[LMB] Butter Bugs! Well, almost....

Ed Burkhead ed at edburkhead.com
Thu Jun 26 22:15:08 BST 2008

Nick wrote:
> Oil is really only
> remarkable because we get what looks like a net gain of energy from
> oil-burning, which is because we're dipping into pre-existing limited
> reserves. IE, we're pulling energy from a (limited) outside source in
> the form of oil. Our hypothetical machine here isn't. What it's doing
> is taking energy (and CO2) we already have and storing it as oil

Oil is a convenient energy TRANSFER substance.  Currently, we use it to
transfer energy from some millenniums long source, sunlight or other, to the
place we need energy now and release that energy by burning.

The "hydrogen economy" is also misunderstood by many.  Hydrogen is not an
energy source here on Earth.  We have to MAKE the free hydrogen by applying
energy from solar, nuclear or fossil fuel sources.

Sunlight is an energy source.  When impinging on plants it lets the plants
make more complex molecules that store energy for later use such as food or
burning in engines.

For practical purposes, I'd only count these things as energy sources:
1.  Sunlight
2.  Nuclear power
3.  Geothermal

Until we use it up or it really does become an intolerable pollutant, fossil
petroleum (transferring ancient sunlight) is close to an energy source.

And, oil/gasoline/kerosene/ethanol make effective energy transfer mediums.
And, using true energy sources to make oils or alcohols is useful for
portable energy needs until equivalently effective batteries are invented.


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