Sciencemadness Discussion Board
Not logged in [Login ]
Go To Bottom

Printable Version  
Author: Subject: He world shortage and the imminent energy crisis...were fu**ed
daeron
Hazard to Self
**




Posts: 74
Registered: 26-3-2005
Member Is Offline

Mood: cancerogenic

[*] posted on 15-11-2006 at 13:00
He world shortage and the imminent energy crisis...were fu**ed


today .....SWIM (gasp! :D) had to go almost through a fistfight to obtain one bottle of He for his work.There is a world wide shortage of helium,which some of you may have noticed...and unlike the bullshite info thats being passed around the companies and universities the real story is that we are going to run out of 90% He by the year of 2020. The texas petro's that are the world major suppliers are going to run out by 2010-2015.

this is a harsh reminder of a imminent energy crisis( most of the He comes from the natural gas),and its kinda weird how a realtively cheap commodity like He can dissapear almost overnight.

amazing thing is that although petro's have been buying various alternative energy patents and have invested A LOT in their development,we still dont have a good solution for the coming energy smackdown. (bio)ethanol is just a temporary patch, the biogas and all that has not been developed sufficiently and most fascilities are not even 40% efficient,the new fusion technologies are far far away....gawd i think that we are really fucked. the atmosphere in one of the big petro corps is not too peachy about this,but they dont give a fuck,cos US gov is playing on their side.
who is going to deal with ordinary people?
well i guess we will be seing much more "energy" wars soon....




Humans with their brains are like a caveman with a supercomputer. Yes there is a chance that the caveman will use it to calculate the trajectories and the momentums of the celestial bodies, but the chances are that he will just crack open a coconut with it.
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Chris The Great
National Hazard
****




Posts: 463
Registered: 29-10-2004
Location: Canada
Member Is Offline

Mood: No Mood

[*] posted on 15-11-2006 at 15:49


Well, we could use nuclear power to supply all our energy wants for the next hundred (or few) years, but the eco-nuts have put such a bad name to that energy source it's not going to be accepted in most places. After all, nuclear power is intrinsically evil, despite the fact that unlike most alternatives provided, it is low cost and can easily meet the massive energy demands that we have.
View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User This user has MSN Messenger
daeron
Hazard to Self
**




Posts: 74
Registered: 26-3-2005
Member Is Offline

Mood: cancerogenic

[*] posted on 15-11-2006 at 16:10


yes but you forget only one little thing-huge amount of radioactive waste,in solid,liquid and gas form. do you know that up to this day there is no solution for this problem...they dont even know how to fully shutdown a nuclear reactor...the "best" idea so far was to bury it under tons and tons of reinforced concrete...not really a solution at all.

if we talk through feasibility criterias,which are the ones that govern the choice of alternative energy sources, nuclear technology is not that feasible.the amortization and waste processing costs are tooooo high.only solution would be to have the plants somewhere outside the planet:D




Humans with their brains are like a caveman with a supercomputer. Yes there is a chance that the caveman will use it to calculate the trajectories and the momentums of the celestial bodies, but the chances are that he will just crack open a coconut with it.
View user's profile View All Posts By User
12AX7
Post Harlot
*****




Posts: 4803
Registered: 8-3-2005
Location: oscillating
Member Is Offline

Mood: informative

[*] posted on 15-11-2006 at 17:28


Actually, they *are* burying it...under salt...millions of tons of it. The location is Yucca mountain.

What really pisses me off is that, for some reason, we (the US) don't reprocess fuel. There's like 90% unused U235 (plus Pu, etc.) left in those rods!!! It only takes a couple years of storage for the hottest isotopes to decay, at which point rad-hard equipment can chemically process it, easily seperating the relatively stable actinides from valuable byproducts such as xenon to say, gadolinium, and yttrium to silver or so (in particular, the ones which decay quickly to stable isotopes).

Also, natural uranium can be used in a CANDU type reactor, requiring only chemical purification, and the U238 bred into Pu244 or so (Pu239 is weapons stock, but absorbs more neutrons than U238 so easily goes to more stable isotopes) for even further matter efficiency.

