Honda Insight Forum banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 26 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
The crashing point of oil, when do you guys think it will happen? Any informative guesses? And another question, if oil were gone tommorrow and there absolutely was no oil or gasoline, could we power our gasoline engines with anything else besides gas? (I've heard stories where alcohol can power cars etc) Or do we nearly rely 100% on oil for all of our transportation needs?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
We could easily eliminate imported oil, we just lack public support for it. Nuclear power can generate our eletricity. We have several hundred years supply of coal that can be made into synthetic oil which can be used as a feedstock to produce gasoline. Corn can be turned into ethanol, and waste cooking oil can be converted into bio diesel.

The public has an irrational fear of nuclear power and there is little public support for the capital investment required to turn alternative fuels into useful feedstocks for refineries.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
231 Posts
Brazil claims that they will stop importing oil in 2007, and I believe them. This is because all of their cars are required to run on either gasoline or ethenol. The US could do the same if it were properly motivated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
92 Posts
1) Brazils situation is somewhat unique,

2) Nuclear power cannot generate enough power soon enough (if ever),

3) we do not have anything like 200 years worth of coal (such estimates count on power consumption remaining constant from now on),

4) switching to ethanol only for our auto fleet would require every bit of farmable land be converted to ethanol production and would still not fuel all of our cars,

5) waste cooking oil can be turned into bio-deisel as can a number of feedstocks the problem is scaling up production fast enough,

For discussions about this type of things by knowledgable people, economists, geologist, and engineers go to: http://www.Peakoil.com
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
92 Posts
Actually isn't sugar ethanol more abundant and efficient?
That's one of the unique things Brazil has in it's favor, they can grow sugar cane easily. The U.S. climate is not so good for sugar cane.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,332 Posts
If we took all the excess sugar out of our diets, we would be healthier and lighter too. Now take all that sugar and convert it to ethanol. Well some of us would be drunks. :D Seriously, it would be a good start but not nearly enough to run todays transportation.

However, if all cars had fuel efficiency like an Insight, not only would our oil supplies last way longer but domestic production of alcohol for ones own transportation becomes possible. A small still built with hardware store plumbing can put out about a gallon an hour of high octane moonshine. That's probably enough for a 60 mile commute with an Insight. Doesn't make any sense at all presently, but if things ever got really dark. ;) :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,819 Posts
I really doubt that it will actually end at any specific date. Instead, the price will keep going up and up, which will force more and more people to switch to alternatives. Eventually everything will change, but a few hobbists will still be buying $100/gallon gas to take their collector's items for a spin, much the way they do wood-burning locomotives nowadays.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
278 Posts
Ford executives think there is enough carbon in the ground to produce gasoline for another 500 years! :shock:

Naturally, the easy stuff - the light sweet crude oil near the surface - will disappear quite quickly. After that, the deeper or more difficult crude resources will be tapped, say another 40 years.

When they run out, it's a short hop to Canada to excavate all the tar-sands and oil-shales. Once they're done, it's back to the States to start making it all from coal. And once that's finally gone, it's on to the methane hydrates in the sea.

What they haven't figured out is that electric will soon be much cheaper than gasoline, and the companies at the cutting edge of this technology will destroy them in sales.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
Resist said:
stsimon0073 said:
Corn can be turned into ethanol
Actually isn't sugar ethanol more abundant and efficient?
Yes, energy yields from sugar are about 3-4 times the energy required to produce it.

Corn you will be lucky to get 2 times the energy out of it. Most studies place corn ethanol at 1.2-1.6X yields.

That's one of the unique things Brazil has in it's favor, they can grow sugar cane easily. The U.S. climate is not so good for sugar cane.
Correct, it's kinda tough to grow sugar here in the states. However, switchgrass is very easily grown, and switchgrass has been showing energy yields of almost twice that of sugar.

The problem is that the big oil & big ag lobbies have been able to frame the biomass fuel debate solely around corn. The e85 ads run by BP are an example of it. All you hear is corn, corn, corn. That way when it comes time to debate, no one is aware that there are other much higher energy yield crops, and the debate is a short one in favor of the status quo.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
97 Posts
Well, I heard of a Canadian technology that would use waste wheat and corn products (husks, leaves, stalks, etc that are currently disposed of) to make ethanol, so no new farmlands would have to be used for ethanol production (which would reduce the amount of pesticides, petrochemical fertilizer, etc that are harmful to the environment).

