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Old 24-06-2009, 15:15   #31
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It will be interresting to think what will hapen if we where to get more out than we put in, self destruction ?
Then you will have succeeded in developing nuclear fusion! Technically even in fusion you are not extracting more energy than you put in. Since according to the equation e=MC*C mass is energy, you're just liberating the "frozen" energy stored in matter and you did supply the matter.
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Old 24-06-2009, 15:42   #32
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Lake-
Not at all. A problem will still exist, but the problem is currently largely one of foolish decisions, not one of technology. What standard of living the world can support for what size population is another discussion entirely. That we can do better than we are doing now, is a matter of human resolution. And we all should know what history has to say about that.

Of course, the average "salaryman" worldwide is so busy just trying to survive, that they can't understand why they should, perhaps, insist that someone fund basic research on anything besides a plumper jelly donut. Limitless energy? Fusion? The nature of the weak atomic force or quintupling the efficiency of solar cells? Well, if no one funds the research in a big way, these things could take a hundred years. Or longer.

Wasn't it Jefferson who said the people would ge the government they deserved? They'll get the future they deserve, too. For better or worse.

Now, who's got the soylent green?
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Old 24-06-2009, 16:36   #33
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Lake-
Not at all. A problem will still exist, but the problem is currently largely one of foolish decisions, not one of technology. What standard of living the world can support for what size population is another discussion entirely. That we can do better than we are doing now, is a matter of human resolution. And we all should know what history has to say about that.
Please enlighten us! How?
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Old 24-06-2009, 16:38   #34
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Education and Knowledge
What all of the discussion in the posts exposes is how poorly we, as a society, have been educated. All of us have taken physic at some time in high school and if we didn't we should of. Unfortunately we were doing all kinds of “experiments” and not learning it.
It could be likened to learning to read and write and not be taught what a verb, noun or adjective is. We all can read and write E=Mc2. Few of us know its meaning.
It has made us gullible to energy from nothing schemes etc. It is fun seeing people fall for such schemes and I apologise to anyone for laughing. However it is no different than the pea and shell game at the carnival.
This lack of knowing some basic fundamentals that should be considered as basic as reading, writing and math has and will continually lead us astray.
In the past leaders, priests, doctors, lawyers, etc. would guard their knowledge to stay in power. Doctors and priests used Latin, lawyers use Legalese or any type of “secret writing”.
Physicists use equations, scientists use math. The difference is they do no try to hide the knowledge. The language they use is “open source”.

The effect of our lack of knowledge causes us to either pressure our leaders or be lead astray by them. Because we are “dumb” we believe. We end up with bad policies.

Education and knowledge has freed us in the past from servitude to the landowners, the nobility and the Kings.
Now all that remains to be freed from is ignorance. That unfortunately takes energy and time (or work).
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Old 24-06-2009, 17:41   #35
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hydrogen generator

We used to make hydrogen, for balloons etc by having a container of sodium hydroxide (caustic acid) and drop in pieces of waste Aluminium. (used soda cans) . I found out later that the sodium hydroxide acts as a catalyst and does not need replacing.
This is cheap hydrogen as long as you are not paying commercial prices for aluminium.
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Old 24-06-2009, 18:05   #36
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Aluminium is the fuel.
The oxygen is the oxidizer.
The hydrogen and aluminium oxide are the waste byproducts.

Aluminium takes more energy to produce than the energy released when burning hydrogen. Entropy rules.
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Old 24-06-2009, 18:09   #37
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Yes, but in this case the aluminium is FREE.
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Old 24-06-2009, 18:26   #38
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Free is good.
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Old 24-06-2009, 20:47   #39
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"Yes, but in this case the aluminium is FREE. "
And that's why the average American is so deeply in debt. Even with "free" aluminum, you could SELL the aluminum and earn way more money than the value of the "free" hydrogen power you're producing.

Free? So what. So is ocean water and cow manure, but there are limits to what you can do with a truckload of either one.
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Old 24-06-2009, 20:56   #40
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It should be pointed out that most people on the bandwagon to limit atmospheric carbon (including politicians) understand the technical issues of global warming debate as well as they do the video that kicked this thread off.
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Old 25-06-2009, 08:34   #41
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Just to correct a few folks who dismiss this out of hand, claiming thermodynamics, I'd point out that this isn't necessarily so. In this case, it is, but not for the reasons often given. A natural process can create a fuel that stores more energy than what is required to liberate it (case: oil, coal, uranium), provided that the process of creation of that fuel more than pays the total energy budget. In all three examples, the energy source is nuclear fusion in a star.

