Why natural gas beats wind power and other “green” experimental energy technologies

posted at 7:00 pm on November 6, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Lost in the debate over fracking and drilling to extract natural gas in the US and abroad rather than pursuing supposedly clean renewables is this: natural gas is actually greenerNew Geography’s Matt Ridley starts off by asking which view homeowners would prefer — a modest gas well or a towering, noisy commercial windmill — and then explains that choosing wind means you get both (via NewsAlert):

Wind turbines slice thousands of birds of prey in half every year, including white-tailed eagles in Norway, golden eagles in California, wedge-tailed eagles in Tasmania. There’s a video on YouTube of one winging a griffon vulture in Crete. According to a study in Pennsylvania, a wind farm with eight turbines would kill about a 200 bats a year. The pressure wave from the passing blade just implodes the little creatures’ lungs. You and I can go to jail for harming bats or eagles; wind companies are immune.

Still can’t make up your mind? The wind farm requires eight tonnes of an element called neodymium, which is produced only in Inner Mongolia, by boiling ores in acid leaving lakes of radioactive tailings so toxic no creature goes near them.

Not convinced? The gas well requires no subsidy – in fact it pays a hefty tax to the government – whereas the wind turbines each cost you a substantial add-on to your electricity bill, part of which goes to the rich landowner whose land they stand on. Wind power costs three times as much as gas-fired power. Make that nine times if the wind farm is offshore. And that’s assuming the cost of decommissioning the wind farm is left to your children – few will last 25 years.

Decided yet? I forgot to mention something. If you choose the gas well, that’s it, you can have it. If you choose the wind farm, you are going to need the gas well too. That’s because when the wind does not blow you will need a back-up power station running on something more reliable. But the bloke who builds gas turbines is not happy to build one that only operates when the wind drops, so he’s now demanding a subsidy, too.

Thanks to fracking and other adaptations of well-developed technology, we can now access vast pools of methane.  That’s not just in the US either, but all over the world.  Instead of running out of so-called fossil fuel (Ridley writes that the origin of this methane may be much older), we’re now looking at centuries of supply.  That has created consternation in central Asian nations like Iran and Russia, which had hoped to corner the market on natural gas in the Eastern Hemisphere, and with the enviros of the Western Hemisphere, who had hoped that it become so expensive that it would make the higher costs of wind and solar more competitive.

Remember when the US pushed hard to build LNG terminals in its ports so that we could import natural gas?  According to Ridley, those terminals are now either idle, or serving as export stations.

But what about the carbon?  As it turns out, natural gas is better than most of the alternatives — and would still be needed for the “intermittent and resource-depleting” renewables:

Wind cannot even help cut carbon emissions, because it needs carbon back-up, which is wastefully inefficient when powering up or down (nuclear cannot be turned on and off so fast). Even Germany and Denmark have failed to cut their carbon emissions by installing vast quantities of wind.

Yet switching to gas would hasten decarbonisation. In a combined cycle turbine gas converts to electricity with higher efficiency than other fossil fuels. And when you burn gas, you oxidise four hydrogen atoms for every carbon atom. That’s a better ratio than oil, much better than coal and much, much better than wood. Ausubel calculates that, thanks to gas, we will accelerate a relentless shift from carbon to hydrogen as the source of our energy without touching renewables.

Let’s not forget that the green issues go beyond the extraction of neodymium.  The green movement wants to move to electric vehicles as replacements for the internal-combustion automobile, one of their betes noires for pollution and carbon-dioxide emissions through the consumption of gasoline.  However, putting tens of millions of automobiles on the electrical grid will create huge demand for reliable and consistent energy production, which means that — at least under the current condition of renewables — we’re going to have to burn a lot more fossil fuel or build a lot of nuclear-power plants. Despite decades of government subsidies, we are nowhere near close to the kind of  mass production in wind and solar energy to take on that demand, or even today’s existing demand, reliably or intermittently.

And then there’s the issue of making and disposing of the large battery arrays necessary for electric cars to run, which ruin the economics of personal transportation.  That will require a lot more mining, much more traumatic mining than fracking, in order to get the limited amount of lithium and rare-earth elements needed for the mass production of battery arrays.  On top of that, the US doesn’t have much of these ores and minerals, which will make us even more dependent on imports for energy than we are now. When all of these batteries expire, where do we end up storing the extremely dirty waste?  There are no “green” answers to that question.

