in USA?


[edit on 25/10/06 by Ouruboros]

[edit on 25/10/06 by Ouruboros]



posted on Oct, 25 2006 @ 08:35 PM
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This doesnt negate nor agree with anything said here, but...



What is with that last 1billion step? What, did we suddenly decide to stop having children for a while?... wouldnt be a bad thing, but that last population leap seems out of place.

[edit on 25-10-2006 by johnsky]



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