Feb 12

The oil sands’ surprising new nemesis: The Chevy Volt

 

By Mark Brooks
Commercial Pilot and Flight Instructor

My first look at the Oil sands was in 1976 when I was still in high school. I was lucky enough to be part of a tour of the then experimental and heavily subsidized Sycrude operation near Fort McMurry, Alberta. Like most Canadians I have been cheering for years for the oil sands to be successful. Over the years I returned to Alberta intermittently, first proud, then amazed and finally worried by the pace of economic growth and its environmental impact. Fort McMurray has grown tenfold since my first visit and is now ground zero in Canada’s oil boom. Here bitumen is extracted from oil sands, upgraded to refinery-ready feedstock and then piped south to be refined into gasoline. It’s a multibillion dollar industry employing hundreds of thousands and producing 1.5 million barrels of synthetic crude each day. For those unfamiliar with the Canadian oil sands I would recommend reading the Oil Sands fact book.

IMG_3224
 

In recent years high oil prices caused by high demand have allowed Alberta’s oil sands to become truly profitable, breaking the need for billions in government subsidies and tax breaks. With starry eyed dreams of $200-plus a barrel oil prices, rapid expansion is underway with hundreds of billions of private capital being invested in new, mostly in situ projects.

After 40 years of careful nurturing by government and private industry the future finally looks bright for Canada’s oil sands.

Oil sands crude is used for everything from plastics to aviation fuel, but the vast majority of it is consumed powering transportation for average North American drivers commuting in the family sedan. No steadier customer could be imagined. The fact that oil sands crude is already the most expensive to produce in the world, and climbing with each new project, is of no matter. Since there is no substitute for gasoline, soaring production costs are easily passed onto the consumer. As long as the global price of oil continues to rise faster than the cost of new synthetic crude production, the Canadian oil sands are golden.

IMG_3220
 

Then 18 months ago a challenger arrived to provide the daily commuter with an electric escape hatch to the spiraling costs of crude production. This escape artist was spawned not by nagging environmental concerns, but by the relentless forces of technical innovation and the laws of economic efficiency. Enter the new electric fueled transportation paradigm, the unassuming Chevy Volt.

The arrival of the no compromise Chevy Volt and other new technology electric drive cars such as the Tesla model S, created a super storm in the American media. The Volt, a compact family sedan from General Motors, can be fueled by either electricity or gasoline. Buried under a blizzard of misinformation from special interests groups, hype from GM and outright paid political attacks against the car and GM, is a startling fact that strikes at the heart of the value of the oil sands:

The Chevy Volt can go further on the energy sunk into producing a gallon of oil sands based gasoline than it can on the gasoline!

IMG_3266
 

Another way of looking at this is that the Volt uses LESS electrical energy to drive a mile in EV mode than goes into covering the same mile with its gasoline engine.

How can this be? It turns out that the oil sands, just like ethanol and other forms of synthetic crude production, in addition to being capital and labor intensive, also consumes a large amount of other types of energy. Currently a minimum of 13 kwh of electrical energy could be created from the energy sources used “Well to Wheel”, to mine bitumen, transform it into synthetic crude, transport and refine it into a single gallon of gasoline.

The dirty secret of synthetic crude oil, whatever its source, is that it is more of an energy carrier than a fuel source. The two biggest synthetic crude sources, Oil Sands and corn ethanol, both have EROI ( Energy Return On Investment) ratios of 3 to 1 or less. The threat posed by battery powered electric cars is due to the fact that an electric drive train is dramatically more efficient than the best gasoline engine. It is simply more efficient to feed energy directly into an electric car’s battery bypassing the costly steps involved in turning this energy into gasoline.

According to the EPA rating the 2013 Chevy Volt’s battery will use 10.8 kwh of its 16.5 kwh capacity to go 38 miles in pure electric drive before the charge sustaining gasoline engine kicks in. When it does, the Volt then gets 37 mpg combined city/highway. It is therefore more efficient to apply the 13 kwh to directly charge the Volt’s battery rather than into the creation of a gallon of gasoline. Not only do you short circuit the expense and environmentally unfriendly steps involved in creating gasoline but you can go further as well!

The savings per mile driven are dramatic. By cutting out the oil sands middle man, labor costs and his billion dollar capital investment, the Volt costs only 3 cents per electric mile to run versus 9 cents per gas mile (based on U.S. national average of $3.60 a gallon gas and 0.12 cents per kwh).

IMG_3178
 

To see this efficiency challenge in action, let’s follow the energy path a barrel of oil sands bitumen takes to your gas tank.

Step A: Using the latest and most cost efficient in situ technique, burn 1000 cubic feet of natural gas to extract and process the bitumen into a barrel of crude feedstock. The amount of natural gas input energy can depend on location and can come from a number of sources so this is an average from the Canadian National Energy Board.

Step B: Transport Synthetic Crude 1,600 miles from Canada through six U.S. states using a new $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline. This pipeline will use 30 grid-fed electrically driven pumping stations to move crude before it finally ends up at a refinery hub in Port Arthur, TX. According to the state of Montana, each station is expected to draw 82.3 million kwh per year. That’s 6.7 million kwh per day in total to move 830,000 barrels, or only about 8 kwh per barrel. See Keystone XL pipeline info here.

Step C: Refine the crude into gasoline. Each refinery is different and this is a topic that electric vehicle enthusiasts have been discussing for years (sometimes without realizing that the majority of energy is consumed in steps A and B above). A good discussion can be found here and a good minimum number for energy consumed is considered to be about 6 to 8kwh per gallon of thermal energy or 240-280 kwh of thermal energy per barrel. We will be conservative and take the lower number and assume that, on average, 66 percent of the energy needed will come from the oil itself (reducing the end product from a 42 gallon barrel to 36 gallon), 22 percent from more natural gas and 12 percent from the local electrical grid to produce an end product. That would be 40 kwh of electricity (either produced on site or sucked from the local grid) and 200 cubic feet of natural gas per barrel.

