flyby519
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Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Tue Dec 29, 2009 7:15 pm

The world needs mass amounts of airline service to feed other sectors of their economies. The skyrocketing operating costs of airlines (mainly due to fuel and labor) are beginning to strangle growth of the airlines and other industries in general. What is the realistic chance of having an alternative fuel that can be made available worldwide at a very cheap cost?

http://www.rentechinc.com/fuels.php

http://www.flightglobal.com/articles...-alternative-fuels-purchasing.html
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Airnerd
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Tue Dec 29, 2009 7:53 pm

Will fuels be found for air travel? Yes. At a cheap cost? No. The cost of air travel will need to increase to reflect the actual cost of the energy use and environmental impact. IMHO.
 
masseybrown
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Tue Dec 29, 2009 7:56 pm

Very cheap? Not much chance of that without using some totally different technology.

Relatively cheap, meaning less than twice today's price? It's reasonable to assume that alternative fuel mixtures will probably be in general use in a fewer than 10 years.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:31 am



Quoting MasseyBrown (Reply 2):

Relatively cheap, meaning less than twice today's price? It's reasonable to assume that alternative fuel mixtures will probably be in general use in a fewer than 10 years.

It's a question of scale. Algae biofuels are very promising and have a very strongly negative carbon balance. However, the production is not necessarily cheap at this point. This isn't because it's technically difficult, but because high-throughput refining hasn't been developed.

If we had hundreds of thousands of acres of desert populated with these closed-loop vertical algae photobioreactors (which require very little water and take up very little space, as opposed to the old mini-ponds), the refining process could be very inexpensive and the whole enterprise could power itself.

However, that will take time and a large initial capital investment. And proof that these fuels are appropriate to use in aircraft (which so far, they seem to be).
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
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ex52tech
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Wed Dec 30, 2009 4:53 am

I try not to believe everything I hear, especially if I hear it from a politician. Jimmy Carter said in 1979 that the world would be out of oil in ten years, well that was 30 years ago. Some of the scientists that were screaming "Global Cooling" back in the mid 70's are screaming "Global Warming" now. Politicians want one thing over all else......POWER. Oil is as cheap and accessible as we want it to be, if we hamstring ourselves with unrealistic regulations and treaties, then oil will be a problem.

Alternative fuels tend to have side effects that make them economically unfeasible and cause as much if not more damage to the Eco-system as plain old oil.
"Saddest thing I ever witnessed....an airplane being scrapped"
 
tdscanuck
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Wed Dec 30, 2009 6:34 am



Quoting Ex52tech (Reply 4):
Oil is as cheap and accessible as we want it to be

To be blunt, no it's not. Although taxes and regulatory compliance form a meaningful portion of total lifting cost, they're not even close to being in the majority. There is a lower limit on cost that's fixed by the cost of exploration, development, and production infrastructure. It can be cheaper than it is now, but not arbitrarily cheap or accessible.

Quoting Ex52tech (Reply 4):
Alternative fuels tend to have side effects that make them economically unfeasible and cause as much if not more damage to the Eco-system as plain old oil.

You're painting far too broad a brush. All fuels (alternative or otherwise) have side effects. Some fuels have side effects that make them economically unfeasible, but not all (e.g. ethanol in Brazil). But arguing about the levels of economics and side effects is dodging the issue; regardless of how long the time horizon is, oil is a finite resource. There is also a very significant security risk to continued reliance on oil (this is why the US armed forces are so interested in alternative fuels).

We will have to move to alternative fuels eventually; there are non-scarcity reasons that it's a good idea to start laying that groundwork now. For technical reasons, air transportation will probably be one of the last ones to switch over.

Tom.
 
baroque
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Wed Dec 30, 2009 6:53 am



Quoting Ex52tech (Reply 4):
Jimmy Carter said in 1979 that the world would be out of oil in ten years, well that was 30 years ago.

Actually it was a bit more nuanced than that. Anyone who produces figures is going to be wrong in detail, at least he did give some numbers.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/carter/filmmore/ps_energy.html

Since Jimmy is so strongly misprepresented I will quote him at length:

I know that some of you may doubt that we face real energy shortages. The 1973 gasoline lines are gone, and our homes are warm again. But our energy problem is worse tonight than it was in 1973 or a few weeks ago in the dead of winter. It is worse because more waste has occurred, and more time has passed by without our planning for the future. And it will get worse every day until we act.

The oil and natural gas we rely on for 75 percent of our energy are running out. In spite of increased effort, domestic production has been dropping steadily at about six percent a year. Imports have doubled in the last five years. Our nation's independence of economic and political action is becoming increasingly constrained. Unless profound changes are made to lower oil consumption, we now believe that early in the 1980s the world will be demanding more oil that it can produce.

The world now uses about 60 million barrels of oil a day and demand increases each year about 5 percent. This means that just to stay even we need the production of a new Texas every year, an Alaskan North Slope every nine months, or a new Saudi Arabia every three years. Obviously, this cannot continue.

We must look back in history to understand our energy problem. Twice in the last several hundred years there has been a transition in the way people use energy.

The first was about 200 years ago, away from wood -- which had provided about 90 percent of all fuel -- to coal, which was more efficient. This change became the basis of the Industrial Revolution.

The second change took place in this century, with the growing use of oil and natural gas. They were more convenient and cheaper than coal, and the supply seemed to be almost without limit. They made possible the age of automobile and airplane travel. Nearly everyone who is alive today grew up during this age and we have never known anything different.

Because we are now running out of gas and oil, we must prepare quickly for a third change, to strict conservation and to the use of coal and permanent renewable energy sources, like solar power.

The world has not prepared for the future. During the 1950s, people used twice as much oil as during the 1940s. During the 1960s, we used twice as much as during the 1950s. And in each of those decades, more oil was consumed than in all of mankind's previous history.

World consumption of oil is still going up. If it were possible to keep it rising during the 1970s and 1980s by 5 percent a year as it has in the past, we could use up all the proven reserves of oil in the entire world by the end of the next decade.

I know that many of you have suspected that some supplies of oil and gas are being withheld. You may be right, but suspicions about oil companies cannot change the fact that we are running out of petroleum.

All of us have heard about the large oil fields on Alaska's North Slope. In a few years when the North Slope is producing fully, its total output will be just about equal to two years' increase in our nation's energy demand.

Each new inventory of world oil reserves has been more disturbing than the last. World oil production can probably keep going up for another six or eight years. But some time in the 1980s it can't go up much more. Demand will overtake production. We have no choice about that.

But we do have a choice about how we will spend the next few years. Each American uses the energy equivalent of 60 barrels of oil per person each year. Ours is the most wasteful nation on earth. We waste more energy than we import. With about the same standard of living, we use twice as much energy per person as do other countries like Germany, Japan and Sweden.

One choice is to continue doing what we have been doing before. We can drift along for a few more years.

