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Island Mine

mcmasterse

I just finished reading Island Mine by @refusenik and was again blown away with how well written stories like these exist on SOL. Kudos and I am probably among many others who would love to see a sequel!

Replies:   Wheezer
Wheezer

@mcmasterse

You and me both, but according to Nick, it ain't happening. :(

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Wheezer

Refusenik refuses. We need more fuses to re fuse Refusenik. An explosive issue.

Replies:   Wheezer
Wheezer

@richardshagrin

Refusenik refuses. We need more fuses to re fuse Refusenik. An explosive issue.


There's a special place in Hell for bad punsters...

mcmasterse

Is refusenik active on these boards? Maybe we can put up an appeal 😄

Replies:   Wheezer
Wheezer

@mcmasterse

Is refusenik active on these boards? Maybe we can put up an appeal 😄

Nope. Someone who knows him told me recently that he was deeply involved in starting a new business. He had a new story half finished, but had set it aside to concentrate on the new business.

rods66

Well darn, sure does seem like some very good writers have had life getting in the way of our free entertainment. AL Sterner, Cold Creek, now Refusenik

Crumbly Writer

@Wheezer

There's a special place in Hell for bad punsters...

It's called the Punitentiary.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


It's called the Punitentiary.


CW, that's only for punacious punsters.

red61544

@Wheezer

That special place in hell is called the PUNishment room.

BlinkReader

Super, now we can play Scrabble :D

richardshagrin
Updated:


I just finished reading Island Mine by @refusenik and was again blown away


Mines are explosive devices that are designed to blow up ships. No wonder "Island Mine" has an explosive ending.

Replies:   BlinkReader
BlinkReader

@richardshagrin

And I was thinking that "Island Mine" has an atomic ending, like blown apart with atomic bomb.
And this is only part of his story that makes me sad.

He like most of you does not understand that society "in the center of the world" able to make 50 years plans and execute them is much more stable than volatile american society that initiated dozen wars (and more) in just last 50 years. Do not worry - they have their stupid politicians and greedy moneymakers and trigger-happy generals too, but they shoot them when they catch them.
And you?

Please understand that all of us outside of your bastion of stars and stripes are more and more afraid of your stupidity and terrified of your "spreading of democracy".

What good has it done to all of us except given you cheap labor, free resources, market for your arms for us to kill each other many times, and untold misery to all others?

What good have you made with force-feed "arabian spring" to south part of Mediterranean?
Was it not better to have one bloody dictator that keeps his country in stable state than "free country" that killed more their people in just one year than all of these tin-pot dictators in whole their lives?

And you long ago just plain forgot Vietnam. It was so long for you, that you needed to make same mistake twice in just one year, so you have Iraq and Afghanistan where your boys are even now dying every day and it costs you untold money - and for what?

Replies:   Capt Zapp  Dominions Son
Capt Zapp

@BlinkReader

and for what?


I actually agree with you. The US keeps sticking it's nose in places it doesn't belong. If the Syrians, Iraqi, Iranians, or whoever want to fight each other, LET THEM. I mean we shouldn't support any of the factions, but should simply let them fight it out among themselves. The ONLY time the US should worry about other countries is when they threaten the US directly. Quit sending troops to fight for a country that doesn't even like the US except as a source of weapons!

Dominions Son
Updated:

@BlinkReader


so you have Iraq and Afghanistan where your boys are even now dying every day and it costs you untold money - and for what?


I will agree on the money, but I think a little perspective on casualties is in order.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_military_casualties_of_war

War Deaths per day.

Civil War 420

WWII 297

WWI 279

Iraq/Afghanistan 1.6

Iraq/Afghanistan has the lowest casualty rates of any combat operation the US military has every been involved in.

Replies:   BlinkReader
BlinkReader

@Dominions Son

1,6 * every day for more than 10 years - and that is not enough???

And you are counting only your soldiers who died there:
- what about untold more civilians and "civilians" there?
- And what is happening with your veterans who are now trying to live at least some resemblance of normal life?
- what about untold destroyed lives of wives and children of your veterans?

