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Climate Colab

Mar 28, 2012
06:49

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Proposal
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We are testing a new mode of collaborative work in the Climate CoLab during March and April, 2012. In this pilot, on Transportation, anyone can submit a proposal, just like last year. But there is also a community proposal, where members are encouraged to work together. You can use this comments section to brainstorm about ideas for the single community proposal. We also invite you give your feedback on this new way of working by adding a comment.

Sidney Clouston

Apr 5, 2012
08:35

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Although solar photovoltaic power is clean, the energy used to make it may not be thus different levels of carbon emissions can be acknowledged. Solar is not considered to be a Baseload resoruce, however good as it is for many situations. A transition to a Smart Grid is possible where solar could spare or extend other resources such as finite fossil fuels in transportation. The use of Biomass is suggested in a mixed renewable energy grid. Consider, that renewable power from trees can be seen as solar energy storage that is available 24/7 thus a Baseload generating resource. In Africa where our program team has developed also has sufficient technical ability. There is great need for certain exported equipment and the need for local fabrication contracts. The involvement of indigenous people is ideal for the first goal of the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations. Poverty and Hunger Relief. With an income food can be bought from markets, thus poverty relief from job creation and any income from the contracts of growing feedstock is idea. When the poor have a greater income they will eat more healthy and not likely go hungry. With an income goods and services will be in demand thus the improved Global Trade is anticipated. Biofuels for energy for a Smart Grid and Transportation is paramount for our action plans. Biofuels is like the Hamburger Helper is for ground beef, by extending the finite fossil fuels. A transition to other motive force in transportation is by all means necessary, but so to is needed a transition system.

Dennis Peterson

Apr 10, 2012
11:49

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The trouble with biofuels is that if you take deforestation into account, they can be even worse than fossil fuels. Not to mention the impacts on biodiversity and food security. But you're right that biofuels have an advantage by making liquid fuel from ambient CO2. Lucky for us, there are some much more efficient ways to do that.

Sidney Clouston

Apr 11, 2012
03:57

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Dennis, I cannot agree when I support Sustainable Forestry and those well known techniques. The fact is that to date, mankind has removed 50% of the forests during the past two hundred years. Forests have been called; "the Lungs of the Earth". How well could Gaia or any creature function with half of their lungs removed? Please give examples of your efficient methods that you mentioned.

Dennis Peterson

Apr 11, 2012
04:00

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Well of course we agree on the value of forests. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding you. It seems to me you're proposing we harvest forests (sustainably) and convert the harvested portion to fuel. My proposal is to leave the forests alone. Isn't that even better? There is of course the argument that sustainable harvesting gives a forest economic value. But I doubt that sustainable harvesting would produce near as much biofuel as, say, cutting the whole forest down and replacing it with palm oil plantations. I think we can see that simply by the fact that people who want to produce biofuels are, in fact, finding it more profitable to cut down rainforests and replace them with palm oil plantations. This implies that if we don't get a better carbon source than biomass, we're going to keep losing forest. But better sources are being developed. Instead of letting trees absorb CO2 and harvesting the trees, we can absorb CO2 directly. I left links to a new method in the references section of this proposal, and several more methods are in the "fuel from air" section of my 2011 proposal Cycling Carbon. One well-publicized design is Lackner's "artificial tree," which he claims will absorb CO2 about a thousand times faster than a real tree of similar size: http://www.popsci.com/environment/article/2009-06/installing-plastic-trees-help-environment

Sidney Clouston

Apr 13, 2012
07:13

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Hello Dennis: There are many kinds of Oil Seed trees. Oil Palm is not the greater producer per hectare, by the way. Perhaps I will answer my own question when I read your link for the artificial tree CO2 sequestering method. I wonder where it is stored? Do you know of trees that can be planted once and harvested five times? What about Orchard trees planted that yield products in demand for income for the poor. I am wanting to uplift the poor and one supporter is found in Matthew 25:31 - 46. When the poor can demand a few more goods (food) and services, then more jobs can be created. Global Trade could improve if done correctly with inclusiveness of indigenous people. Demonstrations of greenhouses that have CO2 added helped plants to grow better, what a concept, fertilizing the air near planted things. Switchgrass can be made into ethanol a biofuel. Soybean is a good rotation crop for vegetable oil for biodiesel because of nitrogen fixing. You did not mention that alternative fuel feedstock. Switchgrass can be planted once and the roots are extensive and the harvest once or twice a year.

Sidney Clouston

Apr 13, 2012
08:21

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American Forest the oldest nonprofit in the USA, and can plant a tree for a dollar. What advantage is a $30,000 synthetic tree that is 1000 times better than one of these trees times 30,000 units that the money would buy? I wonder if any biodivesity value would exist? Could they regenerate after a fire, like a pine forest or help make homes?

Dennis Peterson

Apr 15, 2012
10:31

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Helping the poor is certainly important. But I think it's best to consider it a separate problem. Ie., we shouldn't insist that a single solution both help the poor and fix global climate. It's a great bonus if we find such a solution, but the risk is that we'll end up with something that doesn't really solve either problem all that well. The "artificial tree" just collects the CO2, it doesn't sequester it. The idea there is to produce fuel from it, rather than sequestering, and that's what George Olah is advocating. In my 2010 and 2011 proposals I listed some other methods that do sequester the carbon, without making it available for fuel production. Biochar is one well-known example. Anyway, my point is mainly that whatever crop you use, it's going to take an awful lot of land area. That's area that could be reserved for wild forest. If you try to harvest from forest, you can take only a fairly small portion of it without doing damage, and you're just not going to get that much fuel that way, from a given land area. We use an awful lot of fuel. I'd rather minimize land usage, maximize biodiversity, leave all that carbon in the trees, and make fuel from something nice and compact.

Sidney Clouston

Apr 16, 2012
01:46

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Biochar Dennis? Do you get that from the synthetic trees or real tree wood chips or other biomass? Your tree idea from 2009 must have taken off already. Where is the plantation or information that is current please? You might be able to sell your idea to the Regional Sustainable Energy Center of Excellence (RSECE) in Nigeria Africa. www.rsece.org Write to the International Director....oh that is me. Nevermind.

Tyler Folsom

Apr 17, 2012
07:48

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There is tremendous synergy between PRT, electric cars, and self-driving cars. Based on experience with autonomous rail, safety is likely to increase by an order of magnitude when a computer drives all cars. When accidents become rare, a motorcycle is almost as safe as an SUV. Thus the average U.S. vehicle weight can drop from 4000 lb to 200 lb. Combined with good aerodynamics, a 10 kg (22 lb) lithium battery can provide a range of 50 km (30 miles), which covers most urban trips. Refueling by battery swap can be faster than filling a gas tank. 1000 mpg is achievable.

Dennis Peterson

Apr 18, 2012
10:26

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Interesting, I hadn't thought about weight savings. One synergy: build a PRT grid in a city, use self-driving taxis to take people between the stops and their destinations (when they don't feel like walking).
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