Category Archives: fossil fuels

Can Ocean Going Ships Be Battery Equipped?

Wind and Solar energy assumptions by the warmers greatly exceeds these sources actual capability.  Let’s look at how renewable energy plays out as a possible replacement of diesel fuel for container ships.  This is discussed in a 27 Feburary 19  IEEE Spectrum  posting by Vaclav Smil  titled “Electric Container Ships Are Stuck on the Horizon”.   It opens up with the following:

Just about everything you wear or use around the house once sat in steel boxes on ships whose diesel engines propel them from Asia, emitting particulates and carbon dioxide. Surely, you would think, we can do better.

Why not get electric container ships? Actually, the first one should begin to operate this year: the Yara Birkeland, built by Marin Teknikk, in Norway, is not only the world’s first electric-powered, zero-emissions container ship but also the first autonomous commercial vessel.

When warmers quote emissions from battery powered engines, they always tell us that such engine is “Zero-emissions”.  Most batteries charges are provided by fossil fuel power plants.  So the real emissions are never zero but rather those emissions from the fossil fuel plant that created the energy to charge the batteries.  And more from the posting:

Containers come in different sizes, but most are the standard twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU)—rectangular prisms 6.1 meters (20 feet) long and 2.4 meters wide..  Maersk’s Triple-E class ships load 18,000 TEUs.   At the “super slow steaming,” fuel-saving speed of 16 knots, these ships can make the journey from Hong Kong to Hamburg in 31 days.

Now look at the Yara Birkeland. It will carry just 120 TEU, its service speed will be 6 knots, its longest intended operation will be 30 nautical miles—between Herøya and Larvik, in Norway—and its batteries will deliver 7 to 9 megawatt hours. Today’s state-of-the-art diesel container vessels thus carry 150 times as many boxes over distances 400 times as long at speeds three to four times as fast as the pioneering electric ship can handle.

 The author makes a comparison with a hypothetical battery powered container ship and an actual diesel-powered container ship:

Load the ship with today’s best commercial Li-ion batteries (300 Wh/kg) and still it would have to carry about 100,000 metric tons of them to go nonstop from Asia to Europe in 31 days. Those batteries alone would take up about 40 percent of maximum cargo capacity, an economically ruinous proposition, never mind the difficulties involved in charging and operating the ship. And even if we push batteries to an energy density of 500 Wh/kg sooner than might be expected, an 18,000-TEU vessel would still need nearly 60,000 metric tons of them for a long intercontinental voyage at a relatively slow speed.

The conclusion is obvious. To have an electric ship whose batteries and motors weighed no more than the fuel (about 5,000 metric tons) and the diesel engine (about 2,000 metric tons) in today’s large container vessels, we would need batteries with an energy density more than 10 times as high as today’s best Li-ion units. 

That’s a tall order indeed: In the past 70 years the energy density of the best commercial batteries hasn’t even quadrupled.

I have read accounts of “fuel anxiety” that electric car drivers get as they wonder if they can make the next recharging station before the batteries are totally discharged.  Can you imagine the anxiety the ship’s captain might have knowing there are no recharging stations in mid ocean.

If the container ships were equipped with a nuclear reactor as in our navy’s submarines, we could probably match the performance of the diesel container ships and actually have a no carbon emissions ship.



The Endangerment Finding Needs To Be Repealed Quickly

Probably the most important environmental action the Trump administration can take is to eliminate the Endangerment Finding (EF). The EF was used to have CO2 and several other so-called greenhouse gases (GHGs) inserted in the Clean Air Act.   That action has allowed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to enact regulations without any input from Congress.  Giving the EPA free reign has given the radicals in that Department the leverage to try to regulate fossil fuels out of existence.


As recently as 30 January this year, just a little over a month ago, EPA Director Pruitt said in a Congressional hearing that he was reviewing a challenge to the EF.   Red teams, blue teams and all that but not one to my knowledge has been formed. Nothing seems to be getting done. It is over a year ago that the Pruitt was named Director.

Posting of that hearing by USA Today, reported:

“Pruitt spent much of the hearing touting some of the priorities he sees as important: aggressively cleaning up Superfund sites, modernizing water systems tainted by lead and cleanup of abandon mines.”

Good objectives but minor league compared to the EF.  And that list of his priorities will eventually be done as both parties want them done.  He needs to concentrate on getting things done that the Democrats will not do if they get back in power.

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Green Energy Train To Energy Poverty

The Claim: Europe and Australia are benefiting from their green energy policies. We should follow their example.

