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Alternative Energy Sources  
User currently offlineNewagebird From Australia, joined Sep 2005, 64 posts, RR: 2
Posted (8 years 6 months 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 1203 times:

Hey
I just saw a program on tv that talks about the upcoming event known as 'peak oil'. In short it basically means that when demand exceeds supply there will be economic crisis and a decay of several industries, most hardest hit is obviously the aviation industry. Any idea if theres any kinds of measures being taken by engine producers to solve the problem when it does show up. Obviously this is not meant to happen for a number of years, some say 10 and others say 20 and even more.
What kinds of alternative fuel sources can we use? I'm guessing it would have to be something combustible given the current design of the engines.

And possibly erring on the wild side, what about so called anti-gravity? Theres rumors from some guy who happens to be a doctor and leader of the 'disclosure project' that they have made a prototype of this so called anti gravity system. Sounds almost unbelieveable and star wars like but anti-gravity would obviously destroy the point of flying. i mean WHAT THE????
Is anti gravity even theoretically possible?

rgds newagebird

15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineNudlaug From Australia, joined Jan 2006, 13 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (8 years 6 months 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 1199 times:

As you said, anti gravity would be the way to go. The craft docks, you fill a couple of tons of anti gravity into the petrol tanks and you are good to go.

Or maybe Doctor Emmett Brown will get that De Lorean working with bananaskin and beer?

Best of all would be "beaming" though. You could have your own teleporter at home and bam..... you're in London, or Paris, or at your parents/kids place, or checking up on your husband/wife.....man the possibilities!

It would suck for me though, no need for a guy putting oil in engines or greasing gears, just like there is no need today to put coal into a boiler to drive a steam train.....It's going to happen, sooner or later I guess.


User currently offlineRichardPrice From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (8 years 6 months 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 1197 times:

Quoting Newagebird (Thread starter):
Is anti gravity even theoretically possible?

Gravity isnt understood, noone knows where it comes from, just that mass produces it somehow (and its an incredibly weak interaction with other masses) but it isnt known how it affects other matter.

So antigravity isnt theoretically possible, but neither is it theorectically impossible.


User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17000 posts, RR: 67
Reply 3, posted (8 years 6 months 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 1197 times:

First of all, "peak oil" is very debated. Doomsayers have been talking about similar scenarios for decades and not much has happened. Eventually, though, oil resources will dwindle, but not in a sudden way. We'll see it coming. There are other means to extract hydrocarbons, like from plants, but more importantly, the increase in oil prices is slowly leading to more efficient use of oil, and movement towards other energy sources. For example, you can warm your house with a geothermal well instead of heating oil. We won't wake up one day with "no more oil" on CNN. The price will just keep increasing and we'll use it less and less.

Anti gravity is much debated. Gravity shielding might be possible with superconductors, or you can use magnetic levitation to give the appearance of antigravity. But we're hardly at the product stage.

Light ships, or laser propulsion, is much more interesting IMHO. Or even mass drivers (maglev railguns) for takeoff.

In the very long term, anything is possible. As Arthur C Clarke said: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineSeanp11 From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 290 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (8 years 6 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 1175 times:

Based on current oilfields, there is probably no more than 50 more years of oil and natural gas, at current production. However, there is at least 100 more years of coal, probably more around 150-200 years. If cleaner coal burning can be developed, and implemented, we will not have the apocalypse scenario for peak oil that the doomsayers seem to love. If proper conservation and use of alternative fuels can be implemented, there will problems such as increasing prices, but the world should stay stable. The truth is that we live in a world with dwindling resources, so we will no longer be able to maintain current way of things. Cities are depleting aquifers, and there are no viable other nearby sources of water, the forests have been in danger for a while, and probably the only resources we can still count on is metals and silicates.

Biodiesel is an excellent alternative to kerosene for jet engines. It does take more energy to produce than conventional jet fuel, but, when the reserves are dry, and all of our electricity is produced by coal, nuclear, geothermal, hydroelectric, and wind power, nobody will care. As long as we have electricity, there will be no doomsday.


User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17000 posts, RR: 67
Reply 5, posted (8 years 6 months 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 1157 times:

Quoting Seanp11 (Reply 4):
all of our electricity is produced by coal, nuclear, geothermal, hydroelectric, and wind power, nobody will care.

Where's solar? Covering the moon with solar panels and beaming the energy back to Earth (somehow) would solve all our energy problems for a while.

A bigger breakthrough would be "perfect" power storage and/or transmission. You could make planes fly on batteries if you could just make them powerful and small enough, as well as ensuring they maintain a charge.

Concentrate all the oil/coal power stations and nuclear plants to the deserts (nuclear accidents are less of a problem if they happen 500km from the nearest village) and ship the power out via lossless powerlines to charging stations at the airports (and car/train charging stations). The efficiency gains would be incalculable.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineSeanp11 From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 290 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (8 years 6 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 1148 times:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 5):
Where's solar? Covering the moon with solar panels and beaming the energy back to Earth (somehow) would solve all our energy problems for a while.

Well, I contemplated not even putting wind on that list, but there are proposals to put balloons up into the jetstream with turbines, and build offshore turbines.

With solar power, there is no location that gets constant sunlight. The moon experiences longer nights than the earth. The only viable location for constant sunlight would be outside the earth's orbit, and then beaming it down to a fixed location on the earth would pose a problem. A position on the earth would get even less sunlight, thanks to the earth's atmosphere.

Solar power is fine for small applications, but for solving the earth's power problems, in its current state, it is not sufficient.


