The fast lane to clean fuel energy independence & low utilities and vehicle-fuel bills — Pee-ew!:
(Contrary to the misleading pro-nuclear implications of nuclear-industry pictures that may appear in association with this article, over which the author has no control, this article is about the transitional fast path to clean fuel energy independence via biodigester methane gas, from sewage, sanitized & turned into electricity & views the nuclear energy industry as an unnecessary, unclean, on the whole, and grossly unsafe, financially parasitical Frankenstein energy industry financed and insured at taxpayers' expense and liability, possibly at the sacrifice, in part, of public social-safety-net programs, like Medicare and Social Security retirement pensions)
Advanced societies need to get over their squeamishness about industrially exploiting the endlessly renewable abundant and potentially cleanest fossil fuel resource of all for generating electricity and compressed vapor gas (an alternative fuel for co-powering plug-in electric motor vehicles en mass, or for optionally powering them solo), which they themselves produce, for conversion to or the extraction of methane gas, being human excrement, as well as both food and ecological waste, that can be reprocessed into manufacturing methane gas at the nationwide network of already existing municipal sewage treatment plants. This already existing sewage-treatment-plant infrastructure and permanently renewing human-waste resource for potential inexhaustible quasi-natural-gas and electricity generation for powering our society, if harnessed, can, on its own, largely extricate our society from dependence on all other fossil fuels for fuel energy (electricity, and vapor and liquid gas) generation and supplies in the short term and extricate it wholly when combined with proliferating solar, wind-turbine, geothermal, bio-fuel and miscellaneous hydro technologies and sources of fuel energy generation and production. Real-life proof of concept for this proposal is the fact and applied science examples in society itself that some farms and farm towns in both the U.S. and China are already electrically and vapor-gas powered from reprocessed methane gas extracted from cow manure. Over recent years, radio and TV have periodically reported on these scenarios as well. Easily accessible knowledge of these examples is available in articles on this subject via internet search engines under the search request "farms using cow manure to generate methane gas to make electricity." Certain of these articles explain that biodigesters breakdown the manure, or waste, called biomass, into methane gas and move the methane into pipes that lead it into turbine chambers that convert it into electricity that is distributed, thus diverting the methane gas (among the most potent greenhouse gases, that otherwise would inevitably issue from natural manure or biowaste breakdown) from entering the atmosphere and then converting it into an innocuous and valuable, renewable fuel-energy resource -- endless methane tamed and sanitized via biodigesters for supplying electricity.
Sanitized methane gas transformed into electricity by biodigesters is a permanent environmentally acceptable source of clean, renewable fuel energy as well as solution to the often hazardous disposal problem of human bodily and food waste and human society's ecological waste, much of which is discharged into major bodies of water and rivers. As biodigester electricity production systems are primarily built for processing large quantities of biomass and can be setup in a matter of months, they are ideally suited to produce methane gas transformed into electricity at municipal sewage treatment plants immediately. Small biodigesters under experimental development should within the decade be available for outfitting on yachts, and commercial and military ships, and maybe airliners and spacecraft, for benign disposal and electrical harnessing of on-board human excrement and food waste for on-board self supplying of electric fuel to these craft.
In addition to being a basis for lower property-energy and transportation-fuel bills, this new source of local fuel energy production would shift massive revenues from going abroad to foreign oil production companies and to environmentally abusive and indifferent domestic and foreign polluting fossil fuels companies to coming back home to our own municipalities and states as a basis for lowering property taxes, and funding free and low-cost hi-tech public college and university education, job training and re-training and adequate public safety and emergency personnel staffing.
