Saturday salon 28/10

1. China has arrived

The biggest story of the week was probably the Chinese Communist party congress. Leader Xi Jinping is looking to stay for at least another 10 years and putting his “socialist thought” into the party constitution, places him alongside Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping in the pantheon of revolutionary leaders. But Richard McGregor says the real star is the party itself, and the West should wake up:

    It once sought a lower profile, both at home and abroad. In the 1980s, Deng dictated that China should “bide its time and hide its light” in foreign policy while the country gained strength. A similar credo prevailed with the Communist party.

    If the propaganda pouring out of the congress is any guide, Xi’s China and party have tossed such restraint aside. “By 2050, two centuries after the opium wars, which plunged the ‘middle kingdom’ into a period of hurt and shame, China is set to regain its might and reascend to the top of the world,” said Xinhua, the official news agency, at the close of the congress.

However, he says Chinese economic success is based on debt and that means a financial crisis of some kind will inevitably follow.

    For the moment, however, China is succeeding. If it continues on its current path, the world as we have known it will never be the same again.

There’s more from Hans Hendrischke at The Conversation.

2. Barnaby Joyce gone – for now

Remember when Malcolm Turnbull said that Barnaby Joyce was properly elected and the High Court would find him so?

That went well!

Here from the AFR is what is happening:

Of particular note, Fiona Nash will be replaced by a Liberal, and Malcolm Roberts is going to be a pest in the Qld state seat of Ipswich, which is where Pauline had her fish and chips shop. It’s a different place now, though.

Seems the High Court stuck to the letter of the law. I’m kinda glad they did. See also Anne Twomey.

Amy Remeikis on RN Drive said that Justin Gleeson, Tony Windsor’s solicitor, the one who had a falling out with George Brandeis, put them on the right track when he said that second guessing what was in the mind of the founding fathers, or what a budding politician knew or didn’t know, would bring a world of pain.

Labor will play it rough, because they say Barnaby and Fiona Nash should have stood aside. Mention is being made of Section 64 which could bring into question any decision made by Joyce, Canavan or Nash, and any legislation that passed by one vote since October last year.

Labor can’t do much unless someone goes to the loo. Numbers are tied, and the Speaker has a casting vote. However, they may have a crack at a banking royal commission and penalty loadings which passed by one vote, and there is some prospect of a government member crossing the floor.

Julie Bishop is going to fill in as deputy PM, it seems the Nationals have run out of people who are at all credible for the job. Turnbull will hope that she doesn’t acquire a liking for the role.

As for Joyce, Tony Windsor is not running, his missus said ‘no’, so Joyce will be back.

If you haven’t seen the comment from Ambigulous, go have a look. Superb!

3. Uluru statement gets the flick

Patrick Dodson says it’s disrespectful and a “kick in the guts”.

It took years for the First Nations Peoples to reach a consensus about what they wanted, and they were still working on the final form.

The Government just said, Nah, people won’t run with that, forget it.

They didn’t talk to anyone or tell anyone. We wouldn’t know but for a leak. A bunch of rude ignoramuses, I think.

Probably if/when Labor gets in they will legislate to establish a consultative body. It was never intended to be a ‘third chamber’ of pariament. We had ATSIC but Howard killed it. I understand a lot of First Nations people had problems with ATSIC, so it’s probably better to try again, correct the mistakes and if it works then go to the Constitution.

4. Should Senator Cash resign?

The first question is whether Senator Michaelia Cash is a human or a replicant.

Remember this?

On that occasion she was attacking Senator Penny Wong.

Miranda Devine thinks:

    Make no mistake, this is an existential crisis for the union movement and its political arm, the ALP. Their entire business model is being destroyed by Employment Minister Michaelia Cash, the Wonder Woman of the Turnbull government.

    Cash has proved to be the toughest and most effective foe the union movement has ever faced.

    Which, of course, is why they are trying to destroy her.

Funny, I could have sworn it was Cash trying to destroy Bill Shorten.

This is how it happened.

Seems it started with a referral from Cash’s office to the Registered Organisations Commission (ROC). And this referral seems to have come form a reporter (from the Oz?) who wanted a geek and the union said, no. But how did someone in Cash’s office know the AFP were going to send a bunch of people (32 on one report) to raid the AWU office, and tip off the media so they arrived before the coppers?

Andrew Stewart told Phillip Adams that there may have been a tip-off that the AWU were starting to weed their files, which legally they are entitled to do after seven years. In any case, he says, it had better contain something serious, or the government will end up with egg over their faces. And not a good start for ROC.

Which is pretty much what happened. Remember these files have already been trawled through by Dyson Heydon’s Royal Commission into trade union governance and corruption to try to find dreck on Bill.

Katherine Murphy says that the first objective of the Turnbull government is to “kill Bill”. The second to get Getup.

Opinion seems to be that, Miranda Devine and other scribes in the Oz aside, the plan backfired.

At The Conversation Yee-Fui Ng says ministerial responsibility is good in theory but not often honoured in practice, particularly in Australia:

    Australia… has minimal legal and political regulation of ministerial advisers. This has led to an accountability deficit, where ministers have been able to utilise their advisers to escape responsibility for public controversies and scandals.

‘Scapegoat’ is the term.

5. Queensland off to the polls

It’s been looking that way for a couple of days, and I have just received a text saying that it is so.

I think the deciding factor was this:

    The Palaszczuk Government will no longer have more seats in Queensland Parliament than the Liberal National Party, as disendorsed Government MP Rick Williams moves to quit the Labor Party.

    This will see Mr Williams move to Parliament’s crossbench, leaving Labor and the LNP with 41 seats each.

It was about “inappropriate behaviour” towards local business owners and neighbours.

I think Palaszczuk has a good chance, being, like Peter Beattie was, the best conservative leader available.

LNP leader Tim Nicholls is on the nose, being architect of much of the destruction under Newman. The LNP have little chance of governing alone. Almost certainly it would be with One Nation aboard. Mark tells me there are already signs up all over town. The image links Nicholls and Hanson, then a line underneath says this is the package on offer. Then the line, What could possibly go wrong?

Roberts running in Ipswich may lose the seat on LNP preferences, but his presence in the campaign will remind people everywhere what a circus it would be.

And, if push comes to shove, the Katter Party boys if they have the balance of power may prefer Labor to the other mob, where they would have to deal with by ON crack-pottery and extremism.

Biofuels

This item is an update to indicate that there is discussion about biofuels following this comment. I’ve added the tag Biofuels to the post. Seems I haven’t done a free-standing post on the subject on this blog, but have linked to items in CC along the way.

186 thoughts on “Saturday salon 28/10”

  1. Ambigulous to answer your question, currently we have Labor, LNP (one party in Qld from the old Liberals and Nationals), Katter Party (two seats) and I think three independents, about to become four, two of those former Labor. Independent Peter Wellington, current speaker, is retiring and you’d expect that seat to go to the LNP.

    One Nation are not in parliament, but with about 15% support in the polls are expected to knock off a bunch of seats on LNP preferences in places where the LNP comes third. There are enough of those in the regions to make the chances of the LNP governing alone unlikely.

    Then we have the Greens, who have a real chance of knocking off deputy premier Jackie Trad in Anna Bligh’s former inner city seat.

    I think that would be a travesty. Labor supporting Adani does not help, but I understood Trad opposed that and got rolled. She doesn’t get rolled on much. I think the Greens should be out trying to convert the heathen instead of knocking off Labor warriors, and then with blood on the carpet, saying we can all be mates and get on with the show.

    John D and I disagree about this. I think it would be different if we had an NZ style multi-member system so Trad could still be there on the party list.

    Labor are good haters.

    Trad has a fair chance, but it was in her area that the Greens made a breakthrough in the BCC elections.

  2. On Cash for Comment, I was talking earlier with my friend Bill K who pointed out, if I got this right, that the government found very from their earlier royal commission attack on the unions so they change some laws, created the ROC and are now having another go. Only thing is there is only a seven year requirement for the keeping of records. The records that were wheeled out of the union offices with record fanfare, everything except a marching band, were ten years old and the seizures are certainly illegal and equally certain to be wheeled back in the silent dead of night.

    This is entirely Assangesque to my perceptions. Use any means to steal information in bulk in the hope to find information to embarrass someone the government does not like. We saw this type of preemptive attack approach with the ATO welfare “debt” clawback attempt.

    This is not “government” this is a kind of softporn tyranny.

  3. Sorry for the repetition there Brian.

    On the news just UK city Oxford has just announced an automotive all electric city center to combat pollution initially. A brilliant move and an excellent means (for Australia) to promote the uptake of PHEV’s.

    The next stage could be E85 fueled PHEV’s as we wait for battery storage to improve.

  4. Brian: If you feel strongly about opposing Adani and a new coal fired power station the Greens are the only choice. In Moggill we are finding that some Labor voters are saying they will swing to Green on the Adani issue.
    Agree that it would be a shame if we end up with a government without Jackie Trad’s competence.
    Don’t like any electoral system like the NZ where too often who governs is decided by backroom negotiations after the election has been held.
    My current favourite is this system based on 3 member electorates. Even better, the above combined with an upper house that has only one electorate.

  5. BilB, you are right about the general intent in the Cash case, and I do hope that the AWU’s legal challenge will prevent ROC access.

    The Government has claimed that ROC was set up to give us honest unions, not to smear political opponents. Seems they couldn’t help themselves. Andrew Stewart, who is an intelligent and informed commentator on industrial relations, says ROC will now struggle for any kind of credibility.

    Problem is with these things, as we saw with Julie Bishop’s attacks on Julia Gillard in late 2012 during the Heydon royal commission, there doesn’t need to be any substance for mud to stick.

    Abbott before him and now Turnbull have taken Australian politics into the gutter. It’s completely facile to blame ‘both sides’.

  6. Abbott before him and now Turnbull have taken Australian politics into the gutter. It’s completely facile to blame ‘both sides’.

    Now that’s funny, thanks.

  7. But not as funny as ,

    I think Palaszczuk has a good chance, being, like Peter Beattie was, the best conservative leader available.

  8. Brian at 10.11am

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to list MPs, I was thinking of likely election contestants.

    By “Liberal (rump), National (rump)” I meant members of the old parties still unhappy with the merger; possibly none now exist?

    And I didn’t mean to imply by my list that Qld is the sole repository of RWNJs. No, not at all, don’t you worry about that.

    *****
    Just to cheer you up
    🙂
    a different problem down south in Victoria ~

    We have: Green (Stalinoid wing), several Trot factions; unreconstructed Maoists, SPA (rump), CPA (rump)… and that’s just outside the ALP.

    Inside the ALP we have a hornet’s nest of factions, fractions, tendencies, loose alliances, union alliances; probable branch stacking; Fraud Squad, etc. Pledge Faction, Tomato Left, Ferguson Left, Socialist Left, Senator Carr, CFMEU, ETU, rumps and bumps aplenty…. and the internecine squabbles on the Right defy rational analysis too; AWU, Shorten, Conroy, Shoppies, Landeryou Jr.,…… pity anyone who wants to be “independent” in the mould of Senator Button et al.

    Precis: true, we don’t have Long March Dastyari, but LWNJs we have in abundance

    and the electors couldn’t give a d**n.

  9. BilB at 11.22am

    That’s great news from Oxford.

    It’s a small, compact town, well served by buses. Visitors (inc. tourists) park at large car parks on the outskirts and catch the bus in, then walk.

    A suitable place to try out this scheme; especially with thousands of students and staff, ancillary enterprises and services, and hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. A tranquil and beautiful town.

    Nothing beats actual implementation, to fire the imaginations in other small or medium towns around the world. (In Victoria I would guess Ballarat, Bendigo, Traralgon, Sale, Geelong, Warrnambool might be candidates).

  10. Mr J

    Some ALP leaders are quite conservative. Have you heard of Mr P.J. Keating? Mr R.J. Hawke? Mr W. Hayden? Mr S. Crean? Mr S. Bracks? … go on, you can do it if you try….

    Could even be some other Queenslanders.

  11. Ambi, Mark Latham once calculated the average size of the factions in federal Labor was somewhere between 3 and 4. So to say someone is a ‘factional warlord’ isn’t saying muck.

    Jumpy, happy to keep you amused, but it isn’t funny. Turnbull is the leader who promised a return to civility.

  12. Look, I’m not a big fan of the Chinese Communist Party, and item 1 is interesting. But permit me to isolate one phrase from Mr McGregor:

    the world as we have known it will never be the same again.

    I believe this is always true, in every year, at every stage of human history.
    It doesn’t require Chinese despots to make it true. I think it’s a simple fact of life.

    Mr A
    Pedants Anon
    (evidently not recovering, yet)

  13. That Dutch Dude is doing hugely important work, thanks for that BilB.
    I’ve often thought of grafting techniques with salt loving root stock in commercial agriculture, a lot of pests and fungal disease can’t hack the salt so less pesticides and fungicides bonuses.

  14. BilB, fishing wasn’t the best.
    Forecast was 5-10 knots, turned out 15-20..
    Boat ( haha, half a tin can) wet at 5:30 and drying by 12.
    A good coral trout and average schooly mackerel are very cold right now.
    The mackerel were fully roed up but due to room constraints we unfortunately left that gear at home.

    The time spent with the Son was priceless, that’s the real motivation.

  15. That said, I thought the file was a compilation of me championing Abbott and Trump.
    ( nice negative inference with the ” phile ” rather than “file “, lots of negative emotion associated with the former . )

  16. As for the Qld election I’ll wait for the local candidates to be known and how their policies line up with mine.
    Democracy, I believe, shouldn’t be tribal or hero worship rather a political survey of individuals based on individual values.

    My electorate has been labor for 100 years so that could be a selling point for anti establishment values that seem to be sweeping lots of the folk around the World.

  17. Alarmingly, News Poll has
    Coalition 46, Labor 54.

    Ask not for whom the news polls
    It polls for thee

    – John Dunny

  18. Apparently Mr Joyce has been “reminding” Liberal MPs that they woyldn’t have won in 2016 without the Nats.

    May I remind you, Mr Joyce, that you wouldn’t be ex-Deputy PM if it wasn’t for the Liberals?

  19. I see Winston Peters gave Jacinta the PMship an got Deputy PMship for it.

    What sage reminder should he be given ?

  20. Barnaby, like Canavan, is becoming a bit of a loose canon while on leave from duties. He should just shut up.

    Looks like he won’t have much trouble, but Labor and Greens will run to keep him honest. We don’t want him campaigning in Qld.

  21. Meanwhile, over in the USA, Mr Manafort has handed himself in to the FBI, apparently.

    That would be a fake surrender, right? Fake news, folks! Any Republicans gonna grow a pair and stop this fakery right in its tracks? How about one of those guys I said couldn’t be elected dog catcher?? Where’s the loyalty?Don’t know the meaning of the word!!!

    I’m the best thing they’ve got going for them: 10 out of 10 double plus.

    By the way, anyone else notice FBI can spell FIB? You can do anything if you’re a celebrity.

  22. BilB (Re: OCTOBER 29, 2017 AT 11:22 AM):

    The next stage could be E85 fueled PHEV’s as we wait for battery storage to improve.

    I don’t think that would be a promising idea – E85 has poor Energy Return on Investment (EROI) – it’s just using up more (higher EROI) petroleum diesel fuel, more arable land, and more water resources, to subsidize and make less energy dense E85. Better to go straight to battery electric or hydrogen-fueled vehicles – we need to go in this direction inevitably, anyway – better to quickly build on experience/expertise now.

  23. We had another chat at smoko about elections and voting and such, as you do, and still the amount of none voters both in the chat and folk the know seen higher than the

    96.3%
    Proportion of eligible Australians enrolled

    ( AEC).
    That got me thinking first about ‘ eligible ‘.
    There were quit a few examples of immigrating here as a child or teen, been here decades and never gone through the citizen process.
    Last count I think 30% in Australia.

    Then I thought of the demographics that are eligible but at a higher rate of not getting on the roll.
    Youth seems to be a factor as well as socio economic.
    Let’s face it, if you’re poor the construction industry is a natural choice and Uni may not be.

    Also the turn out rate is nudging 10% of the 96.3 ( that’s gotta be an estimate. It was in 2016 and the AEC have a 95% target they must achieve)

    I dunno, maybe in a voter in a special exception but I can’t believe less than 5 out of 100 don’t vote.

  24. “the turn out rate is nudging ten percent of the 96.3”

    Que??

    IMHO spelling was the least of the barriers to comprehension…..

  25. Jumpy, have another go.

    At one stage in Prussian history, residents were entitled to vote. Only males, of course, and may have excluded some, like Jews, I can’t remember.

    I think Jumpy is saying that perhaps 30 % of residents are not enrolled, and of those enrolled more than the 5% claimed by the AEC don’t in fact vote.

    ???

  26. How does working in the building industry pre-dispose a migrant not to enrol or seek citizenship?

    Are you, Mr J, attempting to puzzle out the reasons your interlocutors may have, for not enrolling to vote? Are you trying to transmute anecdote into science??

  27. Geoff Miell,

    E85? Your information on Ethanol judging by your comment is grossly miss informed and possibly loaded with Corn ethanol miss information. Here in Australia our Ethanol is based on Sugar cane and is very high yield per hectare. The fuel for distillation is the bagasse which provides all of the energy required for production and surplus energy for local area electricity consumption on top. Fuel for field work can be ethanol and not diesel. Some years ago Saab were developing a 100% ethanol 9 litre engine, this project was interrupted by Saab’s initial insolvency, but the fact remains that 100% ethanol engines specifically designed for that fuel are very efficient.

    I went through this at length with the cane farmers and ethanol producers in Queensland at the time of the 2% mandate years ago. Detractors routinely make the false premise of claiming that renewables must match energy consumption joule for joule, when the fact is that electrical vehicles use a quarter the energy of ICE’s and built for purpose PHEV’s will rarely consume their liquid fuel for most users.

    As for US corn ethanol, farming practices are antiquated and wasteful (non till farming is not commonly used) and the corn stover is used as stock feed rather than fuelling the distillation process thus requiring gas to be used, and it is this production feature that is the basis of claims such as the one you made.

    I am happy to thrash this out with you if you believe you have other knowledge should you so wish.

  28. Just a note about the downhill slide of “The Age” based in Melbourne.

    Today’s online edition has a story,I was conlicted about liposculpture, but I got it done

    This publication used to call itself one of the world’s great newspapers

  29. Bilb: I have no real problem with sugar cane methanol being used as fuel provided that, as has been the case with US corn ethanol, it is not affecting food production and is really reducing overall emissions.
    However, replacing fossil transport fuels with biofuels is going to add to world starvation and the destruction of thew natural environment to do things like provide room for yet more palm oil plantations.
    You are probably aware that my preference is for low impact renewable fuels produced by inorganic processes’

  30. BilB (Re: NOVEMBER 1, 2017 AT 2:16 AM):
    You were up late, or early?

    E85? Your information on Ethanol judging by your comment is grossly miss informed and possibly loaded with Corn ethanol miss information. Here in Australia our Ethanol is based on Sugar cane and is very high yield per hectare. The fuel for distillation is the bagasse which provides all of the energy required for production and surplus energy for local area electricity consumption on top.

