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 Post subject: Re: 'Peak Oil' far, far away
PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 6:50 pm 
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You could argue the toss about civilisation existing before the agricultural era -- you are really referring to city-based (or at least permanent-dwelling-based) civilisation. Perhaps more relevant to the argument at hand is that our agriculture-based civilisation made it through its first ten thousand years using renewable sources of energy. The big question now is whether our industrial age utterly depends on its non-renewable energy sources, or they were just a convenience when they were the cheapest thing going. Everything's non-renewable in the long run, including sunlight, but there's every chance it can power our civilisation for quite a while longer.

This is the big question. We need to be very clever how we handle things over the next few decades. Humans can get on perfectly fine on the smell of resources. We are the great generalists after all. Unfortunately the type of thinking required needs a big shift in attitudes. Let's see


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Yes, but I presume you would accept that inflation is an inevitable consequence of the continual growth paradigm. So absolute values, ignoring inflation, are always going to look different.


fair enough, but you don't need log chart paper at hand to plot the reported inflation we've had over the last 35 years

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 Post subject: Re: 'Peak Oil' far, far away
PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 6:54 pm 
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boomshackala wrote:
Slavery was used as a tool to concentrate energy flows, as gravity and living things are the only two known ways to concentrate energy.


This technical point deserves a reply of its own. There are several ways to concentrate energy that do not rely on gravity or living things. The biochemical efficiency of living things is constrained by their evolutionary origin. In a few decades we've designed photovoltaic cells that are several times more efficient than photosynthesis (depending on how you measure the output and your ultimate end product). Nuclear energy is already highly concentrated, and only depends on gravity in the same indirect sense that stellar nucleosynthesis does. (Fusion energy doesn't even depend on that -- it comes all the way from the Big Bang).

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Last edited by ps200306 on Thu Jun 07, 2012 6:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 'Peak Oil' far, far away
PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 6:58 pm 
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boomshackala wrote:
This is the big question. We need to be very clever how we handle things over the next few decades. Humans can get on perfectly fine on the smell of resources. We are the great generalists after all. Unfortunately the type of thinking required needs a big shift in attitudes. Let's see

Yep, no quibbles from me there. Nobody's claiming it's all going to be rosy in the garden.

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Yes, but I presume you would accept that inflation is an inevitable consequence of the continual growth paradigm. So absolute values, ignoring inflation, are always going to look different.


fair enough, but you don't need log chart paper at hand to plot the reported inflation we've had over the last 35 years


But by the same token our growth has then been "real" to some extent, and not just debt-fuelled. I still argue that debt-to-gdp ratio is a fairer metric.

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 Post subject: Re: 'Peak Oil' far, far away
PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 6:59 pm 
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ps200306 wrote:
boomshackala wrote:
Slavery was used as a tool to concentrate energy flows, as gravity and living things are the only two known ways to concentrate energy.


This technical point deserves a reply of its own. There are several ways to concentrate energy that do not rely on gravity or living things. The biochemical efficiency of living things is contrained by their evolutionary origin. In a few decades we've designed photovoltaic cells that are several times more efficient than photosynthesis (depending on how you measure the output and your ultimate end product). Nuclear energy is already highly concentrated, and only depends on gravity in the same indirect sense that stellar nucleosynthesis does. (Fusion energy doesn't even depend on that -- it comes all the way from the Big Bang).


You're right about solar PV, I should have said the only natural ways of concentrating energy we living things and gravity
The big bang is a theory right tho?

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 Post subject: Re: 'Peak Oil' far, far away
PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 7:16 pm 
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boomshackala wrote:
You're right about solar PV, I should have said the only natural ways of concentrating energy we living things and gravity
The big bang is a theory right tho?


Not sure about your point then. Unless you stick a water wheel in your stream or strap your slaves to a millstone, you are not profiting from the energy concentrated by gravity or living things. Water wheels and millstones are no more natural than PV cells.

Not sure about your Big Bang point either. Everything in science is a "theory". I guess you are using the word in the colloquial sense of "we're not sure how successful a theory it is". True, but the availability of energy from fusion doesn't depend on whether it originated with the Big Bang or was brought by storks. We know it's there, and will figure out how to use it eventually (IMHO).

