Steve G.

Is it just me, or does this not make sense?

In Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Politics, Science on March 15, 2008 at 3:38 am

Alden Link is a Libertarian candidate for the Libertarian presidential nomination. He’s an older gentleman, and his main emphasis seems to be on nuclear power. He claims that nuclear power plants can produce enough gasoline to end our dependence upon foreign oil.I’m no scientist, but I don’t understand how nuclear power plants can produce gasoline. Perhaps someone reading this can explain if the following is possible:

A nuclear power plant has the energy to produce about 15 thousand barrels of gasoline a day.

Given the following equivalents:
• 1 watt equals 3.4 british thermal units (BTU)
• 1 nuclear power plant produces 1,000,000,000 watts
• 1 barrel of gasoline contains 42 gallons
• 1 gallon of gasoline is equal to 125,000 btu
• 1 day has 24 hours

1) 1,000,000,000 watts / hour x 3.4 btu = 3,400,000,000 btu/hour
2) 3,400,000,000 btu/hour divided by 125,000 btu/gallon =27,200 gallons per hour
3) 27,200 gals./hour divided by 42 gallons per barrel = 647 barrels/hour
4) 647 barrels per hour x 24 hours = 15,542 barrels of gasoline per day

The raw materials needed for this process are carbon from recycled atmospheric carbon dioxide and hydrogen from water. This process is therefore non polluting and actually cleans the air

The United States imports about 13,000,000 barrels of oil per day. Some of it is used to run electric generating facilities. Most is used as motor fuels.

If the US builds 900 nuclear power plants for converting energy to fuel we would be energy independent. and not need ANY imported oil. More power plants than that and we could export petroleum products.


Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan

  1. He may know how to look up numbers, and he may know his math (I haven’t checked), but he doesn’t have a clue about thermodynamics and knows just enough chemistry to make a fool of himself.

    Although total energy is conserved, due to various losses to unwanted by-products, it will take a lot more energy to create gasoline (and oxygen, I presume) from carbon dioxide and water than we’d get by burning gasoline with oxygen.

    I don’t know enough to reject the whole idea out of hand. Maybe with two or three or ten times as many nuke plants it would work. Or maybe not. He doesn’t inspire confidence in me.

    His heart is in the right place, but he seems to have an over-inflated opinion of his scientific knowledge, which he thinks is his strong point. I would not support him as a candidate for a major office.

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