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Old 02-11-2008, 04:46 PM   #1
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A Polluted Future?

As the price of natural gas goes up ? it is $9.50/MMBTU for big users who can buy off the NYMEX and more like $12/MMBTU for regulated residential users ? people will begin to be priced out of the natural gas market. Already we are seeing substitution for propane in rural areas. Premium wood pellets are already cheaper than propane @ $12.50/MMBTU. Old style firewood is not automatic and has limited utility for most people. I just cannot teach my cat to stoke the Papa Bear.

But ultimately, wood as fuel will let us down. That is why people began burning fossil fuel in the first place. Britain had been logged clean off for firewood, so they began burning coal.

There are still companies that make residential coal stokers (mostly in eastern PA where anthracite is common) and they aren?t even particularly expensive. They are designed to burn ?rice? (5/16?x 5/16?) anthracite coal, but if you can get bituminous that doesn?t agglomerate too badly it would work as well. Rice coal is sold washed (and actually a little wet) to keep down dust. Coal is so energetic that a little sheen of water does not diminish its value.

Problem is that residential users cannot afford the extensive emissions controls that industrial, institutional, and utility users of coal can afford. Natural gas, because it burns so clean, needs no emissions controls.

But the big boys are being forced by excessively restrictive government regs to substitute gas for coal. Even the most efficient combined cycle turbine system burns a staggering amount of natural gas per hour. The big boys are simply bidding the residential customer out of natural gas. You gotta heat your house, gas is getting out of reach and heat pumps don?t always work. So what do you do? Already wood pellets bring a premium price ? triple that of firewood. Coal may be the only option open to some people.

Soot in the neighborhood.
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Old 02-11-2008, 05:30 PM   #2
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I would start with a LOT more insulation.
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Old 02-11-2008, 05:57 PM   #3
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We have a wood pellet stove. I don't know where the technology is going, but it's been very good even in the short run at potentially paying for itself. We've had it for almost exactly two years.

I wanna say that we're buying wood pellets in the off season for a little less than $8 MMBTU.
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Old 02-12-2008, 02:16 AM   #4
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As the price of natural gas goes up ? it is $9.50/MMBTU for big users who can buy off the NYMEX and more like $12/MMBTU for regulated residential users ? people will begin to be priced out of the natural gas market. Already we are seeing substitution for propane in rural areas. Premium wood pellets are already cheaper than propane @ $12.50/MMBTU. Old style firewood is not automatic and has limited utility for most people. I just cannot teach my cat to stoke the Papa Bear.

But ultimately, wood as fuel will let us down. That is why people began burning fossil fuel in the first place. Britain had been logged clean off for firewood, so they began burning coal.

There are still companies that make residential coal stokers (mostly in eastern PA where anthracite is common) and they aren?t even particularly expensive. They are designed to burn ?rice? (5/16?x 5/16?) anthracite coal, but if you can get bituminous that doesn?t agglomerate too badly it would work as well. Rice coal is sold washed (and actually a little wet) to keep down dust. Coal is so energetic that a little sheen of water does not diminish its value.

Problem is that residential users cannot afford the extensive emissions controls that industrial, institutional, and utility users of coal can afford. Natural gas, because it burns so clean, needs no emissions controls.

But the big boys are being forced by excessively restrictive government regs to substitute gas for coal. Even the most efficient combined cycle turbine system burns a staggering amount of natural gas per hour. The big boys are simply bidding the residential customer out of natural gas. You gotta heat your house, gas is getting out of reach and heat pumps don?t always work. So what do you do? Already wood pellets bring a premium price ? triple that of firewood. Coal may be the only option open to some people.

Soot in the neighborhood.
Sounds to me like "unintended consequences" at work again.

The logical answer to this problem would be for the EPA and Congress to pull back on some regulation, in order to encourage the use of Coal by power generators. In the interest of making natural gas affordable.

Of course the EPA, Congress and Activists do not want to "turn back the clock". They'll probably end up banning the use of coal burning for home heating.

After all, it's not their problem if you are cold in the winter or have to chose between warmth and eating, is it? As far as Congress and the EPA employees are concerned, they are well paid.

The Activists probably either wear tons of sweaters, burn wood or ignore their own pollution.

