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Wind Turbines
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United States

Time a for Common Sense Energy Solution

 For forty years the government has been financing researching into alternative energy and the country continues down the same dead end. The government continues with the idea that solar panels, wind turbines and electric cars will replace our dependence on oil and it won’t. Also with wind turbines and solar farms you have to use all the electricity when its generated or you lose it. We can’t store electricity and use it when we want.

The government is also holding our hope for bio-fuels and the truth is we don’t have enough room to grow enough raw material to produce enough bio-fuel to meet our demand. The world is a growing place and we will need our land for growing food not fuel.

 

Before I go any further I need to explain how the economy works because this is important in finding the correct solution. Some people want to raise taxes on gasoline so people use less gasoline. As a country we use 25% of the available crude oil in the world and we have 5% of the world’s population. Some people say we are using too much oil and government officials want to continue to raise mileage standards so we use less oil. Any politician who thinks we use too much oil and we need to raise mileage standards needs to be voted out of office and here is why.

 

Economies Need Energy

 We have the largest economy in the world and economies take energy to run. We have the largest economy in the world because we use the most energy in the world. Look at any country that doesn’t use much energy and you will see a small economy. A large economy and large energy use walk hand in hand with each other.

As for reducing our energy use we have already seen how this has severally damaged our economy. After the oil embargo of the 70’s congress in all of its stupidity had to show voters that it was doing something about the oil shortage by imposing mileage standards in Detroit and gutting the blue collar middle class and for all practical purposes made it extinct.

For those who don’t remember or were not born OPEC shutoff the flow of oil to our country because they wanted more money for the oil. As a result of this oil embargo you could only buy gasoline on certain days. It depended on whether you had odd or even license plate number. Odd number plates could buy gasoline on one day while even plates could buy gasoline on another.

This whole oil embargo was a power play and the United States lost. Thus congress imposed mileage standards on Detroit and in order for Detroit to meet these standards they had to make vehicles lighter. As a result lighter vehicles don’t use as much steel, glass, rubber,  carpeting and upholstery. This lead to layoffs not only at auto plants but at steel mills, glass companies, tire companies, etc., etc. It also meant there were layoffs at mine that supplied the raw materials for steel and glass. And this also effected the shipping companies that moved these raw materials, processed materials and finished products by ship, railroad and truck.  And as a result of all of this the standard of living in this country decreased and this is why even with more people working social programs like Social Security and Medicare are in trouble, the standard of living has decreased. But this is something politicians don’t like to mention because they like getting re-elected.

 

Fuel has to be Cheap

 Also our economy is approximately 70% driven by consumer spending. Consumer buy products, go out on the town, go to out to dinner, take in a show, go on vacation, buy a new car, etc., etc. and this creates jobs. When the cost of everyday necessities like utility bills and gasoline go up consumers have less money to spend and the economy get repressed. We saw what happens to the economy when oil prices hit $147 dollars a barrel and people didn’t have money to buy things and our already bad economy from the mortgage crisis was pushed over the edge and into free fall which is not a good thing. This is way people need cheap fuel and making gasoline expensive and utilities for that matter only represses the economy.

 

So What’s the Solution?

 First of all we use 20 million barrels of oil in this country every day and from those 20 million barrels we get a wide range of products like gasoline, jet fuel, diesel fuel, home heating oil, machine oil, and asphalt to name a few. From a barrel of oil which is 42 gallons we get almost 20 gallons of gasoline. From the rest of the barrel we get the other products that were mentioned.

Every day in this country in this country we use 400 million gallons of gasoline. So we need to find a resource that is in large enough supply that it can supply us with 400 million units to replace the 400 million gallons of gasoline we use.

The only resource on the planet that can supply use with 400 million units every day, year after year is the water in the ocean. Or to be more specific the hydrogen in the water that is in the ocean.

 

Water Splitting

 By mixing water with chemicals to form an electrolyte and passing electricity through it we can split water into its base components of hydrogen and oxygen. It’s a very simple process that produces two part hydrogen and one part oxygen.

The reason oil companies have shifted to hydrogen is the cost of generating the electricity need. The process of water splitting is about 70% efficient. Another way to think about this is a vending machine where you stick a dollar in and only get 70 cents back. You are not making any money on the deal. This is why oil companies use natural gas to produce the hydrogen we use today because it is much more cost effective.

 

Getting Around the Efficiency Problem

 The solution to solve the financial problem of hydrogen production is simple. Have taxpayers give oil companies free water and free electricity so they can produce hydrogen. I know some will say that’s absurd but think about it. With free electricity and free water oil companies could have hydrogen at the gas pump for around a dollar this is the equivalent of a gallon of gasoline with all current gasoline tax in place. The oil companies would make more from an equivalent gallon of hydrogen than they do from a gallon of gasoline. Plus the oil companies would corner the world market for oxygen because it is a byproduct of producing hydrogen. You can’t beat the price of free so oil companies would be able to take over the global oxygen market.

Also with cheap fuel come larger vehicles which means more jobs supplying the auto industry with the materials they need build larger vehicles and undoing the damage that congress did a little over 30 years ago.

 

Replacing both Gasoline and Natural Gas

 Why do we have to replace natural gas when we need to find a replacement for gasoline? It’s simple we want to switch to hydrogen and export most of our gasoline and natural gas so we can use the natural gas pipelines to distribute the hydrogen. This is save trillions of dollars in building a new distribution system.

 

I know some want to switch to natural gas to power our vehicles. The problem with that is the same problem with oil and that is the price is set by global markets. It was market manipulation that caused oil to spike to $147 dollars a barrel. Markets can be manipulated so we need a fuel that is free of market influences.

