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PeakOil is You

Complex Systems and Net Energy

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

Re: Peak Oil: A Love Story

Unread postby AdamB » Wed 21 Dec 2016, 13:54:06

pstarr wrote:Selfish to the point of insanity if you believe it. Nasty if you are a troll.


Run along back to the kiddy table now Pete, or go clear cut a forest, or immortalize the family celebrating the death of ocean mammals, and let the adults be.

pstarr wrote:So yes AdamB, your requirement is simply for POWER generations, but the societies requirement is to acquire and demand energy to satisfy your needs.


My needs require electricity as a fuel for transport, unlike those who can't be bothered to change their habits to help save the planet. Now run along in your liquid fueled gas guzzling obsolete CO2 spewing machine, creating as much CO2 as you can while happily documenting your families celebration over the death of ocean mammals.
Peak oil in 2020: And here is why: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2b3ttqYDwF0
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Re: Peak Oil: A Love Story

Unread postby sjn » Wed 21 Dec 2016, 14:58:16

AdamB wrote:
sjn wrote:It doesn't make sense to compare apples with trees.


Neither does it make sense to make distinctions without difference.
The difference actually in where the boundaries are drawn. It's a critical point. An energy carrier implies that the energy has gone through at least one transformation from the boundary source. Entropy has already increased.
sjn wrote: The point of the analysis is to perform it on the "full system", if you draw the boundary around yourself and your house you are not measuring the net energy from a given source through the economic system. Good luck running your generator when you run out of gasoline without enlarging your boundaries!


I didn't draw a boundary around anything. Only demonstrated that power generation is power generation, and the type or size of the energy involved to make the power might be completely meaningless, my requirements being for POWER generation, not the energy required to generate it.
You did, even if only implicitly. If gasoline is the source, you've already drawn the boundary such that the processes to create the gasoline are outside. So it might be meaningless, you can measure the efficiency of your process from your energy source, but if you're trying to determine the exergy and increase in entropy from the extraction of petroleum to your end use, then it is not.

sjn wrote:That doesn't mean the boundary should encompass the Sun, I think it's quite obvious that the Sun is outside the economic system, as are the micro-organisms that died to lay down the source of hydrocarbons in the gasoline!


It "might not mean", but there is no way you can discuss energy available to humanity and NOT discuss the fraction of the 64 million watts per square meter it generates that enters and effects our atmosphere, climate systems, and power generation systems. Our world is not a closed system when it comes to energy, we both accept inbound energy, and radiate it outward.
Sunlight is not the Sun. Sunlight enters the Earth system, thus it's an energy source from the Earth System boundary, the Sun does not. There's also an imbalance between incoming and outgoing radiation, but that's out of scope for this topic.
sjn wrote: But the processes involved, in an attempt to quantify how much exergy remains at the end of the process within established boundaries of the analysis. The utility of the (petrochemical product) gasoline is very much a function of the net energy from the petroleum production system. A direct comparison would be to "gasoline" or similar liquid fuel synthesised through a process powered by sunlight.


There is no question that the utility of a BTU of gasoline is worth more than a BTU of sunlight. We use economics to quantify that utility. However, you are now wiggling terribly hard, and are wrong in your claim that one liquid fuel can only be compared to another.
You are absolutely right, and I didn't mean only liquid fuels can be compared to each other, it was a misleading and poor example. I was trying to make the point that the net energy from extracting and refining crude oil (energy source) into gasoline (energy carrier) and using it to power a car is significantly higher than the net energy from an equivalent process converting sunlight (energy source) into a liquid fuel and using that to power a car. Your following example is actually a result of that.
The wife requires approximately 2.5 kWh of power to do the work necessary to get to and from her job each day. It is IRRELEVANT to her where that power comes from, and she has in fact replaced her liquid fuel use not with another liquid fuel, but electrical power from solar panels and natural gas fired grid power. Not a liquid fuel in sight.
This is actually a much better comparison and demonstrates a process from sunlight (energy source) with much higher net energy return for the same end result as my example above. The entropy generation is much lower because there is less complexity so therefore fewer transformations.
So no, I was specific earlier about why you were making a distinction without a difference, as you have here by making up faux rules of what is comparable and what is not.

Feel free to explain your concept, but don't confuse energy or power, they are neither interchangable or synonymous.
But energy and work is. I know quite well what power is: Power=Work/time
So it's the rate of doing work, or in practical terms, it allows you to determine whether you can you get energy fast enough to run your process. An important consideration with solar panels and why your wife uses batteries rather than directly using panels on the roof of her car.