Our consumption of oil would keep going up every year. Our cars would continue to be too large and inefficient. Three-quarters of them would continue to carry only one person -- the driver -- while our public transportation system continues to decline. We can delay insulating our houses, and they will continue to lose about 50 percent of their heat in waste.

We can continue using scarce oil and natural to generate electricity, and continue wasting two-thirds of their fuel value in the process.

If we do not act, then by 1985 we will be using 33 percent more energy than we do today.

We can't substantially increase our domestic production, so we would need to import twice as much oil as we do now. Supplies will be uncertain. The cost will keep going up. Six years ago, we paid $3.7 billion for imported oil. Last year we spent $37 billion -- nearly ten times as much -- and this year we may spend over $45 billion.

Unless we act, we will spend more than $550 billion for imported oil by 1985 -- more than $2,500 a year for every man, woman, and child in America. Along with that money we will continue losing American jobs and becoming increasingly vulnerable to supply interruptions.

Now we have a choice. But if we wait, we will live in fear of embargoes. We could endanger our freedom as a sovereign nation to act in foreign affairs. Within ten years we would not be able to import enough oil -- from any country, at any acceptable price.


2007 imports were 13.6 million barrels per day compared with about 9 million barrels in 1977 - but partly due to measure put in place by Carter. And oil imports do cost about 350 billion a year with every chance of rising.

FYI 1985 oil consumption/1977 oil consumption for USA = 85.3260869%. Mostly a result of Carter policies.

Wrong in detail, correct in principle and in predicting trends. Not too many forecasters have done better.

Quoting Ex52tech (Reply 4):
if we hamstring ourselves with unrealistic regulations and treaties, then oil will be a problem.

Care to specify these and what their effects are. Regulations against drilling in the Santa Barbara channel perhaps. Well that might be possible if you also had regulations that would prevent oil spills. Treaties? What treaties against going to war to "secure" oil???
 
ex52tech
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Wed Dec 30, 2009 3:32 pm



Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 5):
To be blunt, no it's not. Although taxes and regulatory compliance form a meaningful portion of total lifting cost, they're not even close to being in the majority. There is a lower limit on cost that's fixed by the cost of exploration, development, and production infrastructure. It can be cheaper than it is now, but not arbitrarily cheap or accessible.

Here in the US our politicians are our own worst enemy when it comes to oil production. Constantly banning drilling and allowing legislation that ties our hands on production, we have not built a refinery in the US in almost 30 years, so there is a good reason why the costs of production are high. Then at the same time not batting an eye when the Chinese talk of drilling off the coast of Florida. The Canadians don't have any trouble drilling and selling their oil to the US, but here, within our own borders, we have enough oil to sustain our own demand. We are not allowed to go get it.

Quoting Baroque (Reply 6):
Care to specify these and what their effects are. Regulations against drilling in the Santa Barbara channel perhaps. Well that might be possible if you also had regulations that would prevent oil spills.

Care to specify on the last oil spill in Santa Barber and it's effect on the environment. There are risks in any production venture, so because it happens we should just not embark on it at all, would that be better? I know, we could go back to reading by candle light, and riding horses.......OH wait........horses give off high levels of methane and carbon monoxide.........I guess we can't do that either.

Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 5):
But arguing about the levels of economics and side effects is dodging the issue;

Economics is the issue, this world and it's economies run on oil. Anytime the price goes up the economies in the importing countries, which is the majority, go down. When you have a country such as the US, which has the resources to get it's own oil and refine it, if they would knock the stops out, then it should do just that. Then the big, mean, evil, US would not need to go to war over oil. Which as far as I can tell we are not swimming in Iraqi oil over here.
"Saddest thing I ever witnessed....an airplane being scrapped"
 
baroque
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Wed Dec 30, 2009 4:06 pm



Quoting Ex52tech (Reply 7):
Care to specify on the last oil spill in Santa Barber and it's effect on the environment. There are risks in any production venture, so because it happens we should just not embark on it at all, would that be better?

1969 blowout of Union well. one report has 5 k barrels and another 80 to 100 thousand barrels, I think the latter is closer. The problem with Monterey oil is it has a high naphtheno-aromatic content which leaves a relatively stable and very toxic tar. So if you had to have a spill that was about the worst oil type to spill.

Don't have a beef with me, argue with the rich and famous who live along the coast there.

Oh the effect?

It was the Spark, "The blowout was the spark that brought the environmental issue to the nation's attention," said Arent Schuyler, lecturer emeritus in environmental studies at UC Santa Barbara. "People could see very vividly that their communities could bear the brunt of industrial accidents. They began forming environmental groups to protect their communities and started fighting for legislation to protect the environment."
http://www2.bren.ucsb.edu/~dhardy/19..._Santa_Barbara_Oil_Spill/Home.html
What the actual effect was barely matters any more. The politics have been poison ever since. And as it happens the residue from that oil is awful. Exxon have argued that a high proportion of the problems from Exxon Valdez relate not to the Prudhoe Bay oil but to an earlier Monterey spill - from the 40s IIRC.

You have to go back to the rules regulating drilling to ensure it cannot happen again, and THEN you have to go around and explain to all those well heeled folk that the new regs will work. Otherwise forget it and be happy that there is a reserve to draw on when you finally achieve that aim.

You seem to think I might have an interest in preventing drilling??

Why ever would that be??

Maybe not listening to the one politician who spent some time to understand the long term prognosis for the oil industry is holding you back.

Obviously Jimmy was not right in all he said, and some of his timing is probably out, but most of what he said is correct. And do not be too lulled by the current supply of natural gas. The first extra chestnut out of the fire was coal bed methane, now you have tight shale gas, but aside from gas hydrates there are no more magic puddings and exhaustion of tight shale gas reservoirs is likely to be quite rapid, the initial drilling is so highly productive. But once you are drilled out, you are drilled out.
 
ex52tech
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Wed Dec 30, 2009 5:12 pm



Quoting Baroque (Reply 8):
1969 blowout of Union well. one report has 5 k barrels and another 80 to 100 thousand barrels, I think the latter is closer.

That was the last one I heard of 1969......40 years ago, not bad one in 40 years, still no reason to not drill. That is the risk I was talking about.

Quoting Baroque (Reply 8):
You seem to think I might have an interest in preventing drilling??

Sounds like it, and I am assuming you work in the airline industry. We need cheap oil, so that we can continue to move people about the globe, continue to have jobs, and so the economies of the world can continue to prosper. It's ok to not believe someone that tells you that "the earth has a fever", especially when they will financially benefit from you believing just that.

Quoting Baroque (Reply 8):
Maybe not listening to the one politician who spent some time to understand the long term prognosis for the oil industry is holding you back.

If Jimmy is talking I am definitely not listening. It took years to bring our economy back from the devastation he wrought. I was here I lived through it, I was in the military at the end of his term, we had nothing, we had to steal hardware off of broken jet engines to build the ones we were working on.

