Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Pleistocene Nonconformity - 6 - the changes

What makes the logic of this shift so compelling to myself is the elimination of a lot of theoretical impossibilities that the scientific community was forced to accept simply because they were there. We replaced Noah's ark as an explanation for an Ice age location or two that was simply impossible by climatic ideas of the past and I am rather certain, doubly impossible with today's climatic knowledge.


Resultant Crustal Changes

1 Hudson Bay, formerly the pole is shifted south by thirty degrees, taking the bulk of the massive north American Polar Ice sheet into temperate climes. This is extraordinarily important because it ultimately releases this ice into the ocean lifting sea levels over 150 feet. The Laurentian sheet finished melting out about 9,000 years ago, 3,000 years after the Scandinavian Sheet and the European Mountain glaciers which also contributed 150 feet in sea level gain.

2 Greenland migrates from one side of the polar region to its current locale staying within the Arctic Circle and permitting the survival to date of its ice cap. Precipitation levels change. This conforms to the anomalous precipitation levels currently experienced in both Greenland and Antarctica. Less precipitation is now associated with the thickest ice sheets and vice versa for both regions.

3 The Caribbean shifts from the Temperate Zone to the tropics commencing the full heat pump of the Gulf Stream. This leads directly to the warming of Europe and the swift removal of the Scandinavian Ice Sheet and the first major lift of the sea level. Between the two ice sheets enough fresh water was supplied for the sea level to rise 300 feet. Prior to the application of this heat pump the two sheets likely covered the entirety of the Arctic Sea and partially inland at all the margins. The only release was ice calving in the North Atlantic at the edge of the Arctic shelf and through the Davis Strait. There is no reason to assume that much of it was even floating since huge thicknesses existed. The Northern Hemisphere was much like Antarctica today with massive seaborne ice sheets struggling to reach open water.

4 Eastern Siberia migrates from cold Temperate Zone conditions to the sub Arctic. Conditions do not markedly change as we move from a world of extensive glaciation as existed in Europe to one further north and just as unpleasant. The major change comes over time as the grounded Arctic Ocean ice sheet dissipates and fresh water accumulations from the northern Siberian plains escape into the sea. Little is thoroughly understood, but it is likely that much Siberian Drainage had no escape route except to ultimately build ice on the Arctic Sheet. This may also hold for the Mackenzie River in Northern Canada.

5 Africa merely rotates around the center of rotation in the Congo. With the exception of a wave of earthquakes and tsunamis, life goes on virtually unscathed with minor climate changes. Africa retained massive genetic diversity, while the rest of the global population was almost wiped out, probably reduced to remnant hunter-gatherers in the hills with the necessary survival skills. Genetic diversity collapsed. It is also argued that since Africa is the homeland of all primate development, this diversity is it’s expected due. This might be true except there is no wall and movement and forced intermarriage is the norm for these populations. Because of the huge time frames involved, I am more inclined to expect close similarity in terms of genetic complexity in the Old World. Certainly any successful base population could cover the geography of the Old World in an historical eye blink.

In fact many of the putative successor populations in the Old World outside of Africa appear to be strongly linked to the mountainous regions of Central Asia. These were never areas famous for naturally promoting high population densities. Their genetic influence can only be possible if the much denser natural populations of the lowlands had disappeared.

6 Europe is tilted slightly northward, but the advent of a hugely strengthened Gulf Stream is now the major factor in climate change. The Mediterranean begins to warm up as the northern glaciers swiftly disappear inducing the first major lift in sea levels. The Scandinavian ice sheet and the extensive mountain glaciations are eliminated as well as near sub arctic to Arctic conditions.

7 The Amazon shifts from been largely north of the equator to been largely south of the equator. It remains in the tropics and experiences little change save coastal devastation.

8 India and Southeast Asia including southern China and most of Indonesia shift from the south tropical zone to the north tropical zone. Climatic conditions remain largely the same although a major redistribution of rainfall probably takes place. Inundation from the sea is at its worst here, simply because of the area’s total vulnerability to the likely maximum stroke of the tsunamis. There is no shelter from any direction except into the Himalayas. This area was on the arc of rotation.

9 Australia was deep into the temperate to sub arctic. It moved north into the warm temperate to sub tropical. Glacial cover as existed was removed, particularly in Tasmania.

10 The bulk of Antarctica stayed within the Antarctic Circle preserving the main ice cap. The remainder (Lesser Antarctica) which was sub arctic to almost temperate moved into the Antarctic Circle and started rapidly accumulating additional ice. A warm ocean current similar to the Gulf Stream may have originally bathed this area, leaving a lot of room for climate variation and habitability. Otherwise, it would certainly have been highly glaciated and cold prior to the crustal shift.

Let us take this a little further. We have already intimated that polar ice caps are just that. Global rotation forces atmospheric circulation in such a way as to create a profoundly stable accumulation environment at the poles. Antarctica is an excellent example. What went wrong in the Arctic? Millions of years of ice accumulation disappeared in a geological second. A huge part of the answer, at least for Europe, was the emergence of the Gulf Stream, which delivered the heat necessary to not only eliminate the Scandinavian icesheet, but also prevented the Arctic Ocean and the islands west of Greenland from been covered with ice as they should be.

Even if we do not accept the premise of a global shift of the crust we still have to explain where the heat build-up in the Atlantic tropics went for the preceding millions of years. This leaves only the South Atlantic and the Antarctic Archipelago, which is rotationally in the right direction. Pre shift we would still have a weak Gulf Stream that delivered plenty of moisture but far less heat, and a strong southern current that pumped heat and moisture into a temperate Lesser Antarctica.

11 The Pacific rotated like Africa on an axis near its center. Ferocious Tsunamis on its edges would have been restrained by the massive mountain ranges girding it with the exception of the area of Southeast Asia.

The most compelling argument for the validity of this event is the simple fact that it eliminates an even more troublesome theory. That the output of the sun declined so substantially as to expand subarctic and arctic conditions deep into the Temperate Zone. We do not have permanent ice on Baffin Island or Bathurst inlet or in Siberia today, yet the climate there is at the limit of our capability for sustaining a presence. And the Sun’s annually available energy there, is a fraction of what is received in Buffalo. For an ice sheet to develop and be sustained in the latitudes of Buffalo, the sun’s energy output would have to drop to much less than currently received today in the high arctic.

Other consequences of such low solar output would be the elimination of larger life forms in the sub Arctic at least. This includes Siberia. The tropics would see snow and killer frosts similar to current temperate conditions along with massive mountain glaciation, sharply reducing plant diversity. All the available evidence supports none of this. At the most an Antarctic style ice sheet chilled the Northern Temperate zone and generated a somewhat cooler sub tropical zone. This may have been more local than general.

