Investing in Precious Metals 101 Ad

Definitive Post-Oil Thread

Login or register to post comments Last Post 6586 reads   39 posts
Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 39 total)
  • Sun, Feb 27, 2011 - 07:21pm

    #1

    Aaron M

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: Oct 22 2008

    Posts: 790

    count placeholder

    Definitive Post-Oil Thread

My original intent with this thread was to discuss certain Diesel options for a post-oil economy.
As all of us know, transportation is extremely valuable and integral to our economy, way of living and system of supply.

Upon reflection and listening to the Robert McFarlane Podcast, I decided that a more “open-ended” thread was needed to discuss various mediums of transportation in the Post-Peak economy/World.

Over the last few years, I’ve been eeking towards a Diesel rig – especially after being inspired by Ready’s Biodiesel knowledge. 

That said, the process of finding the “ideal” vehicle has not been easy. 
I’d considered some of the following:
The Chevy K5 “CUCV” – the precursor to the HMMWV. This military Vehicle is relatively cheap, 6.2L Diesel and is mechanically simple:
http://www.vintagemilitarytrucks.com/cucv%20page.htm

Recently, the idea of this vehicle has appealed greatly – A Diesel-Electric Truck from India: 
http://www.leftlanenews.com/mahindra-appalachian-2010.html

In addition to these vehicles, it seems wise to standardize fuel for equipment and vehicles, so discourse about all things “post-oil” is fair game.

Generators, Tractors – whatever needs discussed – let’s do it here.

So, any thoughts or personal experiences migrating from gas to Bio-fuels?

Cheers,

Aaron

 

  • Sun, Feb 27, 2011 - 08:48pm

    #2
    Brainless

    Brainless

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Dec 09 2008

    Posts: 76

    count placeholder

    I drove a Toyota 1988 Hilux

I drove a Toyota 1988 Hilux on unrefined coconut oil that i pressed out of the nuts myself. 🙂 I needed 2-3 nuts for 1 liter oil. It seemed the car had to get used to it the first hundred kilomters but after that it drove like new life was blown into the engine that already had almost run for 250.000 kilometers. Very smooth, quiet en clean.

It is still in everyday use by my cousin but because he lives in Bangkok he uses regular diesel. One problem with coconut oil would be low ambient temperature, it solidifies (waxing or jelling) when under 16 degrees, mixed with about 5% diesel or kerosene however should keep it fluid, pre heating is another solution. Once started waste heat can be used to warm up the fuel.

This particular car is one of those that relies on simple mechanics and almost no electronics, in my view one of the most important features a reliable car should have. As the diesel engine itself was invented to be run on different kinds of oils, if i remember correctly peanut oil was used it should be no prolem to run it on any other type of oil, although they still need to go through a process called transesterification making it dependant on methanol. Hello peak methanol. 🙂 Coconut oil is as far as i know the only oil that can be used directly without modifications to the engine and fuel injectors.

A few older (pre 1990) mercedes models should run good on these oils too.

  • Sun, Feb 27, 2011 - 08:58pm

    #3
    robie robinson

    robie robinson

    Status Gold Member (Offline)

    Joined: Aug 25 2009

    Posts: 869

    count placeholder

    My non-turbo 300D manual

My non-turbo 300D manual trans gets 29+mpgs on sunflower oil(thru esterification) and 33+ on dino oil.

 

robie

  • Sun, Feb 27, 2011 - 09:01pm

    #4

    jrf29

    Status Silver Member (Online)

    Joined: Apr 18 2008

    Posts: 166

    count placeholder

    Supply and demand figures don’t look good

Interesting thread.  But I think it’s important to keep in mind — all of us — what biodiesel is.  Biodiesel is “vegetable oil or animal fat based diesel fuel…Biodiesel is typically made by chemically reacting lipids (e.g., vegetable oil, animal fat (tallow)) with an alcohol. Biodiesel is meant to be used in standard diesel engines and is thus distinct from the vegetable and waste oils used to fuel converted diesel engines.” (Wiki)

Today if you’re one of the individuals who can get vegetable oil for free from the local McDonald’s, or grab some coconut oil from a nearby palm tree, then you’re doing OK if you can tolerate the perpetual smell of french fries in your car. (This is not biodiesel, but my point is about suppy). 

But just as soon as price volatility in petroleum becomes unbearable, you’re going to have 325 million people trying to convert from gasoline to biodiesel.

If we wanted to have enough biosiesel to fuel any significant portion of the cars currently on the road, we would have to devote entire crops to the production of fuel, causing millions of people to starve.  The price of agricultural commodities will not cooperate with this activity.  Especially since all current large scale sources of biodiesel are hopelessly dependent upon a petroleum agriculture support system.

Already in the United States we devote about 36% of our maize crop to the production of ethanol (again not biodiesel).  Regardless of the energy efficiency of this conversion, it yields just enough liquid for 1/10th of the fuel in passenger cars.  Considering that world grain stocks per capita and arable land per capita are very tight, it is difficult to see how the amount of arable land devoted to food production can be significantly increased to offset demand for vegetable-based diesel fuel.

