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OfflineThe_Walrus
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What energy source shall we use when fossil fuels run out/become economically unviable?
    #3881223 - 03/07/05 03:58 AM (11 years, 8 months ago)

It doesn't take a master-economist to see that right now the world is consuming more energy than ever before, and that the rate of increase of energy consumption is increasing constantly, what with China and India rapidly developing into mature economies. So soon enough there will be a point when demand will outweigh supply, and oil is going to become expensive as shit (not literally), and eventually it will run out altogether, what with the millions of years it takes to form fossil fuels. So the question is, what is the best source of alternative energy?

Think about the environmental, economic and social implications of the energy source
what is the best form of alternative energy?
You may choose only one
hydro-electric power
solar power
nuclear power
wind power
geothermal
biomass
other


Votes accepted from (03/07/05 03:58 AM) to (No end specified)
View the results of this poll



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'Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted' - Albert Einstein


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OfflineThe_Walrus
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Re: What energy source shall we use when fossil fuels run out/become economically unviable? [Re: The_Walrus]
    #3881277 - 03/07/05 04:11 AM (11 years, 8 months ago)

I would have to go for nuclear power. A few tonnes of Uranium can generate as much power as a few billion tonnes of coal/oil, and if the new 'fast-breeder' reactor designs go into production (they're testing them in India), then used Uranium is converted into Plutonium, which can be used to produce more energy, and the used Plutonium can be converted into Thorium (I think), which can also be used to produce energy. This would produce nuclear waste, which is a major issue with nuclear power, but a small fraction of Uranium is converted into waste compared with the power it gives out, and sealing it in a lead box and dropping it into the ocean will not impact the environment greatly, considering that the outgoing radiation not blocked by the lead will be blocked by the water, as H2O is a damn good absorber of radiation. Of course care would have to be put into ensuring that no radioactive waste particles escape into the ocean, but I believe this is entirely possible. Another problem is nuclear accidents like Chernobyl, but that was mainly due to sheer incompetence, when the Russians wondered what would happen if they turned off the failsafe devices of the plant and put the reactor into overdrive. France gets 75% of it's energy from nuclear power and it has an immaculate safety record. New reactor designs are also considerably safer than the primitive 60's designs. Of course human error will inevitably happen, and accidents will probably happen, but the fallout from these accidents would be nothing compared to what would happen if we continue to use fossil fuels. Studies have also shown that economically speaking, it is impossible to power entire cities by solar/wind power, and hydro-electric power is damaging to the environment and unfortunate people who live in the area to be flooded, and hydro-electric power has been shown to actually create shit loads of greenhouse gasses with the decomposition of the organic matter which is flooded.


--------------------
'Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted' - Albert Einstein


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OfflinePsillyNilly
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Re: What energy source shall we use when fossil fuels run out/become economically unviable? [Re: The_Walrus]
    #3881672 - 03/07/05 07:47 AM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Ya but just like fossil fuels, one day Uranium will run out too....I think if we can harness the power of the sun---we will have an unlimited supply of electricity (of course intil it becomes a RED star). Once you get a solar plant working, it takes little to no man power to deliver electricity as opposed to other plants where you have to have a shit load of labor. Problem with solar plants is that it simply doesnt deliver that much power but if technology advances and we can get more and more out of a panel, then this would be an infinite supply of power with no harmful Bi-products.....It doenst seem right just to start dumping barels of radioactive waste into the ocean.


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Re: What energy source shall we use when fossil fuels run out/become economically unviable? [Re: The_Walrus]
    #3881817 - 03/07/05 10:00 AM (11 years, 8 months ago)

It all comes down to solar.

There are really only TWO sources of energy for the Earth: energy as it comes from the sun, and energy produced by nuclear breakdown of elements deep in the Earth.

Wind, comes from the sun.
Rain (hydroelectric), comes from the sun.
Oil, comes from the sun.
Biomass, comes from the sun.

I think that eventually we will find that NO single source of energy can hope to cover humanity's energy needs. We will have to learn to capture as much power coming from the Sun as is possible, in every form that we can.


--------------------
You're here because you know something.
What you know you can't explain,
But you feel it;
You've felt it your entire life.
That there's something wrong with the world.
You don't know what it is, but it's there....
Like a splinter in your mind...
Driving you mad.


