Category Archives: Renewable Energy

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 Cutplasticsheeting.com-uk:

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.

cbdakota

Advertisements

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.

Continue reading

Do Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and the UK know what they have gotten into?


 

The Manhattan Contrarian posted “Looks Like Global Action On “Climate Change” Is Dead by Frances Menton.  There is not much in the posting that I have not already covered.  However, there are two things that do standout that I want to pass on. Menton’s posting is relative to the members of the G 20, that have just reaffirmed their support for the Paris Agreement in the Summary statement at the end of the G 20* meeting.  The US did not join in the reaffirmation.

Menton notes that Russia’s intended reduction is based upon their CO2 emissions in 1990 before they collapse in 1991 of the Soviet Union.

“Then they closed down all that inefficient Soviet industry.  According to a graph at Climate Action Tracker here, by 2000 their emissions were down by almost 40% from the 1990 level, and they have only crept up a little from there since.”

That was their ploy back in the days of the Kyoto Pact, too.

Continue reading

Global Temperature Update– June 2017


The UAH satellite global temperature measurement cooled off to an anomaly of +0.21C in the month of June.  The peak global temperature resulting from the El Nino, is now on its way to normal.  The May global temperature reversed the downward trend by increasing but this was more than offset by the 0.23 C drop in the month of June.  Many postings are arguing that the PAUSE has resumed.   I will leave that alone for several months before commenting.

This anomaly is the lowest since July 2015.

I believe we are in for some global cooling, but it may still be several years away.   I have mixed feelings  about this.  The world will become a harder place for many people if this results in reduced food crops and much higher costs for keeping warm.  Ask those people in Europe that can no longer afford the high cost electricity in the winter  that has resulted from imposing wind and solar energy on them. Cold weather is the real climate killer, not the fantasy of higher temperatures that the warmers spout.  But the good part would be  is it should put a stake in the heart of the catastrophic man-made global warming theory.

 

YEAR MO GLOBE NHEM. SHEM. TROPICS
2016 01 +0.55 +0.73 +0.38 +0.84
2016 02 +0.86 +1.19 +0.52 +0.99
2016 03 +0.76 +0.99 +0.54 +1.10
2016 04 +0.72 +0.86 +0.58 +0.93
2016 05 +0.53 +0.61 +0.45 +0.71
2016 06 +0.32 +0.47 +0.17 +0.38
2016 07 +0.37 +0.43 +0.30 +0.48
2016 08 +0.43 +0.53 +0.32 +0.50
2016 09 +0.45 +0.50 +0.39 +0.38
2016 10 +0.42 +0.42 +0.41 +0.46
2016 11 +0.46 +0.43 +0.49 +0.36
2016 12 +0.26 +0.26 +0.27 +0.23
2017 01 +0.33 +0.32 +0.33 +0.09
2017 02 +0.39 +0.58 +0.19 +0.07
2017 03 +0.23 +0.37 +0.09 +0.06
2017 04 +0.27 +0.29 +0.26 +0.22
2017 05 +0.44 +0.39 +0.49 +0.41
2017 06 +0.21 +0.32 +0.09 +0.39

Why Did ExxonMobil Lobby To Stay In The Paris Agreement?


ExxonMobil lobbied President Trump to stay in the Paris Agreement. Can you figure out why that company would wish to do so?

Here are some pickings from the most recent ExxonMobil global energy forecast:

·         Total energy demand by 2040 will be 25% higher than in 2015.

·         Global energy supply in 2040 will be 55% from oil and natural gas. Wind, solar and biofuels will supply only 4% in 2040.

·         Coal use will decline but will still be the third largest supplier of global energy.

·         Global electrical energy demand for transportation will only be 2% of the total global energy demand in 2040.

·         Wind and solar electricity supplies will approach 15% of total electrical energy supply by 2040

·         Although utilization improves over time, intermittency limits worldwide wind and solar capacity utilization to 30% and 20% respectively.

