Author Topic: Tyson- Conoco/Phillips Biodiesel politics  (Read 71572 times)

okiezeke

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Re: Tyson- Conoco/Phillips Biodiesel politics
« Reply #30 on: May 01, 2007, 03:05:13 PM »
Cuba,
One of the stupidest things our govt. has done lately is all this Cuba embargo BS.  We should be down there with both feet....making money!
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SCOTT

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Re: Tyson- Conoco/Phillips Biodiesel politics
« Reply #31 on: May 01, 2007, 04:48:50 PM »
not so fast.
Quote
One of the stupidest things our govt. has done lately is all this Cuba embargo BS.  We should be down there with both feet....making money!

US companies would run the same risk that they have to face in Venezula, where Chavez changes the rules of the game after huge investments have been made.  Chavez allowed US companies to invest billions in oil infrastructure and now is demanding  they surrender 60% control to the state.  If they dont they will be forced to leave and the Chinese will be invited in.  Without oil Venezula's economy is in trouble and so is the power base of Chavez. 

So what we have now is a game of chicken between Chavez who has control of the oil and the US companies who have the technology to extract and refine it.  If the US companies give in to this extortion it sets a very dangerous precedent similar to negotiating with terrorists.  I hope they stand their ground and refuse to give in. 
Only time will tell

Scott
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rmchambers

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Re: Tyson- Conoco/Phillips Biodiesel politics
« Reply #32 on: May 01, 2007, 05:31:39 PM »
Putin is doing the same thing in Russia.  In some ways you can see "why" they are doing it.  "It's our resource under the ground we should have control over it" but the multinationals that spend tons of money getting the infrastructure set up in the hopes of gorging on the profits once the oil flows are understandably upset that they are going to get their time at the trough curtailed.

Interesting times are ahead for us I am well sure of that.

Robert

rpg52

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Re: Tyson- Conoco/Phillips Biodiesel politics
« Reply #33 on: May 01, 2007, 06:40:41 PM »
Likely part of incentive for Chavez (and other nations) is the $10 billion Exxon/Mobil reported for their first quarter profits.  Personally I don't have anything against profits, but $40 billion/year for one company?  Pretty juicy target it would seem.  I would hope that at least some of that cash is reinvested in some local projects that actually benefit the people who own the resource(s).
Ray
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phaedrus

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Re: Tyson- Conoco/Phillips Biodiesel politics
« Reply #34 on: May 01, 2007, 08:55:50 PM »
Doug makes a good point, yes the Cuban economy is growing at this time. This does not refute, however, the example - it points out an error of omission I made in the interests of brevity. I'll correct the error - when the Soviets pulled out of Cuba they also pulled out their economic and material support. Logical for them, but bringing about sudden "negative growth" for Cuba. Cuba dealt with these problems, particularly with the oil shortages and economic depression, in effective ways that prevented serious social and health injury. They were able to do that and prevent civil conflict. The Cuban economy was not predicated on unlimited growth. One is inclined to doubt whether or not an economic engine, such as the US economy, which is predicated upon permanent unlimited growth, would be able to do that.

The "game of chicken" which Scott posits is, I think, an illusion. The Chinese found the oil for Castro (yep, undersea, off the Cuban coast - and quite a bit of it) and they will simply buy the US oil expertise if they can't develop it themselves fast enough for Hugo.

Newfound wealth, the cheap wealth of oil, this may undo the Cuban revolution. Poverty didn't do that, but cheap wealth may... I agree that the embargo bs was/is stupid. But it has been a godsend for Castro and also, probably, for ordinary Cubans. Without the embargo could their revolution have lasted so long?  I have real doubts. It's easy to share when everybody's poor - and their revolution depended on sharing. Their discovery of oil offshore will, I think, present them with a new and very grave problem.