I went thru one hell like this.
Now, more than 20 and some years later, I still can not stay still when I'm hearing sounds of jet or chopper. Of 80 of us who went there together I buried 10. Another 40 are now ill in body or mind...
And god forbid that there is some burned meat - my stomach still could not stand this horrible smell (like of burned human flesh)

So - enjoy your statistics...

Replies:   Dominions Son
adejun

Is there any story with similar plot to Island Mine?

Dominions Son

@BlinkReader

1,6 * every day for more than 10 years - and that is not enough???


1. It's the lowest of any war we have ever fought. It would have to go on for another hundred years to even reach the same ballpark as the lives lost to WWII.
2. More of our people die here in the states every day.

The casualty rate has no bearing on whether the war is justified or not.

If it isn't justified, one life lost is too many.
If it is justified, it's the safest war we have ever fought, any the only shocking thing about the casualty rate is how low it is.

And you are counting only your soldiers who died there:


Because that's the way you started this

so you have Iraq and Afghanistan where your boys are even now dying every day and it costs you untold money


Don't move the goal posts.

And what is happening with your veterans who are now trying to live at least some resemblance of normal life?


They have it rough, but nowhere near as bad as the Vietnam vets did.

what about untold destroyed lives of wives and children of your veterans?


Tragic, but past wars with far higher casualties rates affected far more wives and children.

None of this has any relevance to whether the war is justified or not.

Replies:   BlinkReader
BlinkReader

@Dominions Son

Oh, and you know that these two wars were and are justified?

I'm not forgetting 9-11, but as much as is public knowledge, that was deed of Saudi citizens who paid their way in to the Afghanistan :(

By the way, these two wars and their legacy have put us as world on tip of sword of extinction.
You maybe don't feel it jet, but you will too - and very soon, as all of as nearer this stupid killing are feeling it now.

Please, if nothing else read "Magestic" - it's still available on this site. It can open just a tinny crack to light you...

Replies:   Dominions Son
sejintenej

@Wheezer

There's a special place in Hell for bad punsters...

There's a special place in hell for women who don't help each other,
So Madeline Albright must read this thread: I'm neutral on the presidential elections

Replies:   tppm
Dominions Son
Updated:

@BlinkReader


Oh, and you know that these two wars were and are justified?


I didn't say they were. You were citing the casualty rates as if they were the reason we shouldn't be there.

ETA:

I'm on the fence a bit on that issue. I think that there was some justification, but I am not convinced it was enough justification. I do think we should get out at this point. The casualty rates do not and can not by themselves create a reason to get out.

If it's unjustified we should get out because it's unjustified for the reasons it's unjustified. If you think it's unjustified and the best reason you can come up with to get out is casualties that's just idiotic.

Personally I think we should get out because at this point, justified or not, we won the war but lost the occupation. It's been all fucked up and their isn't any way we can fix it. We need to get out before we make it even worse.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
tppm

@sejintenej

Ms. Albright didn't invent the phrase "There's a special place in Hell for..." Read Dante's Inferno some time. I don't know if he used the phrase "C'è un posto speciale all'inferno" but he showed several examples.

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

I think that there was some justification, but I am not convinced it was enough justification.


The problem with the US Military actions since WW2 is the dumb-ass US Congress and media are too busy point scoring and pushing for money to care about the lives of the troops or the realities of what happens in a war. The troops had Korea won, until the US Congress told them not to finish the Koreans off - result thousands more dead and the job still not finished. The same thing happened in Vietnam, the troops had it won early but the Congress wouldn't let them go ahead and finish off the North Vietnamese Army. Eventually bad press in the US caused the Congress to pull everyone out because they realised the troops can't win with both hands tied behind their backs by a bunch of idiots in Washington. The same thing Happened in Iraq.

Sadam invaded Kuwait. The troops went in and won the war, only to have Congress scream at them to stop and hand it all back by screwing around. A Cease Fire Agreement was reached with certain terms that clearly stated if Sadam didn't do certain things and stop doing others the troops would come back and the shooting resumed. The Gulf War was never finished. Sadam failed to meet the terms of the CFA on all counts, did the Congress send the troops back in - now, they screwed around for a decade while running around bleating to the papers and allowed his party to get set up for when the troops did come back.

