From: everything-list@googlegroups.com
[mailto:everything-list@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of LizR
Sent: Thursday, November 14, 2013 7:20 PM
To: everything-list@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: Global warming silliness

 

Hi Chris

 

 

Hi Liz

 

I won't interleave my replies as I'm finding it quite confusing to follow
who is saying what in reply to what, so apologies in advance if I miss
anything.

 

>> The suggestion about synthesising petrol from the atmosphere is of course
very hypothetical at the moment. Supposing it could be done, I do of course
realise that this would be recycling. The reasons to do it (in the short
term, and assuming it's possible) would be to avoid having to reconfigure
the existing infrastructure that has been built up over decades to supply
petrol to cars, boats, planes, power plants, etc. With almost any
alternative fuel supply this would need a massive (and non carbon neutral)
overhaul to much of the world.

 

True for vehicles - large thermal plants are a different matter. The
existing deployed fleet of vehicles might have problems burning the
particular hydrocarbon - for example alcohol as a fuel requires engines that
can handle high ethanol content. My point: The hypothetical kinds of liquid
hydrocarbons that could be synthesized might be impossible to burn in ICE
engines designed for combusting gasoline (or diesel) I am arguing that the
current fleet of vehicles is probably going to be obsoleted - even by a
switch to a different liquid fuel (unless it is compatible with existing
engines).

Why not make the switch to all electric for ground vehicles - Ellon Musk
apparently wants to make an electric airplane so maybe in the air as well.
Of course current lithium ion battery technology does not have the
volumetric or gravimetric density required, but battery technology is moving
fast and lithium (and also zinc air) battery technologies are being
developed that promise much higher energy densities (maybe Ellon Musk knows
something). 

 

>>Why not use the energy more directly? - only because of the storage
problem. One of petrol's big plus points is its high energy density (and
actual density). It's a lot easier to cart around a tank of petrol than a
tank of hydrogen or methane or some other gas, for example, or a battery
full of electricity.

 

I hear what you are saying and have said the exact same thing, when I have
mentioned energy density of liquid fuels as being a reason one could make
the argument for investing greater amounts of energy than could ever be
extracted from burning them. It is because they are a high quality energy
carrier - in terms of being able to stuff a lot of it - i.e. potential
energy -- in a tank.

 

>>There are many schemes afoot which could in theory revolutionise transport
- the latest I saw was a New Zealand based idea to use induction from buried
wires to charge electric cars as they move. This is fine, except that it
doesn't work for planes or boats or for cars that aren't on a road equipped
with the wires! And even getting it up and running for motorways would
require digging up thousands of miles of road and filling it in again, not
to mention equipping millions of cars with the necessary whatever.

 

Interesting. Zinc or Lithium air batteries though would have the energy
density to work for long distance air travel. Electric powered turbofan
jets.

 

>> One has the same supply problem with any power source - nuclear, solar,
etc. You have to get the energy into cars, planes, trains etc. A good
solution, in my opinion, would be to use the power plus the carbon in the
air to create a fuel that cars, planes etc can run on. And if you can do it
- very hypothetical at present - then maybe eventually you will even be able
to get more carbon out of the air than is being emitted.

 

How? As soon as you burn it you put it back into the atmosphere.

 

>>On the subject of sequestration, plants are top of my list, but assuming
that isn't possible, or not possible enough, is there no way to split the
carbon atoms off from the oxygen (assuming lots of available energy, as
usual!) and to turn it into - oh, I don't know. Diamonds, perhaps!

 

Now diamonds are forever LOL

Chris

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