As we move into an era where peak oil production is behind us, we need to focus our efforts on developing new energy resources. We can’t afford to stand by and allow dirtier, more expensive, and less efficient tar sand oil become the energy that drives our nation. What is tar sand oil?
[Rewind: How Climate Change is Fueling the Need to End Our Fossil Fuel Addiction]
Tar sand oil is harvested in Alberta, Canada. Thousands of acres of pristine, ancient forest are clear cut (see picture below) so refineries have access to the soil. The soil, called tar sand, contains a small amount of oil that can be harvested through chemical processes. Comparing input energy (the energy required to set up refineries, transport crews and supplies, and power the chemical reactions) versus the energy yield, tar sand oil production is one of the least efficient methods of harvesting oil. In fact, oil companies have only started harvesting tar sands quite recently, as we run out of options to satiate our oil addiction.
Tar Sand Oil Production: Before and After
In production, tar sand oil is inefficient; in transportation, it is very dangerous. Continue reading
It was a nice sunny Spring evening in Boston, around the middle of May, and I was finishing my spaghetti dinner while enjoying a cold beer. It had been a long day; the kind of day where you look forward to coming home, cracking open a cold one, enjoying a refreshing first sip, and watching the condensation build around the bottle as the rest of the evening passes in lazy harmony. We’ve all been there. I was plopped on my couch and I decided to watch some TV. It was around 7PM and as I channel surfed I decided to settle on the Wolf Blitzer report on CNN. Just another day and another guy, getting my news from your trusty mass media conglomerate.
I turned on the news and what did I see? Headlining was the Gulf oil spill, and a live video feed of billions of gallons of oil gushing out of a leaking oil well built in waters over 1000 ft deep; painting the beautiful waters and coasts of the Gulf in black, ravaging communities and wildlife, and threatening to move into the Atlantic.
The Gulf Oil Spill
It was followed by a report on the vicious, historic 100 year flood that destroyed Nashville, TN and displaced thousands of people. Continue reading