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07-21-2010   #1 (permalink)
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Default A world without petroleum

Our world is very reliant on petroleum products. How would the world transition from hydrocarbons? And do you think the world would sacrifice transportation and other uses of petroleum in favor of making stuff?
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07-22-2010   #2 (permalink)
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And do you think the world would sacrifice transportation and other uses of petroleum in favor of making stuff?
nope, would never happen

Quote:
How would the world transition from hydrocarbons?
Wind, Hydro, Nuclear, Solar will all be used. (The problem with having no winds, current etc)
But it would take a loooong time.
Transit won't be easy for countries with limited land.
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07-22-2010   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by kag
nope, would never happen


Wind, Hydro, Nuclear, Solar will all be used. (The problem with having no winds, current etc)
But it would take a loooong time.
Transit won't be easy for countries with limited land.
I guess I wasn't too clear on this. I'm talking about petroleum for making stuff like containers, road pavement, mechanical lubricants, and plenty of others. It would also be nice if there was a rationale given with the response.

Alternative energy is not a panacea., especially if we want to continue living in the developed world (just in time power delivery). But that's another topic all together.
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Last edited by SilentSaber; 07-22-2010 at 02:08 AM.
 
07-22-2010   #4 (permalink)
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We already have the technology to utilize renewable source of energy. The problem is that right now, people are not willing to put down the capital outlay required to commercialize it.

If we lose access to petroleum, then the world will be forced to put down the resources to make the transition. We wouldn't have a choice. It'll be difficult, and will further widen the gap between rich and poor countries, but... mankind will survive. If you're an American or from Western Europe, you'll do just fine. They have the technology to harvest renewable energy on a massive scale.

I think I can pretty much predict the shifts in geopolitics. Hmm, very interesting indeed. Might make a decent master's thesis paper.
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07-23-2010   #5 (permalink)
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Many places are already using renewable energy on smaller scales. The hoover dam, if I'm not mistaken, harvests a ton of Hydro energy. Then there's windmills...

Quote:
Originally Posted by wikipedia
At the end of 2009, worldwide nameplate capacity of wind-powered generators was 159.2 gigawatts (GW).[1] Energy production was 340 TWh, which is about 2% of worldwide electricity usage;[1][2] and is growing rapidly, having doubled in the past three years. Several countries have achieved relatively high levels of wind power penetration (with large governmental subsidies), such as 20% of stationary electricity production in Denmark, 14% in Portugal and Spain, 11% in Republic of Ireland, and 8% in Germany in 2009.[3] As of May 2009, 80 countries around the world are using wind power on a commercial basis.[2]
Wind power - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


I remember a long time back seeing a report about a small village in the Philippines that utilized solar energy and stored it in car batteries to power radios, tvs and fans through the evening (and the whole village ran on this). I don't remember where it was though. Hell, even here in the US you can easily buy a solar power kit for all kinds of things.

As for transportation...oh boohoo cars. People can walk or take a bike. If more places had bike lanes then bikes would rock harder. I ride a bike everywhere, and I know Ethane does too. Other people could too, and should for various reasons...exercise, saves a ton of money on gas, maintenance, insurance, etc. Here in Cali I see a lot of people using skateboards as transport.

And then there's trains and public transport.

A non petrol powered world is more than possible, but people are willing to put in their part of the work for it.
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07-23-2010   #6 (permalink)
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For raw materials using oil, there probably isn't much innovations other than those biodegradable ones.
It isn't that much of an issue i suppose, cause the carbon footprint isn't as much to make it a big issue.
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07-23-2010   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Mitchi
Many places are already using renewable energy on smaller scales. The hoover dam, if I'm not mistaken, harvests a ton of Hydro energy. Then there's windmills...



Wind power - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


I remember a long time back seeing a report about a small village in the Philippines that utilized solar energy and stored it in car batteries to power radios, tvs and fans through the evening (and the whole village ran on this). I don't remember where it was though. Hell, even here in the US you can easily buy a solar power kit for all kinds of things.

Trains and public transport still require the input of non-renewable sources for power generation.

As for transportation...oh boohoo cars. People can walk or take a bike. If more places had bike lanes then bikes would rock harder. I ride a bike everywhere, and I know Ethane does too. Other people could too, and should for various reasons...exercise, saves a ton of money on gas, maintenance, insurance, etc. Here in Cali I see a lot of people using skateboards as transport.