Edited by trendal (03/07/05 11:21 AM)


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InvisibleLe_Canard
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Re: What energy source shall we use when fossil fuels run out/become economically unviable? [Re: The_Walrus]
    #3881931 - 03/07/05 11:06 AM (11 years, 8 months ago)

I would think that in the future all of these methods of power generation would be utilized...


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Offlinekadakuda
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Re: What energy source shall we use when fossil fuels run out/become economically unviable? [Re: Le_Canard]
    #3884186 - 03/07/05 09:27 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

well lets hope so...

i sure dont want a bunch of _______ monopolizing a single energy source and fuckign everyone over to profit from it.




























again.


--------------------
The seeds you won't sow are the plants you dont grow.


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InvisibleMarioNett
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Re: What energy source shall we use when fossil fuels run out/become economically unviable? [Re: kadakuda]
    #3884793 - 03/07/05 11:27 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

I voted nuclear, though I'm also optimistic about LENR energy (cold fusion) and free energy. I think those will be worked out in our lifetimes. I just hope we get the necessary research done while there's still money to do it, before the "peak oil" phenomenon smashes the world economy.


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OfflineThe_Walrus
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Re: What energy source shall we use when fossil fuels run out/become economically unviable? [Re: PsillyNilly]
    #3885676 - 03/08/05 03:14 AM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

PsillyNilly said:
Ya but just like fossil fuels, one day Uranium will run out too....I think if we can harness the power of the sun---we will have an unlimited supply of electricity (of course intil it becomes a RED star). Once you get a solar plant working, it takes little to no man power to deliver electricity as opposed to other plants where you have to have a shit load of labor. Problem with solar plants is that it simply doesnt deliver that much power but if technology advances and we can get more and more out of a panel, then this would be an infinite supply of power with no harmful Bi-products.....It doenst seem right just to start dumping barels of radioactive waste into the ocean.




Hmmm, Uranium will take a very long time to run out, because it can produce fission for a very long time. If it is recycled into Plutonium and Thorium it can last even longer. I do agree that the 'out of sight, out of mind' approach to nuclear waste is not an ideal solution. Though I think if done propperly, nuclear waste can be disposed of in a way that produces minimal harm to the environment, it is waste nevertheless. Though I am banking that soon enough we will be able to harness the power of nuclear fusion in a way that is economically effective. A test reactor is being built soon (I don't remember when), which will produce more energy than is put in. If that is the case, then by just using Deuterium and Tritium, which are simply isotopes of Hydrogen (which will never run out), we can harness the power of the sun. The only waste produced is Helium, and Nuclear Fusion converts a greater percentage of the mass of the fuel into energy. There is also no danger of radioactive fallout of accidents, since nuclear fusion doesn't produce any radioactive particles, so no odd-looking bearded doodes with alterior motives nicking radioactive waste.


--------------------
'Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted' - Albert Einstein


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OfflineThe_Walrus
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Re: What energy source shall we use when fossil fuels run out/become economically unviable? [Re: MarioNett]
    #3885709 - 03/08/05 03:26 AM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

supercollider said:
I voted nuclear, though I'm also optimistic about LENR energy (cold fusion) and free energy. I think those will be worked out in our lifetimes. I just hope we get the necessary research done while there's still money to do it, before the "peak oil" phenomenon smashes the world economy.




I'm a bit skeptical about cold fusion, to make an understatement. In the field of science, for an experiment to be taken seriously, it either has to have a solid grounding in pure theory, or the experiment has to be replicated by labs across the world. One of Max Planks experiments showed that different materials absorb different wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation, this had no basis in the theory at the time, but the results of the experiment were undeniable, it was this that led to the development of Quantum Mechanins. Likewise, the Grand Unified Theory, which is one of the two main models used to explain the world around us (the other being General Relativity), predicts that all these funky subatomic particles exist, and so they build these big-up particle accelerators to search for these particles, and so far they have found more or less all the particles predicted by the theory (except that Higgs-Boson, which the current CERN particle accelerator willl look for). The vast amounts of money thrown at these experiments is justified by the solid theoretical groundings of the experiments. Cold fusion, on the other hand, has no solid theory behind it, and no-body has been able to replicate the experiment, which implies some dodgy doings by the guys who claimed to have done it. There have been many experiments done to investigate cold fusion, but they are driven IMO in the same way that the alchemists were driven in their search to convert base metals into gold, and the way some victorian scientists were driven in their claims of a 'perpetual motion machine'. The scientists doing these things aren't driven by rational scientific curiousity, they are driven by the chance that if they get it to work, be it turning metal into gold, making a perpetual motion machine, or in this case, making cold fusion, they will be heralded as the greatest human beings of all time, as they would have solved all the worlds problems. This is why I don't believe cold fusion will work. Sure, experiments should be funded, but the skepticism of the scientific community is justified IMO.