Step D: transport it again to your local gas station and then pump it into your tank using electricity. Lets just say its free as this figure is all over the map, pun intended, depending on where it is going.

OilSandsEnergyCost4
 

In Total: that’s a minimum of 48 kwh of grid electricity and 1,200 cubic feet of natural gas per barrel. According to the EIA, burning 1,200 cubic feet of natural gas in a new 50-percent efficient natural gas generator (some are up to 60 percent efficient) gives you about 600 kwh of electricity. Assuming that you lose 30 percent of that energy in transmission over the grid and you still get a total energy of 48 + 600 x 0.7 = 468 kwhs per barrel. See the U.S. Energy Information Administration Web site for help with the math.

Now we need to take into account that a 42-gallon barrel of crude can produces 44 gallons of product using 100-percent external energy input. But most refineries produce 36 gallons of refined product on average by burning part of the barrel for the energy required during the refining. Of the 36 only 19.6 gallons is usually motor grade gasoline. Lets use the 36 gallons figure to be generous. That’s 468 kwh / 36 = 13 kwh per gallon.

That’s 13 kwh of grid electricity that could have been delivered to your wall socket from the energy used to produce each gallon of oil sands-based gasoline. This doesn’t take into account the energy used in finding, developing and finally repairing the environmental damage of the oil sands operation.

It appears that using natural gas and grid electricity to produce oil instead of applying it directly to our transportation needs is like feeding bread to a cow instead of grain. Yes it works, but it is an unnecessary and costly waste that only the baker benefits from.

The good news for Alberta’s oil industry (aka the Baker) is that its nemesis is still in its infancy. Like all new technology, electric drive and its high density battery technology is expensive, and needs to prove itself. Only a tiny fraction of new vehicles being purchased today can plug into a wall socket for some or all of its fuel needs.

Although Volt sales tripled last year currently only 40,000 are on the road so it will be some time before any impact on crude demand is felt. Intense lobbying efforts by a vast array of vested interests also appear to be dampening the quick adoption of EV technology. This will ensure that the tipping point for the mass adoption of this technology is still years away.

IMG_3189
 

The bad news is that the genie has escaped the lamp and no amount of lobbying or nay saying has ever buried American technological innovations of this magnitude in the past (e.g., Ford Model T, Wright brothers airplane, personal computer etc). The new technology represented by the Chevy Volt appears to be idiot proof, easily mass produced and it’s only going to get cheaper and better.

The long-term implications for Canada’s economy and North America’s fossil-fuel dependent society is massive. The cost to drive a mile into the future just dropped dramatically and as a side benefit, electric drive enables the removal of a key source of the CO2 emissions creating global warming. Already more than a dozen other automakers are planning to roll out Volt like imitations to test the technology and consumer demand. Unless oil sands crude producers refocus on energy efficiency and rein in production costs, they could find their customers opting, in whole or part, for an electric future.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 12th, 2013 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 72


  1. 1
    James McQuaid

    +26

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    James McQuaid
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (6:05 am)

    Thank you Jeff for posting such an informative article. I learned a lot. For example. I did not know the ratio of energy inputs required to turn oil sands bitumen into oil. That’s an eye opener.


  2. 2
    Frank

    +7

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Frank
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (6:40 am)

    Make sense (cents!) to me! Anyone want to sell me a second Volt for about 15k? I sure could use a second one!


  3. 3
    Mark Z

    +17

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Mark Z
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (6:46 am)

    WOW, we knew this to be true of hydrogen production, but gasoline? Jeff, your article should be reprinted as the feature article in all the major newspapers and news websites. The fact that an ICE vehicle using oil sands gasoline consumes more electricity than an EV is newsworthy and shocking.


  4. 4
    Malcolm Scott

    +5

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Malcolm Scott
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (6:54 am)

    Yes very informative.

    Another dependency critical for the systems viability is the price of natural gas in the upstream and downstream processing, as well the natural gas intensity of the transport systems.

    If the US opens up export permits to Asia, what will the consequences be owing to the rising natural gas price? If the US does not, then is it just a US consumer subsidy to oil industry shareholders?

    In the face of a rapidly warming world, the Alberta oil sands and the Keystone project seems like a political nightmare. For the US context, how can President Obama do the right thing when the “old world” has invested so much?

    As if many new coal mine approvals and the burden of coal seem gas is not enough, the recent announcement of a $20 trillion shale oil find here in Australia provides us with our own nightmare scenario.

    http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/trillion-shale-oil-find-surrounding-coober-pedy-can-fuel-australia/story-e6frea83-1226560401043


  5. 5
    Eco_Turbo

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Eco_Turbo
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (7:18 am)

    When the spotlight turns to the performance advantages of combined ICE and Electric drive, I think it’s safe to say there will be demand for gas tanks in most EVs.


  6. 6
    Gsned57

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Gsned57
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (7:29 am)

    If the OEMs can get the price of an ev down to the cost of an ice car the cost benefits will be too compelling for most folks. The leaf had a great price drop but there is still a little way to go


  7. 7
    Cavuto

    +6

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Cavuto
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (7:38 am)

    I don’t live far from Canada at all. When I think of our neighbors to the north, I envision
    fresh air, beautiful lands, like Banff National Park, and clean, modern cities like Vancouver
    and Toronto. My mind then turns to photos I’ve seen of Oklahoma and Texas during their
    oil booms – the raped lands, the miles of rusting oil equipment abandoned after the
    barons emptied the black gold and moved on. I think of N. Dakota today going through
    a very similar boom, and seeing photos taken from space of once pristine prairie now
    being raked over – hundreds of fires burning off wasted natural gas light the night sky
    as if it were day – the pollution is staggering.

    Greedy men hungry for profit will dig, drill, blast, frack, crack and burn anything in
    their way to obtain that last gram of oily profit. The waste isn’t just in electricity used
    to see this nonsustainable commodity to market, nor the millions of tons of wasted
    natural gas – it’s the unquantifiable ruination of our natural environment.