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Old 02-12-2008, 05:20 AM   #5
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Sounds like a drama queen with a coal agenda to me. You are ignoring a whole lot more options (and some obvious oes at that) for conserving energy, but sweaters is a good start. Sorry if the future seems that challenging for you, maybe you really are not smart enough to adapt?

But pollution and environmental change need to be managed because they have serious side effects. It isn't a question if they exist, but a matter of degree, and to say "why should they care?" begs the question: "Why should they care if you don't care?"

You don't have to be an activist to care, you just have to want to maintain some quality of life for future generations and be willing to make some largely-superficial changes in how we do things and think about things to effect that.

Coal? C'mon, you haven't learned anything and havent even tried apparently.
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Old 02-12-2008, 11:38 AM   #6
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[QUOTE=skewbe;90944]Sounds like a drama queen with a coal agenda to me. [quote]

You sound like someone who likes to label people rather than honestly debate things. Note that I don't call you a name, I learned that minor difference between debate and playground arguments in grade school.

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You are ignoring a whole lot more options (and some obvious oes at that) for conserving energy, but sweaters is a good start. Sorry if the future seems that challenging for you, maybe you really are not smart enough to adapt?
So, I'm not only a "drama queen with an agenda" but I'm stupid too? No wonder you feel the need to stick a gun in my face, under the color of law of course.

What are these options that you speak of? If they're so good, why are we even debating them? You don't debate things that are obviously good, do you?

Oh, no, I'm sorry. I forgot. It's a conspiracy. It's a class struggle between the monied interests who want the status quo and those who seek to save the planet, and humanity, from its own excesses. I'd understand these things if I were more enlightened, more progressive and able to see beyond my own parochial interests.

Meanwhile, you, who gets a sense of purpose and feeling of self validation from your politics and beliefs, is in no way being selfish or self centered?

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But pollution and environmental change need to be managed because they have serious side effects.
Managed? By whom, and how? What sort of priorities are being set? What is the highest good here? Human needs or some sort of imaginary natural nirvana?

Who is going to pay for it? You?

Really... coal works just fine. Most of the electricity in the US is generated with coal.

Believe it or not, civilization is dirty. Civilization requires compromises. Note the term "compromise". Means to arrive at an agreement, not to "manage" things.

Yeah, you're going to manage me. You don't know the first thing about me but you feel the right to manage me. Of course you'll say it's being done under the aegis of the "democratic process", which basically means that some wealthy person will hijack your visions for their own purposes. That's how it goes in a democracy, where money talks and activists do as they're told by Corporate Foundations.

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Originally Posted by skewbe View Post
It isn't a question if they exist, but a matter of degree, and to say "why should they care?" begs the question: "Why should they care if you don't care?"

You don't have to be an activist to care, you just have to want to maintain some quality of life for future generations and be willing to make some largely-superficial changes in how we do things and think about things to effect that.
What are you talking about here?

Nothing superficial about shivering in the dark, Skewbe. Nothing superficial about one of my friends out in the rural areas being hassled by the enviro police because they have a spring. Nothing superficial about paying double for my electric power because it has to have "renewable" sources.

Nothing superficial about a "carbon tax" which will be flushed into some government spending rat hole, where I'll never see any personal benefits, where it'll be used to hire more people to monitor and manage my day to day life.

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Coal? C'mon, you haven't learned anything and havent even tried apparently.
Yeah, why use such convenient concentrated energy? Within fifty meters of where I'm sitting is part of the "Pittsburgh Seam". It's been sitting there for millions of years doing nothing. It's of no value to anyone under ground. No DNA. Minimal fossils. It's too soft to build anything from. Until people learned it could be burned the stuff was probably considered a nuisance.

It's thirty degrees Fahrenheit outside, we have five inches of snow with sleet topping that. It's overcast and cloudy, something that is often the case around here.

I'm sure if the natural gas was too expensive I'd just toss another sweater onto my pipes to keep them from freezing. Maybe I'd go outside, fall on my knees and beg Gaia or Mother Earth to show pity on this poor sinner and give me enough sunshine to warm my home.

Why don't you toss my predicament into your spreadsheet and give me an answer, seeing as how I'm a "drama queen" and "stupid", and need someone enlightened like you to show me the way?

I'm gonna go to work, where I make energy saving devices for industry, driving my fuel efficient car. We brag that we can pay for our wares in one year from the savings in electricity. We were doing this sort of thing long before it became "fashionable" to save the flipping planet from "human cancer" because it made sense for industry to save money.

