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Comments about ‘Letters: I applaud University of Utah for offering a masters in petroleum engineering’

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Published: Tuesday, Aug. 6 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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PeanutGallery
Salt Lake City, UT

I agree with this letter. Prof. Andrade was off-base when he blasted the U for offering a petroleum engineering degree. Petroleum has been a great benefit to mankind, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Yes, let’s continue to research other energy sources, but none of them will be ready for prime time (reliable, abundant, convenient, economical) for many more years.

Baron Scarpia
Logan, UT

The reality is that solar and wind are booming energy sources -- Iowa gets almost 25 percent of its electricity from wind, and many other states, including Idaho and Colorado get about 10 percent from wind.

Solar is the next emerging source. In Silicon Valley, solar is commonplace and the new Apple Complex (and many other new headquarters for high-tech firms) are all being designed to be powered by renewable energy.

As for nuclear, the two new plants being built in America (Georgia) are coming to you by Obama stimulus money, and the ongoing subsidies to keep the "lights on" from nuclear to manage its waste for time an eternity -- not the mention the Fukushima-style risks it poses -- makes it a non-starter for America's future.

I will agree with the writer that petroleum education is needed for the next decade, but a savvy college student will need to think about his/her next 40 years if petroleum is really where to put one's career aspirations.

Check out the Tesla -- electric vehicles are the future.

KDave
Moab, UT

40% of petroleum is used in non-fuel products.(practically everything) You would not have any solar panels, windmills or Teslas without petroleum. We need the U of U program.

happy2bhere
clearfield, UT

Baron Scarpia

Petroleum is used for the manufacture of so many products that no wind power or solar power can duplicate. No matter how much we change our energy needs to alturnative energy, the need for oil out of the ground will likely always be necessary for technological development. And I doubt that airplanes and particularly jet engines can run on anything other than liquid petroleum. I doubt the Tesla jet is on the way.

goodnight-goodluck
S.L.C., UT

petroloeum is the technology of the DIRTY PAST.
the university should be offering advanced degrees in the creation and development of alternative energy sources. wind, solar, geo thermal.

the old switcharoo
mesa, AZ

You're an engineer? How can you make a statement that solar and wind require investment in power lines that make them impractical? To state the obvious, coal powered electricity required investment as well. I assume you consider that impractical as well?

To state the obvious again, rooftop solar decreases the load and investment needed in power line transmission. All the wind turbines I've seen were on farming lands that were already near power lines and roads.

Nobody that's pro renewable energy insists it must be 100% of our energy needs. That's a all or nothing logical fallacy perpetuated by conservatives. Although, reality will make sure that only renewable energy is available in the future anyway.

Poor engineering evaluation. Your conservative rant is debunked.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Baron Scarpia
It's a good thing that "solar and wind are booming energy sources". But that still doesn't mean we no longer need people educated in petroleum engineering. Try operating a Boeing-747 on solar or wind. Try manufacturing almost any component we have in modern society without petrolium. Try growing any crop we currently have without petrolium based fertilisers, harvesting equipment and processing equipment, much less the problem of getting it to market without petrolium.

It's good that we are developing alternatives for some needs. But we need people like Joe and the radical environmentalists to realise that we will probably always need petroleum engineers. Even if every house and every vehicle, and ever factory, and every military machine, and every piece of farm equipment, no longer needed petrolium. Even if we never combusted another ounce of petrolium... It's used in lubrication, manufacturing, it's needed as a backup when it's dark and the wind isn't blowing. It's needed to manufacture the batteries we need to make wind and solar feasible. It will always be needed (just in lower quantities).

Redshirt1701
Deep Space 9, Ut

To "the old switcharoo" it is very easy to say that wind and solar are impactical.

Nuclear power plants average 90% capacity. Wind power averages 25% capacity.

You can also look at it from a land use point of view. Nuclear power plants produce more power per acre than wind or solar currently are capable of producing.