BTW: There's still thousand of tons of chemicals for making poison gas uncounted for - sold to Sadam by the French and Germans in the 1970s and 1980s, and not used or destroyed. Some were used against the Kurds and Iran, but not much. They've been hidden somewhere in Iraq and not found. The worry is they were stored in metal 44 gallon drums with a design life of only 25 to 30 years - so those drums are either rusting out or about to rust out and then all that crap will be leaking out and into the ground where they're stored. Just what you don't want leaking into the water table , which they can do.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

The problem with the US Military actions since WW2 is the dumb-ass US Congress and media are too busy point scoring and pushing for money to care about the lives of the troops or the realities of what happens in a war.


No argument there, though I will add that Kennedy and his "think tank" didn't help much.

The same thing happened in Vietnam, the troops had it won early but the Congress wouldn't let them go ahead and finish off the North Vietnamese Army.


Yep, the US military (mostly the USMC) pushed the NVA all the way in to China more than once. The meatheads in DC wouldn't let them press further for fear that China would enter the war on the NVA's side. Though, I'm not sure blame for that falls on Congress, my understanding is that Kennedy's think tank was responsible for a lot of that.

Eventually bad press in the US caused the Congress to pull everyone out because they realised the troops can't win with both hands tied behind their backs by a bunch of idiots in Washington. The same thing Happened in Iraq.


I agree on both counts.

However, at this point, I don't think we could salvage Iraq or Afghanistan even if the US military was given clearance to go in full force fire at will.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

However, at this point, I don't think we could salvage Iraq or Afghanistan even if the US military was given clearance to go in full force fire at will.


Oh, I think they could still do a good job. However, Congress would need to stand aside and keep their mouths shut while the military dealt with Al Queda, Taliban, and ISIS the way they should be dealt with. Failing that, the best bet would be to arm the Kurds properly.

The sad thing is 20 years of screwing around has created a situation where pulling out simply makes things worse than they are now - not only there, but back in the USA. If they pull out the terrorists involved with ISIS, and Al Queda will simply beef up their US mainland terrorism without having to worry about being hit at home.

Replies:   BlinkReader
BlinkReader

@Ernest Bywater

Sorry, but it's too late.
What ever USA do now - it's too late.
What ever Europe try to do now - it's too late
What ever Russia is trying to do now - it is also too late.
Idiotic minds behind mindless violence are set free, and are fueling violence further and further...
World's only tinny chance now is to very fast help bloody dictators there to win some wars so that they can kill fanatics and them selves better, and run from there as fast as possible.

If you think that Middle East is bad, turn your eyes to Africa, there is even now much worse. Nigeria is for some of you land behind 999 mountains and seas, but it's keg of explosive just lighted on. And is big, and have oil (sounds familliar?).

Libya?
You think Gadaffi was bad?
Think twice - they are across a pond from Europe, rich in oil, spread thin except couple of big cities, and now full of Daesh idiot "martyrs"...

And after that?
Tunisia?
Pakistan (with big cache of nuclear weapons)?
Egypt?
Alger or Morocco?
And then - France and UK? good ole USA and Russia?

And - Dominions Son, one man or woman killed for any reason (not to mention "for freedom and justice") is too much.
Whole regions of the world turned to blaze either "for Allah" or for "for freedom and justice" is just plain idiotic...

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@BlinkReader

And - Dominions Son, one man or woman killed for any reason (not to mention "for freedom and justice") is too much.


Sorry there is such a things as justifiable homicide and justified wars. Do you think we should have just let Hitler take over the world?

Replies:   BlinkReader
BlinkReader
Updated:

@Dominions Son

Absolutely Not (Hitler)

But again - he was product of GB and USA politics who together destroyed Germany as winners of WW1. If there was not Hitler - there would be someone else, probably smarter and even more dangerous...

But if you are thinking that way, you left Stalin, Mao, Rogue Khmers in Cambodia (and you as USA are guilty for them to be there in Cambodia in first place).

And what about all these tin-pot dictators your government helped to thrive across the globe?

richardshagrin

This is story discussion and feedback?