24/7 fuel energy independence from nuclear power plants and all fossil fuels via convergent solar, wind, geothermal, hydro and bio-fuels energy and man-made methane gas from sewage excrement-plus converted to electricity, as they presently are to varying degrees, and shared as electricity via national and international smart-grid and electrical-transmission-cable linkages is a practical near-term option and permanent solution to the whole of our society's, if not the global advanced societies', fuel energy needs and problems. However, comparatively much less polluting and less global-warming fossil-fuel vapor natural gas (NG) obtained without problematic hydraulic fracking should remain as a long-term fuel energy resource, a resource increasingly used to generate electricity in replacement of filthy coal in power plants and to power alternative-fuel natural-gas cars but a fuel energy that is not renewable -- less polluting and contributory to global warming, overall, than the other fossil fuels. Methane and vapor natural gas, which are greenhouse gases (albeit moderately nuisance or dangerous gases to Earth's atmosphere, climate and weather patterns) but which are virtually immediately available as the transitional or interim dominant fuel energies for the self sufficiency and fuel-supply independence of our fuel energy economy to meet all of our society's electrical and vapor-gas (including compressed vapor gas and significant quantities of liquid gas made from vapor gas) needs, for which a ubiquitous network of power plants in society exists to utilize them to produce and supply all needed electricity and vapor gas for society now, might be phased down to becoming permanent supplemental, lower-scale and emergency fuel energy resources when the infrastructure, and electricity, cleanest-vapor-gas and cleanest-liquid-gas production of the alternative, renewable clean fuel energy sources of solar, wind, geothermal, hydro and bio-fuels have become dominant for meeting all of society's fuel energy needs. In reality it will take both methane gas extracted from our sewage treatment plants and domestic natural gas -- where there are enough natural stores of natural gas (a vapor in its natural state like methane gas is) in the U.S. that on their own can meet all of our nation's fuel energy needs for approximately two centuries -- to reliably and securely satisfy all of our society's fuel energy needs well in excess of what it needs until the fuel energy supplied by the clean alternative energy sources come to take the lead in satisfying, with guarantee, all of our society's fuel energy needs. Impartial Stanford University geophysical energy studies have determined that either domestic solar or wind-turbine energy, if they could be stored, could more than satisfy all of our nation's electrical energy needs around-the-clock permanently.
As Earth is a natural bi-solar cyclically rotating planet, it can produce around-the-clock intercontinental solar-generated electrical energy for intercontinental exchange and sharing (with some half of our planet always cycling through either a day or night phase), forever, via redundantly numerous below-ocean-and-sea-floor electricity transmission cables. Wind on a national basis, or on a regional basis within most nations, is also in constant supply.
The wind always blows, the sun always shines, there is always daylight, human excrement always flows and ecological and agricultural waste is forever growing and decaying, somewhere in huge abundance, for producing electricity, vapor and liquid methane or natural gas and bio-fuels.
Contrary to the disinformation being disseminated by some broadcast media academic advocates and apologists of nuclear reactors and natural gas (NG) and very finite and highly polluting fossil oil for meeting our national fuel energy needs, solar-sourced electricity is generated in daylight, whether or not the sun is shining, as anyone can observe in the operation of any common solar-window-powered device, such as a solar-powered calculator or radio, which may even operate without fail indoors on artificial light and in low light (Demark is even marketing solar-powered street lamps that operate in low and indirect light and that also feed electricity to electrical power plants). Inevitably, laptop computers will feature a built-in or attachable solar window to power them and charge their batteries, come rain or shine or be the sky cloud covered. Also contrary to the claims of some of these 1950s and 1960s atomic-era-minded, out-of-touch and out-of-date scientists that cars cannot or can barely operate on solar power, hi-speed solar car races are routinely held, with major events having been in the U.S., Malaysia, Turkey, Japan and Australia -- but these vehicles are far from pretty and are not suited for multi-person and family driving or highway long-distance driving currently. Notwithstanding, some all-electric and hybrid vehicles coming to market will also feature a solar panel for the continuous passive charging and recharging of their batteries in daylight.
We should strive vigorously and irreversibly for swift energy independence free of dirty politically problematic fossil oil, natural-gas extraction by environmentally and biologically problematic hydraulic fracking, environmentally and biologically devastating and filthy coal extraction, and dubious nuclear power plants, the most expensive and time-consuming to build and riskiest of electricity production facilities, at taxpayer co-signor liability for financing and loan-repayment default and taxpayer insurance obligation for nuclear catastrophes, as private lenders and investors will not finance or fund nuclear power plants without government loan guarantees, and insurance companies will not insure them against structural failure, malfunction or environmental or public injury or catastrophe. In the context of Murphy's law, which states "What can go wrong, will go wrong," and the famous observation and dictum in the slightly differing words of each the Greco-Roman historian Plutarch and 18th-century British intellectual Alexander Pope that in synthesized paraphrase said “To err is to be human,” we cannot afford the least margin for error coming from a nuclear disaster, resulting in uninhabitable contamination of the environment and the evacuation of entire human communities, nuclear-radiation poisoned soil, water, air, flora and fauna, and food, and consequent skin and organ cancers of all kinds afflicting ourselves, our children and our loved ones, including our first responders and health-care providers, apart from lethal and harmful biological mutations and other health injuries and birth defects resulting from a nuclear disaster. Even nearly infallible techno-intellectually supreme theoretical physicist Albert Einstein admitted to having blundered big-time in his science work.