    Never have so few profited so much from so many. Record profits reveal
    that it’s not just the land that’s getting screwed over from this process. For most
    it’s out-of-sight-out-of-mind. If the oil lobby is going to push back against EVs
    with false information and balderdash, so must we expose what they are doing
    to us and our natural environment – and why plugging in is far superior than
    getting the shaft from BIG OIL.

    ( Plug In ) POWER TO THE PEOPLE! ,

    James


  8. 8
    Dave G

    +9

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dave G
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (8:05 am)

    For the first half of the 20th century, America was the biggest oil exporter in the world. Back then, we had a lot of oil, and we were really good at pumping it out of the ground. We were like Saudi Arabia is now. For example, American oil production played a huge role in World War II.

    Then in 1973, American oil production peaked, and has been declining ever since. It’s not like the oil is all gone, it’s just that what’s left is becoming increasingly harder to get. Some wells pump out more water than oil. Some require pressure to force the oil out. Some wells still have good oil, but they’re deep under the ocean, or in the arctic. We have stripper wells, oil shale, and yes, tar sands.

    We should take a step back here and look at the larger theme. We’re scraping the bottom of the barrel. This is what peak oil looks like.

    World oil production is different. There are still wells that pump out good oil. But not for long. Estimates vary, but some believe world oil production already peaked in 2006. Others think it will take 10-15 more years. In any case, world oil will peak relatively soon, easily within most of our lifetimes.

    The Great Recession lowered demand for oil, but as the world economy recovers, demand is already beginning exceed supply. Growing economies like India and China will only make it worse. Things will get ugly. Oil exporters like Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iran, and Venezuela will all gain power and influence. Oil wars will escalate.

    Meanwhile, America still has plenty of coal, enough to last a century or so. Peak coal is nowhere in sight. Natural gas will run out sooner than coal, but will still last well after most of us here are dead and gone. A plug-in car running on today’s mix of electricity produces half the CO2 of a regular car, and that will improve over time.

    Obviously, we’ll need more renewable sources as time goes on. My point is that we have the time to do that with electricity. For oil, the issue is pressing. If we don’t end our addition to oil soon, we won’t have the financial resources to build renewables. We’ll be too busy fighting wars and trying to prop up our sagging economy.


  9. 9
    haroldC

    +12

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    haroldC
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (8:10 am)

    In Canada our government has sold a big chunk ($2 billion) of the tar sands to the Chinese……time will tell if that was a good deal.
    In Quebec the rate is 7¢/kwh and gas in Montreal is hovering around $1.53/liter which is $5.78/usg.
    About 16¢/mi on gas and 1.75¢/mi electric to run aVolt.
    haroldC


  10. 10
    David Hunter

    +7

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    David Hunter
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (8:24 am)

    Fantastic article! As a Canadian I’m very very disappointed at the lack of any meaningful criticism of the tar sands development in this country. I’m going to study it carefully and spread the word.


  11. 11
    Mark Z

    +5

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Mark Z
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (8:25 am)

    Cavuto,
    Living in Oklahoma for 15 years, I am happy to report that things are looking good. As of today, there are over 12,400 well sites that have been cleaned up. The state is beautiful once again and the work continues at no cost to the land owner.

    http://www.oerb.com/wellsitecleanup/tabid/60/default.aspx

    Now, how do we calculate the amount of electricity used in the 75 million dollar clean up process?


  12. 12
    Malcolm Scott

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Malcolm Scott
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (8:34 am)

    @haroldC

    I don’t understand how come the Volt sells so poorly in Canada with electricity at 7c and gas at $1.53. You pay almost the same price for the Volt as do those in the US (tax rebate excepted). Yes I understand that the US with its stuffed economy is running a monetary policy where leases don’t cost much, but I would have thought that the Volt was still great value compared with ICE alternatives in Canada.

    For Australia we have the same gas price, but obscene electricity price at 18 – 35c/kWh for electricity, and a Volt that is $65k on the road. The Volt is a hard sell here (not seen January sales yet, but will not be many). For reference, the Canadian $, the Australian $ and US $ are on par + – a few %


  13. 13
    George S. Bower

    +5

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (8:59 am)

    Perhaps this article would have had an even greater punch if, instead of beautiful pictures of the Volt, we could see the mess that the mining industry makes digging this stuff up. The operation is a disaster in addition to being energy INefficient.

    Great article Jeff. The numbers are pretty eye opening.


  14. 14
    Neromanceres

    +5

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Neromanceres
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (9:08 am)

    Malcolm Scott: @haroldCI don’t understand how come the Volt sells so poorly in Canada with electricity at 7c and gas at $1.53. You pay almost the same price for the Volt as do those in the US (tax rebate excepted).

    Well those numbers are true in Quebec. Here in Ontario gas is $1.28/L and the final cost of off peak electricity is ~$0.10/KWh. The Canadian and Ontario governments contributed a lot of money to GM’s bailout. And a lot of people here have not forgiven them. It’s put a bad taste in peoples mouth. Not to mention there has been a lot of news lately of GM moving some production out of Ontario. Also the Finacing and leasing options of the Chevy Volt in Canada is terrible. So it’s not that Canadians don’t like the Volt. But there has been a lot of bad press against GM in general in the last few years. GM used to be the #1 car company in Canada and now they have fallen to #3 and are in danger of falling to #4 if the current trend continues.

    One of my companies projects that i’m involved in deals with extraction of oil from the oil sands. The project we are working on has the potential to cut the total energy required nearly in half (as oil extracted would be of higher quality and not need upgrading). But yes it takes a tremendious amount of energy to extract oil from the sands. The estimate I heard is it takes two barrels of oil in enegry to pull three from the ground.


  15. 15
    Truman

    +6

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Truman
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (9:10 am)

    Every year, the li-ion batteries get better.
    Continue tweaking the generator to be better suited for the Volt, get the weight down, get the price down, word of mouth is spreading,

    and one year soon will be Breakout – sales over 100,000. Maybe in 2015.