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 Post subject: Re: 'Peak Oil' far, far away
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 7:57 pm 
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ps200306 wrote:
boomshackala wrote:
You're right about solar PV, I should have said the only natural ways of concentrating energy we living things and gravity
The big bang is a theory right tho?


Not sure about your point then. Unless you stick a water wheel in your stream or strap your slaves to a millstone, you are not profiting from the energy concentrated by gravity or living things. Water wheels and millstones are no more natural than PV cells.

Not sure about your Big Bang point either. Everything in science is a "theory". I guess you are using the word in the colloquial sense of "we're not sure how successful a theory it is". True, but the availability of energy from fusion doesn't depend on whether it originated with the Big Bang or was brought by storks. We know it's there, and will figure out how to use it eventually (IMHO).

My argument was that it is difficult if not impossible to run a civilization without concentrated energy, and there are only 2 known natural ways of doing that. This statement also provides the logical background on why a surplus will not come from solar pv or wind turbines; there would be far less of them about without a fossil fuel (a form of energy concentrated by both living things and gravity). since solar pv is not an energy source per sae, it is effectively a fossil fuel subsidized energy form, which barely delivers net energy when you do the energy accounting on it, if you trace its energy origins, you get concentrated energy from living things and gravity (fossil fuels). Nuclear fusion that happens in the sun is enabled by the massive amounts of gravity present there.

Separately your analogy with water wheels and solar pv does not work. With water wheels you are capturing energy already concentrated by gravity. With solar pv, you are grabbing a diffuse energy source and concentrating it using a fossil fuel subsidy. It's also why the EROI of water energy is much higher than solar pv.

The fact that you dont have conditions existing in the sun means you will probably never get net energy from fusion reactors, i.e concentrated feedstock via gravity.

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John Michael Greer 2012


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 Post subject: Re: 'Peak Oil' far, far away
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:03 pm 
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as predicted, the Iran oil embargo has brought the price of oil down, not up. And the chineese as expected used their priviliged bargaining position to beat the iranians over the head for lower prices, thus lowering the overall market price
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/china-tel ... -sanctions
Meanwhile the Iranians begin building a new port to re route their oil exports, further strengthening the chineese position, as it delivers a new retail discount on petrol and diesel, thus gaining comparitive over the west. nice one you fools

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John Michael Greer 2012


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 Post subject: Re: 'Peak Oil' far, far away
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:02 pm 
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boomshackala wrote:
My argument was that it is difficult if not impossible to run a civilization without concentrated energy, and there are only 2 known natural ways of doing that. This statement also provides the logical background on why a surplus will not come from solar pv or wind turbines; there would be far less of them about without a fossil fuel (a form of energy concentrated by both living things and gravity). since solar pv is not an energy source per sae, it is effectively a fossil fuel subsidized energy form, which barely delivers net energy when you do the energy accounting on it, if you trace its energy origins, you get concentrated energy from living things and gravity (fossil fuels). Nuclear fusion that happens in the sun is enabled by the massive amounts of gravity present there.

Separately your analogy with water wheels and solar pv does not work. With water wheels you are capturing energy already concentrated by gravity. With solar pv, you are grabbing a diffuse energy source and concentrating it using a fossil fuel subsidy. It's also why the EROI of water energy is much higher than solar pv.

The fact that you dont have conditions existing in the sun means you will probably never get net energy from fusion reactors, i.e concentrated feedstock via gravity.


I dispute your comment about the net energy of solar PV. Studies suggest an EROEI of between 4 (for places like the British Isles) and 20 (US South West). The latter is better than new oil has been getting since the 1960s. I often see statements about the low or negative EROEI of solar and wind and, not being an expert, I can only go by a sampling of real studies that I see on the interweb. But according to a majority of them, these statements about negative EROEI are bogus.

Furthermore, hydro may be wonderfully efficient but, unlike solar, suitable locations are far from ubiquitous. Even on the smaller scale, by the time Britain started burning coal in steam engines to power the industrial revolution, they had already harnessed every suitable stream and river for water powered mills and looms etc. There are no fabulous new sources of hydro. Solar is everywhere.

