Monday, March 10, 2008


I mean this post to be one for comments.

I have heard that the biggest expenditure of energy in America is in transportation of people and goods. Thus, to reduce the infamous "dependence on foreign oil," people feel we ought to burn less petroleum to move stuff. Plus there are environmental reasons and finite resource reasons. So my question is this: where do we get our energy if not from oil?

Hydrogen. I don't think hydrogen will work because getting H2 is such an energy intensive process, and every time you use energy to procure an energy source, some of that energy is lost. So why waste it? Plus burning hydrogen is weak and provides a nice compressed-Hindenberg situation. Fuel cells are boring and lame and complicated. Hydrogen is a waste of time. BTW, burning H2 may only chemically yield water, but it also produces heat - and why not pollute the air with toxicity if you are already going to heat it up?

Biofuels and ethanol. Still no. Even if everyone could make ethanol from sugar cane (a la Brazil), we still don't want to raze all open lands in America to produce it. Corn is a complete joke with something like 1/8 the possible ethanol yield of cane. Plus, you still CO, CO2, N2O, and heat. Biodiesel is a similar story, except you get to smell like French Fries - and who doesn't want that?

Electricity. I am partial to straight electricity, and I like the idea of getting it from renewable resources like our heat, sunlight, wind (made by the previous 2), water movement, geothermal, gerbils and other rodents in varying-sized wheels, etc. Maybe we can have our inmates turn large wheels to power their prisons - we'll rehabilitate them while teaching them how significant the energy situation is. Big downside: batteries. How do we make that many; how do we dispose of them or recycle them; can we use anything else like capacitors? Heat is hardly an issue as electric motors are so efficient, they produce SO much less heat than a comparably powered internal combustion engine. Plus, that gives yet another great reason for a windmill in my backyard - yes. 

Also, I think we ought to look more into nuclear energy. We can launch nuclear waste into space - possibly at the moon. Once we get cold fusion worked out, we will be set!

separate issue: Trains. I recently saw a commercial for some train company that said it can transport 1 ton of goods 438 miles with a gallon of fuel. I would like to personally experience both MagLevs and bullet trains - they are both awesome and efficient. I think future communities and developments ought to make greater use of various rails to move whatever. Equip them with WiFi and remove the higher-end work-people's and students' complaints. That would take away some of the pain of commuting. 

I would like to "hear" ya'll's comments on the subject of energy sources. Fact, figures and especially rumors and fiction are quite welcome. Is there a crisis? Is there even a problem? Any proposed solutions or un-solutions? Are SUV's to blame? (of course) Should we ignore it or make it priority number one or something somewhere in between? Think and speak!


Jennifer said...

Bri, I'm commenting b/c, well, you wanted comments. But, honestly, I can't care. I mean, yes, I care, I want world peace and to end hunger and to use renewable resources, but I can't even spare a thought for it right now. Not that my life is so important, but I'm just barely coping with it.

Jennifer said...

RUDE! You could at least comment back on my non-comment! :)

Morgan said...

Bri, seriously. You know you're nuts, right? This isn't about fuel efficiency -- it's just a comment in general about the randomnous of your blogs. I've gotta tell you though, they definetly put a smile on my face. My not what you intended, but they are entertaining.

BTW, here's a random thought for you. School sucks! I'm so glad I'm done with that.