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Old 23-04-2008, 22:38   #76
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Originally Posted by Robertcateran View Post
And where do we get the fuel to run the machinery for this extraction? What sets the price of extraction?
I'm honestly not really worried about that. For now, fossil fuels will be needed to run tractors, jet airplanes, and our boat diesels. That's okay. I'm focusing on the larger (and immediately doable) issue of ending fossil fuels as the primary source of generating electricity. I harbor no fantasies about 'nuclear tractors', but I would predict (hydrogen) fuel cell driven tractors in the medium term. And guess what power source produces copious amounts of hydrogen? Fission.

I strongly advocate nuclear fission and plug-in hybrids for right now. Both exist today. Neither requires a huge new infrastructure.

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Using hot rocks is probably the cleanest way of using fission. The radioactive decay in those big lumps of rock beneath our feet can provide a heap of energy. Yes , theoretically, we can even extract uranium out of sea water for a net energy gain.
An understatement, but yes. Sea water is potentially a tremendous source of uranium.

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The cost of setting up the processing would not be cheap, and has a finite life.
Finite meaning 'millions of years'? Hell, even the sun has a finite life! Do we really prefer one source over another because one will last billions of years rather than millions?

And don't worry so much about 'terrorists' and nuclear plants. It really is a non-issue. What would happen if a plane 'fell' on a PWR plant? It would turn off. That's really the only thing it could do. If it really worries people, the thing can easily be put underground (the core building is pretty small).

Now don't get me wrong, I like solar for some near term solutions, and encourage R&D. I also like prosperity and economic growth (and we have lots of growth to do around the world), and toys, did I mention toys? And I'm not alone. I prefer to solve energy scarcity not by conservation, but by getting more energy (engineering problems are more tractable than social ones). Lots more. The kind of more where your computers are ten factors more powerful, your car flies (maybe not), and your home has a 'printer' that produces flatware, furniture, and clothing (basically anything plastic) on demand. I don't see the solar numbers meeting that need anymore than burning wood can meet today's need. But if I'm wrong, and some new solar technology gets invented, great also.

If nanosolar puts out the $1/Watt panel, I'm coating my roof for sure. I still want the nuclear plants. And I sure as hell want to flatten the coal and NG plants.
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Old 23-04-2008, 23:16   #77
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I actually meant that the plant has a finite life, rather than the quantity of U235 in the ocean. I believe there are many orders of magnitude difference.
Don't see why fission produces significantly more H2 than any other water heating device.
The solar trough technologies are developed enough now to produce plenty of power and have the ability to store it. There are some being built now that are competitive with coal- especially since the price of coal almost tripled. Considering the R&D that went into nuclear, if 5% had gone into solar we would be way ahead.
Part of me wants to see nuclear continue, as my father was a nuclear physicist -he helped design reactors on nuclear submarines and was also involved with Fast Breeders- but to me the arithmetic points away from developing any more when I look at some of the later refinements of solar thermal. If solar panels come down , then I will certainly be putting some on my roof. But it made more sense to first replace my water heater with solar, and I plan to utilise phase change material for winter storing of heat to balance diurnal fluctuations. Solar thermal is much easier and cheaper to store short term ie, a day to a week.
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Old 23-04-2008, 23:41   #78
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So to get this all back on track. How does this relate to boating?? We can talk energy till blue in the face, but lets keep it on topic please.
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Old 24-04-2008, 00:08   #79
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our price is $1.65 a litre

I would be happy to pay 41.50 per gallon.

