The following article is from a post by our regular contributor Stephane. It deserves its own headline.
Crude oil production becoming personal & networked
A significant technology advancement 30 years ago was about computers, becoming personal & networked. The next technology advancement that’s showing, is about crude oil production becoming personal & networked.
One can massively & safely rely on this, provided we take attitude about the car engines practical efficiency. In 2018, the minimum required efficiency of car engines should be 35%, through some new EPA testing yet to be defined. This goes about the engine alone. Focusing on the engine alone will help car manufacturers, getting a clear message. We don’t bother about tires, weight, aerodynamics, hybridization, etc. We focus on the engine that’s burning oil. Whatever the kind of engine : petrol, diesel, gas. Whatever the engine is an internal combustion engine, or a fuel-cell + electric motor combination.
Now look, every year, the minimum required engine efficiency would get raised by 1%, by the law.
Reaching 40% in 2023, still okay for a 4-stroke internal combustion engine or turbine.
Reaching 50% in 2033, barely reachable for a 4-stroke internal combustion engine or turbine, unless converting the exhaust heat, into traction energy. At this stage, a fuel-cell + electric engine combination will be regarded as a better approach, possibly less expensive.
Reaching 60% in 2043, obliging all car makers to definitively switch to a fuel-cell + electric engine combination.
Reaching 70% in 2053, still easily reachable with a fuel-cell + electric engine combination.
Reaching 80% in 2063, to be considered as final objective. Never waste more than 20% of the energy that you need to pay for, that you need to carry with you. Such would be the rule of thumb. The whole continent, conforming to the good old 80-20 rule.
Will the public, vote for this?
Possibly yes, when they’ll visualize that a lot of household rubbish can get transformed into crude oil on a weekly base, thanks to some advanced trash can, chopping the household rubbish, and converting it into crude oil. This would produce between 2 and 5 liters of fuel a week per household, enough to drive between 50 km and 100 km, in case the car is a fuel-cell + electric motor combination. Plastic bottles, plastic bags, wood, grass, etc. will get transformed into fuel. No need to pay for their collection. The profit gets maximized.
In parallel with this, we’ll produce “solar fuel”, obtained from devices exploiting the sun power. In case you own 20 or 50 square meter exposed to the sun, you’ll dissociate the water that’s in the ambient air, into Hydrogen and Oxygen. Then, the Hydrogen will get “packaged” by some clever CO2 trap, that will actually synthesize hydrocarbons, in other words crude oil. Say another 2 to 5 liters a week, all seasons.
It therefore gets paramount, to standardize the obtained fuels (from rubbish and from sun) for them to become identical, or at least, interchangeable.
I suggest standardizing on Kerosene, which is the preferred aviation fuel till now, and military fuel also.
How to extract the Hydrogen that’s in Kerosene ? What’s the efficiency of such process? Can it be miniaturized, for being integrated into a car, before the fuel-cell ? Is there already some “all-in-one” fuel cell that’s taking Kerosene as input, ambient oxygen as input also, and producing electricity (and water)?