Re: alternatives to big oil and if they can be allowed to happen....

From: Stirling Westrup (
Date: Wed Feb 02 2000 - 15:27:31 MST

john grigg wrote:

> Robert Bradbury wrote:
> When electric or fuel cell cars (driven by alcohol produced via solarpowered
> bacteria) are available there then becomes a huge incentive for the U.S.,
> Europe, Australia, etc. to move away from oil. At that point it seems there
> would be a huge ROI to the people in a country if the governments pushed the
> solar cell development hard (through lowcost loans, tax incentives, etc.).
> It makes a lot moresense to me for the developed countries to be spending
> their "gas&heating" dollars on the installation ofthe infrastructure
> required to give them a relatively "free" energy future. It would give me a
> huge amount of satisfaction to fill my car up from the ever replenishing
> alcohol tank sitting on my roof.
> (end)

The ultimate problem with solar power is that there isn't enough of it. I've
seen projections in which the planet's power needs by 2050 will be such that a
band of 100% efficient solar cells 10 miles wide and wrapping the whole equator
will not give enough power. So, even if we converted all highways and all
roofing materials to 98% efficient solar cells, we're *still* going to have to
go out and find other fuel sources. (Note that I'm assuming we don't get around
to huge solar collectors in space. THAT way we could get enough power for the

> When the oil runs dry I see things getting very difficult in
> Saudi Arabia and elsewhere unless they can live off profits from their
> national portfolios. In the state of Alaska we have our humble permanent
> fund. :)

Don't count on the oil running dry anytime soon. If you read "The State of
Humanity" (which I can't seem to find on my bookshelf, so I can't tell you the
authors' name...) you'll see that there are estimates that we have over 200
years worth of oil, even taking into account our projected growth of energy
use, and that by THAT time we should have more reserves available than we do
now, due to increases in extraction processes. And all this assumes that the
theories about the 'fossil' fuels being of non-animal origin (and thus orders
of magnitude more plentiful than has been assumed) are all false.

 Stirling Westrup  |  Please excuse any errors in the       |  above post. Occasional lapses of  |  omniscience is the price I pay
                   |  for being implementable.

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