The likely truth supported by our knowledge of stellar physics is that the sun’s energy output has only fluctuated mildly during the last three billion years. And this ultimately means that polar icecaps had to be at the pole, not the latitude of Buffalo. Polar icecaps form at the pole and spread out from there for a lot of good reasons to do with atmospheric convection and maximum heat loss. They do not form elsewhere.

The one major consequence of this type of event is that the North Polar Region is now largely oceanic. It may be that when the next cyclical cold spell arrives in about 18,000 years, this region will not be able to buildup the ice sheet normally associated with an ice age and the Northern Hemisphere will be largely spared. It will still be chilly.

Although this is off topic, a rather interesting geological consequence of the mile thick polar Laurentian ice sheet was that the land itself was depressed by perhaps up to a thousand meters. This depressant effect extended into the Western Canadian Sedimentary basin.

Now when organic material sinks below two thousand meters, heat, water and pressure combine to convert this material into oil. When this oil is formed it then migrates upward to the surface unless trapped by sealed strata. In practice most of this oil escapes back into the surface environment leaving a scant remnant behind, which is the source of all our oil industry. During the million-year life of the polar ice sheet the eastern edge of the sedimentary basin was pushed down, sending a huge thickness of organic bearing strata into the oil production zone. As a result the produced oil came to the surface and was initially preserved by the extreme conditions associated with the high latitudes. These today form the Canadian Tar Sands, which today represents a possible twenty percent of the global oil reserve.

On an optimistic note, related subsurface heavy oil deposits in combination with the Tar Sands could approach one trillion barrels of producible reserves. This is as much as has been used globally over the past one hundred years. And the necessary production technique breakthroughs are happening now.

The Amazon milieu

Sean at terra preta list (see link) posted the following note

Hi Robert,

You said this again, (and I questioned before whether you meant what you had posted before) ...
"As I posted a while back, the only practical way that the soils in the Amazon could have been created would have been in conjunction with the bio charring of corn stover."

Why do you think the Ancient Amazon rainforest had corn, circa 2500 B.C. or since? I think, like now, that there is far more "rainforest" fauna in that biome (i.e. big trees, in a jungle, like American Mahogany trees, etc.), rather than corn, or maze. Don't you? There surely is now. Is there any evidence that the charcoal in the Amazon is from corn stover? The native soils (without charcoal amendments) in the Amazon rain basin are Antisol and Oxisol soils. These are high in Aluminum Silicates (clays), low in carbon, and very low in organic material (humus) or plant nutrients. Corn will hardly grow in this kind of soil. It's kind of a chicken or the egg thing. Corn can't grow well until you plant it in "Terra Preta" soil - "Terra Preta" soil is made by amending soil with charcoal made from lots of corn?!

Do you have any evidence for your conjecture? Or, are you supposing that corn stover must be the only or main source of biomass used to make the charcoal in the original "Terra Preta" soils of the Ancient Amazon? Why do you suppose this?

Regards,

Sean

This goes to the heart of the problem facing the originators of the terra preta soils.

1 They did not have the tools to physically handle the available biomass. We actually have limitations today. Their solution was as always to use slash and burn. The burn off of the undergrowth would also kill off the larger trees which would then rot out over the next two years or so. Remember, that this is the Amazon.

2 The ash would provide the nutrients for corn and cassava culture. Without terra Preta methods, this would be exhausted in two to three years.

3 With terra preta methods applied to the corn in particular, and a continuing burn off of the field to suppress weeds and regrowth we get the resultant soils with a modest labor input.

4 I emphasize the corn because it clearly produces the several times as much biomass as any likely crop can produce, and it lends itself to the manufacture of a biochar stack. However, any other convenient waste material that could be handled by hand would also be thrown into the stack.

5 Pollen analysis has confirmed the two principal crops of corn and cassava, which ended any uncertainty I might have had.

The problem is that the only energy available to a farm family then was their own. That is the over riding constraint that we cannot avoid.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Scale of Algae oil and the Oil Sands

It is compelling that a strain of algae can contain as high as 60% oil. And that we can produce at least 10,000 liters per hectare. Browsing the material out there suggests that as we develop actual skill and art, our production levels can climb to at least twice that and perhaps much higher than that. This becomes particularly likely if the production system is designed to present (for example) a foot of working fluid to the sun and that foot of working fluid can ultimately produce a liter or two of oil per year. This is not obviously a tall order.

Right now, this technology is crawling out of the lab, but it is patently easy to see why there is enthusiasm.

What we need more of right now is brainstorming on working protocols to take this technology away from the lab and industrial engineering mindset were everything is done with glass and stainless steel.

I personally do not think that using open ponds is a good idea because of the likely interference of wild strains, but I could be dead wrong here. I like the idea of a closed system using large vinyl bags, but even that could turn into a handling problem. Plastic tube systems are great for the humans but must have a catastrophic capital cost that will prevent usage.

I am reminded of the first handling protocol designed for the oil sands in northern Alberta. Everyone thought that conveyor belts would be an ideal solution. They were a disaster instead.

I wonder if the monster waste water retaining ponds associated with the oil sands could be used for algae production during the summer season. There are a lot of minerals dissolved in the water making it inappropriate for easy discharge, yet if algae stripped out these minerals while producing oil, then we may have the beginnings of a solution. One of the dirty little secrets of the Oil sands is that the process water is not been disposed off because there is simply too much to dump in the river. Algae production would produce a nutrified dry feedstock that may be transportable away from the ponds. The real problem is whether that is even slightly sufficient or is it just an economic way of maintaining the ponds in perpetuity. From the human perspective, it is still a solution if it turns out to be possible.

Algae production will require nutrients. Even the ocean requires nutrification as our report on seeding the ocean with iron clarifies. This is another reason that this technology will have to be made farmer friendly since they are already handling the types of processes involved. and are already accessing the nutrients.

Pleistocene Nonconformity - 5 - Crustal slipperiness

We now tackle the question of how the crust might be able to move at all. Recall that it was this objection more that anything else that doomed Wegener's hypothesis to obscurity for decades. Our evidence for a crustal shift is similar to his evidence for continental drift. That is, it is obvious to any school boy looking at a globe and following up on a little deduction once the key idea is picked up on.



Crustal slipperiness

The recognition of the reality of plate tectonics is one of the great triumphs of modern earth science. It has created order out of geological chaos and has hugely informed our understanding of all geological processes. In particular, mountain building can be seen as momentum discharge as one crustal plate crashes into another.

