DrumBeat: November 9, 2008

Russia producers cut Nov oil exports, cite high duty

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian oil firms are shipping only three quarters of their planned November exports as a government order to cut oil export duties failed to make exports profitable again, Russia's pipeline monopoly said on Sunday.

Traders predicted in late October that Russian oil companies would cut their November exports after the government decided against lowering oil export duties.

On Nov. 1, the government cut oil export duties, responding to the concerns of top producers. But the cut was far less than oil companies had wanted.

GOP fundraiser named in oil bribery lawsuit

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- A prominent fundraiser for Republican presidential candidate John McCain has been sued by an oil industry competitor over claims that his company paid bribes in Jordan to maintain a monopoly on shipping fuel to U.S. military forces in Iraq.

Iceland's Path to a Green Future

Calls for greater energy independence date back to President Richard Nixon. Yet since then, the amount of foreign oil imported by the US has more than doubled.

But since the 1970s, Iceland, just 3,000 miles off the US East Coast, has gone from relying on imported coal for 75 percent of its energy to, as of 2007, getting more than 82 percent of its energy from geothermal and hydropower. Oil accounts for only 16 percent of its energy needs and is used only to power cars and its fishing fleet.

8 Ways to Go Green and Save Hundreds

Everywhere you turn these days, you hear about eco-friendly ways to live. One thing you don't usually hear is how the "three Rs" not only save the planet but help save you money. Check out how much money you can save by implementing these eight actions.

Will Plummeting Gas Prices Hurt the Push for Alternative Fuels?

"When oil prices dropped, it killed that push to ethanol – and you could have that happen again," says Chad Hart, an agricultural economist at Iowa State University. But there is a safety net this time, he and others agree: the US Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Today the US produces 9 billion gallons of ethanol from corn but under RFS is mandated to make 36 billion gallons by 2022.

Report: Eliminate Michigan Gas Tax

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Gov. Jennifer Granholm and lawmakers should consider eliminating Michigan's 19-cents-a-gallon gasoline tax and replacing it with a tax on the wholesale price of gas, according to a report being released Monday.

Swapping the taxes would let revenues rise or fall with changing fuel prices rather than tying gas revenues to consumption, which is falling as motorists drive more fuel-efficient cars or cut back on buying gas to cope with prices that at one point topped $4 per gallon.

The change could boost transportation funding in the long run and might ensure that a bigger share of taxes paid at the pump actually go toward Michigan's deteriorating roads, advocates say.

What Would an Energy ‘Moon Shot’ Look Like?

One approach, hinted at by Senator Barack Obama off and on, is an Apollo-scale investment in advanced energy technology. The chances of a quick push of this sort are poor given the state of the economy, but what would a “Moon shot” for energy look like?

Carbon Dioxide Levels Already In Danger Zone, Revised Theory Shows

ScienceDaily — If climate disasters are to be averted, atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) must be reduced below the levels that already exist today, according to a study published in Open Atmospheric Science Journal by a group of 10 scientists from the United States, the United Kingdom and France.

The authors, who include two Yale scientists, assert that to maintain a planet similar to that on which civilization developed, an optimum CO2 level would be less than 350 ppm — a dramatic change from most previous studies, which suggested a danger level for CO2 is likely to be 450 ppm or higher. Atmospheric CO2 is currently 385 parts per million (ppm) and is increasing by about 2 ppm each year from the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas) and from the burning of forests.

...According to the study, coal is the largest source of atmospheric CO2 and the one that would be most practical to eliminate. Oil resources already may be about half depleted, depending upon the magnitude of undiscovered reserves, and it is still not practical to capture CO2 emerging from vehicle tailpipes, the way it can be with coal-burning facilities, note the scientists. Coal, on the other hand, has larger reserves, and the authors conclude that "the only realistic way to sharply curtail CO2 emissions is phase out coal use except where CO2 is captured and sequestered."

As Russia Tests the Waters, Oil and Gas Showdown Looms

I have no idea how President Obama will respond to a newly-hostile Russia. My guess is that he will prove much less the "dove" than some expect... that the pragmatic Chicago operator in him could find the means to take a very hard line.

Time to spend big on infrastructure

How well Australia weathers the storm and how shipshape it is when the storm abates will depend on how well the Australian Government manages monetary and fiscal policy and marries these policies to structural policies aimed at dealing with the even larger challenge of climate change and the related issue of peak oil.

Pakistan: Saudi Arabia has assured six months’ supply of oil

RAHIM YAR KHAN: After assurances of economic assistance from certain friendly countries and supply of oil for six months from Saudi Arabia, Prime Minister, Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani hopes that there would be no need to contact IMF and Pakistan’s economy would be recovered soon.

The Philippines: DoE open for nuclear power use, says Reyes

MANILA — The Department of Energy (DoE) confirmed on Friday that it is now in the process of revisiting the country's nuclear option to address the impending power shortage.

"We are, of course, are now open to this nuclear option and we like to revisit that option, since its is becoming increasingly clear that this is going this direction," said Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes.

German President Koehler: Curb Africa's illegal raw material trade

Abuja - German President Horst Koehler on Sunday called on developed nations and African countries to fight the illegal trade in raw materials. Illegal trade in oil, timber or diamonds had to be classed as criminal and prosecuted, Koehler said at the close of the fourth Africa Forum in the Nigerian capital Abuja.

Pelosi and Reid Urge Aid for U.S. Automakers

WASHINGTON — Democratic leaders in Congress urged the Bush administration on Saturday to consider using the $700 billion bailout for the financial system to aid distressed American automakers, in a prelude to what may become urgent negotiations over additional economic stimulus measures.

Revolutionary auto already on the road

"It's the world's first Stirling hybrid electric car," its inventor said with a flourish.

Installed in the car's trunk compartment is a Stirling engine invented at DEKA, Kamen's technology company in the Manchester Millyard. It powers the features that would normally drain huge power from the battery, notably the defroster and heater.

It was greenhouse gas, now it's diesel

IT'S a potential win-win situation: use a greenhouse gas to create an environmentally friendly biofuel and make money at the same time.

Atira promotes solar thermal power, desalination in Cyprus

Atira, a Limassol-based energy company, hosted a public presentation on the benefits of solar thermal power.The event was attended by representatives of the Institute of Energy, the Energy Regulator, the Cyprus Institute, the Electricity Authority of Cyprus, the Water Development Department, as well as MPs and business people.

Holiday light exchange program under way

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- With the energy crisis heading into the holiday season, one store offered an incentive today for customers wanting to go green.

The Home Depot in Midtown kicked off its first holiday light exchange program. Customers turned in their old holiday light strings -- working or not -- in exchange for a discount on eco-friendly LED lights.

UK - Traffic levels fall for first time in decades: Motor firms head for crash

Traffic on Britain's roads is decreasing significantly for the first time since the three-day week of the early 1970s, suggesting the car economy is heading for a crash, official figures revealed yesterday.

In a sign that the country is already in recession, fewer car and lorry journeys on motorways, rural and urban roads were made over the last six months compared to the same period a year ago.

The Department for Transport (DfT) recorded two consecutive quarters where road traffic has decreased year on year – the first time for more than 30 years. If the trend continues to the end of the year, it will hugely undermine the "great car economy" championed by Margaret Thatcher.

At the same time, sales of new cars have fallen by 23 per cent and are at their lowest since 1996. The motor industry is suffering across the world, with Volvo, the Swedish giant, selling just 115 heavy trucks over the past few months, compared to 41,970 during the same period last year – a 99.7 per cent fall.

The day the oil runs dry

Oil, as we know, cannot last forever. Both Abu Dhabi and Dubai have begun to demonstrate that it's time to begin laying the groundwork within which their societies can operate without the financial benefits and guarantees that oil brings to the respective populations.

Saudi Aramco Sticks to 2009 Oil-Production Target

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Aramco, the world's biggest state-owned oil company, still plans to expand production capacity to 12.5 million barrels a day next year as demand slows, according to Chief Executive Officer Khalid A. Al-Falih.

Oil prices low? Chevron CEO says no

SAN RAMON, CALIF. — Dave O’Reilly, the 61-year-old chairman and chief executive of Chevron, the fourth-largest publicly traded oil company in the world, heard all the rhetoric on energy throughout the contentious 2008 presidential campaign along with everyone else.

Now that the votes are counted and Democrat Barack Obama has been elected, the hard work begins — addressing a beaten-down economy and its lifeblood, energy.

Alberta official says oil sands worth commitment

In recent years, oil companies have poured millions into developing Canada's emerging oil sands, home to vast quantities of tar-like bitumen that can be upgraded into synthetic crude oil. But lately, the gold rush has shown signs of slowing.

Falling oil prices and tightening access to capital forced some to delay or cancel projects. Adding to worries are high labor costs, a controversail new government royalty program and widening environmental concerns.

But Iris Evans, Alberta's minister of finance and enterprise, says despite current challenges, the region remains ripe for development.

Russia Will Defy Chavez's Call to Cut Oil Output, Kudrin Says

(Bloomberg) -- Russia, the world's second-biggest oil producer, will defy calls from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to join the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in cutting output and pursue an ``independent'' strategy, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said.

``The government isn't planning any restrictions of oil production in the near future,'' Kudrin, who also serves as deputy prime minister, said in an interview in Sao Paulo today. ``We don't want to impose administrative barriers for restricting production. Oil businesses should estimate their own risks.''

Chavez Says Oil Price Decline Temporary, to Recover on Demand

(Bloomberg) -- The fall in oil prices is temporary and will rebound because of high demand, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said.

Chavez cited a report from the International Energy Agency released this week saying oil-import prices will average $100 a barrel between 2008 and 2015 and that the threat of a ``supply crunch'' remains.

Automakers struggle to survive past mistakes

DETROIT - At Ford Motor Co. they called it "Blue," a team set up around the year 2000 to design an array of small, fuel-efficient cars to compete with the Japanese.

It didn't get far because no one could figure out how to make money on low-priced compacts with Ford's high labor costs. Besides, the automaker was racking up billions in profits by selling pickups and sport utility vehicles. Times were good and gas was cheap.

