1. ‘Chemical manufacturing and fertilizers can move’.
    This is already a serious problem. For decades about the only US industry that ran a surplus with the rest of the world was the Chemical Industry. Just in the last few years even that is now a deficit. One of the problems has been the high price of natural gas. Another reason nuclear would be beneficial is it would save fossil fuels (oil, and gas) for use as polymeric materials.

  2. The thermo-chemical splitting of water by high temp reactors looks like winner for advanced generation nuclear reactors. One such system uses sulfuric acid and iodine as catalysts. I have read of greater than 50% efficiency attained at temps in the 900 to 1000 degree range. Before WWII ammonia was made from hydrogen produced by electrolysis rather than hydrogen from methane. Since electricity is necessary for electrolysis we start with an efficiency in the 30+% range so the total process efficiency must be still lower. Getting a highly efficient hydrogen production system could reduce the consumption of natural gas by about 5%. It might also lower the cost of nitrogen fertilizer and trickle down to making food more affordable. It also would increasingly benefit the oil industry, as they add hydrogen to heavy crude and the tars extracted from oil sands. Another thought is that synfuels can be produced by chemically reducing carbon dioxide with hydrogen. I have no idea of the economics associated with the chemical synthesis of hydrocarbon fuel. Does anyone know about the feasibility and cost of synfuel production? Of course ammonia could serve as a fuel. Hydrocarbons would be more desirable. This is another reason that I am enthusiastic about pursuing generation IV reactor technology.
    In case anyone is interested in the chemistry -The thermo-chemical reaction goes something like this: at 900 C: Sulfuric acid decomposes to sulfur dioxide +2 oxygen+ 2 hydrogen. The sulfur dioxide grabs a water moleucle to restore to sulfuric acid. The oxygen leaves as 02 gas and the Iodiine graps the hydrogens to become hydrogen Iodide. At reheating to around 300 C, the hydrogen iodide decomposes to iodine and 2 hydrogen that are available for the above uses. The net result is that thermal energy from the reactor resulted in the splittiing of a water molecule with the energy input being trapped in the two hydrogen. As catalysts, the sulfuric acid Iodine was restored. One water molecule was split into two hydrogen and one oxygen.
    The reaction diagrams something like this: at 900 C H2SO4 splits to S02 +02 +2H . The 2H +I–>IH2. When heated to 300 C IH2 –>I + 2H . The S02 + H20 –>H2S04

  3. I am impressed with your grasp of the shale gas situation. I’m a petroleum geologist and compete with shale gas deals in a limited stash of exploration money. The decline of shale gas is precipitous and payout is often delayed, but it’s hard to drill a dryhole in it. That is the draw to poorly educated amatures–dentists, doctors and lawyers, all of whom think they are smarter than God. The only difference between doctors and God is that God doesn’t think he is a doctor. You better not buck the market, and the market is shale gas for now. Vbr

  4. Finrod,
    Thanks for the reference to Green Freedom. Peak oil, dependence on foreign oil, climate change, and development of an industry that will grow our economy should give synfuel research more visibility then is currently happening. Nuclear power has been rather limited in its ability to address our nation’s needs for liquid fuels for transportation and agriculture. The production of a synfuel and an anhydrous ammonia industry that is independent of fossil fuels would greatly expand nuclear energy’s role in the total energy picture. Green Freedom looks to nuclear as their the most affordable energy choice. Bill Gates seemed to think that the ability to reduce the carbon footprint for fertilizer was rather limited. I would think that using nuclear power for production of hydrogen to produce anhydrous ammonia would almost eliminate the carbon footprint for nitrogen fertilizer. It also would offer price stability and likely lower production costs.

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