Monday Night Conversation - Part Two

For my contribution to tonight's conversation let me pick up on a different aspect of some of the comments, and very briefly talk about some of the things that are going on that may be more positive.

Mainly, in our Blogroll, we have provided a list of those who are discussing, and providing, information on the development of Peak Oil. This is because, as Prof G says, there is still a large portion of the populace who has no idea what we are talking about. Thus even as the words start to make their way into the lexicon of political commentators, there are a lot of misunderstandings and misinformation flying around. It is one of the things that we are trying to answer with this site.

But, obviously, things are happening. Industry is not just engaged in trying to gobble up everyone else's oil or refineries. New technologies, resources and approaches are being developed, though perhaps at too slow a rate and with too little urgency. To learn about some of those new happenings there is a magazine called The Oil and Gas Journal. Though some of the articles are quite technical, it does carry a fair bit of information on what the industry is trying to do to get more energy out of the ground.

I have talked, for example, about pumping gas or water into the ground to help get the oil out. One idea, described this week, that is being looked at right now is pumping carbon dioxide into wells to help improve oil recovery. The technology does not require much in the way of new technology, but may greatly improve the amount of oil we can get from American wells.

There is also work going on to get methane (called an unconventional gas by DOE) from coal beds, and yes they are starting to look again at oil shale.

We'll blog more about these with time, there are issues in all cases, and Ken Deffeyes has talked about some of them in his new book "Beyond Oil - the View from Hubbert's Peak." But for now, the floor is open.
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Here is what I don't understand, We recycle our house hold wastes paper cardboard etc. Yet we throw away our VCR's because you can buy them new with another warranty for 60 bucks. To fix the old one is 160 bucks.

When it comes to oil people don't understand the chemical composition of it. Oil never breaks down or warrants its usefulness. We can recycle oil over and over again. The technology is there and its simple and easily obtained. Tractor trailer trucks with over 1 million miles without and oil change!!

found some interesting stats- why don't we do it???

explanation in detail Refining

A Look at Oil Refining Efficiencies
The re-refining of used motor oil is a very efficient process. 1.41 gallons of wet used motor oil will yield 1 gallon of re-refined motor oil. (This ratio is supplied by Evergreen Oil Refinery.)
Comparing this to crude oil, it takes 84 gallons of crude to yield 1 gallon of motor oil. (This ratio is supplied by the American Petroleum Industry and is based on 1995 average yields for U.S. refineries.)
But you can not simply compare those ratios and conclude that refining from crude is immensely inefficient. Crude oil refining yields large amounts of fuels. Below is a comparison of refining from used motor oil and refining from crude. _____________________________________________________________________
Re-refining one unit of used motor oil will yield:
71% lube oil
5% fuels
14% asphalt
10% water
Exact percentages can vary.
Refining one unit of crude oil will yield:
84% fuels (46% gasoline, 38% other fuels)
9% gases
4% coke
3% asphalt and road oil
3% petrochemical feedstocks
1% lube oil
The total volume of products made is greater than 100% due to "processing gain" ( This website reveals some FAQs on re-refined oil

MOEE Strikes Oil Take-Back deal
Premier Mike Harris has promised to move Ontario quickly into an era of common-sense austerity.
A single litre of waste oil has the potential to contaminate one million litres of water. The presence of as little as 50 parts per million in water can cause problems at sewage treatment plants
The Canadian Petroleum Products Institute (CPPI), which represents oil refiners and marketers, first rolled out its cross-Canada, used-oil collection program in the early '90s. The stewardship initiative promised depots - 2,000 in Ontario alone - to help collect the 250 million litres of used oil that disappears annually into the environment. Ontario signed on in 1992, passing legislation to allow retailers to qualify as used-oil transfer stations and promising to make the voluntary program mandatory for all sellers within 18 months. Today, almos

The main concern is not with the oil that we recycle, it is with the oil we burn as fuel. There are a number of ways oil can be recycled, one getting some attention right now is taking the waste oil from restaurants and using that as a fuel. As long as it is used as a lubricant, or as a product that can be recycled we don't have a problem, its when it is used in a way from which it can't be recovered that there is a problem.

HO - not to forget that one other benefit to recycling waste oil from restaurants (frying and cooking oils, not petro) is the comforting notion that obesity does have its rewards.

*lol* nice.

The crux of the issue is energy density and portability. Our society is based on portable energy - oil. Solar, wind, hydro, nuclear - none of these are portable (we will not be driving cars with nuclear reactors in time to avoid crisis). The other problem is energy density. Nothing else has the same amount of energy packed into a small package - 10 car batteries have a mere fraction of what you carry in a gallon of gas. Hydrogen takes more oil to make than is produced, unless you split it with solar energy. But nobody has enough solar to begin this. And to make enough splitters to match current oil usage would basically take us generations of time, and we are out of time.

The single biggest way to impact the issue is to reduce consumption, which the market will eventually do for us. When fuel costs too much, people will start conserving. But it will be one hell of a jerk-stop.

Do you think the burgeoning Chinese middle class wants to be told that they cannot afford the gas for their first, newly-purchased car? Do you think the newly minted Indian middle class wants to find out that their new car, purchased with their Dell/Microsoft/Compaq wages, costs $250 for a tank of gas? And that good old American, Joe SixPack? Do you really think he will stop driving? Will he be able to give up what he has known all his life? Will he even understand what is happening, or reflexively scream for help from his "gubmint"?

Based on what we are doing now (military adventurism), things do not look good for the "gubmint" boys. It will take a crisis to move people "en masse" into conservation, and that is simply the first step in many our children must face.

Energy is abundant, but not in the form our society is equipped to utilize at this time.

"May you live in interesting times..." - Confucius

OOPs! ALTERNATIVE energy is abundant....

There is a way to make hydrogen from just coal and water. It's not particularly efficient or environmentally friendly, but it can be done.