Alternative Energy Sources by RG

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									Alternative Energy Sources


The Community Solution
Yellow Springs, Ohio
Energy Plan A – Fossil Fuel Based

   So called “non renewables”

   Business as usual

   Develop tar sands, oil shale, nuclear

   Top Priority is “clean” coal
     (Bury CO2 in ocean and land)

     CO2 from coal – 2x natural gas

   Corporate/Government View

   President Bush, CEOs of Exxon, Cargill, GE, GM, BP, Ford
Alternative Non-Conventional Fossil Fuels
   Oil Shale
     Does not contain oil – basis is kerogen – add water/ heat to get oil

     Waste volume greater than ore volume – must be mined like coal

     Needs lots of water – found in water scare areas – Colorado Plateau

   Heavy Oil
     Very thick – limited uses (bunker oil)

     Major source – Venezuela

   Tar Sands
     Less than 1% of world oil production

     Located mostly in Canada

   Sizable but not huge potential – Currently about 4% of energy
Alternatives – Natural Gas
   Natural gas is used primarily for space heating, electricity generation

   Natural gas is the key ingredient in agricultural fertilizers

   Main material for hydrogen (natural gas – 48%, oil – 30%, coal – 18%)

   Not a viable replacement for oil – hard to ship – a regional fuel
     U.S. only imports from Canada and Mexico via pipeline

   One of the key solutions to the oil shock of the 1970s

   Can be used in automobile engines
     Honda selling a natural gas Civic with home gas dispenser
Alternatives – Natural Gas and Depletion

U.S. Natural Gas Production
   May deplete faster than oil – plateau followed by a sharp decline
   Natural Gas peaked in the U.S. in 1973, in Canada in 2001
   U.S. get 99% of its gas from North America
       Simmons & Co International
Alternative – Coal

    Major source electricity in the world – 40% of total
    Abundant but dirty and inefficient
    Less energy (1/2) per pound than oil/gas
    Source: World Coal Institute
Alternative – Coal

   U.S. and worldwide coal production may peak between 2020
    and 2030
Source: Energy Watch Group, “Coal: Resources and Future Production” (April, 2007)
Coal and Sequestration

   Carbon Sequestration – A potential holocaust for all life
   Remember nuclear waste ocean dumping?
   Shows our desperation – and our culpability
MIT Report on CCS

   Coal will remain the fuel of choice in America
   Clean coal programs like Future Gen fall far short of what is
    required to ensure coal remains a primary fuel in a
    carbon-constrained world
Coal and Climate Change

   Paradigm shift
     We dare not burn remaining oil

     Nor the coal, tar sands & shale!
Alternative – Nuclear
   Nuclear Energy – Only “new” (1945) energy source in centuries – U235

   Relatively “safe” when operating – No new Chernobyl or 3 Mile Island
     But accidents could be catastrophic

     Price-Anderson Act law in 1957 passed exempting liability
         Still in force – utilities won’t build new plants without it

   Uranium will be available for some decades – but not forever

   Fundamental issue is radioactive wastes – last for thousands of years

   Lots of hype – Fusion reactors, breeder reactors
     No successes after decades of efforts – $billions wasted

   Number of reactors needed to carry most of load is phenomenal
     One or two orders of magnitude over current installation
Current Reactors in the World: ~450
Alternatives – Dams
   Limited number of sites – U.S. “maxed out”

   Major ecological effect – destruction of species
     In third world they destroy many homes and natural

   Dams will eventually fill with silt – not “renewable”

   Forced relocation of people – heavy human toll

   Nobody in U.S. is proposing dams!
    Energy Plan B – Non-Fossil Fuel-based
    So called “renewables”

    “Environmentally” oriented

    Develop wind and solar
      Nuclear being debated

    Top priority is bio-fuels
      Burning of food

    Assumes new transportation options
      Mass transit, fuel cells, PHEVs

    Al Gore, Lester Brown, Carl Pope, Amory Lovins, James Lovelock
      Many Solar and Wind companies; many NGOs
Renewable Share

   Wind and Solar make up only 0.18% of total energy use
Alternatives – Wind and PVs

   Wind turbines the most efficient options – and fastest growing
     2/3 of projected alternative supply is wind

     Most of the rest is wood

     But turbines are an old technology

   Photovoltaics (PVs)
     PV prices decreased 90% in 1st 12 years – flat in last 13.

