Too good to be true? Is green flying really possible?

This is a long post, around 5,000 words, wherein I go down many rabbit holes. Perhaps at the end, though, there is a little pot of genuine climate gold.

At any given time there are more than half a million people in the sky, a veritable city about 11 kilometres up, strapped into seats in pressurised tubes atop gigantic flying tanks of kerosene. Looking forward, numbers of air travellers are increasing by 5% each year.

By the Rule of 72 the numbers could double and double again by 2050. Flights currently account for about 2% of anthropogenic CO2 emissions. This percentage will increase dramatically as emissions are eliminated from other areas of activity. While the 5% annual increase will probably taper, the likely prospect is that by 2050 emissions from flying will form a troublesome residue, difficult to eliminate.

So should people drastically cut down on air travel? The New Scientist recently took a look in an article by Paul Marks Our addiction to flying is ruining the climate, but it doesn’t have to:

    From simply flying planes in straighter lines to sucking fuel from thin air, a raft of new technologies that could help us fly guilt-free are in the offing

Now is this all just hand-waving, or are the possibilities real? I’ll try to assemble some information; you can make up your mind. It’s important that we know what might or might not happen.

Some basics about air travel.

Marks says that an average return plane ticket in 2017 was about 60 per cent cheaper in real terms than it was in 1995, which has driven much of the expansion in numbers. One would think that air fares are unlikely to become cheaper. Already the cost of air travel, say from Brisbane to Sydney, which is about 950 km, would be cheaper than other forms of transport if you place any value on time, and count accommodation and meals as appropriate.

A disproportionate amount of the energy used and the CO2 emissions caused comes in the take-off, so length of trip is critical. Wikipedia differentiates three categories of trips in terms of emissions per passenger kilometre:

    • Domestic, short distance, less than 463 km: 257 g/km CO2
    • Domestic, long distance, greater than 463 km: 177 g/km CO2
    • Long distance flights: 113 g/km CO2

Wikipedia cites a 2013 study which found that the carbon footprints of business class and first class are three-times and nine-times higher than economy class.

Wikipedia also says that about 60 percent of aviation emissions arise from international flights, and these flights were not covered by the Kyoto Protocol and its emissions reduction targets. From the reference, that statement refers to the situation in 2010. Wikipedia then links to an October 2016 news item indicating that the United Nations’ aviation arm overwhelmingly ratified an agreement to control global warming emissions from international airline flight:

    The agreement, adopted overwhelmingly by the 191-nation International Civil Aviation Organization at a meeting in Montreal, sets airlines’ carbon emissions in the year 2020 as the upper limit of what carriers are allowed to discharge. Airlines that exceed that limit in future years, as most are expected to do, will have to offset their emissions growth by buying credits from other industries and projects that limit greenhouse gas emissions.

Participation is voluntary until 2028, when it becomes mandatory. Initially only 65 countries indicated they would participate, including the United States, China, and the European Union’s 44-nation aviation conference. Marks says make that now 72 countries. This now covers about 75% of international flying.

Countries must still act on their own to put the agreement’s limits into effect, and they are still responsible internally for internal domestic flights under the Paris Agreement. The article says that $181 billion was spent on fuel in the previous year, and that emissions were expected to treble between 2005 and 2050. Also if aviation were a country it would currently be the world’s seventh largest carbon emitter — larger than Canada or South Korea, but not as big as Germany.

The agreement is not expected to reduce emissions, simply limit their growth:

    The International Council for Clean Transportation said its analysis shows the agreement will offset only about three-quarters of the growth in emissions from international aviation above 2020 levels.

Clearly, this situation is unsatisfactory.

I believe there are three general approaches to cleaning up the air industry – aircraft design and operation, alternative fuels (including a subset called ‘hybrid’), and offsets.

Aircraft design and operation

Marks was told that designing planes with better aerodynamics is ongoing, but the record over the last decade shows that a 1% improvement per annum is probably what we could expect.

A further gain could be made by reviving propeller-driven aircraft, which use fuel more efficiently, but are slower. Perhaps for freight handling. Generally speaking for personal travel people are in a hurry.

Planes stay in service for decades, so improvements in plane and engine design are too slow for the climate change agenda.

Then there is flight path control:

    Flight corridors are gradually being swept away by a new approach, called free route airspace, enabled by technologies like GPS and constant satellite tracking of planes. Each flight publishes its planned route in advance, then, as long as air traffic controllers monitor traffic, they can avoid clashes.

In Europe they say this will save 150,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. However, that’s only 0.02% of European emissions.

Better outcomes come from changing the practice of how planes reach maximum altitude. Aviation systems designers have found that cruising smoothly to full altitude rather than ascending in steps could save 10% of fuel. The concept is illustrated below:

Alternative fuels

Which brings us to the root cause, the use of fossil fuels. Most planes run on Jet A, an oil-derived chemical composed of carbon and hydrogen, which is basically kerosene.

First, lets look at electric planes powered by batteries. This is the bottom line:

    Large passenger planes that fully avoid kerosene are a long way off though, barring a huge tech breakthrough. Paul Peeters, a former aviation engineer now researching sustainable transport at the University of Breda in the Netherlands, has analysed the battery requirements of a 60-seater electric aircraft. “The battery, with current lithium technology, would have to be literally bigger than the whole aircraft,” says Peeters.

Yet Norway in June 2018 show-cased a two-seater plane (probably pay-walled) which took a few laps around Oslo airport. Norway hopes to electrify all air travel by 2040, but if it does it will be with more dense energy storage than is currently available. Battery technology would need to improve by an order of magnitude (at least).

Nevertheless, Airbus in the E-Fan X project is working with Siemens and Rolls-Royce:

    on converting a four-engine jet into a hybrid-electric plane, where one engine is replaced by an electric fan. A small engine hidden inside the plane will charge the batteries that run the electric motor, “like a Toyota Prius in the sky”, says Stein. The plan is for a test flight in 2020.

Boeing has a similar venture in Zunam Aero, a 50-seater with a limited range of 1100 km. This is how far you would get from London:

Boeing is claiming its plane will burn half the fuel of a similarly sized standard jet.

German firm E-Volo in Karlsruhe is working on a Volocopter, an electric two-seater vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft that looks like an over-sized drone. A test flight is planned in Singapore this year, the first in a built-up environment. This development is seen as a real possibility for urban transport, so the EU and the Americans have begun a consultation on standards needed to certify eVTOLs.

Perhaps the most influential development came in 2008 when Joris Melkert at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands flew a test jet with a fuel made from 95 per cent synthetic kerosene derived from natural gas. Melkert’s flight was not, I think, an eco-friendly development as such, but this is what followed:

    That fuel was synthesised from natural gas, but, in principle, synthetic kerosene from any source would be safe. That prompted ASTM International, which sets the standards on jet fuel, to rule that blends of up to 50 per cent synthetic kerosene could be used on flights. That in turn got the airline industry developing synthetic kerosene from crops. (Emphasis added)

There has been quite a lot of activity in using biofuels in the aviation industry, and some airlines offer customers the option of paying extra for biofuel when they make a booking. However, Marks reports that only 143,000 passenger flights have used biofuel blends in the past decade, a tiny fraction compared with the 39 million scheduled flights in 2018.

One of the more interesting is the BP Biojet project, which has been used in several airports in Norway and Sweden from 2017, and for a single day at Chicago O’Hare, one of the busiest airports in the world, in November 2017 as part of a proof of concept. In October 2018 the New Scientist reported on the project in an article How to make jet fuel from used cooking oil. BP does in fact collect cooking oil from restaurants, which would otherwise end in land fill where it produces methane emissions as it decays.

While there is more cooking oil available than you might imagine, they know that at best it could only provide a fraction of the fuel used by the whole industry. The BP project is part of their Advancing low carbon program. There BP advises that their Biojet blend reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 60% in comparison to the industry average fossil jet fuel. A footnote claims:

    A Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) was performed by SkyNRG (an independent certified operator, as a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials), on both SJF blends (BP-SPK-003 and -004), evaluating every step in the supply chain on its Green House Gas (GHG) emissions, up to and including blending at ST1 Terminal. It was taken into account that part of blend BP-SPK-003 was reused for making blend BP-SPK-004. Includes generation, use, disposal and re-use.

I’ll just point out that when they come to use sources other than cooking oil a new life cycle analysis would need to be done.

Of major interest is this comment in the NS article from Tom Parsons, Biojet commercial development manager at Air BP:

    It’s not yet possible for an aeroplane to fly solely on aviation biofuel. Instead, it has to be blended with conventional fuel. “You can have a one-to-one ratio of the biofuel with the conventional jet fuel,” says Parsons. This limit arises because aviation fuel needs to contain a small amount of ring-shaped organic molecules called aromatics. “The aviation biofuel doesn’t have any.”

I have never heard of this before. If true it places a cap on the utility of biofuels. There is also a question as to whether that same cap applies to synthetic hydro-carbon electro-fuels, where the inputs are air and water and green power, or to fuel made from the direct capture of CO2 from the atmosphere, I do not know. I suspect it does.

Marks asks:

    Even if biofuels were widely used, there is concern over the impacts of growing the feedstocks. Would it displace food crops? And how much carbon is emitted generating the energy used to turn crops into fuel?

He says:

    Boeing has a number of projects investigating the best sources of biofuel, including forestry waste in Canada, nicotine-free tobacco in South Africa and seawater irrigated plants in the United Arab Emirates. These all produce small amounts of fuel.

    Better would be to make a synthetic fuel using carbon sucked from the air, so no net carbon is released when it is burned. This was first demonstrated by a company called Air Fuel Synthesis in 2014. In June 2018, a Canadian firm, Carbon Engineering, showed that it had got the cost of removing 1 tonne of CO2 from the atmosphere down to between $94 and $232, at least a third cheaper than previous estimates. But the challenge is to emit less carbon making the fuel than you save by avoiding oil-derived kerosene. And that’s tough. Tellingly, Air Fuel Synthesis quietly folded in 2016.

The first two links are to NS articles, no doubt pay-walled. In the first we are told that the promise of ‘carbon capture and use’ (CCU) is a burgeoning industry that has attracted billions of dollars in investment, some of it from major oil and gas companies.

There are two very basic problems. Firstly, it is hard to break the bond between the C and O atoms, so the search is on for the appropriate catalyst.

Secondly
, there is no significant existing market for CO2. The global demand for CO2 was reckoned in 2011 as about 80 million tonnes each year, a mere 0.2% of emissions at that time. The fizz in drinks does not need a lot of CO2. However, here’s an image of Sunfire in Dresden, Germany, using water and CO2 to make liquid fuel:

    With the co-electrolysis of Sunfire, CO2-neutral synthetic crude oil can be produced from water in combination with carbon dioxide and green electricity via syngas. The so-called e-Crude consists of various hydrocarbons and can replace crude oil in conventional production processes. Existing infrastructures can continue to be used with renewable resources. Industries that cannot be electrified, such as long-distance transport, aviation and shipping or even the chemicals sector, thus become more climate-friendly without adjustments and restrictions.

Marks’ article, which began with the title Our addiction to flying is ruining the climate, but it doesn’t have to (emphasis added), actually ends with no satisfactory answers at all. His final para quotes Paul Peeters, who said above that batteries would need to be literally bigger than the whole aircraft:

    He thinks the only solution is to find a way of limiting the number of flights, perhaps through an international agreement that goes far beyond what the UN has brokered so far. “We cannot count on these measures,” he says. “It is way too late.”

What this says to me is that the only way forward is through offsets – offsets that genuinely offset the carbon emitted in a more or less immediate time frame. My beef with using tree planting as offsets is that it takes around 50 years to offset the carbon emitted, long enough to cook the planet. Before I deal with offsets, however, I need to refer to two papers that have a major bearing on the subject which have been referred to in the long discussion of green flying on Climate clippings 229. The first is:

Twenty-First Century Snake Oil: Why the United States Should Reject Biofuels as Part of a Rational National Security Energy Strategy, by Captain T. A. “Ike” Kiefer, January 2013

We need to be clear that Kiefer’s focus in not on climate change mitigation, it’s on national energy security and in particular the effectiveness of the US Military program of funding biofuel research and development. He does have a short section on CO2 and climate change (11.2), wherein he mainly says that it is smarter to sequester CO2 in plants than to burn those plants for energy.

However, when you consider Kiefer is writing 6 years after James Hansen told us we must take CO2 out of the air to reach concentrations of 350 ppm, not having that front of mind cannot be excused. Moreover, if security is his thing, he should have been aware of Gwynne Dyer’s book Climate Wars (2008), which sees climate change as an existential threat, having written it after consulting leading climate change and security experts.

It’s a while since I’ve looked at biofuels in any comprehensive way, certainly well prior to 2013. My default view has been that only sugar cane returned sufficient energy for the energy invested in producing it. The world would benefit by consuming less sugar, so the common conflict with food production did not apply in the same way. Still there were questions about the large scale environmental effects of devoting so much fertile land to fuel production. Kiefer certainly blows sugar out of the park.

Without going into the full deal, biofuel from sugar is commonly produced from bagasse, the waste straw left after sugar production, which is very different from sugar. However, if you produce sugar solely for biofuel you still come against the problem of turning solid cellulose into a liquid. Sugar performs not much different from the rest.

His measurement tool is ‘energy return on investment’ (EROI), a ratio derived from dividing the ‘energy usable in newly produced fuel’ by the ‘energy consumed in producing the new fuel’ having regard for life-cycle factors as well as storage and delivery infrastructure. Here’s the formula courtesy of a screenshot:

One would think that if the ratio was greater than 1:1 then we would be in front. Not so. Our economy and lifestyle depends on a high EROI. He finds the US EROI is 12:1. Historical studies show that when the ratio dips below 6:1 the economy slides into recession. At 3:1 basically we starve.

Corn ethanol comes in at 1.25 to 1. Brazilian sugar was thought to be 8:1, but more thorough measurement brought that down to less than 2.

What it means is that our energy economy under biofuels would have an efficiency somewhere between the Stone Age and Roman society.

Kiefer is not keen on algae. Its a complicated story, and there may be some role for algae-based liquid fuel as a byproduct if the algae is used for other things. In the end liquefying cellulose takes considerable energy, and it’s better to shovel the stuff directly into a furnace.

Kiefer has a fascinating Section 13: Can a Technology Breakthrough Save Biofuels? Firstly he says the EROI of biofuels is limited by the maximum theoretical performance of photosynthesis.

It happens that the very latest issue of the New Scientist has an article Fixing a flaw in photosynthesis could massively boost food production. The print version has the title Evolution’s biggest mistake gets fixed.

Photosynthesis is notoriously inefficient. However, scientists at the University of Illinois have used GM modification to boost photosynthesis efficiency by 40%. For some reason they were working on tobacco, but are now trying the same technology on food crops like cowpeas and soya beans.

I’m not smart enough to work out what difference that would make.

Secondly, he says that if you are going to use fossil fuels to grow plants and then convert them into biofuels you are always going to be chasing your tail. Those were not his words, he says:

    Converting fossil fuel hydrocarbons into plant carbohydrates and then back into hydrocarbon fuels is a futile attempt at perpetual motion in chemistry.

However, he also says:

    The way out of this dilemma is to have a plentiful supply of hydrogen from a non-fossil fuel source, and the only prospect for doing this in sufficient quantity is to electrolyze hydrogen from water using nuclear power.

Then:

    However, if we had such a surplus of nuclear power electricity and hydrogen, we would use these directly for energy and fuel and not mess around with the inefficient middleman of biomass. This litany is the inescapable Catch-22 of biofuels.

Fair enough, but nuclear powered aeroplanes?

Section 14: Conclusions and Recommendations is worth a look. Inter alia, he says that military dependence on petroleum is less of a national security risk than dependence upon biofuels. He states that proven reserves for petroleum are robust and growing. If, however, we look like running out of oil:

    the government should ensure there is excess electrical capacity from non-oil and gas power plants to electrolyze sufficient quantities of hydrogen from water for transportation fuel purposes.

That’s para 12 of Section 14, p54 on the pdf counter. If he had seen burning fossil fuels as verboten, as he should have done, he would have been talking up a very different story. In the same year, our John Davidson, who did understand that burning fossil fuels would have to cease, outlined the potential of liquid fuels from air, water and renewable power.

Certainly the cost in dollars is another matter. But if the burning of fossil fuels must stop, is there any alternative? In my view the cost in dollars must be paid, even if it means lowering our standard of living, or we have to arrange our affairs to do without aeroplanes. That seems socially and economically close to impossible.

Turns out there is at least one alternative, as we turn to the report for the EU:

Novel carbon capture and utilisation technologies, Scientific Opinion 4/2018 by the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors

. The aim was “to provide scientific advice on the climate mitigation potential of CCU [carbon capture and utilisation] technologies, in particular CCU technologies that are environmentally safe and that may offer substantial climate benefits.”

The big question for me is, were they seized by a sense of urgency appropriate to an existential climate emergency? Clearly not. The approach is to do what is currently economic, to gradually transition to a virtuous future, as long as we get there about mid-century that will be OK. So when they contemplate capturing CO2 from flues from existing processes on its way to the atmosphere, that’s OK for now, while noting that it is really just making a second use of molecules that really shouldn’t be going into the atmosphere in the first place. In the end we’ll get to sucking free ranging CO2 molecules out of the air, but that would be more expensive than going for CO2 spewing out of industrial processes, which are still licensed to dump their CO2 into the air. And yes, there are still technical challenges, and basically no market for using CO2 as noted earlier.

They do address the important issues of accounting and accountability, and recognition as to how long any CO2 molecule is held (bound) before it escapes again.

In relation to transport, there was this in Chapter 6 Statements and recommendations:

    In the medium (2030/40) and long term (2050 and beyond) – [CCU] may contribute to the de-fossilisation of the energy and transport systems [by using excess variable renewables] to store in fuels for the use in high energy density needs (long haul flights and long distance shipping) as well as possible storage medium for power system.

In other words, CCU is worth spending research and development money on, maybe also subsidies, for its potential in the future. They’ve spotted that renewable energy is sometimes available in excess of power needs for limited periods. Readers of this blog will no doubt know that already on the NEM there are times when spot prices have been reduced to zero or lower, especially in South Australia.

Offsets

We’ve reached a point, then, when we know that there no fully green answers to the airline industry at large available now. Perhaps there never will be, if a 50% mix is the maximum allowable technically. In that circumstance I believe we are bound to fully offset GHG emissions caused by aeroplanes. It should be in the price of the ticket or the freight charge.

Of course you can indeed opt to offset an air flight now. I tried Carbon calculator, which told me a trip to Sydney and back would produce 0.24 tonnes of CO2, which could be offset for £1.81. The CO2 sounds about right from the figures at the top of the post, but the cost is literally unbelievable.

Happens there is a commercial venture Carbon Engineering, with a demonstration plant in Squamish, BC, Canada which has developed a Direct Air Capture (DAC) process. This is the summary from Fortune magazine:

    With DAC, air is filtered through a non-hazardous chemical absorbent that captures about 80% of the air’s carbon dioxide content. The chemical substance drops to the bottom, while the cleaner air is released.

    The collected CO2 then goes through a series of purifying processes, eventually producing a pure version that can be stored underground, turned into a carbon-based product, or-as clean energy company Carbon Engineering suggests—synthesized into cleaner transportation fuels.

    Purified carbon dioxide fuel would create a circular system of emissions: your car runs on fuel made from the air’s CO2 (emitting CO2 back into the air), and a facility captures this CO2 again to make more fuel.

    “So the net CO2 emission is zero,” Steve Oldham, CEO of Carbon Engineering, told Fortune. “It’s all working, we’ve made fuel. The next step for us to is scale up.”

    A fourth option for disposing of collected carbon dioxide is enhanced oil recovery, or using atmospheric carbon in the oil drilling process. Oil drilling already uses CO2, but using a purified version from the atmosphere buries the carbon dioxide below ground, while also supporting oil-based economies.

Frankly, I don’t understand the scientific and technical process. However, the claim is that CO2 can be captured from the air for less than $US100 per tonne.

Then their AIR TO FUELS™ technology:

    enables the production of synthetic transportation fuels – such as gasoline, diesel, or Jet-A – using only atmospheric CO₂ and hydrogen split from water, and powered by clean electricity.

They say they can produce fuels for less than $1.00/L once scaled up, making them cost-competitive with biodiesels.

The scientific paper water cost them 10 cents per cubic metre. Water costs can vary, but they say as an upper bound, seawater desalination would only add roughly 5$/tCO2.

It all seems too good to be true. Is there a catch somewhere?

The firm received considerable support from government agencies and foundations. Occidental Petroleum Corporation and Chevron have now made equity investments into the company.

Looking at the Brisbane-Sydney trip, offsets at $100/ton converted at $US70 cents to the AUD, I make the added cost of a return trip about $34. Google told me the cost of a one-way ticket was “from $148”. That is no doubt a budget carrier. Given first class, business class etc I’d guess that airlines could incorporate offsetting with a 10% increase of fares, or perhaps less.

To save the planet, that would seem a reasonable price to pay, and would not greatly inhibit air travel. However, that is definitely outside my area of expertise.

Then we have the really cheap airlines, like Tiger, which I’m told will charge $60 to $70 for a ticket from Brisbane to Sydney. For those customers a $17 increase may well be too much. Surely they have as much right to visit friends and rellies as anyone else.

I can only say, it is not the airlines job to solve inequality issues in the world. In a just world, they should be able to fly.

The bottom line is that there is indeed a catch. It’s this.

Carbon Engineering’s prime aim is to make shitloads of money. When the carbon is removed from the air it needs to go somewhere. Turning it into fuel puts it back into the air, but not in a completely carbon neutral manner, even if renewable energy is used to power the process. Carbon used for other purposes does not always lock up the carbon forever as noted by the EU group above.

