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PeakOil is You

PeakOil is You

OIL 40.5 YEARS, GAS 63.3 YEARS, COAL 147 YEARS.

General discussions of the systemic, societal and civilisational effects of depletion.

Re: OIL 40.5 YEARS, GAS 63.3 YEARS, COAL 147 YEARS.

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Thu 22 Dec 2016, 09:17:00

jedrider wrote:You seem very HUNGRY Kaiser: Why would you need TWO ranges in one kitchen for cooking?

Induction seems very neat and, certainly, easy to keep clean.

Once you choose one or the other, I think you will be happy either way.


The short version is, I'm married to a wife who is not an engineer, and I plan to keep her, having invested 42 years into the relationship. When I cook, I seldom use more than two gas burners, and could easily use induction burners instead - last night I did Ahi Tuna seared on a "George Foreman" electric grill with a citrus sauce, warmed clam chowder in a double boiler, and steamed vegetables in a second pot.

But when the new house is planning, the wife will want to get with the kitchen designer and plan "her" kitchen. I will just add a few features, and she will accomodate my wishes. Today we have one small kitchen in our small Silicon Valley home. It is impossible to both cook a meal and bake Christmas cookies, for example. So I will order Italian food delivered to the door and help her out by transferring warm cookies to cooling racks, cooled cookies to plastic containers, and assorted cookies onto decorative Christmas plates for gifting to friends - while actively staying out of her way in our small existing kitchen.

Having two fuels in a kitchen is a good thing. Having space for two people to work is a good thing, for large Sunday meals with family and friends, or for baking Christmas cookies.

Speaking of which, there are sounds of life in the master bedroom, so I better go make breakfast. She's not a morning person, and will probably communicate only with grunts until she has had her breakfast and morning tea. Life goes on.
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Re: OIL 40.5 YEARS, GAS 63.3 YEARS, COAL 147 YEARS.

Unread postby DesuMaiden » Thu 22 Dec 2016, 19:29:18

How much is stated to left in terms of years of consumption is based on the assumption that current levels of consumption remain constant, which they will not. In fact, it is very misleading to say that we have "x" amount of oil or whatever other resource left because that's not how things work. It works in terms of peak supply/demand. We are already approaching peak supply, so peak demand will soon follow suit. Once peak supply is surpassed, the production levels of oil will decrease, and so will the demand subsequently decrease. This will extend the amount of time we have left to keep on using oil, but once the EROEI (Energy Return On Energy Invested) for oil (or any other energy source) drops to 1 or under, we are loosing net energy, not gaining it, thereby making extracting oil economically inviable, and therefore pointless as an endeavor.
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Re: OIL 40.5 YEARS, GAS 63.3 YEARS, COAL 147 YEARS.

Unread postby AdamB » Thu 22 Dec 2016, 19:56:09

Revi wrote:Good to know that we have so much energy left.


As long as the local nuclear furnace has fuel, you've got no worries Revi. Now those non-renewables, those are a different story! Fortunately, the ongoing transition allows some of us, like you, and my wife, to not even need some of those fuels for transport, like back in the bad old pre-transition days.

Revi wrote: Is that at our present rate of consumption, or with exponentially increasing usage factored in?


Peak demand, at least for oil, sort of negates the entire growth argument, thank goodness! We need to use less of the stuff just like we did after the global peak oil in 1979 or so.

Expert on peak demand, of particular importance now that peak supply turned out to be such a bust, this decade into it now.

http://www.resilience.org/stories/2015- ... -excerpts/
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Re: OIL 40.5 YEARS, GAS 63.3 YEARS, COAL 147 YEARS.

Unread postby Revi » Mon 26 Dec 2016, 20:38:08

Good to know that everything is fine Adam B!
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Re: OIL 40.5 YEARS, GAS 63.3 YEARS, COAL 147 YEARS.

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Mon 26 Dec 2016, 23:38:35

Revi - Yes indeed everything is just fine in Adam's transitioning world. The world where 98.4% of the 84 MILLION light vehicles bought in 2016 run on fossil fuels...just like the 1.2 TRILLION ICE vehicles running down the world's roads today.

