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19 Comments

  1. Three posts in one day, nice. I was almost starting to be concerned after no new posts in a whole week.

    Nnadir’s post looks like a solid 25-30 minute reading effort for this evening.

    1. No new posts in one week? I just thought the blog was going strong, but had renamed itself bAsTOMIC INSIGHTS. 😉

  2. My response to the question:

    Who cares?  Anything that forces e.g. Saudi Arabia to halt its spending program on foreign mosques to placate its domestic hordes is a good thing.

    1. @Engineer-Poet

      The people who should “care” are those who are busily making plans expecting that the recent boom in US oil production is sustainable. They LIKE high oil prices, don’t seem to recognize the relationship between Saudi revenues and instability that you pointed out, and do not seem to care that those high prices are restraining economic activity throughout the rest of the world.

      1. The shale boom may give us a few decades of rest from foreign dependence, but it won’t last forever. We should be using that new source of wealth like the UAE; by building a nuclear infrastructure that will last for centuries.

    1. Not likely from that wing of that party.

      He is first and foremost a Clintonite, the people who presided over the IFR defunding in 1994, and the release of cleverly-redacted information on the use of “reactor-grade” Pu in a nuclear weapons test three decades earlier to support continued prohibition on spent fuel reprocessing.

      Apparently he is a supporter of “clean coal” with CCS, and neodymium-dependent whirligigs (TOH to NNadir): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terry_McAuliffe#Energy_and_environmental_issues

      1. Re: “…and neodymium-dependent whirligigs ”

        I just don’t understand how the public can sit back and just let these metal monsters infest and litter the landscape and seascape. My big fear is that generations will grow up thinking the things are as natural as daisies.

        James Greenidge
        Queens NY

        1. Most people do not understand energy and it’s importance to society. The average person likely thinks that electricity just bounces back and forth in the wires until it’s used, and terms like storage, itermittancy, peaking, baseload, etc, might as well be Chinese. I don’t know about the rest of the world, but the average American’s understanding of science and economics is
          Woefully inadequate.

      2. Funny you should mention the reactor grade thing, I was thinking about this just the other day. Do you have links to the “cleverly-redacted info”? Thanks!

  3. In many ways oil is probably the easiest dangerous fossil fuel to replace – with nuclear of course – although it seems to me that many people are missing this point.

    I have a (very) long – even for me – piece touching on this subject that is built around the very interesting topic of carbon capture from the air.

    I’m dusting it off to see what can be done with it, since Rod’s graciously letting me publish here.

    It’s about my favorite “not petroleum” fuel, the wonder fuel DME. This fuel is so wonderful, I can’t imagine that anyone would use anything else. But anyone who has ever developed something that is the greatest thing since sliced bread should probably develop enough cynicism to expect no more.

    The chemical feed stocks obtained from petroleum are also something of a non issue. If you have syn gas you have everything petroleum contains, without the dirt and filth.

    Air capture is still a long shot, but there remain some very, very, very, very bright people working on it and it still may not be impossible, although as is often the case in so many other areas, nuclear is the only thing that can do it.

    I saw some very wonderful presentations on the subject at the recent ACS meeting in Indianapolis, and I’ve read a lot of papers on the subject. Many people in the environmentalist community (in which I include myself) think that air capture may be essential, and if so, we’re in bad shape if it;s not possible.

    If it is possible, it will involve the ocean, and I have some neat thoughts on that subject, if I must say so myself.

    I couldn’t care less about the cost of oil; from where I sit it needs to be banned for political, environmental, safety and health reasons. Anything that causes it to decline has my enthusiastic support.

    1. After electrification, I’m not sure we’d need air capture.  Look at the figures in “The Billion-Ton Vision”.  A billion tons of biomass, containing 400 million tons of carbon, ought to do for those things we need done.

      FWIW, methanol is a better fuel than DME.  It contains more energy (the reaction of 2 MEoH to DME+H2O is exothermic), is a room-temperature liquid and allows higher specific power in engines.

  4. I never knew uranium was viewed as a primary threat to OPEC’s oil domination — natural gas, yes… capitalistic drive, yes… never uranium.

    Good article, thanks for posting–
    – Greg