    I’ll concede I was thinking more about corn-based ethanol with respect to EROI. However, from an extract from Springer.com from Chapter 2: Energy Return on Investment (EROI), Liquid Fuel Production, and Consequences for Wildlife, from Table 2.1, EROIs for various fuels are as follows:

    World oil production: 35:1 (year 1995), 19:1 (year 2016); magnitude 200 EJ/year
    Bitumen tar sands: 2-4:1; magnitude ~1 EJ/year
    Shale oil: 5:1; magnitude <1 EJ/year
    Sugarcane ethanol: 4-9:1; magnitude: <1 EJ/year
    Corn ethanol: ~1:1, magnitude: <1 EJ/year
    Lignocellulosic ethanol: 1-10:1, magnitude: <1 EJ/year
    Biodiesel: 1-3:1, magnitude: <1 EJ/year

    Most of this data is for the USA. Australia may have higher EROI figures, but without credible data we would only be guessing. Do you have any credible data for fuel EROIs in Australia?

    Any liquid fuels with EROIs below about 12-14:1 cannot sustain our modern society at current levels of sophistication without being subsidised by higher EROI liquid fuels. Any liquid fuels with EROIs below about 4-6:1 without subsidy from much higher EROI liquid fuels cannot sustain our society long-term, even at subsistence levels. Professor Charles Hall, and others, have looked at great length on this issue and I have referred to some of Prof Hall’s presentations on YouTube in some of my other earlier comments in other threads. I recommend you look at them.

    The magnitude of energy produced from crude oil production compared with the current magnitude of energy produced from biofuels each year shows the task to transition away from petroleum-based fuels to biofuels is clearly hugely challenging – astronomical. That means much more land is required, more water resources are required, and for Australia more fertilizers are required because Australia generally has poor soils. Fertilizers used include phosphates and ammonia. Ammonia is usually derived from natural gas feed-stock. I recommend you web-search: “peak phosphate”.

    Per Wikipedia, for the reference “Energy density”, for various liquid fuels:
    Diesel: 35.8 MJ/litre;
    Gasoline/petrol: 34.2 MJ/litre
    LPG (incl. Propane/Butane): 26 MJ/litre
    Ethanol (E100): 20.9 MJ/litre

    Clearly, for a given volume of fuel, the same weight/friction/aerodynamics vehicle characteristics, and the same driving style, diesel would go furthest, and ethanol (E100) would go the least distance. You cannot beat the laws of thermodynamics and the energy density of the respective fuels.

    Electric motors are much more efficient at converting electrical energy into mechanical energy compared with internal combustion engines converting fuel energy into mechanical energy. The weak link for electric vehicles is the battery, with issues concerning charging times/cycles, and low relative energy density affecting endurance performance, particularly for heavy vehicles.

    Whether it’s possible to generate liquid biofuels from bio-engineered micro-biota at higher EROI remains to be seen, and I’m not against researching this further, but I remain unconvinced that bioethanol from sugar-cane or lignocellulose can supplant/substitute petroleum fuels on such a large-scale without an energy/fiscal subsidy from somewhere else, and the required land, fertilizer and water resources to do so puts it clearly out of the question in my view. Please, prove me wrong?

    ARENA funded some biofuel research from Dec 2009 to May 2012: Cane2Fuel – not currently viable.

    But if you have more recent good data that provides an alternative perspective, I’d be interested to see it. I hope you understand, I’d like the evidence I see to be wrong, for obvious reasons, but wishing for something doesn’t necessarily make it so – good data and analysis is what counts.

  31. Hi Geoff,

    My information is about 8 years old.
    Roughly farmers in the Bundaberg area were yielding 9000 litres per hectare with some effort. With no effort 7000 lph. The high effort maximum was seen to be 12500 lph. Field costs were referred to as 4 to 5 %. Returns were fully double that of sugar. At the time they were looking to import a cellulosic distillation process from Brazil, I don’t know whether that happened. It was projected that with that extra process the yield per hectare would be a possible 20,000. At the time they had 200,000 hectares under cultivation. That is the way the economics were considered at the time for those people.

    Whereas the comparisons to petrol and diesel are an important measure of effectiveness those fuels are not the future so it is vital to think in terms of what is possible in the future. Ethanol is an excellent assist fuel and that is why I refer to it with relation to PHEV’s which are available to day. The 50 klm range electric PHEV is a vehicle that can be operated on roof charged (8 to 12 kWhrs capacity) electricity alone where commutes are under 20 klm each way. Ethanol fuel gives the security of intercity long range when required.

    The Mitsubishi Outlander is not a bad option to start with

    https://www.mitsubishi-motors.com.au/vehicles/outlander?&mkwid=scy9Qmj9m_dc|pcrid|115933677418|kword|outlander%20range|match|b|slid|&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIl-vttoad1wIVmQQqCh11LgeUEAAYASAAEgIEoPD_BwE

    I was talking with

    http://www.canegrowers.com.au/

    at the time. All of the information I gathered is in the Archive of Lavartus Prodeo and The Oil Drum.

    That was all several computer crashes ago.

    Anything to do with corn ethanol requires clarification of their full farm and production practices as the application in the US was not at all done for efficiency.

  32. My query on electoral participation isn’t partisan or controversial, just trying to nail down an accurate figure for it.

    Last election had 13,541,101 valid votes in a population of around 24.5 million people.

    Nice little riddle I’ll have to research.
    Obviously under 18s will be the biggest chunk of non-voters which are about 13% of population.

    Any help would be appreciated.

  33. I reckon under 18s have to be more than 13%.
    Suppose every age group: 0 – 18, 19 – 36, 37 – 54, …. has identical numbers, each group having about 13% of the total population. Then the human age range would be about 0 – 140.

    Doesn’t sound right.

  34. Regarding cellulosic ethanol or second generation ethanol, this has been a long time coming, but on the face of it:

    http://www.ethanolproducer.com/articles/12469/brazilian-president-officially-opens-cellulosic-ethanol-plant

    https://www.raizen.com.br/en/energy-future/renewable-energy-technology/second-generation-ethanol

    With sustainable energy there is no one silver bullet of the kind that oil is, and that is a good thing. Renewable energy is harvested at a huge variety of sites by a lot of people in very many ways.

    So the comment ” I remain unconvinced that bioethanol from sugar-cane or lignocellulose can supplant/substitute petroleum fuels on such a large-scale without an energy/fiscal subsidy from somewhere else” is only relevant to the person or persons who hold that view. It is blatantly obvious that ethanol as a fuel is totally viable and has been for decades in a country, Brazil, with ten times Australia’s population, while using only 2% of their arable land (may be 3% by now) leaving the whole food argument by the wayside as well.

    It is important that one does one’s calculations with ethanol as one part of an energy mozaic, not as a stand alone replacement for oil.

    Another vital part as far as I am concerned is for Nuclear Energy for shipping possibly in the form of detachable ocean going pusher units with 100 megawatt reactors that exchange cargo hulls just as road semi prime movers do. Smaller scale reactors that can be built with economies of scale in volume and eventually decommissioned at a facility specifically designed for that purpose rather than on location in many parts of the world.

  35. Interestingly , without getting off track here, the gender mortality gap favouring Women is present before middle age and not exclusively at the end of life expectancy.
    But that’s for a latter discussion.

  36. Geoff M, I haven’t done anything on biofuels for a long time. My last position is that it was fools gold in the main and actually quite harmful in many ways, especially in the US and the EU.

    I’ve thought that sugar was the only source that was viable apart from making biodiesel out of used oil from fish and chips which is on the margin.

    Any sugar for humans production displaced is probably for the best, but I wouldn’t expect sugar could solve all our problems.

    John D started life as a chemical engineer. His post on US NAVY PRODUCING FUEL FROM SEAWATER is one of the most frequently read in the archive. I think he has another on his own blog.

  37. Mr J

    If the median age is around 37, I can’t see how the 0 to 18 year olds can be as low a proportion of the population as 13%.

    In my deliberately ridiculous scenario posted at 8.44pm, the median age would be 70.

  38. UK Defence Minuuster has resigned, citing several recent false allegations of his misconduct, but accepting that his behaviour has not always met “the high standards we expect of our Armed Forces”.

    Strange days.
    Weinstein/Hollywood, Wiener/Congress, Ministers/Westminster, xxxxx/Corporate Australia, Saville/BBC, Harris/TV; Cosby, Spacey, …… take your pick …….

    At least there’s one last bastion of proper behaviour, free of the stains of rape or sexual assault: the appropriately named, unsullied, pristine and gentlemanly White House…..

    My very word, don’t you worry about that.

  39. Brian,

    Bio fuels have to be seen from the perspective of the decarbonised world end result rather than from the perspective of how they solve today’s problems. The denialists have successfully demonised biofuels using arguments that are symptomatic of the thinking, their thinking, that has created the global warming that progressives are attempting to correct: greed; corruption; incompetent government; and non strategic free markets. I implore you to read the on linked Guatemalan story from JohnD’s thread and you will understand this to be the case as it is in all such countries affected. The detractors of bio fuels routinely ignore the success stories from Brazil, South Africa and even Australia.

    An excerpt from the below link item

    “Unfortunately, South Africa is one of the few countries to have taken a compassionate approach to the development of biofuel. Other countries have seen massive levels of indebtedness to multinational companies, eviction of small-scale farmers, destruction of rain forest, displacement of subsistence farmers, and more. The state of biofuels in Africa will remain tenuous as long as policy favours the few at higher levels and exploits the lower class. This is the same story that has been told time and time again in Africa with the emergence of any new commodity like oil, diamonds, gold, and now biofuel feedstock. ” …one could add to that… “also Coal and Fracking Gas in Australia”

    http://biofuel.org.uk/africa.html

    We are really good at blocking out the things that we do not understand or cannot imagine a solution for. In the decarbonised world the two glaring problems are shipping and air travel (trucking should also fit in here but Europe has resolved this in a very elegant way).

    The aviation challenge is being worked on feverishly by the major players with the rapid development hybrid electric aircraft, and if this is news to anyone then they should do some research and come up to speed. As I have said many times I think the only solution that makes any sense for shipping is nuclear power as a special exception to the general disendorsement of nuclear power for our civilisation. As no-one wants to discuss this I’ll leave it alone.

    But an aviation story by way of putting things in perspective. The other week I had to do a trip to New Zealand. In this trip I flew into Wellington and on flew to Blenheim. (I have to say that this experience is one of the great experiences of my life). The flight from Wellington to Blenheim turned out to be a 15 minute flight, a trip for which the road experience would have taken most of a day. The aircraft was a 50 seat Bombardier Q300 which offered a very comfortable, though slightly noisy, flight. As I exited the plane I asked the pilot how much fuel the flight had consumed. He said the flight routinely consumes between 200 and 300 kg. Now think about that. This was a full plane and I paid $140 for the trip. Apart from being very profitable, $7000 revenue for a minimal use of the machine, it was very effective from a human assistance perspective and very suitable for powering with biofuel. That is fuel consumption that regional communities can very easily and profitably cater for.

    Think outside the square.

    The all electric long haul trucking system. The trucks off highway batteries are being charge as it travels the between cities, very elegant, and I did not anticipate this solution, but Europe did because it already had the successful experience of cargo trams.
    https://www.scania.com/group/en/worlds-first-electric-road-opens-in-sweden/

  40. Thinking outside the square in the shower, I had the thought that to make wind farms more effective and making better use of their unmarketable high wind surplus energy a different concept of energy storage is to use the out of phase energy to produce locally what is produced elsewhere in the economy at a different time.

    One obvious possibility here is for the production of industrial gasses (Oxygen, Hydrogen, Nitorgen, CO2, Ammonia, Argon) in what are essentially automatic production facilities. When the electricity is free the product becomes an industrial commodity of a much higher value than the electricity normally is. With micro production facilities at the wind farms them selves the cost of power transmission is avoided giving the gas and liquid gas a commercial advantage from several perspectives.

  41. BilB,

    Thanks for the links. But I don’t see any EROI numbers.

    The biofuel production processes described in the the information you have given don’t say whether petroleum fuel is used to subsidize them, particularly during harvest and transport for processing. In order for these processes to remain sustainable long-term they MUST not be subsidized by petroleum fuels anywhere in the supply-chain, because global petroleum fuel supplies are likely to begin a sustained decline soon (likely before 2030, and perhaps even before 2020).

    The other issues not addressed are soil fertility – where are the increased supplies of phosphates and ammonia coming from to sustain the demands of increased biofuel production long-term? Or the extra water resources? These are not insignificant considerations.

    You haven’t acknowledged the magnitude/scale of the transition from a petroleum-based system to a non-petroleum-based system. This is an unprecedented task to do in a relatively short time-frame – by 2050 – an astounding task by any stretch of the imagination.

    Qantas performed a test flight on 13 April 2012 using an Airbus A330 with a 50:50 blend of conventional Jet A1 : biofuel equivalent. The report of this test flight is found here. The conclusions from this test flight were that the economics are not there, and the sustainability of the feed-stock supply chain volume is insufficient to support the industry, etc.

    Nuclear fuels are finite, non-renewable, one-time use, and depleting. They cannot sustain our society’s energetic needs for very long – decades, not centuries – at the scales required to replace our current fossil fuel systems.

    We are really good at blocking out the things that we do not understand or cannot imagine a solution for.

    I wholeheartedly agree. I’m not immune to this. That’s why its good to thrash out the issues in a civil forum.

    In the decarbonised world the two glaring problems are shipping and air travel (trucking should also fit in here but Europe has resolved this in a very elegant way).

    Agreed – transport is a huge problem. Food production is another huge problem, because of its dependency on petroleum, fertilizers, pesticides all derived from or dependent on fossil fuels. Europe has made a start but it has a long way to go.

    But where is Australia? I don’t think our leaders want to even contemplate these issues – too hard. “Jobs and growth” is the mantra – but they are not possible without affordable, abundant energy.

    Some of Australia’s politicians don’t seem to be able to comply with the citizenship requirements of Australia’s constitution. How can we expect them to deal with much more complex issues like our energy security and affordability?

  42. Yes GeoffM and BilB, there is more than a scent of unprofessionalism and untrust worthiness around federal politics.

    Imagine the repercussions for a pensioner or any Centrelink client not doing his or her due diligence to be eligible. The key phrase the High Court rulings (past and present) on s44 is, that the candidate ‘had taken reasonable steps to renounce that nationality’ before he or she nominated.

    Reasonable steps! How about reasonable steps towards removing climate change risks, affordable and functional energy and digital communication, education, health care ….. how can we trust these unprofessional knobs with governing our nation, when they are obviously incapable to look after their own affairs responsibly?

  43. Quite so Ootz.

    GeofM

    I’ve done a link loaded response to your comment but it is in the sin bin due to the number of links. It might turn up. But one item to contemplate while waiting. Scania have produced a 9 litre ED95 truck engine suitable for farm machinery. This engine, others and to follow substantially eliminate the need to use oil for farm production. That part of argument is now void and this impacts on the Qantas report…read the report summary at 8.1 to see why.

  44. Alert: Citizenship Matters Follow

    The outgoing Senate President claims he was advised to remain silent about his fears he might be a dual citizen, by a Minister of the Crown.

    In criminal matters, there are offences of concealing a crime, obstructing the investigation of a crime, etc.

    Under Australian law, is there an offence of obstructing the proper workings of the Constitution or Parliament?

    Or is it enough that the person is held up to public ridicule, and criticised by the PM, his dear leader??

  45. Mr A, yes I was wrong.
    Under voting age is around 25% but I can’t find the precise percentage.
    So that rules out 6 million of 24 million leaving 18 million.
    Total votes were 13,541,101.
    This highly inaccurate ABC article puts informal votes at 5% of turnout which is consistent with other sources.
    So at this point I’m still looking for about 3.5 million excuses.

    While the others are preoccupied with turning new plants rather than ancient plants into fuel, let’s figure this out, you and I.

  46. Jumpy, why don’t you contact the AEC?
    I’m sure they can supply you with an accurate answer and I, for one, would be interested in their explanation of your perceived anomaly.

  47. Good thinking zoot.
    I’m not that good a phraseology, where as you’re great at it.
    How would you articulate the question to ask ?

  48. How would you articulate the question to ask ?

    To be honest, I don’t know what you’re trying to get at. All I can see is you believe there is some anomaly in the number of people who vote/don’t vote/are enrolled/are not enrolled.
    You have yet to put it clearly enough for me to understand what that anomaly is.

  49. Above a certain age, voting becomes non-compulsory.

    Many who are on the electoral roll, don’t bother to vote.

    If you’re overseas (e.g. for work or holiday): excused, though some make the effort, either through a postal vote, or turning up to a polling station (like Australia House in London).

    If you’re on the roll and here, and don’t bother to vote, you’re supposed to be fined. Should be figures on that.

  50. zoot

    You have cut to the very essence, as is your wont. “Ask the AEC.”**

    ** A Guide For The Perplexed – Advice To Those Who Seek, But Do Not Find” by zoot
    (c) 2017

  51. Years ago, when I was still naive and John Howard strode the world stage like a cockroach, I emailed the AEC because I was concerned about the blatant lies contained in some political advertising.
    I received a prompt, polite reply explaining that political messages are exempt from the usual requirement for truth in advertising.

  52. BilB,
    Thanks for more links.

    Let’s get back to fundamentals. Crude oil, fossil natural gas, coal, uranium and thorium are finite, non-renewable, one-time use, and (except for thorium, because its fuel cycle is not yet established) rapidly depleting. Not only do we have a human-induced climate change problem due to our heavy reliance on and consumption of fossil fuels, but we also have an energy resource depletion problem for our civilization’s energy supply systems as they are currently configured.

    Finding affordable alternative energy supply solutions to replace Australia’s heavy reliance on fossil fuels (i.e. coal & fossil natural gas) for electricity generation, and do this transition before 2050 is the easier (but not easy by any means) task. I think BZE’s 2010 Stationary Energy Plan is a compelling solution – it is ONE solution. With new affordable technologies becoming available since 2010, the BZE plan probably requires some adjustments, but I think it’s entirely doable. Other, more recent independent studies indicate it’s doable. What’s lacking is the will to do it.

    I think the really challenging task for humanity is finding an affordable energy solution mix for removing/diminishing our dependency on petroleum fuels in the limited time-frame required – before 2050 for net zero carbon emissions – and before the likely sustained crude oil supply decline before 2030.

    The first thing to do is to understand the magnitude of the problem. I may be wrong, but I have this perception, based on my understanding of your comments, that you don’t fully appreciate the magnitude of the problem. Please, allow me to present my case.

    Per BP Statistical Review of World Energy, a widely respected annual stock-take report of global energy resources, from the June 2017 (66th) edition, for the year 2016:

    Total world liquid fuel average consumption was 96.558 million barrels per day, or multiply this figure by 366 days (2016 was a leap year) to get 35.340 billion barrels in 2016. (Page 15)

    This figure includes crude oil (conventional, and unconventional – such as shale oil, oil sands and natural gas liquids (NGLs) including propane, butane & pentane), biogasoline (such as ethanol), biodiesel, and derivatives of coal and natural gas (such as coal-to-liquids (CTL), and gas-to-liquids (GTL)). This includes inland demand plus international aviation and marine bunkers and refinery fuel and loss – the whole ‘kit and caboodle’ of global liquid fuels consumed in 2016.

    Total world crude oil average production was 92.150 million barrels per day, or 33.726 billion barrels in 2016. (Page 14)

    This figure includes crude oil (conventional and unconventional plus NGLs), but excludes liquid fuels from other sources such as biomass and derivatives of coal and natural gas.

