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British engineers create petrol out of thin air
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johnhemming



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 255

PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
In a sensible world, where we did not burn any fossil fuel because we knew it would produce greenhouse gasses which would lead to the end of life as we know it, there would still be a case for this sort of technology.

Starting with electricity, however, there is a possible cycle involving Hydrogen and fuel cells which would compare against this mechanism for storing energy.

The main question of comparison is physical and what the energy losses are through the various transformations.
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Little John



Joined: 08 Mar 2008
Posts: 6015
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

johnhemming wrote:
Quote:
In a sensible world, where we did not burn any fossil fuel because we knew it would produce greenhouse gasses which would lead to the end of life as we know it, there would still be a case for this sort of technology.

Starting with electricity, however, there is a possible cycle involving Hydrogen and fuel cells which would compare against this mechanism for storing energy.

The main question of comparison is physical and what the energy losses are through the various transformations.
In the world as it is with the needs that is has, I mostly agree. I say mostly because of the possible specialist uses of gas extraction from the atmosphere that is not for the purpose of mass consumption but is, instead, for use in specialist areas such as gas cutting and welding, for instance. In such circumstances, the EROEI is less important than the actual usefulness of the product.

Also, in world inhabited by a fraction of the number of humans currently existing, all kind of solutions to energy supplies become viable, even one like this. In other words, it matters little how negative the EROEI is on such a fuel if you have enough land to grow biofuels to run the generators to produce the electricity to extract the relevant gas from the atmosphere. Don't misunderstand me, in this particular instance it still wouldn't make much sense since, if you had enough land, you could harvest the ethanol directly from plants grown for the purpose. However, in terms of a method of transferring solar and wind energy into a storable energy medium, such a technology would have some merit. But, again, not in a world of 7 billion.

As things stand, a technology of this kind is worse than useless because it encourages the ignorant to cling onto the delusion of BAU.
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kenneal - lagger
Site Admin


Joined: 20 Sep 2006
Posts: 10416
Location: Newbury, Berkshire

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

johnhemming wrote:
Quote:
In a sensible world, where we did not burn any fossil fuel because we knew it would produce greenhouse gasses which would lead to the end of life as we know it, there would still be a case for this sort of technology.

Starting with electricity, however, there is a possible cycle involving Hydrogen and fuel cells which would compare against this mechanism for storing energy.

The main question of comparison is physical and what the energy losses are through the various transformations.


That would depend on the balance of losses between the hydrogen/fuel cell technology with the difficulty of keeping a small molecule like hydrogen contained, the lack of a distribution/production network and its low energy density and the high cost of fuel cells and the additional losses in the synthetic petrol production but the high energy density and the existing distribution network.

A job for government funded research there, I think. I say government funded to ensure that the research is not biased .
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As Steve Keen puts it: “Capital without energy is a statue; labour without energy is a corpse.” Economics ignores this which is why economics is broken.
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JohnB



Joined: 22 May 2006
Posts: 6457
Location: Beautiful sunny West Wales!

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kenneal - lagger wrote:
A job for government funded research there, I think. I say government funded to ensure that the research is not biased .

Any guarantees of that? If it doesn't come up with right answer I can imagine it being suppressed or "modified".
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Eco-Hamlets UK - Small sustainable neighbourhoods
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mobbsey



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 2243
Location: Banbury

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've re-read the evolving discussion on this thread.

The thing that's missing is how or who, within the context this project was presented in the news media, is going to tell the public that it's a non-starter? -- at least at any kind of fuel price level that wouldn't bust the economy and prevent them driving their cars?

We currently have a media who will accept, without any formal challenge to the principles involved, any kind of bullshit that's been fed to them via lobby groups and PR agencies -- which is who is moving these kind of stories into the media. Unless we can tackle that failure in the communication chain then it's not just that we'll never see the end of investment scams such as this project; we'll also never see a reasoned discussion of energy issues, peak oil/peak everything.
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