Pertaining to He, I wonder how much is produced as a result of alpha particles from the heavy elements. Once we (humans) get fusion reactors running, of course, helium will be plentiful, if not necessarily in industrial quantity (with the power density of D + T = 4He + n, I can't imagine it'll take many moles per minute or hour to generate enough power).

Tim

[Edited on 11-16-2006 by 12AX7]




Seven Transistor Labs LLC http://seventransistorlabs.com/
Electronic Design, from Concept to Layout.
Need engineering assistance? Drop me a message!
View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User This user has MSN Messenger
Mr_Benito_Mussolini
Harmless
*




Posts: 47
Registered: 19-7-2006
Member Is Offline

Mood: No Mood

[*] posted on 15-11-2006 at 17:40


I think this up-and-coming energy crisis is bogus - there are vast reserves of coal and tar sands, not to mention new petroleum deposits.
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Chris The Great
National Hazard
****




Posts: 463
Registered: 29-10-2004
Location: Canada
Member Is Offline

Mood: No Mood

[*] posted on 15-11-2006 at 18:02


I'm thinking those new pellet reactors which can't melt down (even without cooling), not our old meltdown possible designs. The idea is simple, if it gets to hot, thermal expansion stops the nuclear reaction!
View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User This user has MSN Messenger
12AX7
Post Harlot
*****




Posts: 4803
Registered: 8-3-2005
Location: oscillating
Member Is Offline

Mood: informative

[*] posted on 15-11-2006 at 21:37


As I recall, even the most optimistic projections are saying no more petroleum in about 50 years. They said that years ago, but we know more about the crust, too. (Eh who knows, another breakthrough could shatter that too -- oceanic deposits and methane hydrate and stuff could pop up.)

Coal will last for hundreds of years though. The price of oil will go up, ecouraging transmuting coal into petroleum and biofuels.

Tim




Seven Transistor Labs LLC http://seventransistorlabs.com/
Electronic Design, from Concept to Layout.
Need engineering assistance? Drop me a message!
View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User This user has MSN Messenger
woelen
Super Administrator
*********




Posts: 7220
Registered: 20-8-2005
Location: Netherlands
Member Is Offline

Mood: interested

[*] posted on 15-11-2006 at 23:53


Quote:
Originally posted by Chris The Great
Well, we could use nuclear power to supply all our energy wants for the next hundred (or few) years, but the eco-nuts have put such a bad name to that energy source it's not going to be accepted in most places. After all, nuclear power is intrinsically evil, despite the fact that unlike most alternatives provided, it is low cost and can easily meet the massive energy demands that we have.

Unfortunately this is not true, more about that below....

Suppose all energy we use up now would come from natural gas, then the total world reserve is approximately 15 years (estimates running from 13 to 20 years) with our current worldwide rate of consumption. Of course, in reality we have some more time, because we also have oil, bio-energy and some other things.

Suppose all energy we use up now would come from oil, then the total reserve is approximately 15 years. With great difficulty, exploiting less efficient and deeper fields, we could extend this with 5 to 10 years, but the cost would be tremendous, and only the richest countries can afford this.

Because in reality, we use gas and oil at the same time and we also use coal and some other sources (wind, solar power, bio-energy), we will have a little less than 50 years left when the rate of consumption remains the same.

Now the most shocking thing. If ALL of our worldwide energy demand had to come from nuclear fission power plants, then we only would have ores for 3 years. Just 3 years! Worldwide, only a very low percentage of energy comes from nuclear power plants and that gives us the impression we can go on for 100 years or something like that, but it is much less, when a huge energy crisis would come.

Fusion power plants will not become a reality before 2060 or so. The situation first must become more tight and more pressing before real large amounts of money are put in research on this. The nasty thing is that we only look forward for a few years, and the share holders of the large energy companies, oil and gas companies want profit NOW!

I'm not sure about coal deposits. They seem plentiful, but also pose the worst waste problem. Coal has a lot of inorganic very toxic matter (arseneous stuff, heavy metals) which remains as ashes after burning or gassing them.