You started off this conversation saying net ENERGY, and I started off by talking about the things of importance we DERIVE from energy (not even specific to fossil fuels), the things of value. This IS a distinction with a difference, and one that many net energy people trip over because they don't understand the difference.

sjn wrote:As far as I understand, Economic Theory fundamentally assumes the economy is an equilibrium system. It's also not based on any physical laws or scientific principles. Energy is accounted for as a commodity, rather than the necessary prerequisite to perform work.


Of course energy is a prerequisite for work. But NOT substituting only liquid fuels for other liquid fuels. And I really am not about to define economic theory in a sentence that you want to relate to what appears to be thermodynamics, because they are not the same thing. Economists is a social science, basically it ATTEMPTS to describe 1) the aggregate behavior of many individual decisions when subjected to certain stimuli or 2) the individual behavior of a human when subjected to certain stimuli.

And for the record, empirical observations are themselves fundamental to forming a scientific hypothesis, and how many discoveries have been made. Including those in non-social sciences, geology, enginering, medicine, just about every one I can think of. But no, it isn't based on the kind of first order principles as physics. And it doesn't need to be.
It generally does need to be explained by, or in terms of though. Behavioural Science for example attempts to explain its discoveries through the principles of Cognitive Neuroscience. Geology, Physics and Chemistry. Engineering, through Physics. Medicine though Biology, Molecular Biology, Chemistry, Biophysics etc.

Economics is not a Social Science.
sjn wrote:The local flea market is a subset of a larger economy. But you clearly get what I was saying, the term I was using was "Economy" at the aggregate globalised level. If we didn't have a Global Economy then it would make more sense to treat each economy as an separate entity, since the properties of each could differ quite considerably.


Can you please couch your terms, in the future, as to whether or not you are discussing micro or macro economic theory. You are correct, there are differences, and a concept in one might not apply to another. For example, your globalize Economy is subject to decisions on the part of regulators or politicians that might have NOTHING to do with normal economic behavior, but generate economic consequences. Think...Venezuela.

And little Economies also interact with their larger counterparts...think about crude oil exports. Each larger entity in economics can be broken down until we arrive right back at the local flea market, and a buyer and seller debating the price for a thing.

In Systems Science more broadly, pretty much all systems are embedded or have embedded in them other systems. The approach is holistic.
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Re: Peak Oil: A Love Story

Unread postby AdamB » Wed 21 Dec 2016, 15:34:09

sjn wrote:
AdamB wrote:
sjn wrote:It doesn't make sense to compare apples with trees.


Neither does it make sense to make distinctions without difference.
The difference actually in where the boundaries are drawn. It's a critical point. An energy carrier implies that the energy has gone through at least one transformation from the boundary source. Entropy has already increased.[\quote]

Lets not involve your ideas on thermodynamics quite yet. For starters, boundary drawing is arbitrary just like your definition of carrier versus source, and as I've demonstrated you can just as easily draw the boundaries elsewhere, making your entire distinction moot. Science is all about definitions that all parties might stand on common ground, and if using arbitrary distinctions is the only way your scheme of thought on this topic works, then your thought on this topic doesn't work. Or needs refined, to better reflect a more clear thinking. Entropy is always increasing, and spouting axiomatic terms unrelated to the point of contention has no value other then attempting to throw off someone who can't see through the distraction.

sjn wrote: The point of the analysis is to perform it on the "full system", if you draw the boundary around yourself and your house you are not measuring the net energy from a given source through the economic system. Good luck running your generator when you run out of gasoline without enlarging your boundaries!


I didn't draw a boundary around anything. Only demonstrated that power generation is power generation, and the type or size of the energy involved to make the power is irrelevant as long as it meets my requirements being for POWER generation.


sjn wrote:You did, even if only implicitly. If gasoline is the source, you've already drawn the boundary such that the processes to create the gasoline are outside.


Your conditional is in dispute, so you don't get to use it again in support of your attempt to defend it. You call gasoline a source, I call it gasoline. I have drawn no boundary around gasoline, only used it as an example of how I can generate identical amounts of power with it as I can solar flux.

