Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Little More Energy

In my last blog I ripped wind power as an energy source. My opinion is that solar is no better. Acres of high cost inefficient glass panels that must be protected and cleaned is no bargain. So where can we look to for energy that is clean and plentiful.

I live within a few hundred yards of a river that drops around five hundred feet in it's fifty mile length. That represents a lot of energy. To my best knowledge there is only one hydroelectric plant on that river. I would think that some hydro-power in the mix would be a good start. For a while there was talk of using tidal power to generate electricity. Where did that idea ever go? Both systems are ecologically neutral. Where is the interest there?

I mentioned natural gas, of which we have plenty, as a source. It burns clean. The products of combustion are water vapor and carbon dioxide. Oooh, that old devil carbon dioxide. Look, just about everything produces carbon dioxide. Animals do. People do. Forest fires produce enormous quantities of it. Even trees produce carbon dioxide at night. But during the day all those green plants take that carbon dioxide and convert it to oxygen and food. Remember when your junior high school science teacher bored you to death talking about photosynthesis? One of the biggest converters of carbon dioxide is all that seaweed out in the Sargasso Sea. I don't think it is the threat politicians make it out to be.

We have all those tons and tons of coal out there. There  must be some way that research can bring that to an acceptable level of cleanness for the ecology. I have great faith in the profit motive pushing technology to find solutions.

Reaching out to future solutions finds some interesting possibilities. One of these is methane hydrate. Big frozen hunks of methane gas with almost limitless amounts of energy. Unfortunately, these hunks are at the bottom of some of the deeper spots in the ocean. I have heard that initial experiments on recovery have worked out pretty well up in Alaska.

Then there is cold fusion. Every once in a while some experimenter claims to have made it work. But some how it can never be replicated. It has been said that with adequate sources of helium three, cold fusion can work. 

I am sure there are people working on things that we never hear about. I have great faith in technology. New science is opening up new possibilities every day. But we must have the patience to wait for the technology to catch up to the problem. It will, eventually.

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