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Climate change

Whether you ‘believe’ that humankind causes (or contributes to) climate change and whether this will have irreversible dramatic effects or not, there can be no statement like ‘i don’t think we will ever run out of fossil fuels’ although i can name one guy who may say just that.

I would wish mankind would start shifting the discussion a bit to that side of the coin. Surely there will be those that say that new technologies may enable us to extract fossil fuel ever deeper or the like, but there is an end to that. Technically and (fortunately) economically too. Solar & Wind now on par with various conventional sources.

An interesting site for those of you that like numbers rather than qualitative chit-chat:

https://sandbag.org.uk

I hear a lot of opponents complain about ruining ourselves with investments in renewables and that it is just a tiny fraction that these renewables contribute.
This site gives more hope. But it’s just Europe of course.

Interesting to see that Ryanair has just made it to the list of the biggest burners. I guess O’Leary (‘the best we can do with environmentalists is to shoot them’) will be
proud

Talking about proud, Spain has just introduced feed-in of energy from private individuals. Great. I will now double my home installation to 10kW peak power, contribute to the local economy (Spanish PV panels etc). Need to do some sums, may even be a nice ROI.

Last Edited by aart at 30 May 13:20
Private field, Mallorca, Spain

aart wrote:

there can be no statement like ‘i don’t think we will ever run out of fossil fuels

Gasoline will be commercially available for a very, very long time. It may well become less available and more expensive, over a long period, but it is not all of a sudden going to be unavailable, ever. In addition, broadening the issue to transportable liquid fuels more generally, alcohol will be produceable forever given an energy supply of any kind,

Last Edited by Silvaire at 30 May 13:40

Silvaire, it is a political decision. Some European countries have already announced to outright ban cars with internal combustion engines by 2040, or their production by 2030. This will change the economy behind gasoline massively.

Novice pilot
EDVM Hildesheim

MedEwok wrote:

Silvaire, it is a political decision. Some European countries have already announced to outright ban cars with internal combustion engines by 2040, or their production by 2030. This will change the economy behind gasoline massively

What you’re describing is yesterday’s knee jerk reaction to the equally silly fuel tax politics of 10 years ago, which created the European Diesel debacle. What I think will actually happen in 2030 or 2040 will probably reflect several more political cycles and also with luck maybe some reference to reality.

Last Edited by Silvaire at 30 May 13:49

aart wrote:

‘i don’t think we will ever run out of fossil fuels’

Would you count hydrocarbon fuels as fossil fuels if they are formed by recombination?

MedEwok wrote:

outright ban cars with internal combustion engines

I think you mean cars burning fossil fuel. Hydrogen is still a viable alternative, and may in fact be the better alternative unless some high energy lithium free batteries comes along. (I have been driving an electric car for 4 1/2 year already)

Regarding global warming. I took the picture below less than 2 hours ago when walking in the woods with my wife (tomorrow it’s June 1)

Edit, the day after tomorrow

Last Edited by LeSving at 30 May 15:25

Le_Sving wrote:

I think you mean cars burning fossil fuel. Hydrogen is still a viable alternative, and may in fact be the better alternative unless some high energy lithium free batteries comes along. (I have been driving an electric car for 4 1/2 year already)

Of course you’re right and I agree with you. I think hydrogen is a more environmentally friendly energy source compared to batteries, which require lots of rare earth metals and energy to produce. It would require lots of investment to set up the required infrastructure however, and unless the state finances that, nobody will. It’s a bit easier with electricity, which already is available everywhere, hence most states seem to prefer electric cars.

Last Edited by MedEwok at 30 May 16:25
Novice pilot
EDVM Hildesheim

No, hydrogen isn’t environmentally friendly – it’s just as bad as petroleum (because basically that’s where you get it from).

Batteries don’t require any rare earth metals at all (rare earths – which are the fifteen lanthanides plus yttrium and scandium – are used mostly in permanent magnets and aren’t actually rare, with the exception of the radioactive element promethium which we don’t use in magnets) and the energy investment in a battery lasts a long time. Rechargable batteries for vehicles (and phones, laptops, drones etc) use the group 1 alkali metals, notably lithium – which isn’t all that rare either – and there is work on sodium chemistry batteries (and sodium is incredibly plentiful). They don’t even use that much lithium, each kg of lithium battery only has a few grams of actual lithium in it. Most of the mass is made up of other common metals (which are also easily recyclable).

Unfortunately hydrogen is completely impractical: it’s difficult to transport (high pressure, embrittlement, leakage due to the small molecule), difficult to store, and not at all environmentally friendly – the only economical way to produce it right now is steam reformation of natural gas, which takes quite a bit of energy and still uses fossil fuels (electrolysis is laughably inefficient and requires stupidly expensive catalysts). Hydrogen is just a bad idea. It’s not even that great for sending rockets into space (kerosene and LOX is better).

Batteries win against hydrogen on pretty much every count.

Last Edited by alioth at 30 May 16:46
Andreas IOM

Hydrogen leaks contribute to greenhouse gas emissions in a very roundabout way.

EGCW

alioth wrote:

it’s just as bad as petroleum (because basically that’s where you get it from).

Yes, today that is the case. Hydrogen is made from natural gas. The thing with hydrogen however, is it can be made directly from solar/wind, completely CO2 free, 100% “green”. You can use the solar/wind power directly without connecting the solar wind to the grid. Solar/wind is no energy production in itself. Whenever you set up one wind power plant, the same power capacity storage also needs to be installed, as well as a grid able to handle the power. Take all that into account and the real cost for wind/solar will make them useless due to the cost. The reason solar/wind works today, is it only piggybacks on the existing grid, taking advantage of the built in flexibility from gas, coal, hydro or nuclear. 100% solar/wind is a (dead) myth.

What hydrogen has as an advantage is incredibly high energy density (kWh/kg), almost 3x that of gasoline, about 200x that of current battery technology.

The situation becomes that the larger something is, and the longer it has to travel, then hydrogen becomes unbeatable. Airplanes, boats and even trucks would benefit from this. Smaller stuff becomes more efficient with batteries because the empty weight or volume becomes so small it doesn’t matter in any case. Batteries are also more practical than compressed gas the smaller something gets. This is also about how the industry infrastructure develops and scales. Hydrogen is the only fuel known to man, that in the future is able to add the flexibility needed to make solar/wind work without emission, and will work when there is no oil, gas or coal left (not taking into account nuclear).

Hydrogen has become unpopular today because the need for it hasn’t really materialized yet, and people are ignorant of the need for it. It will come back with a vengeance for sure though, and it will become much more important than batteries all things considered.

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