·         By 2040 US and Europe combined CO2 emissions will be about 8 billion tonnes.  The total global emissions in 2040 will be about 36 billion tonnes,

·         Electric cars are a very high-cost option, at about $700/tonne of CO2 avoided.

Continue reading

Batteries May Not Solve Renewable Energy Non-Dispatchable Problem


The greens believe that solar and wind farms will be the way to eliminate the use of fossil fuels.  The reality of today’s solar and wind farms is that these sources are unable to be worked into the grid because of their unreliability. It is necessary to install natural gas powered turbines or diesel power generation along with the solar and wind farms. The fossil fuel units are required to generate electricity to balance the power grid when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing.

The greens’ solution is a battery system that stores enough energy to eliminate the need for fossil fueled energy backup systems.  Much research effort is underway to develop a battery to accomplish this objective. To date nothing stands out as a likely candidate for the job. 

But even if a battery that can do the job and does not cost too much emerges, there is another problem.   That problem regarding solar farms is discussed in an American Thinker posting by Viv Forbes titled “Batteries: Another green scam”.  The following is from that posting: 

The idea of producing reliable grid power from intermittent green energy backed up by batteries looks possible in green doodle-diagrams, but it would be absurdly inefficient and expensive.

Solar works a six-hour day

Consider a solar panel rated to collect, say, 100 units of energy per day at full capacity, in full mid-day sunlight, with a clean panel, properly aligned to face the sun.

No solar energy arrives overnight, and only minimal amounts arrive during the three hours after dawn or before dusk.  That means that solar energy can be collected for only about six hours per day, providing it is not cloudy, raining, or snowing.  No amount of research or regulation will change this.  The solar energy union works only a six-hour day and takes quite a few sickies.  So instead of feeding 100 units of energy per day into the grid, at best, the panel supplies just 25 units.

Can the addition of batteries give us 24/7 power from solar?

To deliver 100 units of energy in 24 hours will require an extra 75 units of energy to be collected, stored, and delivered by the batteries every sunny day.  This will require another three solar units devoted solely to recharging batteries in just six sunny hours.

Cloudy and wet days are what really expose the problems of solar plus batteries.  (This is why isolated green power systems must have a diesel generator in the shed.)

To insure against, say, seven days of cloudy weather would require a solar-battery system capable of collecting and storing 700 units of energy while still delivering 100 units to consumers every day.  However, if several consecutive weeks of sunny weather then occur, this bloated system is capable of delivering seven times more power than needed, causing power prices to plunge, driving reliable generators out of business, and wasting the life of solar panels producing unwanted electricity.

Solar energy obviously does best in sunny equatorial deserts, but that is not where most people live.  And the huge Desertec Solar Power Dream for the northern Sahara has failed.

cbdakota

Media Not Providing The Real Facts About Wind And Solar Energy


It is likely that a great many people in the US have been led to believe that solar and wind play significant roles in supplying domestic energy.  Further and even more incredibly they are led to believe that solar  and wind will replace fossil fuels in the not too distant future.  The Paris agreement demands that no fossil fuels  be used after 2050

I am too old to make it to 2050,  so I will not be around to see if no fossil fuels are being used at that time.  If you make it to 2050, I will bet that fossil fuel will still be used.

The Energy Information Administration’s(EIA)**, chart on the primary energy sources for the year 2015 is shown below.

Petroleum, natural gas, coal, renewable energy, and nuclear electric power are primary sources of energy. Electricity is a secondary energy source that is generated from primary sources of energy.

 

Note that renewable energy is only 10% of total energy produced in the US.  And of that 10%, solar is 6% and wind is 19%.   Putting the solar and wind as a percent of the total energy consumed in the US has solar at 0.6% and wind at 1.9%.  So, in  2015 only 2.5% of the US energy came from those two sources. Is this compatible with what you are learning from the media?   And those two are the ones that the greenies are banking on to replace coal, natural gas and petroleum.  And though it is counterintuitive, the warmers want to shut down the nuclear plants as well.

Continue reading