Quoting Baroque (Reply 8):
The first extra chestnut out of the fire was coal bed methane, now you have tight shale gas, but aside from gas hydrates there are no more magic puddings and exhaustion of tight shale gas reservoirs is likely to be quite rapid, the initial drilling is so highly productive. But once you are drilled out, you are drilled out.

We have one of the largest natural gas fields in the world off the the coast of Florida, but we can't go get it. Windmills, sunshine, and steam are not going to sustain our needs. They are good alternatives but will not stand on their own. Nuclear power is what is needed, lots of it  Wow! yes that is right the big terrible taboo.  stirthepot 
"Saddest thing I ever witnessed....an airplane being scrapped"
 
tdscanuck
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Wed Dec 30, 2009 6:14 pm



Quoting Ex52tech (Reply 7):
here, within our own borders, we have enough oil to sustain our own demand. We are not allowed to go get it.

The US domestic reserves are large, but they're not large enough or productive enough for the US to go fully independent without crippling the economy. The lifting cost on much of the domestic reserves is considerably higher than the imported stuff. It's just like alternative fuels...we can do it if we want to but, either way, it's going to cost a lot more than the current situation.

Quoting Ex52tech (Reply 7):
When you have a country such as the US, which has the resources to get it's own oil and refine it, if they would knock the stops out, then it should do just that. Then the big, mean, evil, US would not need to go to war over oil.

That's what I was talking about regarding ignoring the real problem. Switching to US production just defers the problem, it doesn't fix it. Oil is finite. The more we import now, the more domestic supply we'll have in the future when it becomes really difficult and expensive to get from other countries. It makes a lot of sense to import cheaper oil when it's (relatively) easy to do so and protect the domestic reserves for the future when we'll really need them. The US is in a fairly OK position in this regard, since Canada has more oil reserves (in oil sands) than Saudi Arabia, and it's pretty unlikely that Canada-US relations will degrade to the point that the Canadian supply to the US is threatened.

Tom.
 
baroque
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Thu Dec 31, 2009 11:21 am



Quoting Ex52tech (Reply 9):
Quoting Baroque (Reply 8):
The first extra chestnut out of the fire was coal bed methane, now you have tight shale gas, but aside from gas hydrates there are no more magic puddings and exhaustion of tight shale gas reservoirs is likely to be quite rapid, the initial drilling is so highly productive. But once you are drilled out, you are drilled out.

We have one of the largest natural gas fields in the world off the the coast of Florida, but we can't go get it.

Which one would that be? Are you talking about the Gulf coast, or the Atlantic coast? AFAIK, no major field has been discovered. I suspect you might talking about the prospects for the offshore Atlantic coast, in which case I direct you to the Cost B well write ups, they don't read all that well to me for major discoveries.

Quoting Ex52tech (Reply 9):
Quoting Baroque (Reply 8):
1969 blowout of Union well. one report has 5 k barrels and another 80 to 100 thousand barrels, I think the latter is closer.

That was the last one I heard of 1969......40 years ago, not bad one in 40 years, still no reason to not drill. That is the risk I was talking about.

The reason for no blow outs since 1969 off CA is that soon after drilling was banned in that area. For a selection of other blow-outs try:
http://www.energyindustryphotos.com/...ilfield_blowout_photos_and_rig.htm

Quoting Ex52tech (Reply 9):
Quoting Baroque (Reply 8):
You seem to think I might have an interest in preventing drilling??

Sounds like it, and I am assuming you work in the airline industry.

Er well, try the oil and gas exploration industry. Just at present we are working on material from a ten well program from an Australian basin, then two entirely different basins in Southern Africa, a spot of Greenland and early in the New Year US gas shales. In view of the amount of material from boreholes we look at, I think it is safe to say that I like drilling, but I also understand blow outs and the damage they cause.

Quoting Ex52tech (Reply 9):
Quoting Baroque (Reply 8):
Maybe not listening to the one politician who spent some time to understand the long term prognosis for the oil industry is holding you back.

If Jimmy is talking I am definitely not listening. It took years to bring our economy back from the devastation he wrought. I was here I lived through it, I was in the military at the end of his term, we had nothing, we had to steal hardware off of broken jet engines to build the ones we were working on.

Well there you go. You remind me a bit of a late cousin of mine who when very young was said by my mother to have told her when she tried to comfort him, "I want to cry and I am going to cry". However here it is, I am ignorant of what Carter said and I am determined to remain ignorant of what he actually did say.

Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 10):
Quoting Ex52tech (Reply 7):
here, within our own borders, we have enough oil to sustain our own demand. We are not allowed to go get it.

The US domestic reserves are large, but they're not large enough or productive enough for the US to go fully independent without crippling the economy. The lifting cost on much of the domestic reserves is considerably higher than the imported stuff. It's just like alternative fuels...we can do it if we want to but, either way, it's going to cost a lot more than the current situation.

This is going to get boring
* Domestic reserves large - sort of  checkmark  cos not really large re consumption.
* Not large enough........  checkmark   checkmark 
* Cost  checkmark   checkmark   checkmark 
* Alt fuels  checkmark   checkmark   checkmark   checkmark   checkmark 

Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 10):
Quoting Ex52tech (Reply 7):
When you have a country such as the US, which has the resources to get it's own oil and refine it, if they would knock the stops out, then it should do just that. Then the big, mean, evil, US would not need to go to war over oil.

That's what I was talking about regarding ignoring the real problem. Switching to US production just defers the problem, it doesn't fix it. Oil is finite. The more we import now, the more domestic supply we'll have in the future when it becomes really difficult and expensive to get from other countries. It makes a lot of sense to import cheaper oil when it's (relatively) easy to do so and protect the domestic reserves for the future when we'll really need them. The US is in a fairly OK position in this regard, since Canada has more oil reserves (in oil sands) than Saudi Arabia, and it's pretty unlikely that Canada-US relations will degrade to the point that the Canadian supply to the US is threatened.

Here we go again.
* Defers .... Indeed  checkmark   checkmark  I always wonder if we do much of a favour other than to immediate shareholders when "we" (as an exploration industry) discover hydrocarbons. It always means that in three years time it is an even bigger struggle to maintain reserves.
* protect domestic reserves ......  checkmark   checkmark  My you have read Jimmy have you not!!  checkmark 
* tar sands ......  checkmark   checkmark  One day Canada-US relations are bound to be strained on this point. Eventually you guys will have the whip hand. So maybe a wobble in those  checkmark   checkmark  !!!

There you go, a geologist and an engineer seeing eye to eye, must be Christmas. Although I have to say Tds, I rarely find much in your posts to disagree with on just about any topic.  checkmark   bigthumbsup 

I suppose one bit to add about alternative fuels, it is not only that they will be expensive but that the CAPEX reqiured for any significant replacement of conventional oil with distort any economy that goes that way. South Africa is the only place to try after WWII, and it probably paid a high capital price although SASOL is doing very well now thank you very much.

