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By Robert Rapier on May 6, 2006 with no responses

Coming Attractions

Tags: btl, CTL, gtl

Just wanted to provide a quick update, since it will be a few more days before I have a new essay up. I am trying to finish up an article on Peak Oil for Omninerd, and need to devote a couple of days toward working on that. I recently finished my first submission for The Oil Drum entitled Big Oil and Alternative Energy . Feel free to comment on it at The Oil Drum, or if you aren’t registered there you can comment on it in this thread. The article addresses the statements from various groups that oil companies should invest their record profits into alternative energy. I explain why this is wishful thinking.

Below is a list of subjects that I will be covering in upcoming essays (not necessarily in this order), along with a brief description. If you have a topic you would like to see addressed, let me know.

The Solar Economy – I have only mentioned solar energy on my blog in passing, but it is far and away my favorite alternative energy choice. There is nothing else that compares to the efficiency of direct solar capture. I can envision a society that is driven largely off of solar power, but electrical applications and many automotive applications would need to be operated via rechargeable batteries.

The Diesel Economy – Even if we had no oil at all left, we can produce diesel from coal, natural gas, or even biomass. The capital costs are pretty high, but the feasibility exists (and in fact, is already taking place).

Fischer-Tropsch – I plan to give a brief, layman’s overview of this very important reaction, which will enable The Diesel Economy. This is also how the Germans produced some of their liquid fuel in WW2.

GTL – Gas to liquids, or diesel production from natural gas. This option is currently well under way in Qatar.

CTL – Coal to liquids. This is Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer’s dream for Montana coal. While it is viable, capital costs will be high, and the environmental costs may be steep. I will have a detailed discussion of the issues.

BTL – Biomass to liquids. This one is the least developed, but has the most potential for producing diesel from a renewable resource. I will discuss potential hurdles to be addressed.

I am open to suggestions on other topics. As always, I will continue to comment on current events, so I expect this list of ideas to take me through the next month or so. But I am always open to suggestions.