Instead of pushing for electric vehicles that have extremely limited range and zero independence from the electrical grid, we should push to move vehicles to natural gas — a technology that has existed for at least 30 years, and one in which I have personal experience.  We could shift the use of petroleum to specialized transport fuels like jet fuel, which would greatly reduce or eliminate our dependence on imports, and let the natural-gas technology boost our economy so that we can allow the private sector to properly develop the next generations of energy technology.

We have an opportunity to actually achieve real energy independence by shifting our efforts away from wind and solar and adopting a natural-gas infrastructure instead.  The best part?  It won’t require an avalanche of subsidies to succeed, either.  All we need to do is get government and its social engineers out of the way.

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meh. WHo cares about facts when there is money to be made?

cannonball on November 6, 2011 at 7:04 PM

Because it is viable and realistic in the real world?

carbon_footprint on November 6, 2011 at 7:08 PM

Because the USA is the Saudi Arabia of Natural Gas?

carbon_footprint on November 6, 2011 at 7:10 PM

But Congress didn’t buy penny stocks in natural gas, silly.

rogerb on November 6, 2011 at 7:12 PM

Because it would put thousands upon thousands of Americans to work, unlike solar energy?

carbon_footprint on November 6, 2011 at 7:18 PM

All we need to do is get government and its social engineers out of the way.

Yes, but that is the entire problem in a nutshell…the socialists created this entire scam in the first place to stay in power…and the idjits keep electing them.

AUINSC on November 6, 2011 at 7:20 PM

Does Algore know about this?

chewmeister on November 6, 2011 at 7:20 PM

You cannot make anything out of wind energy. With natural gas you can make…
Pharmaceuticals
Paint and other coatings
soaps and detergents
computer chips, flat screens, motherboards and keyboards (not counting the cases)
Automotive parts
Dishes
storage containers
and countless other items.

Only the clueless only think about the energy component.

Kermit on November 6, 2011 at 7:22 PM

Because it is a reliable source of energy, unlike solar or wind energy, which depend upon weather conditions?

Liberals believe energy can come from just wishing and hoping hard enough. That is what happens when you do not believe in a power higher then yourself.

carbon_footprint on November 6, 2011 at 7:23 PM

Great post, Ed.

I asked one of my enviro-nitwit pals about battery disposal from electric cars recently. He argued that they would never go bad. Ever.

What about wrecked electric cars, I asked.

Crickets.

BacaDog on November 6, 2011 at 7:23 PM

Because it is viable and realistic in the real world?

carbon_footprint on November 6, 2011 at 7:08 PM

Because the USA is the Saudi Arabia of Natural Gas?

carbon_footprint on November 6, 2011 at 7:10 PM

Because it would put thousands upon thousands of Americans to work, unlike solar energy?

carbon_footprint on November 6, 2011 at 7:18 PM

All good answers. I would add:

Because using our own resources would make us a more vital nation?

massrighty on November 6, 2011 at 7:23 PM

No, this won’t work because 0b00ba doesn’t have a setup for gazillions of dollars to go into fake green natural gas companies where he can collect it back in donations until they go bankrupt.

Shay on November 6, 2011 at 7:26 PM

Gasyndra…
If only Obama would invest our money in this company.

Electrongod on November 6, 2011 at 7:26 PM

carbon_footprint and Kermit are here. Now all we need is Bayam, with a big bucket of feel-good pseudo-settled-science, and we’re ready to rumble!

massrighty on November 6, 2011 at 7:27 PM

Photovoltaics were developed in 1953 so far they are about 8% more efficient and I don’t know how much cheaper, they have not much use beyond calculators and landscape lighting. Gas is the clean and plentiful fuel of today and the future. For nuclear we must do away with the old and dangerous and replace with Thorium. We have some good alternatives that work 24/7 if the gov will get out of the way.

tim c on November 6, 2011 at 7:27 PM

If you want the Lefties to swwon over Natural Gas, just come up with a way to implement Marxism through its’ use, and they’ll be on the bandwagon in no time.

trubble on November 6, 2011 at 7:28 PM

Because it is viable and realistic in the real world?

carbon_footprint on November 6, 2011 at 7:08 PM

Because the USA is the Saudi Arabia of Natural Gas?

carbon_footprint on November 6, 2011 at 7:10 PM

Because it would put thousands upon thousands of Americans to work, unlike solar energy?

carbon_footprint on November 6, 2011 at 7:18 PM

All good answers. I would add:

Because using our own resources would make us a more vital nation?

massrighty on November 6, 2011 at 7:23 PM

But where’s the fun in that?