One thing that is very difficult is to get good cost data for anything other than coal, oil and gas fired power generation. So real data for wind, solar and nuclear are very difficult. Algae have promise but what will be the real costs? I have no idea. I must say I have been very disappointed at the slow progress with geothermal in places like the Cooper Basin where temperatures are about 220C, but at about 3.4 kms. Near volcanic geothermal is OK and costs are known but it has some limits in terms of how much power can be recovered.
 
tdscanuck
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Thu Dec 31, 2009 6:06 pm



Quoting Baroque (Reply 11):
There you go, a geologist and an engineer seeing eye to eye, must be Christmas.

And a Happy New Year! Actually, this topic lands squarely in the crossover of my two backgrounds...I used to be an oilfield engineer (deepwater exploration & production), now I'm a commercial flight test guy.

Tom.
 
thegeek
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Fri Jan 01, 2010 12:52 am



Quoting Ex52tech (Reply 9):
Nuclear power is what is needed, lots of it yes that is right the big terrible taboo.

While I agree with you in principle, it does very little about the transportation fuel problem. Also, without going to breeder, there is little U235 in ore so that's a very short term solution. Perhaps a higher enrichment reactor and fatter fuel rods would be a stop gap, but I think that the world is not quite ready yet for the massive investment that would be a breeder reactor solution.
 
baroque
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Fri Jan 01, 2010 6:05 am



Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 12):
Quoting Baroque (Reply 11):
There you go, a geologist and an engineer seeing eye to eye, must be Christmas.

And a Happy New Year! Actually, this topic lands squarely in the crossover of my two backgrounds...I used to be an oilfield engineer (deepwater exploration & production), now I'm a commercial flight test guy.

Aha. I thought the insights into potential resources in "new" areas was a bit over and above average. Bet you are glad you were not on Roncador when she went over - well I hope you were not!!!

Quoting Thegeek (Reply 13):
While I agree with you in principle, it does very little about the transportation fuel problem. Also, without going to breeder, there is little U235 in ore so that's a very short term solution. Perhaps a higher enrichment reactor and fatter fuel rods would be a stop gap, but I think that the world is not quite ready yet for the massive investment that would be a breeder reactor solution.

Yes and yes, but how about thorium? Many attractions even if it has not been commercialized - yet! But there will be few planes flying around with a nuclear reactor be it a U or a Th based one. Few as in none although I was listening to a late night program on parallel universes which suggested it is difficult to get p = zero!!
 
ex52tech
Posts: 553
Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 2:28 pm

RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Fri Jan 01, 2010 8:07 am



Quoting Baroque (Reply 11):

Well there you go. You remind me a bit of a late cousin of mine who when very young was said by my mother to have told her when she tried to comfort him, "I want to cry and I am going to cry". However here it is, I am ignorant of what Carter said and I am determined to remain ignorant of what he actually did say.

Insulting me will surely win me over.
"Saddest thing I ever witnessed....an airplane being scrapped"
 
baroque
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Fri Jan 01, 2010 4:10 pm



Quoting Ex52tech (Reply 15):
Quoting Baroque (Reply 11):

Well there you go. You remind me a bit of a late cousin of mine who when very young was said by my mother to have told her when she tried to comfort him, "I want to cry and I am going to cry". However here it is, I am ignorant of what Carter said and I am determined to remain ignorant of what he actually did say.

Insulting me will surely win me over.

And stating you refuse to read material because of its source is a strange way to conduct a discussion. You seem to be the one for the absolutes.

Quoting Ex52tech (Reply 9):
If Jimmy is talking I am definitely not listening.

Wow! Way to go.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Fri Jan 01, 2010 7:24 pm



Quoting Ex52tech (Reply 7):

Here in the US our politicians are our own worst enemy when it comes to oil production. Constantly banning drilling and allowing legislation that ties our hands on production, we have not built a refinery in the US in almost 30 years, so there is a good reason why the costs of production are high.

None of these are valid long-term solutions.

The amount of oil in the world is finite. This is a fact and not subject to debate. Anyone who claims otherwise needs psychiatric help. There is no such thing as infinity. Even if the whole planet were made out of crude oil, the amount would still be finite.

The United States should be able to produce enough fuel for its own needs. Investing huge amounts of money, resources, and environmental destruction into drilling more *might* allow us to self-sustain for a short period of time, but if we are to think about securing our energy future for the next few hundred years, then fossil fuels are not the solution. If we start working now on biofuels we will have an infinite supply of fuel as long as the sun shines. And the beauty of algae biofuels grown in closed-loop vertical photobioreactors is that they need very little space and only a single large initial investment of water, with only small amounts for replenishment. Now, the sun is also a finite supply of energy, but we have at least two billion years before that becomes a problem, and I think future generations can ponder such timescales.

Humanity since the Industrial Revolution has consisted of a number of self-made crises. First there was the pollution caused by the vast increases in population in confined areas. With waste water dumped into drinking supplies and other such practices, cholera and other forms of dysentery ran wild. In general, the first crisis was the rise in transmissible illnesses caused by the increase in population. Once we solved that crisis, our destructive powers became the next cause for crisis until we had developed the nuclear weapon. Faced with the spectre of a nuclear conflagration, we wondered if humanity would cease to exist with a bang. We seem to have averted that crisis only to be faced with another crisis of energy and environmental destruction.

Drilling more won't solve it. Finding renewable sources of fuel that rely on more plentiful natural resources (like the sun or nuclear fusion) will solve it and for a very long time. Long enough that future generations can figure out what to do next.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
thegeek
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Fri Jan 01, 2010 10:06 pm



Quoting Baroque (Reply 14):

Yes and yes, but how about thorium? Many attractions even if it has not been commercialized - yet! But there will be few planes flying around with a nuclear reactor be it a U or a Th based one. Few as in none although I was listening to a late night program on parallel universes which suggested it is difficult to get p = zero!!

The Indians are keen on this idea. I think it's a little challenging to make it work: something like 85% of the neutrons in the system must be made useful. At present that ratio might be something like 66%. But if a thermal breeder with a (heavy) water moderator based on this system could be made to work, that would be preferable to a fast breeder.

P is probability?
 
ex52tech
Posts: 553
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Fri Jan 01, 2010 10:46 pm



Quoting Baroque (Reply 16):
And stating you refuse to read material because of its source is a strange way to conduct a discussion. You seem to be the one for the absolutes.

So as long as I agree with you and your source you will be more than happy to lecture to me with the end result being "straightening me out", but since you can't stack the deck in your favor, or coral me into accepting your source you resort to insults.

Quoting Baroque (Reply 16):
Quoting Ex52tech (Reply 9):
If Jimmy is talking I am definitely not listening.

Wow! Way to go.

I meant what I said: double digit inflation, double digit unemployment, I was there, I lived it. IMO Jimmy Carter was a disaster, his administration was for me. I disagreed with his energy policies and his economic policies.
"Saddest thing I ever witnessed....an airplane being scrapped"
 
ex52tech
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Fri Jan 01, 2010 11:06 pm



Quoting DocLightning (Reply 17):
The amount of oil in the world is finite. This is a fact and not subject to debate. Anyone who claims otherwise needs psychiatric help.