David Roberts has had a close look at this issue in

The problem with my Brisbane-Sydney example above is that the captured carbon must be used or buried. Roberts says what he calls Carbon Engineering’s A2F provides, by a fair measure, the lowest carbon fuel around:

Carbon Engineering’s commercial strategy is to sell low carbon fuels into the sizable market in California, which has introduced:

    a low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) that requires fuels sold in the state to steadily decline in carbon intensity. In practice, that means companies that sell fossil-based fuels have to source some lower-carbon fuels to offset them, through a credit trading system.

    Right now, credits under the LCFS are trading for $150 per ton of carbon. That is meant to be the source of Carbon Engineering’s initial financing, funding its effort to scale up.

Ultimately CE will make bucket loads by licencing its technology.

Currently no-one pays anyone to put the carbon into the ground. In a couple of decades, when governments wake up to the fact that CCS is actually necessary for the future of the planet, CE will be in prime position.

Roberts says he know of one other competitor to Carbon Engineering. It’s Climeworks, with demonstration facilities in Zurich and Iceland.

Carbon Engineering’s commercial strategy is based on doing climate change mitigation at a doddle, overshoot on our Paris targets, and then suck carbon out of the air later. That is recklessly dangerous and playing dice with the future of our progeny and a living planet. It is in their interests that the necessary changes come over a few decades, not urgently ASAP.

James Hansen in Climate change in a nutshell p45 says that CO2 can be buried for about $20/ton. If so that would add about 2% to the example I gave above, which is not a game changer.

An advantage with DAC is that you can do it where you intend to bury the carbon, as long as there is water and renewable power. No transport of massive amounts of CO2 is necessary.

If we want to act urgently, faster than the market solution currently being contemplated, two things need to change. We need political will and international co-operation. Mandate genuine offsets and have the airlines put it into the price. The money collected goes into developing and implementing the genuine carbon capture industry, by whatever means is appropriate.

Hansen’s figure, which seem in the ball park, see us spending trillions of money on capturing and storing carbon from the air. These figures seem large, but are roughly commensurate with what the world spends in defence, and a fraction as a proportion of GDP of what we spent saving the world from fascism in World War 2.

Time to act, not just for the airline industry, but to keep the third rock from the sun in a goldilocks state for life.

169 thoughts on “Too good to be true? Is green flying really possible?”

  1. Massive effort Brian: Still digesting but a few initial comments:

    Firstly EROI is irrelevant when we are talking about replacing fossil energy with renewable energy to save the planet. by converting one form of renewable energy into another form that is suitable for the end use. (However, it is relevant if the input energy is something like the fossil energy used to drive the farm equipment etc. used to grow and process the crops that are used to make “renewable” bio-fuel – You see things from time to time that query just how renewable corn based alcohols are when the source of input energy is taken account of.)
    I was also interested in the comment for the need for jet fuels to contain aromatics and got some interesting stuff when I googled “does jet fuel have to contain aromatics?” It appears that octane number, the risk of freezing at high altitudes and deterioration of nitrile seals are all factors. I would be surprised if these problems couldn’t be solved by either changing e-fuel manufacturing process, changing the seals or changing plane system or settings would solve the problem. Then again, this is well outside my area of expertize.
    Also had a quick look at the prospects for planes fueled by liquid hydrogen. Comment was:

    According to research at the Pennsylvania State University in 2006, large commercial hydrogen aircraft could be built by 2020 but “will probably not enter service until closer to 2040.”[2]

    I am attracted to the idea of using liquid ammonia as a transport fuel because it avoids the need to extract CO2 from the air or water that adds to the cost of carbon containing fuels. It has a lower energy density than Jet A fuel (12 vs 33 mJ/litre and 19 vs 42 mJ/kg)

  2. John, I think a basic problem is that no country, hence no government owns a large part of the air travel/air freight sector, so we have a combination of weak international agreements, weak supervision and accountability, and a tendency to rely on market-based solutions.

    We need strong and concerted action, probably first by the G20, although the WTO is the only international body that has teeth.

    I’d like to see an early regime of realistic offsets, and go from there. At present it seems to be California making the running, then it might catch on from there.

    BTW, it’s my impression that the EROI will have a strong influence on our economic well-being and standard of living in a fossil fuel free world. Firmed wind and solar should be good.

  3. Struth !, it’ll take the rest of he week to go through all that Brian, big effort from yourself there.

    First thought was the 1500 private jets and untold commercial flights to the Davos wankfest with caviar happening now.
    Is it really necessary?

  4. Brian, unfortunately you’ve missed the additional impact of flying on the greenhouse effect from contrails and the injection of aerosols into the troposphere. It’s significantly amplified from the CO2 emissions.

  5. Brian: My impression is that part of the problem is that there is no real consensus re how plane missions should be reduced and some issues that need to be solved for the various alternatives. EROI, health and contrail considerations suggest a move to hydrogen fed to fuel cells that drive electric propellers while minimizing fleet changes point towards renewable jet A or the blending of fossil Jet A with something renewable methanol. (attraction of methanol is that it tends to increase octane number.)
    Jumpy: Agree there is a lot of scope for reducing business travel and replacing it with electronic communication. I can think of many occasions where I flew to jobs that I might have resolved remotely these days. On the other hand some of the solutions to problems I have dealt with in the past really did need me to get into the plant look around to see things that the person on the other end of the video missed. Sometimes too, talking to operators instead of the person on the other end of the video gets the information that is really needed.
    I have no real problem with Davos. Face to face communication and meetings on the side are important for solving an issue, or realizing something is areal issue in addition to making video communication easier.

  6. Wilful, the Wikipedia link referred to other environmental impacts I knew I hadn’t dealt with. In the end I was tired, basically had enough, which is a reason rather than an excuse. Couldn’t summon the energy to go down another rabbit hole.

    Hope what I did has some relevance. Personally I’m more excited by the notion that maybe we really can pull CO2 out of the air.

  7. That Keifer article is fallacious and debunked in so many ways.

    For starters, the original premise Of “should the US reject Biofuels..” should read ” reject Biofuels again” because the US at the hands of Rockefeller has already rejected biofuels once before. Remember that Ford wanted his Model T’s to be ethanol fuelled, but Rockefeller wanted to sell his oil so after every dirty trick eventually resorted to using the Temperance Movement to have ethanol production made illegal. However, had that not happened the production of fuels would be far more advanced and American agriculture would have been very different.

    The poor efficiency of US ethanol production is due to backward US farming practices (using bigger more technically advanced tractors does not equate to advanced farming practices), and their choice of using stover for over fattening cattle rather than for fuelling ethanol distillation.

    All of that aside the future of biofuel production will be with algal oil production which does not require land clearing at all. Look to NASA’s Omega project for a future look at how that will happen.

    https://www.nasa.gov/ames/research/space-biosciences/omega-project

    Why then has algal oil not surged forward? There are a couple of simple factors. 1. to accelerate algal oil growth requires a supply of CO2. 2. to feed more CO2 to algae by increasing the amount of dissolved CO2 in creases the acidity level of the water and at a certain level kills the algae.

    The Omega project solved the CO2 problem by drawing its fuel source (CO2) from sewerage facilities, along with all of the other nutrients such as phosphorus, and solved the other issues by using a floating digester system to produce area, mixing, volume. The entire project now awaits political reality to set in so the investments can be made to get that system operational.

    I conceived a different approach which I call Agal Foam. (Algal Foam already occurs in polluted environments, but the seed for this idea came from that fact that the bottom of ice sheets, Arctic and Antarctic, harbours massive amounts of algae that live on the ice crystal surface, feeding on nutrients in the water, and are the primary food of the krill that other fish feed on (the loss of this food source is yet another hidden tipping point that is never factored into the Climate Disaster reality).

    Algal foam is a nutrient rich gel that is seeded with algae, blown with CO2 from a number of potential sources (not the least of which could be our remaining gas and biofuel power plants) which flows slowly down a slope churning over as it flows to allow light into the bubble lenses, allowing the algae to reproduce over the space of a week, and which is then harvested at the bottom of the slope with the gel chemical being replenished and recycled as a foam at the top of the slope. Algal foam can be produced over land or sea, wherever there is a source of CO2 rich air to fuel the algae.

    One potential source of open ocean CO2 for fuel production could be the mid ocean trash pile, but then there might be other technologies to convert that plastic more directly to “alternative” fuel for aviation. It is going to take a world not in denial to make such an International effort possible to clean up that mess.

    Unfortunately to develop the algal foam concept this requires a knowledge of chemistry that I do not have, so I am going boating instead while there are still beautiful places to see.

    Credit Trading: As I have said for at least 15 years Economist’s Snake Oil. A Carbon Tax is direct, measurable, and the proceeds can be applied immediately to where they can do the most good, and that does not mean as refunds to disaffected industries.

    Aviation is not the target to focus on, Personal transport is. For Australia the future is predominately in Plug in Hybrid Electric Vehicles where the engines are fuelled with E95. With that combination all of Australia’s personal transport can be fuelled with Cane Etanol, Algal Oil and self generated solar electricity. The now released new Hyundai Ioniq is the vehicle model that will become the most successful solution. With and electric only range of 63klms and a total range of over 600klms (that is a guess as the fuel tank capacity is not easy to find) most people could refuel this car as rarely as once a year. My daily commute home to factory and return is under 40 klms so most of my driving would be electric only and recharged from solar panels on the factory roof. That would be be the experience of at least 70% of the driving public.

    The other area requiring more rational thinking than we have experienced from our bone headed politicians is in the area of electric scooters and bikes of all kinds. This is vital to make affordable public transport more effective (the last kilometre problem).

  8. You can finance an Ioniq PHEV (at $45,000) from St George at around $231 per week over 5 years. That is a lot but then consider if one is able to limit most of their driving to electric only then the fuel cost of perhaps $50.00 per week comes off that bringing it down to $180 per week compared to an equivalent cost fossil fuel (only) powered vehicle. Taken over a vehicle life time of 10 years then that cost falls to $90 per week average.

    So getting into electric only driving is not necessarily expensive.

    If cities follow Oxford City’s example and exempt electric only cars from city centre congestion taxes, then the benefits begin to compound.

  9. Off topic again… I will read and maybe contribute about the aviation fuel, looks interesting.

    More than a few times I have been stymied by the stubbon refusal of people to accept proven science – flat earthers, climate change deniers, coal-is-best etc. The link here tries to throw some light onto this denial problem. They do point out that it is not (yet) peer reviewed science but perhaps that will come. Please see:
    https://www.sciencealert.com/researchers-say-they-ve-figured-out-why-people-reject-science-and-it-s-not-ignorance

  10. Bilb:

    The other area requiring more rational thinking than we have experienced from our bone headed politicians is in the area of electric scooters and bikes of all kinds. This is vital to make affordable public transport more effective (the last kilometre problem).

    Recently bought a 7kg e-scooter to allow me to take advantage of high frequency bus routes that are too far away from where I live to use unless I am willing to spend one hr/day walking. By comparison, e-scooter time would be only about 20 mins per day which makes using the high frequency routes practical. Folded the scooter is small enough to easily take on public transport and also reduces the time taken from bus to final destination. The “e” means that I can avoid “arriving hot and sweaty” problem by using e power only going to work and, if I want to revert to manual on the home journey.
    Problem at the moment is that some people want to use the e-scooter for doing stunts in amongst pedestrians instead of for transport. The laws need to take account of this. My personal take is that my e-scooter is safer than a bike, particularity if the bike seat height is set for efficient pedaling.
    The particular model I have has a very effective regenerative braking system and 3 stages of speed limiting so that speed can be set at 8, 15 or 25 km depending on where the scooter is being used.

  11. Bilb: I can see the potential for producing bio-fuels or e-fuels from various sources of bio waste or sources that have higher than atmospheric CO2 levels. However, far from convinced that game changing amounts bio-fuels can be made without causing food shortages and/or damage to the environment.
    This doesn’t mean that breakthroughs may be made in the future. Research should continue.

  12. John

    Problem at the moment is that some people want to use the e-scooter for doing stunts in amongst pedestrians instead of for transport. The laws need to take account of this

    So a few idiots are ruining our freedom to do a what we majority may want to do.
    That’s what you get with the “ if it saves one life then regulation at any cost “ mentality that this Country is awash with.

  13. Jumpy: Made the mistake of letting the grandson have a go with my e-scooter. He worked out how to travel along amongst pedestrians balancing on the front wheel. He could argue that he had the skills to do what he did without anyone getting hurt but we do need some rules for what happens in amongst pedestrians.
    The new lime e-scooters at Southbank are a particular problem because they are being hired to use on the riverbank walkway as a fun thing rather as part of the transport system. At Southbank bikes+scooters and pedestrians should be separated.
    I think the rules re bikes and scooters should be the same except that the use of scooters on pedestrian ways might be a bit freer than it is for bikes.

  14. BilB, “sugar volt” is impressive, but promises of 70% improvement between 2030 and 2050, while perhaps helpful, we would still need offsets before and during what they might produce.

    As often, my head hurts after your comments. A few points.

    One is that Carbon Engineering took a proposition that looked pretty simple on paper, and then spent 100 person-years of R&D time to work out how to do it.

    Secondly, I mentioned on the other thread the ABC RN program on the possible potential of algae:

      Algae produces 50 per cent of the world’s oxygen and it’s an excellent carbon sink.

      And it is the frontier for next-generation medicines, nutritional supplements, cosmetics, food and drink as well as plastics, fuel, industrial chemicals and animal feed.

      So is algae the game-changing sustainable resource for our future?

      Algae is the new black presented by the Deep Green Biotech Hub and the University of Technology Sydney. 9 June 2018

    I still haven’t listened to the whole thing, but the notion of a closed system based on recycling in future cities was quite compelling.

    Third, this in the Hyundai blurb:

      However, a larger 8.9kWh lithium-ion battery pack enables up to 63km of electric-only driving, lowering combined-cycle fuel consumption to 1.1L/100km.

    Sacrificing some luggage room.

  15. JohnD, I think that you are over reacting old man fashion. 7 kg, The bag I carry every where weighs more than that. In Europe where there is real public transport everyone trails a wheely bag, and a man running through the crowd to catch a bus weighs 80 kg. Get real, making a multitude of regulations will not prevent people doing silly things or every accident from happening. The only time I have ever seen a person killed it was under the wheels of a quarry truck traveling at 1 mile an hour with 40 people watching.

    Things just happen.

    We live to learn, and through learning we prevent bad things from happening. The nearest that I have come to death in recent years was from a kid on a motor bike who in the afternoons late took to doing wheel stands up our factory street. He did it one evening as I was leaving doing a U turn in the empty street only it wasn’t empty, he was wheel standing in the dark but with his headlamp at 60 degrees pointing up was invisible, and he couldn’t see my car turning across his path. He missed the car by centimetres, had I turned half a second later his bike would have cut right through my car.

    I never saw him do that again. That is learning.

    You don’t have to make a law about every silly thing that people do with new technologies. We have to learn how to use things for our common benefit in as safe a manner as possible. The probability is that your grandson was fully experienced with the scooter having perhaps done all of those things on his razor scooter or scate board.

    My daughter decided that a skate board would help her get around Uni, she bought one, gave it a go, and broke her arm in the first five minutes. Should we ban skate boards because my daughter broke her arm?

  16. I’m sorry that I make your head hurt. The content there I have presented dozens of times in various ways. I am really perplexed by how little people take in in even slightly technical subjects.

    I identified the two key problems with algal oil production (actually there is a third…evaporation), issues which were confirmed by Jonathan Trent, the scientist who ran the Omega project in conversations that I had with him. The main hold up with algal oil production is the US fracking program which is holding global oil prices down. It is a waiting game.

    The Ioniq I think I read has a 300 litre boot space. It is car that will do 90% of its service life with one person aboard, boot space and batteries?

    If people understand what the challenge ahead is they will register that the prime mover of decarbonising personal transport without any loss of function is the PHEV in the Australian context. My distributor in the Netherlands apart from having (its never the same number each trip) 8 Teslas also has 2 of the Mitsubishi PHEV’s which they say work very well and are cost effective. And vehicles there really need to perform. The road past their warehouse in Maasdijk is a stretch of road heading to the Hook of Holland at 130kph speed limit. Everything blasts around over there.

    The key sugar volt innovations were all triggerred by private innovation. The electric flight initiative was started by guys putting electric motors on microlights, then that was amplified by the Comparative Air Flight Efficiency Foundation which achieved funding from both NASA and Boeing to run a competition which was won by a Slovenian glider manufacturer, and the othe key innovation…to wing strut was triggered by a Canadian guy with an idea which he incorporated into his Synergy Aircraft. But it is particularly the strut that makes lower drag high aspect ratio wings possible, and it was the Synergy concept that helped Boeing change their thinking on wing design for commercial aircraft.

    The little guy has a big say in the direction of aviation innovation. Its sad that politicians are so resistant to listening to new ideas from the people who solve the problems, ordinary people with focussed minds.

  17. BilB, please understand that I love you making my head hurt, as it extends my understanding in directions I’d missed or don’t have a full grasp of the rudiments.

    Sometimes, however, my knowledge and expertise is insufficient for me to hold up my end of the conversation, so I take in what I can. I don’t personally have a settled view about everything, and find it’s often more appropriate no to when my information and understanding is incomplete.

    It’s all grist to the mill, and it’s good if we can be stretched and have preconceptions disturbed,

  18. Brian, that’s a big effort for a comprehensive update. Well done! This comment is an initial response – I’m still digesting it.
    Brian, you state in your post:

    At any given time there are more than half a million people in the sky, a veritable city about 11 kilometres up, strapped into seats in pressurised tubes atop gigantic flying tanks of kerosene. Looking forward, numbers of air travellers are increasing by 5% each year.

    Per the BBC three-part series City in the Sky, broadcast on the ABC, in part 1 (“Airborne”) on 6 Sep 2019 the first words spoken were:

    This is the story of a city; a city with over a million residents, but you won’t find it on any map.
    A city that few could have even imagined a generation ago.
    It’s a city in the sky.
    There are a million-people airborne somewhere in the world at any one time.
    A city’s worth of passengers, straddling not just countries, but continents.
    It’s built out of the 100,000 flights that crisscross the globe every day.

    A little later it’s stated:

    This city in the sky is predicted to double in size in the next two decades, and keeping it airborne is testing our ingenuity to its absolute limits.

    I’m just highlighting the different numbers. I make no claim about who’s correct. Either way the numbers are still substantial.

    You state (about “a small amount of ring-shaped organic molecules called aromatics”):

    I have never heard of this before. If true it places a cap on the utility of biofuels.

    Indeed, this seems to be perhaps a substantial limitation. Unless synthetic ring-shaped organics can be made cheaply and in sufficient quantities then this is apparently a big barrier to 100% aviation biofuels (and perhaps CCU fuels?). Does Carbon Engineering make any claims that they can produce synthetic ring-shaped organics and at what price?

    In a recent Resilience.org post this caught my eye:

    Creative innovation: Chevron and Occidental Petroleum recently announced they will invest in Carbon Engineering Ltd., a Squamish, B.C. clean energy start-up company backed by among others, Bill Gates. Carbon Engineering has developed a process, the Direct Air Capture technology, that removes carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere. According to the company, the facilities are industrially scalable. The second technology, Air to Fuels, aims to lower the carbon footprint of the transportation sector through the creation of synthetic fuels. This process combines clean hydrogen produced via electrolysis from water with the CO2 captured from the atmosphere to produce hydrocarbon fuels such as gasoline, diesel and Jet-A. (1/14)

    Re Carbon Engineering’s AIR TO FUELS technology you ask:

    It all seems too good to be true. Is there a catch somewhere?

    Indeed, without knowing all the input costs (for equipment, energy, water, catalysts, consumables, etc.) it’s all speculation. Billions of dollars have been spent on biofuels and where is it at now and what environmental impacts is it having on habitats? I wonder whether CE’s tech will soak up billions of dollars with little to show, but we’ll see in the fullness of time.

    Thanks again, Brian, on your big effort for a comprehensive update. There are lots of things happening, but there are still many questions. The evidence I see (e.g. see here) suggests global petroleum oil supplies are likely to peak in the 2020s, which doesn’t provide much time to deploy these prospective technologies at large-scale if any of them are viable.

    And thanks for highlighting the importance of EROI. Kiefer’s EROI work is based predominantly upon Professor Charles Hall’s pioneering work (See YouTube video headlined Peak Oil Postponed? – Charles A. S. Hall where Professor Charles A. S. Hall speaks of his concept “Energy Return on Investment” (EROI) at a seminar arranged by think tank Global Challenge in Stockholm). Hall has published a number of peer-reviewed papers on this subject.

  19. It seems pretty clear that an eco-friendly option to aviation fuels is not with immediate reach. The quantum is enormous at 100,000 flights per day, each B777 consuming approx 6.5 tonnes of fuel per hour.
    Personal transport emissions – say a car, is a much more achievable target and if EV’s took over from combustion the reduction on carbon would be huge and happen far sooner than phasing out jet liner propulsion for new fuels. I’m pretty confident that with improved battery technology and other storage modes that can happen. My favourtites are pumped hydro first and molten salt as runner up.

    Hydrogen seems to be enjoying some renewed interest in Japan and I think Shorten has been talking about it too. Here’s a helpful video comparing Li-ion with hydrogen. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7MzFfuNOtY I think the battery comes out on top as far as the technology goes at the moment. Hydroegen costs too much to transporting and converting it to traction force. Not mentioned in the video is the Australian technique of storing hydrogen in ammonia.

    Not often mentioned is the need for earth to carry far less people. I can’t see that happening by design, but it could happen anyway by natural or man-made events.

  20. GM
    For ring-shaped C compounds, see “benzene, structure”.

    GH
    Not only has Mr Shorten been talking about H2, he has pledged about a billion AUD to sink into H2 projects in Nth Qld.