    Total world biofuel production was 82.306 million tonnes oil equivalent, or multiply this figure by 6.84 (Page 48) to get 563.34 million barrels oil equivalent in 2016. (Page 45)

    My calculations indicate that total world biofuel production (563.34 Mbarrels) represents about 1.6% of total world liquid fuel consumption (35 340 Mbarrels) for year 2016. These are astonishing numbers, that I think most people don’t fully appreciate.

    My point is biofuels currently provide a relatively tiny contribution to the world’s liquid fuel demands. To make a substantially bigger contribution, much more land, much more water resources, much more fertilizers, and other inputs are required for scaling-up, and MUST avoid subsidies from petroleum fuels in these processes, because we can’t rely on fossil fuels for much longer.

  53. Thank you zoot.
    That sounds a bit like what a “public intellectual” would term lived experience. He might say, “Thank you for sharing!”

    Directness, I hasten to add to my earlier remarks [ahem], is not exclusively a zootacious quality. Here, it is also Davidsonian, ootzean, Bahnischonian, BilBeen, Hendersonous and recently, Miellite.

    “Ambi’s Little Book of Lists”
    (c) 2017
    – unavailable in all good bookshops –

  54. Brian,

    I concur with your comment (NOVEMBER 2, 2017 AT 12:00 AM), highlighted in bold:

    Geoff M, I haven’t done anything on biofuels for a long time. My last position is that it was fools gold in the main and actually quite harmful in many ways, especially in the US and the EU.

  55. BilB,

    In your comment directed for Brian (NOVEMBER 2, 2017 AT 8:04 AM), you stated:

    The detractors of bio fuels routinely ignore the success stories from Brazil, South Africa and even Australia.

    I recommend you look at BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2017 and see the total liquid fuel consumption figures for USA, Brazil, South Africa and Australia, and then compare these with the respective crude oil and biofuel production figures, to gain a better perspective of how much of a contribution biofuels truly provide. I think “the success stories” you refer to are probably being subsidized by inputs from petroleum, most likely from diesel fuel, used in harvesting, and transportation, that are temporarily masking the genuine issues of sustainability long-term. I may be wrong about this, but if I am, show me the evidence. An inevitable post- ‘peak oil’ world will likely sort out how sustainable these “success stories” really are.

    BilB, so far, I think you are not providing any compelling arguments to change my viewpoint concerning the merits/disadvantages of biofuels. But I’m not the one that needs convincing. The laws of physics, chemistry and biology will ultimately determine what’s actually viable and sustainable long-term!

    I hope humanity wakes up and begins responding in earnest before it’s too late to avoid a whole lot of pain soon (the evidence I see suggests probably somewhere in the 2020s). To borrow a phrase from Dr Phil: “Get real!

  56. Mr Miell

    May I just say, as an observer here, that your statement to BilB:

    I may be wrong, but I have this perception, based on my understanding of your comments, that you don’t fully appreciate the magnitude of the problem.

    at 1.58pm
    appears to me both patronising and unnecessarily rude.

    But far be it from me to comment on net etiquette!

    Cheerio,
    Ambigulus ignoramus

  57. Warning: No Undermining, No Sniping Corner

    Yesterday’s “Guardian Australia” included this from Mr A. Abbott, speaking in the USA ~

    The former prime minister said the no campaign was a “nucleus of an organisation” that could represent 40% of Australians and become a counterweight to the progressive campaign organisation GetUp.

    “Such robust characters, once activated, are unlikely to fade away; and could continue to make their presence felt, even after marriage is no longer an issue, because they’ve had the guts to campaign for a cause they believe in,” he said.

    Abbott noted that marriage equality was supported by both Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten, 60 large businesses and “most of the major sporting codes”.

    Conservative campaigners would “understandably be wondering who and what might represent them in the years ahead” because “no cabinet minister, not one, in the centre-right government [was] prepared to campaign with them”.

    Jeepers!!

  58. Jehovah’s witnesses also refuse to vote and there are about 65K of them. Other religions may as well but I don’t know which ones.

    Geoff Meill
    You will find calls of ” appears to me both patronising and unnecessarily rude. ” if your not part of the ‘ Gang ‘ and don’t totally agree with lashings of compliments.

    Members of the ‘ Gang ‘ can be both patronising and unnecessarily rude with impunity.

    Trust me, I’ve been here a while.

  59. Oh,… the Turnbull mock outrage over ex Minister Freydenberg in question time is just priceless, coming as it does as the LNP is abandoning in New Guinea 600 captive refugees who have effectively been made stateless for 4 years (nearly the length of the second world war). The irony of it all, both delightful and tragic at the same time.

  60. Are you still a refugee if you pass through a dozen Countries of refuge ?
    I don’t think so.
    After exiting the first Country of refuge you become a migrant.
    And as such must comply with immigration laws, to not is illegal.

  61. Geoff M,

    You’re not really making much sense. On the one hand you are saying that we must transition to alternative energy sources, then on the other you are allowing your self to be overwhelmed by the “cubic kilometre of oil” as though it was Australia’s problem alone. When you decided years ago that ethanol was “fool’s gold” you were completely wrong, and from your comments I can see that you were because you appear to have only engaged with the US corn ethanol which were largely, in today’s language, “fake news”. So all these years later you are still wrong, and, Brian, I’m but you are equally under informed.

    Geoff, you’ve taken the tack that biofuels cannot replace oil.

    No-one is saying that they will. Electricity is the primary energy replacement and biofuels are a support fuel to bridge the gaps batteries, efficiencies, and new techniques can’t bridge.

    I went to some trouble I thought to spell out how mixed fuel vehicles (in this case electricity and ethanol) dramatically reduce the consumption of liquid fuels. In my case any one of half a dozen PHEV brands will give me the ability to drive all year on several tanks of ED95, with the bulk of the “fuel” being from solar panels on the roof of my factory (not there yet but will be part of the package when I buy the car). I know that it is hard to understand this as you drive around in your diesel Mercedes, but the Tesla experience is awesome. I did a 600 klm round trip between Netherlands and Dusseldorf earlier this year. Electricity the whole way and fuelled from the roof of the car’s owner.

    The energy future of each country will be resolved by that country with solutions that are suitable to that country’s circumstances. Here is some news on Sweden’s progress. You know Sweden, cold northerly country with likited sunlight? Well they kicked off their ethanol production using surplus rural biomass. Step by step. Now they are building electric motorways for trucks, Scania are building ED95 truck for city deliveries, car companies have announced the end of the passenger vehicle internal combustion engine for Europe.

    http://www.sekab.com/sustainability/what-weve-done/e85-how-sweden-got-the-most-biofuel-in-europe/

    Please comment on this and demonstrate how this is a failure.

    The n read up on the Brazilian experience and point out the stupidity of those people.

    But having made the statement….

    “I hope humanity wakes up and begins responding in earnest before it’s too late to avoid a whole lot of pain soon (the evidence I see suggests probably somewhere in the 2020s). ”

    …. I think you are now duty bound to explain what that means, what needs to be woken up to, and most importantly…….

    ….what actions must be take.

    That will be tough for you I believe as you have shot down every primary option as being pointless or impossible. I am keen to hear your positive ideas from your extensive knowledge.

  62. After exiting the first Country of refuge you become a migrant.

    Citation required.
    Or as somebody put it:
    E…Vid…Ence or your pants self combust.

  63. It’s self explanatory zoot.
    Unless of course you were fleeing every country from persecution you arrived at on the way.
    Simple really.

  64. Thanks zoot.
    That reminds me, BilB, how’s that compendium of quotes by me Championing Abbott and Trump going?
    Or will you admit I didn’t and you made it up ?

  65. Well don’t keep us in suspense, put them up or….. you know the rest…..
    Also may I remind you that at the accusation was of an historical nature and therefore provable, not imagined recreations of perception based on vibe.

    Lets see this championing of Abbott and Trump dossier.

  66. It’s self explanatory zoot.

    In that case you should have added (somewhere) “in my opinion” since that is your only authority.
    But since that is your interpretation of international law, can you confirm you will welcome with open arms any refugees from Irianjaya (or anywhere else in Indonesia)?

  67. If Australia is the first refuge to escape persecution then yes, absolutely.
    If folk are seeking freedom from Muslim persecution in southern Indonesia , legitimately, we should help.
    Stringent vetting and all that.

  68. I’m doing a Barry Gomersall. When he refereed rugby league and people wanted to indulge in biffo, he just followed the ball and left them to it.

    However, please be gentle with each other.

  69. BilB,

    In my earlier comment I said:

    Total world crude oil average production was 92.150 million barrels per day, or 33.726 billion barrels in 2016. (Page 14)

    That represents a huge amount of energy that needs to be replaced with something else, most likely a mix of various alternative energy solutions. It needs to be replaced because we as a species have a climate change problem, as well as a resource depletion problem – crude oil is finite and rapidly depleting. The time-scale required to replace all of this crude oil energy is before 2050 for climate change reasons, and the transition away from crude oil dependency must begin in earnest now, because (as per the evidence I see) it’s likely global crude oil supplies will begin a sustained decline before 2030, and possibly before 2020. That’s the big challenge that we as a species must face up to. But I see few people willing to acknowledge this. That’s what we as a species have to wake up to, or else the civilization as we know it will decline – we run out of affordable energy. And if we run out of affordable energy we can’t afford to live.

    ….what actions must be take.

    Well, that’s the greatest inconvenient question for many people! And I don’t claim to have the definitive answers.

    What I’m saying is, based on the evidence I see, biofuels are not the “magic bullet”, because of poor economics, poor EROI, damage to the environment, etc. There may be a glimmer of hope with bio-engineered micro-organisms (i.e. algae, bacteria) that directly produce renewable hydrocarbons at higher EROIs (better than sugar ethanol), but there’s still a long way to go before this line of research can be scaled up.

    From Kiefer’s paper Twenty-First Century Snake Oil:

    The cheapest price the US Military has paid for any biofuel to date is $25.73 per gallon.

    In Table 1 is shown a comparison of costs of various biofuels, synthetic fuels, and conventional fuels. Most of the conventional fuel costs are sub-$3 per gallon. The report was produced in January 2013, so there may be some improvements since then, but what’s the evidence of that?

    Do you wish to pay double or triple the price for biofuels you currently pay for conventional petroleum fuel? Can you afford to do so?

    The Qantas report says biofuels are not economic.

    I think we need to be making much more use of rail transport. Rail transport can be electrified.

    We need to be concentrating on more energy efficiency measures. Less energy used means less needs to be produced.

    I think we have lived through “the golden age” for humanity. The evidence I see indicates that age is likely to end soon. But prove me wrong, with credible evidence.

  70. BilB,

    On 30 Nov 2015, I sent a paper copy of my submission concerning the proposed Western Sydney Airport Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Draft Airport Plan to the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development (DIRD) Western Sydney Unit (WSU).

    My submission outlined evidence that it’s likely a sustained decline in the global supplies of petroleum-based fuels will begin before 2030, and there’s a significant risk of this occurring before 2020. Therefore, the abundance and affordability of aviation fuels are in question, and the Western Sydney Airport is likely to be an expensive white elephant.

    I received a letter from the DIRD-WSU, dated 21 Dec 2015, acknowledging receipt of my submission.

    In Sep 2016, the DIRD published the definitive version of its EIS for the proposed Western Sydney Airport.

    On 30 Sep 2016, I wrote to Darren Chester MP, Federal Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, asking questions including:

    1. In the published Western Sydney Airport Environmental Impact Statement Volume 5 Submissions Report I cannot find any reference to the concerns I raised in my submission of likely declining global supplies of petroleum-based liquid fuels before 2030. Have my concerns been ignored? Why is there no reference to my concerns of petroleum fuel resource depletion in the WSA EIS Volume 5 Submissions Report? Is this an inconvenient issue? Will the proposed Western Sydney Airport be a ‘white elephant’ if it proceeds?
    2. Does your ministerial portfolio consider the implications of declining global petroleum fuel supplies and are you as the Minister planning to mitigate for it? If not, why not? Would Australia be ill-prepared for an energy crisis brought on by an inevitable decline of global fossil fuel supplies?

    In response to my questions I received a letter from Ben Hindmarsh, Chief of Staff at the Office of the Hon Darren Chester MP, dated 07 NOV 2016 (PDR ID: MC16-005027). The response included this statement:

    “…the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed Western Sydney Airport did not consider the issue of declining global supplies of petroleum-based liquid fuels.”

    I’m astounded by the admission that the EIS “did not consider the issue of declining global supplies of petroleum-based liquid fuels.” But I note this is not the Minister saying this. Plausible deniability perhaps?

    In November 2016, the International Energy Agency (EIA) published its World Energy Outlook 2016, including for the first time in Figure 3.16 that an oil supply-demand gap may emerge before 2020. Is the EIA wrong? What’s the evidence?

    The Sydney-Melbourne air route is reportedly around the 4th busiest globally, and the Sydney-Brisbane air route is around 11th.

    Why are we building a new airport with growing evidence of declining global supplies of crude oil. I think high-speed rail (HSR) is a far better long-term option in an inevitable post- ‘peak oil’ world.

  71. Keifer? Oh you mean this Keifer , who is saying here that we have oil forever? Good source and even better message.

    I think we are living on different planets, Geoff, you and I. The current spot price for ethanol is $1.57 per gallon So there is a huge issue with Keifer’s “facts”, and by association, yours.

    Brazil has millions of cars and motorbikes running on E85 and E95. Sweden began their Bio-fuel programme to reduce their dependence on imported oil as much as for the environment. E100 in Brazil is more than 30% cheaper than petrol so I don’t know where you get your idea that biofuels cost much more. At the time quite some years ago when I researched this ethanol was 70 cents per litre, and the information I provided was sufficient for you to extract the EROIE for ethanol in the Australian context as distinct from the highly compromised US one.

    I think that you have missread the Qantas report on the one hand and miss understood my comment about regional turboprop bio fuels.

    My assessment is that to live renewably we do not have to compromise our living standard, our quality of life will increase, and the “efficiencies” required are mostly to do with buying less “stuff”.

  72. GeoffM,

    I applaud your effort and commitment in creating your second airport report. For further reseach I urge you to read Keifer’s comment on Robert Rapier’s Blog, then get familiar with the Comparative Air Flight Efficieny Blog to become better informed on aviation advances particularly with relation to electric aviation.

  73. Jumpy, I’ve some an item on Manus Island on the new Saturday salon.

    Luckily some academic legal people have taken a look at the relevant laws, so we can move a bit further than you just making stuff up.

  74. Geoff M, just to let you know, Jumpy is a builder who runs a small business employing a few helpers in or near Mackay. He has told us that he didn’t play much attention at school, but mostly when he puts his mind to it, he can spell.

    He’s a proud libertarian. In that as far as I know he’s alone on this blog, so he tends to see the rest as a ‘gang’ because they see the world through different eyes.

    I’ve decided to out myself as a member of the ALP on the About page, but I haven’t joined a branch. That would mean doing stuff, which I’m too old for and I’ve never been the right person.

    My work is here, and available to anyone who wants to use it.

    I think those who have been around know that I follow the truth as it is uncovered. At least I try, and also try to welcome being corrected.

    Jumpy has I believe suggested I think tribally. He can think what he likes. I know we don’t always know ourselves as well as we think we do.

  75. I’ve decided to out myself as a member of the ALP

    Well that’s a shock.
    In other breaking news George Michael was gay.

  76. And the shocking revelation is on the ‘ About ‘ tab not the ‘ Contact ‘ tag.

    Just to be informative, not being pedantic.

  77. Yes that is the correct link thanks, Brian. I venture to say, Brian, that you have no need to join any political party as you contribute more to the rational advancement of Australia through this excellent blog than any whole political party does, just as you son, Mark, did with his LP blog in its time.

    It is good that we don’t all agree, for how else do we grow our knowledge and improve our thinking.

  78. BilB, thanks. I think I joined just after Abbott became PM. I’d say that I did think I might have an opportunity to contribute ideas, but it became apparent that they were really after foot soldiers.

    Still the emails are interesting. Tony Burke does a great one at the end of each week in parliament. Pithy and funny.

  79. BilB,

    Your comment (at NOVEMBER 1, 2017 AT 2:16 AM) stated:

    As for US corn ethanol, farming practices are antiquated and wasteful (non till farming is not commonly used) and the corn stover is used as stock feed rather than fuelling the distillation process thus requiring gas to be used, and it is this production feature that is the basis of claims such as the one you made.

    Big bold claim? Do you have comparison EROI figures to back this up? EROI is an indication of energy outputs relative to energy inputs – an indicator of efficiency (or wastefulness). Swedish or Australian (or any other country’s) EROI figures compared with USA’s EROI figures would be a good test. Are US farming practices “antiquated and wasteful” in reality, or is that just your perception? USA is the world’s largest biofuel producer (43.5% global share, per BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2017) – I think these efforts are not too shabby for a country you say has farming practices that are “antiquated and wasteful”!

    My comment (at NOVEMBER 1, 2017 AT 4:27 PM) provided EROI figures for Crude Oil (35:1 in year 1995; 19:1 for year 2016), Tar Sands (2-4:1), Shale Oil (5:1), Sugarcane Ethanol (4-9:1), Corn Ethanol (~1:1), Lignocellulosic ethanol (1-10:1), and Biodiesel (1-3:1). Most of this data is for USA, and comes from an extract of a publication that appears to be dated year 2014 – 3-4 years old.

    I also referred to the ARENA funded lignocellulosic to biofuel research, Cane2Fuel project, from Dec 2009 to May 2012 – this is 5-6-year-old research. The outcome of this Australian research indicated biofuel production is not economically viable in Australia.

    Your comment at NOVEMBER 1, 2017 AT 7:32 PM stated:

    My information is about 8 years old.

    So, you are relying on less-than-contemporaneous data. You also stated:

    Ethanol is an excellent assist fuel and that is why I refer to it with relation to PHEV’s which are available today.

    That’s your perception. My perception is based on credible EROI data that indicates to me Ethanol is a poor choice as an unsubsidized large-scale petroleum replacement fuel. If new data comes to hand I will reassess my view. So far you haven’t provided anything relevant to change my position. Do you have new EROI numbers, or failing that, unsubsidized (by the use of petroleum in production) biofuel prices compared with conventional fuel prices data?

  80. BilB,

    Your comment (at NOVEMBER 1, 2017 AT 9:00 PM) stated:

    It is blatantly obvious that ethanol as a fuel is totally viable and has been for decades in a country, Brazil, with ten times Australia’s population, while using only 2% of their arable land (may be 3% by now) leaving the whole food argument by the wayside as well.

    Your phrase “blatantly obvious” is your perception. Let’s look at where Brazil’s biofuel production is in relation to its total liquid fuel consumption to gain some perception of orders-of-scale.

    Per BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2017, Brazil’s total liquid fuel average consumption was 3.018 million barrels per day, or 1.104 billion barrels in year-2016 (Page 15). Brazil’s crude oil average production was 2.605 million barrels per day, or 953.4 million barrels in year-2016 (Page 14). Brazil’s biofuels production was 18.552 million tonnes oil equivalent – 22.5% global share (but far less than USA’s at 43.5% global share) (Page 45), or 126.90 million barrels oil equivalent. Brazil’s biofuels production represents about 11.5% of its total liquid fuel consumption.