Way to slam the door on the debate Doc, so those of us who don't think like you do are in need of psychiatric help............ok.
"Saddest thing I ever witnessed....an airplane being scrapped"
 
tdscanuck
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Sat Jan 02, 2010 12:02 am



Quoting Ex52tech (Reply 20):
Way to slam the door on the debate Doc, so those of us who don't think like you do are in need of psychiatric help............ok.

He only invoked "psychiatric help" in relation to the belief that the supply of oil is infinite. If you believe the supply of oil is infinite, there's pretty obviously no debate to be had because the foundation premises are so wildly different that you can't have a meaningful conversation.

Tom.
 
ex52tech
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Sat Jan 02, 2010 6:18 am



Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 21):
If you believe the supply of oil is infinite, there's pretty obviously no debate to be had because the foundation premises are so wildly different that you can't have a meaningful conversation.

I don't believe that the supply is infinite, and some of what we have is at best unusable. I just want to point out that a lot of the people that are telling us that we are out of oil, and that we are perpetually in some crisis of shortage or are just plain old "Doomed" are the people who will benefit the most from that crisis. It is just too easy to jump on the band wagon, and the second someone tells you the debate is over, is when it should begin.
"Saddest thing I ever witnessed....an airplane being scrapped"
 
tdscanuck
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:35 am



Quoting Ex52tech (Reply 22):
I just want to point out that a lot of the people that are telling us that we are out of oil, and that we are perpetually in some crisis of shortage or are just plain old "Doomed" are the people who will benefit the most from that crisis.

People who say we're out are just plain wrong.

People who say we're short are also wrong...what the vast majority of folks fail to realize is that there is a lot of known reserves that are uneconomical to produce. But as soon as oil price goes up, they become economical. As oil slowly gets scarcer, the price goes up and it becomes economical to produce more stuff. It doesn't prevent the inevitability of eventually running out, but it does mean it's basically impossible to just run out one day...it will be a very gradual slow tapering off as oil price climbs and other technologies become cost-competitive.

Tom.
 
baroque
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:23 am



Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 23):
it does mean it's basically impossible to just run out one day...it will be a very gradual slow tapering off as oil price climbs and other technologies become cost-competitive.

Although it will be require adaptions that most will view as painful.

Quoting Ex52tech (Reply 19):
I meant what I said: double digit inflation, double digit unemployment, I was there, I lived it. IMO Jimmy Carter was a disaster, his administration was for me. I disagreed with his energy policies and his economic policies.

It is really funny, because rising oil prices were major factors behind those very problems of inflation and unemployment. I am less than clear how you could have disagreed with his energy policies unless you are committing terminological inexactitudes when you say you will not read them.

Or do you just disagree on principle.

Oh well, Tds and I seem to be able to have sane discussions about real things.

On the algae Doc are there anything like system costs available. You know the oil industry tends to run on a daily barrel metric. So if you have a daily barrel cost of $15,000 then to produce 1 million barrels will cost you $15,000,000. For example:

http://www.menafn.com/qn_news_story_s.asp?StoryId=1093286823
Saudi Aramco reports the Moneefa field will cost $17,500 per daily barrel up from $2,500 for the recent Haradh field.

Do you have any ideas what a daily barrel cost for oil from algae might be. The reason why SASOL oil from coal is generally considered not economic is that daily barrel figures for Fischer Tropsch have been quoted at $100,000. A caution there is that SASOL does actually make a profit according to its books!!
 
ex52tech
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:06 pm



Quoting Baroque (Reply 24):
It is really funny, because rising oil prices were major factors behind those very problems of inflation and unemployment. I am less than clear how you could have disagreed with his energy policies unless you are committing terminological inexactitudes when you say you will not read them.


Yeah, really funny, in a condescending way.
I would agree with that, anytime oil has gone up, economies trend downward in consuming nations. Jimmy poured salt in those wounds by raising capital gains taxes, income tax rates, business tax rates, along with trying to create a crisis, I might even go as far as saying panic, by telling the American public that the world would run out of oil in 10 years. Terms like malaise, and stagflation sprang up out of that administration, our economy flat lined. When the American people asked him for solutions, one of them was to "put on a sweater".

We were told that synthetic oil would be feasible when a barrel of crude went above $80.00 a barrel, it got to $147.00 and even the anti-oil politicians in the U.S. were talking about drilling, and still nothing was done with shale or synthetics. I feel that we are in the eye of the storm right now, if oil goes back up to even close to it's peak some of the already weakened economies around the globe will fail. Then you WILL see a real war over oil.
"Saddest thing I ever witnessed....an airplane being scrapped"
 
tdscanuck
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:46 pm



Quoting Ex52tech (Reply 25):
We were told that synthetic oil would be feasible when a barrel of crude went above $80.00 a barrel, it got to $147.00 and even the anti-oil politicians in the U.S. were talking about drilling, and still nothing was done with shale or synthetics.

Oil shale (and related coal-bed methane) were booming during the oil spike, and continue to be. Oil sands are economical over something like $45/barrel and they're still rocking and rolling. Synthetics is an odd situation because, although it works (the South Africans have been doing it for years, and continue to do so) the carbon footprint is phenomenally bad. The US military also continues to play with synthetics.

Tom.
 
Venus6971
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Sat Jan 02, 2010 6:37 pm

I noticed nobody on this thread talked about the Fischer/Tropches sp? process of turning coal into fuel, there is big interest of this by the biggest user of jet fuel in the world, the US military. The USAF has already test flown aircraft with this type of bio fuel with good results. There are plans to build a huge refinery near or at Malstrom AFB Montana to take advantage of the areas huge coal fields.
I would help you but it is not in the contract
 
PPVRA
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Sat Jan 02, 2010 6:46 pm



Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 5):
For technical reasons, air transportation will probably be one of the last ones to switch over.

With so many airlines and OEMs test flying biofuels (even some with pax onboard, no?), I would have thought they'd be among the first ones to "seriously" (i.e., not like the ethanol spurt and cars) jump on that bandwagon.

What technical reasons do you think will prevent this switchover?
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
 
ex52tech
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:00 pm



Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 26):

Oil shale (and related coal-bed methane) were booming during the oil spike, and continue to be. Oil sands are economical over something like $45/barrel and they're still rocking and rolling. Synthetics is an odd situation because, although it works (the South Africans have been doing it for years, and continue to do so) the carbon footprint is phenomenally bad. The US military also continues to play with synthetics.

I was thinking more of the synthetics, and here in the US there was quite a stink raised by the environmentalists about using shale. The "were not about to give in to some other way to make oil and pollute our mother the earth" crowd were not going to give an inch. I understand that some of it was going on, but not enough to have any effect.