Absent a serious decline in the number of humans on the planet we are heading into a train wreck. How we deal with that can broadly be divided into two strategies: One is various attempts to prolong the status quo (which is wildly accelerating growth). Current US policy provides numerous examples, Iraq for one. The other is to adapt to new conditions. Cuba's adaptations to the sudden withdrawal of Soviet support is a good example, so is the German policy of subsidized solar-power that aims to provide 20 to 30% of German electric power by, I think, 2012. (The krauts are ahead of schedule, by the way.)

Currently available solar systems covering, for example, 6% of New Mexico would provide electric power equivalent to the entire US electrical load. That's not my opinion - it's a fact, and pretty easy to calculate. I got it from a physicist. If, rather than trying to grab the oil (and spending $2,000,000,000.00 per week in what seems to be a failed effort to do that), the US was to spend that kind of money on solar... And, of course, synthetic fuels from coal are simple chemistry... The US having great coal deposits...

It remains to be seen which tactic the US will eventually follow, but adapt or die has always been the rule, so I hope we change tactics. And, many would say, this forum and the members experimenting with these beautiful engines, represent attempts to adapt, don't they? That's a hopeful sign.

Phaedrus
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rmchambers

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Re: Tyson- Conoco/Phillips Biodiesel politics
« Reply #35 on: May 02, 2007, 12:54:43 AM »
Thanks Phaedrus,
   I am heartened to know that there are people thinking about the future rather than the here and now.

The comment about New Mexico and solar power is interesting, granted solar panels aren't that sexy but for the next million or so years it's an unlimited source of power free for the taking.  If everyone stopped using unnecessary energy consuming devices, incandescents, etc etc you probably wouldn't need the 6% of NM  to do the trick.

Transportation of that much power would require some investment in infrastructure.

I wonder what it will take to get a project like that into the works and done.  It usually takes some horrific disaster to wake the masses up, I hope it's not too terrible.

Robert

haganes

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Re: Tyson- Conoco/Phillips Biodiesel politics
« Reply #36 on: May 02, 2007, 07:42:29 AM »
Currently available solar systems covering, for example, 6% of New Mexico would provide electric power equivalent to the entire US electrical load. That's not my opinion - it's a fact, and pretty easy to calculate. I got it from a physicist.

i am not sure where you got this information but it is not what i learned when i worked in the energy field.   i have tried to google a site which supports this statement but all i am getting is responses such as:

The solar energy released by the sun may seem like the best source of energy for the world. It has many benefits: it is free, it does not pollute, is very reliable when the sun is shining, and it is very safe. With all of these benefits, it may seem odd that there are extremely few solar power plants on earth. The reasons that solar power plants do not power the world are summed up in two reasons: cost and reliability. Solar plants made of solar cells are extremely expensive to build. Thousands of square feet of solar cells are required to generate enough power for even a very small town. A large city simply doesn’t have enough room for a solar plant, or enough money. The second main reason is the unreliability of the plants. If the plant has a few cloudy days, there will be no electricity for the town. This is not an option for many towns or cities. In the modern age of today, we need to have power 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, not only on sunny days, sometimes at night. (http://library.thinkquest.org/C004471/tep/en/traditional_energy/solar_power.html)

i vaguely remember this 6% new mexico figure as the theoretical potential of the sun, but it did not take into consideration clouds or nights - and dealt only with the five hours of midday sun.

another good link describing this potential was http://www.americanenergyindependence.com/solarenergy.html

captain steven
 
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rmchambers

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Re: Tyson- Conoco/Phillips Biodiesel politics
« Reply #37 on: May 02, 2007, 02:54:52 PM »
Captain,
   That last web link has got some really interesting reading.. thanks for that - didn't get any work done but hey, I'm learning about how to save the world. -that ought to count for something.

I'm liking the idea of a 50% efficient solar PV panel.  If that comes to fruition it wouldn't be too hard to generate all your power needs via solar and some storage (even in the Northeast).

Robert

phaedrus

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Re: Tyson- Conoco/Phillips Biodiesel politics
« Reply #38 on: May 02, 2007, 08:33:04 PM »
Hi Cap!