Our fuel is $1.65 for 1 Litre and in USD equals $1.56 per litre.
you guys have it good enjoy.
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Old 24-04-2008, 00:21   #80
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So to get this all back on track. How does this relate to boating?? We can talk energy till blue in the face, but lets keep it on topic please.
Fair enough Alan, you started, the Hijack, You take the responsibility to get us back on track.
Where does this affect sailing? Give yourself time and use the sails, and you don't care what price it is.
Robert
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Old 24-04-2008, 01:25   #81
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Awwww don't go saying I need to be responsible, darn it.
We have, in fact I think we all have a bigger issue. The cost of keeping the boat in the marina. For a sailboat, we tend to be quite heavy in usage of fuel. But if we don't have the right conditions, we have to motor 35Nm to get to open sea. So we tend to clock up as many hrs on engine as any Motor vessel will. Yet out total fuel cost for the season is probably around 3 to maybe NZ$400 for the season. That is less than one month payment in the marina for me. The marina cost is the one getting out of hand. And we can't vote with our feet. There is no where to go.
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Old 24-04-2008, 02:40   #82
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I did some research on fuel prices in 1970 compared to today.

The conclusion is that fuel today is CHEAPER* than it was in 1970.



In 1970 the average wage was $61-60/week

The cost of fuel was 0.11c/litre

That equates to 560 litres of fuel



TODAY the average wage is $879/week

The cost of fuel is $1-45/litre

That equates to 606 litres of fuel


Average pay today buys more fuel

Dave



Sources

RBA Wages - Average Weekly Earnings
RBA: Alphabetical Index of Statistics - W

1970 petrol prices
http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/extras/federation/Timelines/CMFedTimelineWideBay.htm

*This is for Australia
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Old 24-04-2008, 05:24   #83
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G'day Alan,
I sympathise. The problems of storage of a boat you are not living on can be a nightmare. This is one reason I am considering a demountable that I can park on the hard for longer term leaving. It is also long and skinny and goes 5 knots on a sparrows fart. You could live on the boat and go cruising renting out the house for pocket money, but there may not be universal approval in the household
Dave, you are spot on. We just have different expectations as to how much fuel we need to travel to meet our social and work commitments.
Cheers
Robert
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Old 24-04-2008, 05:29   #84
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I harbor no fantasies about 'nuclear tractors',

I have to admit... I *do* harbor a fantasy about owning a small fission reactor for my boat. Forget onboard electricity shortages, diesel and needing to heat or air condition the place... you'd be SET.
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Old 24-04-2008, 06:37   #85
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Ok, to steer back to boating, and the topic at hand, a hydrogen fuel cell however it's charged could make a nice replacement to the onboard diesel.

Although I have to say, a discussion about energy and how to produce it didn't seem so off-topic in an OT thread about gas prices.
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Old 24-04-2008, 07:31   #86
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Ok, to steer back to boating, and the topic at hand, a hydrogen fuel cell however it's charged could make a nice replacement to the onboard diesel.

Although I have to say, a discussion about energy and how to produce it didn't seem so off-topic in an OT thread about gas prices.
The hydrogen fuel cell could be pretty cool, but as you eluded, Hydrogen is not an energy source, but rather a way to store energy. And, not very much energy at that.
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Old 24-04-2008, 07:34   #87
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I agree it's not ready for prime time, but worth R&D. Also, to be fair, diesel fuel is also a way to 'store energy', right?
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Old 24-04-2008, 07:39   #88
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I agree it's not ready for prime time, but worth R&D. Also, to be fair, diesel fuel is also a way to 'store energy', right?
Yes, it is worth R&D. As far as Diesel storing energy, Nature did the storing for us!

The trick is how to carry the hydrogen? How much could a sailboat safely carry? Not much right now.
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Old 24-04-2008, 08:13   #89
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I still would like to know when someone, besides me that is, is going to come up with SOLAR SAILS? Chuck the diesel and buy more batteries, hoist the main and follow the sun! lol
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Old 24-04-2008, 08:18   #90
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I still would like to know when someone, besides me that is, is going to come up with SOLAR SAILS? Chuck the diesel and buy more batteries, hoist the main and follow the sun! lol
Forget SOLAR. How about a WIND powered vessel? Certainly there must be some way to harness the power of the wind and use it to propel our boats?
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