Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Little Fuel That Could

Post 37:

Both Obama and McCain are complaining on issues related to the economy, the environment, and to our fuel crisis. That said, neither of them are really hitting where they should; Obama is talking about alternative sources like wind/solar and McCain is talking about off-shore drilling. Both parties are right that we need to get off of our addiction to oil from the Middle East, but neither is right about how to do it. What we need to do to become energy independent AND create a better environment are very simple: Build Nuclear Power Plants - Bio-Fuels (ALGAE) - Require better efficiency in everything. Really, if we take these three steps, or even just one of them, we should be able to ease ourselves out of this addiction, plus, we will not have to do it cold turkey.

Build Nuclear Power Plans:
I know, I know, this is not a popular proposition. Nuke run power plants are a great idea to ease ourselves off of foreign oil. While they still create pollution, and do have the downside of needing a place to store the waste, we become energy independent and produce much less carbon-emissions. I am sure that in time we should be able to develop a way to reuse the nuclear waste, or, at least, we will find a place to store it. There are problems with this, however, and they range from potential melt-downs to a great target for terrorists. However, these problems are minute compared to the savings and environmentally beneficial that Nuclear plants will provide.

Bio-Fuels (ALGAE):
We need to invest in bio-fuels to fuel our cars if we ever expect to get off of our addiction; however, not all bio-fuels are created equal. Corn, while it is beneficial, produce a large amount of emissions, uses a fair bit of water to produce, and is something we eat. We should instead invest in a source of bio-fuel that is much cheaper and uses less resources to make. We should invest in algae bio-fuels. Algae is 3000% the efficiency of an equal biomass of Soybeans, filters water, and grows on any type of water. To fuel the entire fleet of US cars we would need roughly the Maryland in growing land. However, the one advantage of algae is that we can grow it on sewage and the ocean. So, we just need to add algae to the top of each sewer, skimp off roughly ¼ of it each day, and we will be close to energy efficient.

Require Better Efficiency in Everything:
We can work all we want on creating new sources of energy or attempting to limit our use of fossil fuels but nothing will help if we do not start cutting down our usage. While I do not support a full governmental program, I believe that we should apply market pressures to different companies (via not buying products) to make them increase efficiency. Everybody talks about MPG, but we should also be talking other energy-using appliance. We need to create computers that run cleaner, cars that run further, AC units that use less electricity, and the rest. If we can start forcing companies to create more environmental friendly technology then not only do we save the environment, we also help to end our usage of fossil fuels AND save some money.

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Robert M. Barga,
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Mountain Sage said...

I agree with you except on the Nuclear Power.

Isn't hemp extremely efficient for producing biofuel? I think I read that somewhere.

Now the government is complaining because gas tax revenues are down because we have cut back so much on our gas consumption.

I think the problem is that there are people in both parties getting rich off the "addiction" and consequently don't have a lot of incentive to really do anything.

Mountain Sage

Barga said...

Hemp is not as effective as algae and it uses a shit-ton of water to produce

What is wrong with Nukes?

Lisa Renee said...

I'm glad you mentioned the algae, that's something that I've been hearing quite a bit about as well as switchgrass which is said to be more efficient than corn for ethanol.

Barga said...

while switchgrass is slightly more efficient than Corn for ehtanol, it is grown in the same sort of conditions and thus not a new gain. Plus, the water usage is outstanding...

Hajile said...

See, now, normally I'd agree. This seems most logical. But then, why aren't both of the candidates vying for it?

There most be other reasons why it's not probable or efficient.

And wouldn't growing algae in the ocean screw with that ecosystem?

Barga said...

I am not saying you would grow it there, simply that you could. We would grow it on water treatments sites and sewers

think for a second, who owns the two candidates??

Hajile said...

Uh, the two political parties? The government? The people? Their financial backers? I don't know.

Barga said...

oil companies for the most part

the problem is that algae is not well enough studied nor is it main stream, when it hits mainstream (MIT is trying) then it will be talked about


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