SlaveDog on November 6, 2011 at 7:33 PM

What Company,State,Amount,and weekly progress!
============================================

Recovery Act Recipient Data
A listing of all Recovery Act recipients and their allocations. Updated weekly.
*****************

*Click on for (recoveryactfunding.xls)
————————————–

US Department of Energy
Energy.Gov/List of Awardees
Last Update:Oct 28 2011
————————–

http://energy.gov/downloads/recovery-act-recipient-data

canopfor on November 6, 2011 at 7:36 PM

And new natural gases can be brought online by tapping gas-producing sources (methane created by home & industrial wastes, etc.) and organisms (bacteria which extrete burnable gas) to maintain an essentially-endless supply of energy.

profitsbeard on November 6, 2011 at 7:37 PM

All good answers. I would add:

Because using our own resources would make us a more vital nation?

massrighty on November 6, 2011 at 7:23 PM

Thank you, and you have made the greatest point of all. If we could develop the technology enough to lean more on natural gas then we do on oil, our dependency upon the volatile sources for oil would vanish and leave us stronger. But for some reason liberals hate oil and gas. Yet they fly around the world exponentially more than the average person. Hypocrites, all.

carbon_footprint on November 6, 2011 at 7:38 PM

The environmental terrorists are destroying Hawai’i

Kini on November 6, 2011 at 7:40 PM

Lost in the debate over fracking and drilling to extract natural gas in the US and abroad rather than pursuing supposedly clean renewables is this: natural gas is actually greener.

Lost, by leftist design. Thanks, Ed, for spotlighting what those of us who have been checking into this green energy scam found out some time ago. When all this green hype, this green boondoggle, this green redistributionist plan is finally revealed, lefties will have hell to pay. In history, the green energy fraud will rank up there with the leftist support for segregation and eugenics.

petefrt on November 6, 2011 at 7:45 PM

Let’s not forget that the green issues go beyond the extraction of neodymium.

Absolutely not!

Remember the green police are full of baloneyium.

Danny on November 6, 2011 at 7:47 PM

*****************OCCUPY EARTH*********************************

Meanwhile,back at Oil Protest Pipe Ranch!
=========================================

Thousands in D.C. protest pipeline
Nov 6 2011 3:35PM
Last Updated 5:04 p.m. ET
*****************

WASHINGTON – Thousands of protesters, including a Nobel laureate and a movie star, gathered near the White House on Sunday in opposition to TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline.

The demonstration is the latest in a series of White House protests aimed at convincing U.S. President Barack Obama to block the $7 billion project that would carry Alberta oilsands crude through six American states to Gulf Coast refineries.
(more…………….)

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57319383/thousands-in-d.c-protest-pipeline/

canopfor on November 6, 2011 at 7:47 PM

Absolutely not!

Remember the green police are full of baloneyium.

Danny on November 6, 2011 at 7:47 PM

Danny:And……………it all started with Pelosium,
which trickled down,into baloneyium!

Btw,2 Points,for (baloneyium)word creativity!
=======================================================

The densest element in the known Universe has been found – Pelosium

Pelosium:
*********

A major research institution has just announced the discovery of the densest element yet known to science.

The new element has been named Pelosium.

Pelosium has one neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 224 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 311.

These particles are held together by dark forces called

morons,

which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.

The symbol of Pelosium is PU.

Pelosium’s mass actually increases over time, as morons randomly interact with various elements in the atmosphere and become assistant deputy neutrons within the Pelosium molecule, leading to the formation of isodopes.

This characteristic of moron-promotion leads some scientist to believe that Pelosium is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration.

This hypothetical quantity is referred to as Critical Morass.

