Natural Gas to hydrates for transport and back to gas

A while back I wrote a post HERE and HERE on collecting natural gas hydrates from the sea floor.  I was not really in favor of the idea because of the possible/probable dangers.  For good or bad like drilling at 5000ft for oil, extracting these frozen naturals gasses is going to happen so might as well examine the effects..

One of the often cited problems with natural gas as an energy source is that they are hard to safety transport over long distances because of the volatile and hazardous properties of the fuels.  A proposed solution is to turn the fuel back into a solid by freezing and applying pressure like at the bottom of the ocean where fuels like methane are in a solid and thus more stable state.

My concern in using this method of freezing and unfreezing is how much energy will be needed to convert a gas like methane into a solid.  The melting point of methane is about -297 F(162.5C) so an extremely cold environment would be need to convert and keep methane as a solid.  The other problem is that natural gas is another limited resource so putting lots of energy into collecting it is not a good long term energy strategy.

However, just like coal and oil, we will take natural gas as long as we can get it and so having a viable fuel transportation strategy is an important development.

Savor your shrimp as it may be your last, Oil is the new seaweed

I have been wanting to write about the disaster in the Gulf Of Mexico but whenever I tried to learn about the impacts of the oil, the more irritated I got.

So now that I am in a more objective emotional state of mind I will try to asses the future term impacts.  This is just the start as ridiculous amounts of poison gasses liquid, and solids will be pumping into the ocean for several more months.

The oil we see washing ashore and being burnt up on top of the water is just the tip of the iceberg so to speak. What is coming out of the bottom of the gulf is a diverse mixture of petroleum with different densities and thus buoyancy.  The vast majority is under the surface mingling with the fishes and shrimp.

Dispersants makes even more oil go underwater but is necessary to protect the coastlines. Either way most of the oil will collect in The Gulf and then the ocean currants will take it around the world, first the North Atlantic, then the South Atlantic, and then on to the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and Pacific.

The politics surrounding this event are also very disconcerting. This was not a completely unanticipated event.  There has always been the possibility that offshore rigs can be compromised. It is unfortunate that is takes a real disaster to wake people up.

The best shrimp came from the Bayou but I believe those days may already be over.

The Mississippi Meets the oil

How to feed the world


stop having so many kids

sorry to be callous but the planet is already way above capacity, if we were a restaurant the fire department would shut us down.

Better use and conservation of water, less petrol-fertilizers, genetic engineering, etc. are all good ideas but can come nowhere near solving the problem of global hunger.

Historically overpopulation has always seen a reaction from the forces of natural selection; Plagues

In fact, most of us carry genes that render us immune to the plagues our ancestors survived.

A long term stategy is important and it will be necessary to tell people they do not have the right to procreate if they can’t provide for the offspring.

If we don’t address the problem, mother nature may have to do it for us and I don’t think anyone would like a serious pandemic to solve the problem.


General Electric doesn’t have a very high opinion of the consumer


I’m disappointed.

I work in a hardware store and we have three basic types of lightbulbs for general use,

Incandescent:  The original Thomas Edison invention, they use 3% of the electricity to produce light and the rest of the electricity produces heat.  Essentially it is a very small fire.

Compact Flourescent (the spiral bulbs) :   A smaller version of the long straight flourescent lights most frequently used in supermarkets, they use about half the electricity to produce the same amount of light as an incandescent. Unfortunately they contain mercury and in a perfect world would be thrown out at a hazardous waste dump.

L.E.D (Light emitting Diode):  An old technology redone is our modern age, they can use 4 watts of electricity to produce the same amount of light as an incandescent 60 watt.  They also last five times as long as anything else.  They cost way too much right now.

So to come up with an “energy efficient” bulb, GE reduced Edison’s 60 watt bulbs to 57  to respond to California’s demand that they waste less electricity.

light-bulb ge 75 watt


For Sale and Help Wanted Boston 1885

I liked Ted Kennedy

even though he caused a great many traffic jams that I got stuck in…

old old south church

“Bostonians like the feeling of being steeped in history,” Ted Kennedy wrote. “They give special deference to the old — the ancient building, the small shops, the restaurants with the large overhead fans where their grandfathers ate, the old characters who stand around the Court House.”
new old south church

“It offends the human ego that nature is indifferent to our dreams”

This post is somewhat dated, I’ve been moving and haven’t had internet.

I forget where I heard that quote but if you haven’t guessed it relates to the G8’s “decision” not to allow an increase in global temp of more than 2C

This is dumb because it implies that we have a lot more control over global climate than we do.

Yes reducing carbon emissions would help the planet get back to an equilibrium but whether we can actually stop the current trends initiated more than two hundred years ago is a different question.

It is arrogant to state we have this much control over nature and stupid to assume that we know what will happen as temperatures rise.

Take sea level rise for example, IT IS NOT HAPPENING.  This is not to say we shouldn’t reduce emissions and be clean for the future, just that symbolic goals without any reason to believe we can accomplish them doesn’t seem like the most effective way to change things.

…Particularly not when developing countries (ie the majority of the world) refuse to abide by this “decision”


What are China’s Priorities?

There is somewhat of a standoff going on between all the countries in the world over this cap and trade emissions idea.  Most notably is the US and China as we account for 40% of the world’s carbon emissions.

So what happens if we cap our emissions and China does not?

First we should look at what China wants because this is a hard thing to pin down.  It seems clear that the people in charge in China do not put the same value on human life or quality of life.  It follows that they could really care less about the environment or it’s inhabitants and wouldn’t pursue alternative energy on the grounds it poisons the planet.

China does want to be THE new superpower in the world and if they are clever they will have figured out that long term growth will inevitably require alternative energy infrastructure.  China already has some alternative energy initiatives in place.

if we cap and they don’t we could put carbon tariffs in place but that might just lead to a large black market…

So until peak oil declines and coal reserves run out, China won’t actually cap emissions because it is a short term economic restriction. They will invest in alternative energy but like everyone else they will use fossil fuels to the bottom of the barrel.

Of course we might be told that they have capped emissions but like most regulations in China, they will go unenforced.

garbage river

$467 Million for Solar and Geothermal


Congratulations to the president for making a good decision, he has done some things well and other poorly but this is a good step.

For one, these are the two alternative energy sources that have by far the most potential.  Ignoring investment into bio-fuels and wind is very smart.

Also the bulk of the money goes towards research and development, which is important because this will allow us to perfect the technologies before putting them into widespread use.

$350 million for geothermal shows great foresight as, in my opinion anyway, this is truly a source of unlimited dependable energy.

Many will probably aygrue that this money would be better spent on some other part of the economy and as someone who has been laid off due to this recession I can understand the point.  However, this constitutes a very small chunk of the overall stimulus package and if you don’t think long term, you’re doomed to live in the past.

Plus I plan on having kids and I know they will benifit from this even if I don’t see the results anytime soon.

Managed relocation of endangered wildlife

usa elephants

This is a debate that has become more relevant as more and more people get freaked out about all the species that are being killed indirectly by people.

I say why not?

If Asian elephants are being poached or if most of china’s air and water is fairly poisonous, send them to South Dakota. Nature is nothing if not adaptable though it does seem impossible to predict what would happen, some cases of invasive species are quite nasty.

We killed a lot of animals in this country, Teddy Roosevelt shot one of each and put them in the Smithsonian and way before that Native Americans killed all the animals of any large size in North and South America.  Now we have a lot of empty spaces that are devoid of large animals and since grazing generally improves the quality of the ecosystem over time, it could be beneficial to the American landscape as well as to the animals.


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