Happy Holidays, bubba.
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Re: OIL 40.5 YEARS, GAS 63.3 YEARS, COAL 147 YEARS.

Unread postby AdamB » Tue 27 Dec 2016, 11:02:41

Revi wrote:Good to know that everything is fine Adam B!


Fine is a very individual thing Revi. You have describe how Maine's inability to competitively develop its human and natural resources has left it in quite the lurch, but that is just simple economic issues. I was focusing on how folks like you and my wife are part of the transition away from the liquid fuels that peaked a decade ago. If all you want is better opportunity, that is easy. Pack up the normal liquid fueled car and head to Washington DC, New York, Denver, Austin, Chicago, Silicon Valley, Seattle, or convince Maine-ites to build their own modern economy, if you don't like the idea of moving. Of course, that is the more difficult course.
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Re: OIL 40.5 YEARS, GAS 63.3 YEARS, COAL 147 YEARS.

Unread postby AdamB » Tue 27 Dec 2016, 11:06:30

ROCKMAN wrote:Revi - Yes indeed everything is just fine in Adam's transitioning world. The world where 98.4% of the 84 MILLION light vehicles bought in 2016 run on fossil fuels...just like the 1.2 TRILLION ICE vehicles running down the world's roads today.

Happy Holidays, bubba.


It is why it is a transitioning world Rockman, certainly no one is claiming we are there yet. When peak oil happened, there were some who claimed that such an event would stop the roll out of EVs. But it didn't, and now they are all over the place, pioneers like Revi demonstrating that they can be hand made and even work in cold places outside of suburbia! My wife is just a follower, but she is part of the transition. Let none of us forget that once liquid fuels for autos were a gleam in someone's eye, when the roads were ruled by electrics, well, I imagine the revenge of the electrics will begin just as they have, and we all know what happens next...

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Re: OIL 40.5 YEARS, GAS 63.3 YEARS, COAL 147 YEARS.

Unread postby Revi » Wed 28 Dec 2016, 23:15:24

AdamB wrote:
Revi wrote:Good to know that everything is fine Adam B!


Fine is a very individual thing Revi. You have describe how Maine's inability to competitively develop its human and natural resources has left it in quite the lurch, but that is just simple economic issues. I was focusing on how folks like you and my wife are part of the transition away from the liquid fuels that peaked a decade ago. If all you want is better opportunity, that is easy. Pack up the normal liquid fueled car and head to Washington DC, New York, Denver, Austin, Chicago, Silicon Valley, Seattle, or convince Maine-ites to build their own modern economy, if you don't like the idea of moving. Of course, that is the more difficult course.

I guess we'll just have to get up and move there. We'll pack Granny up and rev up the old truck and head there as soon as the snow melts a little! Image
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Re: OIL 40.5 YEARS, GAS 63.3 YEARS, COAL 147 YEARS.

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Wed 28 Dec 2016, 23:46:48

Adam - "This is why it is a transitioning world Rockman". Sorry for being to subtle, buddy. Let me more blunt, if I may. Not only are we not f*cking transitioning we are losing ground like a bastard red hair child. LOL.

AGAIN: this year the world bought 82 million light vehicles of which 98.5% were ICE's. That's not transitioning...that going deeper into a f*cking hole. A hole that already has 1.2 billion ICE vehicles in it burning fossil fuels every f*cking day.

IOW new sales going from 55% ICE's to 45% is a transitioning Not much of a transition but a start. But going from 100% ICE to 98.5% ICE does not make a transition...it's losing ground BIG TIME, right?
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Re: OIL 40.5 YEARS, GAS 63.3 YEARS, COAL 147 YEARS.

Unread postby Subjectivist » Thu 29 Dec 2016, 16:30:36

Hey ROCKMAN, the way I understand it natural gas is more or less methane everywhere, but oil ranges from xtra heavy to extra light and coal ranges from wet brown lignite to Anthracite so black it is almost Graphite. You can substitute super heavy oil for super light but it takes a lot of chemistry work to do it, and brown coal hasn't got a great enery output compared to Anthracite so you need to burn a lot more to get out the same amount of heat.

