Should The US Switch From Oil To Alternative Energy?

Can't we use alternatives to oil?

The oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico caused me, and I’m sure lots of others too, to ask if there are really lots of alternatives to oil that have just been hushed up by the big oil companies.

There have been lots of reports over the years about cars that can run on water, compressed air, hydrogen, liquid nitrogen and many other things too, but are any of them really feasible?

Biofuels don’t seem to be a feasible answer because farmers switching from food crops to sugar and starch crops caused food shortages which in turn caused the cost of certain foods to rise.

Are we still using oil because the big oil companies donate huge sums to politicians and because they buy and hide new patents, or would it really be that difficult to switch to a different energy source?

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7 Responses to Should The US Switch From Oil To Alternative Energy?

  1. big-thoughts says:

    The HHO hydrogen generator system is probably the most hyped system right now and a great many individuals and small companies are plugging it and making money from it by saying:

    “Connect one of these fuel cells up to your car’s electrical system, fill it with water and them simply run a pipe to your car’s air intake and you’ll immediately see a significant improvement in your gas mileage”.

    Does it sound to good to be true?

    Most likely, “Yes”, and that’s because it’s too good to be true.

    The technology isn’t in any way new and consists of nothing more than a simple electrolysis device that uses electricity to split water into its constituent components which are two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen, and the gases generated by the electrolysis of water (sometimes referred to as Brown’s Gas) can be recombined by way of combustion to release energy.

    The first law of thermodynamics states however that, “The energy generated by recombining the hydrogen and oxygen through combustion can only ever be equal to the amount of energy it took to separate them”.

    Which means some pain (to your pocket book) but no gain!

    If that doesn’t really sound like putting a nail in the coffin, then consider that because there all sorts of losses involved in the generation of the electricity, which include the delivery of it to the electrolysis cell and then the combustion process, we actually recover far less energy from burning the hydrogen than it took to create it.

    The bottom line is then, that once these losses are taken into account, that these useless devices will actually cause your car to use more fuel.

    And if you’re still not convinced, then maybe consider that the introduction of hydrogen and oxygen into your engine’s intake will most likely lead to your car’s computer incorrectly adjusting the air and fuel mixture to the point where fuel consumption either worsens, or damage is done to your engine.

  2. knopfman says:

    Fully electric cars run only on batteries and they need a charger to replenish the battery’s power from an electrical outlet.

    It seems that Israel is well ahead of the pack with this, and it expects to have a network of around a half a million charging stations in place by 2011.

    The engine of a regular gasoline powered car has many moving parts and must convert the linear motion of pistons and rods into rotary motion at the wheels, whereas an electric motor has only a single rotating element.

    Similar to a gasoline-powered car however, an electric car does have a system of gears, shafts and joints that transmit motion from the motor to the car wheels.

    Very few electric cars have clutches or multi-speed transmissions, so in order for the vehicle to go backward, the flow of electricity through the motor is reversed, which in turn changes the rotation of the motor, which then causes the power train to make the wheels rotate in the opposite direction.

  3. peterson says:

    Percentage of different fuels used in the US

     

    I think that it’s worth noting that most of the major mainstream media outlets are owned, in whole or in part, by large energy conglomerates:

    NBC, CNBC, and MSNBC are owned by General Electric.

    CBS is owned by Westinghouse.

    And Fox News is owned in part by the Saudi Holding Company.

    So we should exercise extreme caution when they ‘inform’ us about energy.

    The answer then would appear to be simply replace fossil fuels with an alternative; and there are many of them ranging from pretty well known ones to some relatively new ones

    Wind power
    Hydropower
    Solar energy
    Biomass
    Geothermal energy
    Cellulosic ethanol
    Ocean energy
    Enhanced Geothermal Systems
    Nanotechnology thin-film solar panels
    Ocean thermal energy conversion
    Osmotic power
    Microbial fuel cells

    The problem is that none of them will be able to replace fossil fuels for several decades!

    Whether or not the big oil companies have prevented the development of alternate energy sources or not, I can’t possibly say, but what I can say is that in spite of the oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico, and as horrible as it is …

    there is presently no viable alternative to fossil fuels and won’t be for maybe 10-20 years, at best.

  4. MacTheKnife says:

    I just read an article over about new hydrogen fueled cars that are already on the road

    http://www.ourchangingglobe.com/hydrogen-cars-are-on-the-way-but-when-will-they-free-us-from-oil-dependency/

    There’s a video too.

    The cars get filled up at what looks like a regular gas pump and can go for around 250 miles.

    They should be readily available to everyone who can afford around $50,000 by 2015 and the hydrogen will cost less than gas – cool :-)

  5. Straight Talker says:

    Well the five most viable alternatives to fossil fuels at the moment are most likely:

    1. Solar Energy.

    Well there’s plenty of it and it won’t be going away for a long time yet, but it’s still expensive, very expensive, although in around ten years it might be making real inroads.

    wind-turbine.jpg

    2. Wind Energy.

    Well windmills have been around for a long time and are known to work, and now we have turbines using the wind’s power for electricity but one major problem is that they often have to compete for space with farms, cities and resorts.

    3. Hydroelectric Power.

    Many rivers already power powerful turbines that provide electricity, but we’ve now come to grips with the environmental problems that arise from building dams.

    4. Geothermal Power.

    Hot springs don’t have to be just a natural relaxation spot for many people, but can also be used for power! The steam and hot water can be used to turn turbines, and can also heat houses and buildings. The problem? There aren’t many places in the world that are prime spots for this type of power.

    5. Ocean Power.

    Waves can have a lot of punch and tides make water rise and fall, and wave power is already being used by some lighthouses and buoys. Israel, Canada and France are leaders in the field and a third, experimental system uses heat flow in oceans. Cost, meaning return on investment is still the problem, but is hopefully one which science will solve.

  6. I’m afraid of battery powered cars exploding acid all over the place if I get in an accident.

  7. x** says:

    Yes! US should switch from oil to alternative energy. There are a lot of alternatives.