Peak Oil... Now Peak - ?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by cosmichobo, Oct 27, 2012.

  1. cosmichobo macrumors 6502

    cosmichobo

    Joined:
    May 4, 2006
    #1
    G'day,

    I fear a time, long after I'm dead, when mankind will realise - oops, we've used up all of the [ ] on the planet, now we'll never get into space... never set out to colonise new worlds... we're stuck here!

    We are facing Peak Oil as we speak...

    So, what will be next? What other natural resource/s will soon come to an end?

    Does anyone know? Speculation?


    cheers


    cosmic
     
  2. Mord, Oct 27, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2012

    Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2003
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    Thorium, we have enough to safely satisfy our energy needs for over a hundred thousand years. We can even use those reactor designs to burn up spent fuel from our current bomb producing light water reactors. This just needs the investment and for the public to support the idea. Those designs are much much safer than current ones as the coolant used as a molten salt, so they run at a much much lower pressure. Thorium is also a way less prone to thermal runaway so in the case of a meltdown the bottom of the reactor would just melt and release the contents into a pit below to cool. Thorium is useless for building bombs. If we had any sense at all we'd have been encouraging Iran to build molten salt thorium reactors, they could take a world leading role in the field, create something truly groundbreaking and there would be no fear of bomb making

    As it is we're treating them like a rouge state that's not allowed to have what we do, all that's ever going to do is get them to do it anyway just underground where we can't bomb them, it's ridiculous.

    Also fusion, which again, we know is technically achievable, just no one has invested in it to the point of payback, brussard reactors have been build as small tests and have shown that they'd start paying back at a certain size then more and more as you scale. The US navy is funding a project right now to explore this but they're pretty secretive about it and from the sounds of it don't want to get any press until they've delivered a tangible product.

    There are various other technologies which we know are feasible we've just not bothered to implement that could similarly solve the problem. Why we haven't is I guess a mix of politics, money and I imagine the pressure exerted by oil companies to maintain their own business.

    I do think as a species we'll survive these things, the state we manage to though is entirely dependent on how long it takes us to get our **** together. I'd really much rather not watch the world suffer from famine, poverty and pollution before those that remain harness these forms of energy and re-engineer the world back into shape.


    If I won the lottery, that I don't play, tomorrow I'd probably pour all but a hundred k or two into fusion research, there's a guy more or less crowd funding an experimental bussard reactor and he seems to be doing pretty well for himself. To make a full prototype that is marketable and a practical source of energy would cost about £400m, though then you could sell the designs all over the world.
     
  3. Happybunny macrumors 68000

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    #3
  4. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    Jan 24, 2010
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    Inside
    #4
    Helium is nearing the end. Next might be natural gas, then coal. Mercury is in there somewhere as well. Of course if we can get to the moon to start mining there, the helium problem won't exist anymore.
     
  5. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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  6. cosmichobo thread starter macrumors 6502

    cosmichobo

    Joined:
    May 4, 2006
    #6
    I used to pay bills for Helium, having worked in hospitals, but never really thought about how it is extracted/sourced. Thus had no idea that it is a by-product of oil... Given that we use quite a bit of it for a wide range of things, it certainly will be something we'll have to either find new ways of obtaining, or alternatives for...

    Mercury... also from what I just googled has a pretty finite life - or at least is currently mined in limited places, though luckily (given its toxicity) we don't depend too heavily on mercury these days...
     
  7. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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  8. cosmichobo thread starter macrumors 6502

    cosmichobo

    Joined:
    May 4, 2006
    #8
    Coming from Australia, where we have all largely been in drought for about a decade, with massive water restrictions etc, and higher prices... leading to the building of several desal plants, and finally after 30 years, some new dams being planned/built... I appreciate fresh water concerns, but think we've got pretty good infrastructure now in place...

    Is there a bigger global concern over fresh water? Does global warming = less fresh water rainfall? Any patterns showing issues for the future?


    cheers

    cosmic
     
  9. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Inside
    #9
    Less is some areas, more in others. I know in Pittsburgh we've been getting more percipitation than usual when compared to the past 200 years. The summers have also been hotter and the winters colder than in the past as well.
     

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