Author Topic: Future of petrol?  (Read 2046 times)

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Rob. M

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Future of petrol?
« Posted: 10 Sep 2011, 23:14:54 »
Has it got a future other than powering classic machinery?   

Russell Brown

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Re: Future of petrol?
« Reply #1 Posted: 14 Sep 2011, 12:27:52 »
Well there's still no meaningful alternative.

We're meant to be running out of oil in 20 years time but they've been saying this for 50+ years and as Oil industry technology moves onwards, fields and reserves that were regarded as unworkable are in production.

Electric cars have problems with range, infrastructure and the environmental and fiscal costs of the batteries. There's also the environmental problems with producing the electricity (it generally comes from burning gas/coal) and while more Nuclear power stations is the obvious answer I have a feeling that most of the Green lobby would rather chew their own legs off than promote Nuclear power :)

Bio fuels (Ethanol) have a significantly lower energy density than petrol so the vehicles need to lug around more mass of fuel or drastically reduce their range. There's also a major environmental hit in the production of bio-fuel, habitat destruction and the impact on food prices as agricultural production is turned over to bio-fuel crops.

Considering the above, I've a feeling that we'll be using petrol in private motor vehicles for many many years yet.


« Last Edit: 14 Sep 2011, 15:08:23 by Russell Brown »

Paddywick

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Re: Future of petrol?
« Reply #2 Posted: 22 Sep 2011, 16:10:33 »
Of course hydrogen-driven technology ought to be the solution. On the one hand it removes dependency on oil and on the other pollutes the atmosphere with nothing but water. But we all know there has to be the commercial will to develop this technology to be made widely available to the masses, and at the moment I suspect there is a distinct lack of it. Also I am not sure how sound the technology is yet; no government would not want to have exploding cars on its watch! (Perhaps someone can comment?).
However I did see that H*nda opened a hydrogen service station on the M4 in the last few days.

Russell Brown

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Re: Future of petrol?
« Reply #3 Posted: 27 Sep 2011, 06:45:16 »
Hydrogen has got real problems.....  :(

It's got an energy density roughly four to six times less than petrol; which means you either have very much larger fuel tanks or have a drastically reduced range (which is a tad awkward with near zero infrastructure from which to refill your hydrogen car!)

There's also major issues with how the hydrogen is stored in the vehicle; as a liquid the tank needs constant cooling to -253C (yes that's minus two hundred and fifty three degrees C!!  :o) IIRC the BMW hydrogen car, which uses liquid hydrogen, will vent to atmosphere, ie loose, all of it's hydrogen fuel within 10-12 days as the tank naturally heats up or you burn fuel when the car is idle to keep the tank cool  ??? Storing it as a pressurised gas at around 700 bar; ie seven hundred times higher than normal atmospheric pressure, requires some pretty heavy engineering of tanks and if the tank is ruptured it's going to be a whole world of pain.

There's also the issue of how the hydrogen is manufactured; currently it's mainly done with fossil fuels which kind of defeats to object of being a 'green' solution.

IMNSHO, the only positive aspect of hydrogen as a mobile fuel is that the otherwise pretty useless wind turbines could be used to create it whenever there's enough, but not too much :), wind. However, we'd probably need millions more of them to make a hydrogen infrastructure viable.

mgd

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Re: Future of petrol?
« Reply #4 Posted: 27 Sep 2011, 09:41:02 »
This is better than being at school the things you learn on KC Forum. Think I will be using fossil fuels in the future.

As far as green power is concerned I cannot for the life of me understand why we keep investing in wind turbines which are inefficient and ugly. In my opinion much more investment should go into solar power ,wave, tide, generators.

Russell Brown

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Re: Future of petrol?
« Reply #5 Posted: 27 Sep 2011, 14:41:54 »
Oh dear.... don't start me on Wind Farms  >:(

Here's an interesting article recounting figures from the National Grid and the contributions from Wind. Basically, Wind output is actually below 20 per cent of it's stated capacity most of the time and below 10 per cent fully one-third of the time. During the four highest periods of peak demand in 2010, Wind produced a measely 2.5 to 5.5% of it's claimed capacity.

These numbers are actual measurements taken; not some theoretical nonsense dreamt up by a wind-farm vendor.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/04/07/wind_power_actually_25_per_cent/

....and another article about our electricity bills going up to pay Wind Farmers to turn off their turbines when the wind blows because there's no storage infrastructure. Grrrrrrr  >:(  :'(

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/14/national_grid_2020/

Rob. M

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Re: Future of petrol?
« Reply #6 Posted: 01 Oct 2011, 23:10:54 »
'Electric cars have problems with range, infrastructure and the environmental and fiscal costs of the batteries'.
Similar problems plagued the early pioneers of petrol cars but these were overcome relatively quickly as motoring grew. Comments from Nissan Leaf owners mostly from America are interesting. This car seems more than capable of meeting the needs of many commuters and driver's appear to enjoy adapting to it. Recharging electric vehicles seems a more responsible and worthwhile use of electricity, no matter how it is generated, than illuminating Las Vegas or building snowdomes in Dubai.