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The Cat Ate My Steam Tables

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Bret Cahill, May 2, 2009.

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  1. Bret Cahill

    Bret Cahill Guest

    Last summer power from the grid was a fraction of the cost of liquid
    fuel -- now it's about the same -- yet every time any shift from
    petroleum to the grid was proposed the response was often something to
    the effect that it was nearly impossible to build a power plant.

    "I dunno, you _really_ think we can build more power plants?"

    OK, time for a break.

    We know two things for sure:

    1. the petroleum is running out and it will be impossible to keep the
    price from increasing exponentially, and

    2. we have built hundreds or thousands of non oil power plants in the

    There may be some discussion as to what kind of power plant you want
    to build but don't try to claim that it is nearly impossible to build
    more plants.

    What's impossible is to find enough oil to keep the price of oil from
    spiraling on world markets.

    Bret Cahill
  2. Guest

    Building new power plants has become *political* impossibility,
    despite the fact that there are anough fuel reserves (oil, oil shale,
    gas, coal, clathrates, nuclear) to keep things going for a long time.
    *Elected* officials, whose main priority is to get RE-elected, have
    caved to pressure from special interest groups who want to stop all
    development of power and industry, at least until THEY can take over
    the government.
    Oil prices are no longer tied to the market laws of supply and
    demand. That lesson was driven home with the Arab Oil Embargo almost
    30 years ago. Hurricane Katrina was just a reminder that free market
    economics is being held hostage by special interests who resisted the
    development of domestic oil sources and the construction of refineries
    in other places than along the Gulf coast.
    Tom Davidson
    Richmodn, VA
  3. BobG

    BobG Guest

    A gallon of gas is 36.6 KWhrs... around here electricity is about 15
    cents a KWhr retail, 4 cents wholesale to large users. Lets compare
    retail prices when gas was $3.66 a gallon... that would be about 10
    cents per KWhr...
    not surprisingly, I pay about 15 cents per KWhr for electricity from
    the local coal plant near Orlando. This is upside down from your
    assertion, so does that make your argument moot?
  4. Bret Cahill

    Bret Cahill Guest

    Last summer power from the grid was a fraction of the cost of liquid
    Heat energy.

    At the typical 25% - 30% conversion efficiency of an ICE you only get
    about 12 kW-hrs of mechanical energy.

    In contrast an electric motor is 95% efficient so 36.6 kW-hr of
    electricity gets converted to about 35 kW-hr mechanical energy.

    If you just want heat energy to stay warm you can always install a
    wood stove and burn solid bio fuel [wood] which won't be spiraling for
    quite some time so obviously the subject is about _mechanical_ energy.

    I'll do whatever I can to get a 50 cent/watt consumer ready Stirling
    but that's another matter altogether.
    Recalculate the costs of mechanical energy.

    Bret Cahill
  5. Bret Cahill

    Bret Cahill Guest

    Last summer power from the grid was a fraction of the cost of liquid
    Everyone already agrees that Malthus was correct?
    Funny how pro growth folks cannot get organized into a pressure group.
    You are bat crap crazy.

    Bret Cahill
  6. BobG

    BobG Guest

    bzzzt...obfuscating evasion detected.. you claimed "Last summer power
    from the grid was a fraction of the cost of liquid fuel -- now it's
    about the same -". I compared my cost of power from the grid to the
    cost of liquid fuel... Power from the grid was not 'a fraction' of
    the cost of liquid fuel on a per KWhr basis. Your claim did not
    specify comparision after conversion to mechanical energy. I assume
    when you say 'a fraction', the cost would be 1/2, 1/3, or 1/4th the
    cost of the liquid fuel?
  7. Benj

    Benj Guest

    1. Petroleum isn't quite running out yet, but one must remember that
    human businessmen are smart and the fights over who will own the last
    drops begin LONG before the supply gets low. In fact they are starting

    2. Coal as an energy source gives civilization about a 300 year
    breathing space, but it's dirty and unless we clean it up we'll all be
    dying of heavy metal and other poisoning.

    3. This means that the energy solution will demand heavy taxes (or
    other price premiums) at first to develop the technology to clean up
    coal emissions.

    4. As politics enters the situation Pie in the Sky liberal dreamers
    are all off in never-never land believing that 19th century technology
    like dams and windmills are the "answer". Back of the envelope
    calculations show these people are all ignorant beyond belief (but all
    mean well, of course).

    5. Liberal dreamers not understanding science in the least but
    understanding art and literature to an amazing degree all end up as
    media propagandists and are doing an excellent job convincing the rest
    of humanity that their ignorant solutions to energy somehow make

    6. Then as REAL politics then enters the situation, we have the
    invention of the "carbon footprint" complete with taxes and sale of
    indulgences designed to increase political control and make certain
    people rich.

    7. This means that thus for political reasons, new power plants will
    be required to somehow remove CO2 and store it, while not bothering to
    strip poisonous chemicals from stacks. It means that the huge sums of
    money desperately needed to develop cleaning technology will be wasted
    on CO2 storage. It will be like bouncing a basketball to cure cancer:
    lots of show and wasted work being done but no real results.