The catch is that the movement of the plates, which is measurable and ongoing, represents a serious energy puzzle. Practically, if we reasonably assume that the affected crust is approximately one hundred miles thick, then a one hundred mile wide section, lifted about one vertical mile by underlying fluid pressure and continuously replaced, generates enough force to push a one hundred mile thick plate continuously. Obviously, this could only happen if the underlying friction is negligible. Certainly global hydrostatic energy transmission is inferred and we can additionally infer movement along a low-viscosity fluidic boundary layer in the direction of plate travel. This is still not good enough since crustal integrity will generate overlaps into areas of counter flow. We quickly return to a situation in which it would be nice to see low friction along the crustal slip plane.

That we are dealing with a slip plane is nicely demonstrated by the passing of the Pacific plate over the apparent Hawaiian hot spot. I observe that if the Pleistocene crustal movement hypothesis is correct, then this particular hot spot has been shifted and will take a massive amount of time to re emerge. In the meantime the molten zones developed beneath the main island will continue to expel material. The vast majority of geologically active zones including plate consumption are contained within the crust and these are simply carried along by any crustal movement. The hot spot is an exception.

The absolute need for low viscosity is apparent. We observe that the deepest rocks we encounter on the surface are the Kimberlites, which rocket to the surface from the one hundred-mile depth associated with the deepest basement of the crust. The implied speed of travel of an estimated seventy-five miles per hour infers remarkable fluidity. More importantly, the source temperature and pressure eliminates all but the most chemically bound compounds. In other words, there is no water or other gases migrating to higher levels in the crust.

Perhaps we should take our cue from the Kimberlites, which are the primary host for diamonds. The diamonds precipitate out from pure carbon within the Kimberlites as they rocket to the surface. What is often forgotten is that the Kimberlites are rapidly shedding carbon all the way to the surface. This implies that the rock began as a fluid supersaturated in carbon. The fact that diamond crystals are formed at all presupposes a supersaturated solution. My speculation is that the crustal layer including the Asthenosphere lies on a layer of material supersaturated in pure carbon, thicker than previously supposed that is inherently slippery and having low viscosity. It seems unlikely that at these pressures, that the slipperiness of graphite is retained, but that may well be the case.

One feature of carbon that is often overlooked is its high melt temperature compared to other elements. It becomes molten at temperatures in excess of 3500o C. It boils at temperatures over 4000o C. Of the common elements and minerals entrained in the crust, carbon resists melting the longest. Add this to the fact of its low density as compared to these same materials and we have the necessary conditions for a concentration plane for carbon under the crust. Convection above would send non-molten carbon down into the carbon layer and convection below this layer would concentrate this layer by density. The Kimberlites merely confirm it.

The existence of this layer possibly answers another interesting problem. The implied high natural electrical conductivity of this layer makes it an excellent candidate for handling the massive global electron flow necessary to electrically affect the global magnetic field. The electron flow itself can be physically derived from the daily solar and lunar tides that will cyclically stress and relax the layer, inducing a steady build up of static charge and inducing electron flow within the conductive layer. The zone of maximum charging would be concentrated within belts paralleling the equator with the electron flow possibly either flowing towards the poles or flowing primarily along the equator following the tides.

We can certainly postulate a charging shell. The complexity of the tidal effect resulting from the twenty-three degree tilt of the globe prevents an easy configuration of the electron flow. This shell charging process needs to be cumulative over geological time periods until the process itself must discharge the buildup of electrical energy. The most certain way to do this would be to force the reversal of the earth’s magnetic field. This has in fact occurred often. This process is clearly benign and any shifts will be abrupt. They may even become predictable.

I do not have an exact electromagnetic model to describe this possible behavior pattern, and it may well turn out to be theoretically impossible. The only simple model that occurs to me is one in which the electron flow is nudged along by the daily tides until the electron wave is large enough to collapse and reverse itself jolting the magnetic field into a reversal. Thereupon the flow is reestablished against the new magnetic field and is built up to the point that it once again forces a pole shift draining off some of the accumulated energy. Then once again it builds up and strengthens the magnetic field until the wave once again collapse. This seems possible. On the other hand, I rather think the explanation will prove much more sophisticated.

Right now we simply do not know and any theoretical models will be difficult to prove.

Returning to the subject of crustal movement the possibility of extreme slipperiness does partially open the door to the possibility of the crust been much more mobile than has been reasonably expected. This needs to be investigated thoroughly on a theoretical basis. There may be subtle forms of dynamic instability that are built up by the application of tidal stress and released by floating the crust to a new orientation.

In any event, we have one mechanism in place by the high velocity high-density asteroid that is capable of generating the movements without obliterating all life. It also enables polar shifting as a result of the buildup of the polar ice caps as a second option which would be even more survivable.

We now come to the compelling part of this tale. That is the data itself. Quite bluntly, rotating the crust along the proscribed axis makes a large number of major difficulties with the currently held paradigm disappear. More importantly, the solution seems to be global, as it must. My natural concern is for this type of event to be anomalous and extraterrestrial in origins. A recurring earth based cyclic event would be a catastrophe for the future of our own civilization.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Pleistocene Nonconformity - 4 - Making it happen

I have one additional comment since I wrote this and that is that the idea of a crustal imbalance generated by the ice cap build up merits far more attention than it has in the past in light of the apparent readiness of the crust to move at all.

Catastrophic enablement

There has been significant speculation regarding the possibility that the earth’s crust itself shifted with the axial tilt and its rotational speed also changing slightly and that this acted as the trigger for the Pleistocene nonconformity. This view was first voiced by Hapgood and more recently carefully documented and supported by Rand Flem-Ath and Colin Wilson in their book Atlantis Blueprint. They map out the substantial cultural support and some of the limited physical evidence such as exists.

What makes this proposition so enticing is that it would nicely resolve a number of troubling issues.

So the first issue we have to deal with is how? The suggestions put forth to date have been specious at best, generally contravening the laws of physics. There is only one good choice that is a massive impulse on the globe from a large incoming mass. Can we make such a model work?

The primary issue we must first overcome is the problem of surface energy release. Obviously, an asteroid that releases all its energy on the surface of the earth will extinguish life long before it imparts enough energy to affect global dynamics. The Cretaceous extinction centered on Yucatan demonstrates this rather vividly. The asteroid involved had an estimated diameter of 20km, a velocity of 10kps and penetrated 30km into the crust. Most of the impact energy was thrown back into the atmosphere.

If however the globe is struck at a high speed by an iron nickel asteroid whose density averages in excess of 5.0 grams/cc, while traveling tangentially to some sub radius of the core we get a different effect. Effective sizes can run from objects with radii of between 5 km to objects with radii of a hundred km. If the object is part of the solar system then the expected impact velocities are not less than 10 kps if originating from the asteroid belt and 30 plus kps if from the Kuiper Belt. However, if the object is not originally part of the solar system the velocity will likely be several times higher. In that case its arrival would also have been from a direction other than the rotational plane of the elliptic. Since the earth is clipping along at about 30 kps and an incoming dense asteroid could be traveling as fast as 70 kps, the combined event velocity could hit 100 kps.