"Blue" is only a small blip in automotive history, but it tells a big part of the story about why Detroit automakers are in a mess so critical they could be only months away from bankruptcy.

Prices for oil, grains fall — but not for food

While crude oil and grain prices have fallen considerably in recent weeks, food prices have not.

That’s because some of the decreases in crude oil and grain prices — the rise of which contributed to the jump in food prices that began early this year — have not yet filtered through the food-supply system, industry analysts say.

Iranian Economists Slam Ahmadinejad's `Tension-Creating' Policy

(Bloomberg) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's foreign and domestic policies are exacerbating the country's economic troubles in a time of ``crisis,'' according to an open letter from 60 economists cited on state-run television.

The economists, including professors from universities and institutions around the country, criticized Ahmadinejad's ``tension-creating foreign policy,'' which has ``deprived the country of trade and foreign investment opportunities,'' satellite channel Press TV said on its Web site, citing extracts from the letter posted late yesterday.

Venezuela, Russia commence offshore gas drilling

CARACAS, Venezuela (Agencies): President Hugo Chavez inaugurated his country’s first Venezuelan-Russian offshore natural gas project on Friday, hailing his country’s increasingly close energy cooperation with Russia as a counterweight to US imperialism.

Report says drilling on federal lands lagging

WASHINGTON — The government isn’t doing enough to expedite drilling in federal waters and on public lands, according to a report issued last week by congressional investigators.

In a review of the 55,000 federal oil and gas leases issued to energy companies by the Interior Department from 1987 to 1996, the General Accountability Office found that the vast majority expired without being drilled, and an even smaller amount actually produced oil and natural gas.

“We do not agree that Interior is pursuing expedited development of oil and gas leases,” the report reads.

Alberta oilsands giant Syncrude still hasn't agreed to pay more royalties

EDMONTON - Just weeks before a $1.4-billion oil royalty hike takes effect, Alberta's largest oilsands player still hasn't agreed to new rates, but Energy Minister Mel Knight insists there's no legal showdown coming.

Kuwait doubles crude oil exports to China

(KUNA) -- Kuwait's crude oil exports to China soared 111.2 percent in September from a year earlier to 800,300 tons, equivalent to around 196,000 barrels per day (bpd), the latest government data showed.

Kuwait provided 5.3 percent of China's total crude oil imports, compared with 5.1 percent in August, according to the figures released from the Chinese General Administration of Customs.

China Announces $586 Billion Stimulus Plan

China has announced a $586 billion spending package to boost domestic demand while vowing to carry out "moderately easy monetary policies."

Obama likely to tackle energy early on

The Obama White House is widely expected to take up energy early on, after focusing on stabilizing the economy.

Obama and Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill will have to decide — likely by March — what new areas offshore they might be willing to open up for oil and gas drilling, congressional staffers and lobbyists say.

Also watch for an early push during the new administration to resurrect an energy package that stalled out in the current Congress. That plan would require electric utilities to generate a portion of their power using renewable energy sources, force oil companies to renegotiate offshore royalties and push new energy efficiency standards for buildings and appliances.

Obama likely to boost alternative energy

Barack Obama's election has members of the alternative energy world sounding positively giddy, an enthusiasm not shared by their competitors in the oil industry.

The in-tray: Obama

Obama needs to use this "warming window" to re-engineer America's, and the world's, economy to evolve away from fossil fuels, which, anyway, have only a decade or so left in them before peak oil starts to kick in. Never has there been a better moment to introduce a new electric "peoples' car" for example, now that Americans have finally turned their back on gas-guzzling trucks.

Utilities bracing for stiffer rules on carbon emissions

With President-elect Barack Obama taking over the White House and Democrats solidifying their control over Congress, utilities are bracing for a cap-and-trade program that rewards those firms that generate electricity without spewing so much carbon dioxide.

Bush's seven deadly environmental sins

Bush's myriad environmental sins could have him serving penance for years. But we decided to highlight seven of his most deadly. We also invited leading environmentalists to outline Barack Obama's mission for cleaning up the nation's land, water and air.

Countdown to perilous global warming

It may be that governments still entangled in the habitual rhetoric of free markets, are embarrassed by their new, unaccustomed role. It could be that, having outsourced the exercising of power to the market place, they feel unpractised and not sure what to do. But the climate clock is still ticking. Even, apparently, speeding up. And, they now have an enormous opportunity to do what democratically elected governments are meant to do – take responsibility and protect their people from disaster.

Obama Positions Himself to Quickly Reverse Bush Actions on Environmental, Social Issues

Transition advisers to President-elect Barack Obama have compiled a list of about 200 Bush administration actions and executive orders that could be swiftly undone to reverse the president on climate change, stem cell research, reproductive rights and other issues, according to congressional Democrats, campaign aides and experts working with the transition team.

The president-elect has said, for example, that he intends to quickly reverse the Bush administration's decision last December to deny California the authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles. "Effectively tackling global warming demands bold and innovative solutions, and given the failure of this administration to act, California should be allowed to pioneer," Obama said last January.

I hope President Obama can also reverse the denialist stance in the Climate Change Science program as well. Because of the Bush Administration, more than 5 years have been wasted. Even as the evidence has become more certain and the need for basic structural changes more urgent, the CCSP has slowly issued a series of reports which present a picture that implies there's no big problems to worry about. Without truthful information from the government sponsored scientific community, there's little way that he can make the basic policy shifts required.

I contributed to two rounds of this process. The latest one, assessing the probability of abrupt change, still contains basic errors, IMHO, although they did add in a graph from a report which shows how wrong they are. Look at Box 4.1. Figure 1, page 338 in the latest draft of Chapter 4 of SAP 3.4 (PDF warning), which compares modeled with actual Arctic sea-ice decline. With regards to sea-ice, the models are woefully wrong, yet the risk assessment is based on the projections from these models. If the model builders can't get it right, how can the results from the models be considered representative of the Earth's future climate?

E. Swanson

I'm keen to find out how the models play out with a lot of open water in the Arctic. The water reflects less, but there should be more moisture in the air, hence more snow in the surrounding land. I posted a question on this to a realclimate thread but didn't get past the moderator.

I've offered similar comments before. It's well known that open water in the Arctic Ocean during winter is the source of much of the moisture and heating for the atmosphere above. For the time being, the areas of open water are covered rather rapidly, once the winter cold returns, but, as warming can be expected to continue, I would expect to see the area of open water to grow larger and to last longer into the winter months. I don't think we will experience the Arctic ice free for the entire winter, as that would require a very large thermal storage in the Arctic Ocean in the form of much higher water temperatures. The Great Lakes still freeze and they are much farther south.

E. Swanson

I read that yesterday, it's like a dream come true!

A related improvement to the Cal emissions and fuel economy rules would be to immediately resolve regulatory differences between Japanese, EU, and US safety and emissions regulations. In a tighter car market, fewer models can be supported, and there is vast inefficiency in having incompatible models in different markets. Of course it makes no sense for GM to sell 3 cars in 3 divisions that are essentially identical either, but that's going away too I suspect.

High-efficiency diesel, even if it doesn't quite meet the US pollution goals YET, should be allowed. The improvement in mileage for small trucks and cars would be significant, and with a multi-year emission-improvement plan would provide impetus for engine innovation.

Safety regulations should match as well. While the US may be leading in this regard, it should be possible to reset expectations to have affordable but adequate safety for all vehicles in all markets. It's silly to have some locales approving golf carts on low-speed streets and bicycles and motorcyles on most roads yet a Japanese hybrid minivan isn't acceptable.

Relaxing barriers to dual-fuel/multi-fuel vehicles should be considered as well. CNG diesel makes pretty good sense, but to my knowledge there is no such vehicle on the market today, because only CNG-only vehicles get the tax breaks.

One of the easiest "fixes" is to redo CAFE standards/law and remove the "two fleet" rule.

"Nor would it have to repeal the CAFE rules that are now a sacred cow. It would simply have to allow auto makers to meet the fuel economy standards with any mix of autos made in domestic or overseas factories.

Under the nonsensical "two fleet" rule that now applies, manufacturers meet the standards separately with their "domestically" and "nondomestically" produced fleets. What does this have to do with making sure U.S. consumers get good mileage? Nothing. It's a naked handout to the UAW at the expense of the companies and their customers."

The entire article can be found here. It is a free read.


Link - Not Found.

Found the article in another blog.

I see no mention of the second
half of the equation - the buyer.

Just remove the "out" at the end of the link. It then works.

Link - Not Found.

Found the article in another blog.

I see no mention of the second
half of the equation - the buyer.

Thanks Ammond.

The highlighted hyperlink is truncated in my browser - I didn't even look at the URL. I just right clicked to a new window.

Yup,incentives for the buyer are no where to be found :(

High-efficiency diesel ...

I could only support new diesel applications if we can save a comparable volume of diesel fuel from other apllications. The reason is that the relative amount of diesel versus gasoline (and other distillates) is largely invariant (i.e. we can't change it much), and diesel is already in relative scarity. So while diesel engines are thermodynamically more efficientl than say gasoline engines, overall the relative consumption of the two fuel types cannot vary by much. Even without created new diesel demand in the car market, demand reduction for diesel is more important for the overall system balaance than demand reduction for gasoline.

Now, if we can aggressively reduce diesel demand, by such actions as improving trucking aerodynamics, electrifying trains, producing hybrid construction equipment, and buses etc, then perhaps we can free up enough diesel to pursue your solution.

PE Obama needs to also reverse some of his own campaign promises: e.g, to take troops out of Iraq and send them to Afghanistan. Half great, half terrible.

And his recent rhetoric on Iran completely disregards the NIE report -- Iran dropped its work on nuclear weapons several years ago. And the NPT grants them the right to pursue nuclear power.

If Obama remains within the embrace of the Pentagon and intelligence agencies and their associated corporate partners, it guarantees disaster going forward.

of course his rhetoric is against reality. he like most us politicians are beholden to pro isrial groups due to the large amounts of cash(ironically that cash comes from the 4 billion annually we give to the state of isrial) and influence they have in the lobbying realm. this is the main reason why we for a long while have been going after states said country views as evil.