So do these numbers for oil and coal even mean anything? If we use all that extra heavy Venezuala and Alberta and Utah tar oil won't it last a lot longer than the super light fracked oil from North Dakota?
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Re: OIL 40.5 YEARS, GAS 63.3 YEARS, COAL 147 YEARS.

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Thu 29 Dec 2016, 18:05:46

Sub - As pointed out before refineries, as a generality, don't process heavy oil or light condensate. US refineries optimize output by cracking 'blended oil' with a fairly narrtow gravity around 31 to 33 API. As you point out NG (at least what you burn in you stove or heater) is essentially 100% methane. Well head NG can contain a lot of heavy chains...NGL's.

The refiners blend to provide the most marketable yields they can manage. FYI: you already know that Cushing is the biggest oil storage facility on the planet. But why the f*ck would it be built in the first place and in OK?

It wasn't built for storage per se...it was built as a blending facility. The storage was built to hold the blended oil. In reality there isn't that much "natural" WTI. The WTI price you see is for oil blended to the general specs of WTI. But the blending companies focus on their profit margin more the the exact nature if their blends. Refineries bought what the blenders had to offer or they bought nothing. So a new trend began a couple of years ago: some refineries started buying oil directly from us producers and did blends that suited them better.

What? You thought most if us producers sold oil directly to refineries? That's the exception and not the rule. You've seen the term "first oil sales" price. That's what I get paid by the "gathering company". Everyone knows lot of oil company names: ExxonMobil, Chevron, etc. But not many know the names of the companies (like Plains Resources) that actually sell the oil to the refineries.

"Plains Resources, Inc. engages in the acquisition, development, and exploitation of crude oil and natural gas. The company also has interests in the midstream activities of marketing, gathering, transportation, terminalling, and storage of crude oil."

In turn Plains Resources is one of the owners of Plains All Amertican Pipeline. And who the f*ck is this little company PAAP that few here have ever heard of? It handles 4 million barrels per day of crude oil and natural gas liquids, a vital role in the movement of U.S. and Canadian energy supplies.

BTW did you know that some of the "WTI oil" refined at the ExxonMobil plant across the highway from the Rockman began its life as Canadian oil sands production? And that it was mixed 75/25 in Alberta with US light condensate so it can be pumped down a pipeline to Cushing, OK? And was reblended there closer to WTI specs? And then shipped to the refinery across the road from the Rockman's home?

The energy industry has a lot of "men behind the curtain" that many don't even know exist.
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Re: OIL 40.5 YEARS, GAS 63.3 YEARS, COAL 147 YEARS.

Unread postby Revi » Thu 29 Dec 2016, 23:44:55

Very interesting! So they take the tar sands oil, mix it with the light Bakken and ship it to Cushing where it gets mixed with oil coming out of Texas and everywhere and mix it up into WTI. Does it make products with the same energy density as it had back in the day? I know that the octane of gasoline has been going down. Thanks Rockman!
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Re: OIL 40.5 YEARS, GAS 63.3 YEARS, COAL 147 YEARS.

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Fri 30 Dec 2016, 09:18:14

Revi - Not the Bakken. It isn't that light. They were needing around 750,000 bbls of very light oil/condensate per day to make "dilbit"...diluted bitumen. But Canada was short by 350,000 bbls per day so US production made up the difference.

It might be a big surprise to learn much of that condensate is being as shipped as far to Canada as the oil sands production is shipped to US refineries. For instance from 2013:

"Earlier this year Enterprise Products Partners announced it would develop a project to ship diluent quality distillate from Texas to Chicago where it could then be shipped to Western Canada on either Enbridge’s Southern Lights pipeline or Kinder Morgan’s Cochin pipeline."

IOW: condensate from the S Texas Eagle Ford Shale goes to Louisiana and then goes to Chicago and then goes to Alberta and then goes to Cushing, OK and then goes to Texas refineries. From there much of that gasoline goes to north eastern states via the Colonial Pipeline. That 5,000 mile pipeline is the largest U.S. refined products pipeline system and can daily carry more than 3 million barrels of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel between the U.S. Gulf Coast and the New York Harbor area.