I also disagree with your comment about fusion. Yes, the use of free gravitational potential in the sun is one way of overcoming the Coulomb repulsion between nuclei to yield net energy, but if there weren't other ways then thermonuclear bombs wouldn't exist. The fact that they do means that the problem is not one of producing net energy, but of controlling a reaction in order to harness it. Yes, its tough, but there are at least four quite different approaches being experimented with today -- magnetic confinement, inertial confinement using lasers and mechanical means, and inertial electric confinement.

I'd be quite surprised if none of these bear any fruit at all in the next twenty years. And it's possible we could hit the jackpot -- aneutronic fusion (which is a perfectly well understood reaction) would directly produce 2 million volts DC without the need for thermal plant (and therefore water), with no radioactive byproducts whatsoever, and you could have a 100 MW plant the size of your sitting room. But we don't have to achieve anything like that to have a useful product.

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 Post subject: Re: 'Peak Oil' far, far away
PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:50 am 
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ps200306 wrote:

I dispute your comment about the net energy of solar PV. Studies suggest an EROEI of between 4 (for places like the British Isles) and 20 (US South West). The latter is better than new oil has been getting since the 1960s. I often see statements about the low or negative EROEI of solar and wind and, not being an expert, I can only go by a sampling of real studies that I see on the interweb. But according to a majority of them, these statements about negative EROEI are bogus.

no doubt the eroi of wind can get well into the double digits but only if you build it on a suitably large scale. Solar does not have the same exponential scalability. 2 solar panels are only twice as good as one. a 4m rotor yields 4 times the energy of a 2m windmill. There are 3 parameters to consider when judging the quality of an energy source:
concentration or energy density
abundance (ubiquity)
availability (on demand, or storage component)

Fossil fuels have all 3, nothing else does. Uranium and water power are not abundant, solar and wind have limited availability, not are they concentrated.

Biomass contains the storage component thus allows high availability, is relatively concentrated, is abundant in certain areas, but not everywhere, so it may be the closest competitor.

Solar and wind are usually be used via a grid, so this must be accounted for in EROI accounting. If you are off grid you need batteries, which certainly condemn them to less than parity, since batteries are so high in embedded energy. If plugging into the grid the parasitic load of an inverter must be taken into account. Many EROI calcs do not account for all the energy costs as far as I am aware.
ps200306 wrote:
Furthermore, hydro may be wonderfully efficient but, unlike solar, suitable locations are far from ubiquitous. Even on the smaller scale, by the time Britain started burning coal in steam engines to power the industrial revolution, they had already harnessed every suitable stream and river for water powered mills and looms etc. There are no fabulous new sources of hydro. Solar is everywhere.

Agreed on that
ps200306 wrote:
I also disagree with your comment about fusion. Yes, the use of free gravitational potential in the sun is one way of overcoming the Coulomb repulsion between nuclei to yield net energy, but if there weren't other ways then thermonuclear bombs wouldn't exist. The fact that they do means that the problem is not one of producing net energy, but of controlling a reaction in order to harness it. Yes, its tough, but there are at least four quite different approaches being experimented with today -- magnetic confinement, inertial confinement using lasers and mechanical means, and inertial electric confinement.

In theory, but not yet in practice. Separately we must account for using one reactor bred off another's fuel over a long time and take that into avcount
ps200306 wrote:
I'd be quite surprised if none of these bear any fruit at all in the next twenty years. And it's possible we could hit the jackpot -- aneutronic fusion (which is a perfectly well understood reaction) would directly produce 2 million volts DC without the need for thermal plant (and therefore water), with no radioactive byproducts whatsoever, and you could have a 100 MW plant the size of your sitting room. But we don't have to achieve anything like that to have a useful product.

ok, in theory

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John Michael Greer 2012


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 Post subject: Re: 'Peak Oil' far, far away
PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:01 pm 
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boomshackala wrote:
no doubt the eroi of wind can get well into the double digits but only if you build it on a suitably large scale. Solar does not have the same exponential scalability. 2 solar panels are only twice as good as one. a 4m rotor yields 4 times the energy of a 2m windmill.

