Friday, February 29, 2008

Drive for new fuel tax

As the herald sun reports

MOTORISTS will pay at least 10c extra per litre for petrol, with oil giants poised to pass on the cost of reducing greenhouse gas.

Australia's biggest petrol refiner, Caltex, yesterday called for a direct 10c carbon tax on drivers.

"Every time motorists filled up at a service station, there would be awareness of the carbon tax, encouraging motorists to think about driving less, taking public transport or buying a smaller car when possible," Caltex spokesman Frank Topham said.

But other oil giants admitted drivers would still be hit at the bowser when emissions trading started in 2010.

BP Australia said emissions trading was preferable to a direct carbon tax, but consumers would see a price rise either way.

Fun times ahead!


Count Iblis said...

These measures will stimulate the development of alternative energy sources, like nuclear energy, wind energy and the necessary infrastructure to make them work (wind power isn't always available on demand and even nuclear powerplants cannot be started up quickly to deal with peak demand).

E.g. you can use wind or nuclear energy to produce hydrogen. Hydrogen can be used by cars etc., but it can also be burnt in powerplants (an experimental hydrogen powerplant has been built in Holland).

Another possibility is to build artificial islands in the ocean that can be flooded with water. You can use wind or nuclear power to pump out the water. Whenever you need energy, you can just let the water flow back in and use that to drive a generator.

Jonathan Lowe said...

Welcome back count. You've come back after being found out on earlier posts?

Nuclear energy doesn't require any economical stimulation. In Australia unfortunately, its the same people who are kicking and screaming about global warming that are kicking and screaming against nuclear energy.

Anonymous said...

That's the problem with Warmers. They are dimally ignorant of the science and engineering needed to make these conceots work.

Hydrogen is a complete non-starter as a fuel.

From wikipedia,

In terms of volumetric energy density, liquid hydrogen requires much more volume than other fuels to store the same amount of energy. Four liters of liquid hydrogen are needed to match the same energy content of one liter of gasoline.

Liquid Hydrogen requires complex storage technology such as the special thermally insulated containers and requires special handling common to all cryogenic substances. Same as Liquid oxygen.
Even with thermally insulated containers it is difficult to keep such a low temperature, and the hydrogen will gradually leak away. (Typically it will evaporate at a rate of 1% per day.[2])
Hydrogen will leak into the chemical structure of the containers and weaken them (see Hydrogen embrittlement).

Artificial islands in the ocean is just a variant on tidal power (which doesn't need an energy source to pump water in and out)which has been around for 30 years. It works, but the capital costs are high. The cost of artificial islands will be a lot higher.

Just another example of Warmer inability to grasp that solutions are only solutions when they are workable and cheaper than the alternatives.

To make hydrogen and artificial islands viable, the tax on a litre of petrol will have to more like $10.

Count Iblis said...

Hi Jonathan, well, I've been too busy to continue to debate things. And at a cerrtain point its better to let things rest a bit and have a look later. Perhaps you have new results?

My opinion on Global Warming (apart from the science), is that the Green Movement is actually responsible for it by opposing nuclear energy in the 1980s, particularly after the Chernobyl accident.

Of course, nuclear energy is economically viable, unlike wind energy. However, we need to use nuclear energy on a massive scale, which means using fast breeder reactors to generate the fuel.

Anon, Tidal power alone is not going to work, you would need to build structures on a gigantic scale for that. That's basically what you are saying. A small island where you pump out the water with nuclear or wind power is much more viable economically.

The first argument against hydrogen (that it is more expensive than gasoline) is irrelevant. Because we are looking at a zero emission infrastructure. It doesn't matter how much it costs. All that matters is that you are storing energy. Of course, it would matter if the energy costs for storage would exceed the amount of stored energy. Then it wouldn't make sense.

But as long as idle power can be stored, you are having a net gain.

Anonymous said...

There are lots of good locations for tidal power stations. All over the world, including Australia.

The real for proposing enormously expensive artificial islands is that people think they can put them out to sea well away from land. Whereas tidal projects would require barrages across the entrance to coastal inlets.

You think dams in remote areas are controversial. These will be dams next to prime beachfront property.

Typical Greenie thinking. Spend enormous amounts of other peoples money, but don't mess with my beachfront view.


Count Iblis said...


Tidal power is ok, but it does nothing to address the problem of how to generate power on demand. I.e. wind energy and tidal energy may not be available when people need electricity. Even nuclear power has this problem to a lesser extent.

Energy storage using an artificial island is seriously considered in Holland. No surprise to me, the Dutch are a century ahead of the rest of the World:



Anonymous said...

count, I always seem to pick on you, but to your credit you do come up concrete ideas that can be discussed.

Essentially tides advance along shorelines. So all you need is a sufficiently long shoreline and it will always be high and low tide somewhere along that shoreline.

So build a series, perhaps 3 or 4, tidal generators and you can generate power on demand 24 hours a day.

In fact tidal power is a lot more flexible than that. You could use the power from one station to pump water into second station.

Cost - somewhere between one tenth and one hundreth of your artificial island.

BTW, Holland is a very densely populated country whose entire shoreline is below sea level. There is literally nowhere on the Dutch coast a water storage facility you describe could be located. However there are probably thousands suitable locations in Australia.


Raging Tiger said...

Dear Count,

[i]These measures will stimulate the development of alternative energy sources...[/i]


European petrol prices are a lot higher than ours and have been so for a very long time. Are they driving hydrogen or electric cars yet? No, I didn't think so.

10 cents a litre will do nothing for R&D but line the treasury coffers. Judging by the European experience, even a 100% increase in fuel prices won't do it. All pain for no gain...

How will this square up with Rudd's promise of reducing the household costs for working families?