When catalyzed with money, Pelosium activates CNNadnausium, an element that radiates orders of magnitude more energy, albeit as incoherent noise, since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons as Pelosium.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2485914/posts

canopfor on October 30, 2010 at 9:00 AM

canopfor on November 6, 2011 at 7:51 PM

Somehow, I doubt you’ll be able to convince the 99%-ers…

karl9000 on November 6, 2011 at 7:55 PM

The environmental terrorists are destroying Hawai’i

Kini on November 6, 2011 at 7:40 PM

Kini:Aloha Kini,from your link,nuff said!:)
———————————————

Friends of Lana`i at the 7/26/11 Democratic Environmental Caucas
*****************************************************************

canopfor on November 6, 2011 at 7:58 PM

Somehow, I doubt you’ll be able to convince the 99%-ers…

karl9000 on November 6, 2011 at 7:55 PM

It’s a shame..with all the natural gas OWS is producing.
Don’t light a match!!!

Electrongod on November 6, 2011 at 7:59 PM

BacaDog on November 6, 2011 at 7:23 PM

Expected life span for car batteries is 7 years, then a several thousand dollar cost to replace them.

From the track record of lithium ion batteries for my cordless drill, no feaking way are they going to last that long with regular use.

Kermit on November 6, 2011 at 8:00 PM

Republican:
————–

Were gonna drill it,Drill Baby Drill,
and stick it out!!

Progressive:
————

Were pull’n out,aborting it!!
(sarc)

canopfor on November 6, 2011 at 8:01 PM

profitsbeard on November 6, 2011 at 7:37 PM

Not really that great a source, especially considering that vacuum pumps are required to remove it from landfills, big ones with lots of horsepower.

They actually require subsidies to be economical.

Kermit on November 6, 2011 at 8:04 PM

we should push to move vehicles to natural gas — a technology that has existed for at least 30 years,

I agree. I knew a guy that had a truck that ran on gas and LP back in the 80′s. Thing ran great! First time I saw an LP tank in the bed of his truck I asked him what the heck it was for…his grill? I thought he was yankin’ my chain when he said that the truck ran off of it.

ted c on November 6, 2011 at 8:08 PM

When all this green hype, this green boondoggle, this green redistributionist plan is finally revealed, lefties will have hell to pay. In history, the green energy fraud will rank up there with the leftist support for segregation and eugenics.

petefrt on November 6, 2011 at 7:45 PM

You’d think that, but the Left excels at rewriting history, changing the language, blaming any/all of their policy failures on their opponents, and outright projection. It’s what they do.

That being said, I’ve often thought that the Green Movement might cripple the Dem party when it all goes down. I guess it will be up to the Legacy Media to do the reporting.

visions on November 6, 2011 at 8:10 PM

Wind turbines slice thousands of birds of prey in half every year, including white-tailed eagles in Norway, golden eagles in California, wedge-tailed eagles in Tasmania.
==============================================

********Breaking News,from BendOver BackWards News (BBN)**********

The science is settled,

an ongoing Environmental Impact Study,done over the last
few years,confirms this fact,and its distrubing,to say the
least,

apparently,Liberal/Socialist/Democrats/ProgTards who are
within Wind Turbine range,have their brains absolutely fried,
which renders Commom-Sense,American Patriotism,and Moral
Ethics,to go straight out the f’n window……
(more….)(Snark)

canopfor on November 6, 2011 at 8:12 PM

Good summary of the arguments for natural gas over subsidized ‘alternative’ (meaning, apparently, episodic, unreliable, overly expensive) energy sources.

Note: Matt Ridley is also the author of a terrific lecture on the Anthropogenic Global Warming Hoax, called “Scientific Heresy”:

http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/ridley_rsa.pdf

Well worth reading, and distributing widely.

MrLynn on November 6, 2011 at 8:15 PM

canopfor on November 6, 2011 at 8:12 PM

You are on fire tonight!!

Tim Zank on November 6, 2011 at 8:20 PM

We have to remember that it’s not about what is greener. It’s about what makes America weaker.

We are at the beginning of at least a 40 year boon here in our area of PA. The Democrats are doing all they can to tax it, destroy it, stop it or hinder it. You would not believe it. Well, yeah, most here would.