    8. Which gets us all to the 'bottom line": If all this crap is allowed
    to proceed as currently planned, in the end we will all be doomed, and
    that even includes those who got VERY rich from the scheme. I don't
    know where they got the idea that they don't live on the same planet
    the rest of us do.
  8. Bret Cahill

    Bret Cahill Guest

    Recalculate the costs of mechanical energy.
    And defeated by reinserting what the obfuscating evading cut snipper
    deleted w/o comment:

    Heat energy.

    At the typical 25% - 30% conversion efficiency of an ICE you only get
    about 12 kW-hrs of mechanical energy.

    In contrast an electric motor is 95% efficient so 36.6 kW-hr of
    electricity gets converted to about 35 kW-hr mechanical energy.

    No engineer calls heat energy "power."

    They call it "waste."
    What do/did you think is the goal of power plants?

    Heat energy?

    Again, if you just want heat bio fuel works just great.
    Powering an electric motor at 15 cents/ kW-hr grid costs is equivalent
    to $1.50/gallon diesel burned in a new properly tuned diesel engine.

    $1.50/gallon diesel equivalent electricity is a fraction of last
    summer's $5/gallon cost of diesel, roughly 1/3rd.

    In three years the price of diesel will be $10/gallon and the cost of
    electricity will be such a tiny fraction of the cost of fuel that it
    can be ignored in back of envelope calculations.

    Bret Cahill
  9. Bret Cahill

    Bret Cahill Guest

    We know two things for sure:
    Are you openly advocating just taking the oil from the owners of the
    oil, the Iranians and Saudis?
    That brings us back to the OP. What's really curious is even those
    who support any source of heat for grid energy i.e., coal, nuke,
    solar, natural gas, geothermal, etc. seem to have problems with
    shifting transportation from oil to the grid.

    They sometimes seem to be suggesting that it's _technologically_
    impossible to build another power plant, coal, nuke, solar, natural
    gas or otherwise.

    You might expect them to support something they would grow their

    The only conclusion is they want some dough. After that then they'll
    be able to find their steam tables.

    In just a few years diesel will be over $10/gallon and if people start
    having trouble moving food for themselves then politicians aren't
    going to be too concerned about tropical bears or polar frogs.

    Bret Cahill
  10. Guest

    Around here the price is more like $.22/KWhr.

    If you allow for the lower conversion efficiency of a gas engine,
    and the electrical conversion effiencies, that would make my cost
    about $3/gal equivilant to run an electric car, so the cost to run
    an electric car is not a particular issue either way.

    What is an issue is the ENORMOUS infrastructure cost to electrify
    all the roads to make it work.

    Around here just adding a car pool lane to an existing road costs
    $2.5 million per mile.

    So, if electrification cost a mere $3 million per mile per lane,
    and you assume the Interstate Highway System's 50,000 miles has
    an average of 5 lanes, the cost would be over $2 trillion.

    And that does nothing for the majority of the roads, which are not
    part of the Interstate Highway System.
  11. Guest

    If that happens, it will be because of the enormous carbon taxes to
    "save the planet" and not because of the cost of crude oil.

    Expect the same thing to happen to electricity even if it goes nuclear,
    which can't possibly happen within 10 years simply because of the time
    it takes to get a plant approved and built.
  12. Bret Cahill

    Bret Cahill Guest

    Last summer power from the grid was a fraction of the cost of liquid
    TVA has 6 gigawatts available at night @ 7 cents/ kW-hr.
    At 22 cents/kWhr it would come out to be about $2.20 for the energy
    itself and another $2/gal equivalent for the battery cost, that is, no
    road bed electrification, which is still cheaper than last summer's

    The real cost in most places of battery only electric vehicles is the
    Where does the word ENORMOUS go in the spread sheet to compare the
    cost of fuel only to electrification?

    And do you have to enter the term in capital letters?
    The savings in battery costs with road bed electrification come out to
    be $20 million/mile and it's a one time charge.

    Clearly you haven't done any work on excel.
    Last summer half a $ trillion/year was flowing out of the U. S. to oil
    rich despotisms.

    So your argument is it would pay for itself in 4 years.

    As T. B. Pickens has pointed out in his multi million dollar campaign,
    staying on oil has resulted in the largest transfer of wealth in the
    history of civilization.

    For another comparison the cost of the transcontinental railroad was
    projected to be 4 times the entire federal budget of that era.

    They built it anyway.
    Every road doesn't need to be electrified since you can charge up your
    battery on the freeway. Get off the freeway and your Volt will take
    you another 40 miles to your house where you can plug in.

    Do you know what percent of ground transportation fuel is burned on
    freeways as opposed to residential, urban or country roads? Heavy
    long haul trucks spend almost all their fuel on freeways.

    We don't need to eliminate all consumption of liquid fuel. Bio fuel
    can be useful for remote trips.