  21. Bilb: I spent 2 yrs running the safety and training dept for a mine and associated township. (The responsibility included emergency services.) In addition had many jobs over the years running processing plants where safety was an important part of the responsibility. So it should not surprise you that I still look for safety issues.
    The Courier Mail has gone toxic about the threats associated by the recently arrived lime e-scooters at Southbank. Part of the problem here is the mixing of scooters, skateboards, Sedgways, bikes and pedestrians on a riverside track with no separate lanes for bikes etc.
    I think e-scooters are safer than bikes, sedgeways and skateboards with a moderate amount of skill and the taking of care when near to pedestrians. When i am riding a bike or scooter I take care to either keep clear of pedestrians where possible and to make sure that pedestrians are aware that I am coming when approaching from behind.

  22. JD I see your lime e-scooters and raise you with my all-electric 26-ton excavator with a giant 300 kWh battery pack.
    —-
    Last year, electric plane startup Wright Electric stepped out of stealth mode to announce plan for 150-seat battery-powered plane. Now, easyJet CEO says that ‘electric flying is becoming a reality’ as they plan to test a nine-seater electric plane next year. And few months after they announced a partnership with easyJet. Now easyJet CEO Johan Lundgren announces that ‘electric flying is becoming a reality’ as they plan to test a nine-seater electric plane next year.

    easyJet wants to electrify its short trip routes and it will be one of the first steps toward that direction.

    While they are starting with a small plane, Wright is trying the ambitious goal of building a battery-powered 150-seat plane to compete with 737-size aircrafts in the market for short-haul trips (under 300 miles).

    Considering flights under 300 miles consist of 30% of flights and that Boeing and Airbus sold close to 1,000 of those regional airplanes for about $90 million each last year, it’s definitely a huge market. Even if the starting price is higher, the cost of fuel is such a significant portion of the operating cost for airlines that the return on investment could be quick if the batteries are recharged with cheap electricity.

  23. Ambigulous (Re: JANUARY 29, 2019 AT 8:03 PM)

    GM
    For ring-shaped C compounds, see “benzene, structure”.

    Thanks, Ambi. I was aware that ring-shaped organics are benzene and benzene derivatives. My question posed above was:

    Unless synthetic ring-shaped organics can be made cheaply and in sufficient quantities then this is apparently a big barrier to 100% aviation biofuels (and perhaps CCU fuels?).

    Looking at the Wikipedia entry on Benzene under the heading Occurrence (bold text my emphasis):

    Trace amounts of benzene are found in petroleum and coal. It is a byproduct of the incomplete combustion of many materials. For commercial use, until World War II, most benzene was obtained as a by-product of coke production (or “coke-oven light oil”) for the steel industry. However, in the 1950s, increased demand for benzene, especially from the growing polymers industry, necessitated the production of benzene from petroleum. Today, most benzene comes from the petrochemical industry, with only a small fraction being produced from coal.[45]

    As petroleum supplies are likely to peak soon (i.e. 2020s) then cheap alternative sources are needed (not just for apparently aviation fuels but also for the plastics industry). I posed the question about alternative cheap sources of ring-shaped organics – I don’t have any definitive answers on this subject.

  24. John Davidson (Re: JANUARY 27, 2019 AT 1:56 PM)

    Firstly EROI is irrelevant when we are talking about replacing fossil energy with renewable energy to save the planet. by converting one form of renewable energy into another form that is suitable for the end use. (However, it is relevant if the input energy is something like the fossil energy used to drive the farm equipment etc. used to grow and process the crops that are used to make “renewable” bio-fuel – You see things from time to time that query just how renewable corn based alcohols are when the source of input energy is taken account of.)

    IMO, clearly you have no idea what EROI is about. Energy is energy, no matter how it’s transformed. Whether energy is derived from fossil fuels or nuclear fission or hydro or geothermal or tidal or wind or solar-PV or solar thermal or a combination of technologies to produce usable forms of electricity and/or solid/liquid/gaseous fuels, the average EROI of these energy technologies will determine if a civilization is sustainable or not.

    From Kiefer’s Twenty-First Century Snake Oil, in 5.3. EROI of Modern Civilization:

    A study of historical US economic performance over the last century has found that recessions are linked to overall fuel EROI dipping below a critical threshold of 6:1.[44] This value represents the minimum energy quality civilization must have to sustain a modern, energy-intensive quality of life. Another macro-analysis found that an EROI of 3:1 is the bare minimum quality a raw energy feedstock must have to overcome all production costs and conversion losses and still deliver any positive net energy to modern civilization.[45] To put these values in biological terms, a modern post-industrial civilization is very energy-hungry, and if undernourished on a diet of fuels with lean EROIs below 6:1, becomes catabolic: eating into the fat of its savings and the muscle tissue of its infrastructure to replace the missing calories. As long as EROI remains below 6:1, industrial civilization is locked into a death spiral where an ever increasing fraction of its economic output (GDP) is spent on energy at the cost of an eroding standard of living.[46]

    The relevant End Notes at the back of the paper are:

    [44] This tipping point is also correlated with greater than 10% GDP expenditures on energy. See C. W. King, “Energy intensity ratios as net energy measures of United States energy production and expenditures,” Environmental Research Letters 5, no. 4 (October 1, 2010): 044006.
    [45] Hall et al., “What is the Minimum EROI that a Sustainable Society Must Have?,” Energies 2, no. 1 (January 23, 2009): 25-47. The case considered in detail is liquid transportation fuel for modern civilization, which is exactly applicable
    [46] Murphy et al., “Year in review—EROI or energy return on (energy) invested,” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1185, no. 1 (January 1, 2010): 102-118.

    John, your statement that: “EROI is irrelevant when we are talking about replacing fossil energy with renewable energy to save the planet” apparently ignores the scientific work of King, Hall, Murphy. et al. You seem unable to understand that an increasing fraction of economic output (GDP) spent on energy infrastructure is at the cost of an eroding standard of living. An EROI below 6:1 means civilizations collapse.

    A collapsed civilization is perhaps one way of saving the planet, but I’m certainly not recommending it. Do you want our civilization to collapse, John?

  25. Googled “what octane number is required for jet fuel and got this comment:

    Why kerosene is used as a jet fuel?
    The very high temperatures of jet engines cause gasoline to be a poor fuel because it tends to burn too fast. Kerosene, which is routinely called “Fuel OIL” some places, avoids pre-ignition problems (and some safety hazards) just like higher-octane gas avoids spark-plug knocking.

    The point i would make here is that aromatics help jet fuel meet this mixture of requirements there is no intrinsic need for aromatics as such if the requirements can be met by other means or jet engines can be tuned to use less desirable fuels.
    For example, Qantas has flown from Australia to he US using a fuel blend that includes biofuels.

    The world’s first dedicated biofuel flight between the United States and Australia, QF96 from Los Angeles to Melbourne, is set to depart later today.
    The historic trans-Pacific 15 hour flight will operate with approximately 24,000kg of blended biofuel, saving 18,000kg in carbon emissions.
    Qantas will use biofuel processed from Brassica Carinata, a non-food, industrial type of mustard seed, developed by Canadian-based agricultural-technology company, Agrisoma Biosciences (Agrisoma).

    Virgin has also been active and has completed 195 flights on biofuel blends

    Virgin Australia said in a statement it was the first time in this country aviation biofuel, or biojet, made from sustainable sources such as sugarcane bagasse, molasses, wood waste and agave, had been supplied through an airport’s regular fuel supply system.

  26. Jumpy

    I suggest you investigate the (nutritional) energy requirements of four-legged beasts of burden. They also require stables, watering, shoeing and veterinary services.

    Not as cheap as you may think.
    I can recommend a good farrier.

    Glad to see you wrote “donkey” rather than “ass”. The RSPCA takes a very dim view of any person who kicks anyone’s ass.

  27. Mr A,

    I suggest you investigate the (nutritional) energy requirements of four-legged beasts of burden. They also require stables, watering, shoeing and veterinary services.

    No need, I’ll treat this donkey with the same love and care that most millennials treat their cars. None.
    It’ll keep the lawn down for nutrition, drink from a pond, live in the open, no shoes and never meet a Vet.

    But none of that answers what the Energy Return On Energy Invested ( EROEI, correct term, my bold italics and green ) in donkey transport.

  28. Where to start?
    Are you going to include the joules expended by Father Donkey and Mother Donkey in the procreative act and subsequent pregnancy?

    Certainly the daily donkey food intake (fuel) must be counted, as you would count petroleum based fuels energy content burnt by a truck or car….

    Complicated.
    Are you pulling my leg?

  29. Mr J

    Lest you misunderstand “procreative”, when a mummy donkey really, really likes a daddy donkey, they have a big, special cuddle, just after they get married.

    Then the mummy donkey has a baby donkey.

    (Always here to help.)

  30. No leg pulling of you MR A, but the question was specifically directed to GM ( the EROI EROEI expert ) but thanks for your input.

    The donkey is fundamentally renewable as is its fuel.

    I’m wondering ( just one single wonder I have ) if GMs EROI EROEI incorporates the mining and production of the manufacture of modes of transportation alternatives or just propulsion into the equation.

  31. I think it includes the embodied energy in the vehicle.

    I thank you for your thanks.
    But really the main input was by the daddy donkey.
    And of course the mummy donkey, patiently carrying the mighty young transporter to full term.

    You are correct: grass and oats are renewable.

  32. Mr A
    In today’s PC climate, assuming the gender of donkeys and their sexual proclivities are a no no.

    ( now I’m pulling your leg )

    [ I’m stopping any further discussion by myself on this side issue due to potential thread derailment. Open thread is where I may respond]

  33. Mr jumpy may I ask why donkeys were your first choice, when camels have a proven record of transportation in the adverse climate of Australia. In particular the EROEI of camels would be much better, as they only require nutrient poor forage. In fact oats and grains, essential for working donkeys according to FAO, are far too rich for camels. They are also presently being culled in their thousands.
    —-
    Thinking about old and proven transport systems, I searched if anyone is having a look at reinventing blimps again. It turns out there is a startup building a hybrid airship or ultra-safe, ‘plummet-proof’ aircraft.

  34. GM: Had look at what Wikpedia had to say in the section of this article on criticism of EROI.
    The point I would make on the basis of my experience with coal washery costs is that the input energy can be divided into fixed input (energy required to build the washery), semi-variable energy (the energy required to run the washery with no feed) and the variable energy which is proportional to tonnes washed. What this means is that if production is cut back because of a recession, the overall EROI will drop. (Because the fixed energy doesn’t drop at all and the semi-variable will not drop as fast as production drops. This means that the drop in EROI is caused by the recession and the recession is definitely not caused by the washery EROI.
    The EROI concept can be useful but it should be used with extreme caution and not quoted unless you are very sure of what was taken into account.

  35. Ambi:

    You are correct: grass and oats are renewable.

    Careful lad. What about the non-renewable iron that is worn off ploughshares and all the non-renewable resources used to make fertilizer and……?

  36. Jumpy (Re: JANUARY 30, 2019 AT 6:52 PM)

    No leg pulling of you MR A, but the question was specifically directed to GM ( the EROI EROEI expert ) but thanks for your input.

    I don’t claim to be an EROI/ERoEI expert.

    I’m sure you can do a websearch just as well as I can, Jumpy
    Here’s what I found when I websearched “EROI of donkeys”. Perhaps you can find something out of it.

    More seriously, look at a research paper in the Energy Policy journal, dated Jan 2014 headlined EROI of different fuels and the implications for society, by Professor Charles AS Hall, Jessica G Lambert & Stephen B Balogh.

  37. BilB (Re: JANUARY 28, 2019 AT 11:11 AM)

    That Keifer article is fallacious and debunked in so many ways.

    Fallacious in what way? Debunked by whom? You, BilB? Are you debunking all the scientific papers listed in the End Notes of Kiefer’s paper? That’s a big call if you are!

    BilB, are you debunking the values shown in Figure 3: Energy Return on Investment (EROI) of US Energy Sources, of Kiefer’s paper? Are you debunking all the references listed in the End Note [47], BilB? What’s your evidence, BilB?

    Then there’re comments by former CEO of ARENA, Ivor Frischknecht, in a podcast at RenewEconomy headlined Ivor Frischknecht and the transition to 100% renewables, dated 19 Nov 2018, from around time interval 24:24, who says that “there’s not enough biomass on the planet to power the planet”. Is Frischknecht wrong too? Do you know better than Frischknecht, BilB?

    IMO you clearly don’t have a full understanding of what you are talking about. I think you also don’t understand the importance of EROI.

    You pose a rhetorical question about NASA’s Omega project:

    Why then has algal oil not surged forward?

    You imply that all the technical problems have been solved and that:

    The entire project now awaits political reality to set in so the investments can be made to get that system operational.

    So, it’s those bad roadblocking politicians and unscrupulous vested interests getting in the way of our salvation, is it BilB? Surely, if the Omega project is a ‘goer’ (in technical, economic and environmental terms) then smart venture capital investors would be knocking down the doors to make it happen, BilB? So why is that not apparently happening, BilB? Perhaps there’s more to it than your understanding of the challenges and perhaps these challenges have not all been solved?

    I couldn’t help myself have a chuckle in bemusement at this next statement of yours, BilB:

    Aviation is not the target to focus on, Personal transport is.

    Surely you can’t be serious? So, BilB, are you saying aviation doesn’t matter, or is aviation a doddle to fix in your opinion? What about ships and trucks? Without aviation, ships and trucks the economy stops, our civilization collapses and we all starve (with the current configuration of our civilization and global peak-oil and peak-gas supply almost here). And you seem to be only concerned about personal transport? If that’s so, I think you have your priorities very wrong.

    Your past track record in previous threads on this blog suggests you will likely take offense at what I state here and launch into a personal attack. I’m posing questions to you that I think you haven’t thought about. Think before you respond.

  38. John Davidson (Re: JANUARY 30, 2019 AT 10:39 PM)

    The EROI concept can be useful but it should be used with extreme caution and not quoted unless you are very sure of what was taken into account.

    Look at what the EROI pioneers say about the subject, rather than paraphrasing from Wikipedia. I suggest you start here.

    Clearly it’s a complex subject, with protocols still being developed (or thrashed out) on what aspects need to be included in the calculations (with appropriate weightings) and what is not. It should not be dismissed (because it’s not apparently understood how important it is by you).

    Fossil fuels have historically had apparently high to very high EROIs and we haven’t needed to worry about their energy efficacy. But we now need to worry about the consequences of burning fossil fuels (re dangerous climate change, and also resource depletion) and find viable energy alternatives that can be deployed quickly.

    Alternative energy solutions have apparently lower EROIs which means EROI has become much more important in determining whether these alternate energy solutions are viable in sustaining our civilization.

  39. GM: If you want me to consider alternative definitions of EROI how about, just once, you provide the alternative definition instead of demanding that I read yet another one of your links.
    It would also be nice if you dealt with the issues I raised about the relationship between recessions and EROI and what the correlation might actually mean.

    What this means is that if production is cut back because of a recession, the overall EROI will drop. (Because the fixed energy doesn’t drop at all and the semi-variable will not drop as fast as production drops. This means that the drop in EROI is caused by the recession and the recession is definitely not caused by the washery EROI.

    Part of the problem with EROI is that it is not clear just how far back and forward someone needs to go when calculating the EROI. For example, in the case of my washery should you include some of the energy spent building the factory that builds the trucks that haul the coal to the washery. And do you include the energy spent fixing the health and environmental problems caused by the coal the washery produces?
    Another problem I have is that sources of energy don’t all cost the same. For example, a lot of the energy used to make the steel that goes into my washery would come from high cost metallurgical coal. On the other hand if the energy that is used to make the cement used to build the washery comes from coal, the coal is very cheap because low grade coal contains the silica that is needed as part of the cement.
    Cash flows, safety, health and environmental effects are more reliable guides than EROI.
    In terms of assessing alternative renewable fuels ratios such as “cost per tonne CO2 reduction” and “fossil CO2 emitted during production vs CO2 emitted when the alternative is used will offer a useful guide. (Would have flagged just how small the gains were when grain based alcohol is used to replace fossil fuels.)

  40. EROEI is but one slice of the value pie.
    Not irrelevant nor dominant depending on the individual consumer of each product marketed.

    Donkey transport could be right up some folks alley but for Governments prohibitive regulations. Pity, it’d be environmentally beneficial in a multitude of ways.
    🙁

    And second JDs skepticism of EROEI calculations as much as I do GDP calculations.

  41. Also the acronym EROEI refers to a straight equation about energy.
    EROI doesn’t specify the type of “ I “ being referred to.

    Very sloppy acronym.

  42. Care is always needed, Prof Jumpy.

    I found a critique of Piketty’s best seller Capital by an economist that basically said “Piketty and colleagues do not have a clear definition of value.”

    Now in economics, “value” is about as basic as “energy” is for physics.

    And economists, not surprisingly, have been arguing over “value” for a couple of centuries.

  43. Donkey transport could be right up some folks alley but for Governments prohibitive regulations.

    A consultation with Doctor Google provided a wealth of information on feral donkeys, indications that there is a healthy market in donkeys as pets or farm stock, but no evidence of any draconian government regulation regarding them (apart from an unconscionable ban on their slaughter for human consumption in Victoria).
    Which government regulations are you referring to?

  44. Prof jumpy you might be surprised, but I do agree with a couple of assertions of yours.

    Your “slice of value pie” provides the bones to a fundamental aspect in any discussion involving transitions, be that travel in the air on the road, or sources of energy generally. Particularely when viewed in the light which our learned friend Ambi shines on it we can see the relevance, dynamics and constraints values brings to transitions such as we are discussing. As I highlighted in the recent CC thread, where I emphasised on the relevance of finance, the more applied side of learned friend Ambi’s mentioned economics. Wether we like it or not the value market plays a major roll in the speed and direction of a transition. Like a fire is controlled by fuel, wind and conditions, so do investment, governance and human conditions e.g.. innovation, technological advances, environmental pressures and opportunities as well as state of cultural and social development. We won’t get optimal or speedy changes if we do not consider these factors. I think John D illustrated that in his example with what happened with the competing video formats, where the human factor played a major role in the direction of investment and technology went in a major transition.

    Similarly Prof jumpy, your emphasis on government regulation is rather apt, but one sided. In the case of the current Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison your assertion is quite accurate when we look at transition of our internet or energy generation/management and or for that matter Climate Change. However, you would do hard to argue we could have reached our level of human development without democracy and good governance.

  45. John Davidson (Re: JANUARY 31, 2019 AT 11:59 AM)

    GM: If you want me to consider alternative definitions of EROI how about, just once, you provide the alternative definition instead of demanding that I read yet another one of your links.

    I’m not demanding you to do anything, John. If you wish to remain ignorant on this issue that’s up to you.

    What makes you think I’m an expert on EROI, John? I read articles and papers to gain information. Why are you unable to do the same? Perhaps you don’t wish to know and all you are doing here is trying to run me around in circles? That’s entirely on you.

    You could read this paper titled The implications of the declining energy return on investment of oil production, Jan 2014.

    And more recent comments on EROI by Charles Hall last year.

  46. GM: I took the effort to read the link to Charles Halls comments and came away with the impression that Hall’s response to criticism of EROI was to come up with more and more complicated approaches to calculating EROI, approaches that may deliver little more value from the EROI result.
    I guess I haven’t changed my position. EROI is an interesting concept that may help us think through some energy issues. However, I think cash flows are a better guide to business decision making and many government decision making. This doesn’t mean that cash flow should be the only thing affecting decisions. The environment, safety, health etc. also need to be considered to produce decisions that are in the public interest.

  47. GM

    David Murphy reckons oil is being found and extracted from increasingly difficult and expensive sites. I can accept that observation, and that inefficient or difficult extraction means a much lower EROI.

    But I go back to the recent audit of Saudi oil reserves.
    They claim their oil costs only $4 or $5 per barrel to extract. The audit totalled up several mega-oodles of it.

    So much so, that if global demand starts to fall, the reserves may never all be used. Never.
    Never ever.

    Look, I agree with you that humans should rapidly reduce our burning of fossil fuels. We should drastically reduce our CO2 emissions.

    But there are good reasons to follow that path, even if humans never reach ‘peak oil’ and run out of the stuff.

    “The Stone Age didn’t cease because humans ran out of stones”.
    You and I could instance other “resources” the world hasn’t run out of [here we go, another Ambi List]

    Goose quills for pens
    Typewriter ribbons
    Whale oil to light lamps
    Human labour for slavery
    Horses and donkeys for personal transport
    Cork for bottle stoppers
    Oars wood for triremes
    Canvas for ocean cargo ship sails
    Kerosene for lamps
    Gas for street lighting
    Flints for starting fires

    You can just never tell.

    The concept of “peak oil”, while interesting in a sky-is-falling-down kind of way, may not turn out to be the main factor behind the Fading of The Age of Oil.

    I’ll try another analogy.
    Back in the early 1980s, many scientists predicted a dark doom for humans, if ever a huge nuclear war started forest and city fires and threw up dust, smoke and debris into the upper atmosphere, leading to an aftermath of freezing cold, failing crops, and starvation. It was called a “Nuclear Winter”.

    Never mind the vaporisation of major cities and the human and animal illnesses caused by radioactive by-products of the bombs. The Nuclear Winter would get most humans, mammals, …. perhaps some insects might live on.

    I understand climate scientists still argue about that scenario.

    I would just like to say this: there are many, many good reasons to eliminate nuclear weapons (NW); or reduce their numbers drastically; even if the Nuclear Winter hypothesis (NWH) is false.

    My argument against NW does not depend on the NWH.

    Likewise, my preference for lowering CO2 emissions would survive any doubts about whether Peak Oil may be likely.

    Cheerio

  48. As I said “ EROI “ is a lazy ( and useless I might add ) acronym because it doesn’t specify what is invested.
    “ EROEI “ specifies Energy Invested.

    We could use EROMI for Monetary Investment, ERORI for Resources Invested, EROCI for Climate Invested, EROHHI for Human Health Invested….etc….

    The acronym EROI is imprecise and hopelessly ambiguous.

    I’m surprised GM that you continue with it given your obvious intellect.

  49. Sensey

    is a compliment not often directed towards me, so I will accept it with gratitude.

