The reason oil, coal and gas is unsustainable is that they are not energy sources, they are energy storage systems that were "charged" millions of years ago. They are not sources of energy!
The sun is the only real source of energy (or if we choose to pursue nuclear power as another real source of energy)
We, thinking of oil, coal and gas as energy sources, burn them and throw the remnants away - into our air, water and land. But really they are no different than had we found googols of 1.5v fully charged batteries underground, put them in our cars, factories etc. used their energy and then thrown them away.
Whatever we do, energy generation for the long term has to be sourced directly from the sun or a low mass energy generation like fission or fusion.
So the discussion for using hydrogen, bio fuel, batteries is really a discussion about the mechanism used to store and transport the energy, not about creating energy to power our civilisation.
The real question is where does the energy come from (and when) that is used to 'charge up' these energy storage devices.
I could conceive (Although I have no idea how to make it) of a machine that sucks carbon and hydrogen from the atmosphere and creates the long chain molecules we call petrol. To do this, it will need energy, to break the carbon oxygen bonds in C02 and the hydrogen oxygen bonds in H2O that are then used to create petrol molecules + energy to make up for losses of the process.
If this machines source of energy is coal, gas or oil we are not changing anything - we will continue to overload the atmosphere with CO2 etc., but if the source is solar or wind, then we have created a sustainable system. With energy from the sun powering this machine, we are not unbalancing carbon or anything else on the planet.
Imagine that, we could make billions of barrels of petrol this way using solar power plants as the energy source. Wonderful - excellent energy storage mechanism this petrol!! (ofcouse we could be making hydrogen (separating hydrogen from water) or charging batteries instead). And we already have the infrastructure to distribute this form of energy storage (petrol). And this particular system is closed loop - there is no more or less carbon or any other material going into our atmosphere, water or land.
Oh, and by the way, our future as a civilisation will be in more energy use, not less.
Going low energy = killing billions of people, so stop talking such nonsense! We have plenty of energy continuously coming from the sun, we just don't know (or want to know) how to tap into it!
Posted Sunday 30 May 2010 @ 3:29:35 pm from IP #