    100,000 sales would have made it the #46 selling vehicle in 2012
    http://www.bizjournals.com/philadelphia/news/2013/02/08/americas-top-100-selling-vehicles-in.html?s=image_gallery


  16. 16
    Roy_H

    +5

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Roy_H
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (9:16 am)

    Meanwhile the efforts to promote LFTRs seem to be stalled. Neither Canadian nor American politicians or even Secretary of Energy Steven Chu (who should know better) admits there is such a technology as LFTR. Just like the oil industry opposes EVs, the existing nuclear industry opposes new nuclear technology that would upset their apple cart. They are happy to promote more expensive fast breeders etc, but not cheaper than coal LFTRs.

    The Liquid Flouride Thorium Reactor was invented by Oakridge National Laboratory in the 1960s. They proved all the basic concepts and had the core part running for 5 years. However they lost funding because LFTRs are not suitable for building bombs. The LFTR is inherently safe, it has a freeze plug that is cooled by a fan. To shut the unit down, just turn off the fan, The liquid flouride drains out of the reactor requiring only gravity. The Oakridge scientists would simply turn off the fan on Friday and re-start the reactor on Monday. Since the fuel is already molten, there cannot be a melt-down. Thorium is literally free from rare earth mines and can be refined in a simple and cheap process. It is introduced into the LFTR as a powder. Conventional LWR reactors require rare U235 which has to be enriched and encapsulated in precision pellets, a very expensive process. There are 10s of thousands of years worth of thorium easily available all over the world. No need to war over it. There are no long term radio-active wastes.

    See http://flibe-energy.com/attributes/

    Only the Chinese are pursuing this technology, they will gain pollution-free cheap energy first and our trade balance will get even worse.


  17. 17
    Roy_H

    +6

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Roy_H
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (9:25 am)

    If LFTRs were used to provide the heat energy to extract oil from the tar sands, this oil could be pollution free (at least in production). Oil is extremely useful for synthetics, plastics, lubricants etc. and the most wasteful thing you can do with it is burn it. About 1/3 of the oil is used for these other applications.


  18. 18
    Roy_H

    +6

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Roy_H
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (9:31 am)

    National electrical grid energy efficiency is 93%, not 70% as stated in the article.


  19. 19
    George S. Bower

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (9:41 am)

    Roy_H:
    National electrical grid energy efficiency is 93%, not 70% as stated in the article.

    yeh 30% loss seemed a little high.


  20. 20
    George S. Bower

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (9:45 am)

    Roy_H:
    Meanwhile the efforts to promote LFTRs seem to be stalled.

    Nuclear is out and sun and wind are in.
    Never fear Roy we can do it all with wind mills and mirrors!


  21. 21
    Jeff Cobb

    +14

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jeff Cobb
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (9:45 am)

    James McQuaid: Thank you Jeff for posting such an informative article.

    My apologies to Mark Brooks as I neglected at the late hour I was working to insert his byline.

    Mark Brooks is the Canadian who wrote this.

    Thanks to Mark for the great effort.


  22. 22
    Mark

    +12

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Mark
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (10:02 am)

    Jeff Cobb,

    No worries Jeff, as long as the word gets out, I don’t really care who’s name is on it!


  23. 23
    Dave G

    +4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dave G
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (10:06 am)

    Roy_H: If LFTRs were used to provide the heat energy to extract oil from the tar sands, this oil could be pollution free (at least in production). Oil is extremely useful for synthetics, plastics, lubricants etc. and the most wasteful thing you can do with it is burn it. About 1/3 of the oil is used for these other applications.

    Excellent point. We’ll need oil for plastics and other things in the future.


  24. 24
    Dave G

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dave G
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (10:17 am)

    Roy_H: Meanwhile the efforts to promote LFTRs seem to be stalled. Neither Canadian nor American politicians or even Secretary of Energy Steven Chu (who should know better) admits there is such a technology as LFTR.

    I agree that nuclear will play a bigger role in the future, and that LFTR is promising.

    But we should never allow the promise of future technology to keep us from acting in the present.

    Today we have plenty of coal and natural gas, and using these to make electricity for plug-in cars lowers CO2 output significantly. Obviously, this isn’t the final solution, but it’s a great start.


  25. 25
    George S. Bower

    +4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (10:30 am)

    Mark:
    Jeff Cobb,

    No worries Jeff, as long as the word gets out, I don’t really care who’s name is on it!

    Great article Mark. Before your name got put on top I thought Jeff was Canadian :)


  26. 26
    Mike-o-Matic

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Mike-o-Matic
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (11:02 am)

    George S. Bower: Nuclear is out and sun and wind are in.
    Never fear Roy we can do it all with wind mills and mirrors!

    Why choose? LFTRs, Solar, Hydro, Geothermal and Wind working together sounds like a darn good start in energy diversity, if you ask me. Let’s throw in Tidal power and (hopefully someday soon) more exotic stuff like Polywell fusion for giggles, while we’re at it.

    Let’s solve those renewable electricity riddles first — the rest will fall into place. With cheap and plentiful electricity also comes more-tolerably affordable hydrocarbon extraction from costly sources like the oil sands. We’ll still need oil for many uses, so this is a subtle but important point IMHO.


  27. 27
    Mark Brooks

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Mark Brooks
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (11:04 am)

    Notice that the Oilsands fact book link is offline for some reason. Here is another link to the same info. It is available from the app store for free and on line at this link:

    http://appstore.capp.ca/oilsands


  28. 28
    Bonaire

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Bonaire
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (11:09 am)

    Thanks Mark B for putting this together.

    Every kids’ high school chemistry class should spend a day on this. Every one of them.


  29. 29
    Dave G

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dave G
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (11:16 am)

    Mike-o-Matic: Why choose? LFTRs, Solar, Hydro, Geothermal and Wind working together sounds like a darn good start in energy diversity, if you ask me.

    Exactly. And biofuels as well.