    Senseless, OTOH…..

    But of course these days our political betters claim to be in the Sensible Sentre.

    It makes a lot of cents.

    Prof J, did you see the recent headline: Most Spelling Mistakes Caused By Spellcock, Study Finds ??

    (Back to the diversion: neither Sensei nor Guru are apt. Carry on.)

  50. Ambigulous (Re: FEBRUARY 1, 2019 AT 3:44 PM)

    But I go back to the recent audit of Saudi oil reserves.
    They claim their oil costs only $4 or $5 per barrel to extract. The audit totalled up several mega-oodles of it.

    Per BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2018, pp12&14, the world’s top ten oil producing countries in 2017 were:

    #_1 USA: _ _ _ _ _ 13.057 million barrels / day (annualised average), 14.1% global share, R/P 10.5 years;
    #_2 Saudi Arabia: _11.951 Mb/d (ann. av.), 12.9% global share, R/P 61.0 y;
    #_3 Russian Fed.: _11.257 Mb/d (ann. av.), 12.2% global share, R/P 25.8 y;
    #_4 Iran: _ _ _ _ _ _ 4.982 Mb/d (ann. av.), _ 5.4% global share, R/P 86.5 y;
    #_5 Canada: _ _ _ _ 4.831 Mb/d (ann. av.), _ 5.2% global share, R/P 95.8 y;

    #_6 Iraq: _ _ _ _ _ _ 4.520 Mb/d (ann. av.), _ 4.9% global share, R/P 90.2 y;
    #_7 UAE: _ _ _ _ _ _3.935 Mb/d (ann. av.), _ 4.2% global share, R/P 68.1 y;
    #_8 China: _ _ _ _ _ 3.846 Mb/d (ann. av.), _ 4.2% global share, R/P 18.3 y;
    #_9 Kuwait: _ _ _ _ _3.025 Mb/d (ann. av.), _ 3.3% global share, R/P 91.9 y;
    #10 Brazil:_ _ _ _ _ _2.734 Mb/d (ann. av.), _ 3.0% global share, R/P 12.8 y.

    Let’s assume Saudi Arabia actually has 61 years of oil proved reserves remaining at current rate of extraction. But USA has only 10.5 years and Russia has 25.8 years.

    USA, Iran, Canada, Iraq and Brazil are oil producers currently at pre-peak (i.e. still increasing production year-by-year). Saudi Arabia, Russian Federation, United Arab Emirates (UAE), China and Kuwait oil producers are currently at peak (i.e. production has plateaued).

    A balancing act is occurring between declining and growing oil producing countries. The whole system will peak when US shale oil peaks (in the Permian Basin) because of geology, lack of finances in the next credit crisis, and/or other factors, and when Iraq peaks possibly because of social unrest or military confrontation in the oil producing regions. Added risks include continuing disruptions in Nigeria and Libya, steeper declines in Venezuela, and the impact of sanctions on Iran. Global ‘peak oil’ supply is inevitable; when is the question.

    Looking just at R/P only tells part of the story. Can Saudi Arabia increase production to compensate for when USA’s production inevitably begins a decline (or other major oil producing countries)? Some indicators suggest that Saudi Arabian oil exports are unable to increase much more. If so, that’s a big problem for the world when USA begins a decline.

    By increasing production it serves to deplete the remaining reserves sooner.

    Humanity must leave petroleum oil, before oil leaves us.
    Humanity must leave petroleum oil, fossil natural gas, and coal, before 2050 (preferably sooner), to mitigate dangerous climate change.
    These are the challenges we need to meet, otherwise our civilization faces an existential risk – nothing happens without energy.

  51. John Davidson (Re: JANUARY 30, 2019 AT 11:58 AM)

    The point i would make here is that aromatics help jet fuel meet this mixture of requirements there is no intrinsic need for aromatics as such if the requirements can be met by other means or jet engines can be tuned to use less desirable fuels.

    It would be helpful to know what benefits (and detriments) aromatics have in jet fuel. The question that also needs to be asked is: Can sustainable, abundant and affordable alternatives to aromatics be found?

    Civilian aviation jet fuel used is generally specified as Jet A-1 (international) or Jet A (North America):
    Jet A-1 fuel standards include:
    • DEF STAN 91/91 (Jet A-1) (UK MoD);
    • ASTM spec D1666 (Jet A-1) (international);
    • IATA Guidance Material (Kerosene Type), NATO Code F-35.

    Typical Jet A-1 physical properties (per Wikipedia):
    Flash point: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 38 °C (100 °F)
    Autoignition temperature: _ _ _ _ _ _ 210 °C (410 °F)
    Freezing point: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ -47 °C (-53 °F) [Jet A: -40 °C (-40 °F)]
    Max adiabatic burn temperature: 2,500 K (2,230 °C) (4.040 °F); open air burn temp: 1,030 °C
    Density at 15 °C (59 °F): _ _ _ _ 0.804 kg/l (6.71 lb/US gal) [Jet A: 0.820 kg/l (6.84 lb/US gal)]
    Specific energy: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _42.80 MJ/kg (11.90 kWh/kg) [Jet A: 43.02 MJ/kg (11.95 kWh/kg)]
    Energy density: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 34.7 MJ/l (9.6 kWh/l) [Jet A: 35.3 MJ/l (9.8 kWh/l)]

    Jet A-1 has the mandatory addition of an anti-static additive.

    Jet B is used for enhanced cold-weather performance (-60 °C freezing point) but is more dangerous to handle (low flash point). It’s a 50:50 blend of kerosene / gasoline. Used in Northern Canada, Alaska and Russia.

    US military spec “jet propellant” (JP) fuels are almost identical to civilian spec jet fuels. Jet A-1 is similar to JP-8. Jet B is similar to JP-4. JP-4 was replaced by JP-8 at the end of 1995 for better safety and combat survivability. The differences relate to additives for anti-corrosion, and anti-icing, etc.

    Jet fuel derived from crude petroleum has a wide distribution of paraffins. A typical jet fuel composition can be described as:
    Normal paraffins (linear, aliphatic hydrocarbons of C9 – C17 chain lengths): 20%;
    Isoparaffins (non-linear branched chain alkanes): 40%;
    Naphthenes (cyclic aliphatic hydrocarbons): 20%; and
    Aromatics (cyclic aryl hydrocarbons): 20%.

    Jet A fuel spec sets a maximum limit on total aromatic content of 25%, which would reduce the hydrogen to carbon ratio and heat content per unit mass compared to paraffins with the same carbon number.

    In 2007 DEF STAN 91/91 approved 100% Sasol full-synthetic jet fuel for use in all commercial and military engines.

    A recent international spec ASTM D7566 allows 50% blended Fischer–Tropsch (F-T) synthetic aviation fuels – the 50% petroleum-based kerosene component contains aromatics. The aviation industry is using 8% aromatics content as a guiding minimum in jet fuels.

    Aromatic hydrocarbons in jet fuel apparently serve a few purposes:
    • Swells fuel system elastomer seals to prevent fuel leaks;
    • Raises fuel density above the minimum fuel spec requirement; and
    • Potentially stabilises flame (this aspect requires extensive comparative testing to confirm).

    Synthetic F-T fuels are cleaner burning without sulphur dioxide (SO2) or sulfuric acid (H2SO4) aerosol emissions, thus leading to increased combustor and turbine life, with reduced deposits on engine components and fuel lines. Aromatic-free F-T fuel emits fewer particulates (i.e. soot) than conventional petroleum-based fuel.

    Synthetic paraffinic kerosene (FT-SPK) is derived from bio-renewable feedstocks like vegetable oils, animal fats, greases, jatropha, algal and wastes. FT-SPK has superior product properties to other synthetic options available, with higher cetane number, lower cloud point and lower emissions, and is compatible with existing fuel systems.

    The availability of F-T jet fuels depends greatly on sustainable, abundant and affordable feedstock, the world price of oil, resolving uncertainties in production costs, and regulatory and technical issues associated with capturing and sequestering large quantities of CO2.
    See: Beginner’s Guide to Sustainable Aviation, Air Transport Action Group, Nov 2017
    Also: Current Status of Alternative Aviation Fuels, US DoE, 12 Apr 2017
    Also: About the Interaction between Composition and Performance of Alternative Jet Fuels: Tools from Molecules to Aircraft Combustion Chamber, Prof. Uwe Riedel – Institute of Combustion Technology German Aerospace Center (DLR), Mar 2016

  52. GM: Thanks for all the detail on jet fuel specifications. My guess is the specifications reflect some compromises between costs, what is possible with current fuel sources and the benefits of particular specifications.
    If the right fossil fuels were no longer available I suspect that it would make good sense to change the specification, modify jet engine or fuel system design and/or accept some decline in engine performance, safety, health effects etc.
    Keep in mind that aromatics are connected with increased cancer rates.

  53. John Davidson (Re: FEBRUARY 4, 2019 AT 10:07 PM)

    My guess is the specifications reflect some compromises between costs, what is possible with current fuel sources and the benefits of particular specifications.

    Criteria for Alternative Fuels in Aviation (per slide #14):

    • Engine re-light at altitude, polar climate, in winter – transport properties of alternative fuels and/or blends have to be within acceptable limits (viscosity, freeze point, fluid flow at low temperatures).
    • Flame stability – compounds in alternative fuels should not adversely impact flame stability.
    • Energy content – should be as high as fossil derived jet fuel or higher.
    • Emissions
    – Aromatics – too much can cause soot, too little can cause seal swell problems which becomes a maintenance issue.
    – Greenhouse gas emissions should be lower than fossil derived jet fuel on a life cycle basis – requirements by DOD, DOE, and ICAO.

    There are quite a few key criteria for renewable fuels to meet to become a “drop-in” aviation fuel that requires no modifications to existing engines. Otherwise extensive testing will be required to prove safety is not compromised.

    On slide #12:

    • Fortitude – Don’t think it is going to be a slam dunk. Don’t expect altruism to carry the day
    • Be Prepared to Lead the Process Through ASTM
    – Have good technical data and be capable of explaining it.
    – Have good cost effectiveness that you can demonstrate
    – Have good Life Cycle Analysis

    Half a story or suppositions won’t do. Good data is the key and getting it can be expensive.

    It seems to me the experts in this field don’t see the challenge of finding a long-term sustainable, affordable, abundant, reliable, safe alternative aviation fuel and deploying it at scale to displace petroleum-based fuels in a timely manner will be easy.

  54. GM:

    There are quite a few key criteria for renewable fuels to meet to become a “drop-in” aviation fuel that requires no modifications to existing engines. Otherwise extensive testing will be required to prove safety is not compromised.

    Tend to agree. I think the move to fully renewable aviation fuels will include things like:
    1. Some renewables included in blend up to point where limits of specifications are reached.
    2. Specifications changed to allow more renewables to be used with some compromises to efficiency.
    3. Changes to renewables made to make them more acceptable as part of the blend. New renewables.
    4. Changes made to non-renewables used in blend to allow more renewables to be used.
    5. Relatively minor changes made to engine settings, parts of engine and fuel system to allow more relaxation of specifications.
    6. Radical changes made to plane/engine/fuel system design. design,
    7. Changes to routes and flying altitudes to allow a wider range of fuel blends to be used.
    8. Massive changes to renewables used to allow 100% renewable aviation fuel and/or flying costs to be reduced.

  55. John Davidson (Re: FEBRUARY 5, 2019 AT 3:52 PM)

    I think the move to fully renewable aviation fuels will include things like: …

    The evidence I see suggest there’s probably less than a decade left to ramp up production to substantial quantities before global peak oil supply arrives.

    Slide #3 shows US jet fuel consumption in 2015 was of the order of 24 billion gallons.

    Slide #8 shows various companies producing alternative jet fuels of the order of tens of millions of gallons per year – perhaps one or two hundred million gallons per year – Less than one per cent.

    Those numbers should give perspective on the scale of the task.

    Rapid growth in volumes of alternative fuels is now required to displace petroleum-based fuels, otherwise aviation will decline. The breakthroughs need to be coming thick and fast.

  56. GM: We can agree on

    Rapid growth in volumes of alternative fuels is now required to displace petroleum-based fuels, otherwise aviation will decline. The breakthroughs need to be coming thick and fast.

    The initial impetus may come from long distance land/sea travel given that I suspect specs for land/sea may be far more flexible.
    Then again, long distance aviation has less alternatives than land or sea and refusals of individual countries to put up with non-complying overseas flights may create a lot of pressure on airlines and plane builders.

  57. GeofM jan 31

    Geoff, you clearly are only capable of reading your own thoughts. I don’t see you having anything of an understanding of high efficiency distributed multi system energy harvesting and so there is no point in my wasting the time to write it all down again. The claim that there is not enough biomass to….. is false in that the claim is mono dimensional and falsely applied. I scanned through Ivor Frischknecht interviews and could not find where he makes the argument as you framed it but all I need do is refer to his failed hydrogen production experiment as to the depth of his understandings. His entire platform is about grid generation and he has, from what I have heard, no appreciation for the concept of distributed energy production and distributed investment.

    As for Keifer, all of those references you draw attention to are just a reprint of the entire history of denialist arguments against bio fuel and renewable technologies in general. I really can’t be bothered unless discussing with people who are actually looking for solutions.

    A while back I found and put up a link to a youtube of a young couple who have built a near totally sustainable small house in NSW right down to cooking with methane from their waste fuelled bio digester. This young professional couple made the case with a total investment, house and all, of just $60,000.

    The future has two energy profiles. One is the individual funded distributed micro grid linked system. The other will be the industrially funded broad grid for commerce and industry. Geof, your focus is on the major grid systems and their viability, my focus is on the other. Good luck with your exploration.

  58. Bilb: Keep in mind when praising Independence from the grid and micro-grids that the capacity required to be be sure of having enough power all year round means that your system will have excess power most of the time. Also keep in mind that this excess power comes at zero cost.
    Harder to find productive uses for this free excess power in a single home than somewhere on the national grid.
    Have to balance the advantages of being on the grid despite grid costs against the lost opportunities associated with wasting surplus power production on individual and micro-grids

  59. BilB (Re: FEBRUARY 6, 2019 AT 7:59 PM)

    Geoff, you clearly are only capable of reading your own thoughts.

    IMO you are not putting up any compelling arguments, BilB.

    A while back I found and put up a link to a youtube of a young couple who have built a near totally sustainable small house in NSW right down to cooking with methane from their waste fuelled bio digester. This young professional couple made the case with a total investment, house and all, of just $60,000.

    And did this couple manufacture all the equipment by scratch, BilB? I suspect not. While there’s an industrial base to provide the equipment/know-how and maintenance/spare-parts facilities to enable the “young professional couple” to have a “near totally sustainable small house in NSW” everything is ‘hunky dory’. That industrial base requires enormous amounts of energy to sustain it. Take that energy away and the industrial base collapses and takes civilization with it.

    The other will be the industrially funded broad grid for commerce and industry. Geof, your focus is on the major grid systems and their viability…

    Yep. My focus is on industry, because without it our civilization collapses. It seems to me you don’t appreciate where things (particularly complex and high energy embedded) come from and what is needed when things break down. With no industry to support equipment failure (and everything will fail eventually) then our current standard of living cannot be maintained and sustained.

    It’s all very well to be so-called “self-sufficient” but it really isn’t in the true sense. The real test is when things breakdown and there’s no industry to support you – you must fix/maintain/replace everything yourself.

  60. GM

    A word of advice: not a good idea to say that BilB doesn’t appreciate where things …. come from.

    He does.
    It’s his living, his skill, his vocation, his knowledge, his consuming interest.

    Just saying.

    (And please let’s not have the “why are you defending BilB?” refrain this time…..)

    Cheers.

    PS John, I agree with you about surplus power. Use it somewhere, if possible.

  61. JohnD, I think that Distributed Energy systems will soak up surplus energy with ellectric vehicle charging (remember we are talking about a semi mature system…far from where we are at present). The thing to note about that is that vehicles can be thought of as energy transport systems bringing energy to the micro grid as well as exporting energy from it. Even a basic house in a distributed grid will have 20kwhrs storage (10 in hot water and 10 in electricity) and the larger house will have 20kwhrs in wall electricity storage, 20kwhrs in hot water (400 litres) and as much a 80 kwhrs in garaged electric vehicles. Multiply that by perhaps 100 average 60 kwhr properties in a 4 block microgrid and you have 6 Mwhrs of stored renewable electricity plus 1.5 Mwhrs of stored thermal energy in water cylinders.

    The hidden and never considered energy storage is in the form of our waste material in circulation. All of the cellulose (cardboard, paper, other carbonaceous material) based material that we otherwise waste. The deanialosphere make a huge issue of the non solar periods as being a fatal flaw in a renewable solution to our energy future, and they can get away with that while we fail to include the energy component of our waste material. This material can be gasified and become the fuel feed stock for distributed energy solutions of various kinds, with the gas in the form of methane is fed back to consumers through house connected gas mains.

    Most of the rooftop systems installed to date are only partial solutions and structured to suit a BAU grid energy system. Whereas the solar panels themselves are suitable it is the inverters that manage the power produced that are the problem, and will remain so until more complete distributed energy solutions become the common installation.

    The other thing the denialosphere loves doing is claiming that if it was a good commercial product it would already exist and everyone would be buying it. Not true.

    Industry is good a solving known problems, but hopeless at solving unknown problems and problems that require the cooperation of multiple industries and agencies. The complete solar solution is one such dislocated need where multiple components are required to be installed to work as a singular package with its components costed with a shared mass manufactured economy of scale advantage.

    To understand that consider the many taken for granted systems in the family car. Thousands of components come to gether in an economical package because all component suppliers have the security of a known production volume. Distributed energy systems will achieve explosive expansion when the industry achieves that level of harmony. Government can assist with promoting that harmony at very little cost, but that will not happen until there is the kind of commitment that the US’s AOC (and others) are promoting.

    Component Prices are not just about economies of scale and production considerations, they are also about perceived value and business models. For instance when manufacturing frames for Simpson appliances years ago I required 8 screws of a particular type per product. The traditional industrial supplier who had enjoyed a monopoly for decades in the area charged me 14.5 cents per screw. The volume built to where i need to buy the screws 10,000 at a time. A new business established to compete with a different business focus and soon that component was costing 2.7 cents and bought 40,000 at a time. Another example is that of Martin Shkrelli who set out to profit from overpricing using IP monopolies. It takes organisation, cooperation, and good will to make great progress in any industrial endeavour.

  62. Ambigulous (Re: FEBRUARY 7, 2019 AT 12:00 PM)

    A word of advice: not a good idea to say that BilB doesn’t appreciate where things …. come from.

    It sure doesn’t look like it to me. Are you attempting to censor me, Ambi?

    This morning I looked at where some equipment I have came from:

    Hot water heat pump unit: Japan
    Air conditioner unit: Thailand
    Solar-PV Inverter: Italy
    Solar-PV panels: Philippines (assembly?)
    etc., etc.

    These things have traveled thousands of kilometers to get here. Without cheap transport they would not have been available/affordable. And what to do when they inevitably breakdown? Are spare parts available; can they be fixed or do they need to be replaced in future (hopefully in a decade or more)?

    Cheap transport is due primarily to cheap petroleum oil, which (per evidence I see) may reach global peak supply soon (i.e. 2020s) and then begin a sustained decline. Unless affordable alternative energy systems can be deployed very soon and at large scale then transport is unlikely to remain cheap, and all the ‘goodies’ we take for granted today may not be available or affordable when that occurs.

    If you are taking any pharmaceuticals, where do they come from? If they come from overseas/interstate, then if transport gets expensive then the supply may become unaffordable to you. Can you still survive without your pharmaceuticals? Will your health deteriorate without them? These are some of the issues I think BilB ignores.

    And yet it seems BilB is more worried about personal transport. It seems to me he has his priorities very wrong.

    I don’t have anything against distributed energy or micro-grids if it makes good economic and environmental sense (because connecting to a grid would be a more costly option), but why deliberately go out of your way to disconnect from a grid that’s already there and providing reliable, affordable power? It makes no sense to me.

  63. GeofM, …I really want to use an expletive here as I have a gut full of narcissistic personalities who feel a need to dominate at all costs. The pattern is so blatantly obvious. However, again you fail to read and comprehend. I have exhaustively demonstrated that the air vehicle manufacturing industry represents the absolute peak of technical and engineering capability and performs with a primary focus of improving safety and fuel efficiency and so new aircraft designs, just as new computers are faster and more capable, carry more people and cargo as a ratio of their takeoff weight and use less fuel per kilogram to achieve this. The aircraft operation industry on the other hand strive to achieve more profit and their main method to achieve this is with greater throughput. That is the free market at work. The only way that the aviation industry will reduce its carbon footprint is where governments move to limit passenger and freight freedom. However where fuel can be produced sustainably by biological means the aviation industry can maintain its throughput. Richard Branson is a significant investor in algal oil production as I understand it but the development is impeded by low oil prices. Algal oil is at the present stage more expensive than kerosene so there is little more than pilot production undertaken to produce algal biofuels. This pilot production is vital, though, to have the technologies ready to ramp up production when the current cycle of cheap fuel has ended.

    Shipping on the other hand has absolutely zero scope for fuel efficiency and it is for that reason and many others that I support the notion of nuclear powered shipping as I have said many times despite the considerable negatives. Shipping of the future should follow the model of the “barges” that ply the great rivers where the “prime mover” is seperate from the cargo hulls and are designed for long life and are not scrapped due to the hull fatigue of the cargo body. In the nuclear powered model these prime movers would be designed to survive many reactor refits which can be designed to drop through into refuelling factories or detoxification storage and dismantling. Shipping is the one opportunity for the nuclear industry to mature through the higher efficiency design that is the hallmark of mass production exactly as the aviation industry has achieved. Shipping reactors would be 80 to 150 megawatt capacity and be far less stressed than the larger and lower volume grid electricity generating reactors which have so prominately failed in open air to contaminate the comparatively rare land surface.