The Facts: The Ice Cap blog refutes that claim in a posting titled:“Green Energy Train To Energy  Poverty”.

Joseph D’Aleo shows that green energy is pricing the Europeans out of a number of markets and is wreaking real damage on their poorer citizens.

Two of the many  charts that  D”Aleo uses to make his case are as follows:



And the following chart equates the amount of installed wind and solar renewable energy with the cost of electricity:


Read D’Aleo’s full posting by clicking here:


Paris Agreement—Are the Germans Leading the Developed Nations?

It looks like Chancellor Merkel believes that now that Ex-President Obama has been replaced by President Trump, she is the developed nation’s leader regarding the Paris Agreement.

So, is Germany leading the way? The Chancellor’s plan “Energiewende” (transition to renewable energy) has set out goals with a timetable to reduce CO2 emissions and switch the national’s energy supply to renewables that can replace fossil fuels. The table below summarizes these goals:

The Greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals are spelled out in the table. The goals, for the years 2014 through 2050, are shown as an amount of reduction based away from the1990 emissions of CO2.  That was the year of the reunification of East and West Germany.  The goal in 2050 is a minimum reduction of greenhouse gases of 80 to 95%.

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The 5 Most Common Plastics And Their Everyday Uses

I think the forecasts that tell us that wind and solar will put fossil fuels out of business by 2050 are pipedreams. Plastics are typically made from oil and natural gas liquids.  Although there have been attempts to use biomass as substitutes for fossil fuels in the making of plastics, they show little promise. So, fossil fuels making plastics will be around for a long time.

To give the reader an overview at how pervasive plastic are, here is a posting by

The 5 Most Common Plastics & Their Everyday Uses

Despite being all but unheard of until the 1920’s, plastic materials have effectively permeated every aspect of modern day life, from the microchips in your computer to the bags you carry your shopping in. The reason why it seems like plastic can be used just about everywhere is that it is not actually just one material, but a group of materials. There are so many different types of plastic material, and a lot of them, like polyethylene , PVC, acrylic, etc., have incredibly useful and versatile properties.

You would be amazed by just how many types of plastic there are, and how some, like Polyether Ether Ketone (PEEK), are quickly taking the place of metals in a wide range of applications. Having said that, plastics with these characteristics are still being developed, and though they’re useful they are not used widely just yet due to their generally higher costs. There are a great many plastics however that don’t have this problem, and though they may not seem quite as impressive now at one time they were practically revolutionary.

The following are the 5 most common plastics along with some of their everyday uses. Just think how much different life was and would be without them, and what inferior materials we would have to use in their place…

1: Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)

One of the plastics you are most likely to come into physical contact with on a daily basis, depending on how it is made PET can be completely rigid or flexible, and because of its molecular construction it is impact, chemical and weather resistant and a terrific water and gas barrier.

Common uses of PET: Soft drink, water, cooking oil bottles, packaging trays, frozen ready-meal trays, First-aid blankets, polar fleece.

2: High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

Incredibly strong considering its density, HDPE is a solid material that can tolerate high temperatures and strong chemicals. One of the reasons that HDPE is used so regularly is that it can be recycled in many different ways and therefore converted into many different things.

Common uses of HDPE: Cleaning solution and soap containers, Food and drink storage, shopping bags, freezer bags, pipes, insulation, bottle caps, vehicle fuel tanks, protective helmets, faux-wood planks, recycled wood-plastic composites.

3: Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

Cost effective to produce and highly resilient to chemical and biological damage, PVC is easy to work with and mould into shapes; making it an extremely practical material. In terms of properties, PVC is one of the most versatile. It can be used to create rigid, lightweight sheets, like Foamex, but it can also be used to make faux-leather materials like leatherette and pleather.

Common uses of PVC: Signage, furniture, clothing, medical containers, tubing, water and sewage pipes, flooring, cladding, vinyl records, cables, cleaning solution containers, water bottles.

4: Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)

At general living temperatures LDPE is a highly non-reactive material, which explains why it has become one of the most common plastics in use at the moment. It can withstand temperatures approaching 100°C, and though it is not as strong as HDPE (its high density counterpart), it is certainly more resilient.

Common uses of LDPE: Trays, containers, work surfaces, machine parts, lids, ‘6-ring’ drink holders, drink cartons, protective shells, computer hardware casings, playground fixtures (slides and the like), bin-bags, laundry bags.

5: Polypropylene (PP)

Strong and flexible, polypropylene is a very hard wearing plastic that, when melted, is one of the most effective materials for injection moulding. Having said that, it has quite a high tolerance to high temperatures, relative to other plastics, and is considered to be a food safe material.