The problem of course is risk management. As President he has to listen to national intelligence departments. He can't afford to say if things go to hell in a hand basket ... "Oh yes, I got that idea off TOD".

The pace of events in Afghanistan has already outstripped campaign rhetoric. Everyone in Afghanistan wants to negotiate. Everyone is sick of the war. And Afghanistan seems to function best when no one tries to establish central power over its multifarous peoples, and the current stalement is now recognized as unbreakable.

As awful as the Taliban is, it has been successfully infiltrating the government for years via its Senate, which is a cabal of bought-off warlords whose loyalties are drifting away from Karzai. If the Taliban was to become too strong the warlords probably would rebel against it too. No one accepts the right of Kabul to rule, and the only thing keeping the war going in its current form is the West's insistence that there be a Western-style government in Kabul ruling over a fictional nation-state.

So now the British and the Europeans are beginning to give in to the ugly reality, and the US can't hold the country by itself. I guess the war ends when we find a way to pretend that we've won, just like in Iraq.

I think negotiating with the Taliban means we have to give up on the fantasy of making Osama Bin-Laden pay. As sensible as it might be, I don't the the country is ready either emotionally or politically for such a move.

PE Obama needs to also reverse some of his own campaign promises: e.g, to take troops out of Iraq and send them to Afghanistan. Half great, half terrible.

And his recent rhetoric on Iran completely disregards the NIE report -- Iran dropped its work on nuclear weapons several years ago. And the NPT grants them the right to pursue nuclear power.

If Obama remains within the embrace of the Pentagon and intelligence agencies and their associated corporate partners, it guarantees disaster going forward.

I am in full agreement with you. I hope you take advantage to Change.gov to let him know your thoughts. If we change our foreign policy sufficiently along the direction you would like, I would need to trade in my Nom-de-guerre.

He's elitist!! He believes in climate change! Noooooo.

ROFL, GObama! :D Finally a man with some good ideas.

The Climate for Change

Al Gore talks about Climate Change, with Peak Oil references:

Thirty-five years ago this past week, President Richard Nixon created Project Independence, which set a national goal that, within seven years, the United States would develop “the potential to meet our own energy needs without depending on any foreign energy sources.” His statement came three weeks after the Arab oil embargo had sent prices skyrocketing and woke America to the dangers of dependence on foreign oil. And — not coincidentally — it came only three years after United States domestic oil production had peaked.

At the time, the United States imported less than a third of its oil from foreign countries. Yet today, after all six of the presidents succeeding Nixon repeated some version of his goal, our dependence has doubled from one-third to nearly two-thirds — and many feel that global oil production is at or near its peak.

Some still see this as a problem of domestic production. If we could only increase oil and coal production at home, they argue, then we wouldn’t have to rely on imports from the Middle East. Some have come up with even dirtier and more expensive new ways to extract the same old fuels, like coal liquids, oil shale, tar sands and “clean coal” technology.

But in every case, the resources in question are much too expensive or polluting, or, in the case of “clean coal,” too imaginary to make a difference in protecting either our national security or the global climate. Indeed, those who spend hundreds of millions promoting “clean coal” technology consistently omit the fact that there is little investment and not a single large-scale demonstration project in the United States for capturing and safely burying all of this pollution. If the coal industry can make good on this promise, then I’m all for it. But until that day comes, we simply cannot any longer base the strategy for human survival on a cynical and self-interested illusion.

It also looks like he 'gets it' enough that he knows that oil and natural gas aren't the problem (there is not enough of it left to cause catastrophic global warming) only coal is. I'm impressed!

It's not that we're expecting to duck the bullet in western Canada, but so far, so good. Unemployment rates out west are still low. If oil prices keep going down, then new oilsands projects will be canceled. Existing projects that have paid off their capital costs can still keep going down to $30 a barrel, possibly even lower.

"Employment increased by 15,000 in Alberta, which continued to have the lowest jobless rate in the country, at 3.7 per cent. There was little employment change in the other provinces."

The credit crisis will only affect Alberta as far as funding new projects goes. No banks going belly up here. Junior petes who made the mistake of relying on lines of credit instead of cash flow to fund their operations are in trouble.

As we go into the nadir of the Kondratieff long wave, it becomes increasingly clear that the only survival method is to stay out of debt and live within your means. That, of course, is ancient advice that goes all the way back to the Greek philosophers, but human nature being what it is, the deed is seldom done.

Meta question -

Does anyone use FF 3.x and how do you scroll the 'new' tags without a reset to the first 'new' ?

I have an 800MHz CPU and yesterday's DB of 300 posts make reading the list unbearable.

I am looking for a d'l' to FF 2.X but haven't found one - Mozilla has changed their pages to provide FF 3.X.

I use Firefox 3. I just use F3 to search for "new" tags.

Mozilla keeps the older versions of Firefox available.

I have FF V3.0.3 and it works OK for me. I'm using it now.

CTL-F for Find
Type "new"
Click highlight all
Return click on the find panel. **Some folks maybe forgetting this.
Press enter to go to next found item.
Use up and down arrows to read. This doesn't move the cursor out of the find panel.
While the cursor is flashing in the find panel hit ENTER to find next.
Rinse, repeat.

**The important part is to keep the cursor in the find panel.

OK, to keep the cursor in the find panel, you are then locked to that application -
no changing stations on your streaming music app !!

Not sure I understand the question "how do you scroll the 'new' tags without a reset to the first 'new' ?" unless it's the search for "new" taking ages (up to minutes). I get this sometimes with FF 3 and have never figured out the cause (mind you I haven't tried very hard).

Old Firefox releases are available at http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/all-older.html

My guess is that he's talking about the new way menus work in Firefox 3.

Before, you could use the up and down arrows to scroll around the page while searching.

With Firefox 3, the up and down arrows move among the search menu (next-previous-highlight, etc.). So to scroll around the page, you have to click on main window first. Very annoying and time consuming.

It was so annoying that I, too, nearly reverted to Firefox 2. But using F3 instead of the mouse to search solved the problem.

Thanks all for reply's -

Some clarification - Yes, the 'reset' i refer to is
an F3 reset. Any change of focus (active window)
resets F3 - at least as I use it ;)

Leanan - thanks for the link - I've been there already. As I said FF has changed their d'l' pages -
it offers 3.X

Try here.

If that doesn't work, e-mail me. I still have version 2. The XP version, anyway.

Any change of focus (active window)
resets F3 - at least as I use it ;)

Yes, that's how it works for me, too, but I can work with that. I just use the up and down arrows on the keyboard to scroll, rather than the mouse. Basically, I don't touch the mouse at all while reading threads.

With Firefox 2, I'd do everything with the mouse (clicking the previous and next buttons, and using the scroll button to scroll).

I'm confused... I use FF3 and normally use the mouse to scroll. I can click previous, next etc and the scroll wheel still scrolls the main window (as do the up and down arrow keys).

For me, the problem is my mouse. It's a Logitech, and there's a known issue with scrolling.

Thank you Leanan !

Got it and installed.

Yes, change of focus resets find to the top. I haven't found a fix for that one yet.

"Some clarification - Yes, the 'reset' i refer to is
an F3 reset. Any change of focus (active window)
resets F3 - at least as I use it ;)"

"Some clarification - Yes, the 'reset' i refer to is
an F3 reset. Any change of focus (active window)
resets F3 - at least as I use it ;)"

Sorry to reply to my own reply but I think I found a work around. This relates to how FF 3.x changed finding stuff.

Use the normal find method I mentioned earlier. Reply to an entry in a *different* tab or window. Finish that up and return to the starting FF tab/window. Then click back into the find panel. It then picks up where you left off using the find method already mentioned. The clicking into the find panel seems to be the part that is important.

Seems cumbersome but with a little practice it works OK.

Seems cumbersome but with a little practice it works OK.

And that is a failure of the product !

Thanks for the Tip Ammond. I appreciate it. The bug will be fixed soon.

UPDATE: Firefox 3.0.4 Built 1 has been released. I'm gonna try it out and see if the bug has been fixed...

And that is a failure of the product !

Firefox is one of the BEST. As with everything in life, achieving perfection is impossible... Firefox is near-perfect. :)


Can you edit my post to take out the "]" after new so that everyone's search doesn't keep finding it if they search for new followed by ]

I search for "new" (using the '/' quick find shortcut), then hit Ctrl-g repeatedly to go to the next instance.

That's a new one to me and it sure works with
FF 2.0.17 !

A market analyst predicted tough times for ethanol investors whose stocks had dropped 60-80% from their highs:


It seems to have been another fantasy bubble as some investors may have lost much of their projected retirement income to try to become part of the renewable energy movement.

Some analysts taught diversification including bonds, CD's, or other fixed income securities as part of one's portfolio. Those who had a widely diversified portfolio more closely tracked market average returns in stocks or bonds or both. Those with portfolios concentrated in a small number of securities/bonds risked returns that were likely to greatly deviate from market average returns.

Obvious solution: Do not mandate ethanol production. Buy it on the open market for less and give the ballance to midwest farmers to buy their vote for midwest congress criters. At least that starts off with some honesty.

Energy free trade means no mandates, quotas, or subsidies; capitalism over marxism. Numerous nations are ramping up corn ethanol production and have not reached their ultimate quotas.

The price of hotdogs at Walmart seemed a bit high the last time I checked, chicken prices at another supermarket were up. It costs about ten dollars for a whole chicken.

The high price of livestock feed and a decline in demand for meat have hurt agribusiness:



Great drumbeat and discussion yesterday.

Thank you one and all.

Loved your Gold digger post Leanan. I really did LOL.

I would be a wise move for all of us and for the Association for the Study of Peak Oil USA (ASPO-USA) to write President Elect Obama and ask him to commission the National Academy of Sciences to study Peak Oil impacts and alternatives.

Peak Oil is depressing news that the scientific community, not politicians, should give the nation. Politicians will never do it.