And then there's trains and public transport.

A non petrol powered world is more than possible, but people are willing to put in their part of the work for it.
The two main problems with renewables is scalability and stability. Take wind power for example. The wind will not always be blowing, so a country will still need stock based power generation capacity to fill in when the wind turbines can't be run. This will require the continued use of fossile fuels.

The hoover dam harvests a ton of energy for one person, for sure. But if the world were to switch to renewables, you'd need thousands of hoover dams to fill in for the wind power if we continue on with our current pace of energy consumption. There's also the problem of location: the number of suitable locations in the world to place hydro generation capacity is limited.

A battery storage calculation and discussion for wind power:
Quote:
Originally Posted by http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6670
Someone in the renewable electricity world would probably argue that this is where storage can play an important role. [...] Right now, storage that balances renewable sources comes from the flexibility of other stock-based supplies, such as natural gas and hydropower. They can be turned off when the wind blows, and turned on when it stops. The reason why this works is because renewables have such a small market share and often use much larger backup systems. Denmark for example operates its heavily wind-based electricity system with the backing of comparably huge hydro power plants in Norway and Sweden, an approach which unfortunately isn't scalable globally. Not many countries have neighbors with flexible energy generation capacity ten times their own, and that is about what is needed to buffer the huge long-term variability of renewable electricity generation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6670
So let’s for a minute assume that the United Kingdom - one of the world's "best" places to generate electricity from wind - runs on 20% wind power as planned in the least ambitious scenarios currently promoted, and that standby natural gas power plants become no longer available to bridge supply gaps. Some say that ELVs (electric cars) could provide the necessary storage capacity. We did the maths: the total annual output from wind in a 20% scenario for England and Wales would amount to approximately 64 TWh (20% of total current demand). After modeling a nationwide wind turbine network using the best 50 locations (we even included Scotland), we calculated the necessary storage to bridge the largest possible supply gap (e.g. when the wind doesn’t blow for a number of days) and found that Britain in 2009 would have needed 96.5 million battery operated electric cars with 40 kWh batteries each fully available for storage, e.g. no longer ready to be driven. For comparison: 28.5 million private vehicles are currently registered in the UK. The problem here is that wind patterns don't just include short term ups and downs, but instead do involve long periods with very little wind, and then long periods with a lot. Unfortunately, this pattern isn't even predictable year-over-year. Buffering those resources is not something that can be managed with storage, no matter how large.
And, you're right, local transportation isn't a problem: you can walk or bike. It's trade that will be the biggest problem.

Trains and public transportation still rely on nonrenewable inputs for energy. It will make the peak [resource] happen more slowly, but it will still happen regardless.
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Last edited by SilentSaber; 07-23-2010 at 02:34 PM.
 
07-23-2010   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by SilentSaber
The two main problems with renewables is scalability and stability. Take wind power for example. The wind will not always be blowing, so a country will still need stock based power generation capacity to fill in when the wind turbines can't be run. This will require the continued use of fossil fuels.
Um, some places are ALWAYS windy. This is why people put windmills in places where it's windy, like in the rocky mountains. On my trip from Texas to Cali, we passed through what was essentially a wind valley, and the windmills were CONSTANTLY turning, unless they were broken. If there was any wind in that region, then it all runs through that little valley. Yes, there is times when the wind doesn't blow but that doesn't mean we SHOULDN'T harvest what's there. That's like not eating some cherries from a tree because they won't make a full meal.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SilentSaber
The hoover dam harvests a ton of energy for one person, for sure. But if the world were to switch to renewables, you'd need thousands of hoover dams to fill in for the wind power if we continue on with our current pace of energy consumption. There's also the problem of location: the number of suitable locations in the world to place hydro generation capacity is limited.
...what?

Did you SERIOUSLY just reference THE HOOVER DAM when talking about WIND POWER?

Also, one person? Do you even know what the Hoover dam is?

Quote:
Hoover Dam generates, on average, about 4 billion kilowatt-hours of hydroelectric power each year for use in Nevada, Arizona, and California - enough to serve 1.3 million people. From 1939 to 1949, Hoover Powerplant was the world's largest hydroelectric installation; today, it is still one of the country's largest.
Bureau of Reclamation: Lower Colorado Region - Hoover Dam Power FAQs


As far as commerce goes, people can STILL use trains/trucks/ships/planes/etc to ferry things around, but that isn't the problem. One of the biggest problems is people being too spoiled on their damn cars. I personally know 20 people who own pickup trucks and only one person who needs one (my stepdad who delivers snack cakes to stores). Even pizza delivery uses more energy than is needed. I know for a fact that some pizza places have their workers use Mopeds (which are awesome as hell, btw) to deliver their pies.