User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17000 posts, RR: 67
Reply 7, posted (8 years 6 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 1144 times:

Quoting Seanp11 (Reply 6):
With solar power, there is no location that gets constant sunlight. The moon experiences longer nights than the earth. The only viable location for constant sunlight would be outside the earth's orbit, and then beaming it down to a fixed location on the earth would pose a problem. A position on the earth would get even less sunlight, thanks to the earth's atmosphere.

Solar power is fine for small applications, but for solving the earth's power problems, in its current state, it is not sufficient.

The big problem with solar is not reception. Solar cells are pretty decent now.

-As you say, transmission from powersats in space to a fixed point is an issue. Still, even a geostationary powersat (which would solve the fixed point on Earth issue) would receive sunlight for more than half the day, every day. That's not so bad. Just put one on the other side and you're set.
- Then there's transmission loss. You can't lose too much, and we're talking big distances. If we can build an orbital elevator AND solve the transmission problem we're fine there. Or some kind of beaming technology. Don't stand in the beam folks!
- Assuming you can get the material out there, building very large structures in space has many advantages. While on Earth a huge solar panel farm takes up valuable real estate and is annoying to build and maintain, a 10x larger farm in space can be built with less material and nobody cares if it's there as long as it's not large enough to shadow a significant part of the Earth.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineSeanp11 From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 290 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (8 years 6 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 1134 times:

Well, I'll say its plausible, but not probable in the next 50 years where it would be of the most use.

The transmission seems to be the most nagging issue. If it is beamed via e/m, then its either exposed to large amounts of interference by all of the earth's radio communications, or would be of a high enough frequency to do serious damage to people if it strays from the receiver. Then, you will also be converting the e/m back into electricity. The photoelectric effect is not too efficient, so unless the satellite were a mirror, the powerplant would be converting light into electricity, into e/m rays, and back into electricity. A lot of power would be lost in the process.


User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17000 posts, RR: 67
Reply 9, posted (8 years 6 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 1129 times:

Quoting Seanp11 (Reply 8):

The transmission seems to be the most nagging issue. If it is beamed via e/m, then its either exposed to large amounts of interference by all of the earth's radio communications, or would be of a high enough frequency to do serious damage to people if it strays from the receiver. Then, you will also be converting the e/m back into electricity. The photoelectric effect is not too efficient, so unless the satellite were a mirror, the powerplant would be converting light into electricity, into e/m rays, and back into electricity. A lot of power would be lost in the process.

And that's why we need orbital towers. They would solve a lot of problems. However, the initial investment is a bit much compared to the payoff right now.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineSeanp11 From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 290 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (8 years 6 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 1127 times:

Yeah, that's why I said its not probable in the next 50 years. Fusion is a much more probable solution to our energy needs, besides current conventional sources.

User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17000 posts, RR: 67
Reply 11, posted (8 years 6 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 1118 times:

Quoting Seanp11 (Reply 10):
Yeah, that's why I said its not probable in the next 50 years. Fusion is a much more probable solution to our energy needs, besides current conventional sources.

FUSION! Yes that's the one. But if fusion remains on the current nuclear reactor scale solving the transmission/storage loss problem would still achieve greater efficiency gains than fusion.

Then again, in the current Tokamak fusion configuration you could put the thing in the middle of a city and not worry about problems much since the chain reaction would stop if the plasma it so much as touched the walls of the containment chamber.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineJulesmusician From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (8 years 6 months 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 1089 times:

Sir Richard Branson has announced plans to run Virgin Atlantic planes on plant waste rather than aircraft fuel.

Ever the innovator, and not one to shy away from a good piece of publicity, Sir Richard said that he is looking into using plant derived cellulosic ethanol to replace kerosene.

"We are going to start building cellulosic ethanol plants to make fuel that is derived from the waste product of the plant," he explained. "It is 100 per cent environmentally-friendly and I believe it's the future of fuel."

However, some environmental campaigners have expressed surprise at Sir Richard's plans, citing studies that have shown ethanol is not a suitable aircraft fuel and that at present there are no practical alternatives to kerosene.

The Virgin Atlantic owner remains undeterred though and even suggested that in the next 20 or 30 years cellulosic ethanol will replace conventional aircraft fuel.

Virgin currently uses around 700 million gallons of aviation fuel across its fleet of nearly 100 aircraft.


User currently offlineSeanp11 From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 290 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (8 years 6 months 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 1085 times:

I was under the impression that Bio-Diesel would be a much more effective alternative to kerosene. We already know that gas turbines will burn diesel quite well, and bio-diesel does not have many of the negatives to regular diesel. Ethanol, on the other hand, is notoriously explosive, as anybody who has ever played with a bottle of everclear will tell you. I would be very concerned about flying on VS if they used ethanol as a fuel. Jet fuel, like bio-diesel, is fairly non-flammable. Frank Whittle was known to demonstrate that by standing in a pool of kerosene (jet fuel) and drop a match. If he did that with ethanol, or gasoline, that would have been the last thing he ever did.

User currently offlineMrocktor From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1668 posts, RR: 50
Reply 14, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 1051 times:

Every new car will be using "alternate fuels" before the first commercially viable plane using them is even considered.

Every time this thread turns up I give the same response: in flying energy density is key. Every alternate fuel available today is terrible in comparison to good old jet-A. Either it is too heavy, for a given amount of stored energy, or too big or both.

mrocktor


User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17000 posts, RR: 67
Reply 15, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 1046 times:

Quoting Mrocktor (Reply 14):
Every time this thread turns up I give the same response: in flying energy density is key.

Agreed. The first solutions for planes will probably be energy storage on the ground through either railguns for launching or laser propulsion or something like that. This will make the fuel requirements much smaller. However as you say aviation will convert late.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
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