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin

after 20 or so posts the snow starts and the drift starts to grow.

Replies:   BlinkReader
BlinkReader

@Ernest Bywater

You are right, and I was too brush.
My apologies to everyone whom I may offend with my words.

But please understand - we who are living near fire have been burned already - and it's not a nice feeling.
And now, it looks like the fire is burning higher, and is much hotter too :(

Not_a_ID
Updated:

There is a way out, and it has been touched on already. The thing driving much of this crazy train is money derived from oil extracted from regions that have populations which have not yet reached any kind of "live and let live" outlook.

Of course, ongoing social engineering efforts(with wildly different courses dialed in, and subject to adjustments between generations) that have been going on since the middle of the 19th century don't help.

Most of what is screwed up in the world today can be laid at feet of the 19th century Europeans that gave us Socialism, Communism, and Eugenics. Yes, Americans were involved too and helped progress some of those ideas, which saw their culmination under Hitler with the National Socialists, and Stalin with the Communist Party. But it still came as a derivative of works from 19th century Western Europe.

The PLO under Arafat? Well, seems the generation before him was rather tight with the Nazis. The anti-semitism is certainly there. Comparable story for Persia, which in a show of solidarity with the Nazis changed the name of their freaking country to Iran to demonstrate their commitment to the idea of racial purity. Muslim Brotherhood? More Nazi ties to be had.

The U.S. actions of the last couple decades are merely symptoms of problems brewing for over a century, funded by money obtained through the export of petroleum to developed nations. Get the global economy off petrol, you shut down the inflow of money, at which point the proverbial festering swamp in the desert of the middle east can get drained.

Until then, short of implementing a police state and maintaining it for a few generations, nothing is going to meaningfully change. Sadly, the police state option is certainly not one for the U.S. to oversee, our political cycles are too fast to ever be relied upon to see it through.. As we've sadly demonstrated in the past 25 years in particular.

Dominions Son

@Not_a_ID

Get the global economy off petrol, you shut down the inflow of money, at which point the proverbial festering swamp in the desert of the middle east can get drained.


There isn't any way to get the global economy off petrol without going back to a preindustrial economy. Wind, solar and biomass will never make it out of single digit percentages of total power consumption.

Also electricity sucks ass as a vehicle fuel.

The only possible route for decarbonizing the global economy is nuclear power on a massive scale.

Then using one of various CO2 + H2O + energy > liquid hydrocarbon fuel to run vehicles.

Even this is something that can't happen over night. Even if all government permitting processes and other red-tape issues were eliminated it would still take 1 or 2 centuries to build enough new nuclear plants to provide enough electricity for it to work.

Replies:   Not_a_ID  sejintenej  Capt Zapp
Not_a_ID

@Dominions Son

Or significant advances in both fusion power and battery technologies.

A "solid state" battery, rather than then chemical ones we have today could turn things on their heads as quickly as they could produce the thing.

Reality is the power grid for most developed nations is already adequate to the task of power needs likely to be needed for years to come. The problem is the power grid doesn't work that way currently as we don't have a(n economical) way to store and retrieve it on demand on large scales. Fix that and you're not having to constantly adjust the power output of the baseline power plants. If no one is using it, it goes into a battery bank somewhere for use during peak hours, or some other task. (It also makes wind and solar more viable as they cease to be a grid management nightmare. Wind power sites usually hit peak power production during off peak hours. Meaning somebody has to stop making kilowatts, and the rules in many places force them to accept the "green" source. which often means trying to turn down the fire at a coal plant somewhere... Easier said than done, and then have fun when you need the power from that plant a few hours later...)

Fusion just helps do away with the fossil fuel plants.

But yeah, getting off of carbon won't be easy or quick even with super technology around to replace it. But it could certainly help drop demand for petrol down to a level where oil from Islamic nations isn't desperately needed well before then.

Dominions Son

@Not_a_ID

Reality is the power grid for most developed nations is already adequate to the task of power needs likely to be needed for years to come


The US power grid as is will not be able to handle electrification of more than 10% of the existing vehicle fleet.

Dominions Son

@Not_a_ID

A "solid state" battery, rather than then chemical ones we have today could turn things on their heads as quickly as they could produce the thing.