Furthermore, we forget that the entire production system for automobiles, from the metallurgy to the tires, to the alternaters, is completely dependent upon the most longest, most sophisticated and utterly petroleum-driven supply chains in the world.  As oil becomes scare, so will radiator hoses, bushings, bearings, springs, copper coils, and polyurethane.

The series of steps that converts raw materials into brake fluid, tires, transmission differentials, and windshield glue is completely oil-dependent, and will not run on peanut oil, even if the car itself might.

Motorcar transportation as we know it is a twilight activity.  As the price of petroleum increases, it will become more economically inefficient regardless of what we put in the fuel tank.  If you power your car on biodiesel derived from vegetable oil, it may not be significantly less expensive than if you tried to use gasoline directly, since every input into vegetable oil or animal fat is based on a petroleum supply chain.

So what is my personal theory about how to ‘play” the oil curve?  My personal opinion (critique invited) is that oil shortage should be looked at like an investment play.  As oil runs short, we know the masses will turn in desperation to any alt. fuel available.  And these are hopelessly inadequate to meet demand.  Those who invest significant sums in biodiesel reliance will inevitably lose as 325 million people try to switch over to alternative fuels. 

My guess is that the winners will be the people who invest early in walkable communities, New England-style socially stable communities, in places where food is grown close to where people live, people who learn how to be good neighbors, and and invest in skills that will be useful to those who live around them, because that type of living situation is the ultimate end state of this series of events.

Now, what about transportation?  My theory is this: the winners will be those who have the most common, mass-produced, beat up Ford subcompact (or possibly a gas/electric car if these become common) simply because replacement parts will be available at reasonable prices.  Automobiles are a product so saturated with petroleum (just as biodiesel is saturated with petroleum) that their cost of operation will inevitably rise in line with the cost of oil.  But in a world of $200bbl oil, a replacement alternator for a relatively uncommon/high- tech vehicle might not be available at any price.

The next generation of transportation after that?  My feeling is that the next generation of transportation will be (as James H. Kunstler suggests) a return to more energy-efficient forms of transit, such as railroads and trolleys.  And a lot more walking.

I’m not trying to throw a wet blanket on the alt. fuels discussion, because it’s a good discussion.  Also, this isn’t a comment on the specific types of vehicles suggested by Aaron above, since I don’t know how common replacement parts are.  I’m only trying to make a pitch for readjusted expectations about biodiesel supply, and a plea to avoid hyper-technical machines, since the types of complicated supply chains necessary to maintain them may not be reliably available.  These points are probably all old-hat to veteran users, but these facts are so often lost in normal public discussion.

  • Sun, Feb 27, 2011 - 09:59pm

    #5
    Rihter

    Rihter

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Dec 27 2010

    Posts: 47

    count placeholder

    I imagine

I agree with jrf29. It will be hard for the traditional liquid fuel automobile to be anyones primary mode of transportation.

I think liquid fuels will be reserved for agriculture and earth moving. Standard commuting, if there is any, will almost have to be done via some kind of electric mass transit.

Personal vehicles will have to be built lightweight, with natural composites, and probably for work or hauling only. It’s hard to foresee anyone plowing roads during the winter, building roads with asphalt, not to mention the maintenance of all the commuter only bridges in a post- peak oil world.

I try and imagine the world without liquid fuels. It’s really hard. There are going to be a lot of angry people without their atv’s, suv’s, snowmobiles, and joy rides in their own personal vehicle.

It will probably lead to the death of a lot of things. Driveways, drive-in’s, drive-thru’s, large lawns, etc..

  • Sun, Feb 27, 2011 - 11:12pm

    #6

    xraymike79

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: Aug 25 2008

    Posts: 804

    count placeholder

    “The Definitive Post-Oil

“The Definitive Post-Oil Thread” …. LOL. It should be called “The Definitive ‘Back-to-the-1750’s Style Living’ Thread”

Good comment by jrf29….spoken just like Kunstler.

Scale, as with everything in a 7 billion human population, is the problem.

Stated another way, the scale required to satisfy our oil needs with bio-fuel would require us to use over 14 times our total land production of corn:

“Unites States will use 20% of its corn to produce 5 billion gallons of ethanol which will substitute 1% of oil use. If 100% of corn from this country was used, only 7% of the total oil would be substituted.” —  

Biofuels 

 

  • Sun, Feb 27, 2011 - 11:29pm

    #7

    Aaron M

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: Oct 22 2008

    Posts: 790

    count placeholder

    Suppose for a second some

Suppose for a second some people are able to produce their own fuel from thir own stock.

Might that give a perspective that is less sarcastic and more proactive?

Eventually, we will need sustainable options. What do we have now that’snot already obsolete?

cheers,

Aaron

 

  • Sun, Feb 27, 2011 - 11:41pm

    #8

    xraymike79

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: Aug 25 2008

    Posts: 804

    count placeholder

    EROI on individual citizen’s production of liquid fuel

[quote=Aaron Moyer]

Suppose for a second some people are able to produce their own fuel from thir own stock.