    To scale up Brazil’s biofuels production to supply all its liquid fuel demands would require of the order of 20-30% of Brazil’s arable land, if your arable land figures above are correct. So, does this really leave “the whole food argument by the wayside”? I don’t think so. What about other countries that are not so blessed as Brazil with large areas of arable lands, favourable soil fertility, and favourable climate for biofuel production, but currently have much higher liquid fuel demands, like USA or China?

  81. BilB,

    Then there are questions about how to keep the world’s aircraft flying without petroleum-based fuels. Qantas’ June 2013 Feasibility Study of Australian feedstock and production capacity to produce sustainable aviation fuel, in Section 8.10 Summary, includes:

    The cost of conventional jet fuel (at the refinery gate based on IPP) is predicted to be around A$0.65 to A$0.95 per litre in the projection period, which is approximately A$1.00 to A$1.50 per litre less than the cost of SAF production. Closing the gap will be difficult as higher crude prices (reflecting higher jet fuel prices) paradoxically lead to higher costs. This is principally because of the observed short-to-medium term correlation between crude oil and bio-feedstock prices. Therefore, a higher crude oil price not only leads to higher market jet fuel prices, but also to higher input costs through increased bio-feedstock prices, assuming no supply chain integration.

    In conclusion, the HEFA based pathway faces significant economic challenges in Australia based on the current understanding of HEFA feedstock pricing structures and capital costs. Revenue collected from the project is generally less than the costs of purchasing key feedstock under a range of reasonable assumptions on key input values. In addition, the price of SAF is not competitive, with the LRMC higher than the projected average conventional jet fuel price range over the next two decades.

    Per the Qantas report, aviation biofuels are roughly 2.6 times the price of petroleum-based aviation fuels; clearly uncompetitive and unlikely to change at higher crude oil prices. Higher aviation fuel prices will make flying far less affordable. Are you saying Qantas has got it wrong? Evidence please?

    Then there’s the question of what form of energy is used to operate marine vessels. Nuclear fission fuels are also finite.

    That will be tough for you I believe as you have shot down every primary option as being pointless or impossible.

    I don’t see a comprehensive mix of affordable solutions to replace petroleum-based fuels in the required time-frame, only partial ones. I’d like to be wrong about this, but that’s what I see so far. It seems many people don’t want to accept that there are no neat, easy, quick, cheap solutions. And that’s why many people are in denial.

  82. Did a very quick sum for a typical vehicle that travels 15000 km/yr, has a fuel consumption of 5l/100 km and uses fuel costing $1.5/litre. Fuel bill comes out at a truly massive $3 per day. Could go up a lot more before we reach the end of the world as we know it.
    We can afford to switch to renewable transport fuels that cost substantially more than fossil fuels. The technology is already here to produce renewable fuels other than bio fuels.
    Not sure whether it is true but I have read that it was the US biofuel quotas that drove up the price of corn to the point where this price was a significant contributing factor to the middle east unrest.

  83. Just FYI, I bought a 5-litre pot today of the stuff you put into petrol for 2-stroke motors.

    Now for the first time you can buy ‘green’ as opposed to ‘mineral’ stuff. OK, it’s about twice the price, for now, it ‘s synthetic and is supposed to be better for your engines.

    I wonder what the feedstock is. Methane?

  84. this price was a significant contributing factor to the middle east unrest.

    John, I think starving Mexicans too who could no longer afford their staple diet.

  85. JohnD,

    Here are the fuel prices across the range for vehicle fuels in Sydney

    08/11/2017 Price Excluding GST GST Component Price Including GST
    Sydney 1.29
    Unleaded 115.03 11.50 126.53
    Premium 121.56 12.16 133.72
    Diesel 111.43 11.14 122.57
    B20 110.62 11.06 121.68
    E10 113.74 11.37 125.12
    E85 101.48 10.15 111.63
    Premium 98 127.17 12.72 139.89
    Premium 100 126.26 12.63 138.89

    Please note that the cheapest fuel today is E85. This does not correlate with your claim

    “We can afford to switch to renewable transport fuels that cost substantially more than fossil fuels. ”

    Please explain your comment.

    Source

    https://www.unitedpetroleum.com.au/wholesale/list-pricing/

  86. GeoffM

    From what I can deduce from your comments you have not followed a single link that I have put up, or you are just completely disregarding new information and carrying on with your old/false information.

    The Aviation aspect to this discussion arose from my comment that biofuels will be able to keep regional turbo prop aircraft flying based on my recent experience of a regional flight in NZ and the comment from the pilot on the fuel consumption for that flight.

    You immediately inflated the discussion into international flights and found a report by Qantas on a test that they had done. In that report Qantas make the claim that biofuel pricing is automatically linked to oil prices. This is a false claim made on the assumption that fossil fuels would be required for the production of bio fuels.

    I have demonstrated that why this is false by pointing to the future of sustainable farming with biofuel powered machinery.

    While you still cling to the notion that Qantas is the best judge of the future of aviation fuels, allow me to demonstrate that Qantas are substantially disinterested bit part players in the future of Aviation Fuels.

    Richard Branson has pledged 3 billion dollars to the development of aviation biofuels, some 1000 times Qantas’ commitment. Branson’s most recent press release

    https://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/low-carbon-fuel-breakthrough-virgin-atlantic

    This article does not refer to cost, it is predominately about sustainability, the real aim. However the Qantas report makes some dubious claims about cost, inflating the source fuel, ethanol, from 50 cents per litre to more than three times the international market price.

    Meanwhile all major aircraft manufacturers are committed to finding a sustainable path to keep aircraft in flying sustainably.

    http://www.aircraft.airbus.com/innovation/future-by-airbus/future-energy-sources/sustainable-aviation-fuel/

    And while that is underway engine makers are making substantial gains in efficiencies…….

  87. …….of as much as 25% in Rolls Royce’s case with its new ultra engine with a geared fan drive…

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/flight/news/a28082/rolls-royce-record-most-powerful-turbofan-gearbox-aircraft-engine/.

    Beyond that but very much in the present I suspect that you are oblivious to the massive innovations underway with electric aviation

    http://www.machinedesign.com/batteriespower-supplies/future-electric-hybrid-aviation

    So I conclude on the future of sustainable aviation that your comment

    “I don’t see a comprehensive mix of affordable solutions to replace petroleum-based fuels in the required time-frame, only partial ones”

    is based on a complete lack of knowledge on the subject.

  88. Geoff Miell
    NOVEMBER 6, 2017 AT 10:44 AM

    Geoff, again you completely fail to appreciate the form that future transport will take despite highly public announcements by most European car manufacturers that they will discontinue production of internal combustion engined vehicles in the near future.

    My entire discussion has feature biofuels for use in PUG in HYBRID ELECTRIC VEHICLES where the primary power is plug in charged batteries and the fuel burning engine is for longer range driving.

    Brazil’s total current biofuel stock is used in internal combustion engine vehicles where the liquid fuel is the only motive medium.

    When Brazil transitions to substantially electric vehicles and PHEV’s the current biofuel production will be more than sufficient to power the entire country.

    My comment holds true exactly as I stated it, if you read it properly.

  89. Geoff Miell
    NOVEMBER 6, 2017 AT 10:35 AM

    When it comes to US corn production there is a lot to say.

    This is a primer on where US corn farming isn’t

    http://www.cornandsoybeandigest.com/tillage/low-disturbance-no-till-future-farming

    The other part of the corn for biofuel production is that it is not the most efficient means of achieving biofuel.

    “In the U.S., average corn yields of 9.4 tons per hectare and 399 liters-per-ton conversion efficiency produces 3,751 liters of ethanol per hectare, according to one 2007 estimate. Up to now, there has been no reported use of agave feedstock for ethanol production.Feb 22, 2012”

    Brazil on the other hand gets 7500 litres of ethanol per hectare while Australia gets 9000 to 12500 litres per hectare.

    So why does the US persist with corn as the bio stock? particularly when the are using the most fertile part of their land, and depleting their deep aquifer reserve in the process to do it?

    The reason is that the US has had a moratorium on the use of sugar cane for the production of anything other than sugar. This has led to falling sugar prices from an expanding sugar glut and in turn led to this remarkably stupid situation

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-agriculture-sugar/usda-asks-white-house-to-approve-sugar-for-ethanol-program-idUSBRE9370YR20130408

    It is highly inefficient to make ethanol from the finished sugar product. The milling of cane for sugar production is quite different to that for the production of ethanol. The two processes begin at the crushing stage.

    I could go on and on about this but I have a mountain of work to do but I’ll conclude by responding to this

    “I also referred to the ARENA funded lignocellulosic to biofuel research, Cane2Fuel project, from Dec 2009 to May 2012 – this is 5-6-year-old research. The outcome of this Australian research indicated biofuel production is not economically viable in Australia”

    Geoff this is a conflated argument the conclusion of which is a construction of your own and totally miss-leading and false.

    Ethanol from cane has several stages or generations. The first is the extraction of sugar starches from the woody fibre of the cane for fermentation and subsequent distillation of alcohol.

    The waste product from stage one is the woody fibrous (ligno cellulosic) material called bagasse. In Australia this material is burnt to provide all of the energy for the first generation ethanol to be produced. There is a surplus of energy form this process which, if the plant has a steam turbine, can produce electricity to feed into a local grid. In Brazil regional distilleries do not have this feature so that energy is usually lost.

    There is a second process that can be used is to breakdown the cellulosic material and ferment this in a secondary process to produce more ethanol. The problem is that the breakdown of the cellulose takes time and a considerable amount of acid which must be recovered after the process is complete.

    This is the process that the Cane2Fuel project was about. The Brazillians have solved the slow nature of the process by stockpiling the bagasse after dosing it with a weak acid to soften the cellulose over time. This has the added advantage of extending the ethanol production season considerably. The final waste product of this process is lignin a tough material which can be burnt to power some of the total distillation process.

    It was a false claim to say that ARENA concluded that ALL biofuel production was unviable on the basis of its work on one part of a biofuel process. That was a conclusion that you, Geoff, made to bolster your failing argument.

    I won’t go into the EROEI argument as there is no point when so much of the information is miss matched and irrelevent, and the one bio fuel production process that is very successful is not represented in the presented figures.

    I am happy to continue this but at another time.

  90. Jumpperson on Nov 3rd you referred to other religions which recommend their adherents don’t vote.

    I believe that’s the case for the Exclusive Brethren. We have quite a number in my regional Vic town. They built a meeting place/church some years ago that has a big fence and car park but no sign announcing who they are.

    Apparently they tithe, and help each other in (small) business ventures. Take a dim view of TV. Don’t vote, but paradoxically they are reported to donate to a small political party whose main base seems to be evangelical Christians.

    Iran Jaya was once called West Papua. They held an “act of free choice” in the early 1960s, which was a travesty of democratic participation. (It lacked voting by the people at large.)

    I’m inclined to believe that Minister Josh’s mother was stateless when she left Europe. Papers calling her “Hungarian” might have been recording her origin??

    At least the latest kerfuffle has reminded us of Adolf’s “final solution”, abetted by various junior fascists in nearby countries. And indirectly, of the thousands of destitute Europeans fleeing the aftermath of a devastating war, and the desolation, starvation and misery that followed the conquest of Berlin; who found welcome and sustenance in our far-off, unfamiliar land.

    After 1945 and into the 1950s, ……
    “We decided who came here, and the circumstances under which they came.”

  91. Geoff, again you completely fail to appreciate the form that future transport will take despite highly public announcements by most European car manufacturers that they will discontinue production of internal combustion engined vehicles in the near future.

    So bio fuels will soon be redundant, but we should spend trillions on an almost stranded industry that made a fly fart of difference to start with.
    In the mean time it doesn’t matter some foods will be unaffordable for millions.
    Got it.

  92. BilB (Re: NOVEMBER 4, 2017 AT 12:02 PM):

    Keifer? Oh you mean this Keifer , who is saying here that we have oil forever? Good source and even better message.

    The links you provided are not valid, as Brian pointed out in a later comment. You seemingly are saying “we have oil forever” is a “good source and even better message”. Really? Continuing at current rates of extraction, and maintained at current levels of affordability/pricing? That’s what I would call delusional thinking. The trend of declining EROIs for fossil fuel extraction indicates it is inevitable that we will reach a point where overall average crude oil EROIs would reach low levels. At an EROI of 1:1, extraction becomes unviable on an energetic basis – the ultimate arbiter of viability – but our sophisticated civilisation requires energy supplies on average with EROIs at or better than about 12:1. There may still be oil remaining in the ground, but we won’t be able to access it affordably – “oil forever”, but certainly not extractable/usable.

    I think we are living on different planets, Geoff, you and I.

    Evidently. I’m thinking like an engineer, exploring the possible, the improbable, and the highly unlikely/fantastical, and asking what appears to be highly inconvenient questions to many people, and seemingly making these people uncomfortable because it appears too confronting for their perceptions/thinking/mindsets/agendas. I’m challenging you to present evidence that compels me to reassess my views – I’d like to see as good as, if not a better future, based on facts/reality, not fantasy. So far, you haven’t swayed me, but I appreciate the information you have provided – all adding to the knowledge base – thank you for the exchange.

    The current spot price for ethanol is $1.57 per gallon So there is a huge issue with Keifer’s “facts”, and by association, yours.

    Ethanol at $1.57 per gallon, to replace the entire current (33.726 billion barrels oil energy equivalent in year-2016) global petroleum fuel supply, or even a substantial fraction of this volume? I think you are dreaming. If it’s so cheap, why aren’t we all switching over to Ethanol in droves, even with a lower energy density (Ethanol E100: 20.9 MJ/litre) compared with petroleum fuels (diesel: 35.8 MJ/litre, petrol: 34.2 MJ/litre, LPG: 26 MJ/litre)? Spot prices reflect the supply-demand dynamic at any given instant. It’s the long-term trends, and volumetric and qualitative sustainability that count.

    Captain (retired USN aviator) T.A. “Ike” Kiefer’s (not spelt “Keifer”) January 2013 paper, Twenty-First Century Snake Oil: Why the United States Should Reject Biofuels as Part of a Rational National Security Energy Strategy, in Table 1, lists various US DoD fuel supply purchase contracts (up to Sep 2012) for biofuels, synthetic fuels, and conventional fuels. Are you suggesting Captain Kiefer has engaged in misrepresentations of facts? Cherry-picking of data to show a false/fraudulent case? Evidence please? The Qantas report and ARENA funded Cane2Fuel project make the same general conclusions (i.e. they generally corroborate Kiefer’s conclusions) that biofuels are not economic and remain fossil fuel dependent. Are they fraudulent/incompetent too? Evidence please?

    As for John D’s post on the US Navy producing fuel from seawater, I ask: Where does the energy come from to produce this fuel? You don’t get energy from nothing – it transgresses the laws of thermodynamics! Correct me if I have misunderstood, but I assume some of the nuclear reactors’ energy onboard US aircraft carriers are intended to be used to drive this process, to minimise ship-to-ship fuel replenishments at sea. Nuclear fission fuels, although evidently with very high energy densities, are nevertheless finite, and thus supplies are not sustainable in the long-term.

    I think some people are waking up to our likely energy future, but there are still too many in wilful denial, or ignorant of the facts/realities.

  93. BilB,

    Your comments (at NOVEMBER 3, 2017 AT 5:40 PM) included:

    On the one hand you are saying that we must transition to alternative energy sources…

    Precisely, for climate change reasons – zero use of petroleum fuels by no later than 2050 – and for resource depletion reasons – to begin the transition now, or certainly before it’s decided for us by an inevitable global sustained decline in petroleum fuel supplies likely before 2030.

    …then on the other you are allowing your self to be overwhelmed by the “cubic kilometre of oil” as though it was Australia’s problem alone.

    I’m not “overwhelmed”, just stating facts as I see them. I think I’m more aware of the magnitude of the problem, the current huge petroleum-dependent infrastructure legacies, and the huge engineering challenges needed for mitigation in a restricted time-frame, than you appear to be from your comments. It’s of the order of 5.36 cubic kilometres of crude oil per annum. It’s not just Australia’s problem – it’s a global problem. Different countries have different challenges.

    Your links referring to Scania’s ED95 trucks are interesting, and a beginning, but nowhere near adequate in the overall “big picture”. The Scania PR article says:

    Recently Scania handed over 17 ethanol trucks to food company Arla’s dairy facility and warehouse at Järfälla, north of Stockholm.

    How many petroleum-fuelled trucks are in Sweden that would require replacement with these ED95-fuelled trucks? Tens-of-thousands, or perhaps more than 100,000? Then scale up to the global level? – hundreds of millions, or perhaps billions of trucks? Economic questions include the upfront ED95-fuelled truck capital costs and running costs compared with conventional petroleum-fuelled trucks? My point is: Can this Scania initiative be readily scaled up to enormously large numbers, particularly concerning providing a much larger sustainable biofuel supply required to support these ED95-fuelled truck operations, and be economically and sustainably viable? The failure of the examples you have provided is that there’s no information contained within to make an informed assessment – all “feel good vibe” but short on the required hard-nosed details.

    The n read up on the Brazilian experience and point out the stupidity of those people.

    I don’t think the Brazilians are stupid. I don’t think the Brazilian biofuel production experience can be readily transferred and scaled up everywhere else. And that’s what I think is the core of the problem.

    Geoff, you’ve taken the tack that biofuels cannot replace oil.

    Yep – That’s what the evidence I see leads me to conclude.

    No-one is saying that they will. Electricity is the primary energy replacement and biofuels are a support fuel to bridge the gaps batteries, efficiencies, and new techniques can’t bridge.

    You seem to me to be making a concerted effort at trying to promote biofuels as a large-scale petroleum replacement (e.g. “It is blatantly obvious that ethanol as a fuel is totally viable”). PHEVs add complexities that I suspect we can ill-afford. Better to improve battery performance and avoid “dual-fuels”. You said “…the Tesla experience is awesome”, so why have PHEVs?

    And Jumpy (comments at NOVEMBER 7, 2017 AT 2:56 PM):

    So bio fuels will soon be redundant, but we should spend trillions on an almost stranded industry that made a fly fart of difference to start with.
    In the mean time it doesn’t matter some foods will be unaffordable for millions.

    Precisely – Thanks Jumpy

  94. BilB (Re: NOVEMBER 4, 2017 AT 12:14 PM):

    I applaud your effort and commitment in creating your second airport report.

    Thank you. I think the Western Sydney Airport will be an expensive tax-payer-funded white elephant. There are much better cost-effective solutions in an inevitable post- ‘peak oil’ world. I don’t like seeing taxes being squandered on expensive, wasteful, and ultimately useless projects.

    Are the aviation advances that you refer to in your comments (referred above and again at NOVEMBER 7, 2017 AT 11:59 AM) at such a point that large aircraft, like the Boeing Dreamliner and Airbus A380, can now be replaced with electric-powered aircraft with comparable performance characteristics (i.e. carrying hundreds of people plus tonnes of cargo, at speeds around 1000 km/h or perhaps more, with 12,000+ km range, and at similar capital expenditure and operating costs)? Now that would undoubtedly be news! This is the revolutionary change that is required. But I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

    All the evidence I see tells me the aviation industry will severely wither soon, unless some new, innovative, affordable and effective technologies, that I’m unaware of, can be readily deployed in a substantial way, right now.

  95. BilB (Re: NOVEMBER 7, 2017 AT 1:09 PM):

    I won’t go into the EROEI argument as there is no point when so much of the information is miss matched and irrelevent, and the one bio fuel production process that is very successful is not represented in the presented figures.