    Finally GeofM, why would anyone disconnect from a perfectly good grid electricity system? Simply because the grid that was paid for by the public was converted into a medium of exploitation of the public for private gain against the public well being. Pure and simple,…and also for the sense of freedom and empowerment that solar energy provides. There is a deeper economic instinctive fundamental to energy self sufficiency for both energising ones personal space and ones personal transport (PHEV’s), and that is, talking here of the Australian experince, that as our cities mature and our general connection to actual production declines towards zero, the very clear trend to a services only economy has progressively disempowered people’s self sufficiency and self determination, ie it is progressively more difficult to be able to do anything without it costing money in an economic environment of static income growth. To be able to produce ones own energy is an empowerment clawback that people value, not to mention that people want to be able to reduce their carbon footprint.

  64. Geoff M

    No, I don’t wish to censor you.
    In fact I was gently attempting to censure you.

    If you take the time to read and consider the contributions on this thread by BilB at 5.28am and 3.31pm today, and then persist in claiming he “doesn’t appreciate where things come from”, well, with great regret I am unable to help you.

    But please: carry on.

  65. BilB (Re: FEBRUARY 8, 2019 AT 3:31 PM)

    I have exhaustively demonstrated that the air vehicle manufacturing industry represents the absolute peak of technical and engineering capability and performs with a primary focus of improving safety and fuel efficiency and so new aircraft designs, just as new computers are faster and more capable, carry more people and cargo as a ratio of their takeoff weight and use less fuel per kilogram to achieve this.

    What supreme hyperbole! The development of aircraft is certainly not like Moore’s Law for computers. Improvements in design, efficiency and performance of aircraft have progressed much, much slower than the progression of computer design, efficiency and performance.

    However where fuel can be produced sustainably by biological means the aviation industry can maintain its throughput.

    What’s the current ratio of global biofuel production to total consumption of liquid fuels, BilB? Let’s look at the data, instead of ‘hand waving’, to know how much biofuels currently contribute.
    BP.com gives 1577 kboe of biofuels, meaning it’s 1.57 million barrels of oil equivalent per day.

    BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2018 shows total global liquid fuel consumption in 2017 was estimated at 98.186 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, that included international aviation and marine, refinery fuel and loss, biogasoline (such as ethanol), biodiesel and derivatives of coal and natural gas.

    Total biofuels production represents about 1.6% by volume of total global liquid fuel consumption.

    It seems to me biofuels currently provide a miniscule contribution to the world’s total liquid fuel consumption. For biofuels to be a major liquid fuel contributor it now needs to ramp up production quickly before global peak petroleum oil supply peaks (probable in the 2020s). I don’t see any evidence of this beginning to happen? Do you, BilB? If so, please provide evidence.

    The only way that the aviation industry will reduce its carbon footprint is where governments move to limit passenger and freight freedom.

    IMO there’s Buckley’s chance governments will do that. Are you effectively advocating global trade restrictions, BilB? Expensive oil arriving soon will likely provide the same result (much more effectively) unless alternative affordable solutions can begin being rapidly deployed now.

    Richard Branson is a significant investor in algal oil production as I understand it but the development is impeded by low oil prices. Algal oil is at the present stage more expensive than kerosene so there is little more than pilot production undertaken to produce algal biofuels.

    How much more expensive is algal oil-based fuel now compared with petroleum-based kerosene, BilB? 50% more? Double? Triple? Five times? What order of magnitude, BilB? Do you actually know, BilB?

    In Kiefer’s paper in Table 1, it refers to a US military contract in Nov 2011 to Dynamic Fuels for Tallow and Algae to JP-5 (100,000 US gallons) and F-76 (350,000 US gallons) fuels at US$26.75 per gallon – about 9 times the price for equivalent petroleum-based fuels at that time. When crude oil prices exceed US$100 per barrel global recessions usually ensue. Unless algal oil-based fuel prices get close to current petroleum-based fuel prices (and quickly) then they won’t mitigate a recession when a post- ‘peak oil’ world arrives. Pilot production does not necessarily indicate the technology is mature and ready to be scaled-up (and be competitive).

    This pilot production is vital, though, to have the technologies ready to ramp up production when the current cycle of cheap fuel has ended.

    When the era of cheap oil inevitably ends (with an oil production decline rate that may possibly be about 4% per annum), any technology that is not already being scaled-up will not be able to adequately mitigate economic collapse due to declining oil supplies. IMO either the replacement technology is ready for rapid scaling-up right now or it won’t be a timely solution.

    Shipping is the one opportunity for the nuclear industry to mature through the higher efficiency design that is the hallmark of mass production exactly as the aviation industry has achieved.

    As I’ve said before, evidence I see (see Figure 113) indicates there’s approximately 100 years of high-grade uranium ores at current rate of consumption. Ramping up consumption of uranium ores serves only to deplete these reserves sooner. And where are these designs for these ocean-going nuclear-powered “prime movers”, BilB? How well do these “prime movers” with cargo platforms perform in high sea-states? Any sea trials done? How quickly can they be built? Is there enough fuel supply to accommodate the quantity of these “prime movers” required? And how do you deal with the high-level nuclear waste generated? Most people don’t want a permanent high-level nuclear waste repository near them. And these “solutions” need to begin to be deployed at large scale in less than a decade. What evidence do you have that suggests these questions have been resolved/answered, BilB? I think this is all wishful thinking on your part, BilB, but please provide evidence to the contrary.

    You seem to think you have all the answers, BilB. IMO, clearly you don’t. When I ask you inconvenient questions you are unable to answer them satisfactorily and prefer to resort to expletives and personal attacks (implying I have a “narcissistic” personality in your latest comment) to attempt to deflect attention away from your apparent inadequacies. BilB, stop ‘hand waving’ and engaging in wishful thinking and ill-informed ideological rants – deal in facts and evidence.

  66. YeeHaar!
    GM, could you please engage in correspondence with AOC regarding her “ Green New Deal “ ?

    I would pay good money to see that 🙂

  67. Here we go, the narcissist point by point gotta win thing.

    1 I did not mention nor mean Moore’s law.

    2 Marine based algal oil is the biofuel that I have referred to only, and the volume is minscule for the very reason that the politics need to be resolved before this production is expanded. And Jumpy this is for you as you love AOC https://youtu.be/wypN0PChAtg
    …the best hope at present for resolving the politics.

    GeofM where you do show an appreciation for technology, from what I can see you have no understanding of this class of industry, but understanding what is possible over what is currently done is not a skill you have. This, GeofM, you demonstrate with your rant about algal oil prices. It is irrelevent, GeoffM, to consider the price of algal oil in the current environment as such production is relatively low technology and is entirely dependent upon the circumstances at the time. The high technology in algal oil, GeofM, and the focus of the research is in the development of the strains of algae to suit the variety of circumstances. NZ for instance is developing salt water tolerant agla strains, Omega, if you can be bothered GeofM to read up on it, was working with freshwater strains that would be killed if the bags burst. This is all preparitory work for the time when it becomes necessary to rapidly expand the availability of this renewable fuel. GeofM, current algae production is focussed on higher value end products such as feed stock for marine farms, and while that is the focus the price of agal oil will remain high. You, GeofM, are just looking at the numbers you can google without understanding what it is that you are looking at.

    Regarding nuclear energy for shipping, GeofM, the obvious strategy would be to use the ships themselves to collect their own fuel from sea water as they move through the water.
    https://www.pnnl.gov/news/release.aspx?id=4514
    Considering that the refuelling period is 20 years and the fuel required for a 130 megawatt shipping reactor is about 2 tonne per year. Again, GeofM, your focus on dominating a discussion with bullying tactics renders you incapable of constructive discussion and there fore no growth in the argument.

    Pusher Tugs? Have they been done? There are all manner of specialised ships that people never see. Naval architects relish a challenge, all they need is a customer.
    http://www.penta-ocean.co.jp/english/v_and_f/v.html
    Nuclear waste? When the need becomes great enough for a shipping solution I would expect that a deep sea nuclear waste dump on a techtonic subduction zone will become the solution.

    GeofM, what I am demonstrating is that…there are answers..where as your total focus appears to be to belittle everyone in a discussion rather than engage in constructive solution finding. But, yes, I can put together and quantify a parcel of technology solutions that will resolve a substantial portion of the energy needs for a country such as Australia. Can you do that, GeofM?

  68. Aww BilB, that’s not nice. 🙁

    But do carry on with GM, two narcissists locking horns is always entertaining.

    ( psst, you’ve got I’m on the ropes, don’t concede a single thing [ thumbs up emoji ] )

  69. That’s only because I’ve graduated to grumpy old man, not a narcissist, but I can speak the language.

    Its … ‘im … for the bogan of “him”

  70. “supreme hyperbole”, meet supreme abuse.

    The actual phrase, GM, which you quoted, was
    The air vehicle manufacturing industry represents the absolute peak of engineering and technical capability…..

    As it happens, I (foolishly) interpret that statement to mean
    a) aircraft manufacturing is highly technical
    b) and uses the very best of human engineering capability
    c) and as mentioned has a marvellous reputation for safety, considering the current volumes of short and long distance flights

    …. and then from those statements, all of which (in my over vaulting ignorance and abysmally stupid optimism) I accept, I infer

    1) that advances in many sciences and engineering disciplines will feed through, where relevant and useful, into aircraft design and manufacturing; for instance, improved computing power; surveillance and detection e.g. of weather, other aircraft, winds; optimisation methods; fuels, metal and materials, fatigue detection and amelioration, navigation, aerodynamics, electronics, black box, cabin safety, hijack prevention, etc.

    2) Moore’s law is a straw man in a discussion of air travel

    3) engineers can be as creative as any other professionals; throughout their working lives they are aware of the constraints set by physics, chemistry, and Nature

    Eppur si muove (Galileo Galilei)

    “And yet we can fly!”

    The myth of Daedelas is a sad, sad story.
    But don’t despair.

    “Peak oil” may never actually arrive.
    Yes. I believe that.
    It may never arrive.
    [I also accept that repetition of an assertion does not constitute proof.]

    Of course, the future is difficult to predict: my impression is that folk who have been talking about “peak oil” have had a tendency to keep putting it off, when it hasn’t yet occurred. Off into the future. Maybe ten years from now? Or fifteen? Twenty-five years, absolute tops….. Which is a tactic any prophet can use (and quite a few have, in the past).

    Cheerio.

  71. BilB
    AOC wants to ban air travel completely, it’s just one of her many ludicrous “ Green New Deal “ proposals.

    And on the narcissist thang, can we agree that everyone occupies a certain place on that spectrum.

    I can only go on text printed here on yourself and GM so my diagnosis is extremely limited, but I’m sticking with it till I’m convinced otherwise.

  72. Geoff M, the paper you linked to on uranium supply was dated 2013.

    Have you looked at Gen IV reactors where they say an advantage is they produce 100 to 300 times as much power from a given amount of uranium? They also use a broader range of fuels, and this:

    In some reactors, the ability to consume existing nuclear waste in the production of electricity, that is, a Closed nuclear fuel cycle. This strengthens the argument to deem nuclear power as renewable energy.

    I recall hearing it said that we would never have to mine uranium again, but that may have been hand waving.

    What about thorium, more abundant in nature than uranium?

    I decided to look at Barry Brooke’s blog Brave New Climate. Not sure they post much, because just about everything has been said. Brooke is rational and well-qualified, and a nuclear enthusiast.

    I came upon this piece, where he looks at whether uranium is exhaustible. I didn’t read it all, but his answer is pretty much “no” I think.

    And if you ask whether said uranium is accessible, the answer seems to be a “yes”, and it’s more than seawater.

    What think you?

  73. GM:

    And where are these designs for these ocean-going nuclear-powered “prime movers”, BilB? How well do these “prime movers” with cargo platforms perform in high sea-states? Any sea trials done? How quickly can they be built? Is there enough fuel supply to accommodate the quantity of these “prime movers” required? And how do you deal with the high-level nuclear waste generated?

    Aircraft carriers and submarines have been using nuclear power for yonks so I can’t quite see why it would be hard to start building nuclear powered freight carrying ships.
    Personally, I would prefer to avoid nuclear powered ships because of waste/risk issues but saying the tech isn’t there has to be challenged.
    Renewable ammonia may be a logical fuel for ships because it doesn’t require CO2 to manufacture and may be a suitable drop in fuel for existing ship drives like this 100,000 HP diesel engine

    The world’s biggest engine is the Wartsila-Sulzer RTA96-C. It is a turbo charged two stroke diesel engine, and it is the most powerful and efficient low revolution engine in the world today. The Wartsila-Sulser is manufactured by the Aioi Works in Japan and is part of Japan’s Diesel United Ltd engine manufacturers. It is 89 feet long, 44 feet wide, and weighs 2000 tons.

    It should be no surprise that I think that renewable ammonia is a logical shipping fuel because it does not need CO2 for its manufacture. Ammonia can be used in diesel cycle engines:

    Ammonia can also be used in diesel engines. However, ammonia will not compression ignite except at very high pressures. So a small amount of high-cetane (the combustion quality during compression ignition) fuel is added. Research is showing that a 5 percent biodiesel and 95 percent ammonia blend works well in farm machinery.

    However, I am not sure if there would be any practical problems using ammonia in 100,000 HP monsters that were probably built to run on bunker oil.
    In addition, bunker oil is very cheap because it is essentially a reject stream from oil refineries. I would see switching fuels for the shipping industry being driven by reduced production of
    byproduct bunker oil being lower priority than generally reducing fossil fuel production.

  74. JohnD,

    Last night I had a conversation, with a family friend (naval architect) about the prospect of nuclear shipping, particularly the prospect of building weld on tugs for bulk carrier hulls when they fatigue. It is not too common but the entire power section of damaged ships are cut off and affixed to new main hulls. The main impediment in the past for nuclear shipping was the specialised personell that would be required to be at sea for long periods. However if the package micro reactors don’t require that level of monitoring then there is one impediment removed. Its a watching brief.

    The nuclear freighter experiments of the past are irrelevent to the present as they were such different vessels with very early reactor designs. This

    https://www.osti.gov/etdeweb/servlets/purl/20114854

    This is the reactor type I had in mind which is managed by the slow progression of a neutron absorbing ring exposing new fuel on a day by day basis. Perhaps to save costs the reactor monitoring can be done from a central land based facility as military drones are.

  75. Brian (Re: FEBRUARY 10, 2019 AT 12:04 AM)

    Geoff M, the paper you linked to on uranium supply was dated 2013.

    I’m well aware of the date – almost 6 years ago. If you can find a more up-to-date indication of global uranium supplies and costs (similar in format to the EWG graph) I’d be much obliged.

    Have you looked at Gen IV reactors where they say an advantage is they produce 100 to 300 times as much power from a given amount of uranium?

    Has this technology actually demonstrated these claims or is it still theory? I note that the Wikipedia reference you link to shows Gen IV deployment is beyond 2030 – too late for a likely post- peak oil & gas world.

    On Sep 10, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) published its 38th edition of Energy, Electricity and Nuclear Power Estimates for the Period up to 2050, that provides detailed global trends in nuclear power by region (paywalled). The Press Release includes:

    Overall, the new projections suggest that nuclear power may struggle to maintain its current place in the world’s energy mix. In the low case to 2030, the projections show nuclear electricity generating capacity falling by more than 10% from a net installed capacity of 392 gigawatts (electrical) (GW(e)) at the end of 2017. In the high case, generating capacity increases 30% to 511 GW(e), a drop of 45 GW(e) from last year’s projection. Longer term, generating capacity declines to 2040 in the low case before rebounding to 2030 levels by mid-century, when nuclear is seen providing 2.8% of global generating capacity compared with 5.7% today.

    You ask:

    What about thorium, more abundant in nature than uranium?

    Thorium is more abundant than than uranium. Thorium-232 is the only primordial nuclide of thorium and makes up effectively all of natural thorium. Thorium-232 is fertile, but it is not fissile. Thorium-232 needs to be transmuted into fissile uranium-233. The thorium fuel cycle has not yet been established (as far as I’m aware). Therefore the technology has not been demonstrated and the costs of thorium-based power generation are speculative.

    I came upon this piece, where he looks at whether uranium is exhaustible. I didn’t read it all, but his answer is pretty much “no” I think.

    It’s not a question of quantity (whatever mineral resource is being extracted), but of energy – how much energy is required to extract the resource – the lower the concentration, the higher the energy required, until it becomes unaffordable.

  76. Ambigulous (Re: FEBRUARY 9, 2019 AT 6:46 PM)

    The actual phrase, GM, which you quoted, was
    The air vehicle manufacturing industry represents the absolute peak of engineering and technical capability…..

    It’s convenient of you, Ambi, to leave out the rest of the quote. Here’s the full quote I responded to (bold text my emphasis):

    I have exhaustively demonstrated that the air vehicle manufacturing industry represents the absolute peak of technical and engineering capability and performs with a primary focus of improving safety and fuel efficiency and so new aircraft designs, just as new computers are faster and more capable, carry more people and cargo as a ratio of their takeoff weight and use less fuel per kilogram to achieve this.

    The inference I took from this was that BilB was comparing the speed of development of aircraft with the speed of development of computers, and therefore the reference to Moore’s Law. Are you suggesting that improvements in design, efficiency and performance of aircraft have progressed similar to the progression of computer design, efficiency and performance, Ambi? I certainly don’t think so. Perhaps you do, Ambi?

    “Peak oil” may never actually arrive.
    Yes. I believe that.
    It may never arrive.

    Australia reached peak oil production in 2000, and oil production has progressively declined since then. Australia has passed ‘peak oil’ production. Many other oil producing nations have also passed ‘peak oil’ production. Are you denying the production data, Ambi? One-by-one the remaining pre-peak oil producing nations will reach peak oil production, then decline. Global peak production is inevitable with a finite resource. Are you a denier of inconvenient facts, Ambi?

  77. BiLB (Re: FEBRUARY 9, 2019 AT 12:22 PM)

    Here we go, the narcissist point by point gotta win thing.

    It’s about being able to defend your assertions with facts and evidence, BilB. You don’t seem to be able to do that so you call me names instead.

    2 Marine based algal oil is the biofuel that I have referred to only, and the volume is minscule for the very reason that the politics need to be resolved before this production is expanded.

    What about costs, or are they irrelevant for you? In fact you say:

    It is irrelevent, GeoffM, to consider the price of algal oil in the current environment as such production is relatively low technology and is entirely dependent upon the circumstances at the time.

    BilB, would you like to pay say 5 times the current price for fuel perhaps? Perhaps you don’t mind because you perhaps could afford it, but most people would most likely not. Rising fuel prices would impact on nearly every aspect of the economy.

    GeofM where you do show an appreciation for technology, from what I can see you have no understanding of this class of industry, but understanding what is possible over what is currently done is not a skill you have.

    It’s all very well to have an appreciation for technology. Is it affordable, available to deploy at large scale and is as safe and as reliable as what is being displaced (i.e. fossil fuels)? If it can’t meet these criteria then it’s just a curiosity.

    GeofM, what I am demonstrating is that…there are answers..where as your total focus appears to be to belittle everyone in a discussion rather than engage in constructive solution finding.

    Give me facts and evidence, not baseless assertions, wishful thinking and hyperbole.

  78. GM: I started the run on nuclear driven ships because you, as you do, demanded of Bilb:

    And where are these designs for these ocean-going nuclear-powered “prime movers”, BilB? How well do these “prime movers” with cargo platforms perform in high sea-states? Any sea trials done? How quickly can they be built?

    Even you should know that nuclear power has been used for yonks to drive ships. Even if you didn’t, you could have answered your own question with a simple google search instead of looking aggressive and ignorant.
    You also seem to have no feel for the amount of work required to produce detailed costings and seem unwilling to recognize that people like Bilb, Jumpy and myself have direct experience in this area.
    You may have noticed that I reacted with interest when you produced the detailed specs for jet A fuel. You may also notice that I often give links and brief summaries for the comments and positions I take instead of demanding that people read a whole string of links that “prove” your position.
    This is a blog aimed at people who think and want to discuss ideas etc without spending too much time on our comments.
    You have something to contribute so how about thinking about what you can do to stop you and your behaviour from being the issue.

  79. Hi Geoff,

    I honestly think you misread that quoted paragraph.

    “just as new computers are faster and more capable”…. just says that whenever a new PC (or mainframe) is manufactured and sold, it will be faster.

    Makes a lot of sense to me.
    It’s what we all observe in the market.
    Yep, faster and more capable.

    Why would I buy a slower one?
    (Well, perhaps it chews up less kWhr??)

    But nothing there says aircraft design is changing as quickly as computers are.

    You made that up, I think.

    cheerio

  80. Hi again GM

    I had a look at an article about “peak oil” on Wikipedia.

    The first graph they display is from circa 1956 by M. King Hubbert.

    (I concede that Mr Hubbert knew more about oil production in 1956 than I will ever know.)

    He predicted global maximum oil production of about 12.5 billion barrels of oil per year, occurring around the hear 2000.

    (I admire his courage in predicting so far ahead: 44 years if my arithmetic is correct.)

    But then Wiki rather spoils the party by mentioning that
    i) global oil production was about 29.4 billion barrels in 2016 and
    ii) there was an oil glut lasting several years from 2014.

    So for now, I remain sceptical that “peak oil” may be a limiting factor in energy use.*

    Nonetheless, I want to see CO2 emissions reduced significantly.

    * and of course the prospect or possibility of peak oil may give an extra impetus for car drivers and trucking firms to look more urgently to electric vehicles….

    So please keep talking about that hypothesis.

  81. From my perspective of GMs position he doesn’t advocate any solutions at all. That nothing current or in the pipeline can save us from Climate Armageddon.

    That’s gotta be an extremely frightening place to constantly dwell.
    Perhaps everyone could take that into consideration when reading his comments.

  82. GeofM,

    I have no responsibility to you to prove anything at all. I apply my professional judgement to the challenges facing our community, I apply my proven creativity to find engineering compound solutions, I endorse the work of others when I recognise problems solved, and I attempt to encourage others who are striving to make a difference.