While I admit I'm speculating a bit, I'm sure it's not nearly as simple as that. With wind, you have to scale various components along with the rotor -- particularly the rotor shaft, gear box and brake mechanism. That adds to the cost whereas with solar you just have to add more of the same identical components. More to the point, the spacing between rows of wind turbines is about 15 times the rotor diameter, so when you double the rotor size you also double both the width and the spacing, and thus quadruple the land area needed. So even though wind energy scales with the square of the rotor diameter, it only scales linearly with land area usage, which is the same as for solar.

boomshackala wrote:
There are 3 parameters to consider when judging the quality of an energy source:
concentration or energy density
abundance (ubiquity)
availability (on demand, or storage component)

Fossil fuels have all 3, nothing else does. Uranium and water power are not abundant, solar and wind have limited availability, not are they concentrated.

The energy density is most important for transport, where the vehicle has to carry its own enery supply (unless connected to the grid which is practical only for rail transport). It is also important for fuels that will be used to produce electricity on a utility scale, since you have the cost of transport to the generating plant. It's not nearly so important where electricity can be produced (and perhaps used) in place, i.e. with wind and solar. And while solar is diffuse energy, it's not exactly weak at 1.3 kW over every square metre of the earth's disc.

But in any case, there is no point complaining about the lower concentration or intermittent availability of renewables -- that's what we are going to have to live with so we will need to start thinking a different way. A completely different paradigm is that we start adjusting demand to availability rather than the other way around. Up to a point, that's easier than you think -- with the right technology and enforcement, much domestic demand could be deferred to periods when electricity is most available, and adjustment of industrial usage is very possible ... for one example there is an ongoing experiment with European cold storage facilities, where giant refrigeration equipment can be allowed to vary the temperature within certain parameters without effect on stored food, but allowing them to adjust their electricity requirements to availability.

boomshackala wrote:
Biomass contains the storage component thus allows high availability, is relatively concentrated, is abundant in certain areas, but not everywhere, so it may be the closest competitor.

I'm a renewables fan, but I'm not at all convinced about biomass. Apart from a very few products like palm oil and sugar cane (both of which only grow in the tropics), the energy density is rather low. Corn ethanol is a scam from an EROEI POV, wood for electricity generation is only marginally useful and then only if the generating plant is closely collocated with where the wood is being harvested. The only thing biomass has going for it is the capability of being turned into bio-alcohol or bio-diesel, to help with the problem of liquid fuels for transport. But once you accept that you must do some of that to solve the transport problem in the short term, both the sustainability and EROEI arguments go away (at least for a while). And we have better ways of doing it without biomass, the example I pointed out before being methane to methanol which is already done cheaply and commercially.

boomshackala wrote:
Solar and wind are usually be used via a grid, so this must be accounted for in EROI accounting. If you are off grid you need batteries, which certainly condemn them to less than parity, since batteries are so high in embedded energy. If plugging into the grid the parasitic load of an inverter must be taken into account. Many EROI calcs do not account for all the energy costs as far as I am aware.

You are not comparing like with like there. If fossil fuels were to be used on a household scale, you'd need the cost of gas or steam turbines and cooling towers for every house. Clearly there are economies of scale to be achieved at the large utility level, which is why we do things that way today. The economics may work out differently for renewables -- perhaps at the municipal level for solar. Again, there is no point comparing the way we do things we do today with how they will have to be done in the future, as if our present level of convenience was utterly sacrosanct.

boomshackala wrote:
In theory, but not yet in practice. Separately we must account for using one reactor bred off another's fuel over a long time and take that into avcount

Not sure if you were applying that to fusion energy? There are some versions of fusion that would need tritium bred from lithium by a previous generation of reactors, but tritium is radioactive and preferably avoided if possible. But if necessary, so be it. Tritium can be bred while still generating energy, so there is an issue of complexity, but no additional EROEI issues.

You reminded me of something else though ... fission power still has a lot of mileage in it. For a start, there's lots of material from decommissioned bombs lying around. But the proliferation issues are problematic. But there is also the thorium fuel cycle where 232-Th is used to breed 233-U -- this uses an abundantly available natural isotope of Thorium to breed fissile Uranium. Apparently the proliferation problems are much less, and Thorium is allegedly lying around in copious quantities on Indian beaches. The world may get over its aversion to nuclear fission when the lights start going out, so we have many different options here.

