[Gasification] Demonstration and Training Unit

Craig Kernan craig at postcollapse.org
Sat Apr 5 18:33:03 CDT 2014

On 4/4/2014 6:08 AM, thomas reed wrote:
> Steve
> I have been working in Biomass Energy for a few decades.  Here's a 
> note I wrote myself yesterday:
> <><><>
> Human energy, mental and physical, has enabled us to rise far above 
> our physical limitations and to have a high standard of living 
> compared to our Cro-Magnon ancestors, 100.000 years ago.  (He also 
> masterminded taking 6,000 Danish Jews to Sweden, just before the 
> Festapo came to round them up.)
> One of my specialties has long been gasification of Biomass as an 
> alternative to petroleum.
> My grandparents enjoyed the first wave of fossil fuel energy in the 
> form of Producer Gas, made by partial oxidation of coal to CO, H2 and 
> CH4.  My early Mentor, Harry LaFontaine in Denmark, manufactured 
> biomass gasifiers for cars and trucks for civilians while the military 
> frittered away all the oil on WARS.
> My Office mate at Shell Oil, M. King Hubbard, became famous in his 
> last years for predicting PEAK OIL in the US to occur around year 
> 2000, based on the drilled holes per year vs producing wells per year.
> If this had occurred, the cost of gasoline/diesel would be rising 
> rapidly.
> <><><>
>  INSTEAD, the cost of gas/diesel may be dropping, but much of current 
> cost in the US is determined by taxes, infrastructure etc, not the 
> real cost of finding and producing the oil, which is probably less 
> than $1/bbl (44gal), 2c/gal!! OIL IS NATURES GIFT TO HUMANS!
> <><><>
> INSTEAD, Hydraulic FRACKING has emerged to increase supplies of oil. 
> and gas.  Previous extraction relied on drilling a vertical hole into 
> a horizontal oil strata, and collecting as much oil as could flow 
> naturally to the center.
> FRACKING depends on horizontal drilling at the bottom of old wells, 
> followed by pressurized injection of materials  that prop up the oil 
> bearing strata, allowing old oil to flow freely to the old wells and 
> new wells.  This technology could more than double the age of oil.
> Gasification can't compete for the foreseeable future.  The world will 
> be bathed in cheap oil and gas for the next century!  I give up on 
> gasification.
> <><><>
> WoodGas stoves are still a possible option in deepest Africa.  Dean 
> Still is taking care of that!
> <><><>
> Tom Reed
Hi Tom,

This makes assumptions about a relatively smooth linear progress of our 
current global economy and its supporting infrastructure.  If this is 
the case you are probably right, and if you are working in this field 
for financial returns, they are unlikely to be found in other than in 
nitche markets.

However, there are several reason to think these assumptions are unlikely.

The global infrastructure has become so complex and interdependent that 
a variety of failures, natural or orchestrated, could cause cascading 
catastrophic failures that could take a long time to repair.  The 
probability of this increases as complexity and interdependence of 
infrasttructure elements increases.

The economic problems in the developed world are unlikely to find smooth 
solutions.  There doesn't seem to be the willpower to implement long 
term solutions that are painful in the short run.

Either of these problems could result in wars or simply damage to 
the infrasturcture that disrupts the delivery of energy locally. The 
localities may include much of the world.

In either of these cases local energy solutions may be very needed.

Concerns for the welfare of your children and grandchildren could be an 
adequate motivation for working in this field if you can without 
expecting large financial returns.


> On Thursday, April 3, 2014, Steven Barber (RIT Student) 
> <stb4703 at rit.edu <mailto:stb4703 at rit.edu>> wrote:
>     Hi Tom,
>     I've been doing some research on the price of commodities for
>     several years now. Since global producers of oil can quickly ramp
>     up (or down) production to meet any level of current demand, we
>     can essentially take out supply and demand out of the equation
>     (except for the very short term refinery explosion, Nigerian coup,
>     etc.). Since oil is priced in dollars, the relative value of the
>     dollar itself determines the price of oil. More value, less
>     dollars needed to buy, less value, more dollars needed to buy. For
>     stable oil prices, we simply need a steady or slightly increasing
>     value of the dollar.
>     Regards,
>     -Steve
>     On Wed, Apr 2, 2014 at 9:41 PM, thomas reed
>     <tombreed2009 at gmail.com
>     <javascript:_e(%7B%7D,'cvml','tombreed2009 at gmail.com');>> wrote:
>         Long term, I believe that FRACKING will make oil prices
>         stable, so don't count on oil increasing in price.
>         COMMENTS?
>         Tom Reed
>     -- 
>     Steven T. Barber
>     MS Finance '12
>     PhD Sustainability Student
>     Golisano Institute for Sustainability
>     Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)
>     585-582-1574 - Office
>     585-370-8598 - Cell
> -- 
> <mailto:TOMBREED2010 at GMAIL.COM>
> Dr. Thomas B. Reed
> The Biomass Energy Foundation
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