The 6 percent figure is from a series of 10 lectures in the physics of climate presented by Professor Richard Wolfson, Middlebury College. His professional opinion seems to be supported on wiki, ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power At the wiki site there are maps showing the area necessary. You can buy audio tape of the lecture series by calling The Teaching Company at 1-800-832 2412. The wiki site gives also the figures in watts for insolation - useful for rough calculations.

Allow me to quote you, in part, to address your post: "...The reasons that solar power plants do not power the world are summed up in two reasons: cost and reliability. Solar plants made of solar cells are extremely expensive to build. Thousands of square feet of solar cells are required to generate enough power for even a very small town. A large city simply doesn't’t have enough room for a solar plant, or enough money. The second main reason is the unreliability of the plants. If the plant has a few cloudy days, there will be no electricity for the town..."

Solar-thermal power plants cost roughly 1.5 times the cost of modern combined cycle GT-HRSG-ST plants. Because comparison demands it, allow me a word here about these modern combined cycle plants, which I have built. GT-HRSG-ST means gas turbine - heat recovery steam generator - steam turbine. For sound engineering and environmental reasons these are almost always operated on NG, though if they were able to run them on coal they would be more efficient, as coal oxidizes to CO2, which does not undergo a phase change in the process and has a fairly low latent heat compared to the CH4 oxidation, which, obviously, produces H2O and CO2. The dry gas flow of a coal burning plant having therefore a greater efficiency as the same chemical energy produces higher a temperature. The "delta-T" is higher in a straight carbon burning boiler or engine. (By the way, the experimental original diesel, which attempted to achieve a near carnot cycle, burned coal for that reason. It had a compression ratio of about 80:1. It failed rather dramatically when it exploded!) Anyway, the point is that NG costs, drilling, exploration, pumping, pipelines, etc, are not added to the price of a NG power plant. Contrawise, in the case of a solar-thermal plant, the "fuel" costs are part of the capital investment. One would be inclined to regard, therefore, the Solar Thermal plant as cheaper, not more expensive. It is true that these plants take up considerable space, but the areas devoted to NG extraction and associated support of a NG plant also takes up considerable space. One would be inclined to regard the overall space requirement as roughly equivalent. Current engineering in solar thermal permits operation 24-7 by means of heat storage. Take a look at:  http://www.solardev.com/SEIA-makingelec.php A further note regarding reliability - any nut with a high-power rifle can shut down a NG plant, and not just at the plant! There are many nuts, it only takes one. Even worse, NG fields by nature give very little warning of depletion and are therefore by nature unreliable. Importing NG as LNG also is an expense and dangerous liability, as well as an efficiency killer.

Solar voltaic power generation is, by nature, a distributed power system, and thus takes up space that is, generally, unused. Rooftops, above parkinglots, along highways, and so forth. Therefore the space requirement for SV systems does not generally argue against the approach. SV systems are expensive. However one knows the cost of the system up front, both the capital cost and the operating cost, unlike the case with an oil, coal, or NG plant. The Germans are paying the cost of SV by a utility tax - about 16%, as I recall. SV systems are very reliable, more so than any other method of power generation, there are no moving parts and system life is often estimated at about 40 years of operation. The German SV goal is 20 % of domestic load by 2012, I think, and they're ahead of schedule and it looks like they'll make 30% by then. The cost of manufacturing SV elements, the PV panels, is forecast to drop by a factor of 5 (ref: http://www.solaicx.com/  The technical guy there is a distant cousin of mine, by the way.) so the cost of SV may be expected to become fairly minor, absent price gouging.

Your point about unreliability due to clouds would be easier to understand if there were no electrical grid. As things stand today, at least in the industrialized countries, all cities and towns are, as everybody knows, interconnected. A cloudy day is therefore irrelevant so far as keeping the power on in an Nth spot.

