Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Alternative fuels.

The Christian Science Monitor has an interesting chart and article about potential alternative fuels. It's sort of fun to speculate -- and, at this point, it is pure speculation -- about how we're going to power our cars (and the like) in the future. Ideally, there would be a mix of multiple types, in order to reduce the chance of a future problem on the scale of our developing oil dependency. (That is, if we, say, all switched to ethanol, and then there were some future problem with the ethanol supply, we'd all just have to switch again.)

Of greater concern, of course, is how we are going to produce enough electricity to match our growing power needs. Again, though, it's starting to look like some sort of combination of the alternatives -- wind, solar, nuclear, hydro, gas, coal -- is the best option. Then, as some fuels run out, and the infrastructure gets built up for the others, the power-grid's dependence can be shifted around without producing brown- or blackouts.

It's not yet entirely hopeful, but at least there are signs that humanity may not have completely fucked itself over yet.

2 comments:

undergroundman said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biodiesel

Read the end:

On May 11, 2006 the Aquaflow Bionomic Corporation in Marlborough, New Zealand announced that it had produced its first sample of bio-diesel fuel made from algae found in sewage ponds.[8] Unlike previous attempts, the algae was naturally grown in pond discharge from the Marlborough District Council's sewage treatment works. In November 2006, a commercial-scale project was announced in South Africa. Using American-made, closed bioreactors, it is expected to produce 900 millions gallons a year (58 thousand barrels a day) of biodiesel within a couple of years. [9]

The rich potential of biodiesel is a well-kept secret in our world of farm special interests and crazy hydrogren pipe dreams.

Even better than that: straight electric cars.

ADHR said...

Biodiesel actually sounds like a better issue. The problem with electric cars is that it collapses the fuel problem into the generation problem: that is, we'd now need to generate even more electricity, in order to charge all these cars.

On the whole, though, we'll probably solve the fuel and energy generation issues. It's the loss of other resources -- in particular, arable land -- that should be of greater concern.