Common uses of Polypropylene: Clothing, surgery tools and supplies, hobbyist model, bottle caps, food containers, straws, crisp bags, kettles, lunch boxes, packing tape.

Next we will look a little deeper into fossil fuel use in plastics.


The Ocean’s CO2 Sink Enlarges And Plankton Breaks CO2 Down And Adds Oxygen To The Atmosphere

It is amazing how some of the smallest things on Earth are very important.   Phytoplankton capture CO2 in the ocean and use the carbon to produce mass and release the oxygen.  Wikipedia says between 50% to 80 % of our atmospheric oxygen is produced by the phytoplankton. Other reference use about 50%.  Phytoplankton have chlorophyll to capture sunlight, and they use photosynthesis to turn it into chemical energy.  Really no difference from that of terrestrial plants.

EarthobservatoryNASA, gov describes phytoplankton as follows:

Derived from the Greek words phyto (plant) and plankton (made to wander or drift), phytoplankton are microscopic organisms that live in watery environments, both salty and fresh.

Some phytoplankton are bacteria, some are protists*, and most are single-celled plants. Among the common kinds are cyanobacteria, silica-encased diatoms, dinoflagellates, green algae, and chalk-coated coccolithophores.

*Protists are not animal, nor plant nor fungus.  An Amoeba is classified as a protist, for example.

Equally as important to the replenishing of the oxygen is the following:

“Phytoplankton are the foundation of the aquatic food web, the primary producers, feeding everything from microscopic, animal-like zooplankton to multi-ton whales. Small fish and invertebrates also graze on the plant-like organisms, and then those smaller animals are eaten by bigger ones.”

Phytoplankton can also be the harbingers of death or disease. Certain species of phytoplankton produce powerful biotoxins, making them responsible for so-called “red tides,” or harmful algal blooms.

All this brings me to the latest Global CO2 Budget graphic  shown below:

This graphic does not look like the one you have probably examined before. Those graphics were normally global CARBON budget.  This one is global CARBON DIOXIDE budget. CO2 weight ratio to C is 44 to 12.   To convert, multiply the C number by 3.67 to convert to CO2.

This chart would suggest that most of the O2 comes from the “land sink” rather than from the “ocean sink”.  Error bars on the land sink are big. No big deal, as I suppose most of this is supposition anyway.

The followingxxxxxchart is interesting:

The chart balances emissions—fossil fuels and industry plus land use changes against sinks –land sink, ocean sink and the atmosphere.  The ocean is absorbing more CO2.  The land sink, since about 1950, has really increased, reflecting the “greening of the planet”.



  1. It is said that the plankton to krill to Blue whale is about as close a food chain connection as one can find. The Krill eat phytoplankton and the Blue whales eat krill. The blue whale can eat as many as 40 million krill per day or around 8,000 lbs. daily in order to power its massive body.
  2. “Plankton” is Sponge Bob SquarePants’ big enemy. Just another form of harmful species.


Fire Ice–Biggest Source Of Natural Gas On The Planet

The US Geological Survey (USGS) cited estimates of the methane (CH4) trapped in global methane hydrate (aka methane clathrate, Fire Ice, etc.) deposits are 3600 times more than the 2016 US consumption of natural gas. The 2016 US   consumption of natural gas (natural gas is mostly methane), according to Donn Dears, was 27.5×10^12 cubic feet.

The estimate of trapped gas in the deposits ranges from 10^17 to 5×10^18 cubic feet*.  Those are estimates and further those estimates probably include some amount of methane hydrate that will never be economical to produce. Even so, oil reserves that were supposed to have peaked many years ago, keep growing because of new technology. eg. Fracking.  So, who knows?

*(For the non-engineer or scientist that might not know how much that is, it can be restated as 1 followed by 17 zeros to 5 followed by 18 zeros cubic feet of natural gas.)

Where are the hydrate deposits found?

Methane hydrate deposits are found (or predicted) to be associated with continental margins and onshore permafrost areas. The chart below global areas where deposits are to be found.

First, let’s discuss where the methane originates. Methane is largely produced by micro-organisms that act on the plankton that has accumulated deep in the ocean floor sediments.  In the upper layers of the sediment where the temperature and pressure are suitable, the rising CH4 bubbles are captured in very cold water and the hydrate is formed. While methane produced biogenically is considered the most widespread source, there is another source.  Thermogenic methane is produced where high pressures and high temperatures cook organic matter.

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