Re: Oil potpourri

From: Innovatia <>
Date: Fri Aug 20 2004 - 00:58:00 EDT

From: "Al Koop" <>

> With regard to the hydrogen and ethanol and biofuels threads, I cannot
> find any good evidence that
> would indicate that these alternatives will make any significant
> contribution to our energy needs when petroleum supplies are in decline,
> unless there are some new (not yet foreseen) technologies that make
> these processes much more efficient than they are now. I think that
> Ken's calculations correctly indicate that we cannot significantly
> reduce dependence on Middle East oil by ethanol or biofuel production.

Ken's calculations were based on temperate-zone grain crops grown in N.
America. While N. America is a major grain-producing region of the world, it
is not into producing the kinds of crops best suited for ethanol production,
namely sugar cane. When the tropical regions are also considered, I think
the picture is likely to change qualitatively. Peter Singfield of Xaibe,
Belize - in the midst of cane-growing country here - has calculated the
energy/acre of cane, as follows.

One should be expecting a yield of 45 tons of raw cane per acre if raised
properly. One can expect 100 liters of "pure" ethanol per ton if processed
properly. Ergo: 4500 liters of fuel per acre of cane. Now for the
by-product, electrical power: burning bagasse (30% of cane by weight) with
50% moisture yields 450 BTU per pound of energy: 45 tons * 30% = 13.5 tons
=> (13.5 tons/365 days) * (2000 lbs/ton) = 74 pounds per day. Run that
through a small power plant and figure 10% over all efficiencies (though I
expect 3 times that) and you get 9.75 kW*h per day. That is for just one

With two crops per year, the above numbers double. To compare with Ken's
numbers from this point on will require some guess as to the total available
cane-producing area in the world, so I won't take this analysis farther.
Also, larger bagasse-burning plants will have higher efficiency, approaching
50 % for high-speed turbines. Combining cane growing with solar distillation
in the processing of ethanol, and perhaps the prospects for an ethanol
economy are not quite so gloomy.

> Since I previously posted an article about Richard Heinberg's new book:
> Powerdown, I feel I owe you some comments about the book. Here are two
> such reviews from the Energy Resources site--one complimentary and one
> not as enthusiastic (plus a comment).

> Review #1
> Heinberg offers the very
> logical conclusion that to make the world work would require that all
> ours in particular, work cooperatively with every other nation and also
work to
> bring the economic level of the underdeveloped nations up to a higher
> where they can survive well; the later point based on the wide gap
> between their wealth and the wealth of industrialized nations which has
evolved over time.
> Ultimately, I guess, the point comes down to the idea that in order to
> have a cooperative world, we have to have a just world that functions well
> includes the perception of equality among us all.

I see no strong logic in this conclusion. It has to do with geopolitics, not
energy. A world dictator bent on energy maximization might ruthlessly do
much better.

> Review #2
> I found the weakest parts of TPO
> to be where Heinberg veered from factual presentation and summary to
> weakly supported op-ed on contemporary politics and the media. (Chomsky
> and Herman do Chomsky and Herman much better than Heinberg.)
> Unfortunately, Powerdown offers a much larger helping of op-ed and much
> lighter helping of new references and synthesis. In places it swerves
> completely into cloud cookoo land, with discourse on the Bush
> administration's aiding and abetting of 9/11, mention of ethnically
> targeted bio-weapons, and vast swaths of anti-Bush jeremiad.

Noam Chomsky knows enough about how the power elite function (see to not doubt their complicity in the
9/11 event. It sounds like this reviewer has no clue as to how the power
elite connive or what they will do. Nationally renowned investigative
Alex Jones of Austin, TX has compiled an archive of factual material, not
"cloud cuckoo" name-calling, about 9/11 at One need only
remember who created al-CIAda, and for whom Osama Bin Laden was an asset in
shooting down Soviet helicopters with Stinger missiles in Afghanistan, to be
disabused of the notion that the power elite are merely serving on
interlocking directorates of policy-formation think-tanks and transnational
corporations. (Also, on power-elite spirtuality, check out Alex Jones's
archives on the Bohemian Grove. Moloch worship by Bushes, Powell, world
leaders? The devil does run the world-system, just as the Bible says!)

> Arguments against nuclear present continue
> to be very thin gruel, the usual political shorthand -- nuclear is
> unsafe, too expensive.

Nuclear fission requires uranium. Uranium deposits are, like oil, well on
their way to depletion. That's the key issue with nuclear as a large-scale
energy source.

> Response #3
> When people start to panic, and they will panic, all
> environmental considerations will evaporate. One's position on the
> issue will be of little or no importance. Just as one cannot reason
> with a lynch mob, there will be no reasoning with a panicking public
> either. And every elected official in Washington will be marching in
> lock step with them.

Baloney. There will be no lynch mobs in a society under martial law, nor
will there be a need for elected officials. Posse Comitatus is dead (struck
down by a recent court decision) and the military has been under
modification for some time to make it compliant with in-country use by those
who control it. The only branch of govt that matters is the one that
controls the military.

Dennis Feucht

"We do not let our enemies have guns. Why should we let them have ideas?"
Joseph Stalin
Received on Mon Aug 23 16:36:37 2004

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