    How very convenient for you – just ignore the most important/critical aspect of the argument. The ratio of energy out versus the energy required to produce that energy.

    All these biofuel processes are heavily dependent on the use of petroleum fuel to subsidize these processes. Take away all petroleum fuels and see how viable biofuel production really is. That was the key finding in the Qantas report – as petroleum fuel prices go up, used to harvest and transport biofuel feed-stocks, the price of the feed-stocks goes up and hence the costs of biofuel production.

    The price of transport fuels have a big influence on nearly all aspects of our economy. When crude oil prices exceed US$100 per barrel economic recessions begin.

  96. BilB,

    My 30 Nov 2015 submission in response to the proposed Western Sydney Airport Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Draft Airport Plan included these statements as an Executive Summary:

    Key “Take Home” Message

    Oil is a finite liquid fuel / energy resource. We are currently consuming oil reserves on a global scale at an enormous and unprecedented rate. Global 2014 reserves-to-production was 52.5 years, and this indicator has been in decline year-on-year in this decade, meaning new oil discoveries appear insufficient to fully replace our consumption.

    Many oil producing countries, including Australia, have already passed peak. Ever fewer pre-peak production countries must increase their annual production continually to compensate for many other countries with declining production. The enormous growth in US crude production has recently ceased.

    US oil production is likely to begin a sustained decline before 2020.

    Global oil production is likely to begin a sustained decline before 2030 and possibly even before 2020.

    Biofuels are unlikely to become a widespread, affordable replacement for petroleum fuels because of their poor EROI and fossil fuel dependency.

    Declining oil production will create a rising energy deficiency that coal and natural gas will be unable to compensate for.

    With a peaking of global oil production likely in a timeframe within years, perhaps months, but not decades away, followed then by a sustained and terminal decline through the remainder of this century, global liquid fuel supplies will likely fail to meet demand and become much more expensive.

    With rising liquid fuel prices, aviation fuel prices will follow. As aviation fuel prices are the largest cost component in air fares, then air fares will rise accordingly. With less people able to afford to fly due to increasing air fares (and other rising costs-of-living associated with high liquid fuel prices), then there will be less demand for air travel and consequently there will be a decline in air traffic movements.

    The “expected” growth in airline passenger numbers and air traffic movements, in the next decade and beyond, ignores the evidence of an approaching global ‘post-peak oil regime’ and is therefore baseless, and the prime justification for the proposed Western Sydney Airport is untenable.

    Beyond Zero Emissions’ April 2014 publication, Zero Carbon Australia High Speed Rail provides a detailed analysis and description of a rapid rail network proposal linking Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane and other regional centres along this transport corridor, which claims could be operational within ten years.

    In the shadow of a looming global ‘post-peak oil regime’ HSR has a far greater potential to thrive and prosper, whereas aviation, as it is currently configured, is likely to wither substantially unless new technologies are developed and deployed.

    Oppose the Western Sydney Airport; support HSR.

    But my message appears far too inconvenient for the Australian Federal Government, and did not even get a mention in the Volume 5: Submissions Summary in the final Western Sydney Airport EIS, let alone refute any of my concerns with credible evidence or consider strategies to mitigate them.

    I would think if I was wrong, evidence or counter-arguments would be readily presented in the EIS to provide a compelling alternative position. No such luck, which suggests to me I’m not that far from reality – and that should be a worry, because it seems to me we remain profoundly ill-prepared for an inevitable post- ‘peak oil’ world!

  97. Any chemistry Dudes out there can tell me the difference in greenhouse gases per energy unit between fossils fuel and biofuels ?

  98. GeofM

    This is turning into an ego battle for you now.

    Your not reading the information and are determined to look as though you understand this when clearly you don’t.

    I informed you that the public officer of the ethanol farmers association told me directly that the field costs for his cane to ethanol operation was a mere 5% over his receipts. The energy cost of the processing is 150% covered by the energy recovered from the waste material. So the EROEI is 20:1, the energy cost of fertilizer would be more than covered by the surplus electricity fed into the local electricity grid.

    Then I showed you any number of times an internal combustion engine specifically designed to run on ED 95 which when fitted to tractors and trucks allows for the full production of cane ethanol to be 100% independent of oil. So this claim

    “All these biofuel processes are heavily dependent on the use of petroleum fuel to subsidize these processes.”

    is only circumstantially correct in the very short term.

    End of argument.

    Geof you are just making the same false claims over and over. You are not demonstrating any capacity for learning. I can’t help you if you are that closed off.

    And again…

    “All the evidence I see tells me the aviation industry will severely wither soon, unless some new, innovative, affordable and effective technologies, that I’m unaware of, can be readily deployed in a substantial way, right now.”

    You haven’t followed a single link that I have put up here. That shows a total disregard for the discussion process. Had you read any of the information you would know that there are very real projects being implement right now, such as Dubai’s electric VTOL autonomous taxi service being trialled. Boeing and Airbus are in a neck a neck race to build 12 seater hybrid electric aircraft as commercial test beds for larger aircraft developments.

    This a futile link placed for GeofM to learn from.

    Geof…

    “The failure of the examples you have provided is that there’s no information contained within to make an informed assessment – all “feel good vibe” but short on the required hard-nosed details.”

    …..if there is not enough information there in the linked items phone the companies up, as I do, and ask them the questions. You do know how to use a phone I hope.

    What the….

    “hundreds of millions, or perhaps billions of trucks”

    ….if there were billions of trucks with 9 litre Scania engines that would mean that at lest every third person on the planet would own one. Really?? Clearly you are not being rational.

    But to show you what a rational response looks like, Sweden had in 2016
    Light Commercial vehicles (2 litre engines) = 51,669
    Heavy Commercial vehicles (9 litre engines) = 6,498
    Busses and Coaches (6 Litre engines) = 1,333

    Now that is worth reflecting on. When Scania ED95 engines power all 6,498 Swedish heavy vehicles they will be saving CO2 emissions of 74,727 tonnes per year. About that same time perhaps as many as 50% of the light commercial vehicles will be Scania Electric Vehicles. Considering the commitment of that country there is a 60% certainty that that will be the status within 10 years or less.

  99. Ladies, take the bricks out of your handbags !!

    I do love it when the left start eating each other but Brian doesn’t.

    Civil discourse without violating the comment policy please.

  100. Jumpy 4.07pm

    I am not a “chemistry dude”, but this I can suggest:

    1. Fossil fuels were generally buried long, long ago. The carbon or hydrocarbons therein have chemical energy bound in arising from plant photosynthesis that occurred (in many cases) millions of years ago.

    2. The carbon in fossil fuels has thus been trapped, or if you like “sequestered”, below ground, and generally not releasing methane or carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This is a generalisation. There will be some exceptions. For example, peat or shallow brown coal has been known to catch fire in Victoria during a severe bushfire, and can burn slowly just below the soil surface.

    3. By contrast, biofuel feedstock, whether sugar cane or other photosynthesising plants, draws carbon dioxide directly from the air, transforms it, and after combustion releases it to the atmosphere. That would be regarded as a closed cycle, called “the carbon cycle”.

    4. If the biofuels released a large proportion of their carbon as methane, that could be a greenhouse black mark. As you know, and Brian has explained, methane is much more powerful than CO2, carbon atom for carbon atom, as a heat trapper.

    I hope this
    a) is accurate, and
    b) is helpful.

    ***
    BTW, it seems bushfire emissions of CO2 are ignored in carbon accounting, on the grounds that the “carbon cycle” has operated for millions of years, as have wildfires.

    Personally, I suspect there may be a flaw in that reasoning, if bushfires become more frequent due to human actions or changing weather…. then regrowth of forest and other plants might not “soak up” the CO2 quickly enough???

    BTW there are other “sinks” of carbon dioxide: one of those is where CO2 dissolves in rivers, lakes or oceans. As you know, that dissolving produces a weak (carbonic) acid; hence concern over ‘acidification’ of seas and oceans.

    Cheerio.

  101. I’ve added the tag biofuels to the post so the discussion can be picked up when we get our tag cloud working properly again.

    On The World Today today there was an item COP23 climate change summit begins in Bonn. The main interest was an interview with PhD student Romesh Wijesiri from Monash University who is working on capturing carbon from the air, using solar power only, to produce new fuels, and also using solar power to take CO2 out of the air and store it.

    The big interest was in essentially mining CO2 from the atmosphere to produce a replacement for petrol or other liquid fuels. He was going on from Bonn to another meeting on the subject.

  102. Interesting, Brian.*

    Mr J: you likely know this, but……
    every carbon dioxide molecule is the same, regardless of origin; ditto every methane molecule; every nitrogen molecule. I mean those in the air.

    * very good news; the solar energy is always streaming in, warming the ground, warming the air, growing the plants and algae; good to grab some of it and divert it to our use without warming the atmosphere.

  103. BilB,

    Here’s some statements from Captain Kiefer’s Jan 2013 paper for you to think about:

    Every cultivated crop competes with every other cultivated crop for finite resources including water, land, agrichemicals, farm equipment, and financing.

    Biofuels are not renewable in any location where water resources are being depleted.

    In contrast, liquid biofuels derive 80% or more of their energy content from fossil fuel and go away if fossil fuels go away; are subject to interruption by weather events such as drought, freeze, and flood; have zero proved reserves and must be made season-by-season; are encumbered with the price volatility of both the energy and agricultural markets; are neither globally standardized nor globally available; and are money sinks for a [US] federal government $16 trillion in debt.

    With climate change likely to cause more intense storms and cyclones/hurricanes in future, according to the scientists, what do we do if biofuel feed-stocks are damaged/destroyed by harsh weather? Wait another season for the next crop, provided the weather is kind next time? Is that a secure, sustainable energy supply? I don’t think so.

  104. BilB (Re: NOVEMBER 7, 2017 AT 11:52 AM):

    The Aviation aspect to this discussion arose from my comment that biofuels will be able to keep regional turbo prop aircraft flying based on my recent experience of a regional flight in NZ and the comment from the pilot on the fuel consumption for that flight.

    You are thinking small, and fail to see the bigger picture. Regional turbo prop aircraft are a small part of aviation. Add the city-to-city domestic turbo-fan aircraft, like for example, in my earlier comment, I stated:

    The Sydney-Melbourne air route is reportedly around the 4th busiest globally, and the Sydney-Brisbane air route is around 11th.

    Do we forget about sustaining flights like these, because aviation biofuel production can’t deliver sufficient quantities to meet this demand? Although, HSR could replace flights linking Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, and regional areas along the route. But what about other routes? And what about international flights? However, regional aircraft, in NZ no less, should be OK, according to your comments.

    You immediately inflated the discussion into international flights and found a report by Qantas on a test that they had done.

    Is mentioning international flights inconvenient for you? Yes, let’s just ignore international flights and see how international trade, business travel and tourism remain sustainable and affordable in a post- ‘peak oil’ world, and no affordable alternative. The Qantas report is highly relevant.

    In that report Qantas make the claim that biofuel pricing is automatically linked to oil prices.

    Because petroleum fuels are used to harvest and transport biofuel feed-stocks. Until you break that dependency, then biofuel prices will remain linked to oil prices.

    This is a false claim made on the assumption that fossil fuels would be required for the production of bio fuels.

    Fossil fuels have superior energy density and generally higher EROI, compared with biofuels. That’s the reality. And while the EROI and energy densities for petroleum fuels remain on average much higher than for biofuels, then petroleum fuels will be used in preference to biofuels, in the harvesting and transport of biofuels, and supply of fertilisers, agrichemicals, etc.

    I have demonstrated that why this is false by pointing to the future of sustainable farming with biofuel powered machinery.

    You are enamoured by the hype/spin, and clearly ignoring inconvenient critical details.

    While you still cling to the notion that Qantas is the best judge of the future of aviation fuels, allow me to demonstrate that Qantas are substantially disinterested bit part players in the future of Aviation Fuels.

    Qantas is the second oldest commercial airline still operating, with no crashes causing death or severe injury, and is still profitable? I think that’s correct? That’s an outstanding record, don’t you think? I think it would be in Qantas’ best interests to ensure they have a sustainable, profitable future. So, to maintain that, it would be in Qantas’ best interests to take a very keen interest in the future of affordable, sustainable aviation fuels – without it they won’t survive. Are you for real when you say: “…that Qantas are substantially disinterested bit part players in the future of Aviation Fuels.”? I had to laugh at how silly and absurd your above statement is re Qantas.

    Richard Branson has pledged 3 billion dollars to the development of aviation biofuels, some 1000 times Qantas’ commitment. Branson’s most recent press release

    Good on him. But I hope he includes EROI analysis to weed out poor prospects quickly and zero in on areas of research likely to yield biofuels with EROIs higher than 10:1. My tip would be to look at utilising bio-engineered algae or bacteria, subject to favourable EROI analysis outcome. I’d like him to succeed, but would advise caution, by urging reading and comprehending the summing up in the last paragraph on page 47 of Captain Kiefer’s paper – I think this is sage advice.

    I think we are going to have to agree to disagree on this issue.

  105. GeofM,

    Keifer demonstrates himself to have inflexible thinking with little broad understanding of the subject he is writing about. And in light of keifer’s claim on the Robert Rapier web site where he suggests that there is oil for the foreseeable future, completely at odds with your expectation of a peak oil down slope from 2020, I discount his conclusions completely.

    On page 47 he says “In contrast, liquid biofuels derive 80% or
    more of their energy content from fossil fuel and go away if fossil fuels go away” which is a completely false claim for most biofuels. On the same page he says ” it is logically indefensible to buy a $30.00 per gallon fuel over worries
    about the price volatility of a $3.00 per gallon fuel”, where clearly he is totally out of touch with the current international market biofuel prices. I’m sorry to say Geoff that you do yourself no credit to keep referring to Keifer’s papers as though they represented the “state of the industry”, which they demonstrably don’t.His summary is just hand waving nonsense based on the very common sense that he specifically says cannot be relied upon.

    Because petroleum fuels are used to harvest and transport biofuel feed-stocks. Until you break that dependency, then biofuel prices will remain linked to oil prices. Debunked. Scania, and others including Australia, engines. Not generally known but Australian GM was manufacturing Ethanol Flex Fuel engines for Brazil before Abbott the idiot shut them down.

    “So, to maintain that, it would be in Qantas’ best interests to take a very keen interest in the future of affordable, sustainable aviation fuels – without it they won’t survive” Irrational assumption not taking into account Qantas’ current CEO.

    “The Sydney-Melbourne air route is reportedly around the 4th busiest globally, and the Sydney-Brisbane air route is around 11th.” …and that is convenient because had you bothered to read Boeing’s announcement you would know that the pilot project Zunum hybrid aircraft has a 700 mile range, 1.5 times the Sydney Brisbane and Sydney Melbourne routes.

    Fossil fuels have superior energy density and generally higher EROI, compared with biofuels. That’s the reality. And while the EROI and energy densities for petroleum fuels remain on average much higher than for biofuels, then petroleum fuels will be used in preference to biofuels, in the harvesting and transport of biofuels, and supply of fertilisers, agrichemicals, etc. Busted by Sweden with their programme to replace Fossil Fuel heavy transport with ED95 vehicles.

    “But I hope he includes EROI analysis to weed out poor prospects quickly and zero in on areas of research likely to yield biofuels with EROIs higher than 10:1.” Geoff when you can demonstrate that you have achieved something above the ordinary and substantial in life then you can possibly give Richard Branson advice.

    as for “My tip would be to look at utilising bio-engineered algae or bacteria, subject to favourable EROI analysis outcome.” Good on you for spotting the obvious. I don’t address international aviation because I know full well that there are solid solutions waiting for the need to be urgent enough and the political environment to be conducive to adjusting to new technologies. I followed the Omega project through out its duration and had many conversation with Jonathan Trent about the serviceability of this technology.

    https://www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/research/OMEGA/index/html
    and I am confident that this solution is one (amongst many) that can service the aviation need. This solution has the advantage of not requiring land area or much external energy for its operation, but it requires the will to transition to biofuels. I hasten to add that the fuels achievable from this class of biofuel equal the energy density of kerosene further debunking your claims on biofuels.

  106. GeofM,

    I am not going to bother responding to points in this as they have all been addressed several times above. What I am mystified by is the substantial lack of purpose in your arguments.

    Your general theme is that Peak Oil is going to cripple our economies, in your mind every sustainable technology (including the alternative of nuclear energy) is pointless because in your mind it requires Oil to make it work, you say that we must take urgent action, you offer no solutions and yet you say everyone should listen to you. I’m sorry to say it Geof, but you are coming across as a Jumpy on steroids.

    Help me to believe in your technical competence here, in which field of enterprise have you spent your life? I’m guessing that you are ex Air Force administration of perhaps operations. Am I close?

  107. Thanks BilB and John

    “biofuels are not sustainable in any location where water resources are being depleted”

    That might exclude artesian bores.

    But in many regions water resources are used and replenished by a system known as “the water cycle”. It involves entities commonly called ‘clouds’, ‘rain’, ‘streams’, ‘rivers’.

    There is no indication that we are reaching “peak water”.
    Cheers.

  108. BilB,
    Thanks for the enlightening exchange. It’s obvious to me that my initial comment at OCTOBER 31, 2017 AT 3:36 PM seems to have stirred up the proverbial hornet’s nest under you. I’ve learnt a few things and I hope you and other observers of this exchange have learnt new knowledge also.

    I’ve learnt that the world’s 2016 total liquid fuel consumption of 96.558 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (per BP Statistical Review of World Energy) represents 35.340 billion barrels of oil equivalent per year, represents 5.619 trillion litres oil equivalent per year, which represents 9.688 trillion litres ethanol equivalent per year.

    I’ve been informed (at comment NOVEMBER 1, 2017 AT 7:32 PM) that farmers in the Bundaberg area were yielding 9000 litres per hectare of ethanol “with some effort”. So, to produce 9.688 trillion litres, at a production yield rate of 9000 litres per hectare would require 1.076 billion hectares under cultivation, or 10.760 million km2. Australia’s total land mass represents 7.692 million km2. World total land mass represents 148.94 million km2. Clearly, an enormous quantity of land would be required for biofuel production to meet the world’s current (year-2016) liquid fuel demands, and compete with global food production.

    You then made the statement that US farming practices are “antiquated and wasteful”. When I challenged you on this unsubstantiated assertion, no credible evidence could be given. But it prompts me to consider that the 9000 litres per hectare yield rate is probably a best case, and consideration should be given that not all areas under cultivation for biofuel production could achieve this yield rate. Contingencies for poor crop yields due to poor soil fertility, elevated temperatures, wild fires, drought, storms, floods, and pests also need to be factored into the calculations, otherwise the world risks running seriously short of liquid fuels in bad seasons. So, the required land area may need to be doubled, or perhaps more – it’s hard to estimate with the added uncertainties of climate change in future decades, including sea level rise inundating arable lands. More liquid fuel storage facilities would also be required to provide some strategic reserves – perhaps at least 6-months of annual consumption, perhaps more.

    Currently the world’s biofuel production represents only about 1.6% of total liquid fuel production. Even Brazil’s biofuel production represents only about 11.5% of its own total liquid fuel consumption. Clearly, a substantial biofuel production increase would be required to make any significant contribution to substantially diminish crude oil dependency.

