John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Friday, April 21, 2006
  Gasoline Shortages Continue On Friday
From NBC:
Gas stations in three East Coast states ran out of fuel on Thursday as gas prices soared. Shortages were reported in Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania starting on Thursday afternoon. They could last as long as 30 days.

This is only indirectly related to hydrocarbon depletion. It links moreso to a changeover to ethanol mixed fuel. I am really not sure that ethanol is a good source of real energy when you take into account the fertiliser needed to grow the plants to ferment into ethanol. (C2H5OH aka Alcohol).

One issue I have left alone for a while is oil depletion. There does seem to be a gradual movement internationally towards recognising the realities of depletion. The government's chief Scientific Officer was looking at the issue.

I have been trying to pin down the gas situation for the winter coming. As usual it will depend primarily on the weather, but there are issues. The long term issue is one of paying for the gas. This winter, however, there remain practical physical supply constraints as well. Capacity goes up by about 40 mcmd on 1st Dec 2006. However, we encounter our usual supply issues there. I am also not sure what the situation is in terms of physical supply as you go away from the Dutch and Belgian coasts. I will post more on the gasissues blog once I have got some clarity as to what is exactly the situation.

The US $3 per gallon compares to $8 in Norway.
 
Comments:
Do you have any figures on what proportion of the botanical feedstock used in production of fuel-Ethanol is grown expressly for that purpose. A lot of biotech industries use as their feedstock the waste from other industries, especially the food stuff production industries. For example the 'corn liquor' waste from corn oil production is the basic feedstock of many biotech plants in the Americas, in the far east the waste from rice product manufacture is frequently used.

Stephen
 
No idea. Clearly there are better and worse ways of making up the difference.
 
It seems to me that looking at waste products from existing industries could be a good way of reducing our reliance on fossil fuels (both as fuel and as chemical feedstocks to industry, oil has so many uses as a raw material that burning it has been described as the stupidest possible thing to do with it).

A few years ago I read an article about a power station in Australia that is being fueled with macadamia nut shells. The nut shells would otherwise have been left to rot so not only has fossil fuel consumption been reduced but also a lot of landfill space has been saved and a lot of carbon that would otherwise have gone into the atmosphere now won't. The CO2 from burning the waste from this year's crop (whoich would have been released anyway through the rotting process) will be used to produce next year's crop.

Obviously alternate fuels is only part of the story, more efficient use of fuel (more energy efficient transport, housing and industry being key) would seem to be a madatory part of the solution.

Stephen
 
You are right abont this. It is an area in which market solutions will actually help.
 
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