Did you realize some of the hydrocarbon chains in your car's tank (as well as those of your neighbors) have traveled a total of about 8,000+ miles to get to you? IOW from S Texas to Alberta to OK to Texas to your car's fuel tank. And guess what: there are hydrocarbon molecules that have followed that same route and the continued on to a storage tank in the Netherlands where it was shipped to Paris and ended up in some Frogs car.

As far as energy density gasoline is a specific hydrocarbon chain. As such its energy density is fixed and has never changed. Of course the octane rating can vary but as far as I know that doesn't affect the energy density. The octane rating of gasoline tells you how much the fuel can be compressed before it spontaneously ignites. The octane requirement of an engine varies with compression ratio, geometrical and mechanical considerations and operating conditions. The higher the octane number the greater the fuel’s resistance to knocking or pinging during combustion.

I suspect you're buying into the bullshit put out about the decreased value of oil and refinery products we've experienced over time. The chemical structure (and thus energy density) of specific hydrocarbon chains is fixed and has never chained. For instance would you believe someone if they told you that the structure of H2O has changed over the years? LOL. Now what has changed over time is the YIELD COMPONENTS of the various oils in the world. But the energy density of a gallon of gasoline molecules produced in 1930 is identical to a gallon produced yesterday. Just as the H2O someone drank decades ago is still H2O today.

Don't let folks with various personal agendas confuse you.
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Re: OIL 40.5 YEARS, GAS 63.3 YEARS, COAL 147 YEARS.

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Fri 30 Dec 2016, 09:35:24

Revi - I forgot to point out that some of the gasoline molecules in your car may have come out of a well in Ghawar Field in Saudi Arabia and then went by tanker thru the Suez Canal across the Med and around up the English Channel to a refinery in Norway. There is was gravity separated, put back into another tanker that hauled it back thru the English Channel and across the Atlantic Ocean to a fuel storage tank in New Jersey. From there some was delivered to your gas station.

There's a huge swap between the US and Europe with gasoline and diesel since we vary significantly in our motor fuel choices.
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Re: OIL 40.5 YEARS, GAS 63.3 YEARS, COAL 147 YEARS.

Unread postby Tanada » Fri 30 Dec 2016, 10:47:24

Regarding the whole 'octane rating' thing. Most car engines built before say 1975 were made of cast iron and it was easy to increase compression by either making the piston shaft slightly longer or by turbocharging the engine. The higher the compression ratio the more efficiently the fuel gets burned and the more power you get out of it on a volume by volume basis. Then two things happened, the US government made it illegal to use cheap convenient tetra-ethyl lead in gasoline as an octane booster because we were all getting lead poisoning and it also clogs up the pollution control devices that eliminate much of the SMOG that was poisoning Denver, Colorado and Los Angeles, California. You can still make high octane fuel, but it ain't cheap anymore like it used to be. The second change was some clever engineers figured out that by reducing the construction weight of a car you could greatly reduce its lifetime fuel consumption. They did two major things, they removed the solid steel frame and replaced it with a thin stamped metal 'unibody' construction technique, and they replaced the cast iron engine block with cast aluminum that weighs 1/3rd as much per volume. Then because of the octane reduction they had to reduce the compression ratio of the engine to prevent knock and ping, and with a lower compression ratio they could make the engine block thinner and lighter without worry that it would crack.

Some liquid fuels have naturally high 'octane' ratings because it takes a LOT of compression to ignite them. Kerosene aka Diesel #1 and Road Diesel aka Diesel #2 are prime examples of this. However Ethanol the blending component in E-10 (gasohol) and E-85 has an octane rating well over 100. Being smart my kid brother switched the fuel system components in his turbocharged sports car to be E-85 compliant and saved a boatload of money by using E-85 in place of the 93 Octane premium fuel his car was 'designed' for. In fact anyone with an E-85 flex fuel vehicle would be doing themselves a huge favor by turbocharging the engine, that lets you get more energy out of the E-85 than you get at the wimpy standard 87 Octane compression ratio of 'regular unleaded'.