    Everyhing has it’s place. There’s no single “silver bullet” solution for all of our problems.


  30. 30
    Frank

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Frank
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (11:27 am)

    My only comment is , Jeff or Mark should have compared the oil process with the electrical process, as a stark contrast, to put a nail in the coffin of big oil.
    You know, producing electricity using coal, natural gas, nuclear and of course the green stuff like wind mills, solar and the best of all hydro.


  31. 31
    Mark Brooks

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Mark Brooks
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (11:27 am)

    Roy_H,

    I checked with the eia website and they agree with you so I stand corrected.

    http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=105&t=3

    thankyou.

    – Mark


  32. 32
    Jackson

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jackson
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (12:08 pm)

    Windmills, Solar, Hydro and Geothermal don’t work everywhere. At least two of these make power only intermittently. Yes, Hydro can be pumped (in fewer locations than Hydro alone), and Thermal Solar can theoretically be banked as molten salt (but practical application seems to lag behind the few pioneering Solar Thermal installations themselves).

    What’s needed is a way to get the power from where it is available to where it is used. I’ve long advocated a superconducting backbone to at least link the coasts via the western deserts (solar), and the major wind corridor down the center of the continent (Texas to Canada).

    There needs to be energy storage on a scale so far unimagined, which would have huge benefit regardless of fuel type: the production of the most efficient baseload plants could be banked for peak demand; making more expensive NG turbines unnecessary. This would also make intermittent sources of energy plug-and-play by evening out the intrinsic lulls in production from natural sources.


  33. 33
    DonC

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    DonC
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (12:09 pm)

    Very nicely done Mark. This is destined to be a classic which is cited a lot over time.

    Because of this you probably want to correct your 70% number for transmission and distribution.


  34. 34
    Jackson

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jackson
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (12:14 pm)

    Don’t weep for Canada, Mark Brooks, it will take years for EREV and EV vehicles to make a noticeable dent in the production of more difficult oil resources.

    And then, there’s always jet fuel for the air, and bunker fuel for the ocean. These needs aren’t going away for decades. Lubricants plastic and fertilizer from petroleum may never disappear.


  35. 35
    DonC

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    DonC
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (12:28 pm)

    While transmission and distribution may be 93% efficient, it’s a different story on the cost side. In CA our bills break out what we pay for transmission and distribution. It’s about 50% of the cost, which means that if you pay $.15/kWh about $.08 of that is what you pay for transmission and distribution.

    Since the utilities only pass through the cost of the electricity they have great incentives to move power as far as possible. Hence the electric utilities don’t like to generate power locally with fuel cells. They much prefer to get the electricity from wind farms in Montana.


  36. 36
    Dave G

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dave G
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (12:59 pm)

    Jackson: And then, there’s always jet fuel for the air, and bunker fuel for the ocean. These needs aren’t going away for decades.

    This is where biofuels work really well. Also for EREV range extenders.


  37. 37
    haroldC

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    haroldC
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (1:18 pm)

    Malcolm Scott,

    The dealears have a $42,000 starting price, and doesen’t take many options to add to that….plus 13 to 15% sales tax……still a little stiff even with incentives, especially when we see the good deals in the US. Also they haven’t sent many up here so there could probably be a lot more sales if the inventories were higher.
    For me, l wish it would be more logical because l spend roughly $1800 for gas….spread out on three vehicles. lt woould cost me nearly $50,000 to save 7-800$ gas. Do the math.
    When l will only need one vehicle maybe l’ll decide to give up the BWW convertible and buy a Volt.
    BTW….Beautiful and well-written article,(and eye-opening). Thanx Jeff.
    haroldC


  38. 38
    Jackson

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jackson
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (1:28 pm)

    Dave G: This is where biofuels work really well.Also for EREV range extenders.

    Algae, maybe. I’m leery of anything that uses arable land because of possible competition with other agriculture, and the potential higher energy costs associated with it’s production. There’s a big energy difference between land harvesting/transporting and opening a valve to a tank. Also, the really compelling “killer” application for algae hasn’t come yet; and once it does, it will still take decades for production to build to a point where it makes a noticeable dent in petroleum sources.

    By all means continue the research, but don’t hold your breath.


  39. 39
    Tex-Arl

    -1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Tex-Arl
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (1:57 pm)

    Jeff-Beautiful article. Agree that all you say is beautiful and true except the pipeline has never been approved. I for one feel it will take 20 to 30 years for the electrification of the automobile as the PRIMARY carrier.

    What is going to happen during those years? Will there be a oil embargo? Will the Saudis continue to ship versus their embargoes? Is Liberia in a stable area? I would much rather our relations with Canada be fostered and we have the ability to survive regardless of the evil intent of others until the automotive industry is mostly electrified.

    How are we going to get what type of energy is necessary to make the electricity for the electric car? I dare say they could generate all the energy from hydro—in Canada and the Northwest.
    We can use wind and solar in Texas but what happens when the wind doesn’t blow at night?

    Bottom line-build the Keystone pipeline to protect the U. S. and Canada during this shift to electric use.


  40. 40
    Kup

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Kup
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (2:36 pm)

    P>Bottom line-build the Keystone pipeline to protect the U. S. and Canada during this shift to electric use.

    I strongly disagree. I realize not everyone likes or accepts science (especially when it clashes with political ideologies) but in an era when there is an ever increasing abundance of evidence of AGW, building the Keystone Pipeline is not a sound or, IMO, ethical choice.

    Sure, it’s the relatively easy choice and provides many short term benefits but that is exactly the problem with our energy policies over the greater part of the last 50 years.

    In a country that overhauled an economy within a years time in order to fight a war on the opposite ends of the earth in the 1940′s, I refuse to believe that we can’t manage a rapid and massive transition that emphasizes renewables and conservation and do so in a way that minimizes short term pain and maximizes long term gain. The Keystone pipeline doesn’t any of these things and therefore should not be approved, IMO.

