Registered: Feb 2002
Posts: 17358 - Threads: 358
GMReq wrote on 27-07-2011 08:55 PM
Efficient use of fuel, definitely a good idea. The creation of biofuels, electricity and hydrogen all require lots of energy. Where do you foresee the energy coming from in the UK?
Biofuels are already in widespread use. Pull up to any gas station in Brazil and you can fill up your car on gasohol. Far from being expensive, using their surplus biomass from their sugar cane crop has saved them tens of billions.
The amount of energy an energy crop requires depends on a range of factors (what crop, latitude, whether the fertiliser was derived by Haber-Bosch, etc), some are very efficient. It's not correct to say that they're all more energy-intensive than than oil, because some patently aren't. There are issues with biofuels (land use, monoculture, nitrogen emissions, etc) but they're a definite option.
Hydrogen can be reformed from fossil fuels or derived from electrolysis. Obvious the former necessitates carbon capture, and the latter is quite energy intensive. But they both have the advantage of providing a versatile dense energy carrier with no greenhouse emissions at the end user.
And lets not forget that extracting, refining and transporting oil involves a lot of energy itself.
Renewables will never be able to keep pace with the escalation in energy requirements, especially in this country.
Energy requirements aren't really rising in this country. Per capita we use the same energy as we did 100 years ago. Population growth is small and the economy has shifted from industry to services, and rise in demand is expected to be very modest. Ofgem's forecast for electricity in 2023 is only about 0.4% annual growth at the most. That's hardly a scary pace.
renewables just don't cut it in terms of accessibility and reliability of supply.
Depends on the renewable, they vary wildly. Some are regular as clockwork (tidal), some are very erratic (wind). There are integration issues involved with adding them to the mix, but studies suggest that we can actually absorb a lot of the unpredictability through the normal excess capacity that the grid needs to deal with maintenance and faults anyway.
Don't worry about it, it's being managed as we speak.
They may make up 10 or 20% but what with energy usage doubling in the next 40 years, their impact will become evermore insignificant
If energy demand did double then getting 20% from a clean, secure, local source sounds like an excellent idea to me. I've not seen any forecasts suggesting a doubling in energy use in the UK myself.
So what is going to stabilise the global population?
It's a natural effect of industrialisation and increased wealth. Developed nations have seen their birth rates fall to near 2 per woman, many (including the UK) are actually below that ie: if it wasn't for immigration our population would actually be shrinking.
when is this stabilisation process meant to occur
Mid to late 21st century at a population of about 9 billion. There's some variation around that figure, some forecasts suggest it will decline from that peak, some that we'll continue to see some increase. The rate of increase has already slowed though, it peaked in the 1960's.
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