The Federal Government could pass a law next week requiring all new passenger vehicles to have a minimum octane rating of 90. The car makers would then moderately increase the compression ratio of the new model engines and the fuel companies would tweak the 'midgrade' gasoline formula to push it up from 89 octane to 90 octane. Most people would never even notice the difference unless they tried running their cars on 'regular 87' but the fuel efficiency would be slightly higher so the total fuel consumed by the newer cars would be slightly lower. So why don't they pass such a regulation? Because the 10 cent a gallon price difference would create a huge controversy because of the way our politics work in America.
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Re: OIL 40.5 YEARS, GAS 63.3 YEARS, COAL 147 YEARS.

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Fri 30 Dec 2016, 12:07:48

Revi Here's some more WTF facts to intertain your neighbors with. BTW you probably see now how the Rockman enjoys being one of the site's "myth busters". LOL. You already know from my previous posts there has never been an effective ban on exporting US oil. And that the vast majority has gone to Canada. Canada which is actually exempt from the "ban law" itself.

At one time there were two pipelines that once carried IMPORTED light oil from the port of Corpus Christi in Texas to refineries in San Antonio. That oil was blended with S Texas heavy oil and refined. But with the boom in the Eagle Ford play, in which San Antonio sits, those imports stopped since the refineries had a huge local supply. So much condensate that those two pipelines were reversed with the EFS production was sent back to CC. And from CC hundreds of millions of bbls of EFS condensate have been hauled by tankers half way around the country to refineries in eastern Canada. Refineries that blended that condensate with their heavy oils. Blended oil that was refined into various products. And 1.7 BILLION gallons of gasoline cracked from that oil was exported in 2015. And half that gasoline was shipped by tanker back half way around the country to Mexico. Mexico (that became a net fossil fuel IMPORTER two years ago) which has a crappy refinery infrastructure.

So to summarize: Eagle Ford condensate goes from San Antonio to Corpus Christ (about 100 miles from the Mexican border) and then goes by tanker to eastern Canada where it is blended with heavy oils imported from the ME and N Africa and then cracked. And about 850 million gallons of the gasoline yield from that blended oil is shipped by tankers to Mexican ports just down the coast from Corpus Christi.

Yes: there are some gasoline molecules were are shipped half way around the country TWICE and end up being burned in Mexican vehicles just a few hundreds miles from the Eagle Ford wells they came out of originally. In fact it's theoretically possible that some of the gasoline molecules burned in some vehicles used to drilled EFS wells followed that 10,000 mile route since more the a few Texans buy fuel just over the Mexican border.
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Re: OIL 40.5 YEARS, GAS 63.3 YEARS, COAL 147 YEARS.

Unread postby JimBof » Sat 31 Dec 2016, 06:14:16

Tanada wrote:Regarding the whole 'octane rating' thing. Most car engines built before say 1975 were made of cast iron and it was easy to increase compression by either making the piston shaft slightly longer or by turbocharging the engine. The higher the compression ratio the more efficiently the fuel gets burned and the more power you get out of it on a volume by volume basis. Then two things happened, the US government made it illegal to use cheap convenient tetra-ethyl lead in gasoline as an octane booster because we were all getting lead poisoning and it also clogs up the pollution control devices that eliminate much of the SMOG that was poisoning Denver, Colorado and Los Angeles, California. You can still make high octane fuel, but it ain't cheap anymore like it used to be. The second change was some clever engineers figured out that by reducing the construction weight of a car you could greatly reduce its lifetime fuel consumption. They did two major things, they removed the solid steel frame and replaced it with a thin stamped metal 'unibody' construction technique, and they replaced the cast iron engine block with cast aluminum that weighs 1/3rd as much per volume. Then because of the octane reduction they had to reduce the compression ratio of the engine to prevent knock and ping, and with a lower compression ratio they could make the engine block thinner and lighter without worry that it would crack.

Some liquid fuels have naturally high 'octane' ratings because it takes a LOT of compression to ignite them. Kerosene aka Diesel #1 and Road Diesel aka Diesel #2 are prime examples of this. However Ethanol the blending component in E-10 (gasohol) and E-85 has an octane rating well over 100. Being smart my kid brother switched the fuel system components in his turbocharged sports car to be E-85 compliant and saved a boatload of money by using E-85 in place of the 93 Octane premium fuel his car was 'designed' for. In fact anyone with an E-85 flex fuel vehicle would be doing themselves a huge favor by turbocharging the engine, that lets you get more energy out of the E-85 than you get at the wimpy standard 87 Octane compression ratio of 'regular unleaded'.

