environment,energy,greenhouse,gas,carbon,dioxide,global,nuclear energy,clean energy,emissions,global climate change,environmental impacts, Nuclear Energy Can Save US: Ethanol Redux

Nuclear Energy Can Save US--America�s 100 nukes equal four million barrels of oil per day.

Billions of lives and civilization itself may be at risk from the Global Warming & End of Cheap Oil, Crisis. Rising sea levels and rising oil prices could be the end of civilization as we know it. The problem is so huge that the most powerful answer, many nuclear plants, must be deployed. Currently, America‘s 100 nukes deliver the energy of four million barrels of oil per day. Wind and solar cannot do the job, and may delay the real answer too long. Still, all kinds of clean energy, plus conservation, plus reducing deforestation, will be needed to help the poor half of the world, and for civilization to survive through this century.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Ethanol Redux

This is a second try to show why I think making ethanol from corn is so bad; even if the corn to ethanol, conversion process improves so that it is energy neutral.
Several different goals have been suggested in government circles, and conversion efficiencies are all over the map, but none of those variations change the problem. To use a recent congressional proposal; by 2020, 30 billion gallons of ethanol would be made from corn. Suppose that clean energy for conversion would be provided by 50 nukes. 30 billion gallons would be equivalent to 2.0MBPD (same as 50, one-gig nukes); 720 million barrels per year of oil that we would not have to import. This might save $72 billion (of $100 oil) for this portion of America’s energy. Some people will then say that the corn-ethanol saved this much money on imports, but that will not be true.
The nuclear energy will have saved the import of 720 million barrels of oil. All that would be accomplished by destroying millions of tons of corn, would be to make the nuclear electric energy (or some fossil energy) into an automobile-friendly form.
Instead, if millions of cars are operating on hydrogen, an amount of hydrogen equivalent to 30 billion gallons of ethanol could be made by the nukes, from water, not food.
Even better, if hybrid gas-electric cars become popular, the electricity for an equivalent portion of cars could be delivered directly from the nukes, without corn or water intermediaries.
To me, better then any of these, would be all-electric cars, with batteries for town and rural roads, and brushes to pick-up electricity on long distance roads. America’s current automotive energy is equivalent to about 250, one-gig nukes. This is based on Scientific American Chart, Sept. 1990, showing transportation, worldwide, equals 51% of oil use. America’s current oil use is 40Q of energy (www.eia.doe.gov), equal to 500, one-gig nukes. America’s percentage of oil use may be higher than average, and 17 years makes some difference, but 250 nukes, for America’s transportation, is a fair estimate.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nuclear energy can also be used to displace the natural gas used for distillation at the ethanol plants. About 30,000 BTUs of natural gas is consumed per gallon of ethanol produced. Nuclear plants produce steam and since the steam is normally sold in the form of electricity, the wholesale value of nuclear steam is easily calculated. Nuclear steam is only about $3.20 MMBTU, about half the cost of natural gas. Nuclear steam can significantly alter the energy equation of ethanol production.