    The Swedish statistics for commercial vehicles in 2016 are helpful. Per your numbers, Sweden has about 59,500 commercial vehicles, that I presume you are suggesting can be replaced with new vehicles with ED95-fuelled engines at whatever appropriate litre capacity engines. I certainly did not mean billions of 9 litre Scania engine trucks worldwide – don’t be absurd. Your continued promoting for PHEVs suggests to me that there would be the need to add many more vehicles requiring a biofuel supply. The key question left hanging is how much biofuel volume supply would be required to sustain Sweden’s apparent growing biofuel fleet, including PHEVs, and whether Sweden has the available land area and resources to reliably sustain the projected growth in biofuel volumes? Then scale this up to the global level. I just don’t see how the vast numbers stack-up!

    I think there seems to be a whole lot of “hand waving”, and a whole lot less substantive detail including definitive numbers to prove it’s truly doable. And clearly, there’s no plan here in Australia – our governments appear to be behaving as if crude oil supplies will continue reliably and affordably, indefinitely.

    I was amused by your assertion that ethanol production EROEI is 20:1. Now that would be astounding news, if true. I don’t believe it. But do present your findings for checking to an EROI expert, like Professor Charles A.S. Hall, or another colleague. I think you are confusing monetary (dollar) costs with energy (joule) costs. All energy inputs (including contributions in the production of fertilisers, agrichemicals, construction/maintenance of roads/infrastructure/farm equipment/transport vehicles/processing plants, etc.) need to be considered throughout the entire input supply-chain, and this is an arduous task with many traps for the unwary. Some of these energy costs are subsidised by the general community through taxes, but still need to be included in the assessment – they don’t appear out of thin air!

    Dubai’s electric VTOL autonomous taxi service being trialled, and Boeing/Airbus race to build 12-seat hybrid electric aircraft you referred to, although interesting, are a long way away with respect to performance, from Boeing’s Dreamliner and Airbus’ A380 aircraft. My point is revolutionary developments in aviation need to be deployed now, not in a few decades time – it’ll be much too late in a post- ‘peak oil’ world likely to begin before 2030.

    And we haven’t explored how modern agricultural practices can continue without fossil fuels (i.e. farm equipment, fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides, lubricants, etc.). But that’s a whole other can of worms, that I don’t intend going into now.

    These are some of the issues that few people comprehend, or are aware of.

    See my submission (#36) to the Australian Senate inquiry into Australia’s transport energy resilience and sustainability. That includes some of the evidence I see. I was also invited to appear at the Melbourne hearing.

    Also see my correspondence to the Australian Senate inquiry into the NAIF.

    Thanks again BilB.

  109. GM: You seem to be locked into a very narrow definition of biofuels as well as being reluctant to consider renewable in-organic fuels.
    You also don’t seem to be considering the potential of algae based biofuels, particularly those based on salt water. At the moment algae based fuels have to face both challenges and potential Evaluation of renewable alternatives is made difficult because each of the alternatives is backed by groups of researchers whose future depends on grants for research in their chosen area.

  110. GeoffM

    Thanks for the link to the submissions. Your submission is very impressive, though I note that it details 23 pages on the problem and just three pages on solution possibilities (nearly every one of which you have written off in this thread. This all leaving me wondering what is your point? Was your submission a backhand submission for continued use of coal? as climate change gets only a passing comment in your work?

    Did you read any of the other submissions?

    On US farming practices I gave you plenty of evidence, but you would have to read it to understand it.

    On Queensland ethanol I said that there were three levels of performance to me, no improvement 7000 lph some effort 9000 lph full farming practice 12500 lph. Most as I understand it operate at the higher level.

    Next you conflate Australia’s bio fuel needs with those of the entire world. Frankly that is basically dishonest, and I would have thought beneath an engineer with, on the surface, an intention of making a difference. Australia’s total petrol and diesel 2016 was 32,732 billion litres. So to produce litre for litre ethanol with efficient cane farming that would require 2,618,000 hectares (5.4% of Australia’s arable land area) under cane cultivation, and that is if there were no other solutions such as palm oil, algal oil or spinifex, and if we were to use only first generation biofuels and ignore second and third generation fuel extraction. And all of that assumes that there will be zero electric vehicles or hybrid electric vehicles ever used in Australia.

    So what is it Geoff are you trying to BS every body? or is your qualifation a phoney one? The negative thing for you about this is that it throws the credibility of your comments on other subjects into doubt.

    When it comes to your put down of electric aviation, had you researched it you would know that the very first man carrying electric flight took place around 2005 and that was a microlight with and electric motor in place of a petrol engine and it flew for about 5 minutes, if I recall correctly, and the technological progress of electric aviation since that first field flight has been nothing but staggering.

    I am not going to discuss this further in this thread. I have begun a process of fact checking (my facts) and am starting with the bio-fuels association. And this time I will spreadsheet the results and make them available in that form.

  111. Ambigulous (Re: NOVEMBER 8, 2017 AT 8:04 PM):

    “biofuels are not sustainable in any location where water resources are being depleted”

    That might exclude artesian bores.

    Large swathes of US farms rely on bore water. With the introduction of hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’ for tight (shale) oil (e.g. Eagle Ford, Bakken and Monterey-Tremblor plays) and tight gas (e.g. Haynesville, Barnett and Marcellus plays), many farms around oil and gas well sites have had their aquifers/surface water resources irreparably contaminated/depleted.

    With the upscaling of biofuel production, there will be more demands on US artesian aquifers.

    Many Australian farms also rely on artesian aquifers. Upscaling of agricultural production for biofuels will put more demands on these water resources.

    Artesian aquifers are not limitless water resources.

    But in many regions water resources are used and replenished by a system known as “the water cycle”. It involves entities commonly called ‘clouds’, ‘rain’, ‘streams’, ‘rivers’.

    Indeed, but did a large area of Queensland and northern NSW have a drought recently? A major disruption to “the water cycle” perhaps? Russia and India have also recently had major disruptions to their “water cycles”.

    There is no indication that we are reaching “peak water”.

    Perhaps you are not looking diligently enough. Global potable water supplies are declining because many aquifers and clean water sources are being depleted and/or contaminated. Climate change is likely to increase rates of evaporation, and induce contamination of ground water due to sea level rise and storm surges.

    But if you have substantial amounts of affordable energy you could desalinate.

  112. BilB (Re: NOVEMBER 8, 2017 AT 6:02 PM):

    Keifer demonstrates himself to have inflexible thinking with little broad understanding of the subject he is writing about. And in light of keifer’s claim on the Robert Rapier web site where he suggests that there is oil for the foreseeable future, completely at odds with your expectation of a peak oil down slope from 2020, I discount his conclusions completely.

    Who’s this “Keifer” bloke you are referring to on the “Robert Rapier web site”? What’s his credentials and experience? Why are you putting your faith in what he says? Is it perhaps because it’s convenient and serves your biases? And is it perhaps because it is inconvenient for you to consider the evidence I refer to and my lines of discussion – is it too confronting for you? And what does “for the foreseeable future” mean? – weasel words! There are plenty of wacky theories out on the big bad web on any subject you care to poke at. I think you need to be more discriminating and engage your critical thinking.

    Captain Kiefer, whom I refer to, is a retired US naval aviator and EA-6B pilot with a physics degree from the US Naval Academy – his biography is at the beginning of his report. So, when you say he “demonstrates himself to have inflexible thinking with little broad understanding”, what do you base that on? You seem to me, during this series of exchanges, to make a whole lot of unsubstantiated assertions. I think your problem is that when something is inconvenient for you, you first try to ignore it, and when that doesn’t work, try dismissing it as irrelevant, and if that doesn’t work then try to denigrate it with baseless assertions.

    His summary is just hand waving nonsense based on the very common sense that he specifically says cannot be relied upon.

    And what are your credentials to make that assessment? Like me, do you have a STEM background? Are you a critical thinker, or only interested in things that reinforce your biases and preconceived ideas, ignoring everything else that’s inconvenient or too confronting?

    You still haven’t answered my question: If biofuels are so much cheaper, when compared with the prices of petroleum fuels (diesel, petrol and LPG), why don’t people switch over in droves to biofuels? Sales of E10 in NSW can’t meet mandated quotas. Perhaps it’s all the government’s fault? NSW Greens? Perhaps consumers just don’t know what’s good for them?

    and I am confident that this solution is one (amongst many) that can service the aviation need. This solution has the advantage of not requiring land area or much external energy for its operation, but it requires the will to transition to biofuels.

    Mmmm… “not requiring land area or much external energy for its operation”? Very amusing. Your characterization of this project appears to be describing the elusive perpetual motion machine – miraculous energy from nowhere! Ah, but for the lack of will, we’d all be saved by it! You can’t get energy out of nothing – please see 1st & 2nd laws of thermodynamics. It seems to me you are overconfident in your assessments due to your apparent lack of basic physics/chemistry/biology understanding. And is this OMEGA project technology ready for “commercial-scale” deployment immediately, and can it compete economically with petroleum fuels now without massive monetary and energetic subsidies? If not, it’s not a solution “that can service the aviation need”, anytime soon.

    You simply don’t want to address the issue of the scale required to ramp up biofuel production. The numbers are clearly staggering, and clearly indicate biofuels cannot replace petroleum in a substantial and meaningful way. And that’s the reality it seems you cannot appreciate because you appear enamoured by all the hype, and it’s also clear to me you are demonstrating a lack of basic physics/chemistry/biology understanding to make sound judgements.

    Captain Kiefer’s report discusses in Section 10.2 Green Grabbing, the unsustainability of taking lignocellulosic matter for harvesting, that robs the ecosystem of vital soil nutrients that enhance the efficiency of fertiliser and water conservation, and feed soil bacteria and fungi essential for plant growth. He states:

    Whatever fraction of biomass is removed from an ecosystem or farmer’s field instead of being left to compost and recycle is a loss that must eventually be replaced or the soil will be depleted. The thermodynamic checkbooks of energy and mass must be balanced.

    But your assessment of Captain Kiefer is that he “demonstrates himself to have inflexible thinking with little broad understanding of the subject he is writing about.” I think it is you that demonstrates inflexible thinking with little broad understanding of the enormous challenges.

    Nuclear fission energy relies on isotopes uranium-235, uranium-238 converted (by nuclear transfiguration) to plutonium-239, or thorium-232 converted (by nuclear transfiguration) to uranium-233. The isotopes indicated in bold are the only ones that are fissile to enable nuclear fission. Naturally occurring Th-232, U-235, and U-238 are finite resources. They are not sustainable long-term because by consuming them they will inevitably become depleted through the transfiguration/fission process. They are not renewable. At current rate of consumption high-grade uranium ore reserves would be depleted by about the end of this century. Higher consumption rates would deplete these finite reserves sooner. Low-grade ores would be more expensive to extract.

    This exchange has been a learning experience for me. I hope it has been a learning experience for you.
    Thanks, BilB

  113. In terms of the US, water tables are dropping steadily in places like the midwest and California due to overuse.
    In Aus, pressures in the great Aus basin has been declining steadily due to uncapped bores. On the other hand, in places like Newman in WA, an aquifer recharges system has been able to reverse the decline in the water table by capturing the runoff during rare rainfall events. Systems like this are not the only ways of reducing run-off and erosion while increasing the moisture captured and retained by the soil.
    Also keep in mind that global warming will increase evaporation into the atmosphere. As a result it is not unreasonable to expect average rainfall to increase as a result of global warming.
    None of this means that the world will be able to deal with the expected decline in oil and gas production by increasing bio-fuel production. Unless we reverse the growth of the world population food production should be given priority.

  114. GM: You seem to be assuming that transportable fuel consumption will continue to grow even when the supply of fossil transport fuel is declining.
    Think about it. Do you really believe that we will continue to insist that a majority of Aus capital city commutes have to be done in overweight family cars that are carrying the driver only?
    Do you really believe that we can’t make major changes that will reduce the energy required to move people and goods around per km as well as the transport kms required to meet our transport needs?
    Are you in denial about the potential of direct use of renewable energy and/or the production of inorganic renewable transport fuels?
    Try defining the developments that might be needed to deal with the end of transportable fossil fuels.

  115. Geoff M at 10.57am

    No doubt you are right that I’ve been insufficiently diligent.

    But agricultural irrigation water for crops doesn’t have to be “potable” surely? The farmer needs potable water to drink and doubtless her cattle and dogs need potable water.

    I am aware of droughts.
    I didn’t mean to imply that “the water cycle” provides a steady supply. Perhaps that’s why humans build dams???

    Anyway, thank you for your detailed posts. My technical expertise is clearly way below the BilB, John Davidson, Geoff Henderson or Brian levels. But I’ll persist and try to learn.

  116. Oh BTW,

    I don’t discount the social and individual importance of potable water for humans.

    It’s just that the topic at hand was crops to be used as biofuels.

  117. John Davidson (Re: NOVEMBER 9, 2017 AT 4:40 PM):

    GM: You seem to be locked into a very narrow definition of biofuels as well as being reluctant to consider renewable in-organic fuels.

    The extended exchange has been on organic biofuels.

    In-organic as in hydrogen? The issue is with regard to supply of catalysts like platinum, etc. Batteries have issues also – lithium and sodium are plentiful, but it’s the other trace materials used like nickel, etc.

    Everything has advantages and disadvantages.

    You also don’t seem to be considering the potential of algae based biofuels, particularly those based on salt water.

    I have mentioned algae and bacteria in the discussion, but all these things are subject to achieving favorable EROI.

    Energy supply systems with EROI at or below 5:1 should be considered a very poor choice, and should be avoided in an energy constrained world.

    EROI between 5:1 and 10:1 should be considered a poor choice, and only used if there’s a special case (i.e no other choice).

    EROI between 10:1 and 15:1 should be considered marginal to adequate choice.

    Above 15:1 should be preferred.

  118. John Davidson (Re: NOVEMBER 10, 2017 AT 2:30 PM):

    GM: You seem to be assuming that transportable fuel consumption will continue to grow even when the supply of fossil transport fuel is declining.

    Ah… No, I’m not assuming that at all. The availability of affordable energy will determine growth. An energy constrained world will stop growing. My concern is that it appears to me that governments are behaving as if growth is endless. The evidence I see is many people are in for a shock, soon.

    Population growth is the key driver of many of our problems – but try getting politicians to publicly admit to that notion.

    Do you really believe that we can’t make major changes that will reduce the energy required to move people and goods around per km as well as the transport kms required to meet our transport needs?

    So far, Australian governments are in denial to the emerging problems. Until we as a society acknowledge there are problems, we can’t start to mobilize to solve the issues.

    I don’t have all the answers – but I’m hugely concerned by the lack of response from gov, business, etc.

  119. GeoffM

    It is the same Tod “Ike” Kiefer who you are quoting.

    http://www.energytrendsinsider.com/2017/03/28/the-peak-oil-estimate-you-wont-believe-a-tale-of-two-sigmoids/

    Obviously living a double life, Geoff, psuedo Greeney one day petrolhead the next.

    My skills? I’m generally regarded as a lateral thinker. I’m a Product Designer, and Entrepreneur, and Inventer, and a Manufacturer, and I see life as a multiplicity of possibilities and versions of possibilities. I think that is the difference between us, you see predominately problems, and I see predominately answers. Of course we don’t agree directly. This shows in your superficial remarks on NASA’s Omega project. This is a system that accepts solar energy into floating algae seeded containers which are fed with CO2 and nutrients from a variety of sources. My comment about requiring little external energy was to do with the fact that stirring of the conatiners is largely achieved by wave action. This was a research project which demonstrated the viability of the system and identified suitable algae strains. Is it viable? Absolutely. I ran the numbers that were available to me and as a sole operator producing fuel for a life afloat, and it stacks up given a suitable input resource.

    So far I have begun a conversation with BioFuels Australia, spoken to Scania Australia (to propmpt them to provide ED95 vehicle pricing), and have leads to follow up into Rolls Royce nuclear division to obtain information on their SMR programme specifically with a view to get a reaction to the notion of Nuclear powered shipping. I believe in these things. They are real solutions to me and as a Manufacturer I have a very clear understanding for what is ahievable and for that which is not.

    I’m disappointed, Geoff that you did not bother to look up no till farming, or identify that the US would rather irrigate from aquifers rather than deploy water conserving contoured field preparation, or appreciate the many other advantages of newer farming practices.

    You might see on. The news tonight an item on farming systems suitable for even desert areas. This technology is widely deployed near my distributor in the Netherlands where in one small area they have 100 square kilometers of green houses. And the energy to power that area is predominately geothermal.

    So while yourself and Keifer are arguing for finding more oil others are demonstrating that sustainable solutions actually work, and are just getting on with it. To such people your opinions and conclusions are largely irrelevant, as they contribute nothing useful.

  120. Geoff M at 4.44pm

    Here is a vague and unsubstantiated hunch.
    Make of it what you will.

    BilB has pointed to all manner of technical innovations, many already embodied in physical products available to purchase.

    It occurs to me that perhaps 90 percent of the innovations and changes we need around the globe may currently be in planning and design phases, perhaps even in testing, in small or large private businesses. They will then need publicising, market acceptance, passing relevant regulations, but then lo and behold in the wonderful JumpyWorld of private enterprise, innovation, progress, private profit, and rugged individualism we will all be home and hosed.

    Forgive the deviation to lampoon the Jumpster, it is merely a reflex habit of the hive mind .

    When I think of the last 120 years in the industrial world, most far reaching innovations arose from private businesses. Cars trucks telephony radio, business computers, PCs, television, many medical advances, air transport, international telephone, commercial satellites, milking machines, tractors, … agricultural innovation, rescue devices,

    No need to continue.

    Exceptions?
    Atomic bomb, H bomb, early nuclear reactors, ICBMs, moon landing, several thousand instances in university research, govt statistics, Meteorology Bureau, CSIRO results e.g. polymer banknotes ,……

    Overall, just because the product isn’t here, we can’t assume it’s not just around the corner.
    Of all the things we may try to predict the future tends to be the hardest.

    IMO.

  121. GM:

    An energy constrained world will stop growing.

    Or get a lot smarter about using energy.
    Or increasing the use of renewable energy instead of pining for the old fossil energy world.
    One of the things to note about solar and wind is that once the generator has been built the running costs are negligible. Businesses that can find ways to use very cheap, variable supply energy sources will do a lot better than those who pine for baseload power.

  122. John Davidson

    Indeed.
    “Stop growing” seems to be based on such assumptions as
    a) no improvements in energy efficiency of conventional processes
    b) no invention of new, lower energy processes
    c) that economic activity is proportional to use of non-renewable resources
    d) that growth of physical resource turnover is desirable
    e) that lifetime and reliability of devices cannot be improved
    Etc.
    Etc.

    But I don’t need to tell you any of this John. You’re an engineer. Your profession has been improving the efficiency of, and lowering the energy use of devices for hundreds of years. I salute that endeavour.

    … on the points above
    a) flies in the face of historical changes we can all see
    b) is unlikely
    c) has probably been roughly valid, but in the last twenty or so years we have seen some changes, e.g. more recycling, less wastage in manufacturing (make it only if the customer has been identified), better logistics, better insulation, micro devices replacing bulkier devices, e-books instead of paper books, downloading new software instead of buying it on CD, ….
    d) already out of fashion in some quarters
    e) unlikely

    Cheers.