You drew arbitrary boundaries around my example, showing that you didn't even understand it was an example of how there is no need for my power being generated with liquid fuels, which was another one of your claims I was just dispensing with using real world examples of why I don't need liquid fuels to generate power in a device that has historically used liquid fuels...but doesn't need them any more.

sjn wrote:That doesn't mean the boundary should encompass the Sun, I think it's quite obvious that the Sun is outside the economic system, as are the micro-organisms that died to lay down the source of hydrocarbons in the gasoline!


It "might not mean", but there is no way you can discuss energy available to humanity and NOT discuss the fraction of the 64 million watts per square meter it generates that enters and effects our atmosphere, climate systems, and power generation systems. Our world is not a closed system when it comes to energy, we both accept inbound energy, and radiate it outward.
Sunlight is not the Sun. Sunlight enters the Earth system, thus it's an energy source from the Earth System boundary, the Sun does not. There's also an imbalance between incoming and outgoing radiation, but that's out of scope for this topic.


Perhaps you didn't read the part where I qualified what we get from the Sun, because I certainly did not say the Sun happened to be sitting inside our atmosphere. Go back and read the 64 million watts per square meter part again. You might choose to exclude the physical generator itself from your "boundary", but I'm not accepting your arbitrary boundaries anyway. The earth is not a closed system, of that there is no dispute. So again, anywhere you draw your boundaries, there is quite a logical reason why it be somewhere else. A classic example of a distinction without a difference.

sjn wrote:You are absolutely right, and I didn't mean only liquid fuels can be compared to each other, it was a misleading and poor example. I was trying to make the point that the net energy from extracting and refining crude oil (energy source) into gasoline (energy carrier) and using it to power a car is significantly higher than the net energy from an equivalent process converting sunlight (energy source) into a liquid fuel and using that to power a car. Your following example is actually a result of that.


Please explain how crude oil and gasoline are not both energy sources should I choose to burn them, right there, on the spot. You can stop with your arbitrary distinctions any time now, because I'm not buying it. Using thermodynamic terms, explain how the combustion of those two products is different, and then maybe from there you can proceed to defining their difference better. You are drawing arbitrary boundaries that make no sense, carrier this, source that. Arbitrary. I light a match, I burn both, they make light and heat, and I can utilize either in an engine to do work.

sjn wrote:
The wife requires approximately 2.5 kWh of power to do the work necessary to get to and from her job each day. It is IRRELEVANT to her where that power comes from, and she has in fact replaced her liquid fuel use not with another liquid fuel, but electrical power from solar panels and natural gas fired grid power. Not a liquid fuel in sight.
This is actually a much better comparison and demonstrates a process from sunlight (energy source) with much higher net energy return for the same end result as my example above. The entropy generation is much lower because there is less complexity so therefore fewer transformations.


The wife doesn't care about energy return, and it is irrelevant to the operation of her system. The efficiency is also irrelevant because the less efficient is less expensive, just as I've mentioned previously, economics trumping thermodynamics.

sjn wrote:Feel free to explain your concept, but don't confuse energy or power, they are neither interchangable or synonymous.
But energy and work is. I know quite well what power is: Power=Work/time[/quote]

Energy and work are not synonymous. If you know the equation, then you cannot make this statement.

Have you EVER taken a class in thermodynamics, because you are confusing even the most basic concepts here, and appear to be attempting some semantic work around to some pretty basic concepts that those of us who have taken thermodynamics course should never make.
Peak oil in 2020: And here is why: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2b3ttqYDwF0
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Re: Complex Systems and Net Energy

Unread postby sjn » Wed 21 Dec 2016, 15:42:20

I'm not going to keep replying to each point at once. So from your conclusion, let me ask you:

What is the SI unit for WORK?

What is the SI unit for ENERGY?

Q.E.D.
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Re: Complex Systems and Net Energy

Unread postby onlooker » Wed 21 Dec 2016, 15:53:29

Adam, your the one confusing the matter as what sjn is saying makes perfect sense to me. But where I have the most problem is in your quote economics trumping thermodynamics. === That is a clear point of contention on this site between posters. Economics does not trump thermodynamics. Rockman who is an insider in the business and possesses much acumen also can assert the same thing as a businessman. However, while economics has been obviously instrumental throughout the Oil age in the production, pricing and allocation of Oil it is now going to fail as a true indicator of the unfolding narrative of the Oil Industry. That is because at its heart Oil unlike other resources is the driver of economic activity and thus its underlying energy status is key to understanding the role its playing at any given time in its interaction with the Economy. The General Economy lives or dies with Energy and in turn the Oil Industry is subject to the vitality or lack thereof of the Economy. With less energy ie. net energy entering the General Economy a feedback loop is created whereby the General Economy drives down the Oil Industry which in turn drives down the General Economy and rinse and repeat. We are now in that feedback loop. That is why the oil price remains low and inventories oversupplied. The efficiency gains and the renewable energy introduced as softened some of the impact of this, but it cannot do so indefinitely.
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Re: Complex Systems and Net Energy