Neither the president nor Congress will know what to do with this catastrophe, and they are heavily influenced by interest groups and public opinion, both of whom want more jobs and consumerism and business as usual.

Soon, Peak Oil will present the nation with continuing crises that require hard decisions. It is better to base decisions on scientific study than on interest groups pressures.

Common sense tells us that there must be energy alternatives, and that is what we all want. But alternatives yield electric power, which is not what we need for tractors/combines, 18 wheel trucks, trains, and ships and for heating oil. Algal biodiesel is in the early R&D phase and 20 years and trillions of dollars away from delivering a cubic mile of oil annually -- if it is feasible.

Many believe that electric power can provide transportation and power for heating. But my exhaustive analysis of available scientific studies indicates that the electric economy will not work without ample supplies of oil. The nation could waste much time and investment on developing alternatives, only to find out later that they can't provide the energy required.

Without ample oil, we are facing the collapse of the highways that depend on diesel trucks for maintenance of bridges, cleaning culverts to avoid road washouts, snow plowing, roadbed and surface repair. When the highways fail, so will the power grid, as highways carry the parts, transformers, steel for pylons, and high tension cables, all from far away. With the highways out, there will be no food coming in from "outside," and without the power grid virtually nothing works, including home heating, pumping of gasoline and diesel, airports, communications, and automated systems.

The National Academy of Sciences is the only source that can provide unbiased and authoritative answers to these questions, and it is the only source that has the stature and credibility to advise the president and Congress.

It is time to prepare for Peak Oil impacts. But it will take the NAS to get us there. Currently, there is little study or effort toward planning for the day when there will be no oil and no electric power. That time is coming sooner than many realize, The Last Power Blackout.

The NAS has already published some things:

Trends in Oil Supply and Demand, Potential for Peaking of Conventional Oil Production, and Possible Mitigation Options:
A Summary Report of the Workshop

This is from 2005. I have been skimming it online - some good stuff in there, but there is also the cornucopian point of view.

There is of course also the Hirsch report.

Other than provide an update to what has changed in the past few years, what else would you want a new report to contain?

My concern is this - if we get a new study commissioned, there would be a temptation to do nothing until the study is complete.

The NAS needs to address the questions about the capacity of alternatives to provide the energy needed to avoid total economic collapse. The NAS has not done a comprehensive energy policy study since 1977. The 1977 study indicated that collapse is coming without a solution to the liquid fuels problem. 30 years later we are essentially at the same place. The battery problem has not been solved.

The study/delay problem is real. Hopefully the president will ask for an immediate review of all of the studies currently available, and also the Congressional Research Service can do this, but Congress has not asked for this (YIKES, talk about the blind leading the blind). Both of these could be used to alert the public. Few listened in 1977, but times have changed, and many journalists are hungry for some reality from truly credible sources, in addition to hearing from us.

The nation can decide to develop alternatives and waste time, capital, and fossil energy or the impossible, or we can prepare for reality. Only if the NAS gives direction will some people/media/politicians listen to reason. But the "some" is few, ideologies are tough to break through.

I'll take a different tack on this. The Apollo project (like the Manhattan project) was not so much about science, but about engineering. Consider: one of the National Labs has already developed a basic solid-carbon fuel cell technology that -- in the lab -- produces electricity from coal or biomass at the equivalent of 80% thermal efficiency, produces a stream of almost pure CO2 that simplifies sequestration, and keeps all of the heavy metals in the solid waste stream, rather than sending it up a smokestack. What is needed is not the basic science that NAS would fund; it's the single-minded engineering effort to turn the raw technology into a 100 MW working plant.

An Apollo project?? Spend trillions of dollars/Euros and 10 years to find out it doesn't work???

Planning before spending trillions is a better idea -- thinking before acting, not lemmings running off the cliff.

NAS would not do much basic research, but rather a policy analysis of existing studies. I've done that, but I don't have much credibility.

Questions: after oil is no longer available will the electric economy work, where will the trillions of dollars of investment come from, where will the oil come from to do it (Peak Oil is here now, not 50 years from now)?

Many different opinions, and without the NAS it will be interest groups that totally decide energy policy, that will happen anyway, but we can at least try to base policy on the best science the nation has.

Reminds, me wasn't there once something called Alchemy? Eventually, science did turn lead into gold, but it isn't too practical.


There is actually a first step needed before any study or planning - what are you planning for? BAU? BAU Lite? Sustainable? Stable-State/No Growth?

A second step is to decide whether the future lies with globalized or national/local production of goods/food.

It is only at that point that studies can be commissioned.


To ask the question you presuppose you know what the outcome actually is.

You really have to limit the scope of it initially before it makes sense to ask these questions. Ultimately the first question simply has to do with world supply over the next 50 years, but also the question when supplies start to decline. One would exclude everything except for conventional supplies. In an alternate universe, the answer might come back that there is no problem with supply or climate change, in which case it doesn't make sense to keep asking questions.

Once one finds that conventional supply will decline, then one would next investigate all unconventional sources. Shale, tar-sands, potential technological advances that could result in increasing recovery in existing fields. One would need to consider the amounts of oil that one could produce using each of these, and consider how much risk is involved with each. Or one could simply state that for reasons of climate change that we aren't going to go down this road.

Next one would need to consider biofuels of various kinds. Are the estimates and projections realistic or not? Scalability? Etc, etc.

At the next level, you have to ask questions about battery technology and then consider electric cars. Where is the technology heading, what are the chances of success?

Eventually you get down to the end, and have exhausted all possibilities, and you would have an idea for how much we will have available in the coming years, and the probabilities and risks for reaching these numbers. But there will be a lot of uncertainty in all of this as well as there are lots of technologies that might or might not pan out.

It is only when you reach a point where you conclude that supply will be a problem and where none of the alternatives are likely to make up the deficit that one would be forced to conclude that BAU is not a realistic option. Then one would have to go through a similar exercise to determine whether BAU-lite is possible or not.

what are you planning for? BAU? BAU Lite? Sustainable? Stable-State/No Growth?

I think the goal and the means are intertwined. If we could in fact find technical fixea that allowed BAU forever, we would choose that as the goal. Personally, I think something like BAU-Lite or BAU-eXtra-Lite is acheivable. I also think that it is an easier sell politically.

Did your 'exhaustive analysis' chance upon this babe?:
For most use, this is as powerful as you need.
For longer distance goods transport, there is a cunning device called the railway, which runs just fine on electric.
Most mining operations are largely electric, and if the price of oil goes up much of the rest could be run by this means.
That is from mining engineers who have written on this forum, and from people who design the equipment used.

It seems you still refuse to accept the analyses which have been provided here by Electrical Engineers that the grid can be run just fine on electric, with perhaps some assistance from biofuels.

Hi Dave,

The truck goes 40 MPH for 60 miles (with hills maybe 30 miles ????) and then needs a 4 hour charge. This is not so good.

But we need millions of tractors/combines/trucks. Tractor/combines will not go far before a recharge at 400 hp, millions of rechargers, a whole new 1000s of recharging service stations. And we also need millions of solar panels and wind turbines.

And what the infrastructure will look like for all of the highways and farms, where will the capital will come from. And there must be a plan for how it will work without highways, trucks, and oil to manufacture and transport parts from all over the world to keep it going. I have asked the proponents of the electric economy on this site many times for plans, but just get more posts like this one which just says we can do it. That is unacceptable. You are proposing trillion dollar/Euro infrastructure changes with no plan, It does not wash. Where are the plans for this? These investments take money and effort away from preparing for living without oil and electric power.

And when the highways fail from lack of oil needed for maintenance, snow plowing, bridge repair, culvert cleaning to prevent washouts, rebuilding, surface repair, land slides, the power grid will fail, and there goes the whole electric economy down the tubes.

So, where are the plans for all of the above, where will the capital and energy come from? The world is waiting for these plans for the electric economy.

And where, for the umpteenth time of asking, is your detailed analysis showing exactly what cannot be done, and why?

You conflate so many different issues that it is just nonsensical.

For agricultural vehicles, we will still have oil in some quantity for years if we have to, and in the countryside we can certainly use biogas from plant waste and animal residues.
Small electrical tractors are a fact of life.

You do not necessarily have to run everything at the same level to pull through, which puts your questions on both infrastructure and finance into context.

For long distance transport I can't imagine what you are thinking,as trains can certainly be used, and short distance electric delivery trucks are also well proven.

With that level of transport, most of the highways would be no longer needed, and neither would much repair, as it is the heavy lorries which do most of the damage.

Most of the materials needed would be ready to hand, as scrapping most of the cars would provide far more than needed for wind turbines etc.

Why you imagine that running an electric grid requires a huge highway system I can't imagine, as grit roads would do fine.

It won't wash. You have no foundation at all for your repeated allegations that the electric grid is unsustainable, and you ignore all expert evidence to the contrary.

Why do you not undertake the work needed to specify what is going to break down and why?

For agricultural vehicles, we will still have oil in some quantity for years if we have to

I'm more pessimistic, because historically resources were never allocated according to need, but rather according to profit. Ireland never stopped exporting potatoes to England during its great famine, because society valued profit more than human life.

You did not mention the military. America's military is bigger than the rest of the world combined, and probably consumes more oil than the rest of the world combined, too. I doubt oil will be diverted from military to agricultural applications, except when necessary to feed the military or the aristocracy it defends.

The US, although important, is far from being the world.
China has just shown the ability to put around $300 billion a year into infrastructure, and with their history I can't imagine them underemphasising the importance of agriculture.

It also seems likely that the present American emphasis on the military in the US will be financially unsustainable.

Hey Dave,

That is a new twist on something on planning :). If the Pentagon plans a new weapons system, other planners will have to prove that won't work. Are you serious?

And again, lots of blather, but no plans for where the capital and energy for the electric economy will come from, in a time of declining capital and energy. Just people saying I think we can do it. Where is your plan?

I have made no comment on whether we can certainly do it or not.

I have merely pointed out that you have provided no basis at all for your absolutist statements that we can't, and others have also pointed out the same thing, to no effect.
Since you have chosen to ignore all these reasoned comments, presumably whatever information you are given will be treated likewise, however comprehensive.