Incompetent and dishonest comparisons have been made between the safety record of nuclear power plant reactors versus that of road vehicles and a similar comparison with airplanes by these same folks. They point out that many more accidents occur with and lives are lost in road vehicle accidents (5.5-million car accidents in the U.S. in 2009, Edgar Snyder.com - car accidents statistics; death toll of 42,031, drugwarfacts.org, 2009) and airplane accidents (average annual fatal airliner accidents of 27.2 and average annual death toll of 794 for the first decade of the 21st Century, 01-04-2011, bloomberg.com/news/2011-01-04/airline-cr
Ninety-nine nuclear reactor accidents have been documented from 1952 to 2011, the majority in the U.S. (57+), with the worst of these having been the 1986 Ukrainian Chernobyl accident resulting in the evacuation of the Ukrainian town of Prypiat and approximately 350,000 people from adjacent communities in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia and the dispersing of radioactive debris across Europe (Benjamin K. Sovacool, Wikipedia) -- we should not assume that there are no unreported nuclear accidents. The considerable literature on the Chernobyl nuclear accident attributes less than 60 to up to 149 human deaths directly attributed to it and 4,000 to 980,000 indirectly. Read an article by Dr. Helen Caldicott, M.D., founder and president of the Nuclear Policy Research Institute and Physicians for Social Responsibility, for an honest and candid health-related assessment of the Chernobyl nuclear accident at http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/20
We should ignore nuclear industry advocate's and apologist's admonishments against critics and questioners of nuclear safety, in the wake of the March, 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear malfunction and eventual meltdown in Japan, as exhibiting hysteria or being hysterical. Alarm, concern and circumspection (reflection and all-around reexamination) in response to a catastrophic accident or event is a most healthy, appropriate and intelligent response. To submissively heed such defensive nuclear industry admonishments and attempts at unconscionable psycholinguistic bullying and public-relations manipulation is to submit to mindless passivity and unmitigated exposure to hazard, to the benefit of the nuclear industry. Their “Don't worry -- be happy” and “Trust in us” insinuations are no more valid than those of the Thalidomide, cigarette-tobacco, lead-poisoning, Agent-Orange, Bhopal-catastrophe, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles
Taxpayer loan guarantees for nuclear power-plant construction and liability for nuclear-reactor (or electricity-generating nuclear-power-plant) malfunctions and disasters are an egregious nuclear industry example of the two-faced free-marketplace libertarian and economic-conservative principle of "privatization of profits and socialization of risk and loss" at taxpayers' expense and the underfunding or defunding of social-safety-net public-assistance, health-care and pension programs for the middle and under classes. This is middle-finger-in-your-face corporate and industrial-sector welfare and wealthfare at taxpayer liability.