    With that said, it doesn’t negate the great work that Mark did on this article. It would be interesting to see a similar analysis concerning the typical method of oil extraction and refining for today’s market.


  41. 41
    Noel Park

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (3:35 pm)

    Cavuto: Greedy men hungry for profit will dig, drill, blast, frack, crack and burn anything in
    their way to obtain that last gram of oily profit. The waste isn’t just in electricity used
    to see this nonsustainable commodity to market, nor the millions of tons of wasted
    natural gas – it’s the unquantifiable ruination of our natural environment.

    #7

    Yeah, that’s about it all right. +1

    It took me this long to motivate myself to even comment on this, I find it all so sad. Once again I truly fear that we will drive ourselves into extinction. And worse yet I wonder if it would actually be a bad thing.


  42. 42
    Dave G

    +6

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dave G
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (3:59 pm)

    Jackson: I’m leery of anything that uses arable land because of possible competition with other agriculture …

    Here’s a good quote from Elon Musk:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alison-van-diggelen/elon-musk-his-story-in-hi_b_2576507.html
    “I read Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and it highlighted an important point, which is that a lot of times the question is harder than the answer. And if you can properly phrase the question, then the answer is the easy part.”

    OK, so here are 3 questions:

    Q: Can corn ethanol completely replace gasoline, with no affect on food supply?
    A: No.

    Q: Can cellulosic ethanol completely replace gasoline, with no affect on food supply?
    A: No.

    Q: Can EVs with range extenders running on cellulosic ethanol completely replace gasoline, with no affect on food supply?
    A: Yes, easily.

    People who bash ethanol only consider the first 2 questions. They don’t consider that ethanol may be a viable part of a broader solution.

    Jackson: …and the potential higher energy costs associated with it’s production…

    Only an issue for corn ethanol.

    Cellulosic ethanol is made from stuff we throw away (forest/mill waste, corn stalks and leaves, municipal waste, etc). Those sources can replace 20-25% of our gasoline consumption.

    Cellulosic ethanol is also made from trees and other plants that grow on land where food crops can’t. So that doesn’t compete with agriculture either. Those sources can replace 10-15% of our gasoline consumption.

    Once the ethanol is extracted, the leftover biomass is burned to fuel the process. The resulting ash is perfect for soil remediation. No fertilizers are required.

    Jackson: Algae, maybe. … Also, the really compelling “killer” application for algae hasn’t come yet;

    The killer application for algae is replacing diesel and jet fuel. Algae is 50% oil by weight. In fact, of the oil we pump out of the ground today, 98% came from ancient algae.

    Algae oil is easily converted to bio-diesel.

    And by the way, they’re starting to engineer algae that grows in salt water. That holds huge potential. No land or water issues.


  43. 43
    haroldC

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    haroldC
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (5:01 pm)

    George S. Bower,

    especially the mirrors….and maybe a little smoke……just ask the oil barons…..and politicians…..lol
    haroldC


  44. 44
    George S. Bower

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (5:37 pm)

    Noel Park: #7

    Yeah, that’s about it all right.+1

    It took me this long to motivate myself to even comment on this, I find it all so sad.Once again I truly fear that we will drive ourselves into extinction.And worse yet I wonder if it would actually be a bad thing.

    Oh well look on the bright side Noel.

    Let’s suppose we did all kinds of things to keep CO2 out of the atmosphere …..and then a huge cataclismic event happened like a meteor hit the earth or we had a volcano under the greenland ice sheet that blew up and caused a huge tsunami wiping out half the population and then the eruption was so long and huge that all kinds of CO2 went into the atmosphere anyway and we had another Permean extinction…..then we would have wasted our time keeping the co2 out of the air.

    What was that 60′s song: sha na na na na na live for today
    and don’t worry bout tomorrow


  45. 45
    Noel Park

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (5:56 pm)

    George S. Bower: What was that 60′s song: sha na na na na na live for today
    and don’t worry bout tomorrow

    #44

    I’m trying. Some days it’s easier than other days.


  46. 46
    Raymondjram

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Raymondjram
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (6:41 pm)

    George S. Bower: Nuclear is out and sun and wind are in.
    Never fear Roy we can do it all with wind mills and mirrors!

    Wind turbines, not wind mills, because they don’t do any milling!

    Raymond


  47. 47
    kdawg

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (6:47 pm)

    Somewhat on topic: I’ve updated my http://www.kdawg.com site chart. (using Google charts now)

    Looks like the Chevy Volts have saved over 7 million gallons of fuel


  48. 48
    George S. Bower

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (6:47 pm)

    Mike-o-Matic: Why choose?LFTRs, Solar, Hydro, Geothermal and Wind working together sounds like a darn good start in energy diversity, if you ask me

    Totally agree.
    That’s why I get upset when we start bashing Nuclear.

    The bashing is all based on fear and not facts.


  49. 49
    George S. Bower

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (6:49 pm)

    Raymondjram: Wind turbines, not wind mills, because they don’t do any milling!

    Raymond

    Thx Raymond. Touche!


  50. 50
    haroldC

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    haroldC
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (7:02 pm)

    George S. Bower,

    l still like windmills….sorry……..
    haroldC


  51. 51
    haroldC

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    haroldC
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (7:19 pm)

    Doesn’t a windmill ….mill……? electricity ?
    haroldC


  52. 52
    George S. Bower

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (7:37 pm)

    Dave G: This is where biofuels work really well.

    bio fuels are carbon neutral yes?


  53. 53
    pdt

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    pdt
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (8:05 pm)

    Dave G:
    Cellulosic ethanol is made from stuff we throw away (forest/mill waste, corn stalks and leaves, municipal waste, etc).Those sources can replace 20-25% of our gasoline consumption.

    Do you have a reference for this number?


  54. 54
    Dave G

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dave G
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (8:18 pm)

    George S. Bower: bio fuels are carbon neutral yes?

    It depends.

    Corn ethanol is not carbon neutral.

    If cellulosic ethanol replaced 100% of our gasoline consumption, no, that would not be carbon neutral.