This is a prejudice that you hold, and should not be confused with reasoned argument, however it appears that you are either do not comprehend this distinction or choose to ignore it.
In neither case is further discussion possible, so all we that remains is your unsupported and repeated statements that the infrastructure cannot be supported.
I have no idea why in the circumstances you should choose to continually repeat this on various forums, since you have persuaded no-one of those who have commented.

But again, you offer no plans for where the capital and energy for the electric economy will come from, in a time of declining capital and energy. Saying I think we can do it is insufficient policy analysis.

If you propose something, you must have a plan on how to get there with available resources. Where is your plan?

This is not my prejudice, but that of the NAS. Everyone here should read it, and it so obvious that most have not. As the old saying goes, you kids didn't do your science homework -- and it shows.


The same old problems haunts us, oil depletion/Peak Oil (in a few years we will be economically paralyzed); liquid fuels for heavy trucks, tractors, combines; home heating; natural gas depletion (power generation, fertilizer, and home heating). The old problems of capital and energy necessary for the electric economy are now a major obstacle.


With all due respect, that NAS report you reference is dated 1980. While the basics are likely still correct, the technology has advanced considerably. I've not read the whole thing, but a quick scan at the solar section shows how much has changed. They note that there was a project to build a high temperature central receiver solar electric generating plant, an idea I tried to "sell" to the Carter people in 1976. It was built and tested and then another was built, then a more recent version was also. And, the linear concentrator type systems have gone thru several versions, one by LUZ operated commercially to produce electricity in California. PV has progressed as well, though not as fast as one might have hoped in 1980.

We considered hybrid autos back in 1974 in a class project. Back then, the electronics weren't good enough for the job. Now, the electronic capabilities are much improved and there are several systems on the road, the best known is the Prius. Similarly, we have an active wind energy industry which is adding new capacity at a rapid rate, an entire industry which has appeared since 1980.

Of course, the same old problems are still there. They are mostly political, IMHO. If there is a national commitment to increasing the production of electricity by renewables, it will happen. It won't happen without a redistribution of spending from other sectors of the economy and that won't be an easy sell. If we set a national goal, we could do so by diverting a big chunk of the money thrown into the military-industrial complex, but then we would find our ability to bully other countries would be diminished. That might not be a bad result, given our low standing in world opinion after our many incursions into other peoples' national "spheres of influence".

I suggest that you appear to want to give up the fight before we even have begun. Remember that all those advances we've seen since 1980 have happened in spite of several governments in the U.S. that were ambivalent or openly hostile to the renewable side of the energy supply. We may find that we can't make it with renewables and other replacements for oil, but the alternative appears to be a very bleak future for mankind with a massive reduction in population thru nasty circumstances similar to today's Haiti, Zimbabwe or North Korea.

E. Swanson

The problem is not getting more electric power from renewables, the question is of what value is that power for our energy needs, esp with regard to liquid fuels.

I am well aware that there have been some advances since the NAS study was concluded in 1977. But the basic problems are much the same, as you and I indicated above, and the fact that 30 years has elapsed with no real solutions to these problems is telling, so giving up the fight before it has begun is not quite true.

What we need to do is get the NAS to study these questions again, keep working in productive directions, not toward dead ends, and if the best we can do is save as much as the population as we can, then that is what we should do. If young people knew what the future held, according to the best science, they can make the best decisions for their lives. Everyone should have that right. If people understood this and how much oil the U.S. military wastes and how failed the Iraq policy is in getting more oil, we could move in a better direction.

I have read articles, sorry no links, about electric tractors that the owners were really happy with. Nothing will be a total solution. I am currently converting a old Datsun pickup to electric, the goal will be 60 miles to a charge and that will get me into town and back which is all I want.

Said by cjwirth:
Many believe that electric power can provide transportation and power for heating. But my exhaustive analysis of available scientific studies indicates that the electric economy will not work without ample supplies of oil. The nation could waste much time and investment on developing alternatives, only to find out later that they can't provide the energy required.

Please elaborate on why ample supplies of crude oil would be necessary for electric transportation and heating. If we used crude oil to make tires, hoses and electronics for vehicles, how long would it last? Bitumen for asphalt can be obtained from tar sands and oil shale. Concrete, stone, gravel and dirt could also be used. If the long distance interstate highway system is replaced by electric rail, why would it not work for hundreds of more years? Why would voluntary conservation or demand destruction caused by high price or scarcity be unable to reduce personal travel? Why can't people move to warmer climates when the cost of winter heating becomes unfordable thereby reducing the energy needed for heating?

I do not understand the doomer's belief that people will do nothing when forced by high prices or scarcity of a critical resource. Anyone who fails to adapt will parish making life easier for the rest of us.

Is it even necessary to use crude oil for tyres and hoses? wouldn't natural rubber be OK?

Rubber "alloys" give the best desired properties (like wear resistance, "grip", hot and cold temperature operation, etc.).

I suspect that natural rubber could be a feedstock (along with other natural polymers) to make rubber products with desired properties.

Bicycle tires use so little rubber that this solution is feasible. Car and truck tires would likely be several times more expensive with natural feedstocks.

Best Hopes for Better Natural Chemistry,


just a fyi. Bush's seven deadly environmental sins has been moved behind a pay wall on salon.

You don't have to pay, though. You can watch an ad and read it for free.

(You may need to switch to IE if you're using Firefox, though. I think the AdBlock extension, or one of the others, blocks the ad so it's not obvious how to get in free with Firefox.)

Or you can just disable AdBlock for Salon. I use Firefox and never had any problems with Salon or anywhere else for that matter. And by the way, the Internet would be a far better place if people would just stop using IE. That thing is a cancer whose lack of proper support for standards has cost the world billions in lost productivity (ask any web developer).

And by the way, the Internet would be a far better place if people would just stop using IE.

Actually, I bet it wouldn't.

I'm no fan of IE, but it's ads that pay for the net. If everyone used Firefox, nobody would see any ads. And a lot of web sites would go away.

There's another reason to use IE - sending "pages" via email rather than links with FF. Now, my laptop is 9 years old running Windows 98 and my version of IE is also obviously old so I don't know about "new improved stuff". However, my wife's computer is up to date and she can't send "pages" on Firefox either.

Being able to send pages via email is important for us since I am the one who digs out the health and science news. She archives the good stuff as a page not a link which saves time when you are looking for specific stuff.

Now, I use FF for most of my browsing since my old version of IE locks up on all kinds of stuff.


I'm sure there's an extension that will do it. There's an extension for just about everything.

It's not something I ever use, though. If there's a page I want to keep, I just save it to my hard drive.

firefox is better that way from a security stand point.

Mini nuclear plants to power 20,000 homes

Nuclear power plants smaller than a garden shed and able to power 20,000 homes will be on sale within five years, say scientists at Los Alamos, the US government laboratory which developed the first atomic bomb.

The miniature reactors will be factory-sealed, contain no weapons-grade material, have no moving parts and will be nearly impossible to steal because they will be encased in concrete and buried underground.

The US government has licensed the technology to Hyperion, a New Mexico-based company which said last week that it has taken its first firm orders and plans to start mass production within five years. 'Our goal is to generate electricity for 10 cents a watt anywhere in the world,' said John Deal, chief executive of Hyperion. 'They will cost approximately $25m [£13m] each. For a community with 10,000 households, that is a very affordable $250 per home.'

Hmm, I notice Hyperion begins with "Hype"

On the one hand, the solution seems compelling, but on the other quite frightening. If they run down, what's the incentive to dig them up vs just leave them sprinkled around the world? Doesn't this make the long-term problem much worse?

Or maybe they have a recycling plan and a "return for $5M deposit" label on them?

What keeps a 2nd-tier nation from buying a few and building some nuke subs and ships? Seems like a major strategic weakness for the US.

From the Hyperion website "Small enough to be transported on a ship, truck or train, Hyperion power modules are about the size of a "hot tub" — approximately 1.5 meters wide."

Wow never mind nuclear subs and ships, how about nuke powered trains and trucks.

I can see the ads now:

"I just didn't get the performance I needed from regular electric trucks but now with Hyperion I can do 0-60 in 0.1 seconds."

Does anyone know if you can turn these things off and on or do you have to generate 25MW constantly whether you want it or not?

For good or ill, I suspect the hype will be hard to support with reality.

How do you regulate power output, turn it on/off, etc.? What are the failure modes? Reliability? How do you handle switch-out every 5 years? How do you contain radiation in such a small shell?

Just think of the Army tanks this would build....if it's feasible, the military will use it first. An Army without fuel logistics would be a formidable entity indeed.

How do you regulate power output, turn it on/off, etc.?

"When not in use, simply point your handy 20 Megawatt laser (supplied) at some unused portion of the galaxy"

10 cents a watt? ... Maybe this thing is a real joul but ...

Edit sp. joul should be Jewele

Presumably that 10c/watt doesn't include the post + packaging and digging a 50 foot deep hole..

I'm OK at flatpack furniture

That 10 cents per Watt is almost certainly a typo, since they give ten times that figure elsewhere. They must mean 10 cents per kiloWatt-hour, which looks too high for a buck a Watt high capacity factor generator. Then again the fuel costs may be higher, and there would be more overhead costs for small reactors (although some can actually be reduced via mass production and assembly). Digging the hole should be relatively cheap (for a tens of MW reactor so small).

These guys from Hyperion are really secretive. They say they know they can 'recycle' the spent fuel, which is not the appropriate word to use in the first place, and they don't say what kind of reprocessing etc is involved. That, to me, sounds like another company that claims to have an 80% efficient combustion engine but won't tell how they've done it.

I thought that the efficiencies were based on the well-known characteristics of the materials used, and that the basic reaction was not in doubt, in contrast to some of the 'make your car run 1 million miles on 1 gallon of petrol' scams.

Toyota also have nuclear battery designs, so the basic idea seems to be sound.