If the wind farms actually were a superior form of energy.. the Democrats would hate then too. Along with the bird destruction.. We’d have environmental impact studies on how they were interrupting the flight paths of species of insects, thus causing the starvation of other insect eating animals and in turn altering whole habitats! There would be whole groups of scientists with charts, graphs and computer models that “proved” wind farms were artificially disrupting the natural wind currents of the earth which would lead to a world wide wind catastrophe in 25 years. Meters would be set up in places like Minneapolis “The Windy City” to show that they’ve steadily have been losing wind while other remote areas have seen increasing wind currents. Hollywood would make movies about the greed of Big Wind Farmers. “The Day After Tomorrow” would be pretty much the same… only the Evil Wind Farmer would be to blame.

JellyToast on November 6, 2011 at 8:32 PM

Yeah, there will be pollution, but it will be “green” pollution. So that makes it okay. It’s “nuanced” logic that only a green lib can understand.

GarandFan on November 6, 2011 at 8:35 PM

The dolts in government, including idiot stooges like Romney and Gingrich, along with the MSM have turned America into a cripple.
The entire business model of energy has been turned on its head. Power companies look for ways to sell less. Unit energy prices drive more conservation, driving unit prices ever higher. Businesses flee from State to State and eventually just leave to places that actually wish to sell power. Or they get out of manufacturing altogether, thus forever giving up the technology to competitor nations. Insanity.

pat on November 6, 2011 at 8:53 PM

Because using our own resources would make us a more vital nation?

massrighty on November 6, 2011 at 7:23 PM

Because utilizing our own resources would drive energy prices down worldwide?

darwin-t on November 6, 2011 at 8:55 PM

Now all we need is Bayam, with a big bucket of feel-good pseudo-settled-science, and we’re ready to rumble!

massrighty on November 6, 2011 at 7:27 PM

Don’t forget oakland.

darwin-t on November 6, 2011 at 8:56 PM

carbon_footprint on November 6, 2011 at 7:38 PM

Thanks; I’m always glad when someone else (lots of us, actually,) see the obvious link between energy independence and strength.

Time, once again, for Massrighty’s 5 point energy plan:

1. Drill/mine/extract all resources, wherever they are.
2. Build new refineries (to stop the madness of transporting unrefined fuel to distant refineries, then re-transporting the finished product. (This IS a green improvement.
3. Nuclear.
4. Any alternative energy plan (wind/water/garbage/switchgrass/solar) gets fast-tracked through the permit and appeals process.
5. Any assistance offered to any OPEC member is done in exchange for negotiated discounts on current unshipped purchases and future purchases. No discount/no help. (*This means you, Mexico!)

massrighty on November 6, 2011 at 8:57 PM

You know what’s funny ? I was thinking about global warming from a particularly interesting perspective this morning.

Consider most of the research and science that takes place. Generally we observe something – usually something we don’t understand – and we do research and eventually science is able to describe the thing we do not understand.

Like, the solar system, gravity, the globe, cancer and other diseases. Etc.

But what non-intuitive observation did we make that needed explanation here ? The simple answer is – nothing. We didn’t start with a question to answer, but an answer in and of itself – “My, the CO2 emissions from fossil fuels could be really bad”

And so global warming science has – ever since – not been trying to makes sense of the world, but to make the world fit their pre-conceived notion of how the world should be.

And even if you believed the BEST study and agreed the globe was warming slightly (which it hasn’t in over 10 years), and you hadn’t already spent the better part of a couple decades trying to prove it was due to CO2 emissions that you could never stop, what would you do ?

Well, you’d figure out if it was even a problem we should be concerned about. And since nobody can seem to build a model that even comes close, its hard to say if that is the case. But primarily what intelligent scientists would be doing is trying to figure out how to deal with a slightly warmer planet – much the way we figured out how to grow enough food for all the people in the 70s while the last generation of crank scientists were warning us we would all die of overpopulation and we should just get on with eugenics.

Sorry for the rant, but global warming ? Not science. Not by any definition of the word.

deadrody on November 6, 2011 at 8:57 PM

darwin-t on November 6, 2011 at 8:56 PM

Mention global warming. Like lighting a cigarette to make the bus come, Oakland will show up.

(Oops, I just did, didn’t I…)

massrighty on November 6, 2011 at 8:58 PM

The Gooberment wants to protect the future, you hardheads.