The Federal Government could pass a law next week requiring all new passenger vehicles to have a minimum octane rating of 90. The car makers would then moderately increase the compression ratio of the new model engines and the fuel companies would tweak the 'midgrade' gasoline formula to push it up from 89 octane to 90 octane. Most people would never even notice the difference unless they tried running their cars on 'regular 87' but the fuel efficiency would be slightly higher so the total fuel consumed by the newer cars would be slightly lower. So why don't they pass such a regulation? Because the 10 cent a gallon price difference would create a huge controversy because of the way our politics work in America.

Your standard is that bad? no wonder you have problems. I cannot remember when ours was that bad. Australia's worst is 91 and a lot of the imported european cars mandate 95. We can get E10 at 91 and for the last few years we have once again been able to get 98 like the old super for a $%@^ price, but no lead. Not funny if you have an old mini or a number of old cars, more maintenance for the historic car clubs. Just remember that a lot of those heavy old cars are actually lighter than the modern "weight reduced" cars, they replaced the steel they took out with ridiculous luxuries that every one has to have. Like keyless entry and start, A car here was stolen the other day, the key was in the house but it was close enough to start the car and they just drove it away. We are getting dumber.
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Re: OIL 40.5 YEARS, GAS 63.3 YEARS, COAL 147 YEARS.

Unread postby AdamB » Sat 31 Dec 2016, 15:52:58

ROCKMAN wrote:Adam - "This is why it is a transitioning world Rockman". Sorry for being to subtle, buddy. Let me more blunt, if I may. Not only are we not f*cking transitioning we are losing ground like a bastard red hair child. LOL.


Maybe you haven't been to Roscoe Texas or Salina Kansas recently, but I have. Maybe you wife doesn't motor around for 6 months doing everything she normally does, commute to work, go to the movies, buy groceries, drag race other car drivers out of red lights, you know, the usual. Without using any gasoline.

Within the past year I've been to Houston, Dallas, Lubbock, Austin, Midland a time or two, and I will admit that if you live in Texas (other than the obvious in Roscoe) you sure might not be seeing a transition. But when Tesla came out with their original Roadster, it was refueling from the free charging station at my old office, which was powered in part by about 20 acres of solar panels.

I'l admit that not every place is moving as fast as every other, but when you live smack in the middle of it, it isn't that hard to see. I've spoken to some of the people who participated in the google self driving car experiment, from Sacramento to LA, door to door without ever touching the wheel.

There is a world out there, not just laying the groundwork for what can be seen from where I sit in my neighborhood where there is at least one EV or plug in on every street, but the next generation where an app buys you mobility, and you don't need to have some huge of steel box on wheels sitting in the garage for the 3 times a week you decide to go somewhere that the light rail, bus, or Uber won't.

Don't worry though, just as Texas was decades late to the oil game, once the smart techno folks in the rest of the country iron out the bugs, I'm sure the fine folks of the Lone Star State will catch on, and then pretend they invented it, just like they did with oil and gas production.

Just stay right where you are, between those two steel tracks, and if you squint, you can see the light off in the distance, headed your way. Hard to tell how fast it is moving from where you are, but those of us on that train already might offer a recommendation to not be still standing between those rails when we blast through at 50 mph.
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Re: OIL 40.5 YEARS, GAS 63.3 YEARS, COAL 147 YEARS.

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Sat 31 Dec 2016, 16:54:30

And what's obvious to the rest of us but not to Adam is that what he observes driving around has no bearing on a global lack of transition from ICE's to alt vehicles. Almost 80 million fossil fuel burning and GHG emitting vehicles were added to the existing 1+ BILLION already on the planet. Kinda like saying its good news to report a patient's cancer is no longer spreading...because they died. LOL.