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 Post subject: ........Look Out Below! Major Crude Oil Crash Is Coming
PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:11 pm 
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http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/breakout ... 27530.html

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........Look Out Below! Major Crude Oil Crash Is Coming Says Analyst
Crude oil has fallen 20% in less than 2 months. The drop has been sufficient to prompt most bears to declare victory and cover their shorts or even ponder getting long near last year's lows in the mid-$70s. But Jeff Kennedy, chief commodity analyst at Elliott Wave International thinks those buyers are early by about $40.

He bases his outlook on pattern recognition and psychology. His work suggests crude will plunge to the December 2008 lows of $38 a barrel then pause prior to falling another 50%. All in, Kennedy is forecasting an additional 80% drop in crude to $16.70 a barrel; a level not seen since November 0f 2001.

As a technician Kennedy pays little heed to the standard crude narratives involving Middle East tensions, supply disruptions, and refining. To him the charts tell the story and "the story right now in the crude oil price chart argues for a further decline well into 2013."


He kind of reminds me of a bird watcher concentrating on the Great tit, while ignoring the bear walking up behind him!

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 Post subject: Re: 'Peak Oil' far, far away
PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:37 pm 
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not so sure, demand will be quelled for a while till the next bubble gets put into gear. Unfortunately there are too many bubbles being popped right now. It will be interesting to see what happens this time around: many producers will be in the red if the falls persist, particularly the canadians

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John Michael Greer 2012


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 Post subject: Re: 'Peak Oil' far, far away
PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 5:09 pm 
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boomshackala wrote:
not so sure, demand will be quelled for a while till the next bubble gets put into gear. Unfortunately there are too many bubbles being popped right now. It will be interesting to see what happens this time around: many producers will be in the red if the falls persist, particularly the canadians


The recent period of high prices have certainly caused a lot of "demand destruction", it gives some producers a bit of breathing space.

I would be more worried if the price drop delays development of future "dificult" fields, as this would set the stage for another steep rise in the near future.

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 Post subject: Re: 'Peak Oil' far, far away
PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 5:22 pm 
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And then another find. It turns out that Israel has the second-biggest oil shale deposits in the world, outside the US:

“We estimate that there is the equivalent of 250 billion barrels of oil here. To put that in context, there are proven reserves of 260 billion barrels of oil in Saudi Arabia, says Dr. Harold Vinegar, the former chief scientist of Royal Dutch Shell.”

Let’s do the math. That’s 250 billion in shale oil, 3.2 billion in conventional oil in estimated reserves, or enough oil to match that of Saudi-Arabia. Plus, that’s 50 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, giving it about 10% of the entire world’s gas reserves — all while Israel’s exploration activities are just beginning.


http://parker-joseph.com/pjcjournal/201 ... ches-grow/

Of course it comes with its own problems.

Quote:
Last month, Turkey, a former strategic ally of Israel and now one of its most strongest critics, warned other major international companies seeking exploration licenses from the Greek Cypriot government, (Israel’s new ally), to stay away. Predictably, Israel responded by dispatching military protection to the seas over its oil interests.

Turkey has now warned it will stop Israel from unilaterally exploiting gas resources in the eastern Mediterranean and suggests it is prepared to respond with force to make its point.

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 Post subject: Re: 'Peak Oil' far, far away
PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 7:28 pm 
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Mossy_Heneberry wrote:
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And then another find. It turns out that Israel has the second-biggest oil shale deposits in the world, outside the US:

“We estimate that there is the equivalent of 250 billion barrels of oil here. To put that in context, there are proven reserves of 260 billion barrels of oil in Saudi Arabia, says Dr. Harold Vinegar, the former chief scientist of Royal Dutch Shell.”

Let’s do the math. That’s 250 billion in shale oil, 3.2 billion in conventional oil in estimated reserves, or enough oil to match that of Saudi-Arabia. Plus, that’s 50 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, giving it about 10% of the entire world’s gas reserves — all while Israel’s exploration activities are just beginning.


I don't believe a word of it. Mostly because he doesn't seem to know the difference between shale oil and oil shale. Shale oil is oil that is tightly bound to low porosity rock, which can be recovered - expensively -- by fracking. Oil shale, on the other hand, is not oil. It is chemical precursor to oil called kerogen. It doesn't flow and it can't be economically extracted. It can be mined like coal and burned, but whereas coal is 90-something per cent carbon, oil shale is mostly rock. It has been used in a few barely commercial power generators.

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