So they do Science and get the answer every time.

For instance if drinking alcohol is a problem, the answer is simple. Outlaw all forms of alcohol except a beer brewed by a company owned by an Obama crony.

That save our lives and controls the future of beer drinking. A monopoly that saves lives is so special.

jimw on November 6, 2011 at 9:34 PM

Yeah, but … windmills are SEXY!!!

Gas is just so … ordinary … and yesterday.

fred5678 on November 6, 2011 at 10:03 PM

We need Nuclear Power.

/The Greenest of all

rayra on November 6, 2011 at 10:17 PM

Because you can turn it on by turning a valve?

JimK on November 6, 2011 at 10:21 PM

The one thing we have absolutely no shortage of in this country is stupid people. I heard a caller on a radio program complain that someone was offering a box that would sit on your porch and produce enough energy for your home and then you could sell the surplus back to the grid. It was “hushed up”. She also referred to a car that would run across the country on a gallon of water. This, too, was hushed up. Like I said, no shortage of stupid (and gullible) people.
These are the ones who buy into wind and solar as “the answer”.

Extrafishy on November 7, 2011 at 5:42 AM

If I was in the oil company, I’d be running some really offensive ads right now about how green oil is. Because it is green! It comes from mother earth, for crying out loud! It’s as natural and earth friendly as a peach or an apple tree! The earth makes it! It can’t be any freaking greener!

JellyToast on November 7, 2011 at 6:27 AM

If stupidity could be turned into a power source we would have a never ending renewable supply of power.
Just all the stupid people working in government in Washington D.C. is enough stupidity to power the east coast of the USA.

albill on November 7, 2011 at 7:03 AM

. . . But what non-intuitive observation did we make that needed explanation here ? The simple answer is – nothing. We didn’t start with a question to answer, but an answer in and of itself – “My, the CO2 emissions from fossil fuels could be really bad”

And so global warming science has – ever since – not been trying to makes sense of the world, but to make the world fit their pre-conceived notion of how the world should be.

deadrody on November 6, 2011 at 8:57 PM

This is exactly right. The IPCC was founded, not to investigate the climate, but to legitimize and give credence to the foregone conclusion that man was going to destroy the Earth by generating ‘too much’ CO2. The aim was to provide an excuse for a system of ‘global governance’ that would tax every molecule of CO2 we produce, and control the rest of our lives. Look up ‘Agenda 21′, and see here:

http://green-agenda.com/agenda21.html

MrLynn on November 7, 2011 at 7:30 AM

They forgot to add one of the other big costs of wind energy: it’s screwing up radar systems. Here’s an article on how it messes with weather radar http://www.meteorologynews.com/2009/04/13/windmills-interference-causing-problems-for-doppler-radar-signals/

There was another article the other day (sorry, don’t have the link handy) about how the U.S. military estimates that current wind farms are screwing up their radar systems, and that it’s going to cost millions of dollars to try to work around the problem.

We can only guess at what other, unforeseen costs are going to arise from this wonderfully “cheap” energy.

AZCoyote on November 7, 2011 at 8:02 AM

AZCoyote on November 7, 2011 at 8:02 AM

I found this one. Apparently there are “improvements” on the way, I am sure they are free.

http://hamptonroads.com/2010/06/offshore-wind-farms-bring-concerns-over-radar-systems

Cindy Munford on November 7, 2011 at 9:11 AM

Having just experienced an earthquake caused by fracking in OK, I’m not sure I totally agree. We have also experienced the wonderful odor from a nearby gas plant thanks to a leak, and the horrid high pressure squeal lasting all night and keeping everyone awake across a 10 mile radius from another leak.

Windmills obstruct scenery, but are typically not near neighborhoods. Wind is always in supply, and is thus a renewable constant. From an aesthetic standpoint, this is not a great solution, but it is preferable to natural gas.

jediwebdude on November 7, 2011 at 10:33 AM

Yet switching to gas would hasten decarbonisation. In a combined cycle turbine gas converts to electricity with higher efficiency than other fossil fuels. And when you burn gas, you oxidise four hydrogen atoms for every carbon atom. That’s a better ratio than oil, much better than coal and much, much better than wood.

Natural gas is mostly methane, which contains 4 hydrogen atoms and one carbon atom.