This means an asteroid the same size and density as the Yucatan event would impact with one hundred times the energy as the original. This would probably penetrate the crust. If the density is increased two fold, crustal penetration is certain. Since it would arrive at an angle the penetration distance would be somewhat larger. At this velocity, the atmosphere would be crossed in a second and the crust itself in several minutes as extreme deceleration took place. Critically, the wound left behind would quickly collapse sealing off any rebound energy and limiting direct environmental destruction of the scope experienced at Yucatan.

The asteroid, because of density and speed punches through the crust, which minimizes the extent of horizontal shock. Virtually all its kinetic energy is then released into the core. The observation that a high-speed bullet will leave a small entry hole in the human skull is an appropriate metaphor.

The effect of this impact is to initially rotationally accelerate the core representing perhaps 99% of the earth’s mass in a minute manner. This immediately results in the earth’s crust been temporarily disconnected or at least accelerated away from the core along the crustal plate slip plane. The initial shock of this separation would be felt globally, but been centered deeply in elastic materials it would be cushioned. There would develop a great deal of vertical movement, and one could expect massive new faulting and reopening of old faults. All the generated heat would be initially contained within the core, including that generated by movement friction between the two layers.

Technically, the separation of the core and crust would have occurred on the internal surface of least frictional resistance. Although we assume that this separation was abrupt, this is not absolutely necessary. A short period of elastic stretching could have preceded separation possibly inducing a semi liquid zone because of temperature rise. Also the incoming mass does not need to cross this boundary. It is only necessary for the full energy release to be deep enough to prevent blowback and much orthogonal energy release on the horizontal plane while allowing the compression pulse to continue in same direction. If we assume liquidfication occurred within the boundaries of the pulse, then the energy could have substantially caused additional liquidfication of the movement surface, particularly if that surface is coincident with one of the major density change horizons where orthogonal energy displacement could be forced. In any event, this would all take place deep below the hundred-mile thick and brittle crustal zone. Regrettably, we have little meaningful understanding of the chemical makeup of this environment, let alone its physical behavior.

Fortunately this style of impact event is likely to be generally survivable, since the energy rapidly absorbed by the core can now be released partially back to the crust in the form of slow motion braking energy. All the original energy imparted by the impact is ultimately translated into heat and a modest change in rotational velocity.

The effect on the core by the crust as the two parts try to come back together would then be felt as a steady movement of the crust for a sustained period of time of at least a month or two. The legend of the crust decelerating to a stop and then reaccelerating to achieve a different rotational speed could have happened if the core first flopped over on its poles. The accelerations necessary for the crust to do this in the time frame suggested is impossible to survive. This does not mean however that the process could not have occurred over a much greater and much more likely time span of say two to three months. The lonely legend that we have remembers a reversal rather than precise details, and in any event, is not broadly supported.

The initial surface energy release from possible hundred mile wide penetration of the crust would still be massive, hurling tsunamis in all directions and sending a shock wave in the atmosphere many times around the globe. It almost certainly must have happened in the ocean were the crust is thinnest and the evidence could be buried.

The stressing of the crust would also have probably caused a strong jump in volcanic activity, but we should keep in mind that this activity is more a function of the developing chemistry and heat flow of local volcanoes whose roots are contained within the crust. The heat generated by the event was substantially below these local surfacing hot spots. In fact it is likely that the bulk of the generated heat could well be still down there since heat loss through the crust is extremely slow. One of the difficulties with postulating a heat pump model as the motive power behind plate tectonics is the sheer glacial slowness of it all and the minimal heat release, even along the mid Atlantic ridge.

It would take a long time for the entry hole to be filled by magmas. During this phase the ocean would pour into the hole and be converted into steam with some ash produced by the cubic mile. We would expect months of torrential rain from the steam generated by the ocean pouring into this hole. I observe that the chemical composition of the ash will be rather different from normal volcanic ash since it is partially derived from deep non-crustal rocks. Also, this deeper rock would not necessarily be water saturated, sharply lowering the potential for ash production.

If Iceland were not rather convincingly linked to the development of the mid-Atlantic ridge, I would pick it as our most likely touchdown point. I would even be tempted to try to link the loess deposits of Europe to this event. It is still suspicious enough to justify a careful reassessment. More likely though any such hole is on the ocean bed and is filled with ash and magma making it hard to spot.

I am been too gentle. Geological interpretation is a terribly inexact science. The first accepted efforts in this field came out of the study of European geology. There exists a huge body of relatively unchallenged interpretations that call out for a major effort to reconfirm in the light of modern knowledge and technique.

Having had the pleasure of dealing with geological information for many years, I have learned to be skeptical and to also appreciate how little hard data any given set of eyes will ever see in a lifetime when compared to the total available. This particularly plays real havoc with mapping where continuity is assumed between data points sometimes miles apart. The book has yet to be written describing high-resolution Pleistocene geological depositions for any continent and is in fact still premature.

Besides all this, the possible movement of the crust and its realignment is the real story. The effects on the coast in most parts of the globe would have been devastating with the ocean effectively coming on land and racing hundreds of miles inland. Yet other parts will have been relatively unscathed.

We cannot say a great deal about the dynamics of this purported event. Calculation may give us bounds and perhaps allow us to estimate the level of disturbance. This would still be a unique event in the earth’s history. We can say a lot about how it ended since we live with the end result. The crust itself ended up with the former poles tilted approximately thirty degrees from the new poles on a longitude running through the center of Hudson’s Bay.

There are also additional cultural markers that are global in extent strongly indicating that this was the case. They are argued extensively in Rand flem-Ath and Colin Wilson’s book Atlantis Blueprint previously mentioned. I do not find these markers necessary to the case at hand but they certainly are curious targets amenable to extensive archeological research. If these markers could be proven directly linked to the eras implied, then we can be confident that greater human remnants survived the event sufficient to generate the cohesiveness necessary to leave a record for us to interpret.

However this all happened, the human cost was catastrophic. If it was slow, then the survivors were those who were forced into the wilderness out of their ancestral homes. If quick, one morning an entire civilization of probably millions was extinguished. The only survivors were those at sea and along the axis of movement, only those in the high country. Of course Africa survived hugely. The simple fact that much of Asia was possibly repopulated from founder populations centered on the Caucasus and the Altais speaks to the abrupt elimination of all lowland peoples. This would simply not be possible otherwise since the natural populating process is the other way around. The better we prove a secondary genesis out of central Asia the better we prove the extent of the disaster.

