[LMB] energy OT:
bill at prezence.com
Sun Jun 29 02:06:40 BST 2008
Starting to show its age, but well worth reading, and the e-book is free
(Warning: Not Fantasy, Contains many scifi fan references, not intended for
beginners of scifi)
Authors: by Jerry Pournelle, Larry Niven and Michael Flynn
> -----Original Message-----
> From: lois-bujold-bounces at lists.herald.co.uk
> [mailto:lois-bujold-bounces at lists.herald.co.uk] On Behalf Of
> anmar mirza
> Sent: Friday, June 27, 2008 8:48 AM
> To: Discussion of the works of Lois McMaster Bujold.
> Subject: Re: [LMB] energy OT:
> Meg Wrote:
> > > Beyond the whole fuel vs. food thing? As a gardener, I keep
> > > thinking about all the emerging plans to use the parts of plants
> > > that most people think of as 'waste' but that are vital
> to keeping
> > > the organic levels of cropland soil up, and then using what?
> > > for fertilizer when most commonly used fertilizers are made from
> > > petroleum.
> > >
> > > Or am I clear out in left field on this one?
> (warning, I am going to make assertions that I can support,
> but I do not want to make this post a a dissertation. I will
> preface by saying that I have actively studied alternative
> energy all of my life from an engineering and social policy
> standpoint. I have a large amount of practical experience in
> this field. I will try to emphasize that which is opinion vs fact).
> It's a complicated issue with no clear cut answers. The
> biggest problem is political, not biological/engineering (of
> course, this is true of most things).
> Biomass is a quick way to get portable fuels and has the
> POTENTIAL for being carbon neutral. It also has the
> potential for being a net carbon gain (more carbon).
> It has the potential for being done in a sustainable manner,
> and it has the potential for being done in an environmentally
> destructive manner.
> Currently the world wastes a lot of biomass as far as
> untapped energy source. This is in part because up until
> recently energy costs were low enough that it made recovery
> uneconomical. Heck, we even waste a large amount of fossil
> fuels (one only has to look to large flare offs of natural
> gas in oil fields).
> The political side comes in when large corporate and
> investment interests trump sound social and ecological
> policies, which is sadly the case in the US.
> Currently biomass from
> the politicians is more concerned with large farming
> interests rather than more diffuse sources. If a few large
> companies ran all of the sewage treatment plants and
> municipal landfills, we'd see energy and resource recovery a
> higher political and corporate priority.
> Personally, I believe biomass energy from food crops is about
> as wasteful a use of biomass we can have since food
> represents the most energy intensive form of biomass. But
> biomass energy itself represents a high potential for
> supplying a large percentage (25-50%) of the liquid fuels the
> US currently uses, and can be more readily done from other
> sources than food crops. I can write a *lot* more on energy
> sources and energy policy, but I think I'll leave that for
> another day.
> ObSF: Dyson Spheres are not out of the question if humanity
> survives long enough.
> Ed Wrote:
> > People don't think about it, but farming is mineral mining
> from a very
> > thin layer of the soil. We take minerals out of the ground
> with every
> > crop. We don't put back much more than nitrogen. Eventually, this
> > will have to stop.
> > If we use plants for energy fuels, the entire problem will be
> > acerbated because we'll be taking even more of the minerals
> from the
> > ground. It MUST be replaced.
> > We could probably go for a few thousand years of soil mining IF we
> > make arrangements to stir the surface soil down a few hundred feet.
> Not exactly. Some plants and a very few animals/insects
> bring minerals up from the underlying bedrock. Trees are
> excellent at this as are many deep rooted plants.
> From a geological standpoint, soils are constantly being
> eroded/reformed, even on relatively small geological
> timeframes (tens to hundreds of years).
> Minerals are cheap and easy to add to soils as surface
> treatment, and have very low energy input required to do so.
> SOME crops we grow are very bad about mineral depletion, and
> in some places we are indeed mining the minerals, but it
> won't be a crisis because minerals are not difficult to
> replace, and once the minerals become the limiting factor,
> they will be replaced.
> Anmar Mirza EMT, N9ISY, Central Region NCRC Coordinator,
> Owner Lost Creek Packs, blog.myspace.com/anmarmirza
> Lois-Bujold mailing list
> Lois-Bujold at lists.herald.co.uk
More information about the Lois-Bujold