    Here is a final statement from Dr Jonathan Trent, the scientist who undertook the evaluative study on algal oil for NASA.

    https://slate.com/technology/2012/09/algae-for-biofuel-omega-project-has-success-in-california-ready-to-scale-up.html

    You will be disappointed in that he does not give a dollar value for the very good reason that, as I said, pricing is entirely dependent on the circumstances of the production environment at the time.

    Most importantly Dr Trent determines that the fundamentals exist based on his research to fuel all of the US’s aviation from Algae.

    You can huff and puff and be dismissive for all you are worth. I will take Trents judgement over yours every hour of the day.

    As to aviation and computers my comment was about expectation rather than speed. That aside the rate of improvement of aviation fuel efficiency is dramatic, and there are many more innovation generations identified and yet to come.

  83. JohnD, quite so!

    Ambi, what you said earlier I believe to be the case. Peak consumption will come before peak oil.

    Jumpy You observation of GM is atute. GM is most probably correct about climate armagedden, but not for the reasons that he understands. It will be the Arctic methane time bomb that does us in. My interest in solutions is simply because that is what I do, not because I think they will be enacted. We’ll all go together when we go.

    If you loaded windy.com to your tablet, set the altitude to FL34 right now and you can witness jet stream mayhem with jetstreams dancing across the equator like it wasn’t there.

  84. OK, going back over the evidence….

    https://youtu.be/oz3tzG9RxKI

    ……and adding things together, we take the Sugar Volt’s 70% less fuel consumption and make that a bio fuel, and solar electricity to charge batteries, maybe even some light weight high efficiency solar panels on the wings, and we are looking at a whole different reality.

    Meanwhile we get the Naval Architects working on rmote managed Nuclear reactor powered ships with weld on long life “tugs” with a ten year 1.3 tonne refuelling cycle …. https://www.osti.gov/etdeweb/servlets/purl/20114854 …… and now bulk carriers and container shipping are essentially CO2 emission free for a ten year Nuclear fuel consumption of 58,500 tonnes (45,000 bulk and container carriers). There is a little bonus with Nuclear powered ships in that they would rather stay powered up while in port so can perhaps be plugged into the local grid while in port to perhaps power local water desalination. With the energy requirement for reverse osmosis being around 2 whrs per litre, a 120Mw reactor for two days can top up the town supply in many places for very little cost.

    So with aviation seriously addressing its fuel issues in a multitude of ways, and sea freight converted to a non CO2 emitting energy source, it is time to seriously address domestic electricity and energy production.

    Are you with me Geoff?

  85. John Davidson (Re: FEBRUARY 11, 2019 AT 12:55 PM)

    Even you should know that nuclear power has been used for yonks to drive ships. Even if you didn’t, you could have answered your own question with a simple google search instead of looking aggressive and ignorant.

    Clearly, IMO you seem to cherry-pick my responses then attempt to twist the argument.
    BilB made the assertion (at comment FEBRUARY 8, 2019 AT 3:31 PM) that (bold text my emphasis):

    Shipping of the future should follow the model of the “barges” that ply the great rivers where the “prime mover” is seperate from the cargo hulls and are designed for long life and are not scrapped due to the hull fatigue of the cargo body. In the nuclear powered model these prime movers would be designed to survive many reactor rets which can be designed to drop through into refuelling factories or detoxication storage and dismantling. Shipping is the one opportunity for the nuclear industry to mature through the higher efficiency design that is the hallmark of mass production exactly as the aviation industry has achieved. Shipping reactors would be 80 to 150 megawatt capacity and be far less stressed than the larger and lower volume grid electricity generating reactors which have so prominately failed in open air to contaminate the comparatively rare land surface.

    I asked questions (at comment FEBRUARY 9, 2019 AT 9:26 AM) in response to BilB’s assertions:

    And where are these designs for these ocean-going nuclear-powered “prime movers”, BilB? How well do these “prime movers” with cargo platforms perform in high sea-states? Any sea trials done? How quickly can they be built? Is there enough fuel supply to accommodate the quantity of these “prime movers” required? And how do you deal with the high-level nuclear waste generated?

    BilB made these assertions. I’m asking him (not demanding) to back them up with evidence of “solutions” that are available and deployable now; not decades away. So far, he hasn’t done so, so until he does provide evidence of deployable “solutions” I’ll assume there are none available, and BilB is engaging in wishful thinking and ‘hand waving’. I certainly don’t see these “solutions” being available now, but I could be wrong – that’s why I asked (not demanded). That’s why I then stated (bold text my emphasis):

    Most people don’t want a permanent high-level nuclear waste repository near them. And these “solutions” need to begin to be deployed at large scale in less than a decade. What evidence do you have that suggests these questions have been resolved/answered, BilB? I think this is all wishful thinking on your part, BilB, but please provide evidence to the contrary.

    In BilB’s response (in comment FEBRUARY 9, 2019 AT 12:22 PM) he states:

    Pusher Tugs? Have they been done? There are all manner of specialised ships that people never see. Naval architects relish a challenge, all they need is a customer.

    The link provided shows what I perceive to be coastal/estuarine conventional fossil fueled pusher tugs (not open sea nuclear-powered pusher tugs). I take that to mean there aren’t “solutions” available now – apparently there are no “customers”.

    IMO you, John, only want to see what you want to see and ignore all the inconvenient bits.

    I’m aware of nuclear-powered warships and Russian ice-breakers. I’m not aware of what BilB asserts is available, hence the questions.

    You also seem to have no feel for the amount of work required to produce detailed costings and seem unwilling to recognize that people like Bilb, Jumpy and myself have direct experience in this area.

    I’m not asking you to perform costings. I’m asking you to defend your apparently baseless assertions with evidence that there are “solutions” available to deploy now at large scale to displace petroleum-based fuels. You and BilB so far have failed to do so but would rather engage in personal attacks to deflect attention away from your own inadequacies and failings.

    This is a blog aimed at people who think and want to discuss ideas etc without spending too much time on our comments.

    It seems to me most of the people (not all) commenting on this blog make baseless assertions that they don’t like being challenged. That’s not thinking. It seems to me you just want everyone to agree with you, regardless. It seems you are uncomfortable outside an ‘echo chamber’.

    You have something to contribute so how about thinking about what you can do to stop you and your behaviour from being the issue.

    Reflect on your behaviour, John. Deal in facts and evidence; not baseless assertions, wishful thinking and ‘hand waving’. Or does that require too much effort?

  86. BilB (Re: FEBRUARY 11, 2019 AT 8:46 PM)

    I have no responsibility to you to prove anything at all. I apply my professional judgement to the challenges facing our community, I apply my proven creativity to find engineering compound solutions, I endorse the work of others when I recognise problems solved, and I attempt to encourage others who are striving to make a difference.

    Perhaps your “professional judgement” is deficient, BilB? Perhaps you’ve been seduced by the hype and haven’t made the effort to ask the difficult questions about whether the technical, economic and environmental challenges have been adequately solved and looked critically at what still needs to be done to get the technologies deployable at large scale? It seems to me when I ask you inconvenient questions about the technologies you appear to promote as being ready to deploy you are unable or unwilling to respond with any compelling evidence, but rather you respond with personal attacks and hyperbole.

    Thanks for the link to Dr Jonathan Trent’s article. I note it’s dated 3 Sep 2012 (6 years, 5 months, 1 week, 2 days ago). Oh dear! What’s happened since then, BilB? Where has the OMEGA project progressed to, BilB?

    Dr Trent states:

    I’m now pretty confident we can deal with the biological, engineering, and environmental issues. So will it fly economically? Of the options we tested, the OMEGA system combined with renewable energy sources—wind, solar, and wave technologies—and aquaculture looks most promising. Now with funds running out and NASA keen to spin off OMEGA, we need the right half-hectare site for a scaled-up demonstration. While there is enthusiasm and great potential sites in places ranging from Saudi Arabia to New Zealand, Australia to Norway, Guantanamo Bay to South Korea, as yet no one has committed to the first ocean deployment.

    So we know it’s still hadn’t reached ocean deployment “demonstration” stage in 2012. Where is it up to now, BilB?

    Here’s an article by Robert Rapier looking at algae-based biofuels in Nov 2, 2018. It includes:

    Dr. Benemann points to recent news stories and adverts by ExxonMobil, which project a 10,000 barrel per day algae oil production technology ready by 2025. ExxonMobil, with their partner Synthetic Genomics, is developing on a pilot plant for algal biofuels in the Imperial Valley, east of San Diego, California. And they have competition: Reliance Industries in India, owners of the largest refinery in the world, is already operating nearly 25 acres of ponds in an algal biofuels pilot plant. Also Shell Oil invested in an algae pilot plant in Hawaii and Petrobras in one in Brazil. Of course, the crystal balls of oil companies are likely no better than others, and the distance from here to profits still seems far.

    Clearly 10,000 barrels per day production rate by 2025 is not going to displace petroleum (even if ExxonMobil achieves what it says it will do). The article ends with:

    That said, algae biofuels research and development is alive and well. But, when will we start driving cars of flying airplanes on algae biofuels? There are no good crystal balls for this technology development.

    Clearly, algal-based biofuels are not deployable at large scale any time soon.

  87. BilB (Re: FEBRUARY 11, 2019 AT 10:11 PM)

    Well blow me down, turn over a rock these days and what do you find? Another bloody Biofuel.

    Thanks for the link. The article begins with:

    Ethiad Airways made the first commercial flight on fuel made from plants grown in saltwater by Khalifa University. Burning jet fuel made from halophyte plants grown in salt water and fertilized by the shrimp and fish living in the salt water enabled a flight from Abu Dhabi to Amsterdam on January 16. It was the first flight on pure biofuels, even though commercial airlines have made over 160,000 flights on blended fuels since 2011.

    Per BBC’s 3-part TV series City in the Sky, there are “100,000 flights that crisscross the globe every day“.

    IMO, there’s a long way to go before biofuels can make any significant contribution to sustaining aviation long-term.

  88. BilB (Re: FEBRUARY 11, 2019 AT 10:55 PM)

    Meanwhile we get the Naval Architects working on rmote managed Nuclear reactor powered ships with weld on long life “tugs” with a ten year 1.3 tonne refuelling cycle ….

    The link you provide to a paper titled ADVANCED 4S (SUPER SAFE, SMALL AND SIMPLE) LMR appears to be undated. All the references listed at the bottom of the paper are all dated pre-1992. Where has this technology outlined in the paper been demonstrated in working order, BilB? Has it been demonstrated or is it still just theory, BilB?

    So with aviation seriously addressing its fuel issues in a multitude of ways, and sea freight converted to a non CO2 emitting energy source, it is time to seriously address domestic electricity and energy production.

    BilB, you haven’t shown me anything compelling that demonstrates that aviation is “seriously addressing its fuel issues“. IMO it’s only nibbling away at the edges. You also haven’t demonstrated anything compelling that there are large scale deployable solutions for “sea freight converted to a non CO2 emitting energy source“. This is all wishful thinking stuff.

    Stationary energy certainly has large scale deployable and affordable solutions. But we have people in government that can’t or won’t see that. If they are having difficulty seeing a clear path forward, there’s Buckley’s chance finding a way forward for aviation and shipping where the solutions aren’t so clear.

  89. If a product is feasible at present and needed, or hyped by advertisers, and not too expensive, it will be produced and sold.

    Should the blog devote itself entirely to present products? Well, we could chew any amount of fat hereabouts, comparing various products on aspects such as their emissions, embodied energy, energy consumption, practical utility, reliability and maintenance. We might even ask “Do they come in other colours?” Or “do they violate the second law of thermodynamics?”, or compare notes on the advertising campaigns or the share prices of the various manufacturers.

    But folk here are keen on a lower emissions future, improved energy efficiency, practicality, renewable power and so forth…. And cost. And urgency. And political debates. So naturally enough we chat about prospects in the near and distant future.

    If I may drag the late Mr Lennon into this:

    You may say I’m a dreamer
    But I’m not the only one.

  90. Thinking about a better future can be most enjoyable, I find.

    Better than fretting over the horrors of past totalitarian regimes (while keeping a weather eye out for despotic tendencies). More pleasant than complaining about my football team.

    Better than many alternatives….

  91. Bilb: As you may be aware I tend to be against the use of bio-fuels when their production reduces the worlds capacity to produce food (think bio-fuel from corn) or leads to significant environmental destruction. (Think palm oil.)
    Having said this I am more enthusiastic about some of our transport energy coming from the production of bio-fuels from bio-waste.
    Your link re saltwater production of bio-fuels overcomes my objections to bio-fuel. There are vast areas of Australia that are too dry to produce a significant amount of food and, with proper planning and restrictions. Salt water aquaculture would be practical for places close enough to the coast for saltwater pumping to be practical and elevated enough not to be swamped every time there is a little bit of rain.
    The discussion in this post does suggest that there may be a limited role for some bio-fuels to be blended with e-fuels to produce fuels that meet specifications that cannot be satisfied by e-fuels on their own.

  92. JohnD
    For starters there is this

    https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/lessons-from-the-great-algae-biofuel-bubble#gs.tMlKWYdF

    I completely disagree with this guy’s conclusion, not that he is wrong in most of what he said, but towards the end where he talks about the problems he calls after thoughts,..these things are the very core subject of the NASA Omega project. NASA is not an organisation that builds businesses, they build technologies. An example is the micro pore insulation material they developed for the space shuttle was licensed out to a Kiwi Guy who developed the infrared ceramic cook tops (you know the red ones that glow from underneath) and manufactured them to make a squillion dollars until the patent ran out. Jonathan Trent’s Omega project was such a research exercise. Eric Wesoff’s list is pretty much an operational list of features of Omega which was designed to companion sewerage systems which provide all of the CO2, water an nutrients to fill the seeded flotation bags each of which is a micro algae farm. These bags float in a waterway where the water action provides mixing and cooling for the plants.

    This is where GeofM fails to understand entrepreneurship. Just because it can be done doesn’t mean it will. The reality is that we can squarely blame Rockefeller for the poor level of research in biofuels as he killed Ford’s dream of alcohol fuelled cars, fuel that can be made locally anywhere in the country/world, by mobilising the temperance movement politically purely so that Model T owners would have to buy his Gasoline. But for Rockefeller’s greed we may not have been so far down the CO2 emissions path as we are today.

    The entrepreneur who makes algal oil work will be someone who develops the industry either because they love doing it and it is not about the money, or because they need the product to make a much larger industry work better, such as aviation. For instance Airbus are heavily engaged with bio fuels for a whole of of reasons both obvious and not.

    Then there is the industry that just might have a point to prove to the world in order to claw back their credibility.

    https://www.fastcompany.com/40539606/exxon-thinks-it-can-create-biofuel-from-algae-at-massive-scale

    As I said it is a watching brief.

    I’d put money on my algal foam concept as it is very suitable for arid regions as you project, and it to addresses many of the list items.

    Last point, one of the key reasons for all of the redirected attempts at algal oil is to do with the nature of the US venture capital process which is entirely a top down process more about making a lucrative living on other people’s money rather than delivering results. A classic case is Icon Aircraft.

    JohnD to your last point google Airbus biofuels and Jetblue. This is Airbus’s insurance program in preparation for AOC’s Green New Deal.

  93. GeofM, your inability to comprehend the power of industry is not my responsibility. I can’t make you understand how entrepreneurs take what if’s and turn them into massive performance. How a school teacher can take a tee shirt print opportunity for a fast food chain and later turn that into an enterprise that produced 14.5 billion products in a 5 year period.

    GeofM, I cannot see that you have the ability to examine “evidence” nor the ability to project possibilities into the future, and it is the future that we talk a lot about here, what we are concerned most for.

    It seems to me, though GeofM, that you don’t want for there to be solutions to the world’s energy and CO2 emissions crisis as that deconstructs your carefully crafted tale of impending doom. But the way that your have obsessed over my comments with a clear attempt at crushing any credibility smacks of the nurse who poisons patients so as to be able to rush into the room and save the day with the cure only he knows. So what ever your motives for the negative approach, please carry on, I do, however, look forward to you delivering something positive , some day.

  94. Bilb:

    Last point, one of the key reasons for all of the redirected attempts at algal oil is to do with the nature of the US venture capital process which is entirely a top down process more about making a lucrative living on other people’s money rather than delivering results. A classic case is Icon Aircraft.

    The related problem is the insecurity of researchers who have to get grants to support their research or join the unemployed. If you have become a bio-fuel expert you have to keep claiming it is the science of the future. bio-fuels and e-fuels need different skills.

  95. John Davidson (Re: FEBRUARY 12, 2019 AT 10:41 PM)

    GM: You seem to be constantly trying to herd us back to supporting the fossil fuels industry.

    I refer you to my comment to Ambigulous above (at comment FEBRUARY 2, 2019 AT 9:49 AM) where I state at the end (bold text my emphasis):

    Humanity must leave petroleum oil, before oil leaves us.
    Humanity must leave petroleum oil, fossil natural gas, and coal, before 2050 (preferably sooner), to mitigate dangerous climate change.

    These are the challenges we need to meet, otherwise our civilization faces an existential risk – nothing happens without energy.

    Can you please explain how my statements above (and repeated often on numerous occasions elsewhere in this blog in other threads) are in any way “trying to herd us back to supporting the fossil fuels industry”?

    John, are you suffering from memory loss? Or is this just convenient memory loss?

  96. BilB (Re: FEBRUARY 12, 2019 AT 9:50 PM)

    I can’t make you understand how entrepreneurs take what if’s and turn them into massive performance.

    More hyperbole, BilB. Our world is governed by the constraints of physics, chemistry and biology, and that we live in a finite world. It seems to me you don’t understand this.

    GeofM, I cannot see that you have the ability to examine “evidence” nor the ability to project possibilities into the future, and it is the future that we talk a lot about here, what we are concerned most for.

    I think you are suffering from Dunning-Kruger effect. You don’t seem to be able to examine data critically, and get conned by hype and sales pitch much too easily. Too many ideas not grounded by the constraints of the real world (i.e. physics, chemistry, biology, economics, scaleability, timeliness).

  97. GeofM

    Everything I have discussed is at the conceptual level, specifics I’ve mentioned such as Omega are for contex or relevence. At this stage with the 20year lead time expired through political incompetence it is vital to make every action towards decarbonising be as effective as possible. This means that the approach must deliver compound results. If a solar panel is put on a roof to deliver 20% electricity it should also be collecting heat for household or business hot water or hot oil for industrial processes. This one change can take the efficiency of a panel from 20% to 60% for very little more investment. That is getting the concepts right so that the work does not need to be done a second time. That is physics, economics, design, chemistry, industry and time.

    Our real problem is the lack of strategic thinking, and a reliance on the false notion that the market, on its own, will deliver the best result.

    To many ideas definitely, and not enough time left to do them. I once designed a lawn mower to clip onto ag bikes so that councils could employ young guys to mow all of the scattered bits of land that they are responsible for. The standard council mowing solution was two guys and $40,000 of equipment. I was able prove that one kid on a mower bike (road registered) could do the same work faster. The next time you see the road edges being mowed take note of the amount of investment required. It wasn’t something I wanted to build so I took the design to the most likely manufacturer along with the council interest. His response “I’ve got so many of my own ideas to do” I don’t need more. I have a proven solution to reducing 90% of the dust thrown up by mowers in dry areas. You are right, to many ideas but wrong in not being grounded. I live 100% inthe practical world as a product designer, inventor, manufacturer, entrepreneur, and the best bit …. royalty recipient (it took a long time to get that one working).

    I know full well how the situation can be turned around and relatively simply, by getting the concepts right an investing in effective technologies. I ran the numbers on this endlessly in battles with Robert Merkel, Robert Rapier, and Bruce Brookes. Their very concise criticisms enable the field of effective ideas to be honed down to the handfull of robust solutions that are cost effective and will work.

    It is not up to me to design these things the many millions of engineers and designers are doing this daily, and the hardware just keeps getting better, but if you buy the wrong technologies you are reducing your effectiveness and at worst wasting your money.

    Nuclear shipping is a solution that hasn’t even become a topic yet. But it will because ther is absolutely no other solution. The Nuclear guys are so locked into their thinking on power generation for cities and being trashed by solar and their land based waste problem, that they have not yet seen their biggest opportunity in powering trade.

    It doesn’t matter that you don’t “get” this, GeofM, because few other people do. It’ll take another 15 years and an AOC as US president before the reality sets in, but it will happen. And,…you can prove this very easily. When ever I design anything I try to have 3 equally good different solutions before I decide on the best. Usually in the course of examining the second and third idea the first one becomes radically modified to become the “obvious” one. When an idea is right it usually takes just 10 minutes to conceive it.

    So how to prove that nuclear shipping is the right solution? Put you mind to it and come up with two other equally viable complete solutions. They don’t have to be your ideas, you can search the world, but they have to be equally viable. How good are you GeofM?

  98. Here is some starting information on marine reactors and other aspects. A marinised Toshiba T6 would be a good contender in this space.

  99. GM: It is alll very well to say:

    Humanity must leave petroleum oil, before oil leaves us.
    Humanity must leave petroleum oil, fossil natural gas, and coal, before 2050 (preferably sooner), to mitigate dangerous climate change.
    These are the challenges we need to meet, otherwise our civilization faces an existential risk – nothing happens without energy.

    But your constant attempts to rubbish proposals that might help these ends without making any specific proposals of your own might be described by the uncharitable as actions not matching fine words.
    As for:

    More hyperbole, BilB. Our world is governed by the constraints of physics, chemistry and biology, and that we live in a finite world. It seems to me you don’t understand this. AND I think you are suffering from Dunning-Kruger effect. You don’t seem to be able to examine data critically, and get conned by hype and sales pitch much too easily. Too many ideas not grounded by the constraints of the real world (i.e. physics, chemistry, biology, economics, scaleability, timeliness).