That's a long way from saying these guys will pull it off, of course, and I would not be putting much money into 'a company for carrying out an undertaking of great advantage, but nobody to know what it is'.

Well, their reprocessing scheme would definately be unproven, and since they're secretive about it, my alarm bells went off. Uranium hydrides might just be easy to reprocess but I'm not sure.

Your 50% burnup figure relates to fissile inventory burnup. So 50% burnup of fissile inventory ( U235 in this case) would be 50% of 4.9% = 2.5% burnup. Not that exciting (only about half what a modern LWR gets at similar enrichment) but perhaps plausible for a small H2 moderated reactor. There is a difference between fuel burnup and fuel efficiency. Highly enriched submarine reactors can have high burnup but low fuel efficiency. With CANDU's it's the other way around, since they are typically low or not enriched (so get low burnup) but have excellent fuel efficiency because of their efficient neutron economy.

They have plans for at least 100 GWe of reactors. Well at least we can't accuse them for lack of ambition.

That doesn't sound very promising.
I am dependent on people like yourself who have the engineering training to point out these difficulties.
I based my comments on Brian Wang over at 'The Next Big Future' who seemed to think that the overall efficiency was high.
It looks as though he is perhaps unaware of, or had not thought through, this distinction between fissile inventory burnup and fuel efficiency.

Perhaps you would have a look at his site and see if this is the case, or if I have misinterpreted him, as I am sure he would like to be informed of it if he has indeed wrongly interpreted the data.
Here is what he says:

They use 4.9% enriched uranium. Fissile fuel burnup of at least 50% should be achievable with adequate design. This about 450 gigawatt days per ton of uranium or thorium. This is about ten times more efficient than current nuclear reactors. There would half as much left over uranium (unburned fuel)


Fissile fuel burnup, yes that's what it says in the patent as well:


What we don't know is how much plutonium is bred (from the U238) and fissioned. That depends on the neutron economy and how well this design deals with neutron poisons created in the fission chain. Solid fueled reactors like conventional LWRs can't easily get rid of all neutron poisons, which is one of the major limitations to achieving high burnup. Uranium hydride is also a solid fuel (that is, it's solid at the mentioned operating temperature). I wonder how well this design can deal with the poisons. The patent does mention gas stripping.

They are definately not getting ten times the fuel efficiency of a modern LWR. It looks like it is a fair bit lower in fact; my guess would be that this has to do with the neutron poisons.

Uranium hydride is very reactive; this offers both potentially easy reprocessing as well as challenging handling, but thermal removal of hydrogen would leave only U and daughters. In the patent, they state:

[0103] Fuel Reprocessing

[0104] One of the remarkable advantages of this reactor concept is the novelty of the fuel form. The hydride chemistry essentially does an end run around many of the problems of nuclear fuel reprocessing. At the end of the useful life of the original charge of fuel, the module will be returned to the factory containing an overpressure of inert gas and residual hydrogen. Adding heat to the fuel drives any remaining hydrogen off, leaving uranium metal. This metal can be stripped of its fission product contaminants by simple zone refining. It would be desirable to recycle all actinides so that the waste does not contain many long-lived components. The small fraction of the processed fuel that contains the concentrated waste may require further processing to extract residual actinides to be blended back into the fuel fraction. Reuse of the fuel would require blending in an add-mixture of enriched or otherwise fissile material to bring the fissile component up to the original 5%, reactor grade design level. This reprocessing only required the addition of power to process the fuel, thereby adding nothing new to the waste stream. The fission fragments can be further concentrated if it is economically useful or can be further processed to extract economically valuable radiation sources.

[0105] The simplicity of the process and the zone refining equipment makes reprocessing this fuel economically viable. This permits the contaminated but unburned fuel to be recycled, greatly reducing the waste stream and dramatically improving the economics of future nuclear power production. Only the fission fragments mixed with some residual uranium or thorium require permanent disposal.

This does look more promising than PUREX. But don't take my words for granted, I don't have a degree in nuclear physics you know; perhaps I am the devil's advocate.

Maybe you are not an expert in this field, but what you say makes sense to me, Cyril.
Perhaps you could leave a comment on Brian's website?
It would be interesting to see what he thinks.

The united states air force, and army back in the nuclear hayday experimented with nuclear powered airplanes and other vehicle's. what they found for the former the amount of shielding to keep the pilot safe caused the needed take off power to exceed the output of the reactor. the latter failed due to space taken up vs conventional engines.

what they found for the former the amount of shielding to keep the pilot safe caused the needed take off power to exceed the output of the reactor.

This is a popular myth. There were reactors in development that were capable of powering a plane. There are two problems that kept the nuclear airplane from development however:

1. Such a plane would be very very large compared even to the jumbo-jets of today.
2. Missiles destroy the military rationale of the nuclear airplane to begin with.

I have been following this technology for a couple of years now. It was originally created at Los Alamos National Lab by a Professor Peterson, who has since become the chief technical officer of Hyperion. The control of the unit is automatic. At higher temperatures hydrogen is driven out of solution and into a separate chamber slowing the reaction, when heat is removed, ala steam, the hydrogen goes back into solution and increases the reaction in the uranium hydride. It could also run on Thorium. Worse case, breach of the chamber, the entire system shuts down as the hydrogen escapes. Peterson was awarded a national engineering award in Honolulu a couple of years ago for his design work. It seems to be technology worth following.

Any details on how the thorium cycle would work in this reactor?

Sorry Dave but I don't have any data. It was reported in some of their earlier releases. My MIT daughter is going to Los Alamos in a couple of weeks to install a dark matter detection experiment. I have tasked her to find out what she can.

You can use Thorium hydride as well. Thorium reacts to become Uranium, after which it becomes the same as the uranium hydride system. The throium needs to be seeded with some uranium or plutonium to get the neutron reaction going.

So it is a more energetic reaction than uranium then?
Presumably this, if it all works, would entirely lay to rest the supposed concerns on uranium shortage.
How does this work out per kilogram of uranium/thorium?
What would be the number of years that current supplies would provide for?

Some calculations to put this in perspective would be interesting, if anyone fancies doing them - 50% before recycling sounds wonderful.
Presumably the economics would also be fine with very low grade ores, as would the EROI and EROEI.

These are very small reactors for niche requirements where the alternative is shipping in diesel fuel. The economics of them is unproven and even if they are competitive with diesel fuel, they aren't competitive with LWRs for baseload power.

They might be competitive with LWR, if the economy of complete factory assembly
and manufacturing turns out to be bigger than the economy of plant scale that the LWR gets.

One other thing that's interesting in this design is the reprocessing. Starting with pure uranium metal and daughters might make reprocessing a lot easier and less costly, and perhaps more effective and less energy intensive as well.

They are refuelable, and so leaving them laying around would make no sense.
Anyway, they are based on the Triga design, which is 50 years old and safe for students to use - which, as anyone who has had any dealings with students will know, means that it can stand just about anything:

The reactors, only a few metres in diameter, will be delivered on the back of a lorry to be buried underground. They must be refuelled every 7 to 10 years. Because the reactor is based on a 50-year-old design that has proved safe for students to use, few countries are expected to object to plants on their territory. An application to build the plants will be submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission next year.
'You could never have a Chernobyl-type event - there are no moving parts,' said Deal. 'You would need nation-state resources in order to enrich our uranium. Temperature-wise it's too hot to handle. It would be like stealing a barbecue with your bare hands.'


Brian Wang over at 'The Next Big Future' keeps close tabs on how it is progressing:

Note the 50% fuel burnup.

Anyway, they are based on the Triga design, which is 50 years old and safe for students to use

I wouldn't let students near anything generating 25MW - even if it was coal fired!

A quick scan of the Triga site shows that the Triga reactors installed in universities worldwide are, fortunately, generally in the 10KW to 1MW range. Looks to me as if the 25MW Hyperion design is way above the typical thermal output of Triga. Have they built one of this sort of power output yet or is it just a paper scaling up at the moment?

The Triga reactors are less powerful, as they are for research and medical purposes:

Still, there are 66 of them, which have been running safely for years, and it is the same basic technology

The safety systems are the same between Triga and Hyperion Power reactors.

The reactor core technology is different.

Triga are pool type reactors

The Triga are normally charged with low enriched uranium (LEU) fuel consisting of less than 20% U-235 alloyed with a matrix such as aluminium or zirconium. The Hyperion are Uranium Hydride using 4.9% enriched uranium.

Triga have gone as high as 16 MW and pulsed hihger

Thanks for the clarification.
How would these look for the purpose of CHP?
Presumably it would hit the efficiency of electricity generation, but for some areas might be a solution - unless just using the electricity and heat pumps would be easier and more efficient.

Chernobyl ran safely, too, until it didn't.

Proliferation is proliferation is proliferation, and you don't have to "steal" it, just tunnel some TNT under it, and there goes the neighborhood for the next few millenia.

Besides, even RTG's make enough neutron flux to embrittle their containment vessels. They'll have to be decommissioned some time, and the entire thing will be hot. Who's going to explant them, transport them, separate the parts, and rebury them?

And to what end? If we intend to use them to run our farms and desalinators or whatever, fine, but won't they just be used to keep the TV's and Nintendos going a little while longer? Our problem is at its root sociocultural, so the solution will not be technological.

I am sure these hypothetical villainous terrorist with TNT to burn will use World of Warcraft as their primary planning and staging medium to accomplish their nefarious goals...

Honestly, has the Bush Administration "Indoctrination of Fear" rubbed off on everyone so much that they can only see potential terrorist acts in every good development that can help alleviate/solve our Peak Oil problem??

Screw Bush, I was well aware of terrorism before his reign of stupidity and didn't need his bogeymen to fear the reality that there are ALOT of whackjobs out there who will think up ways to use good technology to F**k with others.
(I thought back in the 90s how easy it would be to fly an aircraft into a building, so when it happened I was annoyed that "experts" claimed nobody could of expected it).
BTW you don't need TNT to crack one of these mothers open; I can think of at least 3 ways that wannabe terrorists could cause problems by simple methods.

