Date: Sat, 18 Jul 1998 15:54:27 -0300
From: Daniel Worley <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Browning of Planet Earth -Reply
There are a number of ways in which many farmers, both those on the
sustainable side and the heavy chemical users, can reduce the use of on
farm use of fossil fuels. One of those is to capture and use at least some
of that methane that is generated by farm animals and the decomposition of
their manure products. A few in the sustainable community have used, or
are still using methane on the farm and a very few may even be suing it in
Lion writes: The problems are (1) too much carbon gas release partially
causing long-term climate changes, (2) depletion of power fuels from non-
renewable sources, (3) inertia of complacency caused by transportation
infrastructure, political financing infrastructure, societal lethargy, and (4)
unwillingness to revise mental attachments.
Methane is one candidate, among many, for power fuels. It ranks down on
many lists well off the top candidates. Biomass (including manures) can be
made into methane but it can be more efficiently converted to alcohols
instead. In monocropping, most farms either do not have any animals or have
way too many. You make assumptions that power equipment is required in
planet-changing quantities and we have to make the equipment cleaner, instead
of working smarter so less equipment is required in the first place.
Daniel Worley Wrote:
But I am wondering why there is not more emphasis on finding and using
alternative forms of energy. One alternative form which is a result of the
space program is hydrogen fuel cells. Hydrogen fuel cells produce
electricity without producing any harmful emissions. ZERO emissions. A
few have been used experimentally in city buses and maybe elsewhere, but
there seems no support for it i government circles. Or at least very
little visible support. I wonder why this is so? Could it be the
officials in the Departments of Commerce and energy do not want to upset
the oil companies?
Lion writes: NASA, a government branch, spent millions developing fuel cells
to support astronauts with both power and pure drinking water many decades
ago. It takes energy to produce hydrogen. I am sure that has something to do
with it. By the way, what materials are required to make fuel cells, how much
power do you get per unit weight, and what is the environmental cost of all
that? Maybe that has something to do with it?
Daniel Worley Wrote:
Hydrogen fuel cells have come a long way and are quite efficient now as
well as being light weight enough to almost completely offset the lower
output obtainable than that from fossil fuel engines.
If every one agrees that the continued use of fossil fuel is a major
cause of the global warming, and also that we are rapidly exhausting the
world supply of these fuels, why is there so little effort now being
devoted to converting to alternate sources of energy? Anyone care to comment?
--Dan in Sunny Puerto Rico--
Lion writes: Not everyone agrees. This whole dialog started because a
Nebraska electric utility made (or was showing a video somebody else made)
saying more carbon in the atmosphere would have major benefits.
Plenty is being done. Japan has made Photovoltaic solar power a top
national priority, developing and installing rooftop panels and their
technology. Many undeveloped nations are bypassing the national grid system,
buying solar PV panel manufacturing plants (themselves solar powered), and
installing local power in villages without large connected systems. If these
subjects interest you there is much you could keep abreast of. Here, in
sustainable agriculture network, the interest is more in farm relevence. Not
much of the news is energy related, so this is not the cutting-edge forum for
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