Batteries are not the only problem with electric vehicles.

Here is where I see the failings. Until electric cars can meet these requirements they will continue to be a small market niche

1. Recharge in no more than twice the time it takes to re-fill the fuel tank on an ICE vehicle.

2. Must have comparable range to a comparable ICE powered vehichle. (Typical consumer vehicle is in the 300-400 mile range)

3. Can tow a trailer with comparable towing capacity to a comparable ICE powered vehicle.

4 They can be built meeting all three of the above criteria in all vehicle classes. That means electric pickups with 10,000 pound towing capacities. Electric semi tractors with 120,000 pound towing capacity and 1000 mile range.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Dominions Son

@Not_a_ID

Or significant advances in both fusion power and battery technologies.


Fusion is nuclear and don't bet that the anti-nuclear activists will be any friendlier to nuclear fusion than they are to traditional fission based nuclear power

Replies:   Grant
Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

Batteries are not the only problem with electric vehicles.


Please do not confuse battery cars with electric cars. The bulk of the problems with most cars using electric motors today is because they are really battery cars and rely on the batteries for their power supply. An electric car can have other power supply sources with only a small battery as a load balance interface.

The big powerful diesel locomotives do not drive the railroad engines, they are diesel motors running electric generators which power the powerful electric motors in the wheel units. This arrangement is far more powerful and economic of fuel than any other at the moment. Why this isn't done by any of the car companies is beyond me. Small diesel generator that sits at optimum revs with a couple of batteries instead of a huge battery array. Small powerful direct drive electric motors on the wheels, and you have more power and control than what they have today.

Also, most discarded vegetation can be used to create bio-diesel, so instead of sending tons of grass clippings to landfill they can go into processing plants and reduce the need for petroleum diesel. Certain other trees and plants can be grown in places where food crops can't and they can be harvested for bio-diesel. Grown in places like slopes and rocky areas. There are many trees that have volatile oils that will make great bio-diesel.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Grant

@Dominions Son

Fusion is nuclear and don't bet that the anti-nuclear activists will be any friendlier to nuclear fusion than they are to traditional fission based nuclear power

Depends on how the fusion reactor is implemented. There is one form that can actually make use of fission reactor waste products to negate it's own indirect waste product while making the fission radioactive waste safe.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


The bulk of the problems with most cars using electric motors today is because they are really battery cars and rely on the batteries for their power supply. An electric car can have other power supply sources with only a small battery as a load balance interface.


Actually, when GM first announced their first hybrid, what you describe is what it was originally supposed to be (GM makes diesel electric locomotives). The automakers that already had hybrids on the market bitched to the regulators that they shouldn't be allowed to call it a hybrid because it didn't have a dual drive train like traditional hybrids. The few companies with all electric vehicles made similar complaints to the regulators about allowing GM to call it an electric car.

The regulators made things so hard on GM that they gave up and what they actually brought to market was a traditional hybrid.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Dominions Son

@Grant

Depends on how the fusion reactor is implemented.


It doesn't matter how clean you can make it, the anti-nuclear crowd will still be against it. Why do you think the global warming alarmists aren't pushing nuclear power. It's because they have a lot of overlap with the anti-nuclear crowd.

Replies:   Grant
Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

Actually, when GM first announced their first hybrid


Maybe GM made a mistake in calling it a hybrid instead of a diesel-electric car. I know there are a few small business in the US making a good living by buying old cars with stuffed motors and old railway engines then refurbishing the cars with small diesel engines and generators and using railway electric traction motors as the drive motors on the wheels. Some even refurbish your car for you. Saw a program about it on TV a couple of years back, that was about when the Tesla sports car was being released.

Grant

@Dominions Son

Why do you think the global warming alarmists aren't pushing nuclear power. It's because they have a lot of overlap with the anti-nuclear crowd.

Or it could be a case of the cure is worse than the disease.
From a global warming perspective nuclear is awesome. Unfortunately we do have to deal with it's by-products, and with fission there is no acceptable safe way to do so. Trading one disaster for another isn't ideal, better to find a 3rd option.

richardshagrin

@Grant

One possible way to get rid of nuclear waste is to send it by rocket into the sun. Of course if the rocket doesn't make it into orbit, there may be a different kind of fallout.