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'Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted' - Albert Einstein


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: What energy source shall we use when fossil fuels run out/become economically unviable? [Re: The_Walrus]
    #3886374 - 03/08/05 09:37 AM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Likewise, the Grand Unified Theory, which is one of the two main models used to explain the world around us (the other being General Relativity),

It's called "The Standard Model" :wink:

GUT (Grand Unified Theory) is still being worked on, on a number of fronts (classic GUT, string theory, ect).


--------------------
You're here because you know something.
What you know you can't explain,
But you feel it;
You've felt it your entire life.
That there's something wrong with the world.
You don't know what it is, but it's there....
Like a splinter in your mind...
Driving you mad.


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OfflineProsgeopax
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Re: What energy source shall we use when fossil fuels run out/become economically unviable? [Re: The_Walrus]
    #3887348 - 03/08/05 03:05 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

The prematurely named 'cold fusion' experiment has been replicated. The thing is that no one knows the source of the extra energy coming out of the system and they haven't been able to control it - people have died from explosions created by run away reactions. Just because something occurs that doesn't fit in with widely accepted theories does not mean that it isn't possible. If humans based all advances on some theoretical scientific framework, things like gunpowder and steam engines would have come about much much later. You do not need a scientific theory of how something works to utilize it (history is full of examples). It is a mistake to treat currently accepted theories as dogma. Indeed, many scientific advances come with the overturning of accepted theories. When your model doesn't fit reality, is it more wise to disbelieve reality or to alter your model?


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Money doesn't grow on trees, but deficits do grow under Bushes.

You can accept, reject, or examine and test any new idea that comes to you. The wise man chooses the third way.
- Tom Willhite

Disclaimer: I reserve the right to change my opinions should I become aware of additional facts, the falsification of information or different perspectives. Articles written by others which I post may not necessarily reflect my opinions in part or in whole, my opinions may be in direct opposition, the topic may be one on which I have yet to formulate an opinion or have doubts about, an article may be posted solely with the intent to stimulate discussion or contemplation.


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OfflineChuangTzu
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Re: What energy source shall we use when fossil fuels run out/become economically unviable? [Re: Prosgeopax]
    #3891693 - 03/09/05 09:40 AM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Do you have a reference for any of those deaths supposedly caused by "cold fusion"?

While it's almost always more beneficial for reality to inform theory than vice versa, bullshit should never inform either.


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: What energy source shall we use when fossil fuels run out/become economically unviable? [Re: ChuangTzu]
    #3892255 - 03/09/05 12:35 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Yeah I'd like to see some reference to these "deaths" that have occured as a result of exploding cold-fusion experiments.

Because I doubt there have been any.


--------------------
You're here because you know something.
What you know you can't explain,
But you feel it;
You've felt it your entire life.
That there's something wrong with the world.
You don't know what it is, but it's there....
Like a splinter in your mind...
Driving you mad.


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Offlinerelativexistance
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Re: What energy source shall we use when fossil fuels run out/become economically unviable? [Re: The_Walrus]
    #3895792 - 03/10/05 01:15 AM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Fusion reactors powered by helium-3 that is mined from the moon will power us into the next century.

http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/space/1283056.html?page=3&c=y


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OfflineMagillaGorilla
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Re: What energy source shall we use when fossil fuels run out/become economically unviable? [Re: The_Walrus]
    #3895993 - 03/10/05 01:56 AM (11 years, 8 months ago)

I voted geothermal, because it is very abundant, renewable as long as our planet is 'alive,' and is almost as easy to harvest as other natural sources (wind, hydroelectricity). There is the problem of creating a harvesting station, though; it could potentially be as environmentally damaging as putting in a hydro-electric dam, and would require a LOT of man-power to install.
However, I do believe that if we can achieve a cost-effective means of fusion, that it will be one of the ultimate forms of energy production.  Too bad it takes too much energy to produce in a lab  :sad:


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OfflineThe_Walrus
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Re: What energy source shall we use when fossil fuels run out/become economically unviable? [Re: trendal]
    #3901450 - 03/11/05 09:52 AM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

trendal said:
It all comes down to solar.