  123. BilB at 5.11pm

    If I had seen your post, I could have saved a few minutes by not sending my missive of 5.24 pm.

    ambigulus ignoramus

  124. BilB (Re: NOVEMBER 9, 2017 AT 4:42 PM):

    Thanks for the link to the submissions. Your submission is very impressive, though I note that it details 23 pages on the problem and just three pages on solution possibilities (nearly every one of which you have written off in this thread.

    Thank you. I see a big problem that requires attention. Just because I don’t have all the solutions to the highlighted problems, doesn’t mean it should be ignored/dismissed. I don’t claim to be the font of all wisdom and knowledge. I’m sure there are more intelligent people than me that can develop solutions – BZE appear to be having a go at it, but I note they are tackling the easier challenges first – but first, we as a society need to be aware of the urgent problems. I note that if you look at the Senate inquiry’s final report, tabled on the 25 June 2015, it did not include any of my evidence – too inconvenient. Which ones do you think I have written off? What I have done in this exchange of comments is to highlight the enormous challenges that suggest to me the solutions are not so clear cut, simple, cheap and easy to implement.

    Was your submission a backhand submission for continued use of coal? as climate change gets only a passing comment in your work?

    Absolutely not. Climate change has had plenty of commentary, and I’m sure there are others that cover this area much more extensively and with more authority than I can. It’s hugely important, but I’m not concentrating on that. My emphasis has been on resource depletion, especially non-renewable energy resource depletion, that I think is not being highlighted with sufficient emphasis. In my view, resource depletion is as important an issue as climate change is, but it gets a whole lot less attention in the public eye.

    Did you read any of the other submissions?

    Yes. They are all interesting perspectives. But caution is required in accepting what is given in these submissions, and I’m no exception. As I said in my testimony at the Melbourne hearing, that I’d like the evidence I see to be wrong, but that’s what I see and I think it is compelling. No one so far, has said to me, Geoff, you are wrong, and here’s the compelling evidence that proves it, and provided that compelling evidence. Mostly it is silence, sometimes it’s denial, or wishful thinking based on a poor understanding of the problem.

    On Queensland ethanol I said that there were three levels of performance to me, no improvement 7000 lph some effort 9000 lph full farming practice 12500 lph. Most as I understand it operate at the higher level.

    You cannot run processes flat out all the time. You cannot assume everywhere else can achieve the same performance as in Bundaberg. I think my selection of 9000 lph was a reasonable first iteration to highlight the enormous quantities involved. Even if you take the higher figure of 12,500 lph, the land area is still bigger than the whole land mass of Australia for global biofuel production to entirely meet current global liquid fuel demand. And then you need to add in the land area required for food production.

    The numbers tell me biofuels can’t meet current global liquid fuel demand. Some biofuels will be required, but not in the huge quantities that biofuel proponents suggest, in my view. But show me compelling evidence, rather than “hand waving” that says otherwise.

    So, a big compromise is required, and this will be a big shock for a lot of people, oblivious to the issues.

    Greater reliance on electricity is required. More rail – electrified where practical. Battery-electric vehicles are fine for short range (400 km on a charge), but the problems grow with heavier vehicles and longer ranges. Hydrogen is another possible avenue. And we haven’t touched on shipping.

    Electric aviation will develop, but it needs to develop a lot further to replace the big, long-range jets. Energy density is the problem with aircraft. We are running out of time. Efficiency is helpful, but it can only go so far before reaching ultimate limits.

    I don’t wish to be a wet blanket, but I’m cautioning the need to be realistic about the limitations.

    I have begun a process of fact checking (my facts) and am starting with the bio-fuels association.

    Terrific. I’m glad you are reassessing upon receiving additional information. If everyone did that we would be in a much better place.

    Please note: I don’t have unlimited internet access. This is the reason for the delay in response to your questions. I don’t have hours to spend looking at websites, but hopefully I can have the time latter to go through some of your links. Thanks.

  125. Geoff M

    On BZE you “note that they are tackling all the easy problems first”.

    That may well be true.
    It is a cunning ploy we humans have developed over centuries, nay millenia.
    Low hanging fruit.
    Easy problems first.

    That is optimum.
    That way, progress is made….

    But if someone prefers handwringing to actual action…. well I’m with BilB on that one.

    Cheerio

  126. Just on biofuels, I still haven’t had time to read the thread, but stumbled on The great EU biomass scam.

    It’s about how they cut down trees, burn them and count the energy as renewable, even though the trees will take 50 years to regrow, if ever.

    Also FYI I heard Palaszczuk say that under her Labor government biofuel distilleries had been set up in Gladstone and Mackay.

  127. John D (Re: NOVEMBER 6, 2017 AT 6:45 PM):

    Sorry for the long delay in response to this comment of yours earlier:

    Did a very quick sum for a typical vehicle that travels 15000 km/yr, has a fuel consumption of 5l/100 km and uses fuel costing $1.5/litre. Fuel bill comes out at a truly massive $3 per day. Could go up a lot more before we reach the end of the world as we know it.

    For 15,000 km/yr travelled and consuming fuel at a rate of 5 litres per 100 km equals 750 litres. 750 litres times $1.50 per litre equals $1,125.00 per annum, or $3.08 per day. Near enough.

    But what “typical vehicle” has a 5 litres/100 km fuel consumption? My MY2003-vehicle’s fuel consumption is no less than 10 on the highway, and around town it’s significantly higher. Add in other oil-dependent consumables like tyres, and lubricants.

    I suspect you are talking about very light vehicles, or a PHEV? What about heavier vehicles? SUVs, vans and trucks? Mining vehicles/appliances? Locomotives? Boats and ships? Aircraft? Generators? I think you should be thinking beyond more than your own personal needs and think more about how liquid fuel prices effect the whole economy – the economy that we are all a part of and dependent on, whether we like it or not.

    Dick Smith co-produced and presented a documentary aired on the ABC on 1 July 2013, titled Ten Bucks A Litre, which asks a question, amongst many, whether people would be prepared to pay up to $10 per litre for fuel. Dick Smith’s documentary explores Australia’s options as the era of cheap and abundant energy is replaced by an age of scarcity and excessive cost. He makes some interesting points. There’s a YouTube video available: Dick Smith – Ten Dollars a Litre.

    I think I would be seriously considering ditching my F/F car well before fuel prices get to $10/litre.

    Higher fuel costs would impact on food prices, and other goods and services – an economy depressant! Very high fuel prices could be an economy killer!

    How much higher would you tolerate fuel prices to reach before you say enough is enough? And I suspect most other people would be making the same decisions at a similar point in time. So, the demand for alternatives would likely become overwhelming for industry to meet and supply.

    The trouble I think is, when global supplies of crude oil begin a sustained decline, and this decline is inevitable because crude oil is a finite resource, then liquid fuel prices are likely to sky-rocket, & people are likely to get panicky when they realise the implications.

    The unknowns in all this are:

    1. the exact timing of the ultimate oil supply peak and then decline, and we won’t know this for sure until after the global ‘peak oil’ event has passed, but all the credible warnings I see suggest it’s probable before 2030, and a significant risk before 2020; and
    2. the severity of the rate of the global oil supply decline. Less than about 2% decline per annum and society may manage the transition in an orderly fashion, but more than about 3% decline per annum and life will likely get a whole lot interesting. Typical conventional oil field production rates of decline post-peak are around 4-6%, some smaller oil fields can be higher. Unconventional oil field decline rates are much higher (US tight oil plays typically range 30-45% per year), from the day wells begin producing (US tight oil wells typically decline 75-85% in the first 3-years), unless you keep drilling and adding more and more production wells, until you run out of productive “sweet spot” locations to drill.

    Crude oil is so enmeshed throughout our civilisation. It will be hugely difficult to disentangle from oil, but we must do it, before it is forced upon us.

    But our society must first be aware of the problem, then make the decisions to respond to these challenges, then determine the appropriate solutions, and then deploy them. Some governments seem to be stuck at the first step. At least the French & UK governments have made a positive step, in July, in announcing the banning of new petrol and diesel engine cars/vans by 2040, and China and India look to be heading in the same direction, but I wonder whether the push for a transition away from petroleum-fuel dependency is sufficiently urgent and wide-ranging, given the likely timing of a post- ‘peak oil’ world. And I ask: Where is Australia heading?

    I recommend you also see this video of a keynote presentation at a Critical Power and Data Center Summit on 7 Nov 2012 by Dr Robert Hirsch, Senior Energy Advisor, MISI:


  128. John D (Re: NOVEMBER 10, 2017 AT 6:11 PM):

    An energy constrained world will stop growing.
    Or get a lot smarter about using energy.
    Or increasing the use of renewable energy instead of pining for the old fossil energy world.

    Indeed, but knowing what you know, John, do you think we (i.e. our leaders, business, media, society) are behaving as if we are smart enough, and responding fast enough to the emerging challenges? The other problem I see is if we delay transitioning away from fossil fuels until they get expensive due to resource depletion, it will already be too late – energy will become too expensive to make an orderly, affordable transition. And that will likely hurt many people. Our energy infrastructure will take decades to transition – we should have been acting earlier – we need to be taking emergency action now.

    One of the things to note about solar and wind is that once the generator has been built the running costs are negligible.

    You know that; I know that. The sticking point is intermittency. Wind, and solar-PV need to be coupled with energy storage, which adds to upfront costs. Most people only look at upfront costs and ignore the whole-of-life costs – living for now and discounting/ignoring the future.

  129. Ambigulous (Re: NOVEMBER 10, 2017 AT 5:24 PM):

    It occurs to me that perhaps 90 percent of the innovations and changes we need around the globe may currently be in planning and design phases, perhaps even in testing, in small or large private businesses. They will then need publicising, market acceptance, passing relevant regulations, but then lo and behold in the wonderful JumpyWorld of private enterprise, innovation, progress, private profit, and rugged individualism we will all be home and hosed.

    I highlight the word “may” in your statement – meaning I think you don’t know for sure – long on assumptions, short on facts. It’s good to dream, but we need to be grounded in reality as well. We need to be dealing with what is possible right now, deploying these solutions in an orderly and urgent manner, and pay less attention to maybes and ignore wishful thinking. Some maybes may become possible soon, but they are not available right now. We cannot afford to waste more time hoping for and relying on something that may never be fruitful.

    The “Manhattan Project” (i.e. development of the atomic bomb), and the “Marshall Plan” (i.e. US assistance in rebuilding Europe after WW2) have shown with determined will, rapid developments can occur. The twin urgent challenges of climate change and non-renewable energy resource depletion requires a global emergency response like the Manhattan Project/Marshall Plan resolve.

    Overall, just because the product isn’t here, we can’t assume it’s not just around the corner.

    We can’t assume it’s just around the corner, either. We need to deal in facts; not vague assumptions and wishful thinking!

  130. Thanks Geoff M

    Apparently our average light vehicle fuel consumption in Australia is around 10 litres per 100km, whereas in Europe it is around 5.

    There’s a fact.

    How to explain it?
    What can Australia do about it?

    This is directly relevant to your concern about oil consumption. I share your concern.

  131. BilB (Re: NOVEMBER 10, 2017 AT 5:11 PM):

    So while yourself and Keifer are arguing for finding more oil others are demonstrating that sustainable solutions actually work, and are just getting on with it. To such people your opinions and conclusions are largely irrelevant, as they contribute nothing useful.

    I think you have difficulty with reading comprehension, apparently seeing things that aren’t there. I’m certainly not arguing for finding more oil. All the easy and large oil finds were discovered decades ago. I’m raising awareness of an urgent, increasing risk of declining non-renewable energy supplies, and the need to take urgent action to transition to a sustainable, reliable, affordable, clean energy supply. Humanity has already used up most of the cheap, easy oil and gas. We are approaching an “energy cliff”.

    We need to leave oil, before oil leaves us. We need to leave fossil natural gas, before gas leaves us. We need to leave oil, gas and coal for climate change reasons. BilB, are these statements clear enough for you?

    It is clear to me that my comments have been highly confronting for you, and you still seem to be in denial of our current energy security predicament, and appear to have an overconfidence and blind faith in various solutions solving all our energy supply problems.

    How is evidence and raising awareness of probable declining global supplies of oil before 2030, and gas around 2020, in a world currently heavily dependent on these energy resources “irrelevant” and “contribute nothing useful”? Would you prefer our society to remain blissfully ignorant and ill-prepared for the inevitable decline of these resources? Would you rather not know? Do you really mean that, or are you just making irrational statements because your ego is bruised? Will you continue to close your eyes to the inconvenient details?

  132. Here’s another thought, Geoff M.

    About 30% of global emissions arise from oil use.

    It seems to me that as far as transport goes, cars and trucks ride on roads, ships ride on seas, trains ride on tracks.

    But planes are unsupported except by burning petroleum based fuels.

    Should the nations ban or restrict or rapidly reduce passenger aviation??

    This might be more urgent than the forthcoming bans on petrol/diesel cars….

  133. Passenger aviation: an inefficient use of oil-based fuels??

    Cruise ships, slow boats, slow Zeppelins, trains, all more energy efficient? (passenger kms / C emission unit)??

  134. Ambigulous (Re: NOVEMBER 11, 2017 AT 12:33 PM)

    That is optimum.
    That way, progress is made….

    Indeed. BZE published its Stationary Energy Plan in 2010. Malcolm Turnbull was there to help launch it. In response to BZEs report the AEMO commissioned a study, which concurred with BZE that 100% renewable energy for Australia’s electricity supply requirements was doable. Other studies also show its possible.

    But where are we since 2010 on this issue? The solutions are clear for our electricity supply, but have we progressed? I don’t think so. Hazelwood has closed, Liddell is due to close in March 2022. Yallourn W’s coal supply license expires in mid-2020s, Mt Piper’s sole coal supply from Springvale Mine is likely to be exhausted in 2024, and Gladstone is approaching its use-by date in the 2020s. What clear, affordable, clean energy plan do we have from our federal leaders, including Turnbull, to organise the commonwealth to replace ‘firm’ electricity generating capacity that is due to retire in the 2020s? – none that I can see yet! So, there’s a real risk we will have increasing periods of blackouts and more energy price increases soon, unless there’s some effective plan. But many politicians are still thinking that coal and gas is the answer, when the evidence I see clearly says otherwise.

    We have a Federal Australian government that won’t even consider the possibility of declining global petroleum fuel supplies, even when prompted, nor will they do anything about Australia’s critically low in-country fuel stock-holdings. No other IEA member country has such low in-country fuel stock-holdings. If Australia’s fuel import supplies are cut-off, we have only 10-20 days of diesel fuel supplies at normal consumption. If the trucks stop running this country stops functioning in less than a month. Do you think this is acceptable? I don’t!

    At least I’m challenging the conformist status quo/Business-As-Usual midset that has the potential to kill people soon through incompetence if we are not too careful.

    If our leaders are having trouble moving forward with clear solutions available to them, we have Buckley’s chance at dealing with challenges where the solutions are not so clear.

    But if someone prefers handwringing to actual action…. well I’m with BilB on that one.

    Keeping in mind my earlier comments, can you please explain what you mean by that statement?

  135. Brian (Re: NOVEMBER 12, 2017 AT 3:53 PM):

    Just on biofuels, I still haven’t had time to read the thread…

    What do you make of the extended discussion on the topic of biofuels? Will biofuels save the day in your opinion? Or does your “fool’s gold in the main” view still hold?

    You stated (at comment NOVEMBER 4, 2017 AT 3:32 PM) that:

    I’ve decided to out myself as a member of the ALP on the About page, but I haven’t joined a branch. That would mean doing stuff, which I’m too old for and I’ve never been the right person.

    What’s the value to you in joining the ALP?

    Given the information I have presented, and the lively discussion that ensued, do you think there is an existential threat looming? Do you think there’s a benefit in you increasing awareness of the looming situation, or should people remain blissfully unaware? Is there worth in you as a member asking pertinent but perhaps inconvenient questions directed to the ALP concerning their current policies on energy security and affordability? Have you approached your federal and state parliamentary representatives and asked them pertinent but perhaps inconvenient questions about energy security and affordability and the merits or otherwise of the policies they are supporting? Or do you think this would be a wasted effort? If so, what do you think would be effective to initiate change? Something for you to ponder over.

    (Re: NOVEMBER 12, 2017 AT 3:53 PM):

    It’s about how they cut down trees, burn them and count the energy as renewable, even though the trees will take 50 years to regrow, if ever.

    I have seen commentary that North Korea’s trees are being stripped by desperately poor people as fuel to keep warm/cook, because people can’t afford any other energy source. There are desperate times in North Korea; but what’s the EU’s excuse? Stupidity and greed perhaps?

  136. Geoff M

    Re your challenge to Brian to use his ALP membership in the way that, presumably, you would.

    That’s a bit cheeky.

    Running this blog is a large achievement. Please temper your urgency with some charitable feeling.

    We each do what we can.

  137. Ambigulous (Re: NOVEMBER 13, 2017 AT 3:53 PM):

    That’s a bit cheeky.

    Indeed. But there’s an apparent existential threat looming.

    Running this blog is a large achievement. Please temper your urgency with some charitable feeling.

    Again, indeed. The volume of work is impressive. But, again, there’s an apparent existential threat looming.

    The challenge stands to try to make a difference. Can we afford not to step up in our own way to make some meaningful contribution? Or sit back and hope someone else does it for us?

    I see there is no harm in asking. The decision is entirely our own, how we wish to respond.

    The standard you walk past is the standard that you are willing to accept.

  138. GeoffM,

    Running around in circles yelling “existential threat”, endlessly, is headless chook stuff. Please demonstrate that your head is still attached and that you have some ideas how to cope with this threat you are so concerned about.

    Else the “danger” is ignored (apart from those of us who have known of the risks for years and have talked through many action strategies) and nature takes its course.

  139. GeoffM

    Reading backwards here I see that you have fully endorsed the BZE plan.

    Great!! Problem resolved….except that the LNP have blocked all action.

    So stop voting for the LNP.

    Geoff, you are preaching to the converted here. We’ve been debating Global Warming, Climate Change, Peak Oil, and Peak Government Stupidity for heading towards 2 decades. Welcome to the fold.

    The sad fact is that it is going to take some colossal series of climate tragedies to shake Australians out of their malaise. Of course it will be too late by then but that is the human condition.

  140. One of my key employees here has had a quote to remove their back yard pool, $17,000. She wants to keep it, here partner wants to reduce the power bill. So I pointed out that for the same money they can install 6 Kw solar panels, a Tesla Power Wall, and some solar water heating. This will give them all of the electricity to run the pool pump all year plus run their air conditioner all day for no running cost having already paid for the hardware, have a minimal power bill, and still have a pool.

    The point I am making is that energy solutions such as this are routinely rubbished by alternative energy detractors on the basis of “the cost is not recoverable”, and then they will carry on to lavish money on all manner of expensive indulgences simply because they like the idea of the Winnebago, or the ski field membership, or the $30,000 kitchen refit, etc.

    It comes down to rational priorities. We need to have ours reshaped by tragedies that have yet to occur.

  141. GM: In the process of buying a carbon fiber E-scooter which weighs a bit over 7 kg. Claimed range equates to over 2000 km per kWh.
    By contrast, a diesel generator produces about 3 kWh/litre. This means that a car that consumes 5 litre per 100 km gets about 7 km per kWh.
    I am not trying to say that we should all travel on blade scooters but the point i am making is that there is plenty of scope for dramatically reducing energy consumption in areas like transport. You have to think outside the square mate.

