The energy future — burning water

“The Future’s going to happen.”The Future and its Enemies, Virginia Postrel

In the last article I defined the problem, and will summarize it again below:

  1. Like it or not we are a high energy society — any city cut off from transport and energy is two to four days away from rioting and looting. (ala Katrina) We are dependent on plentiful energy for transport, growing the food we eat, and pumping and processing the waste we make. Any future in which energy is limited even slightly creates dim and horrific lives for most of humanity.
  2. The US is dependent on foreign sources of hydrocarbons for a large percentage of our energy needs.
  3. World demand coupled with politics has created high priced energy.
  4. Energy isn’t as plentiful as it needs to be if we want a clean environment.
  5. Current energy production methods create & disperse carcinogenic pollutants widely.

So in a nutshell if we want folks happy and the environment clean, then we need plentiful, cheap, clean energy produced here. Ok, so cheap is a nice to have – if we just want to save the US, it can be expensive energy. However, if we want third world countries to improve then energy needs to be cheap.

 Sounds like a tall order, but it’s really not. Every bit of technology needed is already here today, and tested. There are several solutions and in this series we will examine a few. Right now we are going to look into automobiles that run on water.

Positing unlimited, cheap electricity you can produce all the Hydrogen needed to fuel H2ICE engines. (Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engines.) If you have an H2ICE engine, you are basically burning hydrogen created from water, and creating water and laughing gas as the exhaust. 🙂

The NOx problem is one that they are tackling at the CRF lab at Sandia near my sister’s old stomping grounds in Livermore, California. The problem boils down to the same problem that plagues most speed junkies and engine tuners, how to get the most efficient fuel / air mix at the right time. Fuel injection, timing, & carburation in other words.

Well, that’s interesting, but I said this technology exists, and is tested now… so here you go:

BMW’s model

The 750

BMW 2005 version

  Continue reading “The energy future — burning water”

New Nukes NOW!

I was going to write a long, gentle, series of articles on why the US is going to have to build a lot of nuclear power plants soon whether we really want to or not. That is where the energy series will lead, and I will examine the alternatives fairly along the path so you both understand and agree with the conclusion.

I will still do that in coming weeks, but time is shorter than we think. This article convinced me that everyone who wants their grandchildren to have a reasonably comfortable existence had better start agitating for more nukes now, not tomorrow. We are well on our way to becoming an industrial and low-tech backwater. (Italics below are mine.)

And its significance to the growing powerhouses of China and India cannot be understated. China plans to install about 40 1000-megawatt nuclear reactors by 2020 as its power demands quadruple and it tries to shift away from its dependence on energy resources blamed for greenhouse gases, such as coal.  — The Australian, “Nuclear Powerhouse” by Joseph Kerr

READ whole article

Meanwhile, our nuke reactors are 30 years or older, and starting to show signs of age. They need to be replaced with new model, pebble bed gas-cooled reactors. The time for cooling with water, and the problems that go with it is past.

(Note to the worried: Don’t freak out over the MSNBC article, Tritium is only harmful if you breath or drink a lot, like gallons. The low-energy beta radiation it releases won’t even penetrate your skin, you are in more danger from the monitor you are sitting in front of right now.) Update on the Tritium leak situation and new process here.

Sunday Hodgepodge

An assortment of things this Sunday:

Today is Iraq Freedom Day, the third anniversary of the fall of Saddam. Things are getting better in Iraq, but the media isn’t presenting that, so a few efforts are underway to help them put things in perspective.

In another development, FBI are still looking for the person responsible for drilling a hole in a Florida nuclear power plant pipe. No leaks, not to worry etc. but it’s likely to turn out to be an opponent of nuclear power from some wacko fringe environmental group.

What was a simple *hah* shower insert in the master bath has become a “strip-it-down-to-the-studs” redecorating job…. grrrrrrrr. The rolloff arrives next Friday, so the rest of this day I am plumbing, ripping out sheet rock, etc. So it’s later on all, sorry no more time to write today. 🙁

Later that same day……

Whew!  That went easier than I thought, so I will have some time to write.

Creating the news — Jerry Springer meets Dan Rather

News is a product. It’s a product that sells best if the cachet is prejudice or fear, and it’s apparent that in the race for viewers all the stops are being pulled out by Dateline NBC. You have to wonder about their willingness to piss off NASCAR with the contract ending soon.

After bringing Muslim men to Martinsville Speedway in Virginia to gauge the reaction of NASCAR fans, Dateline NBC won’t have its cameras at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend.

In a statement released Thursday, NBC defended its reporting tactics, saying “there have been a lot of inaccurate comments” and that Dateline “had barely begun its reporting.”

Dateline is not planning a story about NASCAR,” the statement said. “We are following up on a recent poll and other articles indicating an increase in anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States. We are curious about whether that is true. The NASCAR race at Martinsville was a stop we have made in our research on this story.

“There is nothing new about the technique of witnessing the experience of someone who might be discriminated against in a public setting.”

NASCAR officials were angry after learning Dateline recruited Muslims to attend the DirecTV 500. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said the group walked around outside the track without any reaction from fans.

“It’s outrageous that a news organization like NBC would seek to create the news instead of reporting the news,” Poston said.

60 Minutes-style confrontation journalism is now the technique used by most local stations, and some CBS affiliates will also go to extreme lengths to manufacture a teaser for the ten o’clock news.

If Jerry Springer and Dan Rather were able to mate with each other, then maybe their offspring would grow up to be journalists like the ones responsible for these incidents.

 

Iraq: more excellent news

The prestigious and moderate-to-liberal think tank known as the Brookings institute has a great new study out that shows past trends in Iraq vs. present. Everything, while not perfectly rosy, is trending well. American deaths are declining, Continue reading “Iraq: more excellent news”

Energy ?! What, me worry?

This is the first of several articles on the subject of energy, what the future looks like, and most of all about our responsibilities. Unlike most folks looking at the problem I am not going to assume that we are all doomed. The problems around energy are all solvable and the future for everyone is bright, not dim. Continue reading “Energy ?! What, me worry?”

Fifteen minutes, or six hours?

If UBL is found by someone, do we want to be there in fifteen minutes, or four to six hours? If we need to hit a foreign weapons research lab for an assured destruct without using nuclear and we need to do it fast, do we have the means now? Continue reading “Fifteen minutes, or six hours?”

Welcome

Welcome to my new online journal, I had to blow the old one out the pipes during upgrade to 2.0. Now that the frustration of upgrading to 2.0.2 is over I can take some time and put some content here. While you are waiting, here’s a pic I took the other day to rest your eyes on.  For the record I have been blogging about 8 months prior to the start of this one, and yes, during the upgrade I lost quite a few posts with DB corruption. 🙁

Continue reading “Welcome”