Quoting Venus6971 (Reply 27):
I noticed nobody on this thread talked about the Fischer/Tropches sp? process of turning coal into fuel,

That was the synthetic process I was thinking of when I brought it up. We have an abundence of coal in the US.........but not a lot of diamonds  scratchchin 
"Saddest thing I ever witnessed....an airplane being scrapped"
 
LU9092
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Sun Jan 03, 2010 12:18 am

For anyone interested in thorium energy, here is a great place to start:

http://thoriumenergy.blogspot.com/

Also, some very promising experiments suggest that polywell fusion could be a near-term viable energy source. This page has a decent collection of links:

http://www.strout.net/info/science/polywell/index.html

Something like fusion energy, perhaps even thorium nuclear energy if done on a large enough scale, would make production of synthetic energy-dense fuels economically viable for applications like aviation.

Ex52Tech, a serious question: What is your vested interest in the continued use of petroleum for energy? It is certainly easier to do nothing now, and wait for $400/bbl oil to force us to change. If you think the economy sucks now - or in the late 1970's - just wait. Do you think that perhaps a large investment in alternatives now could pay off in the future? I am of the opinion that our economy and security both depend on that investment being made sooner rather than later. And that's ignoring all the environmental costs associated with burning material for energy. Pollution kills or sickens many thousands of people every year, even in the US and Europe where the regulation you despise has made our air and water much safer. The potential for anthropogenic climate change only adds to the risk of not changing now.

If we want our economies to grow substantially, we will need energy sources that can scale long-term to supply ever-growing demand. Oil and even coal just can't scale at the right price to allow for that growth. The decisions we're making - or not making - now will determine whether we'll live to see future generations prosper, or spend another 50 years stagnating and fighting endlessly over increasingly scarce resources.

[Edited 2010-01-02 16:25:09]

[Edited 2010-01-02 16:26:48]
 
PPVRA
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Sun Jan 03, 2010 1:34 am

Quoting LU9092 (Reply 30):
It is certainly easier to do nothing now, and wait for $400/bbl oil to force us to change.

Why do it now, and not in ten years? Why not twenty years ago? Why should we go with someone pushing an arbitrary schedule? Why do we assume we are doing nothing now? Aren't people always looking for alternative products? What's the point in dumping enormous resources into R&D when nobody has a decent alternative? How do you know there isn't already enough money being poured into alternative energy R&D? Do you settle for nothing less than a multi billion or trillion trophy project?

And to make matters worse, a lot of the "ideas" have been nothing more than subsidies. Subsidies destroy resources--natural but especially capital resources--that are necessary for innovation. They squander innovation rather than encourage it. I've seen lots of cool alternative energy ideas, and I'd really like to see they take off (all of them, really, because they are all cool  Smile ), but I also know that subsidies or penalizing one over the other are also very poor ideas and is actually counter productive. If your technology requires special legal or economic treatment for it to work, then I'm sorry, but you are cheating what technology is all about.

[Edited 2010-01-02 17:39:16]
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
 
ex52tech
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:25 am



Quoting PPVRA (Reply 31):
Why do it now, and not in ten years? Why not twenty years ago? Why should we go with someone pushing an arbitrary schedule? Why do we assume we are doing nothing now? Aren't people always looking for alternative products? What's the point in dumping enormous resources into R&D when nobody has a decent alternative? How do you know there isn't already enough money being poured into alternative energy R&D? Do you settle for nothing less than a multi billion or trillion trophy project?

And to make matters worse, a lot of the "ideas" have been nothing more than subsidies. Subsidies destroy resources--natural but especially capital resources--that are necessary for innovation. They squander innovation rather than encourage it. I've seen lots of cool alternative energy ideas, and I'd really like to see they take off (all of them, really, because they are all cool Smile ), but I also know that subsidies or penalizing one over the other are also very poor ideas and is actually counter productive. If your technology requires special legal or economic treatment for it to work, then I'm sorry, but you are cheating what technology is all about.

PPVRA you saved me the time of having to respond, and did a much better job. Could not have said it better.......Bravo  praise 

My obsession with continuing to use petroleum is because it works so well, I can not imagine the US allowing $400.00 barrel oil being jammed down our throats.
"Saddest thing I ever witnessed....an airplane being scrapped"
 
tdscanuck
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Sun Jan 03, 2010 6:10 am



Quoting Venus6971 (Reply 27):
I noticed nobody on this thread talked about the Fischer/Tropches sp?

That's this:

Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 26):
Synthetics is an odd situation because, although it works (the South Africans have been doing it for years, and continue to do so) the carbon footprint is phenomenally bad.

The Germans invented Fischer-Troph (well, Fischer and Troph invented it *for* the Germans) during WWII because Germany didn't have sufficient internal petroleum to fight the war, but they had lots of coal. This was part of why they went after the Russian oilfields. South Africa picked it up when their petroleum supplies were cut thin by apartheid-era boycots.

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 28):
With so many airlines and OEMs test flying biofuels (even some with pax onboard, no?), I would have thought they'd be among the first ones to "seriously" (i.e., not like the ethanol spurt and cars) jump on that bandwagon.

They definitely want to be on the bandwagon to stave off the carbon emissions issue (which is mostly PR, but it's still an issue). But they're economic requirements are so tight that they really can't do it unless it's cost competitive with oil, and that's probably a long way away. They want to have all the regulations and procedures in place when that day comes, but they're not going to switch totally for anything other than economic reasons.

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 28):
What technical reasons do you think will prevent this switchover?

Many alternative fuels have worse energy density than petroleum; aviation, more than any other industry, requires high energy density fuels to work. That's why you'll see ethanol cars long before ethanol airplanes (in widespread use).

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 31):
And to make matters worse, a lot of the "ideas" have been nothing more than subsidies. Subsidies destroy resources--natural but especially capital resources--that are necessary for innovation. They squander innovation rather than encourage it.

Interestingly, Brazil is actually one of the major counter-points to this argument (at least as claimed by my Brazilian energy professor). They initially subsidized the heck out of sugar-cane, and sugar-cane-ethanol production. However, that was enough to get the ball rolling on R&D, investment, and infrastructure so that, today, Brazil has one of the better functioning (and competitive without subsidies) ethanol systems. The subsidy was necessary to boostrap the industry though, because the time horizon for private companies is too short for them to do the initial investment on their own.

Quoting Ex52tech (Reply 32):
My obsession with continuing to use petroleum is because it works so well, I can not imagine the US allowing $400.00 barrel oil being jammed down our throats.

It's not a matter of being jammed down our throats, it's a matter of inevitability. Demand for oil continues to go up, and supply is finite. Even in a perfectly unregulated free market, eventually scarcity would result in a natural free market price of $400/barrel. No matter how much we might wish it, we can't keep sucking oil up forever.

Tom.
 
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Faro
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Sun Jan 03, 2010 10:25 am

Read somewhere that aluminium has phenomenal energy density; has anyone ever toyed with attempts at using it (in low concentrations) in an emulsion somehow to power classic internal combustion or turbine engines?