    Just reducing liquid fuel consumption significantly will save many

    It's human nature to believe nothing bad will happen through inaction.

    Anyone can get rich quick with the Gipster. Anyone can ignore Soros
    and not lose half half his money in the stock market.

    It's human nature to believe that the price of oil won't increase
    exponentially to the point of causing a "reequilibration" of human

    Ten or 20 trillion dollars for road bed electrification will then seem
    like quite a deal.

    Bret Cahill
  13. Bret Cahill

    Bret Cahill Guest

    In three years the price of diesel will be $10/gallon and the cost of
    Was carbon taxation running up the price of fuel last summer?
    The price of photovoltaic just keeps dropping.

    Bret Cahill
  14. Guest

    Nope, and running out of oil didn't cause the price of fuel to plummet
    over that past several months.
    And taxes keep rising.

    See "United Kingdom".
  15. stan

    stan Guest

    Well here, we still have most of the population of this Canadian
    province not yet directly connected to the North American electrical
    grid but we do have standard province wide generation and distribution
    and increasing industry. Also we have a small population for the
    geographic area involved. So the cost will be higher than for densely
    populated areas!
    The cost of household/domestic electricity, mostly generated by hydro
    average is already around 10 cents per kilowatt hour. And wind
    generation and photovoltaic haven't yet kicked in.
    Coal is not used here at all now.
    This has meant that the use of fuel oils, (there is no gas except
    bottled propane here) with all the attendant problems of oil
    pollution, oil tank leakage, chimney and furnace maintenance is or
    already has mostly disappeared.
    And electrcity as a fuel is 'delivered' continuously; by wires not by
    oil delivery truck!
    So the writing IS on the wall.
    Electricity coupled with rechargeable electric transportation and
    electrical light railway etc. is the way to go.
    And that will help combat the pollution problem.
    It will also reduce the industrially caused acid rain problem we are
    experiencing. So that will improve the quality of our drinking water
    and also, maybe allow fish stocks to recover!
    It's been interesting living within this degree of change for the last
    50+ years. Back then, the most standard heating sytem for the rapidly
    improving housing then being built some ten years after WWII was the
    oil fired hot air furnace. Inefficient, noisy, maintenance or
    replacement prone after say 15 years. Many oil tank leakages. Needs
    electrcity anyway to operate and depends on oil deliveries sometime
    over snow clogged roads! required (then anyway) a masonry or stainless
    steel chimney. Also not very efficient at using the oil fuel.
  16. Guest

    A fact that is totally irrelevant in the real world.
    36.6 KWhr in a gallon of gas.

    36.6 x .3 = 10.98 KWhr to the wheels.

    10.98 KWhr / .8 charge and conversion efficiency = 13.725 KWhr electricity in.

    $.22/KWhr retail consumer cost x 13.725 KWhr = $3.0195

    <snip remaining arm waving>
  17. Bret Cahill

    Bret Cahill Guest

    In three years the price of diesel will be $10/gallon and the cost of
    So we agree that the price will spiral again even without carbon
    So we agree as soon as an economic recovery is underway the price of
    oil will once again start to spiral.
    You don't have to pay taxes. Call 1-800-FLY-4-LESs and book the next
    one way flight to Mogadishu in low tax paradise Somalia.
    Taxation increases with freedom. See _Spirit of Laws_ by Montesquieu.

    Bret Cahill

    "The English are fiercely attached to freedom."

    -- Montesquieu
  18. Bret Cahill

    Bret Cahill Guest

    Last summer power from the grid was a fraction of the cost of liquid
    Why is cost relevant where you live but irrelevant in the TN River

    You have a powerful congress critter?

    Pelosi will support what's good for the entire country, not just Marin
    County. After all, she must get the votes of other congresscritters.
    Less than a $1.50 for the equivalent amount of electric power in most
    places and about 70 cents in the Tennessee River area at night.
    That's the advantage of road bed electrification over battery only.

    The efficiency is nearly 100%.
    Maybe where you live. You'll need to post your utility's web page if
    you want any credibility on the matter.

    Most Americans pay far less and Canadians are only at 10 cents/ kW-hr

    Bret Cahill
  19. Bret Cahill

    Bret Cahill Guest

    In three years the price of diesel will be $10/gallon and the cost of
    There next most cost effective solution was proposed by T. B.
    Pickens. Get all the heavy trucks and buses on natural gas.

    And that will only last as long as the natural gas.

    If you want to make big infrastructure changes, why not go all the
    Battery costs are twice the cost of grid electricity where you live.
    But good for CH&P.

    A lot of people froze in the ice storm last winter because they didn't
    have electric power to start their furnance.

    The nat'l guard should have been buying and distributing those cheap 1
    kW gasoline gen sets that sell at Big Lots for $150.
    The old ones need to go.

    Bret Cahill
  20. Guest


    It may, it may not.

    It may, it may not.
    A very childish response.
    Taxation increases with increases in governmental meddling.
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