To immediately begin to minimize our industrial contribution to global warming while still supplying our industrial and modern society's building, infrastructure and transportation fuel energy needs stably and plentifully at low or modest cost and break our dependence on environmentally and politically problematical fossil fuels (primarily coal, fossil oil and fracking-extracted vapor natural gas) and nuclear power plants for our fuel energy supplies, we need to do the following:
1. Changeover coal-fired power plants to methane and frackless NG power plants for generating and supplying electricity and supplying fuel vapor methane or natural gas to homes, offices, facilities and infrastructure, including vehicle fueling stations, by cable and pipelines for charging electric vehicles and fueling CNG/CMG-electric hybrid vehicles and CNG-CMG-only vehicles (CNG means compressed vapor natural gas and CMG means compressed vapor methane gas, which are interchangeable for fueling purposes);
(Already some states have changed over some and are changing over coal-fired power plants generally to NG-sourced power plants for generating and distributing electricity and fuel NG)
2. Gradually phase out nuclear power plants and replace them with combination NG/MG-solar and wind-turbine power plants;
3. Patronize and changeover our transportation to all-electric, CNG/CMG-electric hybrid, flexifuel/biofuel-electric hybrid vehicles and hydrogen-fuel-cell vehicles, when the latter are not so exceptionally expensive;
(When one takes time to think about it, it makes poor sense to use also dirty, albeit less dirty, CO2- and methane-emitting NG to power vehicles, other than large trucks, until plug-in hybrid-electric-CN/MG automobile technology makes this efficient and economical, in relief from and replacement of very CO2-dirty gasoline derived from politically and environmentally problematic fossil oil. It does little practical and no long-term good to replace an extreme CO2-emitting fuel (gasoline) with a moderate CO2-emitting fuel, where the latter (NG) could be rendered almost totally harmless and kept out of the atmosphere, along with its CO2 and methane emissions, when converted to electricity in electricity generating power plants and replace dirtiest fossil-fuels and CO2-emitting coal that is burned, and cannot be converted cleanly into electricity, to generate the 44.5% of all power-plant electricity it currently generates in the US. NG, together with methane gas, and solar, wind-turbine, geothermal and hydro energy, should be used to replace both coal and nuclear sources of electricity generation, virtually immediately, as non-fracking-derived NG, or NG and methane from sewage, can do now. Their cleaner-sourced electricity can be most prudently used to power maximally clean-running plug-in all-electric and much-cleaner-running electric-CN/MG or gasoline hybrid vehicles over conventional gasoline powered vehicles.
Finite NG and would-be pipeline-vulnerable NG/MG most efficiently should primarily be confined to and used for generating electricity, at electricity generating powerhouses, that in turn is transmitted via electrical power cables to homes, offices, miscellaneous buildings, facilities and fuel-energy dependent infrastructure and should not be used directly as a vapor or liquid gas to power vehicles other than electric-NG/MG hybrid vehicles, and these for no more than several decades, while our fuel-energy economy transitions to a totally clean and safe solar, wind, geothermal, hydro and biofuels-dominated fuel-energy economy. Incidentally, drill-baby-drill for domestic oil production is purely for sucking out and selling the last drops of fossil oil from the U.S., and not for long-term dirty fossil-oil self sufficiency, as all of our potential domestic fossil-oil deposits and reserves could only supply the U.S. for less than 10 years.
Calls for conferring marketplace advantage on and indefinitely mainstreaming CO2-emitting, global-warming fossil-fuel natural gas and CNG vehicles by federal and state government declarations and executive orders that all government vehicle purchases will be of CNG-powered vehicles, and by their patronage of these cars, to the exclusion of all-electric and hybrid vehicles, in the purported interest of domestic fuel-energy production and supply self-sufficiency and independence from foreign petroleum, and for the purpose of establishing and anchoring both a significant and manufacturing incentivizing market for competitively priced CNG vehicles, without regard to their contribution to globally adverse climate change, amount to calls for a formidable assault on the large-scale growth of the cleanest electric and hybrid vehicle manufacturer and consumer markets. They are also an assault on the environmentally clean and compatible alternative renewable carbon-free and non-polluting respectively electricity and petro sources of solar, wind-turbine, geothermal, hydro and non-farmland, largely bio-waste-derived biofuels, industries, for the preservation of the fossil-fuels industry's fuel-energy dominance and the minimization of its emergent clean energy rivals. Such advantage and patronage would be to perpetuate the fossil-fuels energy-source and industry monopoly and permanently sideline and marginalize alternative renewable energy sources of solar, wind, geothermal, hydro and non-farmland biofuels for electricity generation and electric-vehicle and hybrid mass transportation for the long-term foreseeable future, which are otherwise poised and could be powered by electricity generated by clean alternative renewable energy sources.)
4. Encourage and expand electric rail and hi-speed rail for cargo and mass human transport.
Please talk about this alternative renewable energy proposal and recommend public support for its implementation to your elected local, state and federal representatives. (Don't be influenced and dissuaded by the smoky or steamy picture shown above, which apparently is of a nuclear waste reprocessing plant -- which, by the way, reprocesses the re-usable small fraction of nuclear waste -- nor by the attitude suggesting rating given below by the host news service).