  142. Geoff M, I’ll get back to biofuels when I’m ready.

    On the ALP, membership gives me information, my wife is a little more active, and it allows me to ring Mark Bailey’s campaign manager, as i plan to tomorrow, and say “I’m an ALP member in Kate Jones electorate…”

    But generally my effort is in creating information that others, including you can use.

    Todat I gave my podiatrist (I need one!) an earful, and told him at the end, “If you’ve got a bit of time, Google “Climate plus stBrain” go to Key Posts and go from there. I invite you to do the same, Geoff. Start with The folly of two degrees, take a look at the posts listed at the end, click on the tag Dangerous climate change and then come back and tell me what I should do next.

    Yes, I know, Ian Dunlop. I’m not going to do him directly but I’ve got a couple on climate as an existential threat in the works. As well as an election going on here, and a life to lead, which is looming rather large at present, with my daughter, granddaughter and son-in-law about to land here in a week’s time for two weeks, who I haven’t seen for five years.

    Geoff M please understand I don’t do ‘angry’ and ‘upset’, and really don’t mind people telling me what I should do, but while I’m answering you I’m not writing those posts!

    BTW I’ve been writing about climate change as an existential threat very consistently for around 10 years, and have not changed my overall position much at all in that time. The summary post on sea level rise was based on a series of five posts I did in 2008 on LP (Ambi please tell him about LP) not copied over to CP.

  143. Just on a personal note, my younger sister’s husband has terminal liver cancer, and is nearing the end of his time, and some of you might remember I mentioned earlier this year that my wife was due to have a big operation. Well she hasn’t had it, she’s on heavy duty anti-biotics for a year to clear up her lungs, and I’m worried about her.

    There is always this:

    Do not go gentle into that good night,
    Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    In the end the raging doesn’t work, as life ebbs away. I lost one of my ‘oldies’ today. And she’s asked her son to put the dog down, which he had done, and it broke him up strangely more than losing his mum, which was expected.

    Still a bit of rage in this dog, though.

  144. Ambigulous (Re: NOVEMBER 13, 2017 AT 3:09 PM):

    Apparently our average light vehicle fuel consumption in Australia is around 10 litres per 100km, whereas in Europe it is around 5.
    How to explain it?
    What can Australia do about it?

    Engine capacities of vehicles in Europe are generally smaller when compared with similar Australian vehicles. Fuel is generally more expensive in Europe when compared with the price of fuel in Australia. Fuel/energy efficiency and emissions are generally considered as being more important in Europe. More attention to insulation, airtight sealing of buildings, double-glazing, etc.

    I think the Australian Commonwealth needs to follow the lead of the French & UK governments and make a similar announcement to ban sales of new petrol-, diesel- and LPG-fuelled engine cars and vans by a specific date – set a definitive challenge to car manufacturers – but it’s more problematic for Australia now as it doesn’t have a car manufacturing industry. It also needs to establish initiatives to encourage the rapid increase in sales of zero carbon emissions vehicles (i.e. battery-electric & hydrogen-fuelled), including encouraging the expansion of the network of suitable charging/re-fuelling points for these vehicles.

    (Re: NOVEMBER 13, 2017 AT 3:14 PM):

    Should the nations ban or restrict or rapidly reduce passenger aviation??

    Any air route over land with sufficient high density traffic, that has a flight distance less than 1500 km, currently can be competitively replaced with High Speed Rail (HSR). The BZE High Speed Rail report helps to confirm that an alternate transport system can affordably replace some aviation routes in Australia (i.e. Melbourne-Canberra-Sydney-Brisbane and regional areas along the route), and should be implemented without delay. Australia is one of only two continents – the other is Antarctica – without HSR or plans for its construction. What’s wrong with Australia? Why can other countries have HSR and Australia can’t/won’t?

    But why is the Australian Government persisting with building the Western Sydney Airport? $5.3 billion or more to construct this airport, plus perhaps a further $5-7 billion for transport connections to this airport will be an evident huge waste of money in a post- ‘peak oil’ world, and is contrary to the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement for zero net carbon emissions by 2050.

    Sourced from When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation, from Table 2.2, please consider these various energy efficiencies of transportation:

    Oil tankers and bulk cargo ships: 50 kJ to carry one ton of cargo for one km;
    Smaller cargo ships: 100-150 kJ to carry one ton of cargo for one km;
    Trains: 250-600 kJ
    Barge: 360 kJ
    Trucks: 2-4 MJ
    Air freight: 30 MJ
    Helicopter: 55 MJ

    Clearly, aviation is the least energy efficient mode of transport. We should be focusing on switching to the more energy efficient modes of transport where possible and as much as possible. Why have thousands of trucks transporting goods between Melbourne-Sydney-Brisbane when far less trains can do it using far less energy, possibly do it faster, be far safer, and possibly with zero emissions if the energy is supplied by clean renewable energy through electrification – even by “piggy-backing” the trucks on these trains?

  145. BilB (Re: NOVEMBER 13, 2017 AT 5:27 PM):

    It comes down to rational priorities. We need to have ours reshaped by tragedies that have yet to occur.

    I had a conversation with some one a few days ago on the subject of our energy security predicament, and the suggestion by this person was it would be a good thing for a major shock/tragedy to happen to shake things up and galvanize a response.

    I say: Be careful what you wish for!

    These issues have the potential to get out of hand rapidly, and get a lot of people hurt/killed. One of those people affected may be you, or someone you care about. You could be directly exposed to and affected by the tragedy. Is that what you are wishing for? Something to ponder.

  146. GeofM

    Whereas I like the transport consumed energy chart that you have sourced it does need checking.

    For instance a quick look at aviation (based on the best so far because everything coming up is even better) for the A380 at cruise consumes 13.5 tons kerosene per hour (1000 kilometres). Assuming a full pay load of 91 tonnes that comes to by my calculation 6.75 MJ per kilometre or a little under 2 kWhs per kilogram kilometre.

    As this is a quarter of the above information the other measures will require the same scrutiny. But again this is a good fact sheet to work from.

    I don’t know if you picked up on Sweden’s electrified motor way for hydrid electric trucks (think trolley busses). With that initiative the Truck figure can divided by three to four, assuming the electrical energy is sourced from solar.

    Regarding tragedies, they are coming regardless as our governments have squandered the last twenty years of vital lead time.

    I put forward a method to replace all of Australia’s fossil fuel energy with renewables at minimal cost back in 2007 when electricity in NSW was 13 cents per unit. This proposal was to apply a 3 cents per unit levy on electricity retail rates. This would have brought in around 8 billion dollars per year into an electrical infrastructure replacement fund available to industry players to tender for access to utilise at zero interest for the purpose of building optimally efficient renewable power facilities for their organisations to thereafter operate competitively. The end result would have been a national energy infrastructure asset owned by consumers and operated competitively for a least cost economic load of around 18 cents per unit.

    Didn’t happen and the opportunity (100 billion dollars) was lost to political and economic ideological infighting. So now we have the dogs breakfast of a system which costs way more and most of those funds that should have built the electrical power generation system of the future has gone into private hands to fund whatever it is that greedy people do with other people’s money.

    It’s ironic that the prime argument against the levy proposal was that it would generate a government slush fund that would be mismanaged. Well! I look at what we ended up with and all that I see is slush.

  147. Geoff M at 11.16am

    Thanks for your thoughts and facts.

    1. Fuel consumption of Australian light vehicles.
    As I recall, there was a fairly quick movement to smaller sedans here after the Oil Shock (price rises) in 1974, but the trend didn’t continue.

    I don’t think it’s much to do with our vast distances. More likely our affluence?

    2. Fuel use in various transport modes.
    I’m quite serious about passenger air services. Most attention hereabouts seems to focus on private cars and 4WD.

    Some years ago Gareth Evans and others suggested an international air travel tax paid by travellers, to fund the UN. A neat way of avaoiding taxing the very poor globally.

    Well, why not?
    And whack on a Carbon Tax.

    An engineer designing electric vehicles for the mass market in India, suggested that the net result of the VW/emissions cheating, will be to hasten the outright banning of internal combustion engine cars and trucks.

  148. I’m of the though that advocates of banning internal combustion engines, yet still themselves use them, are not arguing from a moral position.

    Those that have banned them for themselves are.

    Who among us have ?

  149. Hi Mr J

    I meant, when solar recharged electric vehicles are ready, well tested, safe and affordable. Not tomorrow.

    Note the timetables fir Oxford and various nations. Not tomorrow.

    I agree that no-one should seek to ban behaviour they wish to persist with.

    We’re all in this together.

    I pay income tax. I would wish that businesses cease avoiding tax.

  150. Jumpy (Re: NOVEMBER 14, 2017 AT 8:54 PM):

    I’m of the though that advocates of banning internal combustion engines, yet still themselves use them, are not arguing from a moral position.

    Jump, are you setting up a strawman argument?

    You can’t ban something as widespread as internal-combustion (I/C) engined vehicles overnight. You must have reliable, affordable alternatives to switch to. Alternatives have to be developed and deployed over a reasonable length of time. The French & UK governments have laid down the challenge for industry to come up with effective solutions by a specified time limit, and I have no doubt these governments have consulted with industry before making this announcement in July. It’s not something that has come out of the blue.

    My car is MY2003. I don’t intend purchasing a new I/C vehicle to replace it, because I think it would be wasting my money, knowing the evidence I see. I don’t think the current offerings of non-I/C vehicles are quite suitable just yet – limited range or too expensive – that’s my opinion. But I hope this will change soon as new developments become available. If some people wish to purchase non-I/C vehicles now, that’s entirely upon them.

    It’s the same arguments used by coal proponents to suggest that advocates of renewable energy are saying that coal-fired power stations be closed immediately and the power supply is then unreliable or unavailable. This is a strawman argument.

    We as a society need to put effective alternatives in place to transition to.

    So, Jumpy, before you point an accusatory finger at anyone to suggest hypocrisy, perhaps you should ponder the above.

    And how morally pure are you, Jumpy?

  151. Ambigulous (Re: NOVEMBER 14, 2017 AT 5:16 PM):

    1. Fuel consumption of Australian light vehicles.
    As I recall, there was a fairly quick movement to smaller sedans here after the Oil Shock (price rises) in 1974, but the trend didn’t continue.

    Relatively cheap energy available in Australia in the past has made us lazy. Europe hasn’t had the same energy affordability advantages, but they have been smarter with what they have available to them.

  152. Geoff M at 11.06 am

    I think smarter is they key word.

    Donald Horne’s famous book The Lucky Country argued that we had been lucky with mineral resources, and agricultural opportunities, etc. So instead of having to think, plan, work hard, prosperity fell into our laps.

    I am over-simplifying it.

    Then Horne was astounded to find that large numbers of folk latched on to the title, and said, “Isn’t it terrific that we are lucky, so blessed, live in a land with an abundance of useful minerals and in places, good soil.”

    More or less the opposite of his argument that we had, in a way, been unlucky to have had things so good.

  153. Brian on 13th Nov

    Happy to talk about LP.
    Larvatus Prodeo*, was one of Australia’s leading blogs for several years.

    Wide ranging, well written posts: economy, politics, science, engineering, history, literature, films, sociology, global issues, ethics, music, humour, etc.

    Many fine contributors, including an historian Paul Burns, a distinguished literary critic and author in Adelaide; Helen Dale; John Davidson; Brian; Andrew Bartlett; John Quiggin. Why, maybe Jumpy was there too?! Apologies to those I’ve omitted. When Brian started this here blog, some LP regulars followed him here. It took me a while.

    It was a free venue for fact and opinion. Brian started regular Climate Clippings posts there. He also regaled us with hair-raising Disaster Scenarios, e.g. Meteor arrival, disruption of the Earth’s magnetosphere, global epidemics, etc.

    The blog was marvellous.
    I was a latecomer to LP too.

    One of the main bloggers was Brian’s son Mark Bahnisch, whose efforts were prodigious. (The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.)

    * We call it LP.
    Many fond memories.

  154. Geoff Miell
    As Brian has helpfully pointed out I lean heavily toward free trade libertarian ideals.
    I also think we’ll get to all electric transportation eventually and after that something else.

    The timing is dependent on a few things.
    We know Governments of all persuasions in every country subsidises all types of energy with our taxes this distorts and corrupts the market while leaving us with less individual funds to decide. Perhaps, over the last 20 years you’d been taxed less, you could buy an EV now.
    Also the ridiculous amount of resources spent on things like measuring the change in growth rate of sea cucumbers off Cairns due to global warming rather than refining the efficiency of energy sources to make FFs financially uncompetitive.
    Let’s face it, free trips to snorkel on the Reef is more sexy than lab but let’s have science funds innovate.

    It’ll happen as I say, the disagreement is which mechanism will see it happen earlier.

    Governments didn’t invent cars, boats or aeroplanes in the first place, I doubt they’ll invent the next fuel source.

  155. Mr J

    On sea cucumbers, I know a science graduate, last I heard was working in a very small private company, looking to extract useful medicines from natural species. Now there’s a classic crossover from pure science to applications directed to human welfare.

    I don’t know how they have progressed. The company risked its own funds and paid its lab staff. You can imagine, one big discovery and they would profit hugely.

    ***

    Have you heard of nuclear fusion? Solar energy has its origin in nuclear fusion reactions occurring deep inside the Sun.

    Since the 1950s, governments have funded multi- million dollar research and engineering projects ultimately aimed to make nuclear fusion power stations practical.

    The fuel consists of deuterium, maybe tritium. Plenty of deuterium in the oceans. Almost free fuel.

    A modern innovation in power sources.
    Do you think no government subsidies should ever have been provided for this particular research effort?
    Or was it worth attempting the gamble???

  156. Governments didn’t invent cars, boats or aeroplanes in the first place, I doubt they’ll invent the next fuel source.

    Correct. But governments rarely invent anything, just as “free” markets rarely invent anything, and for the same reason – it’s not their core business.
    However, government agencies have been responsible for a great number of inventions – the internet, wi-fi, teflon, miniaturised electronics, black box flight recorders etc etc et bloody cetera.

  157. Zoot, I’ll look into those examples.
    On markets, they reward inventors, encourage innovation, smart investment and thrive on efficiency.
    Nanny doesn’t come close.

  158. I’ll give you wi-fi but didn’t that Government agency make a mess of the intellectual property rights on that one!!
    And a pittance after all the lawyering we payed for.

  159. J 6.21

    You had me worried there for a moment… Wikipedia tells us that Paul A. Baran was a Marxist economist in the US. Apparently got a chair at Stanford Uni and was the only “tenured Marxian economist” in the US until his death in 1964.

    Somehow, J, I thought you were unlikely to be singing the praises of *that* Paul Baran.

  160. Polymer banknotes were invented by a Reserve Bank/CSIRO partnership, later spun off as the corporation “Securency”, which has had very bad publicity in recent years over alleged bribery, corruption, shady dealings brilliant entrepreneurial efforts to develop a portfolio of overseas ventures.

  161. On the internet, Paul Baran worked for Rand Corp.

    He may have, but the Internet was definitely invented by government agencies AKA the US Defence Department (for which Rand was a contractor).
    Not a “free” market in sight.

  162. Jumpy, I think you’d be surprised how much research is done by universities and other government agencies and is then commercialised.

    Much famously from the US ‘military industrial complex’ as Eisenhower termed it.

  163. zoot at an earlier 6.46pm

    Yep, as I recall it some Uni researchers working on top secret Defense Dept work formed a group: ARPA, Advanced Research Projects Agency, and wanted swift, secure communication of technical info.

    Entirely military at first.

    As I recall it, a set of overflying satellites providing triangulated position data in real time was set up by the US Defense Dept.

    Entirely military at first, but…. not sure if I should reveal this – what’s your security clearance?? – psssst, I know a bloke who sells a gadget you can put in your car, that hacks into that top secret miltary navigation network… and he’s rigged it up so the d*mn thing will talk to you, tell you where you are! True dinks: I can get you one for less than $2,999. Oh, it’s $4,999 if you want a sheila’s voice. Shoulda said that up front.
    😉

    Then there’s them intercontinental ballistic missiles: military, expensive, entirely govt. See Wernher von Braun (Tom Lehrer). See Chinese rockets of hundreds of years ago.

    I reckon, if you thought outside the box, you might be able to use some kind of rocket thingy to send a lady to the Moon and bring her back alive, or maybe put a little doggy in orbit around the Earth.

    How about if you could photograph the continents and oceans from above using an orbiting whatsamacallit?

    No, better to leave them rockets entirely for government and military use; they paid for them. Anyway, who on earth would use photos of the continents and oceans? Waste of bl**dy money!
    🙁

  164. Correction to an earlier comment where I calculated the A380 transport cost per kg per klm in kWh’s at 2. something kWh. Well I’ve been checking that as it made the Sydney to London energy cost in the millions of kWr, and that was obviously wrong. It turns out to be kWh/kg/klm for A380, Boeing 737, and an ATR 72-500: 0.00148; 0.00163; and 0.0022. So the Sydney to London trip costs 27,269 kWh; the Sydney Melbourne trip costs 1254; and the Wellington Blenheim flight 81 kWh. All based on 120 kg per person (person plus luggage).

    Correct unless I’ve made another SU. BilB

  165. BilB (Re: NOVEMBER 14, 2017 AT 12:40 PM):

    Whereas I like the transport consumed energy chart that you have sourced it does need checking.

    I treat the table of energy efficiencies of transportation as an indicator/guide, as some of the categories don’t have a range of values.

    For instance a quick look at aviation (based on the best so far because everything coming up is even better) for the A380 at cruise consumes 13.5 tons kerosene per hour (1000 kilometres). Assuming a full pay load of 91 tonnes that comes to by my calculation 6.75 MJ per kilometre or a little under 2 kWhs per kilogram kilometre.

    Payloads don’t just move by themselves. Have you considered the weight of the vehicle/vessel/aircraft carrying the payload in your calculations? Some of the energy consumed is in moving the vehicle carrying the payload. Less than fully loaded vehicles will be less energy efficient. Shorter aviation routes will be less fuel efficient than long-haul routes, because more fuel/energy is consumed to get airborne than is consumed at cruise height. I would expect larger aircraft are likely to be more energy efficient, so I think you should be looking at more than just the best of the best cases. A380s can’t land/take-off at all airports – too heavy and too big for some airports. Your initial calculation suggests the 30MJ figure given in the table is in the ‘ball-park’ for general airfreight as an average for a range of diverse types of freight aircraft – the A380 is likely to be at the lower end – but I take your point that newer planes are generally more fuel/energy efficient. But the A380’s energy efficiency is still higher than for road trucks, which is consistent with the general premise that aviation is the least energy efficient mode of transport.

    In the heyday of the UK canal transport era, one horse at walking pace along the tow path could haul a 1000 ton displacement barge.

    Regarding tragedies, they are coming regardless as our governments have squandered the last twenty years of vital lead time.

    We should not be crying over spilt milk and lost opportunities. We should be urging (figuratively kicking up the backside) our leaders to initiate the required changes. We should be voicing our views where possible to the key decision/policy-makers. Have you respectfully provided your views to your parliamentary representatives and relevant Ministers recently? How are they going to know what we think unless we tell them? The more people who can put forward a compelling case, the more likely they’ll take notice. Is there a better way?

    On ABC’s Q&A on Monday night, Professor Brian Cox made the point that renewable energy makes clear economic sense now for electricity generation, so the arguments for persisting with fossil fuels are becoming impossible to sustain.

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