Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Supply and Demand...and "stuff"

Richard Bennett has a response to my post below on peak oil. Biomass is an intriguing technology to be sure, and the promise of cleaning up those hog farms' slurry is also quite attractive. But...

  • No system is ever lossless. I haven't yet seen how this is also a solution to global warming. That CO2 has to go somewhere, and the "C" of course means less renewable resources. But I guess the next answer is to try to suck CO2 out of the air. How many watts will that cost per cubic foot?

  • Richard links to a link for a technology from Changing World Technologies, which is near where I used to live (and also near the Clear Mountain Zendo, appropriately named because it's located on the fabled Hempstead Plain, and to see the Zendo, you'd have to go to a part of town that brings the phrase "light industrial zoning" to mind.) Changing World claims an 80% efficiency Joule-wise, but that's only 1/2 the story. The other 1/2 is that it takes 200 tons of stuff to make 500 barrels of oil, (assuming 80 tons of oil assuming I've done the math right -see this link) from poultry waste.

  • There are approximately 20 (19.4 according to this source) gallons of gasoline per barrel of oil.

  • Assuming the 200 tons of stuff per day is what the poultry plant produces as waste, this is bascially a few moderately busy gas stations' amount of gasoline.

  • US oil demand per day is 20 million barrels a day.

We do have a heck of a lot of garbage, but do we have enough to meet the demands of US drivers?

And how much of a cut will the Cavalcante family want?

Seriously, I suspect the efficency of the process in terms of garbage per barrel - or lack thereof- might surprise us in a hundred years or so as to how really finite our reources are. But, admittedly, I haven't done all the math.

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