The art of wondering makes life worth living...
Want to wonder? Look at https://woelen.homescience.net
View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User
unionised
International Hazard
*****




Posts: 4364
Registered: 1-11-2003
Location: UK
Member Is Offline

Mood: No Mood

[*] posted on 16-11-2006 at 11:13


"Now the most shocking thing. If ALL of our worldwide energy demand had to come from nuclear fission power plants, then we only would have ores for 3 years. Just 3 years!"
That's quite a statement- can you back it up with evidence?
View user's profile View All Posts By User
12AX7
Post Harlot
*****




Posts: 4803
Registered: 8-3-2005
Location: oscillating
Member Is Offline

Mood: informative

[*] posted on 16-11-2006 at 12:10


Nah, we have centuries of uranium available, moreso if we utilize U238 and reprocess our fuel. Not to mention eons of hydrogen (in a couple centuries of burning deuterium, we'll have the capacity to burn protium as well).

Tim




Seven Transistor Labs LLC http://seventransistorlabs.com/
Electronic Design, from Concept to Layout.
Need engineering assistance? Drop me a message!
View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User This user has MSN Messenger
nitro-genes
International Hazard
*****




Posts: 1005
Registered: 5-4-2005
Member Is Offline

Mood: No Mood

[*] posted on 16-11-2006 at 17:34


Whether we should switch to nuclear energy or not is probably a whole other topic of debate. :P

Nevertheless, we should always bare in mind that the stoneage did not end because there were no stones left. Technology has made it possible to live without stone arrows, and I'm confident it will also find alternative solutions to the decline of fossile fuels. Investing in these durable energy sourches is not yet profitable in many countries, but as the prices of bio-energy become more competing with fossile fuels, these investments will become more and more atractive. In other countries like Sweden, as much as 90% of all energy is derived from flowing water and wind IIRC, so it can be done...

Recently a new system became available here in Holland. It simply exchanges warmth with the environment to warm houses. Deeply under the ground, the temperature is constant and can be between 15-20 degrees, depending on the depth. This can warm your house during the winter and cool in the summer. In Holland, 98% of all houses are suitable for these kind of systems, it is just a matter of time before prices become competing enough for everybody to use this system. Compare this with the tons and tons of methane that are used now solely for heating...

Supposedly, there is this new zincoxide based technology for lamps that are 50% more energy efficient. Could this be really true? If so, imagine how it would have the potential to reduce the worlds energy needs drastically! That is the power of science, it can literally do that, change the world almost over night! The only thing that bothers me sometimes is that I will not be there to witness all future marveles of science...:P

[Edited on 17-11-2006 by nitro-genes]
View user's profile View All Posts By User
woelen
Super Administrator
*********




Posts: 7220
Registered: 20-8-2005
Location: Netherlands
Member Is Offline

Mood: interested

[*] posted on 17-11-2006 at 00:57


Quote:
Originally posted by unionised
"Now the most shocking thing. If ALL of our worldwide energy demand had to come from nuclear fission power plants, then we only would have ores for 3 years. Just 3 years!"
That's quite a statement- can you back it up with evidence?

I'm working for a very large gas trading company and this is inside information I have from the company. I also hardly could believe it, but their information otherwise seems to be very well founded (they have a special agency, doing this type of research), so I also think they are right with this info on nuclear reserved. Unfortunately I cannot give more information on this, because most of it is confidential.
Indeed, we are talking about U235 reserves. Of course, when U238 can be utilized, then the period becomes MUCH longer, but IIRC this is not suitable for fission power plants.

When fusion becomes available, then we have a virtually unlimited power supply, but fusion is still far away and I think we will not see the widespread use of fusion power plants in our life times.

[Edited on 17-11-06 by woelen]




The art of wondering makes life worth living...
Want to wonder? Look at https://woelen.homescience.net
View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User
Quibbler
Hazard to Self
**




Posts: 65
Registered: 15-7-2005
Location: Trinidad and Tobago
Member Is Offline

Mood: Deflagrated

[*] posted on 17-11-2006 at 06:36


Getting back to the He shortage. This has been caused by the rapid growth in the number of NMR and MRI instruments. These require liquid He to maintain the superconducting magnet at 4K. Even the best dewars need refilling every 6 months. The problem has been enhanced by the shutting down (for maintainance) of some of the helium plants.