How hard is it to convert gasoline cars to ethanol, I wonder? Is it also hard to create a biodiesel/ethanol fuel mix that would run on conventional gasoline engines? Just a thought. If we could have a mandatory collection system of biodiesel material from both consumer and business sectors to create biodiesel, along with ethanol produced from plant waste, I think that would go very far in terms of addressing fuel needs domestically.

Admittedly, my background is sociology and biology (specifically botany). My science background is shaky at this point since my career has nothing to do with science.

Personally, I would love to have a plug-in insight and equip my home with a pyron solar system.

http://www.pyronsolar.com/US/home.htm

The pyron solars are excellent, from what I've seen...

Catty
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,332 Posts
Cool, or should I say HOT!

Looks like there is hope after all. ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
97 Posts
One more thing- sugar cane production can be environmentally devastating.

Check out WWF's PDF report on a link on this page:

http://environment.about.com/od/pollution/a/sugar.htm

Large-scale monocrop agriculture is defenitely not eco-friendly, and has considerable environmental concerns. I think personally that the chemical/oil industries are linked, as many chemicals are petrochemicals and are dependent on the oil industry. If they can't get us to buy oil, let's make ppl use petrochemicals t grow plants. While not a major, I did minor in Applied Ecology. My knowledge base is shaky at this point, but it's not completely gone.

As a result, I'm more interested in the technologies using available waste products, moreso than the direction that the alternative fuel is heading, which will result in massive monocrop agriculture with damaging effects to wildlife, biodviersity and conservation.

Also, pyron solar technology is awesome- I've been keeping my eyes out on the company, and they plan to have a residentail solar setup for sale sometime next year. If anyone here is looking for a solar system, you should take a good gander at their system.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,211 Posts
All the more reason for my continuing research into improved Flux Capacitor technology :badgrin:

There is a lot of energy stored in sugary foodstuffs (see definition of "calories") but getting it out is very energy intensive. I can't imagine Insight cultists not being into Pop Sci, but in case you missed it, here's a fun read about using Oreo cookies as rocket fuel (!) :

http://www.popsci.com/popsci/how20/6001 ... drcrd.html :oops:

Too bad we can't directly access that energy by pouring a sack of sugar into our engines, a few grains at a time... so, until my Flux Capacitor comes on line, I guess we're left with increasingly-costly fossil fuels for fuel :cry:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,332 Posts
:badgrin: That's hilarious!

I used that same formula when I was a kid! On one of my first attempts I proudly invited my mother to watch. The rocket exploded at about 30 foot altitude. My mother asked me if it was supposed to do that. Sure, I told her. ;) It's true, I had no idea what they were going to do! :roll: Great fun and cheap. :D

I have no idea when the last oil will be used but I can guarantee this: 1. It will be the same day the last cigarette is smoked and..... 2. Both will be higher in price.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Oil will likely continue to increase in price as nations like India and China begin industrializing. This I believe already is having more of an economic effect than natural depletion of the oil resources. What will probably happen is that the increases in price of drilled oil will make it economically feasible to invest in technologies like plug-in-hybrid electric, and biofuels extracted from waste cellulose in vehicles. The crude oil would still then be bought up and more of it (proportionally) will go into making plastics, chemicals and such rather than being refined into fuels, as those industries specifically require refined hydrocarbons, not just a source of power (which can come from stored electricity or non-hydrocabon fuels). More difficult mining procedures to drill and refine oil, such as from tar sands, will also eventually become cost effective.

I can also bet that airplane prices will rise as planes will continue to require jet-fuels with extremely high energy density by weight -- the biggest advantage of gasoline, kerosene, or other such fuels, and the biggest disadvantage of electric storage.

I do believe we will be using oil for a very long time, but not as a primary fuel source for cars-- in a plug-in hybrid system, gasoline should only be needed for occasional spurts of extra power, or longer range driving. Even if we still used fossil fuel for central electricity generation, that's a lot cheaper and cleaner than refining high-octane gasoline. The last thing to go will be hydrocarbon based chemical manufacturing.
 
1 - 20 of 26 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top