Fuel and Algae

We are now coming to grips with the reality of the end of cheap oil and the ultimate rationing and reallocation of oil resources to highest and best usage. If transportation could be shifted onto another protocol, then we will gain hugely by the simple diversion of oil to the petrochemical business. There would be enough supply to last a fully developed global economy a very long time.

This means that it is time to revisit the promise of algae production. First off, certain stains of algae produce a huge amount of biological oil and can be easily stimulated to do even better. It has been calculated that while the best oil seed can produce around 1000 liters per hectare, algae can produce 10,000 liters per hectare. This is both huge and extremely compelling. Obviously a major investment in product development is called for.

It also appears likely that the by product dry or wet can be fairly easily made into a feedstock for ethanol production. And the combination of ethanol and the biological oil is a viable diesel fuel in its own right without even further processing. of course, it will be better to do some form of fractionation to split out higher valued components. It is just not necessary.

At the present, the cheerleaders of this technology are thinking of placing this technology out in the deserts were a few thousand square miles will readily supply all our fuel needs. I doubt that would be a good idea.

The practical solution will be to develop the economic model around a farm gate. After all you require the hands on maintenance and growing expertise that an experienced farmer can provide.

If we imagine a 2 hectare algae growing facility, perhaps using inexpensive vinyl tubes with a three foot diameter to hold the working medium as I have seen demonstrated, then we can model the necessary handling equipment and resources. Fertilizer and nutrients need to be continuously introduced and product will need to be removed at the rate of perhaps 2 tons per month.

That is still quite a little facility. The two tons will need to be squeezed for oils and the byproduct will have to be placed into a fermenting vat for several days. However that two tons is very transportable using the equipment every farmer has available.

The important thing is that this can be completely within the parameters of any working farm and particularly those farms that are under utilizing the land resource because their principal business is growing a chickens (for example). This would interfere very little with the demands of such an operation.

And the gross revenue will be ten times that experienced with any other oil crop. That is very attractive. Even at ten cents a liter earned that is still still double the return on any other oilseed crop.



Thursday, July 26, 2007

Pleistocene nonconformity - 3 - Atlantis legend

This excerpt deals with the informative Atlantis legend. There was no room to stuff in a chart made up by Arysio that strongly supports a South China sea homeland for modern man Intriging at least, but so is Bronze Age Ireland. I do think it is well worth going to his site.



We will first discuss the famed Atlantis legend, which is best described as a possible antediluvian antique civilization with extensive maritime trading activities operating on a global scale. This is a great tale that was first told by Plato by way of Egyptian provenance that has since launched 10,000 books.

The salient difficulty that we must face with Atlantis is the simple fact that this putative civilization lived so deep in time that artifacts would now be extremely few in number and probably be unrecognizable in general. On top of that these artifacts are underwater in their heartland. This means that for now we can satisfy ourselves only to the extent of showing that it might have been.

What I will do now is introduce a chart generated by Arysio Nunes dos Santos on his website www.atlan.org. He has done a splendid job of reinterpreting and assembling the known information showing the compelling case to be made for the Indonesian Archipelago. I personally had come to similar conclusions regarding the importance of this region for unrelated reasons long before I was aware of the areal extent of the submerged plains. His work takes what is likely the most accurate report (Egypt is about the only place that an accurate report might have been retained) and checks it against the many proposed locations of Atlantis.

In this checklist he compares the requirements of Plato with the characteristics of some of the proposed locations. He shows that only the plains of the South China Seas and its environs meet the requirements imposed by the cultural sources.

I consider that the most compelling evidence in support of the early emergence of an antique civilization is the huge areal extent of the tropical coastal plains now submerged. As in the Yucatan, a huge homogenous population could have slowly emerged and become stable enough to support the type of infrastructure such a civilization needs, as happened independently in Yucatan.

Arysio also makes clear that from the Mediterranean perspective, all the oceans, as we know them today, outside the Pillars of Hercules were one and the same. The holy mountains referenced would be those volcanic peaks in and around northern Java. These are some of the most violent volcanoes on earth. The checklist also emphasizes the depth of information provided by Plato. Whatever we make of the myth itself, the original informant was telling a tale describing the East Indies, rather than some Mediterranean locale.

Thus, if we are prepared to accept the existence of a huge, well developed and a probably still antique civilization with a global maritime reach prior to the Pleistocene nonconformity, we have clearly given it a viable homeland.

This is also a civilization that would have been hugely vulnerable to a large tsunami coming in from the northeast out of the Pacific. And the rise in sea levels from the ice melt would have forcibly driven the populations out onto the far less hospitable Chinese and Indian plains provided they had the time and shipping. With or without tsunamis, the one hundred and fifty-foot lift in sea level at this time forced the bulk of all lowland populations globally to move to higher ground. They were probably rushed. The one hundred and fifty foot lift that occurred about two to three thousand years later with the additional collapse of the Laurantide ice sheet was also just as catastrophic in shifting any large civilized areas out of their homelands. We are probably looking at a ten to one reduction in available land.

It is hardly a coincidence then that these great sub tropical plains of India and China and the Sumerian delta, as well as other locales worldwide suddenly and simultaneously developed agriculture. Refugees with plant growing skills would have moved into previously poorly exploited river valleys that were now becoming open to the seas and would have struggled vigorously to reestablish the agricultural economy and civilization that they were familiar with. Our own historical experiences of the difficulties involved in poorly supported colonization give us a pretty good sense of just how difficult this would have been even if the transition took 3,000 years.

I think every schoolchild should read some of the original accounts of pioneers who wintered over with Native Americans during periods of poor hunting. Even with all the skills available, the conditions become absolutely fearsome. It also becomes utterly clear why agriculture was adopted so enthusiastically where possible.

We can be pretty sure, however, that our putative original civilization on the South China Sea plains was itself never truly global in the first instance and that their knowledge base was never internally distributed throughout their civilization. We do not know how advanced their science was, although some cultural sources suggest that they reached technology levels we would recognize as modern. In any event it went unshared and became utterly lost in the exact way that Mayan science and engineering became lost. More likely, they perfected their limiting antique mathematica and applied it brilliantly. Mathematical innovation is the one piece of knowledge that was capable of surviving a holocaust. Try and imagine us losing the use of the zero or the meter stick.

A number of commentators have pointed to cultural evidence in India as support for advanced technology derived from this epoch. In practice, even if it did exist, and we do have suggestive physical anomalies that require explanation, there was a complete failure to preserve the knowledge and pass it down. Our entire knowledge base today is completely regenerated from recognizable antecedents within the past several thousand years, including even our agriculture. If such a civilization existed, it disappeared just as totally as the Mayan civilization in which no successor population could read the old glyphs.