    Can you back these comments with

    physics, chemistry, biology, economics, scaleability, timeliness?

    I wait with interest for the next statement.

  100. Bilb: Lots of interesting stuff in your nuclear ship link. For exampple:

    The objections against nuclear-powered ships are numerous and well-founded. It could be catastrophic if any of them sank or leaked waste into the sea. Terrorists could find few targets more enticing. They’re a nightmare to insure. There are few ports with facilities that can accept nuclear waste and offer refueling services. And it seems unlikely that the public would accept them any time soon; consider that both the Russian and the Japanese ships encountered popular opposition that wouldn’t allow them to dock.

    AND

    More importantly, consider its effects on pollution. Just 15 of the world’s biggest ships may emit as much pollution as all the world’s cars. Nuclear-powered ships emit no CO2 or greenhouse gas. Replacing just a few of the biggest ships with nuclear reactors would make a significant dent in air and ocean pollution. This is especially relevant with the emergence of a trade route in the Arctic. When ships go through, it’s much better that they don’t run on diesel. Nuclear vessels reduce the amount of Arctic melt induced by soot.

    Attempts to go nuclear will be opposed by people concerned about nuclear in general or the threat of nuclear accidents in their port. This will make it difficult to reduce shipping emissions quickly via the nuclear route.
    Suspect it will make more sense to pursue drop in renewable fuels such as ammonia blends or perhaps even liquid hydrogen.
    Wikapedia has some interesting things to say about environmental impact of shipping in general. For example, Maritime transport accounts for:
    3.5 to 4 percent of all climate change emissions, primarily carbon dioxide.
    Of total global air emissions, shipping accounts for 18 to 30 percent of the nitrogen oxide and 9 percent of the sulphur oxides.
    Then there is bilge water, sewage, particulates and.
    Shipping is largely out of sight out of mind but perhaps it is time we took far more notice of what could be done.

  101. In breaking news, Airbus will cease production of its “super jumbo” A380.

    Mentioning this as an example of how apparent “current trends” in civil aviation may not necessarily persist for very long.

  102. JohnD,

    Thanks for looking at the flexport page.

    I take the view of the conclusion at the bottom of the page. It is time to reconsider nuclear reactors for shipping, for a whole lot of reasons, and particularly in relation to the Toshiba 4s design features.

    I have to admit I read this incorrectly, the 4S is 135Mw thermal which is 50 Mw electricity so a 100Mw ship would require two 4S’s with 1.3 Tones of fuel each.

    Power capacity: 100 Mw electricity
    Total fuel in reactor(s): 2.6 tonnes
    Life of fuel: 10 years
    Method of operation: progressive activation of fuel with reflector ring advancing vertically up at 1mm per day
    Safety rating: Super safe

    Economics aside, the reason why I think that this system is a likely success the reactor design is such that with all systems failure the reactor burns out in a short period, it needs active energy input to keep working. The fuel content is loaded once and needs no addition material added or removed during its operational life. The total amount of Nuclear material is 2.6 tonnes The weight of a large SUV as compared to the 27 tonnes per year required by a grid scale nuclear power plant. Internal accident risk is zero, the external risk assessments consider falling aircraft direct hits with a safe shut down.

    Regarding the comparison of ocean going reactors with land based power plants and their risks are out of proportion.

    Land is 1 fifth of the earth surface, the oceans are 4 fifths.
    The oceans are sparcely populated as compared to the land population density.
    With 45,000 large nuclear powered vessels the amount of nuclear material is still small compared. By crude calculation based on the Toshiba 4S with its .26 tonne fuel consumption per year would mean a fuel burn of 11,700 tonnes of fuel
    Compared to the worlds 390 Gigawatt nuclear capacity burning 9750 tonnes nuclear fuel per year. So to power the world’s global shipping and trade would require a little more than the current fuel consumption in far smaller reactors dispersed over 4 times the area of land based nuclear energy production.

    A 1 Gigawatt land based reactor has 100 tonnes of nuclear fuel in one fixed location and usually in close proximity to cities, whereas a nuclear powered ship has 3 tonnes of nuclear fuel when operating at capacity hundreds of kilometres out to sea.

    The risk comparison is the same as having sticks of gelignite in your back yard versus fire crackers far away in a paddock.

    The risk comparison in the event of a failure is one of years of cleanup in your back yard which becomes unusable for decades versus a ship sinking in days to be entombed in a kilometre ocean with a density 6 times that of air.

    I don’t have to convince anybody about this as it is the responsibility of those with specific knowledge to evaluate the virtues in relation to the real environment risks and the probable rate of change.

    I think that when dispassionately evaluated nuclear shipping is the safest alternative future for shipping in a climate change world. At least that is my opinion.

    The prospect of fuelling shipping from renewable sources is a mile too far considering all of the other technologies that require solar energy especially aviation which cannot be nuclear powered simply from the safety aspect of falling nuclear material from accidents, alone.

  103. Bilb: Ships may spend most of their time well away from land but the very nature of their business is that they come into often crowded ports where they can be exposed to scare campaigns, bans etc. if they are nuclear powered. In terms of transition nuclear has the advantage that it rarely requires refueling so you don’t need refueling capacity in every port. Just one refueler would probably be enough.
    By contrast things like renewable ammonia avoid the emotional stuff but there could be issues re finding ports that could offer liquid ammonia refueling.
    In the past the conservatives often pushed the line that nuclear had to be considered for power production as a way of slowing climate action. Hope nuclear shipping doesn’t go this way.

  104. Oh?
    I thought the argument was presented as:
    “using nuclear power for electricity production will significantly reduce CO2 emissions from electricity networks” ??
    France, for example, uses a leetle bit of nuclear fission.

    One change as merely part of a suite of advances….

  105. OK JohnD. Renewable ammonia? You have to demonstrate where the energy is going to com from. Your talking about 4% of all of the worlds fossil fuel production. Replacing road transport with electric vehicles has the advantage that you are replacing a fuel and engine system that is 25% efficient with a system that is potentially more than 90% efficient. So for cars you need only find 30% of the energy to get the same effect. With shipping though you do not have that improvement, so you have to generate the full energy equivalent as bunker fuel knowing that 60% of it will be wasted (marinr engines are more efficient with the largest being 50% efficient. Also there are issues with burning ammonia I can see from a quick look.

    Definitely the issue of ships in port is an rea, even though the risk would be limited to liquid spills into harbour water, and that is highly unlikely. Political issues certainly, but there also I am predicting a change of attitudes as the world seriously focusses on the full challenge of addressing climate change.

    I think that the way Nuclear bulk carrier services would commense is with a club of rational nations who agree to give access for ships with a special purpose. Those countries might include France UK Japan China Russia and some Middle Eastern countries. Those countries might then experience faster lower cost sea freight and potentially real economic advantage as a result. France might become a grain and oil portal to Europe.

    Once a service gets operational and experiences a period of success and safety (a lot of if’s there) other countries would join the club, I believe. Another vector is I was told that the first fully autonomous bulk carrier ship is soon to be trialled. I would expect that operating small reactors can be done remotely just as Airbus and Boeing monitor all of the operations on their aircraft while in flight. It will be a different world.

  106. Ambi,

    Another of the advantages of Nuclear in ships is that you can take your reactors to the refuelling and fuel processing station which could very well be a man made island. There is no requirement to transport transport material over land through populations, and across borders. More possibilities than a photon in a maze of mirrors (you heard that here first).

  107. {off topic alert}

    Yes BilB

    Poor old photons, getting bounced around like pin balls in an arcade game. Or red-shifted by a huge mass. Or shredded in a diffraction grating: how does that work?

    Poor little b*gger photon finishes up not knowing whether she’s a wave or a particle.

    Damn you physicists and your “duality”.
    Arthur/Martha is nothing compared with particle/wave.

    Let’s hope Jumpy can sort it out for us.

    + – + – +

    The only saving grace is that we can be sure of the answer to the age old question: “Do they come in different colours?”

  108. Bilb: One thing people don’t understand about solar and wind power is that the cost of production is dominated by the fixed cost of paying for the capital investment with the variable costs being negligible. If you like surplus solar and similar power cost nothing to produce If you install enough renewables to cover the yearly peak demand for most days of the year there will be free surplus power available.
    These days we have finally started using demand management to deal with demand that the system cannot handle. You might be able to deal with the problem by surplus demand that switches things like electrolytic cells on when surplus power is available. (Not sure but we could end up with very cheap renewable transport fuels like liquid hydrogen or ammonia. They both have the added advantage of being suitable for fuel cells which means higher efficiency than that achieved with bunker fuel oils.
    As a matter of interest the standby gas turbines at Newman ran on bunker oil. Gas turbines are not very picky eaters.

  109. John Davidson (Re: FEBRUARY 13, 2019 AT 7:59 PM)

    But your constant attempts to rubbish proposals that might help these ends without making any specific proposals of your own might be described by the uncharitable as actions not matching fine words.

    Thanks for characterizing my statements of the challenges humanity must meet as “fine words”. I presume you are agreeing with them, John?

    John, are you among “the uncharitable”? Are you hiding among them?

    John, has it occurred to you that perhaps solving the problem of displacing and replacing petroleum oil with alternative energy solutions without damaging civilization severely is impossible, particularly in the remaining timeframe? Perhaps humanity is heading towards a severe (perhaps catastrophic) correction? Are these propositions totally unacceptable to you?

    What’s the evidence?

    I know someone who was born in 1930 and still active but now slowing down. In his lifetime the human population has doubled from about 2 billion, and almost doubled again (to about 7.6 billion). I think it would be difficult to argue against the proposition that petroleum oil was a primary enabler of that exponential growth of human population. The high EROI nature of petroleum-based fuels has enabled agriculture to rapidly expand humanity’s food and water supplies, and transport, mining and industrial capacities. Would you disagree, John?

    Unfortunately, petroleum oil supplies are approaching an inevitable peak soon, followed by a sustained decline. Evidence I see indicates that global peak oil supply is likely less than a decade away. I go further and suggest that it may even occur before the first half of the 2020s ends, with some evidence indicating global peak diesel has already occurred. Thus, humanity has a very restricted time-frame to ramp-up rapidly alternative energy solutions to begin to displace petroleum fuels in any meaningful way.

    Ambi says: ““Peak oil” may never actually arrive. Yes. I believe that. It may never arrive.” IMO, Ambi clearly implies he’s a denier, and I don’t think he’s alone. John, are you a denier of ‘peak oil’ too?

    So-called “hydrocarbon electro-fuels” are clearly not ready to be deployed at large-scale – the 2018 European Commission’s Scientific Opinion says:

    CCU technologies face today a range of technical, environmental and economic challenges…
    …to prove the technologies at large scale and in different settings are needed.

    And clearly biofuels aren’t ready to be deployed at large scale either. Even BilB apparently admits that the OMEGA algal oil project “is at the conceptual level”.

    IMO, biofuels are just nibbling at the edges as a displacer of petroleum, currently at roughly 1.6% global contribution of total global liquid fuel supply, with apparently no indications of rapid growth planned. I would expect a biofuel production growth rate of the order of 25% year-on-year or higher sustained over more than a decade would be needed to make a meaningful difference. I don’t see this happening, or likely to happen soon.

    I don’t see ANY large-scale deployable, affordable, low carbon-emissions “drop-in” petroleum fuel replacements available in the limited time-frame available before a global post- ‘peak oil’ world hits us. I may be wrong – I’d like to be wrong for obvious reasons – I… just… don’t… see… any.

    Deployment of battery-electric vehicles have the potential to ramp-up rapidly and make some impacts on petroleum demand, but that only deals with land transport – and deployment timing is highly critical. Electric aircraft developments are progressing but apparently only suitable for short to medium range – nothing on the horizon for long haul. High speed rail (HSR) is also a large-scale deployable solution for land transport (that can displace aviation), but Australia has no HSR. I don’t see any large-scale deployable long range zero-carbon emissions solutions for shipping.

    And clearly there are large-scale and rapidly deployable solutions for stationary energy, but our leaders don’t see it that way, and powerful vested interests are pulling all the stops out to delay for as long as possible.

    IMO, partial solutions that aren’t being deployed rapidly enough.

    Perhaps you, John, find this reality is totally unacceptable – it’s perhaps too scary a world to even think about for you? You, like BilB, seem unable to examine evidence/data critically, and apparently get conned by hype and slick sales pitch much too easily, perhaps because you don’t want to deal with an apparently scary future probability, and would prefer to believe that you can continue living much the same as you are now – no meaningful personal sacrifice in the near future.

    I think most people don’t want to deal with these issues – far, far too scary – and will simply choose to ignore them until they are directly affected. By that time, it’s probably already far too late to do anything – like the proverbial shifting deck chairs on the Titanic.

    The warnings have been given about the risks of climate change, and resource depletion, and limits to growth FOR DECADES (and these warnings have been ridiculed) and humanity has continued to ignore them and continued a path of unsustainability. Sooner or later, physics, chemistry, biology, economics, scaleabilty and timeliness will catch-up with us and deal with our rampant profligacy.

    But I could be wrong about this, but show me compelling evidence to the contrary.

  110. GeofM,

    What is your point?

    Its all too hard?

    It can’t be done?

    We’re all gonna die?

    Probably true in the medium term, and those who survive longer will lead severely reduced lives living in zones nearer the poles because everywhere else is too hot and humid. Its probably a good time to examine what a severely reduced life might look like.

    “John, has it occurred to you that perhaps solving the problem of displacing and replacing petroleum oil with alternative energy solutions without damaging civilization severely is impossible” is, in my opinion, completely false. If we get to the stage of global conviction that all future energy must be renewable then I know that the solutions are all available with a rapid deployment time frame.

    We have to want to get it done for it to be possible. We, as a global community, are not there yet. There might need to be a French Revolution style purge of obstructionists to get there though. I don’t think the very visible 1% have thought that through very well as they push for an ever greater grip on global wealth.

    Beating up at this forum though, Geof, isn’t going to achieve anything, because we have been churning this over here for over a decade (previously Larvatus Prodeo), and at the Oil Drum from even earlier.

    As to Peak Oil I’m sure that Robert Rapier will give you chapter and verse as to why that will not happen before Peak Consumption.

    As far as Australia is concerned the most effective Climate Change Action that we can take is to ensure that Tony Abbott, and his cohort of minions are dumped from Parliament this year.

  111. GM: I think peak oil is inevitable one way or the other. What I hope is that it happens because humanity becomes determined to end the use of fossil fuels instead of using oil until it runs out.
    Brian and I often talk about going onto a “war footing” against climate change.
    The world went onto a “war footing” during WWII because governments and their citizens believed that it would be disastrous if they lost. Resources were thrown into the effort with little regard to conventional economics and enormous gains were made to industrial capacity and technology as a result.
    It will be disastrous for life on earth if we lose the war against climate change. The lesson from WWII suggests that we will be able to end our dependence of fossil fuels and start the return of world population/consumption to comfortably sustainable levels in conjunction with improving standards of living.
    You may have noticed that what I am about is looking for possibilities for solving the worlds problems rather than getting buried in arguments about the relative merits of proposed solutions.
    I have been on a number of commissioning jobs where everyone has become exhausted by the long hours. What I have noticed is that, under these circumstances when confronted by a problem they thrash around until one possible solution has been found it and then concentrate on it until it proves unworkable.
    More wide awake teams look beyond one possibility and pursue the more promising of these at one time and do not rule out adding something to the active list if it comes out later.
    My hope is that the memento to humanity doesn’t say something like:
    They worked out what they needed to do survive but it was vetoed by the economists. OR
    The purple team worked out what needed to happen for humanity to survive but nothing happened because the other teams hated the purple teams guts.

  112. Geoff M, if we get to the situation where we have oxidised most of the oil currently in known reserves and dumped the resultant CO2 in the atmosphere, we will have almost certainly put ourselves in a situation where civilisation as we know it is stuffed. Gwymnne Dyer who talked to top climate scientists and top security personnel in 2008, then wrote Climate Wars, told Phillip Adams recently that he thought we had a maximum of about 5 years to get serious about climate change, to make it front of mind for policy makers in government and industry, and to begin to do whatever it takes.

    The post was about the airline industry, which largely fits in the cracks between individual nation state responsibility. Even more so the shipping industry.

    My investigations revealed two companies working on removing CO2 directly from the air at a price which seems doable spending roughly what we are spending now on defence, and a fraction of what countries spent in WW2.

    If we just leave it to the market we are stuffed. I finished with:

      If we want to act urgently, faster than the market solution currently being contemplated, two things need to change. We need political will and international co-operation. Mandate genuine offsets and have the airlines put it into the price. The money collected goes into developing and implementing the genuine carbon capture industry, by whatever means is appropriate.

      Hansen’s figure, which seem in the ball park, see us spending trillions of money on capturing and storing carbon from the air. These figures seem large, but are roughly commensurate with what the world spends in defence, and a fraction as a proportion of GDP of what we spent saving the world from fascism in World War 2.

      Time to act, not just for the airline industry, but to keep the third rock from the sun in a goldilocks state for life.

    If we attack the problem at scale, costs will come down, and there will be a learning curve that goes with more smart brains applying their mental and creative capacities to the processes required. After all Carbon Engineering only devoted 100 person-years to to get to where they are, which is a pittance.

    While we transition out of fossil fuel addiction we need fair dinkum offsets, but ASAP we need to use those offset technologies to get to 350ppm.

  113. John Davidson (Re: FEBRUARY 15, 2019 AT 4:49 PM)

    The world went onto a “war footing” during WWII because governments and their citizens believed that it would be disastrous if they lost. Resources were thrown into the effort with little regard to conventional economics and enormous gains were made to industrial capacity and technology as a result.

    Indeed. The threat was perceived by many as imminent and “disastrous” if the challenge was not met and dealt with expeditiously. Hence Great Britain and France declared war when Germany invaded Poland. The decision was made quickly and the resolve to deal with the threat was sustained despite the odds. However, USA did not see the threat the same way (even when German U-boats were sinking shipping off the US Atlantic coast and in the Gulf of Mexico, even a US warship) and stayed out of the war until after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

    IMO, the twin existential threats of climate change and declining energy security are still not regarded as imminent and disastrous by key people and organisations – like Hitler/Mussolini, and Japan’s expansionist moves in China and Korea weren’t considered threats for most westerners before WW2. Therefore the sense of urgency is still not sufficient to engage with the problem. And I think its a problem that ‘gets kicked down the road’ – someone else’s problem to deal with. The attitude to the climate change threat is beginning to change (IMO the IPCC SR1.5°C has helped significantly), but I think the consequences of a post- ‘peak oil’ and post- ‘peak gas’ world are still largely unacknowledged.

    You may have noticed that what I am about is looking for possibilities for solving the worlds problems rather than getting buried in arguments about the relative merits of proposed solutions.

    John, that’s all very well. Show me “petroleum displacement” energy technologies that are available now to meet these criteria:
    1. net zero-carbon emissions;
    2. can be deployed at large-scale quickly – doubling production capacity every 2-3 years year-on-year for more than a decade;
    3. reasonably affordable (no worse than double current petroleum fuel prices/technologies);
    4. EROI significantly better than 6:1, but preferably greater than 12:1;
    5. Doesn’t degrade/compete with food and drinking water resources.

    IMO battery-electric vehicles could meet these challenges with determination, but there’s nothing for long-range aviation and long-range shipping. I may be looking in all the wrong places, John, so please enlighten me where these technologies can be found – I just don’t see them.

    I don’t think you and others here on this blog appreciate the unprecedented and urgent challenges with finding solutions to displace petroleum oil quickly.

  114. Brian (Re: FEBRUARY 16, 2019 AT 10:13 AM)

    My investigations revealed two companies working on removing CO2 directly from the air at a price which seems doable spending roughly what we are spending now on defence, and a fraction of what countries spent in WW2.

    seems doable” – What price? Your idea of “doable” may be different from mine. Put numbers to it so an objective comparison can be made. Otherwise it’s just ‘hand waving’.

    How quickly can it be deployed? Can it double capacity in 2-3 years, year-on-year for more than a decade? IMO that’s the level of growth intensity that’s required to begin to displace petroleum oil in any meaningful way starting from a small base.

    Is the EROI significantly better than 6:1, and preferably better than 12:1? If not then it will degrade our civilization with current levels of standard of living declining, and if it’s less than 6:1 then civilization will collapse.

  115. Can it double capacity in 2-3 years, year-on-year for more than a decade?

    I suspect faster than that if we put the whole thing on a war footing. Usefully, instead of griping about it all you could apply yourself to looking at what could be achieved under a war footing. How did Germany turn itself around so fast in the late 1930s after being a basket case?

    We need some leadership in major economies, especially China, US, EU, Japan for starters, then the rest, even more problematic politically, India, Brazil etc following, with Russia dragging their heals.

  116. GM:

    Show me “petroleum displacement” energy technologies that are available now to meet these criteria:
    1. net zero-carbon emissions;
    2. can be deployed at large-scale quickly – doubling production capacity every 2-3 years year-on-year for more than a decade;
    3. reasonably affordable (no worse than double current petroleum fuel prices/technologies);
    4. EROI significantly better than 6:1, but preferably greater than 12:1;
    5. Doesn’t degrade/compete with food and drinking water resources.

    And if we can’t meet these challenging criteria are we all supposed to stand back and let the planet die?
    Seems like a set of criteria aimed at herding us back to fossil fuels to me.
    Then there is

    “seems doable” – What price? Your idea of “doable” may be different from mine. Put numbers to it so an objective comparison can be made. Otherwise it’s just ‘hand waving’.

    Once again you want to put off moving away from fossil fuels until two people like Brian and i answer questions that neither of us have the expertise to answer. That is the attraction of going onto a war footing is about, mobilizing the technical,, engineering and material resources required to do the job.

  117. GeofM,

    Cane ethanol is a fuel that can power all of Australia’s car fleet if they are PHEV’s with engines built for E95 and their 9 kwhr batteries charged from rooftop solar. I’ve run the figures on this any number times verifying the energy production results talking directly with industry players.

