| Sunday, February 06, 2005
| SHOCK VALUE
Crude oil is the remains of ancient,
decayed plants and animals. It's pumped
out of the earth and refined into a bevy
of products,( kerosene, gas, jet fuel),
most of which we burn to make stuff move.
It's versatile and easy to use.
Global warming, oil spills.
It's the source of 40percent of U.S. energy,
yet more than 60percent of it comes from
other countries...who hates the U.S.
It's made of swamp plants, compacted for
millions of years under extreme heat and
pressure, and it supplies over half of
The energy content of U.S. coal resources
exceeds that of all the world's known recoverable oil.
It pollutes like a mofo.
It's nasty stuff. Power plants that burn it gives
off more radioactive crap than nuclear plants.
Comes from the same place as oil.
Underground pockets of the gas are tapped
and filtered, then burned in electric plants
or as heating/cooking fuel.
It's the cleanest fossil fuel.
Transporting this odorless, colorless gas
is tricky and expensive.
While uncommon, natural gas explosions
caused by leaks hvae destroyed homes and
killed lots of people.
This is just the geeked-up way of
creating heat. Nuclear fission happens
when uranium atoms are bombarded with
high velocity neutrons in order to split them.
No harmful emissions. It's totally clean.
Radioactive by products, affectionately known
as nuclear waste, and the Toxic Avenger.
Agricultural products such as wood,
leaves, ethanol, comstalks, and peat
are incinerated to produce energy.
It's the only renewable alternative to gasoline.
Releases Co2 and other greenhouse gases, and
it's a bitch to transport.
Power plants need constant fuel, but most plant
material is slow to develop and/or available only seasonally.
Flowing water pushes paddles to turn turbines.
There's no waste or pollution.
Flooding behind a dam eats up real estate
and collects pollution. Plus, it alters the
aquatic environment, harming rivers and
making it harder for fish to go upstreams.
It's costly. The Three Gorges Dam in China
could eventually cost $25 billion to build.
There are certain spots where the Earth's
subterranean magma comes close enough to
heat underground reservoirs to 600 degrees.
Drill a hole and poof, you've got steam.
It's all natural.Minimal environmental harm.
The pipes can corrode or clog.
The places we can do this aren't exactly common.
And drilling deeper costs too damned much.
When the sun's energy particles, called photons,
hit a solar panel, it causes a "kick" of elctrons.
Assemble enough panels and you'll have an electric current.
It's clean. The sun does'nt cause anything harmful,
Several hundred square feet of panels are needed
to cook a steak.It is rather inefficient.
Similar to hydroelectric power, with wind
blowing against blades used to turn the turbines.
In certain states windmill owners can sell
electricity to their local electric company.
If it's not windy out, they have to buy right back.
It's a bit ungainly. You'd need roughly 600 windmills,
requiring about 1,200 acres of land to light up little Anchorage.
Consider the Hindenburg. On a smaller scale,
fuel cells combine hydrogen and oxygen to free
electrons. Still in development, it's intended to
power individual machines, like cars.
The only by products are heat and water.
Harnessing it is tricky. Extracting it from fossil
fuels (like coal) pollutes.
It costs a metric shitload.
|posted by infraternam meam @ 4:58 AM