When will there be a viable form of alternative energy?

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  1. JSChams profile image60
    JSChamsposted 10 years ago

    Watching the failures of companies such as Solyndra that the public was forced to subsidize, when and where will we find an alternative source of energy that could replace our fossil fuel needs?

    1. Hugh Williamson profile image81
      Hugh Williamsonposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      There are alternatives now and they work, but, who knows when alternative energy will become cheap and efficient enough to displace a significant amount of the fossil fuels (+ lubricants + plastic base, etc.) that we use.

      Current cost isn't the only issue in play. Pollution and supply uncertainty still hang heavily over petroleum. That makes gov't funded experimental projects for alternative energy sources vital.

      The relatively small piddling amount of dollars spent on such projects, successful or not, may well yield a solution to a future with a clean energy supply. Our descendants would then inherit an efficient and clean planet instead of a depleted one.

      This is a quality of life issue, not a political issue -- at least not if we're looking beyond next quarter's oil profits.

    2. CWanamaker profile image96
      CWanamakerposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      There are already many alternatives.  Take thorium for instance, it could supply all the power in the USA with very little waste or emissions. In addition to this, we can mine all the fuel we need right here in North America.

      To bad we have to live by the hands of the politicians though.

  2. profile image0
    idratherbeposted 10 years ago

    Probably when the endless supply of personal gain and profit dries up from oil.

    1. JSChams profile image60
      JSChamsposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      But of course...

      Still, have you seen anything that will be able to replace oil and natural gas. Bear in mind that oil does more than just fuel and lubricate vehicles.

  3. Uninvited Writer profile image78
    Uninvited Writerposted 10 years ago

    When dinosaurs in government stop cutting funds for alternative energy research.

    1. lovemychris profile image73
      lovemychrisposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Amen to that!
      It was so quick that they shut down the hope for alternatives that we on the other side believes in. How silly---we though that voting in our pick for president would make it happen for us! Little did we know---our votes don't matter!

      How silly thinking an election is supposed to guide the direction we take.... But, no one beats the Old dinasaurs that easily.
      It's a fight to the finish it seems. Like pulling teeth to get a morsel from the Kings of Industry and Finance.

      Oh, and about Solyndra.....according to Van Jones, who was the green czar for a bit: what happened there was USA made a bid for that technology, and China came in and outbid us by a huge margin. So, rather than up the ante ourselves, Congress took it upon themselves to deny the funding, and make Obama look like a crook.

      Honestly, my soul is burning with such a rage....it's cold.

      1. JSChams profile image60
        JSChamsposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        Chris the people at Solyndra were manufacturing cells for 6 dollars and trying to sell them for 3 dollars.

        That leads to bankruptcy.....quickly.

        1. kerryg profile image85
          kerrygposted 10 years agoin reply to this

          That's at least partly because of the massive growth of the Chinese solar industry in recent years, which has driven down prices for solar panels to historic lows.

          American solar companies have actually accused the Chinese of trade violations because the Chinese are subsidizing their solar industry to the tune of $30 billion per year, while US subsidies have averaged about $370 million for the last 15 years, barely 1% of Chinese spending. The Chinese are pulling a Walmart trick - temporarily swallowing a loss to undersell the competition until it's put out of business, and then taking over the market - and so far appear to be succeeding.

  4. Eric Newland profile image61
    Eric Newlandposted 10 years ago

    I might as well repost this.

    People have an incredible misconception about disruptive technology. They assume that just because a technology has been demonstrated as feasible it's ready to roll out to the millions. Not true. Not in the least.

    Let's say you want to make all cars run on fuel cells. First of all, fuel cells still have a few kinks in the system. They put out MASSIVE amounts of carbon monoxide, for example.

    Once you've got your perfected fuel cell it's time to scale up. This may be the biggest hurdle. This amazing invention that is easy for a bunch of Ph.D.'s to craft with loving care in a lab now has to be created by the millions in a giant plant by factory workers who may have nothing more than a high school education, and to the same exacting standards as the lab prototype. Machinery has to be invented and built. Mobs of workers have to be taught quality control measures because each fuel cell has to behave the same; can't have one poop out like wet tinder and the next explode like C4. Some start-up money has to go into this, as you might imagine.

    Then you need a venue to sell fuel cells. Likely you need to get big oil on board, because they own the gas stations and it'll be far easier to add on to their facilities than to build your own fuel cell stations and wait for the fuel cell cars to start showing up.

    Oh, right, the vehicles! We forgot there are TWO related industries that need to start mass producing a brand new product! More prototypes, more scale-up, more new production machines and plants, and more quality control and safety issues.

    And risks! Yep, the money might be out there to make it all happen, but it's not going to move until you can convince investors that you're not going to burn it instead of hydrogen and that there's at least a chance that they'll get back everything they put in plus more.

    Disruptive technology does eventually take off. If it didn't we'd still be driving horse-drawn carriages around and developing all of our photographs in dark rooms. Renewable energy will happen too. Money is being spent on research, and the technologies are taking slow, plodding steps toward market readiness. But to demand, "Why is the Mojave Desert STILL not a gigantic solar array?!" is pretty naive.

  5. CHRIS57 profile image60
    CHRIS57posted 10 years ago

    However green you may paint alternative energy, it is always only a commercial issue. That is why i donĀ“t understand all the fuss about solar photovoltaic.

    Solar energy per kWh is by a magnitude more expensive that conventional energy from fossile or nuclear fuelled power generation. That means to be competitive it needs a 90% subsidy. Mmm - what is the big difference to 80% subsidies you have to pay for half price Chinese built photovoltaic. There still is no business case.

    It is a different story with wind power. Wind power should by about double in cost compared to conventional power. Also not competitive, but closing in fast. Some more years of rising demand for energy from emerging economies, some more advances in technology and productivity of wind turbines and we get break even without more subsidies. And here, with wind power it makes sense to subsidize to encourage business.

    So, yes there will be viable forms of alternative, renewable energy.

  6. Ralph Deeds profile image65
    Ralph Deedsposted 10 years ago

    There are many "viable forms of energy" which will eventually replace coal and oil, hopefully before the planet is damaged beyond repair.

    1. JSChams profile image60
      JSChamsposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Well i will tell you I owned a Honda Civic hybrid for a bit and I would give you the powder to blow it to hell with. It failed in every respect to do what it was supposed to do. You don't even want to know what it cost just to get the oil changed. I have a Chevy Cobalt that gets as good gas mileage.
      If you want people to buy it , the thing has to be right.

      Example:  The Chevy Volt????


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