    In this model the field and transport machinery are powered by E95 and the full fuel conversion process from cane is powered from the Bagasse. ie eroei is irrelevent. Energy security (cyclones) comes from growing in a spread of areas.

    Tesla and several other companies are now realeasing EV long haul trucks to do much of the heavy haulage using electricity as the fuel.

    Roof top solar will go through several generations as its value becomes fully understood and in due course concentrated tracking solar PVT will become the most cost effective solution powering the entire residential and regional commercial section of the community. So you don’t pop a vein what CTSPVT is

    Sun Tracking three dimensional concentrating through lense to SpectraLab 20mm square 40 watt multijunction devices (35% efficient) mounted on copper blocks for cooling and heat extraction to household hot water storage and electricity through to battery. In this model every house has a minimum 10kw electrical capacity and a 20 kw thermal capacity. Thermal storage can be both hot water and hot oil. With hot oil storage a portion of the energy collected can be used for ammonia cycle absorptive air conditioning (to understand this in the basic sence look up Australia’s icy ball). The entire system is backup up with mains natural gas (methane from recycled celluslosic material) fuelled Liquid Piston engines that produce electricity and heat for the water heating storage.

    It is as simple as that, all it takes is AOC type conviction to kick off the production. Why isn’t it happening? People aren’t ready for that complete a solution, just as it took decades for people to take up electric power after it had become available. Every part of this solution is in production individually, but to make it commercially viable it needs to designed for internal compatability, manufactured as one product and financed in one loan.

    Of course if Tony Abbott remains in our parliament he is devoted to poison the parliament against renwables, and will will have to wait for another term, and another,…

  118. So that is residential electricity and personal transport. We have already covered shipping albeit with a solution no one is ready for yet. Algal oil and the combined aqua culture (actually my daughter’s partner and his family are running an experiment on that in their Melbourne back yard) have the potential to fuel aviation as its fuel needs reduce and the algae production ramp up. This solution will supply the heavier industrial vehicular sector as well.

    That then leaves all of the “other” stuff that is too low in volume to resolve or too difficult to contemplate, but I argue that is for another time, with the only exception being that of cleaning up the ocean’s plastic.

    That is a bit of an executive summary. To make it happen each part gets its own action and steering committee both government and industry, and they get on with it or find a better solution.

  119. Bilb: 100% diversion of sugar cane from producing sugar to producing ethanol would be good for peoples health as well as reducing greenhouse emissions. When I googled “can cars run on 100% ethanol I got lots of stuff including

    Pure ethanol would be useless as fuel in the winter months. There are no passenger cars designed to take E100 (but some racing cars are) so it could damage your car engine. Even Flexible-Fuel vehicles (FFVs) – which can run on petrol or ethanol – can only take up to E85. 100% ethanol is hard to come by.Feb 11, 2014
    Can cars run on alcohol? – Arnold Clark
    https://www.arnoldclark.com/newsroom/347-can-cars-run-on-alcohol

    85% blends would go a long way towards reducing fossil fuel consumption, particularly if it was used as the fuel for the generator in plug in hybrid vehicles.

  120. John

    You and BilB are too practical and too willing to make compromises for the short term transition period.

    Imagine advocating 85% blends! Don’t you realise that only reduces the use of fossil fuel by a factor of about 6.6?? Not good enough, John. The purists want NO fossil fuels oxidised.

    There has been a similar difficulty with folk advocating the burning of natural gas instead of coal. I think with Victorian brown coal, that can reduce CO2 emissions by a factor of about 4. A mere 75% reduction, if the “4” is correct.

    Not the ideal change, and certainly not good enough if you want NO carbon emissions. But a small step in the right direction.

    Of course the transition period should be short. You don’t want it stretching out for decades. But as BilB and Brian have pointed out, scaling up brings costs down dramatically. And then the needed transition becomes easier.

  121. Hi JohnD

    I did cover the Scania ED95 engine some time ago as fitted to trucks. The fact that the engine is available for fitting to other vehicles means that it can be the motive power for all farm machinery. That means that the farm produces its own fuel where cane is grown for ethanol which if recall way back I reported as being 12,500 litres per hectare, figures from Pioneer cane up north there somewhere.

    https://www.scania.com/group/en/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2016/01/pdf-151023EN-New-Euro-6-Bioethanol-engine-from-Scania.pdf

    This engine project was started by Saab, and Scania have put it into production.

    Now if the same is done for PHEV engines, we can really go green. 600 to 800 klm range for long runs on biofuel and 63 klms electric only range for local commutes on rooftop solar. Its a winning combination and all do able right now. I actually have access to E95 just 5 klm from my factory.

    Some one in government has to make some hard decisions and stick to it.

    As far as I am concerned the world can go substantially very low carbon in a 30 year period, and that is why I said we don’t have to worry about Aviation or Shipping immediately, we should worry about getting our “houses in order” ( little solar joke) first and our vehicles sorted.

  122. There is a bit of a tone in discussions on this topic that solutions are too good to be true. In that vein While looking at the “feeding 10 billion” thread I find this gem

    https://newatlas.com/soundenergy-thermoacoustic-cooling/58169/

    .. which is spectacularly interesting from a number of perspectives. The only thing the article does’t define is what the temperature differential needs to be (how high above ambient). This reinforces my comments on solar PVT’s.

    Then there is the feeding the multitude which is the other 30% of CO2 emissions.

  123. Some thing I just picked up….

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-17/perth-seabin-invention-sucking-cigarettes-and-plastic-from-ocean/10800792

    ….pretty awesome. This can be scaled up be wave and solar powered and with wide boom gates collect over a large area. It can even be monitored to prevent sea creatures from being trapped. Clever people created the problem. Clever people can resolve it.

    I advocate a levy on the packaging industry to fund ocean clearing robotic facilities.

  124. Bilb: World sugar production:

    Nov 2, 2018 – Global production for Marketing Year (MY) 2018/19 is forecast down 9 million tons to 186 million primarily due to the 8-million-ton drop in Brazil caused by unfavorable weather and more sugarcane being diverted towards ethanol production.

    186mt sugarcontains .074 billion tonnes carbon
    World CO2 production expected to be 37 billion tonnes in 2018. 37 billion tonnes CO2 contains about 10 billion tonnes carbon.
    Suspect you don’t need high fuel ethanol levels to use all the potential ethanol from sugar,

  125. JohnD, They don’t makeethanol from refined sugar, the make it from sugar cane which is milled differently for ethanol. 2016 world ethanol production of ethanol 26 billion gallons.

    Firstly, We are solving Australia’s problems here (first) not the world’s. Secondly we are fuelling PHEV’s which may use as little as a tenth of the fuel of a ICE vehicle.

    Figures quick list.
    19,000,000 cars
    15,000 klm per year
    285,000,000,000 klms travelled per year per driver.
    .25 PHEV driving ratio
    71.25 billion kilometres
    @5kpl fuel consumption
    14.25 billion litres
    @12500 litres per hectare
    Requires
    1,140,000 hectares
    Australia’s total farmable land
    391,000,000 hectares

    I’m not seeing the huge pressure on food production from that assessment no matter how you mush it around.

    For a determined country that is do able. Roughly.

  126. With 19,000,000 PHEV vehicles to source over the next 20 years Australia would have a booming car manufacturing business, especially considering our lithium reserves, and that is just for us.

    But Toxic Tony Abbott, to satisfy his ideological ego, killed off our car industry particularly our hybrid car manufacturing industry.

    LNP good economic managers? Total BS.

  127. How does that scenario stack up to your judgement, John?

    The figures seem large, ut they are real. I find it difficult to believe that we farm anything like 340,000,000 hectares of land! Wow.

  128. Bilb: If all the cane farms in Aus were switched to ethanol production what % ethanol in Aus petrol consumption would be needed to use it all? Suspect it is not high enough to need much change if any to most vehicle motors.

  129. I think the big export opportunity for Aus is the production of renewable e-fuels for export to countries that haven’t the area or climate to produce enough renewable fuels to meet their needs.
    What Australia has to offer is:
    Political stability unlike most arid countries.
    Vast areas with little agricultural potential that are suitable for solar or wind power and within reasonable distance of ports. This renewable electricity could be used to produce renewable, liquid hydrogen or ammonia for shipping to countries that need renewable energy. Liquid ammonia could be shipped at atmospheric pressure in Liquefied-Natural-Gas-Carriers. and, if necessary be liquefied in existing LNG plants that need to something more renewable than LNG to keep going. Liquid hydrogen can be shipped as a liquid at atmospheric pressure in ships something like LNG tankers.
    Hydrogen and ammonia have the attraction of being able to be used in high efficiency fuel cells.

  130. Bilb: How much ethanol p.a. could be produced from this 5400 km2 of very prime agricultural land? By comparison,

    Passenger vehicles consumed 18,606 megalitres of fuel, of which 82.6% (15,371 megalitres) was petrol..Apr 12, 2017

  131. 540,000 hectares at 12,500 litres per hectare

    6.75 gigalitres. Or 6,750 Megalitres

    Or a bit under half the petrol consumption figre you quote.

  132. Brian (Re: FEBRUARY 16, 2019 AT 12:34 PM)

    I suspect faster than that if we put the whole thing on a war footing.

    IMO, there’s no ‘Churchill’ leading us this time around. Which world leader(s) do you suggest has/have the vision, resolve and personal following to convince the world that emergency action must be taken?

    How did Germany turn itself around so fast in the late 1930s after being a basket case?

    The Nazis were a bunch of thugs that didn’t play by the rules – state sanctioned gangsters! They took control of media quickly and fed the populace and the world with propaganda. They isolated any opposition and then destroyed them where they could in concentration camps. They invaded countries to acquire land, resources and slave labour to pay for debts. And for a while the world allowed them to do it.

    Churchill saw through the Nazi propaganda early, warning Britain (and the world) that that Nazi Germany was an increasing threat, but was ridiculed or ignored by many, until Germany started annexing countries. Where’s our ‘Churchill’ now, Brian?

  133. John Davidson (Re: FEBRUARY 16, 2019 AT 12:39 PM)

    And if we can’t meet these challenging criteria are we all supposed to stand back and let the planet die?

    The planet is unlikely to die. Life will probably go on in some form, probably with major extinctions of most current species – 5 mass extinctions during Earth’s various epochs have happened before. But intelligent life may not survive, or if it does the population will be ruthlessly diminished, probably living near the poles.

    Seems like a set of criteria aimed at herding us back to fossil fuels to me.

    You seem to have a warped logic, John. Please explain to me how my statements (bold text my emphasis):

    Humanity must leave petroleum oil, before oil leaves us.
    Humanity must leave petroleum oil, fossil natural gas, and coal, before 2050 (preferably sooner), to mitigate dangerous climate change.

    These are the challenges we need to meet, otherwise our civilization faces an existential risk – nothing happens without energy.

    …are in any way “herding us back to fossil fuels”? I’ve asked you before – you appear unwilling or unable to answer – you are repeating statements you seem unable to back-up with logical argument. The set of criteria I’ve given outlines what I think must happen in the restricted time-frame available to displace oil in any meaningful way.

    Once again you want to put off moving away from fossil fuels until two people like Brian and I answer questions that neither of us have the expertise to answer.

    Where have I said that I “want to put off moving away from fossil fuels”, John? That’s another attempt to blatantly misrepresent me.

    At last you are acknowledging your limitations. And yet you and Brian and BilB are making unsubstantiated statements about purported available large-scale deployable “petroleum displacement” solutions that are unsupported by any evidence – pure wishful thinking.

    It looks like we will continue to disagree.

    IMO, the real arbiter will be what actually happens over the next several years (I’d estimate until about 2025). By then we should see whether any significant progress has been made to transition away from fossil fuels, and displacing petroleum oil in particular. If there’s little progress in this time-frame, then IMO humanity is probably stuffed, as a global post- ‘peak oil’ supply is likely to begin to emerge and there’s nothing substantial and available to fill the energy supply gap, and we’re probably beyond the threshold of mitigating dangerous climate change.

    Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founder of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, advisor to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and to Pope Francis, said: “…climate change is now reaching the end-game, where very soon humanity must choose between taking unprecedented action, or accept that it has been left too late and bear the consequences”.

    Broadcast on SBS Viceland HD on Feb 12, was an HBO/Vice doco called Our Rising Oceans, produced in 2015. Shane Smith, founder of Vice, says at the end of the doco:

    I’m afraid. I’m afraid that despite being faced with this massive problem, that we are not acting fast enough. In fact, in many cases, we’re not reacting at all.

    It seems as if we are, in Vice President Biden’s words, “being led by men lesser than ourselves”.

    And with stakes so high with sea level rise, nothing could be more important.

    That doco was made about 4 years ago. Has humanity made much progress since then?

  134. Bilb:6.75Gl=40 gW assuming 100% conversion efficiency
    Not sure what solar panel area this this would be equivalent to.
    Keep in mind solar panels can be installed on land with negligible agricultural value in places like WA and SA.

  135. GM: Always the why not instead of the what about. Always the implication that possibilities have to match fossil fuel before we proceed.
    During WWII countries like Australia, Germany, Japan and many others went onto a war footing because they saw the possibility of losing being too grim to face. Not all of them were led by a Churchill. Australia, for example dumped the charismatic Menzies for the uncharismatic Curtin who actually got the job done.
    Right now the war against climate change is being taken over by the people and business.
    Rooftop solar is going gang busters because it is a cheap alternative to grid power. Ditto large scale renewables.
    Oil company is now talking about going into batteries so that it is part of the energy future.
    Business is starting to talk about Australia becoming a world force in renewable energy on the basis of exporting renewable ammonia or hydrogen.
    Morrison is looking more and more like one of the pre WWII leaders who, unlike Churchill, didn’t understand that the world would have to stand up to Hitler not all that far into the future.

  136. GM you say “It looks like we will continue to disagree.” and then proceed with:

    IMO, the real arbiter will be what actually happens over the next several years (I’d estimate until about 2025)….etc

    which I would have no difficulty in agreeing with. That’s why we need governments to act with the urgency of a war footing.

    BTW I can’t understand why Merkel is not more articulate and indeed aggressive in tackling climate change if Schellnhuber has been telling her what he’s telling us. I think regrettably we have to face the fact that she’s basically reactive, solving proximal problems thrown up in the political alliances that run Germany, rather than leading with vision.

    Here on this blog I don’t think you understand statements in context, and you are trying to police what we talk about.

    If it’s an idea, you want the practicalities spelt out when you know we can’t give them. I think John D, BilB and I are well aware of our own limitations. I think John D is misreading you a bit, but he doesn’t have the same problem with other people, so you might profitably interrogate and contemplate your own contribution to that.

    You seem to like criticising other people and putting them down. There is a word for that, but I won’t go there, because I think it is more than anything confusion and a disposition to be negative.

  137. GM, a former world leader in our own times had a bit of a go at the task: Al Gore. Travelled the world; published a book; made a film. A fair effort.

    He told some audiences, “My name is Al Gore. I used to be ‘the next President of the United States ‘!”

    It was a joke.

  138. “My name is Al Gore. I used to be ‘the next President of the United States ‘!”

    Some say he would have been if he’d challenged the Florida outcome in the Supreme Court.

    The world would be a different place now, a case of sliding doors.

  139. Brian (Re: FEBRUARY 19, 2019 AT 2:26 PM)

    That’s why we need governments to act with the urgency of a war footing.

    That requires those people in government to understand the risks and the urgency. IMO, that’s not happening.

    It also requires the electorate to understand the risks and the urgency, and have the willingness to engage with politicians to urge them to do their jobs in the interests of the country and the people in it, else vote them out. IMO, that’s happening in some quarters, but I don’t think that’s sufficient. IMO, most of the electorate is ill-informed on these issues (and it’s not being helped by some media outlets).

    Did you see ABC Insiders last Sunday? At the end of the programme there was an excerpt of people being asked who was the current PM. The responses indicate how ill-informed some people are. Do these people vote?

    Here on this blog I don’t think you understand statements in context, and you are trying to police what we talk about.

    Some people on this blog make unsubstantiated statements that they subsequently can’t support with evidence/data/logic. I challenge some of those statements and I get personally attacked, misrepresented, etc., rather than the author of the challenged statement(s) dealing with the veracity of the statements being challenged. I call out BS when I see it.

    If it’s an idea, you want the practicalities spelt out when you know we can’t give them.

    John D, BilB and you, Brian (to a lesser extent) have made statements that I’ve challenged and you are unwilling or unable to back them up with evidence/data/logic. If you are suggesting a particular technology is “doable” and deployable at large-scale then there needs to be some credible evidence of it doing just that. Otherwise it’s just your partially-informed/non-expert opinion.

    And making statements that costs are “irrelevant” suggests to me you are so well off and so far removed from people that are struggling to make ends meet now – IMO there’s an apparent lack of empathy for those less well off by making such a statement.

  140. GM, I did see Insiders, but did not need to.

    Back in January 1966 Harold Holt became PM, succeeding “Ming”, Sir Robert Menzies. Holt was high profile and charismatic, at times being photographed with his nubile nieces in bathers, wth the photos splashed all over the front page of News in Adelaide, the afternoon paper belonging to a young Rupert Murdoch. You only needed to walk down the street to see them, as newspapers were sold directly on the street.

    In December 1967 Holt disappeared into the sea, presumably drowned if he wasn’t picked up by a Chinese sub. At the time I worked at Wattle Park Teachers College.

    I recall that early in 1968 the College administered a basic test, including general knowledge, to students training to become teacher. I recall that about 25% thought Bob Menzies was the PM.

    Just last week my son Mark and I were talking about why people vote the way they do. The Insiders vox pop was no surprise to either of us.

    I’ll let most of what you said go through to the keeper, but at the end you are at it again. I can’t remember exactly how I used the word “irrelevant”, but you’ve plucked it out of context and inferred that I am morally defective.

    You don’t know me, but that doesn’t stop you from making stuff up and throwing in an insult.

    Please understand I can’t be bothered being upset over this. It is just irritating and chews up time.

    I think I was saying that burning fossil fuels had to cease, and society would just have to adjust to the implications. India has long demanded and assumed the right to pollute its way out of poverty by burning coal. If it does that the whole human race is as good a cooked.

    My wife is reading Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future:

      those least responsible for climate change are suffering from its most detrimental effects – namely, droughts, flash floods, rising sea levels and changing weather patterns, which in turn lead to unpredictable harvest seasons. Robinson thus concluded that climate change, human rights, justice, equality and individual empowerment are all inextricably linked. This is the central argument that holds this concise yet insightful and optimistic tome together.

    Then:

      Robinson’s lucid, direct style works because it gives a voice to those who have taken it upon themselves to tackle Earth’s most pressing problems. The book’s central message is a mantra worth repeating: individual local action can grow into a global idea, producing positive change. Put simply: it’s up to us to take immediate action if we want to prevent our planet cooking itself to death in the coming decades.

    It will be the next book I read, but believe me I’ve always understood that the rich would seek to save themselves. It’s interesting that Robinson thinks a bottom up movement from the poor, especially women, can make a global difference.

  141. Did someone mention Al Gore? Wasn’t he some kind of international leader?? Didn’t he urge immediate action to reduce CO2 emissions???

    Brian responded.

  142. GM:

    John D, BilB and you, Brian (to a lesser extent) have made statements that I’ve challenged and you are unwilling or unable to back them up with evidence/data/logic.

    It sounds more and more like climate deniers debating strategies such as:
    Support by 99% of climate scientists is not enough to justify action.
    Climate change is a myth because some geologist fro Qld said so.
    I spent quite a lot of time trying to answer your questions further up the comments on this post. You seemed to be determined to demand detailed costings that aren’t really required to determine which areas R&D efforts should concentrate on and cost thousands of dollars to produce. I also had trouble dealing with someone who was unable, or unwilling to accept that if you have two processes that have been commercially viable in the past, a process that combines A and B will be at least technically viable.
    When I wrote my 2013 Renew Economy article not much was being said about renewable, transportable e-fuels. Now you have people talking seriously about using e-hydrogen, e-ammonia and e-methanol to export Australian renewable energy.
    In addition, Bill Shorten has now promised to spend over a billion dollars promoting the renewable hydrogen industry:

    Australia would become a major global player in clean hydrogen production and create up to 16,000 new jobs in a Labor plan aimed firmly at voters in crucial Queensland seats ahead of the election.

    Things have moved in the last 6 yrs.

  143. John Davidson (Re: FEBRUARY 20, 2019 AT 5:32 PM)

    I spent quite a lot of time trying to answer your questions further up the comments on this post.

    I think you are living in your own little world, ignoring inconvenient evidence. IMO you’ve stonewalled my questions, and engaged in ad hominem. I’ve needed to do my own research because you certainly haven’t been helpful IMO.

    I’ll repeat what I said to Brian:

    IMO, the real arbiter will be what actually happens over the next several years (I’d estimate until about 2025). By then we should see whether any significant progress has been made to transition away from fossil fuels, and displacing petroleum oil in particular. If there’s little progress in this time-frame, then IMO humanity is probably stuffed, as a global post- ‘peak oil’ supply is likely to begin to emerge and there’s nothing substantial and available to fill the energy supply gap, and we’re probably beyond the threshold of mitigating dangerous climate change.

    Meanwhile global carbon emissions continue to rise, per this The Guardian article, dated Dec 6, that begins with:

    Global carbon emissions will jump to a record high in 2018, according to a report, dashing hopes a plateau of recent years would be maintained. It means emissions are heading in the opposite direction to the deep cuts urgently needed, say scientists, to fight climate change.

    The rise is due to the growing number of cars on the roads and a renaissance of coal use and means the world remains on the track to catastrophic global warming. However, the report’s authors said the emissions trend can still be turned around by 2020, if cuts are made in transport, industry and farming emissions.

    Time is running out for any meaningful changes.

  144. Geoff M, I know John Davidson, and his world is not “little”.

    People who seek to diminish others commonly diminish themselves.

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