Dominions Son

@Grant

Trading one disaster for another isn't ideal, better to find a 3rd option.


If CO2 is the disease, and the only cure is to decarbonize the economy starting now, the choice is nuclear or suicide. Because that's what will happen if you try to deindustrialize the global economy with a 7 billion population.

Not_a_ID

@Grant

1) Acceptable to whom?
2) Safe by what standard?
3) "Breeder" Reactor technology is old hat by now, and when allowed to run the full cycle, the radioactive lifespan is measured in centuries rather than millennia.
3.A) Of course, that means some uranium will become plutonium for a period of time, which makes people then scream about nuclear weapons.
3.B) Never mind there being ways to undertake the process in such a manner that trying to weaponize the contents of the core of such a reactor is a very not worthwhile activity.

4) More people die in the coal mining industry in a typical year than have ever died as a result of the peaceful use of nuclear power. (Atom bombs obviously not being peaceful, as they're weapons) Besides which, what about all that coal ash?

5) The petroleum industry isn't exactly free of death and destruction either.

Petrol and coal just happen to have smaller scales involved, and smaller numbers of people involved per incident. That and they're familiar technologies, oh, and those industries funded much of the early anti-nuke propaganda, can't imagine why.

Replies:   Grant
Grant

@Not_a_ID

3) "Breeder" Reactor technology is old hat by now, and when allowed to run the full cycle, the radioactive lifespan is measured in centuries

Which is still a rather long time for something to remain fatally hazardous.

4) More people die in the coal mining industry in a typical year than have ever died as a result of the peaceful use of nuclear power.

Given the period of time coal has been mined & used, and the scale of it compared to nuclear, I would hope so.

Ernest Bywater

@Grant

Which is still a rather long time for something to remain fatally hazardous.


and the original ore is also hazardous if left alone in the ground.

One thing about nuclear energy is that, other than the original research in the 1930s to 1950s, there's been very little done about ways to build the reactors better or make better use of the material due to bans and the like. So, comparative wise, nuclear energy development is still in the early days of aircraft flight with fragile wood and canvas bi-planes.

Replies:   Not_a_ID  Grant
Dominions Son

@Grant

4) More people die in the coal mining industry in a typical year than have ever died as a result of the peaceful use of nuclear power.



Given the period of time coal has been mined & used, and the scale of it compared to nuclear, I would hope so.


No, you missed the point. Coal mining and use killed more people last year than have died as a result of nuclear power over the course of it's entire history.

Replies:   Grant
Not_a_ID
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater

Not quite true, the U.S. made it to the "third generation" of Nuclear Plants by the time of Three Mile Island, which brought a halt to new nuclear construction in the U.S., but research in existing facilities continued. For example, EBR-2 in Idaho ran multiple catastrophic failure scenarios, including deliberate loss of coolant flow(what caused Chernobyl to literally pop its top in a steam explosion, only their loss of coolant wasn't entirely intentional) a month before Chernobyl made headlines. Chernobyl is well known(that and failsafe systems were not a priority for the USSR, that reactor never would have been built in the U.S. as anything more than a very small scale experiment rather than the hulking thing it was).

In the case of EBR-2, the fuel heated up, started to expand into the voids they deliberately left in the fuel rods for such a contingency. Eventually the fuel expanded to the point it could no longer sustain the reaction, and shut itself down without intervention from a human or any other safety system. No damage to the reactor, no containment breach. If they'd wanted to, they could have restored coolant flow and fired the reactor back up and kept going. (That experimental breader reactor continued service into the 90's before Clinton killed it because: Plutonium)

We're now well into "Generation 4" thanks in large part to countries like France and Japan. While they may not incorporate every safety feature out there, the differences are there. Fukushima was a generation 1 plant design. While the design flaw regarding the (flooded by a tsunami larger than anyone reasonably expected) backup power source may have been there regardless, other outcomes regarding containment loss may have played out differently with newer techniques put into play by later generations of reactors. Certainly so for anything designed since that event as it has undoubtedly become one of the scenarios they have to design contingencies for.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Not_a_ID

Not quite true, the U.S. made it to the "third generation"


Which means they got to the several seater bi-planes, but stopped before they even considered twenty seat planes or mono-planes.