The good news is that it has started a debate on other methods of cooling such as closed cycle refrigerators.
View user's profile View All Posts By User
JohnWW
International Hazard
*****




Posts: 2849
Registered: 27-7-2004
Location: New Zealand
Member Is Offline

Mood: No Mood

[*] posted on 17-11-2006 at 14:51


He (mostly extracted from natural gas which has been in contact with U-containing rocks, as in Texas) is also the gas of choice for balloons and airships, which latter are set to make a comeback when heavier-than-air aircraft become too expensive to run commercially because of the energy which has to be expended to keep them aloft through motion of air past airfoils (either as fixed wings, or helicopter rotors), with downwards deflection and substantial expenditure of energy to overcome friction. Helicopters would probably be replaced by airships first, because of their ability to hover, and the sacrifice of speed is much less than fixed-wing craft. Airships went out of favor in the 1930s because they then used H2 (very plentiful and relatively cheap) for buoyancy, and disasters occurred due to its flammability and formation of explosive mixtures with air. However, H2 can still be used for small unmanned balloons and blimps, instead of He, provided adequate safety precautions are taken in its storage and handling.

A possibility could be an airship with many small compartments inside it for containing H2, so that if one were to be ruptured the danger presented by the loss of H2 from it would be small. Other than H2 and He, almost the only other practical gas that can be used for buoyancy, without use of heating to reduce gas density (as in hot-air balloons) is Ne (atomic weight 20, compared to about 29 for air), but its buoyancy is about 2/3 less than He and H2. Ne can be extracted from air by fractional distillation, but this is costly due to its small concentration. There is also CH4 (molecular weight 16), with less than half the buoyancy of H2 or He, but like H2 this is highly inflammable. The He concentration in air is too small for this to be possible as a source for it.

Some other cryogenic gas should be useable in place of liquid He, to keep the superconducting magnets in NMR and MRI spectrometers at 4K, or whatever the transition temperature of the ferromagnetic material is. If not liquid H2, or at least D2, or CH4, due to their flammability, then perhaps liquid Ne or Ar (Ar being 1% of air, and cheap). Besides, there are now available superconducting materials, from which superconducting magnets, or at least superconducting electromagnets if suitable ferromagnetic superconductors are unobtainable, could be made for NMR instruments, which have transition temperatures well over 4K. A few years ago, ceramic superconducting materials were made, consisting of mixed Ca, Sr, Ba, Cu, Sc, Y, La, Ce, etc. oxides having defective crystal structures, which have transition temperatures of 77K or more, the temperature of liquid N2.

[Edited on 17-11-2006 by JohnWW]
View user's profile View All Posts By User
12AX7
Post Harlot
*****




Posts: 4803
Registered: 8-3-2005
Location: oscillating
Member Is Offline

Mood: informative

[*] posted on 17-11-2006 at 20:06


The need for 4 kelvin is because, at the superconducting transition temperature (has nothing at all to do with ferromagnetism), the critical field is very low. To handle a strong (local) field (and thus handle high current density and produce a large bulk magnetic field as well), it must be cooled significantly. Some of the hotter superconductors may be coolable with H2 or what have you, but once the H2 solidifies, that's it and you need helium for any further cooling.

Tim




Seven Transistor Labs LLC http://seventransistorlabs.com/
Electronic Design, from Concept to Layout.
Need engineering assistance? Drop me a message!
View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User This user has MSN Messenger
unionised
International Hazard
*****




Posts: 4364
Registered: 1-11-2003
Location: UK
Member Is Offline

Mood: No Mood

[*] posted on 19-11-2006 at 11:14


Since breeder reactors exist and use U238 I think we can add a couple of orders of magnitude to the estimate of when the nuclear energy will run out. I also think that, if I were doing research for a gas company I might not notice that sort of thing.
View user's profile View All Posts By User

  Go To Top