The only way we can have a fuel that is cheap and free of market influence is if the taxpayers supply the oil companies with free water and electricity. The benefit of this is we have cheap fuel at very stable and predictable prices. We will know with some certainty what the price of hydrogen will be 2, 3, 4, and 5 years down the road. This is important to consumers when they take out an auto loan. And to auto makers when they retool a production line and to anyone else who operates a vehicle of vehicles whether it be trucks or school buses.  

 

Switching to hydrogen insulates our economy so no matter what goes on in other countries or in the market place we will have cheap fuel to power our economy. And by exporting our natural gas and gasoline we are getting ahead of the OPEC game so when they raise prices, we benefit from that price increase. In fact by switching to hydrogen we could actually profit from OPEC by providing safe passage of their oil for a fee. We are currently do that for free because our economy needs the oil. We spend a lot of money and commit a lot of military personnel and equipment to safe guard oil shipments out of the middle east.

 

Wind Turbines are the Key

 The wind doesn’t blow at the same speed or all the time for that matter. So we need to build additional wind turbines to compensate for this. This way over a given period of time say a week or a month we have generated enough electricity to meet the quota we need so we can produce enough hydrogen to meet the demand. If the wind isn’t blowing today, then tomorrow the system works twice as hard to make up for it.

 

The reason we want to use wind turbines is they have a smaller footprint than solar farms. And wind turbines have a larger operational window, they can operate at night.

We will a generation capability of about 3 terawatts using wind turbines in order to replace all the gasoline and natural gas we use with hydrogen. If we were using nuclear power plants to produce the electricity we would only need about 1.8 terawatts. The reason we don’t use nuclear power plants is because we would consumer all the available nuclear fuel in just a decade or two.

With wind turbines we don’t have to worry about fueling them in order to have them produce electricity. But they don’t producing electricity all the time so we have to compensate by building more turbines.

 

We will need approximately 500,000 six megawatt wind turbines and I know what you’re thinking that’s a lot of turbines and it is. But consider this we are currently in a worldwide recession and we have approximately 10 million people unemployed with another 7 million people under employed and millions of people graduating from college every year. We also have approximately 60 idled or closed auto plants in this country. The fastest way out of this recession and to get all of those people working is to use those auto plants to build the equipment we need to switch to a hydrogen based economy.

 

  And I know some will say that 500,000 is a lot of turbines and it is. But for the most part all new technology starts out big and bulky. Look at computers, a single computer used to take up a whole room, now they fit in your hand. Or look at telephone and electricity when they were being integrated into our country. Telephone poles used to look like a jungle of wires, now that mess is cleaned up and we hardly even notice telephone poles anymore. Wind turbine technology will improve once we make the switch hydrogen.We will probably move toward huge skyscraper size wind turbines that will replace a hundreds or thousands of the current turbines. Once we make the commitment to hydrogen then the technology will improve. Someone will come up with a better mouse trap and sell it to the government. 

The Cost

 I’m estimating that it would probably cost somewhere between $5 trillion and $10 trillion dollars to make the switch to hydrogen. I know I can hear people saying we can’t afford that and I say we can. Last year this country spent $400 billion dollars on foreign oil. And in the next 10 year we will spend somewhere between $4 trillion and $7 trillion dollars on foreign oil. If you are paying rent and the rent is so high that you can pay off the house in 10 years you are better off buying the house instead of renting. And we can take up to 60 years or more to pay it off.

 

Switch to Hydrogen is a Huge Feat

 The way we would pay for this is simple we would impose two new taxes. The first would be a small tax of 3% to 5% on earning for both individuals and companies. The second would be a national sales tax of somewhere between 0.5% to 1%.

For the construction money we would have the U.S. Treasury issue U.S. Energy Bonds these would be like U.S. Savings Bonds and would mature in 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 year increments. The longer the mature date the more the money you will make off the bond. And the variety of times means there is a bond to fit everyone’s needs from college money to retirement. How many 401K got whacked from this recession?

Everyone in the world is looking for a safe place to put their money and there is no safer place than tax back U.S. Bond. When these U.S. Energy Bonds start mature and become due if the government doesn’t have enough money to pay these bonds off then they can issue new bonds to pay off the old bonds and basically refinance the debt.

With cheap fuel prices we will have explosive economic growth and this will raise tax revenues but just in case the recovery doesn’t happen fast enough because there is always some lag time with these things the government can simply issue new bonds to pay off old ones.

 

For what we basically spend in 10 year on foreign oil we can become totally fuel independent and that means forever, with a cheap fuel, that is clean and produces not carbon dioxide either in its production or when we burn it. Out of all the alternative fuels  hydrogen is the most flexible and the cleanest. We can use hydrogen to power our vehicles, heat our homes, businesses, government buildings, and factories and it can be used as a heat source in industrial and manufacturing applications.

 

Switching to a hydrogen based economy will be a huge feat it will be the building of the Panama Canal or the Manhattan Project of this century. If we could solve the energy problem easily it would have been done by now. It’s going to a huge effort lead by the government. The nice thing about it is once its done we don’t have to move it when the well runs dry. Hydrogen is the endless oil well that will never run dry. Instead of oil companies thinking in terms of how long a oil field will produce and where the next oil field is they will think in terms of how long equipment and pipelines will last before needing replacing.

And by switching to hydrogen doesn’t mean we will stop drilling. We will still need a lot of the products we get from crude oil for some time to come. But when all the oil is gone and all the natural gas and coal is consumed hydrogen will still be going strong. We will never run out of hydrogen because once you burn hydrogen it turns back into water vapor which falls back into the ocean in the form of rain. We will never run out of water in the ocean or wind to produce electricity. Hydrogen can power our country for thousands of year or until we find a better source of energy.