[Paleopsych] The upcoming end of fossil fuels is...

Steve shovland at mindspring.com
Mon Aug 9 05:07:24 UTC 2004

a) a potential catastrophe
b) the next big thing
c) a) and b)

America is a country looking for something worth doing.

The fickle finger of fate has delivered it: dry oil wells.

Left to the improvisations of crisis managers, this will
indeed be a huge catastrophe.

But with with a little bit of initiative, it can be an
opportunity that ushers in a new golden age.

Where to start?

In my small Minnesota hometown they have a diesel
power plant that used to power Rock County when
I was a kid.  I remember the low rumble of the diesels
in the hot summer air.  That plant hasn't been used
much for a long time, but they have kept it up "just
in case."  Well, just in case has just arrived.  It's
farm country out there.  They can easily grow all
kinds of things that can be squeezed for the oil
needed to run that plant.  And nitrogen-fixing
bacteria can help grow the crops.

If you don't know it, you will be pleased to hear
that in southwest Minnesota they are building
giant wind farms as fast as they can go.  The
US has been described as "the Saudi Arabia
of Wind."

I live in San Francisco now.  They say that the
water flowing in and out of the Golden Gate can
produce more electricity than we can use.  If
we could build the bridge, we can build the
turbines needed to tap that power.

Just a few miles south of where I live is Burlingame,
which sits in a valley that runs from the Bay to the
ocean.  During the afternoon winds of at least 30 mph
blow through that valley, a great place for wind turbines.

All around here there are engineers and programmers
looking for something to do.  How about control systems
for alternative energy equipment?

Remember Milorganite?  Fertilizer made from sewage
in Milwaukee.  Sewage can also generate copious amount
of methane which can be fed into existing pipelines.

What do we do when we don't have petroleum to make
plastics and what-all?  Whole armies of chemists can be
put to work creating alternatives.

Hybrid cars are selling very quickly.  What about the old
stuff?  Hydrogen conversion is possible, and during World
War 2 many cars in Germany were converted to run on
wood gas.  What?  You take a big tin can, attach the fuel
line to one end, fill it full of blocks of wood, and light a small
fire at the other end.  Fuel cooks off.  Works with coal too.
Fluidized bed combustion makes it clean.

Steve Hovland

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