Third generation of anything is still the beginning stages of the design cycle, let alone the research cycle which never really got started. Even the theoretical research on nuclear fusion has been stopped, as has been second generation fuel processing and usage.

Bitching about the current design plants is like bitching about the planes failing in the first 10 years of flight design.

Grant
Updated:

@Dominions Son

No, you missed the point. Coal mining and use killed more people last year than have died as a result of nuclear power over the course of it's entire history.


No, you missed the point.

The nuclear industry has only been around for a very short period of time, and is only a fraction of the size in terms of the numbers of people directly or indirectly involved in it's mining and use.

If you were to actually workout the numbers in relation to scale & time I doubt coal would be nearly as bad/nuclear nearly as good as you are claiming.

I'm quite aware that using absolute values is always a useful debating tactic when relative values aren't favourable.

EDIT- if people were really concerned about the numbers of deaths and injuries, then they'd be more concerned about the annual road toll than the piddling amount (in relation to motor vehicle accidents) that are the result of coal and nuclear industries combined since their inception.

Grant

@Ernest Bywater

and the original ore is also hazardous if left alone in the ground.

In what way?

Yellowcake is concentrated uranium ore, and it is as hazardous as natural potassium carrying minerals or thorium-oxide mantles used in Colman lanterns; or a bunch of bananas.
http://talknuclear.ca/2014/08/just-how-radioactive-is-uranium-ore/

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Grant

In what way?


Not sure how valid that blog is, but all naturally occurring uranium emits radiation at some level. The bigger the deposit, the more radiation it emits. Also, the level of radiation will vary with the type of deposit the uranium is in. How much it affects you will also depend on how long you stay near it, and how close you get to it.

One thing that the experts have troubles agreeing on is: What is a safe level of radiation exposure?

Part of the problem is when people talk about the difference between what is being radiated from a chunk of raw uranium, processed uranium (in it's various forms), and how that varies to background radiation. Mind you, they rarely mention the fact that background radiation varies from place to place because it will depend on what is coming from local uranium sources as well.

Back in the 1970s and the 1980s there was a lot of political argument in Australia on Uranium mining (we do have about 30% of the world's commercially viable reserves - making us the biggest holder of commercial uranium deposits). One argument put forward for the approval of the exportation of the uranium was the lowering of the radiation levels in the areas where the uranium had been removed. Even today there are ares where the scientist state it's unhealthy to camp overnight due to radiation concerns from the natural deposits.

Replies:   Grant  sejintenej
Grant

@Ernest Bywater

Even today there are ares where the scientist state it's unhealthy to camp overnight due to radiation concerns from the natural deposits.

You don't want to inhale or ingest the dust.
Other than that, it's not hazardous.

Plenty of areas you don't want to camp due to asbestos. Externally it's harmless, but you don't want to breathe it in. And even then, different types present different risks.

And plenty of other areas to steer clear of due to past mining activities. Arsenic, Mercury & Lead (amongst others) aren't good for your health. And some of them can be absorbed through the skin, let alone inhaling or ingesting them.

mcmasterse

Whoa! Just checked in on the conversation and was amazed to see where it evolved. However, someone asked a question that I am interested in too I.e any similar stories to island mine that folks would recommend?

Replies:   Abs
Abs

@mcmasterse

John Wales has a few stories that you might like.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Abs

John Wales hasn't written anything in a long time. Does anyone know if he is writing and posting elsewhere? Good stories. Some a little mm, so be careful if you squick easily. Proelator, for example.

sejintenej

@Ernest Bywater

but all naturally occurring uranium emits radiation at some level. The bigger the deposit, the more radiation it emits. Also, the level of radiation will vary with the type of deposit the uranium is in. How much it affects you will also depend on how long you stay near it, and how close you get to it.