Faro
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baroque
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Sun Jan 03, 2010 1:13 pm



Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 33):
Quoting Ex52tech (Reply 32):
My obsession with continuing to use petroleum is because it works so well, I can not imagine the US allowing $400.00 barrel oil being jammed down our throats.

It's not a matter of being jammed down our throats, it's a matter of inevitability. Demand for oil continues to go up, and supply is finite. Even in a perfectly unregulated free market, eventually scarcity would result in a natural free market price of $400/barrel. No matter how much we might wish it, we can't keep sucking oil up forever.

Another comment would be the only way to stop $400 oil being jammed (poured I think would be more better) down the throat would be to keep the mouth well shut.

SYNTHETICS FROM COAL

Coal - medium rank coal has about 50% of its hydrogen aliphatic and about 50% aromatic, in carbon is it more like 30% aliphatic and 70% aromatic. The H/C atomic ratio of coals ranges rarely up to about 0.9 but is more usually about 0.7 to 0.8. For jet fuel it is just over 2. A C10 paraffin has a formula of C10 H22 (CnH2n+2).

So you are short of hydrogen compared with paraffinic fuels.

If bezene was acceptable, the chemisty is not so much of a problem. C6H6 gives you an H/C atomic ratio of 1, not far from some coals. Hence the long periods (and large numbers of dollars) spent trying to get what was called the hydrogen shuffle reactions to work. Basically you would put coal in at one end, add a minor amount of H and end up with benzene. Two problems, the reactions did not work, and secondly if they had you would end up with benzene that has some toxicity and is thought to be strongly carcinogenic. Although it is true that for years, "benzol" blends were sold in many countries and in Indonesia petrol is sold as bensin in spite of it being paraffins.

Assuming the hydrogen shuffle will never work, the next simplest way is hydrogenation. The Germans used the Bergius process and IIRC a high proportion of their aviation fuels during WWII came from the Bergius process. One version of Bergius used coal tar as a feed stock but coals can also be used. H is introduced under high pressure and temperature and in some versions in the presence of a catalyst and opens out the aromatic molecules and add H to the naphthenic and naphtheno-aromatics in the coals converting them to aliphatic compounds.

The H can be carried in organic solvents, and EXXON had a neat version where the middle distillate from the process was used to carry the hydrogen.

The Fischer-Tropsch synthesis process has the following stages;

1. Coal gasifier, mostly based on the old Lurgi gasifiers.
2. Water gas shift stage, similar to the water gas shift used in most town gas systems for 100 years or so and mostly gone now.
3. F-T synthesis unit.
The main reacions are
n C0 + {n*0.5m} H2 → CnHm Exothermic

2nCO + 0.5mH2 → CnHm Exothermic

The products are controlled by T&P and by the catalysts used. The catalysts are the main proprietary part of the process, but keeping the gasifiers going is also more than a bit tricky.

In terms of chemical ease (which basically can be measured by how much entropy you "lose") the H shuffle has least energy costs, but probably does not work, hydrogenation is next, and F-T last. System thermal efficiency for F-T will not exceed about 30% - which is another reason why Tom's comment about CO2 emissions is well taken.

BTW, after WWII in addition to taking large numbers of German military aircraft over to the US in 1945, the US took Bergius and F-T plants as well. But most of the US work on coal liquefaction had nothing to do with transport fuels (until about 1978!!!) they were busy using the processes as a way of getting S out of Appalachian and Mid Cont coals - which F-T and hydrogenation would do. But in a very expensive fashion, the main aim was to make bunker oil.

There is another way, flash pyrolysis, and that has a theoretical thermal efficiency of about 65% if you can burn the char to produce electricity. No takers so far.

System costs in the late 70s for F-T were thought to be about $100,000 per daily barrel. Presumably they are now about twice that. At the time system costs for EXPENSIVE oil were about $15,000 and it was thought that anything north of about $30,000 would never be economic!!

Yes it was stated that F-T would be competitive if oil reached $80 but there is a flaw in that argument in that once it does reach $80 all the other prices have risen and so will the cost of ALL synthetics. If you are at $34 (that was Arab light at that time) and oil went to $80, it is reasonable to assumen that the equivalence at $80 would be at least $120. So 28 years later it is not surprising that oil at $140 did not produce a tide of activity on synthetics.

And yes, SASOL does make money out of F-T. As I said, I have seen their annual report. But they had their plants built under, er well under a er um a different government.

OIL SHALES
Oil shale - sigh. The high grade oil shales would be economic but the reserves are too small for a viable industry - I mean here the torbanites that can yield about 800 l/t but reserves are typically less than about 2 million tonnes. They were used in WWII to produce motor spirit and I believe the Brits liked shale oil for their torpedoes, presumably something to do with their gravity, they contain 1-alkenes which makes them a bit more dense than their equivalent alkanes.

Some large much lower grade oil shales occur as at Rundle and Stuart in Qld but their grades are down to about 100 to 200 l/t
For a presentation when Stuart was still a possible production location:
http://www.smedg.org.au/miningc/SMCMay02images.pdf

Much larger resources exist in the Green River Fm (GRF) in western USA, but the grade is lower again compared with the Rundle type shale. The Mahogany Ledge is the richest unit but cut off grades used by EXXON were about 60 l/t which is getting close to the zero thermal return point.
Big version: Width: 1654 Height: 980 File size: 100kb
GRF Mahogany Ledge, lamalginite yellow, vitrinite black FW 0.22mm


EXXON tried a large undergound operation at Colony and were going to take the mine product up to the top of the Col Plateau about 2000' above the mine - I have a picture of the road works and I could pass them off as a large open pit mine, but the mine was underground. Even before oil prices collapsed, Colony was in trouble and EXXON pulled out after spending I think about 2 billion of early 1980 dollars.

Hence the interest in in situ recovery of oil from the GRF. As the GRF is close to a kilometre in thickness, it is an excellent target for this. However, getting controlled burns a couple of thousand feet below your feet and then extracting fluid products from a unit that swells about 30% by volume when heated is, shall we say, a bit tricky.

Keep pushing the algae Doc!!
 
PPVRA
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:25 pm



Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 33):

Thanks!

Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 33):

Interestingly, Brazil is actually one of the major counter-points to this argument (at least as claimed by my Brazilian energy professor). They initially subsidized the heck out of sugar-cane, and sugar-cane-ethanol production. However, that was enough to get the ball rolling on R&D, investment, and infrastructure so that, today, Brazil has one of the better functioning (and competitive without subsidies) ethanol systems. The subsidy was necessary to boostrap the industry though, because the time horizon for private companies is too short for them to do the initial investment on their own.

Because of those subsidies, it' true we already had a good chunck of infrastructure built, which facilitated the renaissance of ethanol in the past decade. Last I've heard though, there are no subsidies for ethanol prices currently. And the technology improvements over the old models were developed by Bosch, followed by VW introducing the first successful flex fuel car in decades, also devoid of any subsides from what I know.