100 miles per gallon

The only short term fix available to us in the face of that $500 fill up is to convert to a automotive system that gets 100 miles to the gallon as a minimum. a huge effort is now underway to achieve just that. I am even getting feedback off the street that is even more optimistic.

A three to four times improvement in mileage in the face of a three to four times improvement in fuel prices is consumer neutral in terms of economic impact. And our current supplies are then easily extended for decades since we can then shift over to an ethanol blend over the next two decades. The ethanol can be produced as a derivative of algae production so that agriculture is not disrupted.

This is an apparently viable strategy and certainly the least disruptive. If however, we get a rapid shift to the high end in price, then I expect that we will see a forced conversion of the global automotive fleet over a very short time period. First downsizing to better mileage vehicles followed by a slow increase as general efficiency rises. Amazingly enough, that suggests that the automotive industry will enter boom times as everyone shortens their trade in cycle. I never though that I would be saying that about the most mature industry we have.

Buy Gm?





Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Pleistocene Nonconformity - 2 - cultural references

This is the second page in which I briefly run over known but limited cultural information.

Chapter 7

The Pleistocene Nonconformity - part 2

Additionally, antique civilizations had a poor capability to colonize slightly distant unconnected regions occupied by traditional village based hunter-gatherer societies. Local resistance was quite capable of concentrating and overrunning any static farm based colony town. Our own success in North America is the exception that came from a combination of vastly superior combat technique and firepower, and pandemic die-offs. Even then, it took a long time. Any real colonization would have more typically taken the form of trading factories under contract with the local big man. For most of human history, civilization was an island in a sea of warlike semi nomadic tribesmen.

We will now briefly discuss the more controversial pool of cultural information relating to the Pleistocene nonconformity. These are derived from ancient literary sources that reach farthest back into prehistory.

1 There exists extensive tales, worldwide, of an ancient global inundation going back to this era. And yes the natives can tell the difference between a local catastrophic flood and a mega event in which thousands of square miles are permanently destroyed.

2 We have the Atlantis myth that tells of a great seafaring civilization that sinks below the sea in a night. This tale also appears global in distribution. This begs the question of a purely localized event such as Santorini even though there is justification to suppose at least a mixing of the two tales. Good evidence exists for the commingling of the prior global tradition with more recent local events in many of these tales. The global concept does come through as the one safe common element.

3 We hear a unique Indian tale of the earth standing still briefly, and when rotation renewed, the length of the day had changed. There isn’t really enough multiple support for this particular tale, but it is awfully suggestive of perhaps some form of crustal event.

4 It is learned from Sumar, via the bible, the information of between seven to forty days of torrential rainfall.

Other related statements are made, but these are the salient claims. They are also extraordinary and if accepted can only be explained physically in terms of an event that affected the entire globe. Stripped of local observations, we have one claim only and that is that the globe may have received a major environmental shock that impacted around the world and generated extraordinary conditions.

Oil Squeeze

I throw these little comments on the condition of the oil market in from time to time, because it will be impacting us all very seriously. We all have learned that we can handle a $100 fill up. Can we handle a $500 fill up? Hell no! And that is what is coming because the average citizen is about to be forced out of the gasoline market.

It is really very simple. We now have no reasonable way to even maintain current production levels and no amount of investment is going to change that fast enough now. It is already too late. The fact is that past levels of huge sustained investment has failed in keeping pace with demand and that demand has also accelerated.

The only option left is to let prices rise to a level that effectively rations transportation fuel to the highest and best use. %500 a tank should do it. We know that the economy will adjust very quickly, but we also know that we will have to restructure our lives toward a far lower usage of automotive fuel.

The only question now is if it will be slow and easy which is preferred or abrupt which is often ugly.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Pleistocene nonconformity - 1

I think it is timely to commence posting excerpts from chapter seven of my book Paradigms Shift. We will end up with a completely different appreciation of the Ice Age than is currently accepted and this will allow us to place global climatic behavior in a much broader perspective. Since the chapter is twenty pages long, I am going to post a page daily. This will let you read often dense material in digestible chunks and also give you a chance to comment. Enjoy.


Chapter 7

The Pleistocene Nonconformity

It is now the time to deal with an extremely important event in human history. Over a period of approximately 3,000 years huge swathes of valuable prime coastal lands were inundated. Whatever came before, was uprooted and destroyed. We simply do not know what was lost. We also do not know precisely how sudden the onset was globally although cultural sources argue strongly for an abrupt transition.

This event, though attracting tremendous speculation thanks to extensive and possibly misleading cultural sources over the years, is also based on a physical fact pattern as compelling as the fact pattern originally supporting Wegener’s continental shift hypothesis before it was confirmed by ocean drilling and magnetic mapping. We will set out to introduce and describe one mechanism capable of causing this event and draw a number of key inferences.

Starting approximately 11,600 years ago we know that the sea rose over 300 feet due to the rapid melting of the northern ice caps. This event happened in two surges about 3,000 years apart. We also know that grain based agriculture appeared spontaneously in the aftermath in several locales globally. Large game populations collapsed and went extinct. Average precipitation on the Greenland ice cap was sharply changed according to the ice core data.

The rise in the sea level, whether slow or catastrophic would have liquidated all coastal antique civilizations such as may have existed. In the event of a slow rise, such civilizations would have lost access to rich delta lands, and would have been forced back onto lands already supporting a more primitive lifeway and rarely capable of supporting any other. In the tropics this meant slash and burn agriculture in the highlands where soil leaching made any other form impractical.

As suggested in the previous chapter, humanity has had the capacity to generate antique civilizations for as much as thirty thousand years. The best and most likely place for first emergence would be on the massive coastal plains in and around the Indonesian archipelago. These coastal plains were all submerged over a three thousand-year span beginning 11,600 years ago. What was a serious inconvenience to the continental based societies was a complete catastrophe to residents of the plains of the South China Sea. They absorbed a complete loss of their homeland leaving only the mountainous rim.

I will go further to suggest that such a coastal plain, fully exploited by agriculture as we described in the last chapter, would be hugely stable and unlikely to generate any prior out emigration with the exception of trading forays. We only have to look at China to see a country that for most of its history was the Promised Land, leading only to nominal out-migration, and then mostly to Southeast Asia.




Refrigeration devices

I have had some comment on the technology of refrigeration which is very well placed.

The system that I have described to date is no more than our stripped down conventional refrigerator, not because it is the best solution but because it works today. This technology arose in the early twentieth century amid a great deal of experimentation similar to that of the automobile. In other words, it was messy and a lot of very good ideas never made it.

