Automobile Deathwatch Revisited

12 12 2013

My article on the impending (now confirmed) closure of Holden factories was republished over at the AIMN (Australian Independent Media Network).  The owner of that blog accepted my offer to reblog it as it was topical.  Shall I say it was poorly received?

Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised…..  after all, I lead a sheltered life where most of the people I converse with or read are like minded and aware.  Like here at DTM….  And offering up an article that shatters “ordinary Australians” vision of their collective futures in the hope they’d understand it was probably a big ask.  There’s no harm in trying to wake people up, but I seriously think I wasted my entire day yesterday feeding these denialists all the facts that we here take for granted.  I won’t do it again, I have better things to do like preparing to move to Tasmania.

Some of the comments are classics…….

I can’t see us heading back willingly to subsistence so where should we head? Public transport rather than roads? High-speed rail? Bio-fuels?

I do not believe that private vehicles will ever disappear. Too many people love them too much. Bicycles, horses and buggies have their place as does public transport but the fact remains that private transport is the simplest and most convenient that currently exists. No amount of cajoling or complaining about environmental degradation will change that fact. No, the car must change and will change but it will not disappear. For myself, I’d love an all electric vehicle and I believe the time is fast approaching when they will be widely available, practical and affordable.

CSIRO research has shown it should be possible to produce algal biodiesel at a lower cost and with less greenhouse gas emissions than fossil fuels.

Algal biofuel has the potential to be a sustainable, environmentally friendly alternative to diesel. In addition:

algal ponds could be established on land unsuitable for food crops.

algal farms can have a low environmental impact in comparison to crops.

Current CSIRO projects are identifying, characterising and trialling the best algal strains (or species) to convert to biodiesel. Growth rates, oil profiles and productivity will determine the best species.

Feasibility studies are examining the quantity and quality of potential Australian algal resources from ponds and bioreactors, and sources of algae from locations including waste water facilities, algal blooms and seaweed.

You don’t put a lot of faith in research and emerging technologies do you mikestasse. I choose to believe that the brilliant minds of this world will continue to amaze us if we do our job of supporting them and tending the fire while they do their thang.

“In May this year the U.S. Energy Department launched H2USA: a public-and private sector partnership focused on advancing hydrogen infrastructure to support more fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEVs) transportation. Already US R &D has aided reduced fuel cell costs by more than 35% since 2008 and more than 80% since 2002. Fuel cell durability has doubled and the amount of platinum needed in fuel cells has fallen by 80% since 2005.
In March Hyundai produced South Korea’s first hydrogen-powered car for mass production. Hyundai plans to start consumer production by 2015 with 1,000 fuel cells vehicles ready for public use. The cars will go mainly to Europe, where the European Union has started building hydrogen fuel stations. However, Hyundai plans to produce 10000 fuel-cell cars per year in the US after 2015. Toyota and Honda have said they will release their fuel-cell cars in the US also in 2015. The Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell test vehicle has been road tested since 2008. In addition GM and Honda share research facilities in Michigan and in Japan to deliver fuel cell vehicles. Ford has joined with Daimler and Renault-Nissan to speed up development of their fuel cell hydrogen models.
California is facilitating about 120 hydrogen fuel filling stations with many in advanced state of coming on line. A University of Colorado Boulder team has developed a solar-thermal water-splitting (STWS) system for the efficient production of hydrogen cutting cost of hydrogen production by 37%.”

@mikestasse
M8 you need to catch up on hydrogen facts.
The Universe`s most abundant element and it`s time we got it together to use it.
Water desal plants can be set up to provide fresh water to cities,hydrogen can be produced at these plants for which some is used to generate electricity.
If in car hydrogen cell manufacture becomes too hard then technology as in the LNG?LPG industries could be upgraded to store/transport excess hydrogen for vehicular use.
Used hydrogen as fuel has only some drops of water as exhaust,everyone knows that.
Iraq/Afghanistan has cost the world a trillion or so and maybe the Western Hemisphere doe`s not want to proceed with hydrogen technology,but the East will.

@Mikestasse

And still you and your proteges refuse to acknowledge other sources of power.

For instance you point to this http://www.oilcrisis.com/hydrogen/crea.htm where the author states the U.S. imports 60% of its power …. this figure is changing daily due to fracking and CSG.

