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Price of Oil where Natural Gas becomes an alternative fuel?

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

Price of Oil where Natural Gas becomes an alternative fuel?

Unread postby mmasters » Mon 21 Nov 2016, 14:22:49

At what price of oil will natural gas will become an alternative fuel to oil? I'm speaking especially for transportation. Just pulling a guess here but I'm thinking oil at $150 will bring on a new wave of natural gas vehicles in America. I'm also wondering how long natural gas could power the economy. 20-30 years?
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Re: Price of Oil where Natural Gas becomes an alternative fu

Unread postby sparky » Mon 21 Nov 2016, 15:58:28

.
the issues are ,

- available supply network ( can you refuel within the driving range )
- energy density (total weight of the container + delivery system +engine versus torque output )
- price of the vehicle , price of the maintenance , price of the fuel

this is valid for any propulsion system

LPG has been in use for a long time , it liquefy easily
natural gas ( methane ) is more tricky due to the higher liquefaction cost and or higher pressure container
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Re: Price of Oil where Natural Gas becomes an alternative fu

Unread postby Pops » Mon 21 Nov 2016, 16:12:57

Really this is all up in the air (sorta speak) depending on the new administration, at least in the US. Lots of oil people in there already, and anything GW is the third rail of R politics.

Like Pete said, in the sense that elect is easier I'd guess nat gas will more likely continue replacing coal for generation than directly in vehicles. Not that we'll be switching away from coal, heaven forbid.

No infrastructure required, just plug in to a 120v outlet and it charges most or all the way in 12 hours.
Right?
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Re: Price of Oil where Natural Gas becomes an alternative fu

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Mon 21 Nov 2016, 16:21:51

Pops wrote:Like Pete said, in the sense that elect is easier I'd guess nat gas will more likely continue replacing coal for generation than directly in vehicles. Not that we'll be switching away from coal, heaven forbid.

No infrastructure required, just plug in to a 120v outlet and it charges most or all the way in 12 hours.
Right?

For a PHEV like the Volt, no problem. For a BEV, you're only going to get 50ish miles in 12 hours (for the average car/light truck, which is heavier than the Volt (with current battery technology). Say a minivan to cart around the family, for example.

So unless something changes, for when you don't want to drive far, a regular 120v outlet is fine. And for a PHEV which has no range limitations, it's REALLY fine, as worst case, you burn an extra gallon or two of gasoline now and then.

However for the BEV, when you're out of range you're out of luck, which is why the demand is so strong for 200+ (and 300+ is better) mile range for real world driving.

So for that you need at least a 240V plug, and preferably a fast (generally commercial) charger. Although, I still would be concerned about using fast chargers regularly on a battery which I wanted to last for a decade or more -- another reason I'm leaning toward a PHEV and 120V charging as a transitional move -- while the whole charging standards and battery life issues for BEV's get worked out en masse, in the real world.
Given the track record of the perma-doomer blogs, I wouldn't bet a fast crash doomer's money on their predictions.
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Re: Price of Oil where Natural Gas becomes an alternative fu

Unread postby Pops » Mon 21 Nov 2016, 16:34:37

We drive so little that we may never buy another car so it is probably moot for us.
On long trips we started renting a car back maybe in '05. Saves wear and tear, you can have something nicer than you normally drive and better mpg to boot. Won't work for everyone but I suspect more people will be like us in the future and not need to drive 35 miles a day.
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Re: Price of Oil where Natural Gas becomes an alternative fu

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Mon 21 Nov 2016, 17:53:14

Pops - Interesting proposition. Seems like EV's might be the logical progression as some speculate for the various reasons offered. But back to NG as a source compared to coal. But in the longer term (15+ years) what happens if NG prices and supplies push a switch back to coal? Texas wind power is holding back new coal-fired generation buildout here. But we ARE NOT shutting down the coal burners even as we switch to more NG.

So far on a national level the growth of new alt electrical generation is not impressive. NG is providing the big push away from coal...not the alts. And coal still provides about as much US electricity as NG.
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Re: Price of Oil where Natural Gas becomes an alternative fu

Unread postby Pops » Mon 21 Nov 2016, 18:06:28

I assume it is cheaper to switch from coal to NG than to build a whole new field of PV or wind plus storage

The cost of alts is coming down far faster than I would have guessed. Still, building out alts plus storage is going to be hard.

Another 15 or 20 years is going to give some perspective on GW and that will make a difference. I kinda think the most likely thing when the rubber isn't meeting the road will be some kind of nukes.
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Re: Price of Oil where Natural Gas becomes an alternative fu

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Mon 21 Nov 2016, 21:07:04

Pops - The Texas plants I know of have two separate sets of burners: lignite and NG. So no cost to switch. But have read that adding NG burners to a coal plant essentially cost the same as building a new one except for the generators. But that requires connecting the new turbines to the generators...not cheap but not a deal killer...I think.