     PV efficiency went from 8% to 16% in first 10 years – little
      improvement since

   Most renewables generate only electricity
     Less flexible than oil or natural gas
The Law of Diminishing Returns
50                                                                                                                   1300

45                                               ROW
35                                               U.S.                                                                900
                                                 PV Cost

15                                                                                                                   300




    0                                                                                                                -100

       Similar for wind – Basic steel, aluminum, glass, silicon
              Sam Baldwin, Chief Technology Officer, Office of Energy Efficiency and
               Renewable Energy, U.S. DOE Energy: A 21st Century Perspective,
               National Academy of Engineering June 2, 2005, Cleveland, Ohio
Understanding Net Energy
   It takes energy to process fossil fuels for usage

   Cheapest energy cost to process fuels is Saudi Arabia oil

   Most expensive energy cost to process fuels are the non-
    conventional fossil fuels

   Also energy costly to produce bio-diesel
     Negative net energy

   Vital to understand the concept of net energy
     Explains poor prospect for many alternatives

     Different than $$ cost
Biofuels – Unsustainable Burning of Food
   Net Energy Loser – it takes 43% more energy to produce
    ethanol than it yields. (Pimentel)

   Myth of oil independence
     20% of our corn in the U.S. is used for ethanol, which gives
      us less than 1% of total oil use.
     If 100% of the corn in the U.S. was used to make ethanol, it
      would only account for 7% of total U.S. oil use.

   Would exacerbate topsoil depletion – currently we are depleting
    the soil 20 times faster than it is being replaced

   Already resulting in skyrocketing food prices

   Cellulosic ethanol – Still technical limitations, takes about five
    times as much energy required to make cellulosic ethanol
    than the energy contained in the ethanol.
Energy Plans A and B – Common Points

   Fuels or new sources (A or B Technology) will save us
     Plan A – Clean Coal, Tar Sands

     Plan B – Switch Grass, Wind and Solar

     Nuclear Power supported by both to some degree

   Lots of overlap between two e.g. GE
     Biggest Wind Turbine Company

     Biggest Power Plant (coal, gas, nuclear) Company

   Agreement – Nation’s # 1 goal
     Increase economic growth by increased energy consumption

     We don’t have to consume less energy – just different energy

     Technology is the answer
But Can Technology “Save Us”?
   This is a belief issue – it is not at all obvious

   Technology = more efficient/innovative machines burning fuels
     Could technology exist without fossil fuels

     Will it continue when fossil fuels are gone?

   There are high energy and low energy technologies
     Cars, planes, power plants

     Bypass surgery, most drugs, better golf clubs

   We must consider an intermediate tech – low energy world

   Recent energy technology breakthroughs are not impressive
Alternatives Summary
   Bio fuels, solar, wind feasibility – all in question
     Proponents have not yet made the case

     Tabulating sun energy per sq foot is not enough

   Tar sands, oil shale not proven after more than 40 years

   Government is committing to biofuels, coal, and nuclear power

   Huge problem with both is poisonous waste
     Sequestration is the “sales pitch” of the coal advocates

   No new fuels are likely and old fuels still dirty
Problem of Lag Time

   “Peaking of World Oil Production–Impacts, Mitigation, Risk”
     Hirsch, Bezdek, and Wendling
Why Not Spend More on R and D?
   In a century of technologic process only one new fuel source
    discovered (but Uranium first discovered in 18th century)

   Nuclear power took decades to develop and commercialize
     1930-2003

   After seventy years nuclear still provides only 8% of U.S.

   All the other fuels (oil, coal, gas, biomass) were known for a
    long time
     Biomass (mostly wood) for thousands of years

     Coal for centuries!

     Oil and gas since late 1800s

   Early large dam was a marble structure built in 1660
    in India
Energy Investment Are Sizable

   No one likes the allocation – that’s politics
   Big private investments – GE $148B(rev) &
    Sharp $24B(rev)
The Shocking Possibility
   There may be no “satisfactory” alternatives
     Satisfactory – Maintain current energy consumption rate

   Eternal progress based on burning fossil fuels is not

   We must change to a different way of living without the dreams
    of eternal material and mechanical progress

   This may save us from ourselves
     Planetary degradation based on burning fossil fuels
Conservation – The Only Alternative

   Sustainable conservation efforts are imperative!
Plan C – Conserving in Community
   A view of only using enough
     Conserving, Sharing & Saving

     vs.

     Competing, Hoarding & Consuming

   Means Curtailment – Cutting back
     Not “token” conservation

     Sharing resources now and with

      people in the future

   Needs “Community”
     Context for a new “Way of Life”

     Cooperation Principle

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