Solar to Save Us

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reikiman's picture
Last seen: 3 months 3 days ago
Joined: Sunday, November 19, 2006 - 17:52
Points: 8447
Solar to Save Us

Last April on Radio Ecoshock (links below) they broadcast a very very interesting interview with Nate Lewis about climate change issues. Especially he talked about honest science regarding carbon & global warming ..

Among the things he said ... repeating as well as I can ... It doesn't take a rocket scientist to recognize that when you burn oil, that the carbon in the oil goes somewhere.

It's well known science the amount of CO2 (and other gasses) that are emitted from a car burning gasoline or other ways of burning oil. e.g. the 'smog check' methods are one way of showing what gasses are emitted by burning gasoline.

It's also well known how much oil (gasoline etc) is being burned across the country and to some extent it's well known how much is being burned worldwide.

It's also known how much carbon (and other gasses) are building up in the atmosphere.

It's also known that the carbon buildup matches the amount of oil being burned.

Therefore the carbon buildup is directly attributable to human activity.. not cows farting, not volcanos, but to humans burning fossil fuel oil.

He did admit it's not a 100% proved thing that the carbon buildup absolutely will cause a warming of the environment. He did point out that with 700,000 yrs of data (e.g. from ice core data) it's well known that every time CO2 concentration was high in the atmosphere it was matched by high temperatures on the planet. And that the CO2 levels we're heading towards are much higher than any recorded time in that 700,000 yrs.

Last seen: 12 years 4 months ago
Joined: Friday, June 1, 2007 - 13:01
Points: 14
Re: Solar to Save Us

It doesn't seem to take much mental effort to suspect that burning stuff might be bad in the long term. j

I am optimistic that this new algae fuel may actually work. Have you heard about it? (You seem to be up on this stuff) I saw a picture of a greenhouse where they were growing algae in long plastic tubes suspended from the top in rows filling up the greenhouse and the tubes had water circulating through them and algae growing inside. This seems pretty cool if it actually works. I am not sure how the fuel is used. Is it burned? I hope not. It's probably not as nasty as petrol based burning but even burning pure vegetable oil produces toxins. So not burning is good.

reikiman's picture
Last seen: 3 months 3 days ago
Joined: Sunday, November 19, 2006 - 17:52
Points: 8447
Re: Solar to Save Us

Algal biodiesel is what you're talking about (See: and ...Yeah, it's cool, and it's one way to store solar power. The common criticism of solar power is it's only available when the sun is shining and what do you do with power demand at night? Obviously there's two things: a) the biggest demand is during the day for air conditioners to cool buildings, and b) obviously a need to store power for use at night.

Some of the plans I've read involve feeding the algae the output of a regular turbine .. in effect sequestering the carbon in the turbine exhaust in the algae, they grow algae, make algal biodiesel, and burn that biodiesel in the turbine.

There is a difference in fossil oil versus non-fossil oil. It's whether here is a net addition of carbon to the ecosphere. When you burn fossil oil the oil has carbon which was sequestered millions of years ago, and you're in effect releasing ancient carbon into the ecosphere, and increasing the amount of carbon around us. BUT a biofuel of some kind like algal biodiesel or other biofuels, they all derive their carbon from biomass that's already in the ecosphere. Hence they are not adding carbon to the ecosphere.

Yeah.. biodiesel gets burned.. it's a liquid fuel that acts just like other liquid fuels. As I said the key is whether the net carbon in the ecosphere is being increased.

There is a growing awareness that there are side effects from biofuels. For example there is a massive clearing of rain forest in indonesia to plant palm plantations, because indinesia wants to become the saudi arabia of biodiesel. For example there have been food riots around the world for over a year, due to rising food prices, which seem to be because food is being diverted to biofuel production. Algal biodiesel isn't food (how many of us eat algae?) so...

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Last seen: 12 years 2 weeks ago
Joined: Tuesday, December 25, 2007 - 08:18
Points: 342
Re: Solar to Save Us

Talking about C02 going into the air has me thinking. Plants live off of C02, with more C02 in the air will plants grow better? Less C02, less plants, more C02, more plants? I know when I fertilized my garden this year, I had a huge crop of tomatoes, compared to last year when I did not fertilize. Would my tomatoes grow better with more C02?


dogman's picture
Last seen: 11 years 2 weeks ago
Joined: Tuesday, April 29, 2008 - 15:41
Points: 830
Re: Solar to Save Us

Yes, and up to about 95 F they grow better when it's hotter. But warm em up past that and the fruit cannot set. Global warming is doing wierd things to agriculture. A lot of wine grapes are being planted now in England since France is getting too warm. Grapes need really narrow temperature ranges to produce top class wine. But carbon is only the tip of the iceberg for global warming. The methane from livestock, and your, you thought it was green compost pile is far more effective as a greenhouse gas than CO2. Your dang compost pile may pollute worse than your car!

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Last seen: 7 years 11 months ago
Joined: Tuesday, June 19, 2007 - 13:06
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Re: Solar to Save Us

Re: Composting.

I found this on a site called Californians Against Waste"

"In landfills, this material undergoes anaerobic decomposition and produces significant quantities of methane, up to 80% of which is not captured by a landfill gas system. Composting, on the other hand, is a fundamentally aerobic process, and well managed compost facilities do not produce any methane."

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