But then there's the cost of connecting to the grid. If the solar is too distant then a big cost factor: like the $7 BILLION in tax payer monies Texas citizens paid to upgrad our grid to handle the new wind power supply.

But even with that support some cities, like Austin, voted to pay higher initial rates as more incentive for the infrastructure buildout. As I've said before the most doable path IMHO is with govt, industry, utility and tax payer joint cooperation.
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Re: Price of Oil where Natural Gas becomes an alternative fu

Unread postby sparky » Tue 22 Nov 2016, 08:22:07

.
While it is possible to retrofit gas as a fuel instead of coal in a steam turbine plant , it's really a crazy idea
it only make sense if there is non technical motivation such as regulations or taxes
the best way to generate electricity with gas is to use it straight in a turbine not unlike a jet engine ,
in fact jet engines have been used for this purpose for decades

gas is not as thermally powerful as coal , using the steam path get you a lower efficiency
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Re: Price of Oil where Natural Gas becomes an alternative fu

Unread postby coffeeguyzz » Tue 22 Nov 2016, 11:56:04

Using gas to turn turbines, combined with downstream heat capture, is the basic premise behind the Combined Cycle Gas Turbine technology that currently touts 60%/62% efficiency in power generation.
In Pennsylvania alone, there are about 18 new natgas fueled power plants either coming online, being built, or in the proposal phase with cumulative output over 10,000 Mw. Many are being sited adjacent to coal burners to take advantage of existing transmission infrastructure.
In regards to transportation applications, the several Adsorbed Natural Gas breakthroughs announced this past year may prompt a more rapid adoption of CNG fueled vehicles way faster than most think ... commercial vehicles are already leading the way.
As sub 500 psi handling and - most crucially - storage, is now technically possible, the 50 million plus US households that are supplied with natgas could fill their vehicles at their own residences.
At a buck per GGE ( gallon of gas equivalent), less than $20 could propel a car for near 500 miles.
Coming soon to a neighborhood near you ...
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Re: Price of Oil where Natural Gas becomes an alternative fu

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Tue 22 Nov 2016, 14:20:16

Coffee - Glad to have some downstream knowledge here. Mucho thanks.
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Re: Price of Oil where Natural Gas becomes an alternative fu

Unread postby Pops » Tue 22 Nov 2016, 14:44:40

thanks for the info everyone, here's an article
http://www.power-eng.com/articles/print ... e-u-s.html
The legitimate object of government, is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done, but can not do, at all, or can not, so well do, for themselves -- in their separate, and individual capacities.
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Re: Price of Oil where Natural Gas becomes an alternative fu

Unread postby sparky » Tue 22 Nov 2016, 16:03:06

.
@ pops , did read the article with great interest .

It mention the "hybrid " solution of using the new generation coal /boiler alongside the gas /turbine
that's a great concept , giving the benefit of both and excellent back up characteristics .

unfortunately , engineers and accountants have found the hard way that a dual design also often give you the worst of both
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Re: Price of Oil where Natural Gas becomes an alternative fu

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Tue 22 Nov 2016, 16:24:42

Good article Pops. And here's the basic problem with such predictions: "But by 2035, the agency anticipates natural gas will be the primary fuel for electricity generation." That's a consumption model which is fine but it has to be based upon a NG price model to some degree.

The problem that we might be able to generate a long term average NG price. But it's standard deviation over the last 15 to 20 years renders it less applicable. In the last 6 years it hung around $2 to $4.50 per MCF. But the prervious 6 years $4.50 to $12 per MCF. And the 6 years prior to that back to the lower range.

So they are predicting 15 years into the future that NG prices environmental concerns will push coal to the back burner, so to speak. LOL. I doubt they are assuming NG prices aren't going to run average 3X to 4X the current price. But no one has ever come close to CONSISTANTLY predicting NG prices more then a year or two out. I have zero confidence in any prediction more then 3 or 4 years into the future let alone 15 years.

If not for the boom in the Marcellus I have no doubt prices would be much higher today. But the rig count and new production stats clearly show that boom has ended. Just as the trend of consistanly decreasing NG imports over the last 6 years has now started to reverse itself. And if predicting future production volumes wasn't difficult enough they need to be integrated with our economic vitality over the next 15 years.

No model is any better then the accuracy of the major ASSUMPTIONS used to build the model.
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Re: Price of Oil where Natural Gas becomes an alternative fu

Unread postby JimBof » Tue 22 Nov 2016, 20:08:37

The old Ass-U-Me problem, it always gets you in the neck LOL
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Re: Price of Oil where Natural Gas becomes an alternative fu

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Tue 22 Nov 2016, 22:07:45

Jim - Which is why I'm always much more interested is seeing a detailed list of assumptions needed to make every model. And then an explanation of the validity of each assumption. Without that info no model is of much importance to me.
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