As for the source of the star... that's a bit more speculative (though there are some very sophisticated guesses).
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Old 25-06-2009, 09:24   #42
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"A natural process can create a fuel that stores more energy than what is required to liberate it (case: oil, coal, uranium), provided that the process of creation of that fuel more than pays the total energy budget."
This statement could give solace to those who are looking for or believe in perpetual motion machines ("free" energy). They may focus on the "liberate" part and skip right over the "budget" part. Spend what you cannot replace.

Yes it is true that "a few folks who dismiss this out of hand, claiming thermodynamics".

In order to debunk "creating" energy from seawater it would require a lot of learning about chemistry, etc. Most people would not want to sit still for all of that
There would be a lot of discussion of types and strengths of molecular bonds. The electron shells around nuclei. How catalysts reduce the energy hill or barrier required for a chemical process to occur at a lower temperature. Heats of reactions, etc
It goes on and on. Years in fact to understand it.

It is so far simpler for those of us that have studied chemistry which really is a subset of physics to simply say it violates the Laws of Thermodynamics and be done with it.
The belief of turning lead into gold will always reemerge in another form. I wish I could believe, I'm sitting on 5 tons of it.
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Old 25-06-2009, 09:29   #43
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Just to correct a few folks who dismiss this out of hand, claiming thermodynamics, I'd point out that this isn't necessarily so. In this case, it is, but not for the reasons often given. A natural process can create a fuel that stores more energy than what is required to liberate it (case: oil, coal, uranium), provided that the process of creation of that fuel more than pays the total energy budget. In all three examples, the energy source is nuclear fusion in a star.

As for the source of the star... that's a bit more speculative (though there are some very sophisticated guesses).
I'm not quite sure what you mean. The first two items you list took much more energy to form than we get out of them by burning. Just because humans didn't put in the energy doesn't mean that the chemical energy stored in the bonds and released when they are burned didn't exist. The first two items are reduced forms of carbon. Carbon is reduced from naturally occurring carbon dioxide by living things using outside energy sources, either sunlight, or as we have recently found out residual/nuclear heat from the earth. (much of the heat that keeps our planet's interior hot comes from the decay of radioactive isotopes). It seems to me that you are saying these things came into existance without an energy source.

The later item, uranium, energy comes from the splitting of atoms. Since only Hydrogen and helium were produced by the big bang, all heavier elements were created by nuclear fusion in stars up to iron. Elements heavier than iron were only created in the temperatures and pressures available in supernova explosions and take energy to make rather than giving off energy in fusion like lighter elements. The energy stored in the nucleus of a uranium atom available for our extraction was put there by a supernova.

Thermodynamics still works as far as I can tell with these examples.
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Old 25-06-2009, 09:35   #44
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It should be pointed out that most people on the bandwagon to limit atmospheric carbon (including politicians) understand the technical issues of global warming debate as well as they do the video that kicked this thread off.
As do most of the people denying climate change, in particular anthropogenic change.

In other words, most people don't understand these technical issues, very well.

As complex as the issues are, and as lazy as most people are; I find this quite understandable.
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Old 25-06-2009, 10:16   #45
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First, can we keep this thread on track? Let's not let it deteriorate into a political and/or a global warming discussion...

Second. I am a molecular biologist by education.

Third, the comment "you can't burn water, because it's already been burned" or words to that effect ARE RIGHT ON! Water it the end product from burning hydrogen and oxygen - not the other way around.

Fourth, there's no "free lunch" in thermodynamics.

Fifth, (I need one about now), the hydrogen - battery analogy is also RIGHT ON.

Sixth, electrolysis is quite a bit inefficient. There are less energy intensive ways to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

Seventh, using hydrogen as a fuel WORKS, as long as it can be made without buring fossil fuels AND transported effectively. See, that's the problem. Electricity doesn't transport particularly well (we lose a HUGE amount in transportation in the electrical grid).

Last, as previously noted, WATER VAPOR IS THE MOST ABUNDANT GREENHOUSE GAS!
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