As many people do not know the history of solar power systems, it is understandable that they misunderstand the reason why solar plants do not (yet?) power the world. In fact the reasons are primarily two. One is that Britain "won" WW1, the other is that they then found vast amounts of easy to get oil in what had been the Ottoman Empire. Churchill had made the decision to convert the navy to oil, against those who argued for "energy independant" coal. Therefore Britain needed the oil from the Middle East, and they developed those wells. In this context it is interesting to note that American inventors had built and were selling, in California, solar-powered water-pumping systems early in the century, before the Great War. These pumps were on the order of 2500 gallons per minute, serious engines. British engineering expertise combined with the American know-how actually resulted in a solar power plant being installed at Cairo and in operation by 1912. When the war came German saboteurs destroyed the plant. The plant had produced electrical power cheaper than its competition - a coal powered plant. If the Ottomans had not allied themselves with Germany - if they'd stayed out of the war... well, we can only speculate. But it's fair to say that the American Army might not today be in Iraq.

Addressing costs again, let's look at some approximate figures: two thousand million dollars per week spent on the Iraq adventure, which can only be about oil. That could buy something like 200 million solar panels per year for each of the 5 years the business has gone on. If one assumes that each panel works 12 hours per day and makes 100 watts, then the money spent to date would have paid for something like 100,000 megawatts of daily domestic power, speaking very roughly. That's about 100 full-sized power plants, but distributed all over, so that no cadre of "evildoers" could do any material damage at all. As things stand, however, even a small group could "wrench" just about any plant - if they knew what to shoot at. Thank goodness they haven't!

It is true that solar plants are not very efficient. It is also true that efficiency is only really significant when you have to pay for or carry the fuel or have to stuff a great deal of powerplant into a small space. With regard to solar power these considerations generally are minimal. Efficiency is therefore in this context a distraction.

My own tiny plant mimics the real world situation, the political-geography-induced reality. Oil's still cheap so we have the lister type engine, and chose it because of its potential for using waste and vegitable oils. We add solar pannels each year as a "tax" on ourselves. I assure you that the listeroid is loads more trouble than the solar system is. I fully expect the "'loid" to become more and more a silent icon resting in a tomb-like power-house. As that state developes we will add reliability with additional batteries.

Best,  Phaedrus
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haganes

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Re: Tyson- Conoco/Phillips Biodiesel politics
« Reply #39 on: May 03, 2007, 06:41:10 AM »
thank you Phaedrus for the additional information.

with your additional information, i was able to read about SoCal Edison and San Diego Electric & Gas' new solar projects which will be coming on line within one or two years.  this does indeed tend to support the 6% of New Mexico coverage (my calculation is closer to 8% but more than close enough for this discussion).  and this type of liquid salt storage allows electric production over a 24 hour day - and not just when the sun is overhead.  of course electric production has not been proven on this scale.....but i too would be optimistic about the potential - even if the real output is off by 50% or more.

i am less than thrilled at energy solutions - such as photovoltaic solar panels as it only reduces the consumption of fuels in conventional plants while the sun is up..........and there still is the need (and the cost outlay) to build conventional plants. 

but whatever energy solutions we develop, we need to continue to go down several paths.  we never will fully understand the potential dangers in any solution (such are carbon or sodium based cooling when expanded to large scale production).  and i hope we are smart enough to make educated decisions void of political dogma.

regards,
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phaedrus

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Re: Tyson- Conoco/Phillips Biodiesel politics
« Reply #40 on: May 03, 2007, 03:01:26 PM »
I think that you've touched the heart of the real problem with power production solutions - the political aspect. The engineering is merely expensive, the political process, rife with the distortions and rhetoric of "interests" is often what kills good sound projects, either by introducing the unexpected (like the British getting hold of the oil), or by regulations which make political but not social, economic, or engineering sense.