    If cellulosic ethanol replaced 35% of our gasoline consumption, yes, that would be carbon neutral.

    Algae bio-diesel is carbon neutral.


  55. 55
    Dave G

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dave G
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (8:21 pm)

    pdt: Do you have a reference for this number?

    These numbers came from the coskata web site. I don’t have the link handy.


  56. 56
    Dave G

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dave G
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (8:26 pm)

    Cellulosic Biofuel to Surge in 2013 as First Plants Open
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-11/cellulosic-biofuel-to-surge-in-2013-as-first-plants-open.html
    “Production of the fuel made from crop waste, wood chips, household trash and other non-food organic sources will reach 9.6 million gallons in 2013, up from less than 500,000 gallons this year, according to data compiled by the U.S. Energy Information Administration and obtained by Bloomberg News.”

    DuPont Builds Giant Cellulosic Ethanol Biorefinery in Iowa
    http://ens-newswire.com/2012/12/12/dupont-builds-giant-cellulosic-ethanol-biorefinery-in-iowa/

    DuPont has started construction of a large cellulosic ethanol biorefinery in Iowa, with completion expected in mid-2014. Once fully operational, the facility will produce 30 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol a year from corn stover residues, a feedstock composed of corn stalks and leaves. The stover will be collected from farms in a 30 mile radius around the new facility.”


  57. 57
    Dave G

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dave G
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (8:55 pm)

    Here’s a piece on using tree farms for ethanol.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CE1dkoywK3s

    Trees have deep roots, so they don’t require irrigation. That means tree farms can grow in places food crops can’t.

    Genetically engineered Poplar trees grow fast and are optimized to produce cellulose.

    Tree farms don’t require fertilizer.


  58. 58
    James

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    James
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (9:03 pm)

    We just have to keep bangin’ the drum to everyone we know and in the media.

    I love how the local media still run stories about, “Joe Smith actually drives electric!”.
    This message of clean, smart driving still slowwwwly permeates our society…It’s still
    considered a novelty even after 2+ years of consumers driving around gas-free and
    charging stations popping up all over.

    Driving gas free still feels grassroots. And if we don’t feel that way, just look at the
    myriad of tactics the oil lobby comes up with nearly on a weekly basis. Google and Bing
    trace your movements on the web no matter how buttoned-down your security is. I’m
    followed from site to site by that idiotic “ELECTRIC CARS ON SALE” ad that’s just a
    joke and leads to a website selling tires! The photos on the banner/ad are golf cart
    EVs and the iMiev Sport concept from 5 years back – but it strikes me, this is how
    many folks view EVs to this day.

    A local Toyota dealer is running ads at newstime with no cars at all, just a 40 something
    couple drinking coffee at the kitchen counter saying, “I was so unsure of hybrids, and
    I was suspect of their reliability and knew nothing about them – thank “JOE BLOW TOYOTA
    for educating us and helping us feel good about our hybrid purchase, we couldn’t be happier!”
    - This shows me how people are so stuck in the past and practically need their hands
    held to even get into a hybrid. New thinking just doesn’t happen overnight. I’m sitting
    here thinking, ” hybrids have been with us over a decade and these representative folks
    just think of them as some kind of new thing! “.

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


  59. 59
    James

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    James
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (9:04 pm)

    James,

    * Give ‘em a plug and they just FREAK OUT! :o Yet the don’t think twice about
    plugging in their mobile phone each night.

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


  60. 60
    James

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    James
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (9:05 pm)

    James,

    * and no, I don’t live in the Midwest! :)

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


  61. 61
    James

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    James
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (9:08 pm)

    James,

    * and I love the way folks in the office or at the PTA talk about people who drive
    a hybrid, let alone an EV or PHEV…. It reminds me how I noticed people have talked
    about me when they learned I was a Christian. ” Oh, Joe is SO CONSERVATIVE – what
    a bore! – You know, drives A PRIUS, saves gas, just some schmuck who has zero
    clue what is cool and good”…..etc etc etc.


  62. 62
    James

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    James
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (9:11 pm)

    James,

    * These societal barriers break down. It just takes time. Lots and lots of time. Generationally
    it’s fascinating to me how kids and even teens are so open to saving gas and
    mainly saving the environment. What’s puzzling is what will happen when the oilheads
    and these kids butt heads as we reach this era when so many viable transportation options
    present themselves in direct competition to oil…


  63. 63
    Dave G

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dave G
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (9:24 pm)

    Jackson: Windmills, Solar, Hydro and Geothermal don’t work everywhere. At least two of these make power only intermittently.

    Yes, but just because something doesn’t work everywhere all the time doesn’t make it invalid.

    Solar tends to follow peak load, at least within a couple of hours. That’s really valuable.

    Individual windmills are intermittent, but over a wider area, they’re more steady collectively. Wind is also cheap.

    And in some places, Hydro and Geothermal are really viable.

    There’s no one solution that will solve all of our energy needs. It will take a range of solutions, each in its place.

    The main areas I take issue are:
    a) Bashing a solution because it doesn’t solve everything.
    b) Trying to use a solution where is doesn’t make sense.


  64. 64
    Jackson

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jackson
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (11:15 pm)

    Dave G: The killer application for algae is replacing diesel and jet fuel. Algae is 50% oil by weight. In fact, of the oil we pump out of the ground today, 98% came from ancient algae.

    Algae oil is easily converted to bio-diesel.

    And by the way, they’re starting to engineer algae that grows in salt water. That holds huge potential. No land or water issues.

    Bad phrasing on my part (NO MORE EDIT!!!). I was trying to say that the ‘knock ‘em dead’ process isn’t there yet. I was aware that they are engineering algae, mainly to facilitate the release of the oil inside the organisms. Salt water tolerance is unexpected, but welcome news.


  65. 65
    Jackson

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jackson
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (11:37 pm)

    Dave G: Yes, but just because something doesn’t work everywhere all the time doesn’t make it invalid.