Believe it or not, Skewbe, businessmen do not like to waste. Waste annoys them. I realize that in your "managed" world waste doesn't happen. Everything is planned out to the last detail. Nothing is left to chance, even the sparrows that fall from the trees do not escape your all knowing eyes.


I probably do more in one day to save the environment than a herd of "activists" do in a day and I don't stick a gun in anyone's face while I'm doing it either. Generally they smile, say "thank you" and then send our A/R the check.

I think you'd do a lot better to persuade people like me if you'd get off of your high horse and start talking reasonably. First thing would be to divorce your self worth from your politics. Once you did that you could make adult compromises and get somewhere.

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Old 02-12-2008, 11:59 AM   #7
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What are these options that you speak of? If they're so good, why are we even debating them? You don't debate things that are obviously good, do you?

Oh, no, I'm sorry. I forgot. It's a conspiracy. It's a class struggle between the monied interests who want the status quo and those who seek to save the planet, and humanity, from its own excesses. I'd understand these things if I were more enlightened, more progressive and able to see beyond my own parochial interests.
Big +1!!

The new generations of just about everything has been delayed, stopped, and labeled as bad in some way, fashion, or manner. As it is, special interest groups have tied the hands of individual freedom by increasing the costs of reasonably inexpensive opportunities for energy through new refineries, new more efficient electrical energy production, etc.

That's the conspiracy. It's been placed under the guise of being enviornmentally sound, while no scientist actually knows what the temperature of the earth should be, nor can they explain that the earths temperature stopped increasing somewhere between 1998 and 2001 even though the Chinese belched out incredible amounts of real polutants, polutants that could have reasonably and reasonably inexpensively controlled through emmissions equipment built on the backs of other economies.

All this talk about plug in hybrids, but electric prices go up. Where's the next electric plant coming from? Even people in water, wind, and solar recognize its current inefficiencies. Nuclear has a scare added to it just like the progressives claim that others do about terrorism.

South of Milwaukee, they are building a new power plant. A lot of the emissions are going to be reclaimed and made into gypsum which will be made into drywall. Great idea. Of course it's the worst thing in the world to some.

As US citizens, we live in one of the most technologically advanced societies the world has ever known, but there are those that only seek to tie everything up. That's not forward movement. It only saddles problems on the back of those that don't have the means to be insulated by the financial burdens of those claiming to "help". It restricts their ability to make choices, and burdens the entire nation with the burden of the concept of "carrying" everyone on the books of a government.

To me, that's tyranny.
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Old 02-12-2008, 04:21 PM   #8
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1)yes, there is labeling and it's typically WAY off...as well as twisting of what is trying to be conveyed. ignorant interpretation perhaps?

2)yes, the gov't cannot be trusted in the best interest of the people:
raise taxes rather than cut spending?
deny domestic oil drilling, but allow China to drill near Florida?
block nuclear tech, while other nations use it effectively?

3)yes, some activists ignore their own pollution. thank you Mr. Gore.
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Old 02-12-2008, 05:34 PM   #9
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If NG is so expensive - that's why electricity is so expensive in Houston [NG electricity plants]!

I wish we could get into Nuclear Power more.
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Old 02-12-2008, 06:24 PM   #10
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Fellow global warmers,

I don't know if you all have ever dealt with someone with an addiction before, but they make the most bizzare rationales for their actions.

We are addicted to fossil fuels, not to mention a whole lot of luxuries and a high degree of wastefulness. Yah we are setting a nice example for china to follow.

If you are truley hurting for fuel to heat your house I would think an appropriate discussion on this forum would be to try to "hypermile" your house and your behavior, rather than be derisive about obvious ideas that DO help, i.e. wearing a sweater and turning down your thermostat, lots of people save money and resources by that simple act alone.

But no, we get long winded and irrational when the subject comes up, we don't take accountability for our own actions (and love to whine about people not taking responsibility for their own actions) and become rigid and inflexible so that we convince ourselves that there is no point to do anything different or to even overcome the addiction.

But collectively we are responsible, like it or not. Just like people fought for our so-called freedom that we have today, we need to fight for the rights and the quality of life for those yet to come. laissez-faire aint going to cut it.
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