But don't give of the fight, Adam. Just post some statistical FACTS that support your contention of a meaningful transition.
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Re: OIL 40.5 YEARS, GAS 63.3 YEARS, COAL 147 YEARS.

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Sat 31 Dec 2016, 18:43:41

Tanada wrote:Regarding the whole 'octane rating' thing. Most car engines built before say 1975 were made of cast iron and it was easy to increase compression by either making the piston shaft slightly longer or by turbocharging the engine. The higher the compression ratio the more efficiently the fuel gets burned and the more power you get out of it on a volume by volume basis. Then two things happened, the US government made it illegal to use cheap convenient tetra-ethyl lead in gasoline as an octane booster because we were all getting lead poisoning and it also clogs up the pollution control devices that eliminate much of the SMOG that was poisoning Denver, Colorado and Los Angeles, California. You can still make high octane fuel, but it ain't cheap anymore like it used to be. The second change was some clever engineers figured out that by reducing the construction weight of a car you could greatly reduce its lifetime fuel consumption. They did two major things, they removed the solid steel frame and replaced it with a thin stamped metal 'unibody' construction technique, and they replaced the cast iron engine block with cast aluminum that weighs 1/3rd as much per volume. Then because of the octane reduction they had to reduce the compression ratio of the engine to prevent knock and ping, and with a lower compression ratio they could make the engine block thinner and lighter without worry that it would crack.

Some liquid fuels have naturally high 'octane' ratings because it takes a LOT of compression to ignite them. Kerosene aka Diesel #1 and Road Diesel aka Diesel #2 are prime examples of this. However Ethanol the blending component in E-10 (gasohol) and E-85 has an octane rating well over 100. Being smart my kid brother switched the fuel system components in his turbocharged sports car to be E-85 compliant and saved a boatload of money by using E-85 in place of the 93 Octane premium fuel his car was 'designed' for. In fact anyone with an E-85 flex fuel vehicle would be doing themselves a huge favor by turbocharging the engine, that lets you get more energy out of the E-85 than you get at the wimpy standard 87 Octane compression ratio of 'regular unleaded'.

The Federal Government could pass a law next week requiring all new passenger vehicles to have a minimum octane rating of 90. The car makers would then moderately increase the compression ratio of the new model engines and the fuel companies would tweak the 'midgrade' gasoline formula to push it up from 89 octane to 90 octane. Most people would never even notice the difference unless they tried running their cars on 'regular 87' but the fuel efficiency would be slightly higher so the total fuel consumed by the newer cars would be slightly lower. So why don't they pass such a regulation? Because the 10 cent a gallon price difference would create a huge controversy because of the way our politics work in America.


Tanada, while the efficiency gains with higher compression ratios are real, most modern naturally aspirated engines are 8.5-9.2 or so in compression ratios, because when you go higher that that, you oxidize the nitrogen gas in the air and produce nitrogen oxides that cannot be processed or eliminated via catalytic converters. The converters mainly reduce hydrocarbon and sulfur dioxide emissions, but never reach a high enough operating temperature to further combust oxides of nitrogen.

For this reason, diesel engines with higher compression ratios were allowed to pollute much higher levels of nitrogen oxides for years, but the EPA did finally crack down, and that's when diesel engines began to need DEF (diesel exhaust fluid, a urea mixture). High compression gasoline engines, or turbo-charged or super-charged gasoline engines used distilled water or alcohol injection to lower the peak cylinder temperatures to reduce nitrogen oxide formations - because that much water absorbs heat as it turns to vapor. However, diesel engines requiring DEF and gasoline engines requiring distilled water (or alcohol) injection are rightfully considered to be a PITA by consumers, they basically have to be filled with two different fluids to run.

BTW, an interesting side effect of the octane rating thing: gasoline engines with lower octane ratings have more power and get better gas mileage with regular grade fuel than premium grade. Premium grade fuel is more resistant to ignition, and burns too slowly in a low compression engine, producing less power and more partially burned hydrocarbons in the exhaust. For this reason premium should only be run in a high compression or a turbocharged or supercharged engine, which benefits from the higher effective compression ratios.
Last edited by KaiserJeep on Sat 31 Dec 2016, 18:51:45, edited 1 time in total.
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