Diesel oil contains about 2 hydrogen atoms per carbon atom, and some of the aromatic (benzene-ring) compounds in gasoline contain less than 2 hydrogen atoms per carbon atom.

Instead of pushing for electric vehicles that have extremely limited range and zero independence from the electrical grid, we should push to move vehicles to natural gas — a technology that has existed for at least 30 years, and one in which I have personal experience.

Natural-gas-powered vehicles do have some safety drawbacks. Gasoline can be pumped into fuel tanks as a liquid at atmospheric pressure, enabling rank amateurs to fill their own tanks at self-service stations in relative safety.

Natural gas has to be pressurized to fill a fuel tank, meaning that tanks have to be built to withstand the pressure, and valves and seals between the supply and fuel tanks need to be designed to avoid potentially explosive leaks, and trained personnel are needed to safely fill the tanks. While natural-gas power may be feasible for trucking companies or municipal bus systems (where vehicles can be refueled at a central location by qualified personnel), it is more problematic for individual vehicles whose owners may not know how to handle pressurized gas safely during refueling.

If widespread use of “fracking” can greatly increase the supply of natural gas, it could become cheaper than oil for home heating, which would encourage consumers to switch from oil to natural gas, with distribution networks already in place in most urban and suburban areas. This could decrease the consumption of oil for home heating, allowing more oil to be available for transportation needs.

Steve Z on November 7, 2011 at 11:15 AM

Gas works. Wind doesn’t. End of story: the rest is filler.

landlines on November 7, 2011 at 11:21 AM

In history, the green energy fraud will rank up there with the leftist support for segregation and eugenics.

petefrt on November 6, 2011 at 7:45 PM

If you mean few will actually associate the left with such frauds, you are correct.

Leftists have managed to convince a considerable percentage of the world’s population that govt can control the weather (or climate, as the case may be). Think of the level of stupidity it takes to believe such a thing.

Convincing those same idiots that conservatives were actually responsible for all the green energy boondoggles would be child’s play in comparison.

runawayyyy on November 7, 2011 at 11:28 AM

Having just experienced an earthquake caused by fracking in OK…

jediwebdude on November 7, 2011 at 10:33 AM

The earthquake was actually caused by windmills dragging the earth from under your feet!!!

/sarc>

LOL!!!

landlines on November 7, 2011 at 11:54 AM

The author did a crappy job of citing sources of his “facts” in the article. For example:

…whereas the wind turbines each cost you a substantial add-on to your electricity bill, part of which goes to the rich landowner whose land they stand on.

The rich landowner(s) he’s referring to, at least in the case of the Rockland Idaho (my hometown) wind farm are a bunch of wheat farmers trying to make ends meet. Some of the towers actually sit in areas that cannot be farmed because of the slope of the terrain.

See the pics for yourself

RMCS_USN on November 7, 2011 at 2:19 PM

I’m still curious at what price the existing NG reserves we have become truly viable.

Yes I hear the “Saudi Arabia of NG” claims; but I have to question them… last I checked the US imports more NG than we export. I don’t think Saudi Arabia imports more oil than they export.

http://www.eia.gov/naturalgas/importsexport/annual/index.cfm

We import between 3 and 4 Trillion cubic feet, and export around 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas…

Now that doesn’t prove it isn’t plentiful, abundant, or available for all the uses claimed in the article… but it does prove that it isn’t so cheaply obtained that it’s a better deal than our imports from Canada & Mexico.

Since it isn’t that cheap (or we’d be using it) I have to wonder at what cost it becomes worth getting; and how much that changes electricity, fuel, etc. prices.

gekkobear on November 7, 2011 at 3:37 PM

Wind is always in supply, and is thus a renewable constant.

jediwebdude on November 7, 2011 at 10:33 AM

How fast does the wind “always” blow near your home? There are no slow wind or dead air days? Wind is a constant and doesn’t vary?

Can I ask where exactly you live? Because I’ve seen wind from 0MPH to 60 MPH in my area in the past week… I don’t consider that a “constant”; and I’m curious where it is 24/7/365 constant.

You don’t have the wind slowdown near dawn or dusk either? This must be a magical place… you do have dawn and dusk don’t you?

gekkobear on November 7, 2011 at 3:39 PM