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Howstuffworks founder sets up anti-peak oil site

 
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PowerSwitchJames



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 929
Location: London

PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 11:48 am    Post subject: Howstuffworks founder sets up anti-peak oil site Reply with quote

The founder of howstuffworks has set up a site looking at why peak oil will not mean the end of civilisation.

http://alteng.blogspot.com/

Even does google advertising with this...

Peak oil is a charade
Will civilization collapse when we
run out of oil? No. Read the truth.
AltEng.blogspot.com
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fishertrop



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 859
Location: Sheffield

PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sigh

I don't know if I've got the stomach for another "I wish it were true, if only it were true - I know I'll make up a load of reasons why it IS true" websites.

Can someone do me a favour and figure out if it is a serious and credible discussion of the facts or more of the usual drival, before I take the plunge myself Question (not asking much am I !)

If it's the latter, I don't know why people bother since the mainstream media does a great job of telling people why there is no real problem anyway.
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fishertrop



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 859
Location: Sheffield

PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tought I'd better put my money were my mouth was and take a look myself!

Actually it's not a bad site at all, and has plenty of facts.

I was surprised somewhat by the guy's big leap from the long list of real issues that we face (that he lists fairly accurately) to "Peak Oil will be a non-event".

The basis for his conclusions is that there are TONS of techologies that we can use to offset less-oil and that high oil prices make alternatives viable - the change will just smoothly role on from the "Oil age" to the "someting-new age", with mearly a ripple.

The guy has made a career from technolgy and is clearly passionate about it.

Furthermore, many of the tech's he says will save us are perfectly viable and I think we should be using them now.

Were it not for the strapline "Peak Oil will be a non-event" this site could easily been mistaken for a generic "discussion about energy technologies" blog.

Marshall Brain wrote:

Personally, I don't think anything will happen. I look at "peak oil" in the very same way I looked at the "Year 2000 crisis" in 1999. "Peak oil" will be a non-event. We will see prices for gasoline go up, yes, and there may be some short term spikes that are a little disruptive, but overall I believe we will work this out in a natural way.


It's funny really, his site (like his life, it seems) if full of technology info and facts but then he add's a great big leap to the peak-oil-is-a-myth conclusion.

Personally I think he's grossly underplaying or ignoring about a dozen key facts, but at least it's NOT the kind of site I feared it might have been!
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beev



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 112
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you so much for that link. That guy has so much useful information! Never mind his AltEng blog, what about all the other stuff? Infinately useful.

If people want to know more about what is happening in the world of renewables I highly recommend this site, the Alternative Energy Blog:
http://alt-e.blogspot.com/
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DamianB
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Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 553
Location: Dorset

PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's crap. There's no discussion or indication that he's aware of EROEI. He doesn't talk about fractional reserve banking (probably outside his experience. He seems unaware of uranium's own resource limits.

It's a typically simple, ill-informed, business-as-usual view of a complex problem. 1/10
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andyh



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 323
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The guy is clearly well intentioned but I am afraid well intentioned isnt going to get us very far. His list of alternatives looks great on paper but its all superficial knock about stuff - as posted above he doesnt have a clue what the expenditure in terms of fossil fuels is involved in actually getting these alternatives up to stream are. I love his optimism but......


I suspect he's latched on to Peak Oil and realised its the next 'coming thing' - then has taken the view that as such he will attract interest in taking a diametrically oppose view on how important it will be.
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RogerCO



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 672
Location: Cornwall, UK

PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On a quick scan there seems to be a lot of good stuff on alternative electricity generation technolgies but precious little on the question of transport which is today about 94% oil based (and accounts for over 40% of total oil use I saw quoted by someone at peakspeak)
There are a few mentions of fuel-cell and hybrid technologies, but I couldn't see any discussion of the carbon/oil costs of implementing these.

The transport problem might be one of the key issues - railways are the only viable ways of currently using electricity (from renewables) for transport - there is not yet a battery technology with sufficient energy storage density to replace the current motor vehicle fleet, quite apart from the resource and environmental implications of getting and disposing of all that lead (or whatever) and chemicals.
Of course there are good wind powered technologies for use on marine transport.

And you could imagine a shift to an electric railway and sailing ships as the prime long distance distribution modes. Another possible use for motorways would be to convert them into electric rail links.
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Peaked2Soon



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2005 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks like the guy's made the classic error of confusing technologies with energy sources. We won't be needing new technologies, we'll be needing a new energy source - and that's a whole lot worse.

This confusion is encapsualted in the 'Stone Age didn't end for lack of stones' claptrap. Of course stones are not an energy source, they are a technlogy, and they were replaced by a better technlogy (bronze) but that was only possible because of abundant energy, from wood etc, to smelt the bronze.

Of course a new technlogy could provide a new energy source, like Fusion, but that requires stupendous energy inputs to develop, and it's not really what the utopians are saying. Sites like AltEng imply that we will just magically stumble upon another energy source with Oil reaches $80 and market forces kick in. If only it were that simple.
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Sam172



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 138
Location: Plymouth, UK

PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2005 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having quickly (and by that, I mean picked out a few words before lapsing close to a fit of hysterics) scanned the part of that - I conclude that he's talking out of his ass.

Now, I may be very wrong here - but wasn't the jist of part of it about replacing oil with biofuels?
If I'm not mistaken that amount of land would be needed for...mmm....let me think....perhaps.....food!?


As it goes -

"Only when the last tree is cut; only when the last river is polluted; only when the last fish is caught; only then will they realise that you cannot eat money"
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