Might that give a perspective that is less sarcastic and more proactive?

Eventually, we will need sustainable options. What do we have now that’snot already obsolete?

cheers,

Aaron

[/quote]

That did come of as rather sarcastic. The work involved to produce your own fuel would seem to be rather time-consuming and energy-intensive on a small scale. How much energy would an individual have to exert in order to satisfy their liquid fuel needs? Something tells me the answer is not good. Anyone, please provide info on that question.

  • Mon, Feb 28, 2011 - 01:16am

    #9

    jrf29

    Status Silver Member (Online)

    Joined: Apr 18 2008

    Posts: 166

    count placeholder

    What would the world look like if oil was so scarce?

[quote=Aaron Moyer] Suppose for a second some people are able to produce their own fuel from thir own stock. [/quote]

That is an interesting codicil.  Suppose we don’t want to fuel America on biodiesel, but just our own vehicle, on biodiesel we make ourselves?

Well, in order to answer this question intelligently, I propose that it is necessary to first think about the following:

1).  What overall conditions are likely to prevail in the world at a time when wringing biodiesel out of your own crops is the best possible way of getting liquid fuel?

2).  Are motor vehicles likely to be the best way of using energy in such circumstances?

3).  When are there such conditions likely to arrive given current depletion rates?

These are three very important questions, I think.  Take my opinions for what they’re worth.

WHAT CONDITIONS ARE LIKELY TO PREVAIL AT A TIME WHEN WRINGING BIODIESEL OUT OF YOUR OWN CROPS IS THE BEST WAY OF OBTAINING LIQUID FUELS?

Here I’ll harp on my previous point a little:  “As oil becomes scare, so will radiator hoses, bushings, bearings, springs, copper coils, and polyurethane.

The series of steps that converts raw materials into brake fluid, tires, transmission differentials, and windshield glue is completely oil-dependent.  It relies on the longest, most sophisticated supply chains in the world and will not run on peanut oil, even if the car itself might.”

So in a world where oil has become that scarce, you might be able to run your truck on your own biodiesel . . . until the crankshaft position sensor breaks. 

Then you can push it.

ARE MOTOR VEHICLES LIKELY TO BE THE BEST WAY OF TRANSFERING ENERGY IN SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES?

This is a judgment call.  I would be inclined to think “no.”  Rather than fueling an old truck on special occasions with biodiesel that I distill myself, I’d rather have a horse–or better–a donkey, mule, or ox.

A mule will help me grow the crops.  A mule is self-fueling, self-repairing, it makes fertilizer, has a sense of personality, and automatically produces little copies of itself from time to time.  As an added bonus if you fall asleep while driving, it remembers the way home.  Plus, in that world, the condition of the roads would be such that you wouldn’t be travelling faster than 15mph. in any case.

My point is that motor vehicles are very special-purpose machines.  In a world where gasoline has become so scarce, I’d want a general-purpose mule before I wanted a pickup truck.  A pickup truck is good only for carrying heavy loads on hard fields.  For transportation you need a scooter.  For hauling or farming in loose dirt you need a tractor.  And all of these machines need spare parts.  One mule can perform all of these functions.

WHEN ARE SUCH CONDITIONS LIKELY TO ARRIVE GIVEN CURRENT DEPLETION RATES?

Here’s the good news: not in either of our lifetimes, based on what I have heard from people smarter than us (e.g, Richard Heinberg).

As Chris points out in the Crash Course, the first principle of peak oil is that peak oil does not equal “running out of oil.”  There will always be oil…for a price.  And there will always be oil for special occasions, at least during our lifetimes.  If you want to save up for a few months to buy enough gas to visit your uncle Bob on Christmas, you’ll still be able to do it, in all probability with much less effort than it would take to make your own biodiesel.

What is in danger of collapsing is the whole economy that relies on 80-mile daily commutes between home and work, and 2000-mile journeys from farm to table.  It will be a difficult transition to be sure.  But neither you nor I will ever have to live in the world without any oil at all.  And if we did, I’d take the mule over the complex machine.

But when we’re both 60 years old, my guess is that the best way to get from place to place will probably still be by gasoline-powered scooter (or railroad, as our forefathers did).  But we won’t be sitting in cublicles in air conditioned offices eating refrigerated food from 2000 miles away, with our Hummers parked in the 3-story parking garage off of the interstate highway.

  • Mon, Feb 28, 2011 - 01:45am

    #10

    Wendy S. Delmater

    Status Diamond Member (Offline)

    Joined: Dec 13 2009

    Posts: 1418

    count placeholder

    Personally, I’d like a mule.

Personally, I’d like a mule. They’re smart–they will not work themselves to death like a horse, for example–last longer than horses, and are less fragile than horses, too. But there are two horse-breeding farms less than a mile from my home, so horses may be all that’s available.

What I have is a couple of leg-powered bicycles for the family, and the fact that I moved seven miles from a sustainably small population center on the edge of a rural community. It’s not how you get “there” so much as it’s how far “there” is.

Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 39 total)

Login or Register to post comments