Unread postby sjn » Wed 21 Dec 2016, 15:54:00

sjn wrote:I'm not going to keep replying to each point at once. So from your conclusion, let me ask you:

What is the SI unit for WORK?

What is the SI unit for ENERGY?

Q.E.D.

I'm not saying there aren't terminology differences between WORK and ENERGY. WORK is the application of a quantity of ENERGY to move an object, ie. to give it KINETIC ENERGY through the application of a FORCE. But it's a different way of expressing an ENERGY transformation. Not something different.
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Re: Complex Systems and Net Energy

Unread postby sjn » Wed 21 Dec 2016, 15:58:48

onlooker wrote:But where I have the most problem is in your quote economics trumping thermodynamics. === That is a clear point of contention on this site between posters. Economics does not trump thermodynamics.

Exactly why I started this topic. We've been going around in the same circles since I joined this site nearly 12 years ago!
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Re: Complex Systems and Net Energy

Unread postby onlooker » Wed 21 Dec 2016, 16:05:10

sjn wrote:
onlooker wrote:But where I have the most problem is in your quote economics trumping thermodynamics. === That is a clear point of contention on this site between posters. Economics does not trump thermodynamics.

Exactly why I started this topic. We've been going around in the same circles since I joined this site nearly 12 years ago!

I think SJN, not to derail this topic, but that seems to be a demarcation line between the more optimistic ones on this site and the one less so. We who are less so try and point out the limitations to technology and other "fixes" that humanity can come up with based on the fundamental biophysical limitations which Earth imposes based on its fundamental laws and based on its status as a closed system for the most part. The simple quote "We cannot have continue growth on a finite planet" captures this in very clear terms. But seems that is something that some cannot or wish not to understand.
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Re: Complex Systems and Net Energy

Unread postby AdamB » Thu 22 Dec 2016, 00:31:15

sjn wrote:I'm not going to keep replying to each point at once. So from your conclusion, let me ask you:

What is the SI unit for WORK?


The joule.

sjn wrote:What is the SI unit for ENERGY?

Q.E.D.


the same as work. May I ask if you even understand the temporal DIFFERENCE between work and energy, or are you just confused by the similarity in units?
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Re: Complex Systems and Net Energy

Unread postby tita » Thu 22 Dec 2016, 04:10:39

AdamB wrote:the same as work. May I ask if you even understand the temporal DIFFERENCE between work and energy, or are you just confused by the similarity in units?

Temporal? Time is not involved in the definition of work or energy. Work is the expression of the mechanical displacement due to a force applied. You lift 1kg from the ground to 1m, you've done a work of 1J... no matter how long or how fast you did it. Work done on an object transfer the energy involved (work) into kinetic energy in the object. You accelerate an object with a mass m to a speed of v, you've done a work of (m*v²)/2. No time is involved here.

In the thermodynamics, work is the expression of energy transfer from one system to his surroundings (heating water, charging batteries).

So, you may try hard to convince anyone that work and energy are not related, but in the world of physics, they express the same thing. The difference is that work express an energy transfer.
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Re: Complex Systems and Net Energy

Unread postby evilgenius » Thu 22 Dec 2016, 11:10:58

There's a thing in economics called bankruptcy. It allows for businesses to develop things like battery technology, or more efficient solar panels even if they are not going to make it as a going concern. Unlike entropy, bankruptcy does not destroy information, information in the form of order. Once those technologies have been developed the pennies on the dollar buyer of the company, or the purchaser of the rights from the flailing company can have a go. That's just one reason why economics works on a different slope than thermodynamics. There are other mechanisms as well, such as if/then contracts which come with the promise of prosperity if a given condition, such as striking oil or natural gas, is met. Should the condition not be met, then the landowner or whomever entered the contract gets very little, and may actually incur liability. This kind of approach also helps businesses develop resources in a manner where the slope of economics is different than the slope of thermodynamics. There are lots of other ways these things work out as well. You can imagine...
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