Besides, since the deepwater incident, Obama's been trying to get a lot of more renewable energy funded, including some pretty big solar companies. Like Cath said, most renewable energy just doesn't have the capital to get big enough to power our wants (can't say needs because let's face it, we pretty much all use more than we need).
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07-23-2010   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Mitchi
Um, some places are ALWAYS windy. This is why people put windmills in places where it's windy, like in the rocky mountains. On my trip from Texas to Cali, we passed through what was essentially a wind valley, and the windmills were CONSTANTLY turning, unless they were broken. If there was any wind in that region, then it all runs through that little valley. Yes, there is times when the wind doesn't blow but that doesn't mean we SHOULDN'T harvest what's there. That's like not eating some cherries from a tree because they won't make a full meal.
When you turn on your computer, somewhere, more generating capacity is put online to serve your computer. When you turn off your computer, likewise, somewhere, generating capacity is put offline because you are no longer drawing power. If you have only wind energy, it would be impossible for society to function in the way it does now (just in time power delivery).


Quote:
Did you SERIOUSLY just reference THE HOOVER DAM when talking about WIND POWER?
I'm sure you know the hoover dam can't supply enough power for even just the state of California. And both hydro and wind fall under the category of "power generation", so I'm not quite sure what you find so shocking (pun intended) about having the two referenced in the same argument.

The gist of the very long quote from my previous post is this: There are times when wind power alone cannot satisfy its quota, 20% in this case, of power draw from a region, in this case, Britain. The graph shows times of the year where there are shortages and surpluses in power generation. As you can see, in the year sampled, the vast majority of the year falls under a power generation shortfall. In those times, it would be necessary for alternative methods, such as hydro power, to be used to satisfy the demand for power.

Quote:
As far as commerce goes, people can STILL use trains/trucks/ships/planes/etc to ferry things around, but that isn't the problem. One of the biggest problems is people being too spoiled on their damn cars. I personally know 20 people who own pickup trucks and only one person who needs one (my stepdad who delivers snack cakes to stores). Even pizza delivery uses more energy than is needed. I know for a fact that some pizza places have their workers use Mopeds (which are awesome as hell, btw) to deliver their pies.


Besides, since the deepwater incident, Obama's been trying to get a lot of more renewable energy funded, including some pretty big solar companies. Like Cath said, most renewable energy just doesn't have the capital to get big enough to power our wants (can't say needs because let's face it, we pretty much all use more than we need).
The discussion here is about a scenario where there is no doubt that petroleum is no longer cheap and abundant.

And about the public policy from the current administration: I'll believe it when I see it. Politicians been talking renewables for over a decade.

And, just to play devil's advocate again...
Regarding solar power:
Quote:
Originally Posted by http://www.viridiansolar.co.uk/Technology%206%20Diminishing%20Returns%20in%20Area %20and%20Efficiency.htm
[...]The relationship between [solar colelction] area and useful energy collected follows a curve of diminishing returns. The same is true for efficiency.
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Last edited by SilentSaber; 07-23-2010 at 05:34 PM.
 
07-23-2010   #10 (permalink)
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The discussion here is about a scenario where there is no doubt that petroleum is no longer cheap and abundant.
I'll TLDR my point.

People will have to learn to adapt, and it's that simple. And no, People likely WONT sacrifice their precious cars in favor of using petroleum to make products, since alternatives for those are easier to find.

Again, whether or not renewable energy CAN sustain the average household is entirely dependant on how much energy they use. In the US, the average house has air conditioning/heaters, refridgerators, Computers that are constantly on, TVs that are always on, Lights that get left on, etc. In the Where I lived in the philippines we had Electric fans (usually running at night), not as many people have fridges, and people spend more time doing activites that don't require electricity. And it's not just out of being poor or whatever a lot of times. My aunt had an air conditioner but it used too much energy and she stopped using it.

I'm not saying you don't have a valid point (yes, petroleum DOES give us more bang for our buck energy wise) but the fact still stands that our energy demands are high because of want, NOT need.
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