Some years back I met an inventor who had picked up on chemical disassociation as a method to collect energy. The working fluid was sent through the focal point of a parabolic mirror, then passed through a heat exchanger as it recombined. Of course there were technical problems, mostly to do with the small size of the unit. What I did see was a sun driven refrigerator with a very simple (perhaps too simple) system that was close to been bullet proof. That was his first generation prototype and it worked fine.

The energy collector that he used was a parabolic mirror with a broad collector just behind the focal point. It was parabolic in the vertical and linear in the horizontal. This same system can be used to readily drive an expander to drive a power generator and possibly to also heat water.

Both devices are cheap to manufacture and are independent of any power grid. Again battery storage during the day will power the television at night.

The only reason the developed world has never developed these devices is simply because we do not need to. Everywhere else does need this technology for daily living.

The important thing to remember is that the failed ideas of the early twentieth century, failed often enough because material science was in its infancy as was chemistry. It is very timely to dust of those old patents and to see if there is a superior economic strategy that can be implemented now.



Monday, July 23, 2007

Global Warming Reality Check

I noticed an item in the press about a scientist questioning the existence of the Global Warming Phenomena.. He was quite rightly challenging the models used and the shaky logic extrapolating so called trends into the future.

I also do not feel comfortable predicting the global climate over the next ten years let alone the next 100. I anticipate only that I will be surprised. I have already stated earlier that the link between CO2 and a a global heat wave is problematic and certainly should not be relied on.

We can rely on the fact that the CO2 in the environment is increasing.

What about Global Warming? There we have two compelling arguments. The increase in the growing season in the high Arctic is one compelling reason. It could not be clearer. The second is the sixty percent decrease in the thickness of permanent sea ice in the past sixty years. This actually is huge.

What few have understood is that the decline was not linear. We did not take any measurements over that duration. However, any theoretical scenario is going to require that the bulk of the ice was removed in the past twenty years. And that means, boys and girls, that the balance will be removed inside the next twenty years and probably a lot sooner if the tail end naturally flushes out like a spring breakup.

Of course, this does not make the Arctic ice free. It means that we will have winter sea ice that breaks up and disperses every year. And the Arctic will remain as a cooling engine for the climate. We may have a September shipping season over the pole!

The fact is that we have had a warmer Arctic for the past twenty years, very similar to the high in the early fifteenth century. I personally hope it is sustained, but I would be uncomfortable in making book on it. By the way, melting sea ice will have no effect on sea levels for those alarmists out there.

Interim Technology for Athmospheric Water Harvesting

I have described the several components necessary to establish successful stand alone water harvesting. In my drive to emphasize the stand alone aspect, we have ignored the possibility of a making a plug in device to harvest water for growing a tree in the back yard.

This would hugely benefit the urban landscape in the South West and California were water is not available yet a large tree in every backyard would actually help reduce air conditioning needs. I would be surprised if it actually balanced out but at least part of the cost of supporting the tree may be offset.

More importantly, perfecting a plug in device will perfect that part of the technology for the day that solar power is cheap enough. And it is a technology that everybody has understood for 100 years, yet resists perfection. So the more development we can do now, the better.

Besides a homeowner in Palm Springs will and can pay $2,000 for a state of the art water machine that allows him to grow a large shade tree.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Passive Water Harvesting

My own emphasis has been on the production of a active water harvesting device capable of been deployed everywhere. There are locales in which passive systems can be used beneficially.

A great example is the rigging of plastic nets in the Atacama Desert in Chile and Peru. These harvested dew at night in enough quantity to supply a village with drinking water. Again a combination with trees growing adjacent could prove economicly successful. The trees should be placed in small depressions to help collect additional moisture collecting on the leaves.

There are many places were this strategy can be used that will prove a lot easier than the Atacama.

Another method is the dew pond technique used by country men in the distant past throughout England. This is really taking advantage of the fact that a pile of large stones allows good air flow and that the interior will remain chilled. I can envisage building windrows of stones in a stony desert that both clears and levels the land while establishing a dew collector on the boundaries. Neat trick if this could be productive enough.

What is critical is taking advantage of natural topography at least, and then modifying the terrain to maximize response. This is a lot of effort, yet justified since it is maintained perpetually threafter with little additional effort.


Friday, July 20, 2007

Athmospheric Water Harvesting

There has been some success in achieving water harvesting from the atmosphere. Efforts have been made to commercially produce a refrigerator like device that also polishes the resultant water making it potable. Obviously a very good idea that will ultimately succeed.

What really made it possible was the fact that the humidity in a living space rises to well over 30% due to water been respired by the occupants. Such a device would replace the direct and expensive haulage of bottled water. In any event it is a great proof of concept and can be done with today's technology.

When you go outdoors, the humidity levels are much more variable, ranging from 15% in the desert to a moderate 30 to 60% in most environments and 100% in some.

Obviously, an environmental level of 15% puts us out of business.. However, one does not start there.

A more appropriate starting point and the best example is the Sahel on the southern edge of the Sahara. There the humidity is a near constant 60% and the local temperature range is about 10 degrees too hot to promote rainfall.

Growing trees there would drop the temperature range that 10 degrees permitting the onset of natural rainfall. A lot of that could be done without any technology at all, and I am happy to report that there is a movement by the locals to begin the process.

Most important though is that once the tree cover is established the high humidity zone advances into the desert, permitting the advance of the tree cover. Just do not let the goats run wild.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Atmospheric Water Collectors

Our instrument for terraforming a third of the earth's surface must be the stand alone atmospheric water collector. It is appropriate to discuss the outstanding technical issues that will need to be progressively resolved.

The design concept is simple and minimal. A solar panel will collect sunlight and convert this to electrical current. This current is then stored in a storage battery. At night, after the temperature has dropped, this stored energy is used to operate a reverse refrigeration cycle drawing moisture from the atmosphere. The produced water is fed directly into the root ball of the tree.

We have four components: 1) the solar panel, 2) the battery, 3) the reverse refrigeration water collector, 4) The controls. As is obvious, items 1, 2, and 4 are readily available in some form today and can already be optimized for this particular application.

We even know that the most costly component, the solar cell is likely to drop in cost by an order of magnitude which is critical to the global adoption of this technology. And the battery technology may be easily optimized by simply taking advantage of the fact that this battery does not have to be lightweight.

That leaves us with the task of producing a simple device that captures prevailing air flow, perhaps inducing some acceleration to drop the temperature a little more, and flowing it over a cold surface to draw the moisture out of the atmosphere.

Here there is ample room for design imagination and I throw it open. We do not want too many moving parts, but I suspect a fan will be valuable to control air flow rate. The only design parameter at this point is the need to produce 100 liters of water inside of six hours.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Good article on global warming model

This is a good review on the limitations of our global warming theory.