You may recall the fiasco of El Paso Natural Gas and the 6 LNG tankers that had to be scrapped... Many people don't know about it, but one of those ships grounded near Algeciras when they lost power because of a problem with boiler feedwater and level that (some people have said) the engine dept knew about and had concealed. They punched a hole through the hull and came very close to punching a cargo tank. Cyro hoses were flown by charter and they lightered off, then towed to dry-dock. The weather cooperated. My point here is that if the worst case had occurred (and it might well have) what would be the effect on the political process? TMI is another example, as is Chernobyl, the Valdez spill, etc...

And, for example, I've been building, expanding, a cannery. They use vast amounts of electricity and NG for steam, even though their operating season coincides with (a very hot cloudless) summer and they could generate almost all of their own power and steam with solar thermal - lots of room out there! They don't even correct for power factor! (In fact they don't even understand the need and advantage.) Their solution to high (and rising) costs is to spend less on people, to employ so-called "undocumented immigrants" and run off union contractors or play 'em against scabs. We wouldn't be there at all if we didn't have a corner on the necessary skills, and there are daily arguments about money between the union contractor and so-called management...none of which would be the case if they had made, or been able to make, sound decisions about power supplies and power usage.

I'd add, regarding unexpected consequences that whatever our feelings may be about the present business in Iraq, the cold-blooded reality may be that the long-term overall effect of the adventure is to hand control to the "locals", which, if history is a guide, means that there'll be a fight between "Iran" and Israel over who's going to dominate the region. Persia has often dominated the entire region in history... Thus, it seems to me, a "failure" in "Iraq" (these "countries" are all artificial constructs, results of the Ottoman defeat and British "victory" in WW1) may well force the US to change and adapt, and to make better choices about power, choices more closely related to sound and responsible engineering. The unintended result of the oil grab may be to make the US accept the pain and cost of change.

(So, how did we arrive here when we started talking about rendered animal fat going to biofuel? I forget!)

Best! Be safe out there on your very nifty M/V, Cap!

Phaedrus
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Doug

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Re: Tyson- Conoco/Phillips Biodiesel politics
« Reply #41 on: May 04, 2007, 01:44:22 AM »
I have nothing of value to add but on the streets in Havana you can buy all maner or real good fried pork products like we eat mystery meat sausage and burgers.....

Long live the revolution!

Its a hell of a country with potential you Americans wouldn't believe and I have considered more than once aplying to Sherrit and working there based purely on how nice the Cuban people are.
And for some strange reason, the seem to speak good enough french to get the ideas across

Doug
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okiezeke

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Re: Tyson- Conoco/Phillips Biodiesel politics
« Reply #42 on: May 04, 2007, 03:15:13 AM »
Right on,
Everyone I've met who has been to Cuba agrees that the people are the nicest anywhere.  The government less so. (but surely no worse than Uncle Sugar)
Zeke
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Doug

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Re: Tyson- Conoco/Phillips Biodiesel politics
« Reply #43 on: May 05, 2007, 02:10:31 AM »
Actualy spoke with a Cop while trying to find my way back to the resort. That man was layed back! And for thw cost of a ball point pen he stopped a bus and got me a ride lol.

Doug
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phaedrus

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Re: Tyson- Conoco/Phillips Biodiesel politics
« Reply #44 on: May 05, 2007, 09:58:21 PM »
Fidel, el comandante supremo, has been writing about the politics of bio-fuels. He has some thoughtful things to add to the topic.

http://www.granma.cu/INGLES/2007/mayo/mar1/reflexiones-i.html

The classic experts at conflict, Sun Tsu and many since, advise the indirect method. Direct methods, such as we see applied in Iraq, carry with them indirect effects, which often outweigh the effect of the direct effort. The direct oil grab has the effect of upsetting the natives, for example. Similarly, the direct production of fuel from food has the indirect effect of creating hunger and poverty. El Supremo is, I think, acting to leverage this heavy indirect effect toward his goals with respect to his country and his revolution. Smart guy. ('Course dear leader makes it so easy...)

Phaedrus
if ya don't ask permission they can't deny it...