    Solar tends to follow peak load, at least within a couple of hours.That’s really valuable.

    Individual windmills are intermittent, but over a wider area, they’re more steady collectively.Wind is also cheap.

    And in some places, Hydro and Geothermal are really viable.

    There’s no one solution that will solve all of our energy needs.It will take a range of solutions, each in its place.

    The main areas I take issue are:
    a) Bashing a solution because it doesn’t solve everything.
    b) Trying to use a solution where is doesn’t make sense.

    Please go back and read the comment again.

    I did not say that an electricity production method is invalidated because it doesn’t work everywhere. The way you characterize it (correctly), local natural resources only benefit local users. If we don’t have the listed acceptable natural resources in our back yards, are we supposed to go suck eggs? Weather can affect Solar, Wind and Hydro. Geology determines the availability of Geothermal. Meanwhile, they can light a fire under Coal anywhere.

    There is more than enough wind running down the continent from Canada to Texas to supply most electricity for the country, but the bulk of the population is not located there. Tough luck, eh? By suggesting a potential solution (massive scale energy storage and superconducting electricity transport), I advocated making regional natural and intermittent resources a national solution. How was this bashing? I can make a much stronger case against your “bashing” a solution than you can make against me.

    And by the way, I agree that we do need a wide range of solutions, including continuing development of fossil fuels. You need the infrastructure you have to build the infrastructure you need. Choke off what we have, and we’ll never be able to build a more responsible future (nor am I saying that we shouldn’t attempt to build that future as long as there are fossil fuels).

    Did you have the fish or the veal? I need to know what to avoid.


  66. 66
    Jackson

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jackson
     Says

     

    Feb 12th, 2013 (11:51 pm)

    So, Dave G, do you include the energy cost it takes to transport the cellulosic non-food waste to whatever facility burns or processes it, and then the energy it costs to cart it back to the land and spread it out? Are trace elements in the soil depleted in the process? (I don’t really know, but it seems like a reasonable question). Much of this is mitigated (or at least minimized) when you talk about algae-based production of actual oil.

    Perhaps we should save the ethanol for Cap’n Jack …


  67. 67
    jeffhre

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    jeffhre
     Says

     

    Feb 13th, 2013 (4:39 am)

    Mark Z: Now, how do we calculate the amount of electricity used in the 75 million dollar clean up process?

    Wow, another energy cost burden from using refined gasoline that I had not thought of. Though a very long term one indeed.

    Noel Park: #7

    Yeah, that’s about it all right.+1

    It took me this long to motivate myself to even comment on this, I find it all so sad.Once again I truly fear that we will drive ourselves into extinction.And worse yet I wonder if it would actually be a bad thing.

    Blindly using the resources that sustain them, and excreting poisons into the environment that maintains them. Like yeast in vat.

    But you and me brother, at least we’re driving Volts. And like Dave G said, the answer to number 3 is yes. Even if few have even heard of the question.


  68. 68
    jeffhre

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    jeffhre
     Says

     

    Feb 13th, 2013 (4:50 am)

    Roy_H:
    If LFTRs were used to provide the heat energy to extract oil from the tar sands, this oil could be pollution free (at least in production). Oil is extremely useful for synthetics, plastics, lubricants etc. and the most wasteful thing you can do with it is burn it. About 1/3 of the oil is used for these other applications.

    Well almost the worst thing. The worst is taking it off ships running on bunker fuel (a bitumen like slop with chunks of sulfurous mineralized clumps) and filling the empty ships to the from the bulkheads to the decks with the nations treasure: then burning the off-loaded contents.


  69. 69
    Dave G

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dave G
     Says

     

    Feb 13th, 2013 (6:03 am)

    Jackson: So, Dave G, do you include the energy cost it takes to transport the cellulosic non-food waste to whatever facility burns or processes it, and then the energy it costs to cart it back to the land and spread it out?

    I believe the combination of EREVs and biofuels can completely replace gasoline and diesel, so any transporation would be carbon neutral.

    Also, cellulosic biofuel production facilities are located fairly close to their source bio-mass. For example, the DuPont plant gathers corn stover from a 30-mile radius. So transportation costs are relatively low.

    In addition, carting ash back to farms for soil remediation is generally free, since that would be the same trip to get more biomass.


  70. 70
    BlackSun

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    BlackSun
     Says

     

    Feb 13th, 2013 (10:33 am)

    George S. Bower,

    George, that’s just plain wrong. Here’s an analogy: The fact that you can eat healthy and still get hit by a truck is *not* a reason not to eat healthy. We’re all going to die anyway, and so will the biosphere, someday. What we should be concerned about is the quality of life in the interim. The risk of a cataclysmic event has no bearing on whether or not we should mitigate climate change. Here’s the equation:

    Climate change will lead to dramatic loss of human populations, or potential extinction if not mitigated. Probability of this happening in the next 100-200 years without mitigation is approaching 1.00.

    The probability of cataclysmic asteroid strikes or super volcano eruptions in the same 100-200 year time frame is in the 10E-4 to 10E-6 range. (Based on the timing of past similar events).

    Therefore, in terms of affecting the probability for human survival, potentialities for civilization-ending cataclysms have little bearing on the necessity for climate mitigation.


  71. 71
    matteo magaldi

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    matteo magaldi
     Says

     

    Feb 14th, 2013 (4:29 pm)

    Magnificent beat ! I wish to apprentice even as you amend your web site, how can i subscribe for a weblog web site? The account aided me a applicable deal. I had been a little bit familiar of this your broadcast offered vibrant transparent concept


  72. 72
    Mark Brooks

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Mark Brooks
     Says

     

    Feb 18th, 2013 (10:36 pm)

    Just wanted to thank everyone, online and off, for their amazing feedback to this story.
    we gathered a lot of updated info that has allowed us to close a few holes and tighten up the information presented.

    The updated story is now posted on http://www.hybridcars.com/the-oil-sands-surprising-new-nemesis-plug-in-vehicles/

    New comments always welcome!