There is a theoretical risk, I understand, that a bar of chocolate will go critical. It just is not very likely.
I am sure that you are well aware of the huge difference between inherently safe designs and ones where safety has to be bolted on, and furthermore basic shielding is ignored.

The rest of your comments seem to be based on some world where all can agree in peace and harmony to a graceful use of less power, presumably relying on renewables which are often at a far lower stage of development than this.

I live in a world where shortages are going to hit hard, where the breakdown of trade will kill millions in the Third World, where in Britain we will shortly get very cold, and endemic conflict is likely to result.
This is aside from any possible input from GW, which if we don't get a move on in swapping to low-carbon solutions may do for all of us.

It is perhaps enough of a challenge to transition from all our major fuel sources, whilst simultaneously coping with grievous financial difficulties.
Getting picky because you don't fancy everything about some of the solutions doesn't make a lot of sense, in my view.

Okay, we don't disagree on what we foresee, just on what the response should be. It's not "terrorists" I'm concerned about, it's idiots and zealots. It only takes one!

In a world "where shortages are going to hit hard, where the breakdown of trade will kill millions in the Third World, where in Britain we will shortly get very cold, and endemic conflict is likely to result," it will be increasingly difficult to control critical facilities, and the more dispersed they are, the bigger the potential problem. Who is going to mind the store as security breaks down?

These things are designed to be buried. Supposing you managed somehow to dig your way down unnoticed and retrieve it, bearing in mind that it is hot, then you would have to carefully transport it to wherever you were going to use TNT or whatever to blow it up and distribute its contents around.
The total mass of the radioactive content is around the size of a basketball, we are told.
You would just do so much better to fire a missile into a natural gas tanker as it came into Milford Haven.
It is also, of course, perfectly possible to build them in reactor parks which could be heavily guarded - that is one of the advantages of nuclear power, is is do compact.

If the worst came to the worst, and somehow they managed by means unknown to blow up one a year, the death toll would be hugely less than for a cold winter in the UK, where even in normal conditions without power cuts there are many thousands of excess deaths.

If you are getting killed anyway, with cold and possibly hunger, why on earth invent utterly hypothetical problems to possible solutions?

Why would you have to "carefully" transport it? Are they so fragile (like an egg) that rough handling will crack them?
As far as firing a missile into a natural gas tanker at Milford Haven- isn't the reason that you support these reactors is that there won't be the gas supply (so the terrorists will have to go after the reactors instead).

You would want to transport it carefully so as not to get too much of a dose of the radiation everyone is so concerned about.
LNG shipments are not going to suddenly stop.
Anyway it should be perfectly clear that I used that as one example of the many vulnerabilities of an industrial society, which would involve far less hassle for the attackers than an attempt on these reactors.
Most chemical plants, for instance, cover extensive areas and would release plumes containing hundreds or thousands of tonnes of nasties, with a half life of forever, instead of the few kilograms in the hard containers in these reactors.

These discussions are actually pretty weird, as they contain no acknowledgement that a system with inherent safety, which would entirely obviate the alleged 'concerns' of those who feel that we may run out of fuel, and would vastly reduce waste products merit any re-evaluation.

I can't be sure that these reactors will work out, but if they do they represent a vastly superior method of generating electricity and heat at reasonable cost to anything we have today.

We could bury them all under military barracks. I mean, young guys join the Army and Marines even though there's plenty of evidence that they'll end up facing depleted uranium exposure, and a third of all the troops who served in Desert Storm are now on permanent disability. So they're obviously dumb enough to sleep on top of a reactor, and I wouldn't want to be the one to sneak under them.

I'm willing to accept nuclear power if there's an approach that takes safety away from the sorts of big businessmen who ran everything from tobacco to DDT to thalidomide to PCBs to all those forgotten Superfund sites around the US. The reason there's so much paranoia about nuclear power is that we all know in our hearts that our bosses would poison us if they could get away with it. It's just the way they're made.

The US Navy has a great nuclear safety record, and it owns the US Marine Corps. I'd put them to work on this and mothball their ships protecting our global oil empire.

"we all know in our hearts that our bosses would poison us if they could get away with it. It's just the way they're made."

Boy am I glad you're not my boss.

"So they're obviously dumb enough"

Isn't this lovely.

I guess we were obviously dumb enough to answer the call of FDR in '41. Again in Korea and again in Viet Nam and my son is one of those dumb ones from Desert Storm and again in Afghanistan and again in Iraq, so that some Alpha Hotel could say anything he wants on the Internet anonymously.

Yep, all us military types qualify.

Lynford Disbrow
USAF Lt/Col Retired

My thanks to you and yours for answering the call.

"Chernobyl ran safely, too, until it didn't."

Chernobyl was an unsafe design because it was cheaper to build and the Soviet Union didn't gave a damn about safety, it's citizens, or pollution. There are NO reactors remotely similar in the free world. All reactors in the US, UK, Japan, France, Germany, et al have containment shells for openers. What happen at Chernobyl could not happen in the previously named countries unless you first removed the massive containment structures and seriously screwed over various other safety controls and systems.

Agreed that the Soviet Union didn't care about "it's [sic] citizens." Not like here, huh? Chernobyl did indeed function safely until it didn't, and the Soviets have no monopoly on hubris.

And of course there have been designs around forever that can't go critical. Remember you don't have to move it to blow it up and make a mess, maybe for a political statement, maybe just to hasten the End Times. My point is that it's too easy to locate and dig under them and too hard to secure them when they're dispersed. So I say go with the 1GW models, and co-locate them with industries like fertilizer and aluminum production that are hungry for the watts.

They could easily be deployed in parks and left above ground if that was the concern.
A concentrated array of, say, 100 reactors would use up little space, generate around 2,500MW and be easily guarded.
The efficiency would be around 50% so waste per MW generated would be far less than present reactors.
So what is not to like?

Nothing is easily guarded. Here in Sydney we have had demonstrators get through the security of our nuclear reactor and comedians (The Chaser team dressed as Bin Laden) penetrate supposedly impenetrable security at an international heads meeting.
When the financial/political/social systems weaken or break the security at these reactors will fall to that of nuclear/military sites in the Soviet Union of the 90s.

Said by puhkawn:
All reactors in the US, UK, Japan, France, Germany, et al have containment shells for openers. What happen at Chernobyl could not happen in the previously named countries....

Study what happened at the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant in Ohio on March 6, 2002. If the inner reactor had been breeched, the explosion would have breached the outer containment vessel. The advertisement and reality are vastly different.

U.S. Nuclear Accidents

No it wouldn't have. This is exactly what containment domes are designed for. In any event, the moderator wouldn't be in the reactor, as it would have boiled off, and the reactor would shut down, which is the exact opposite of what happened in Chernobyl, where you had a positive void coefficient that sent a 1GW reactor to 50GW.

It depends on who one reads. Government and industry say the outer containment structure would have held, but others say it should have held. "Toledo, Ohio, attorney Howard Whitcomb, a former NRC inspector who worked at the Davis-Besse facility from 1985-88," gives a more ominous version. As for the outer containment dome being designed for a steam explosion:
2002 Davis-Besse problem ranked among worst ever

Scott Burnell, NRC spokesman, said the agency remains confident that Davis-Besse's thick concrete-and-steel containment shell would have done its job of shielding the public from radioactivity. But the agency's office of research conceded it had not studied the plant's potential for holding back steam.

Given Davis-Besse's history of problems, an age of about 30 years and the repeated false assurances of safety based on lax oversight from the NRC, I would not be so confident that substandard concrete and rusty steel were not used in the construction of the outer containment structure.

Given Davis-Besse's history of problems, an age of about 30 years and the repeated false assurances of safety based on lax oversight from the NRC, I would not be so confident that substandard concrete and rusty steel were not used in the construction of the outer containment structure.

You're being paranoid. Concrete grows stronger over time and containment buildings are designed to withstand just such an accident. You would have had a repeat of the TMI incident and possible venting of gas from the containment building, a serious situation to be sure. Even painting the picture where against all plausibility the containment building was ruptured, you still have a far different accident from a positive void coefficient reactor running at 50 times its normal power output: namely that the core ends up as slag in a pile of rubble rather than blown all over the Ukranian countryside. But comparing it to Chernobyl where nearly ten percent of the reactor fuel was vaporized and the graphite moderator was simply left to burn in the open air just isn't the same at all. PWRs aren't the same beast as the RBMKs of the Soviet Union.

Proliferation is proliferation is proliferation, and you don't have to "steal" it, just tunnel some TNT under it..

Not if it is Thorium powered. The isotopes of Uranium produced are worthless for making weapons. Of course one could still make a dirty bomb......

I'm afraid this isn't true; U233 has neutronic properties very similar to Pu-239 without the spontaneous fission properties that necessitate complex implosion detonation devices. It would be great for weapons material if you didn't have inevitable U234 contamination that makes it a hell of gamma radiation to maintain and work with.

Its not that U233 is bad, its just that Pu-239 is so much better.

The neptunium on the end of the fission chain should make for pretty good fissile bomb grade material, as mentioned by Jaro. The neptunium can be left in to fission off but there's an excuse to remove it from the reactor, since getting it out improves the neutronics.

Initially these units will be in remote areas near oil sand projects and they will not be directly under people's houses. Do people live directly over power transformers or oil refineries ? The first few thousand can be placed on the site of existing nuclear and coal plants which have a few square miles of space. Even if there eventually there was one for every twenty thousand or ten thousand homes, they would be situated in some industrial zoned area.

If you were going to blow it up, it would take a lot of explosives -like blowing up a 15-20 ton buried bank vault. A lot of explosives to penetrate the concrete cask and then more to blow through however many feet of dirt it is buried under.

It would not add much to the cost to have sensors and digital video camera security to these things. So extreme tunneling, attempts to move it or blow it up should be easily detectable and action taken.

Again for the amount of effort and explosives it would take then just take those explosives and add radioactive material (available in mines and in less secure facilities and sources) and then put your dirty bomb anywhere. Thus there is no incremental risk.