There are really only TWO sources of energy for the Earth: energy as it comes from the sun, and energy produced by nuclear breakdown of elements deep in the Earth.

Wind, comes from the sun.
Rain (hydroelectric), comes from the sun.
Oil, comes from the sun.
Biomass, comes from the sun.

I think that eventually we will find that NO single source of energy can hope to cover humanity's energy needs. We will have to learn to capture as much power coming from the Sun as is possible, in every form that we can.




You are right when you say that ultimately all forms of energy on the earth come from the sun, but practically, solar power is very expensive, and is not effective (obviously it doesn't work when the sun goes down, and heavy cloudage will drastically reduce the energy output). Obviously, in really sunny areas it will be a good source of energy, but to supply the entire worlds energy needs is going to be quite tricky. But right now solar power stations actually use mirrors to focus the suns rays onto the light absorbing material, making enough power to supply a small town, so on a small scale it will be quite effective, especially since it is the ultimate renewable source of energy. Maybe in the future we will build solar energy converters in space, giving a neverending source of energy (except for when the sun explodes).


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'Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted' - Albert Einstein


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OfflineThe_Walrus
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Re: What energy source shall we use when fossil fuels run out/become economically unviable? [Re: Prosgeopax]
    #3901456 - 03/11/05 09:55 AM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

Prosgeopax said:
The prematurely named 'cold fusion' experiment has been replicated. The thing is that no one knows the source of the extra energy coming out of the system and they haven't been able to control it - people have died from explosions created by run away reactions. Just because something occurs that doesn't fit in with widely accepted theories does not mean that it isn't possible.




Ummm, could you please show me the source where you found this information that cold fusion has been replicated, the explosions bit sounds especially dubious. The closest thing I've read in 'New Scientist' anyways is this thing called 'bubble fusion' where they bombard heavy water with sound waves to create bubbles which 'pop' to produce energy, and though it has been shown to produce energy, it is still nowhere near enough to start nuclear fusion.


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'Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted' - Albert Einstein


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: What energy source shall we use when fossil fuels run out/become economically unviable? [Re: The_Walrus]
    #3901926 - 03/11/05 12:13 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

My point was that we need to harness ALL the available forms of solar energy. That does not simply mean setting up a bunch of solar arrays to directly collect energy from sunlight (though this SHOULD be done as well). It means using ALL AVAILABLE SOLAR ENERGY, in whatever form we can.

Hydroelectric power is simply solar energy twice removed :wink:


--------------------
You're here because you know something.
What you know you can't explain,
But you feel it;
You've felt it your entire life.
That there's something wrong with the world.
You don't know what it is, but it's there....
Like a splinter in your mind...
Driving you mad.


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InvisibleDieCommie
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Re: What energy source shall we use when fossil fuels run out/become economically unviable? [Re: trendal]
    #3902728 - 03/11/05 02:23 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

trendal said:
Hydroelectric power is simply solar energy twice removed :wink:


If your gonna treat all energy that comes from the sun as "solar" energy, then the oil we burn now is solar energy.  Where did the energy from the sun come from ?  Fusion rxns, thus shouldn't hydroelectric power be nuclear power?  In fact, as im sure you know, all energy can be traced back to the bang, so hydroelectric energy could be considered "bang energy".  The fact of the matter is that hydroelectric energy is not solar energy, not any more than burning oil is.  Just because a unit of energy existed in one state some time in the past does not mean it is forever named after that one state.  :wink:


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Re: What energy source shall we use when fossil fuels run out/become economically unviable? [Re: DieCommie]
    #3903084 - 03/11/05 03:20 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

No I'm only talking about "renewable" sources here. Yes, I do consider oil to be solar energy (it is, after all) but there are problems with using oil for our energy needs. Oil is solar energy which has been saved up over millions of years, which makes it both a very easy source to obtain and a potent source as far as how much energy you get per unit of fuel weight.

The reason I'm refering to things like hydroelectric power as "solar energy" and not "fusion energy" is because I am looking at ONLY at the Earth system. So I'm talking about sources of energy for the Earth as a system (the external sources which input energy into the system). If I was speaking of the Sun as an energy system, I would say that the Sun gets its energy through gravitational energy.

It's all relative, of course :wink:


--------------------
You're here because you know something.
What you know you can't explain,
But you feel it;
You've felt it your entire life.
That there's something wrong with the world.
You don't know what it is, but it's there....
Like a splinter in your mind...
Driving you mad.


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