RE: Middle East oil supply; alternatives

From: Sondra Brasile (
Date: Fri May 24 2002 - 11:11:13 EDT

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    Since we're on the subject of fossil fuels:
    For about 20 years my father worked on a project to find an alternative to
    burning fossil fuels in cars, he was an "experimental technician" at G.M.
    Tech. Center.
    Ford went the electric car route, G.M. in conjunction with Allison (aircraft
    engines) went the turbine route. G.M. was one step away from production of a
    turbine engine car that would burn anything combustible; from finely
    powdered coal dust to wood alcohol, to Jack Daniel's. As soon as Bill
    Clinton came into office the project was literally crushed. The Buick that
    had been the prototype went to the crusher along with all the research and

    G.M.(or rather, the "boss" that was running the project) allowed all the men
    who had worked on the project to take turns borrowing the car before it was
    crushed. I literally SAT and rode around in that car for a whole weekend; a
    1973 Buick in mint condition (it had never left the lab before). This huge
    boat of a car had so much power, it would have roasted the tires until there
    was no rubber left on them; if we had been so inclined. It was an awesome
    experience. My dad was so proud of this car he had worked so long and hard
    on; he was so sad when it was crushed. He had (has) absolutely no doubt in
    his mind that #1 it would have revolutionized the world of automobiles and
    #2 it would have ended or greatly reduced the consumption of fossil fuels in
    cars and #3 that the ending of the project was 100% political and had
    everything to do with Bill Clinton.

    G.M. already had a prototype car that was designed and built to sell on the
    open market; the first "turbine car", I saw it at an open house in the late
    80's. The Buick had the first turbine motor they had made the "GT5" which is
    the one they worked all the bugs out on; that motor was as big as a "big
    block", the new prototype the "GT1" was so small and light it could be
    picked up without the aid of a hoist or winch, one man could lift it. The
    possiblities seemed endless. Not only would it have burned literally
    anything, but the engines were such that they would eventually have become
    "disposable", they burned at such a high temperature that there were
    practically NO emissions (it also burned at such a high temperature that one
    of their earliest problems was to figure out what material to use in the
    compustion chamber; any and every metal they tried vaporized).

    Last I heard of it that car was "borrowed" by Hollywood to use in the movie
    "Back to the Future 2" It was one of the "future" cars. I don't know what
    ever happened to it after that, my dad does.

    If they hadn't scrapped that project in the early 90's, just think where we
    might be today. Allison tried to pursue the idea on their own and even tried
    to hire my dad directly and take him to Indianapolis, but he didn't want to
    leave G.M. so close to retirement and start all over again at his age.
    I wonder how many other programs like that were scrapped?
    I thought you guys may be interested in that little bit of info.


    >From: "Glenn Morton" <>
    >To: "Dr. Blake Nelson" <>, "Shuan Rose"
    ><>, <>
    >Subject: RE: Middle East oil supply
    >Date: Thu, 23 May 2002 20:44:30 -0700
    >Hi Blake,
    > >-----Original Message-----
    > >From: Dr. Blake Nelson []
    > >Sent: Thursday, May 23, 2002 10:08 AM
    > >
    > >To be accurate France gets over 70% of their power
    > >from nuclear.
    > >
    >As I pointed out to Shuan, they only get 75% of their electricity from
    >nuclear. They only get 37% of their power.
    > >Nuclear is also the interim solution to shifting to a
    > >hydrogen economy, if that is to occur. It is the only
    > >way to generate the hydrogen. Still not inexpensive.
    >Canada uses the CANDU technology. I once did an economic model trying to
    >calculate whether or not nuclear could replace oil.
    >I will lay out some math so that if I am making an error, someone can
    >correct me.
    >6.29 bbl = 10.9 megawatt-hour
    >1 bbl = 1.73 megawatt-hour
    >700megawatt = 404.6242775 bbl/hour
    >There are 8760 hours per year so a 700 megawatt plant produces:
    >6,132,000 megawatt-hour = 3,544,508 bbl/yr
    >We produce around 30 billion barrels of oil per year. So for the world to
    >replace this we need:
    >8463.796477 700 MW plants
    >$1,250,000,000 per plant
    >$10.5 trillion investment
    >The US GDP is about $10 trillion. This represents about 1/3 of the global
    >domestic product! Consider "Healthcare is the world╠s largest industry
    >global revenues of $ 2.8 trillion or close to 9 percent of global domestic
    >product (GDP). "
    >Given that they take about 4 years to build The investment would mean a 10%
    >tax on everyone and every corporation--and that would mean that the people
    >would pay far more than 10% of their personal income. Corporations don't
    >taxes, they pass them on to consumers.
    >And these costs don't include the cost of getting rid of the nuclear waste.
    >This is only for building the things. I don't think you will be able to
    >replace oil with nuclear.
    > >
    > >As far as I can tell, little progress in fusion power
    > >has been made. Among the problems is that the energy
    > >generated is currently still as difficult to harness
    > >as it ever has been. And unlike fission reactors,
    > >fusion reactors would have to change their reactor
    > >vessels frequently due to the fact that the reaction
    > >makes the surrounding vessel more brittle (and
    > >radioactive) over time due to the particles being
    > >kicked out. So far, it still seems as big of a
    > >technical mess as ever, even though understanding of
    > >the physics has progressed.
    > >
    > >Fission is the only current viable medium-term
    > >solution. The Europeans just came out with a study
    > >about the societal/environmental/economic costs of
    > >power generation. The upshot, as you might expect, is
    > >fossil generators don't cover nearly as much of the
    > >environmental and health effects of their generation
    > >process as the nuclear plants. Nuclear power with its
    > >closed fuel cycle and relatively minor environmental
    > >effects looked pretty good by comparison.
    >I don't see that it is viable for replacing oil.
    > >
    > >I think hydrogen separated through some other
    > >extraction process (fission powered, fossil powered)
    > >will be the likely future of personal transportation.
    >As George pointed out, getting hydrogen merely means using energy to create
    >the hydrogen. And due to the second law of thermodynamics you get back less
    >energy in the form of hydrogen than you put into the system.
    >If we don't have fossil fuels, we won't use it for hydrogen generation.
    >for lots of creation/evolution information
    >personal stories of struggle
    > >

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