Time to come back into the world of optimism … optimism that man/womankind are capable of boundless innovations …… and personal transport will be around for a long time.

Isn’t that what your friend Professor S. Krumdieck [whom I quoted as an expert on fuel cells] encourages in her research ?

we have about 5 billion years to work out a solution for that one mikestasse. My bet is that by then we will have colonised other planets.

The blind faith in future technology was gobsmacking.  After yesterday, I know we have no hope left if people continue thinking this way.  And if you’re still with me, check this out……  must be the last nail in the shale gas industry’s coffin.

Over the past six months, The New York Times reviewed thousands of pages of documents related to shale gas, including hundreds of industry e-mails, internal agency documents and reports by analysts. A selection of these documents is included here; names and identifying information have been redacted to protect the confidentiality of sources, many of whom were not authorized by their employers to communicate with The Times.

Anyhow, it’s back to the grind for me, I have honey to extract and more cheese to make………

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9 responses

12 12 2013
Greg

I see some classic ignorance of EROEI and physics in those comments, but I also know that our side has been wrong – wrong about timing (it’s almost 2014 and still no huge oil crisis?!), and wrong about technology (fracking and shale were big surprises). Maybe it’s time for soul-searching and revisiting the analyses.

Put another way, I don’t have as much faith in our side as I used to since major predictions haven’t materialised.

One idea that struck me recently was that there’s a huge “slab” of energy resources to chew through that appear (become viable) at $120/barrel. So if our systems can hold on at that cost, disaster is delayed yet again.

And those commenters’ faith in technology isn’t blind – technology has proven itself over and over again.

12 12 2013
Greg

Sorry, one more, different topic:
“Documents: Leaked Industry E-Mails and Reports”

It sure seems like there’s a bias since every single one of those is expressing doubt… NYT seems to have looked for those. Again, how many positive emails were in those leaked documents? Knowing there was a lot of doubt (four years ago) doesn’t tell us much – maybe there was more optimism than doubt. Can’t tell from that data set.

12 12 2013
lemmiwinks

“…most of the people I converse with or read are like minded…”

That’s a key point right me old China. You need more than the constant reinforcement of your own opinions or you’ll be just as ignorant as V8 SuperCar fans.

12 12 2013
mikestasse

Hey…….. I sometimes watch V8 SuperCars…….

13 12 2013
mikestasse

Actually lemmiwinks……. all I need to remind me I am RIGHT is mathematics. Reading stuff like https://damnthematrix.wordpress.com/2013/12/13/this-is-what-a-desolated-earth-looks-like/ leaves me in no doubt that I am right.

That chart is PRICELESS……..

13 12 2013
Greg

Accurate if population and usage keep rising exponentially. Could level off which would extend the life of industrial civilisation by quite a bit.

13 12 2013
mikestasse

Well… population will actually collapse! There’s no avoiding the perfect storm, and besides, climate change will put an end to industry, we CANNOT continue emitting CO2.

http://www.climatenewsnetwork.net/2013/12/earth-may-be-doubly-sensitive-to-co2/

12 12 2013
foodnstuff

There’s none so blind as those that won’t see. Keep tryin’ Mike.

17 12 2013
Oelsen

Wow, a whole 10000 cars to replace… Billions.
Maybe they will scale production exponentially, but cars are different to iPhones and such. Also, could they please shut up about Hydrogen? Methanol stays in a metal tube, does not corrode everything and the moon and can be more easily fed into petro-plants. Also, Methanol has more H in it. And is liquid. Nat gas converts to methanol directly, more or less, and the H2 from the wells should flow into high volatility grid stabilizer, not dumb driving heaters.
50 Million Murricans on food stamps, Chinese food unpalatable, droughts everywhere and Europe…. well… I see it like on the dollar bill. Apex is just fine, but the founding keeps sinking slowly. It indeed depends on the perspective. Still 2 Billion humans without proper water and truly poor, but also two Billion recently connected to the Internet. Priorities!
How much land area and societal utility does algal biofuel have or take and how much utility is delivered by a stabilized grid with quick burning turbines powered with said gasses? I like my clean cooking (well, we had gas, but electric also has its usefulness), lighting and Internet and some traffic more than car ownership at any price and congestion everywhere.

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