Three factories from a small company scheduled to produce 4000 of these 15 ton reactors with each using 100-200 kg or so of uranium every 5-10 years. Make three hundred factories and produce 400,000 of these 15 ton reactors every five years. 16,000 tons of uranium per year (a fraction of what we now use for light water reactors). Produce 10 TWe of power. That is to what end solve the energy problems. Reprocess the football size waste that is removed at the end. And over the course of 15 years develop factory mass produced molten salt reactors for 99% efficiency use of the uranium or thorium.

LOL,and I was receiving scepticism over 3% growth of nuclear fuels...

Scale it down another step and build it into your flying car.

This guy has it figured out: The Election: It Had to Be this Way

The Democrats winning Congress and the White House just had to happen. If we are ever going to change this country from an empire to a representative democracy, we have to rid ourselves of the notion that one corporate political party can do anything toward that goal. Barack Obama will be the catalyst for a new movement, away from false hope and false promises, not because he will deliver to the people of this country anything worthwhile, but because he won’t. This will be the final nail in the coffin of our corporatist society.

He's expressed my feelings exactly. This is a step we need to go through before change can happen, but it will consume several valuable years.

I'm truly sorry but IMHO the first lobbyist who shows up with a massive campaign contribution will get the votes. And we the people do not have any lobbyists with comparable monies.

Like the man said there is no difference between Corporate Democrats and Corporate Republicans.

We can always hope, Lynford. There are varying degrees of supplication to lobbyists, and I'm banking on a return to a lesser extreme of craven corruption.

Yesterday's DB linked to http://change.gov/ , which offers us a chance to give the incoming Administration our inputs. Who knows, somebody may even be listening. If every like-minded person here on TOD stressed the same points in his/her own words, it might be enough message volume to influence the decision-making process. Maybe.

Here's my submission:

"If we are a free people, a free country, a free economy, then we are as free to fail as we are to succeed. Bailing out bankrupt enterprises with public money may avoid some near-term pain, but at the enormous cost of lost opportunities to use those scarce resources to reconstitute our crumbling and anachronistic infrastructure. Yes, I mean New Deal public works: commuter and freight rail lines, walkable intentional communities, and relocalized food and water supplies. We will have to make our whole nation more robust and self-reliant if we are to pass through this impending economic contraction intact. It's too late to prevent, but with strong and sincere leadership we as a people will follow you through hard times with our chins up.

It's enough to make me tear my (remaining) hair out!


China Unveils $586 Billion Economic Stimulus Plan

SHANGHAI — China on Sunday announced a huge economic stimulus package aimed at bolstering its weakening economy and perhaps helping fight the effects of a global economic slowdown.
In a sweeping move at a time when major projects are being put off around the world, Beijing said it would spend an estimated $586 billion by 2010 on wide array of national infrastructure and social welfare projects, including constructing new railways, subways, airports and rebuilding communities....

Okay, so tell me again, which country is the oligarchical dictatorship, and which the representative democracy??

You do not have clearance at a high enough level to access this information.
So sorry. Have a good day now! :-)

Which country is the modern industrial economy and which is the banana republic?

I expect a stock and commodity rally this week as a result of this - futures are already up.

Since this will take the Chinese budget from a large surplus to just being in deficit, does this mean that US bond purchases by China will drop by around $300 billion a year?

This presumably would have severe implications.

damned good question

And we the people do not have any lobbyists with comparable monies.

Each and every citizen has two well-heeled lobbyists. These two lobbyists have ten little lobbyists with them at all times to balance the larger lobbyists and keep them on an even keel. These two lobbyists can, and when requested, will, take any citizen anywhere they should wish to go.

Further up, there two more lobbyists. These two are a little more hands on. They have ten little lobbyists that help them grasp and hold on to important things. Like, maybe, a sign.

These 24 lobbyists form a fairly powerful coalition when they form larger coalitions with lobbyist groups of a similar types.

Sadly, these lobbyists are often over lorded by a great, grey, gelatinous mass of dubious value. This mass can be activated to surprisingly effective result when stimulated with certain kinds of electrical impulses called "thoughts." Sadly, these thoughts were far more common in previous eras.

It is rumored there may be a few stashed away that could be used to propagate an entirely new generation of thoughts, but it's just a rumor at present.


Time to spend big on infrastructure is the prescription for Australia. What we'll see is
- loading terminals for coal ships
- six lane highways to nowhere
- fossil fuel powered desalination plants.

Somebody needs a hug.

Central Appalachain coal prices reached about $140. a ton last summer and have since declined to a little more than $80. a ton.


End of the road? Asphalt shoratges limit the amounts of road that may be built.


Concrete does fine.

I just paid $120 a yard for concrete! A year ago it was eighty bucks. Funny how end-user costs haven't tracked commodity prices down much.

I guess there's a lot of coal hidden in that CaO. Once built, though, those roads last a whole lot longer than asphalt.

Concrete is a very energy-intensive material. I believe natural gas is the favored fuel, though that might be changing.

Once built, though, those roads last a whole lot longer than asphalt.

That is only true in certain climates. The problem with concrete is that it is not flexible. It's more popular in warm areas. It is mostly not used any more in the northeast, because it buckles and cracks due to "frost heave," and tends to spall due to exposure to road salt.

The really long-lasting pavements are flexible (asphalt), and are designed to have the top layer replaced regularly.

I am wondering if many side roads (with low speed limits) and subdivisions will simply revert to crushed stone or gravel.

I hear about forms of bio-asphalt, but it hasn't caught on yet, and you have a lot of the same issues there that you do with biofuels.

Presumably although it may be more expensive than we have been accustomed to surely there is a lot of heavy oil out there suitable for asphalt?
The tar sands, for instance? Particularly since in hotter climates concrete can substitute, reducing overall world demand if asphalt is short.

The core issue is that the refineries have installed cokers to let them convert the sludge into more profitable gasoline and diesel. And once they have this equipment, they are going to use it as long as asphalt prices are cheap.

At 300$/ton, the price is roughly equivalent to 1$/gallon.

Hmm, this graph is old - current prices seem to be closer to $600/ton.

That sounds more like a problem getting the supply lines and prices right than an absolute resource limit.
Of course, price is important, but in a world where there may be perhaps less need for commuting there would not seem to be too many difficulties keeping enough of the roads up.
If there is the need to commute in a BAU fashion them presumably rather more money on the roads would be affordable.


Plus, it's not like concrete is unlimited, either. Remember this?

The state of New York has a short list of special items that are allowed "price adjustments." Basically, the contractor doesn't have to pay the price he bid if the market price changes a lot. It started during the '70s oil crisis, when energy prices spiked, and holding contractors to the bid price would have forced them to go bankrupt. IIRC, there are only four items on the list, and they are all energy-intensive: fuel, asphalt, concrete, and steel.

The situation is not going to get any better if we embark on the energy infrastructure building many are hoping for. Nuclear plants, wind turbines, dams, coal plants (clean or otherwise) all need a lot of concrete.

The slowdown in the housing and motor industry release far more material resources than any of these would need, I understand.

The situation is not going to get any better ...

Cut new housing starts to 600,000, allow commercial building to follow (usually a one year delay), slow Chinese infrastructure growth and prices will drop significantly.

The volumes needed for energy producing and energy efficient infrastructure are trivial compared to the resources required to keep growing Suburbia.

A SWAG is that a 2,000 home subdivision requires as much concrete as a nuke. Expand highways to get there, roads and sewers (storm & sanitary) in the new subdivision, sidewalks, slabs, driveways, sewage treatment plant expansion, shopping center to serve new subdivision, new gas stations to serve new hard driving population, etc.

Best Hopes for No More Suburbia,


Cobblestones (granite cut into bricks and laid on a sand base) still surface Felicity Avenue, a street two blocks from me. Over 150 years old and still used. Many other streets have cobblestones under asphalt. Actually low maintenance.

Labor intensive roads can make sense in a dense urban environment. 28' wide streets are the norm here with reasonable population density.

Best Hopes for Old solutions,


In 2004, the [USA] industry derived 60% of its energy from coal. Another 16% of the sector’s energy was from petroleum coke, 5% from solid and liquid wastes, and the balance from natural gas, fuel oils, and used tires.

The preferred fuel for concrete production in the USA is used motor oil (the concrete clinkers capture the heavy metals in the oil) and burning used tires as well. In both cases the fuel is better than free; people pay you to take it ! 19% from "natural gas, fuel oils and used tires".

Post-Peak Oil both sources will diminish.

Some brick makers have set up next to landfills and use their waste methane for production.

Best Hopes,


I paid about $107/yard for concrete a few months ago when I was putting down the slab for my house. Expensive!

It cost me $4200 canadian for 1451 square feet of concrete 4 inches thick last october.

Bloomberg Sues Fed to Force Disclosure of Collateral

Nov. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Bloomberg News asked a U.S. court today to force the Federal Reserve to disclose securities the central bank is accepting on behalf of American taxpayers as collateral for $1.5 trillion of loans to banks.

Yeah! Awesome... It takes courage to go against a monopoly money counterfeiter of the elite bankers...

In related news, Hank Paulson continues as the undisputed ruler of the universe http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/09/AR200811...

A Tax Law 'Shock'

The guidance issued from the IRS caught even some of the closest followers of tax law off guard because it seemed to come out of the blue when Treasury's work seemed focused almost exclusively on the bailout.

"It was a shock to most of the tax law community. It was one of those things where it pops up on your screen and your jaw drops," said Candace A. Ridgway, a partner at Jones Day, a law firm that represents banks that could benefit from the notice. "I've been in tax law for 20 years, and I've never seen anything like this."

More than a dozen tax lawyers interviewed for this story -- including several representing banks that stand to reap billions from the change -- said the Treasury had no authority to issue the notice.

Fed Defies Transparency Aim in Refusal to Identify Bank Loans

(Bloomberg) -- The Federal Reserve is refusing to identify the recipients of almost $2 trillion of emergency loans from American taxpayers or the troubled assets the central bank is accepting as collateral.

USA taxpayers just gave AIG another 75 billion to throw away-easy come, easy go http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/081110/earns_aig.html