With that said, it would have made a lot more sense to not have spent all that money building infrastructure for something that wouldn't have worked for another three decades.
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Mon Jan 04, 2010 9:59 pm



Quoting Ex52tech (Reply 20):

Way to slam the door on the debate Doc, so those of us who don't think like you do are in need of psychiatric help............ok.

What, pointing out that the amount of oil on the planet is finite? You believe it's infinite?

That's the only point that is not subject to debate. That the supply of fossil fuels is finite. The debate can rage over whether it contributes to global warming and how much remaining supply there is, but one thing is 100% certain: the amount of remaining oil is finite and it is shrinking by one barrel for every barrel we take out of the ground.

To claim otherwise is tantamount to claiming that there is an infinite amount of gold on the planet.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
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Spacepope
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Tue Jan 05, 2010 5:25 am



Quoting Baroque (Reply 35):
Much larger resources exist in the Green River Fm (GRF) in western USA, but the grade is lower again compared with the Rundle type shale.

One new problem with he GRF is that the area is overwhelmingly BLM land, and the GRF lakebed deposits are a huge area of eocene fossil vertebrates. Last year the PRPA was put into effect, basically making it a crime to remove (or destroy) any vertebrate fossil on federal land unless it went to a repository. I'd like to see the lawsuit by SVP if the GRF gets strip mined.

Seen flagstone quarries in Utah get shut down because of trilobites...
The last of the famous international playboys
 
baroque
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Tue Jan 05, 2010 6:30 am



Quoting Spacepope (Reply 38):
Seen flagstone quarries in Utah get shut down because of trilobites...

Quite proper too.  Big grin AFAIK, the Wrens Nest at Dudley UK has been lost to us all, that is where the beautiful Calymene specimens came from.

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 38):
Last year the PRPA was put into effect, basically making it a crime to remove (or destroy) any vertebrate fossil on federal land unless it went to a repository.

Wow, even I think that is a bit radical and I have a nice slab of some of those fish on my mantlepiece as I write - Gosiutichthys parvus I think. While there are some spectacular localities, by and large bulk Mahogany Ledge has very few fish bones in it, let alone well preserved fish fossils.

But interesting to know that. Listing all the problems with the GRF would take at least a couple of threads, but it is a tantalizing resource.

Ingram, L.L. et al.; 1983: Comparative study of oil shales and shale oils from the Mahogany Zone, Green River Formation (U.S.A.) and Kerosene Creek seam, Rundle Formation (Australia). Chem. Geol., 38, pp. 185 212.

Has some useful information about the chemistry of the organic matter and how it breaks down during heating.

One of the EXXON guys back in the early 80s commented that the fellow in Rifle selling book ends made from Mahogany Ledge rock is the only person to have made money from the oil shale. He could be right, and very good book ends they are too. Heavy and nice colour (Mahogany of course) and super patterns in the bedding.

Now I have a digital camera, I should post a pic of the book ends.
 
cobra27
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Tue Jan 05, 2010 11:53 am

Future is in sythetic fuels or somekind of electrical propulsion (aircraft are way harder to convert to electricity than any other means of transportation), huge amounts of electricity being produced by new reactor fusion or possibly fusion, enough to make synthetic fuel. There is just no space even in desert to support growing population with innefficient crops for producing fuel. Around 1 billion people starve already, and energy consumption is only increasing. Solar and wind power provide some power, but only to make some people feel happy that they are green. Nuclear technology is crucial, it only needs people to embrace it
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:22 pm



Quoting Cobra27 (Reply 40):
Future is in sythetic fuels or somekind of electrical propulsion (aircraft are way harder to convert to electricity than any other means of transportation), huge amounts of electricity being produced by new reactor fusion or possibly fusion, enough to make synthetic fuel. There is just no space even in desert to support growing population with innefficient crops for producing fuel

Nuclear won't work.

Fission:
1) is very heavy, especially because you will always need two reactors in case one fails
2) is dangerous if the plane crashes
3) requires steam and turbines and a way of eliminating excess heat
4) reacts very slowly to changes in demand because of the need to boil more water

Fusion:
1) Hasn't been totally worked out yet
2) Is very heavy and requires some intense magnetic fields
3) Requires steam and turbines and a way of eliminating excess heat
4) Is very difficult to start if your reactor turns off for some reason.

As for the desert and crops, algae can be grown in vertical photobioreactors that take up very little space, use very little water after the initial investment, and use desert that cannot be used for crops. As much as 50% of the biomass of the algae can be used to make the fuel and the remaining biomass can be recycled as fertilizer for crops or food for more algae. Furthermore, there is enough arable land in the world to feed a large portion of the 1 bn starving people if only there were a way to get the crops to them. That's why the government subsidizes farmers to not grow food; we have a food excess.

The thing about hydrocarbons is that they are the most concentrated form of energy available per volume. Hydrogen carries more energy per weight, but its large volume makes it an impractical choice for aviation fuel. You *could* run an aircraft on batteries, but the mass of the batteries would take up most of the payload and the range would be very short. The energy density of even the best battery is a few percent of an equivalent weight of fuel.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
thegeek
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Wed Jan 06, 2010 2:26 am



Quoting DocLightning (Reply 41):
Nuclear won't work.

If you meant nuclear powered planes, of course not. Let's hope Cobra27 didn't mean that.

Nuclear's ability to reduce demand for other fuels is largely limited to natural gas and coal. But natural gas would be an adequate fuel for cars/buses/trucks/planes at least in theory. And we have plenty of natural gas for some time.
 
cobra27
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Thu Jan 07, 2010 2:48 pm



Quoting Thegeek (Reply 42):
Let's hope Cobra27 didn't mean that.

no I didn't mean to have nuclear engines on airplanes, they would be on ground like powerplants
I just don't think crops could replace and possibly provide enought fuel fo future growth, it is not high tech
 
tdscanuck
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Fri Jan 08, 2010 5:35 am



Quoting Cobra27 (Reply 43):
I just don't think crops could replace and possibly provide enought fuel fo future growth, it is not high tech

That's the joy of it...it's very *low* tech. Most crops can't do it (ethanol from corn is a hilarious, and sad, disaster). However, plants that will grow where crops can't may be up to the task, especially algae, which puts land-bound plants to shame in terms of productivity.

Tom.
 
baroque
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RE: Alternative Fuels For Airliners

Fri Jan 08, 2010 2:41 pm



Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 44):
However, plants that will grow where crops can't may be up to the task, especially algae, which puts land-bound plants to shame in terms of productivity.

And their chemistry is much more favourable with a high content of algenan which is close to paraffinic hydrocarbons. However, the algae are not ALL algenan and I would like to see some bulk analyses to see the balance between compounds close to paraffins and cellulosic compounds and proteins.

Higher plants are dominated by ligno-cellulose which bears two fifths of five eights relationship to paraffinic HCs!! The compounds that can be transformed to ethanol are also not abundant, even in sugar cane. And as you say, corn based alcohol is a bit of a lurk at best and a disaster at worst.

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