This article nicely underlines my core misgivings on our linkage of CO2 emissions with the apparent phenomena of global warming which far too easily could turn out to be simply wrong.

What is not wrong is the fact that nature is unable to currently absorb the huge amount of CO2 we are producing by burning fossil fuels. This problem must be solved.in its own right.

read more | digg story

Terraforming - 2 - Arid Non agricultural lands

We have learned that a working agricultural soil can hold around 3500 cubic feet of charcoal per acre very easily. Also, over the centuries we can expect the soil bed to become progressively thicker, removing a lot of carbon below the cropping zone. at least that seems to be what happened in the Amazon.

We are obviously anticipating that this system can be applied to all cropland worldwide and I see little reason to think otherwise. The Amazonian proof is simply too compelling.

The remaining challenge is how to upgrade the status of dry lands currently unable to support agriculture. For every acre of farmland today, we have a matching acre at least of very attractive land that just needs a little water.

We can likely exclude dry grasslands from this quest, because the application of good husbandry will rebuild deep carbon containing soils with little human intervention. The buffalo commons is a great example. As is Central Asia. The only thing that is needed is the judicious use of barb wire.

Which leaves us with the deserts and the near deserts. In my earlier work I described a watering protocol that can make these lands totally accessible. to agricultural practice. It essentially envisaged a solar driven atmospheric water collector that primarily watered an adjacent tree eliminating the majority of any connective infrastructure.

It also made the technical component a simple manufacturing package not too unlike the manufacture of a car. Every part can be progressively be optimized and step by step be brought down in cost. My target cost for a 100 lifer per day device was well under $1000 sooner rather than later. Today a cobbled together package from off the shelf parts would likely be around $10,000. We have a ways to go.

The advantages are huge though.

1 A stand alone unit would require almost no maintenance or care and can be expected to run on automatic.

2 The water supply is continuous rather than sporadic. This means that surpluses will quickly build up and be identified, allowing diversion ultimately into smaller lower areas that can be intensely worked. The surplus can be expected to ultimately recharge the natural water table leading to the establishment of a natural hydrology.

3 The growth of the trees will provide shade leading to a significant drop in local temperature leading to more natural precipitation. Most of the water used daily by the trees will be re expelled into the atmosphere maintaining the natural humidity. This permits the envelop of humid air to be progressively extended into the desert opening up more land.

4 As the woodland is established, ground cover will arise allowing the husbandry of ruminants and the slow reestablishment of a living soil.

5 The farm will also be farming a surplus of direct electrical power and water. This surplus can be used to support other agricultural activities as may be feasible.


The coverage of huge acreages with this type of technical solution can be used to absorb a lot of the solar energy hitting the tropics and semi tropics and could lead to significant cooling. Most of the energy would be absorbed by the trees of course.

Uniqueness of corn culture

Reading through the posts on the Terra Preta site reinforces one important reality. That is that the knowledge needed to work with plant waste and char has been with us for thousands of years. However using char to cover a field had to wait for the emergence of corn culture. It is the only crop that could be worked this way in sufficient volume to have made a difference.

Wood waste was a non starter, simply because the tools did not exist. Even today we will need to use a chipper to achieve the necessary density in a productive manner.

Crop waste with few exceptions, degrades far too fast and are of such low volume as to be fairly insignificant.

Garden waste is usually combined with household waste on a small fertile patch and is the likely best location for developing a black soil outside of corn culture.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

consensus emerging on oil resources

I have observed that in the past several weeks that even the most optimistic think tanks are accepting the fact that the producers will be unable to meet demand for the next few years. And of course we have trouble makers like Venezuela and Iran to put a little gasoline on the forest fire.

I hope everyone can keep their heads when the squeeze begins. After all there is only one way to shrink demand in the short term and only one way to expend supply in the long term. That is price.

Bicycle culture anyone?

Terraforming - 1 - agricultural lands

I began this blog to open discussion on the need to progressively terraform the earth. And core to that proposition is the modification of global agricultural practice to achieve that end. It is easy to establish the objective of sequestering CO2 when the linkage to global warming is in your face, valid or not. For the first time in human history a long term weather prediction seems to be holding up.

We have discovered now useful corn carbonization in particular is going to be for pure carbon sequestration. What is just as important, this form of sequestration will also support and restore long term fertility to the soils. I do not know if this will be the whole story, but it certainly switches agriculture from an extractor of nutrients and carbon through clearing practices into a force for nutrient and carbon sequestration.

The next zone of improvement that needs implemention is the true application of agricultural protocols to woodlands in general. It has always been a long cycle economic problem that society has chosen to ignore. It seemed easier to let nature take its course regardless of the degradation visited on the land by the owners. We have spoke earlier of the need to create a long term partnership with local agencies and landowners that is mandated by legislation and funded on a very long term basis to create mutual wealth. It takes political will, yet is likely the best economic solution for all stakeholders and we can expect that the carbon content will be optimized inside of 1oo years.

Fundamentally all the lands under direct human agricultural use where sufficient moisture is available can be brought under these two specific protocols with a major improvement in fertility and carbon uptake. And they should be.


Monday, July 16, 2007

pyrolysis

I have read a lot of comment of the role of pyrolysis and how it produces gases and liquids while leaving char behind. Obviously the higher the temperature the more complete the process that could well include substantial reforming of complex molecules into simpler compounds. This is well worth the trouble if the fuel and the end markets for the liquids, gases, heat, and char are located in the same industrial setting.

As soon as we lose any of that closeness for any component, we lose efficiency in a hurry. I say this because even if one has a market for the lighter components, then you will need to shift unto other components of the fuel in order to support the process. The point I am making is that a lot of the fuel gets used to produce process heat.

Agricultural charcoal is in the position of been located at the source and application sites of the process protocol. Thus all the light fractions and as much of the process heat as possible needs to be used in the process itself.

This will also turn out to be the best protocol for an industrial sized plant as well. The secondary gases and liquids are potentially a red herring that can generate poor design when the only thing that matters is burn efficiency.

The interesting question for the shipping container design is what might the net efficiency be? I ask this because it will be possible to avoid any combustion in the main chamber as an operating option. The 2000 degree exhaust gas from the second burner can bring the core temperature of the shipping container up to the needed 400 t0 500 degree level.

Yields of obviously inefficient and messy systems run around 20 percent. It may be thus possible to exceed this by an additional twenty percent . The theoretical 80 percent yield may even be possible if it turns out that the volatiles produce enough fuel to complete the job.

This is a major potential payoff for both agricultural charcoal yields and the direct sequestering of carbon, and well worth the small additional capital investment in a charcoaling system.


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