Nuclear, coal, and gas receive less than $2 in incentives from the government while wind and solar get up to $25 in subsidies.

You can look at the environmental effects of wind turbies which chop up more birds per year than the Exxon Valdez killed in that accident. Or you can look at the noise pollution that the wind turbines cause.

Wind turbines slow the wind near where they are located. This has 2 effects. First it heats the land in those areas, and second it makes it so that wind pollinated crops don't pollinate as well.

SOmething the wind power industry doesn't like to point out is the fact that you still have to buy a redundant fossil fueled power plant that is running in and idle mode to power the system when the wind is low.

SCfan
clearfield, UT

Let's face it. Obviously the technologies of wind, solar, thermal, ect. are going to be part of the worlds future energy needs. But is is extremist nonsense to believe that in 10 or even 25 years from now, petroleum needs for energy will be gone. Liquid fuels from what I can see will be necessary for decades if not centuries to come. So, go ahead and be a petroleum engineer. You will probably have better job security than the people at Solyndra did.

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

good luck making plastic out of solar energy.

good luck making lubricants from wind trubines.

good luck making asphalt from windmills.

LDS Aerospace Engineer
Farmington, UT

@happy2bhere
clearfield, UT

And I doubt that airplanes and particularly jet engines can run on anything other than liquid petroleum.
9:00 a.m. Aug. 6, 2013

========

All Boeing jets - Commercial AND military - are currently FAA certified to fly on Bio-fuels.
AlGas in particular [Algae based].

And rockets have been flying on liquid Hydrogen and liquid Oxygen for over 40 years now.

At least the US Military and airline operators are smart enough to figure out that we can't simply rely on cheap Middle Eastern oil to win wars or stay in business.

It's too bad civilians listening to AM hate radio can't see that far down the road either.

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

To "LDS Aerospace Engineer" they may be certified to fly on Biofuels, but the cost of some biofuels is so much more than petroleum based fuels that they are unusable.

For example, last year the Air Force was paying $59/gallon, compared to the $4/gallon for conventional fuel.

The other problem with the renewable fuels is that you are burning food for the more cost effective options. The soy based fuel is running $59/gallon, while the algae based fuel is over $400/gallon. At the cost for the biofuels, you won't be able to afford driving to work or going on a business trip.

airnaut
Everett, 00

@RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

AlGal RedShirt is an algae based fuel.

Do you eat algae?

BTW - Who needs a $ Trillion weapon system when if you can't even get the fuel to run it on?

airnaut
Everett, 00

@RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

For example, last year the Air Force was paying $59/gallon, compared to the $4/gallon for conventional fuel.

============

Currently Algal is $2.8/L
[~ $11.20 per gallon]

Jet Fuel is ~ $4.00 per gallon -- BUT that is with Government subsides.

Cut out the subsides like Europe does, and AlGas is cost competitive.

BTW - With sufficient production and infrastructure, AlGas has the potential of costing LESS than $1 per gallon.

But go ahead, live in the Dark Ages. We don't want nay-sayers in the future anyway.

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

To "airnaut" And where are you going to grow all of the algae? You can't pollute natural water ways with it, so you will have to cover up farm land with algae tanks and ponds. Now tell us where are you going to get the water to produce sufficient algae?

The bigger question is do you have $4000 to fill up your fuel tank with algae based fuel? Even at $11/gallon, do you have $110 to fill up your honda civic each week?

Actually there are no subsidies going into the production of jet fuel. The petroleum industry pays the government billions of dollars in taxes, royalties, and land leases. Only somebody who is ignorant of the government policies on mineral development would think that the oil industries get any subsidies.

Europe does not have the subsidies, they have high tax rates on fuel. According to Time's article "Think Gas is High? Try Europe" the cost of fuel in Europe is due to taxes. They found that 70% of the price of fuel is taxes. If you remove the taxes, their fuel would cost the same as ours.

Lagomorph
Salt Lake City, UT

Is there a climatological analog to the Salem Hypothesis?

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