It is not only uranium in the ground which is a problem. In those areas of Britain and especially Cornwall thorium gas which is radioactive is emitted from the ground and if there is a house above it, yes, you have guessed it, health problems arise. The most modern rules require such houses to have gas-proof foundations.

sejintenej
Updated:

@Dominions Son


There isn't any way to get the global economy off petrol without going back to a preindustrial economy. Wind, solar and biomass will never make it out of single digit percentages of total power consumption.


You omit development and wavepower.

Development; we now use far less electricity for age-old needs than before. The light bulbs I now have use 11watts but produce the same amount of lumens as an old 120watt incandescent bulb. There is a new(ish) car engine out which achieves 33% better equivalent mileage than my diesel Focus and weighs enough to be picked up with one hand! I suspect the new Fiat 600s are even better. This c a n in theory cut power needs (though peeps do go for more and more!

So far as electric power is concerned, France has broken 10% from hydro, solar etc. though it is still highly reliant on nuclear.

At the time of the oil crisis in the 70's UK developments had the ability to get enough electric power from 600 miles of offshore waves to satisfy projected 2000 needs. The government reckoned the efficiency was too low and stopped the programme. There is still a lot of potential for a Rance type project and when I look at Grey Dog, Corryvekran and the Bay of Fundy's statistics - wow! We already have one estuary with a watermill in the bottom producing electricity but I don't know the efficiency statistics.

In the 1970s Northern Italy was already using heat from deep in the earth for localised power and heating - just like Iceland does. However in Italy it was just a couple of spots, not region wide let alone country wide which would be necessary.

Not easy but necessary.

As for personal vehicles, until we can get safe H2 plus O2 we have problems. Batteries are not long lasting nor having the same abilities as petrol/gas. Maglift is too expensive and energy inefficient so it is back to the old bicycles and carriages m'dear.

Dominions Son

@sejintenej


Development; we now use far less electricity for age-old needs than before. The light bulbs I now have use 11watts but produce the same amount of lumens as an old 120watt incandescent bulb.


True, but energy efficiency isn't an answer. There are many studies that show that energy efficiency increases don't lead to reductions in total energy consumption. People simply spend the saved energy on other things.

Dominions Son
Updated:

@sejintenej


As for personal vehicles, until we can get safe H2 plus O2 we have problems.


There is another path for vehicles, but it would require a massive increase in nuclear power.

Synthetic hydrocarbon fuels. Given H20 + CO2 + energy, you can synthesize any liquid hydrocarbon fuel you want.

And before you object that this will take more energy than the fuel contains. Duh! but that's True for any solution for powering vehicles without fossil fuels. Even running vehicles directly off electricity involves energy losses between generation and delivery to the vehicle.

Your suggestion of going to pure H2 is likely to require even more energy.

Synthetic hydrocarbon fuels have two major advantages.

1. Reduced conversion costs. They can be used in the existing vehicles fleet and existing fuel transportation, distribution and delivery infrastructure.

2. More stable and easier to store than H2.

Replies:   sejintenej
sejintenej

@Dominions Son

Synthetic hydrocarbon fuels have two major advantages.
1. Reduced conversion costs. They can be used in the existing vehicles fleet and existing fuel transportation, distribution and delivery infrastructure.

My only experience is with 100% ethanol; firstly engines had to be redesigned because the fuel destroyed the lubrication. secondly it was expensive and used needed agricultural resources, thirdly it couldn't be used at low temperatures - VW did find a way around that for use in the near tropics and lastly the exhaust was a sickly sweet smell. I don't know anything about how the exhaust affected human, animal/bird and plant life.

The cars ran OK - just like ordinary petrol ones but had a short startup lag

2. More stable and easier to store than H2.

A 1000% advantage - safer

Replies:   Dominions Son
Abs

You guys should write a joint story about the topic and have survives each living how you think earth will be without oil.

Replies:   Dominions Son
richardshagrin
Updated:

Energy availability and sources will depend on pricing. If oil is not available until $500 a barrel resources are needed, then prices will rise as long as petroleum is demanded by markets. Higher prices will adjust use until only the most important uses are funded by demand. Industries may shift to where hydropower or wind power or whatever can be developed by inventiveness is available. Jobs will follow. We may all commute by bicycle if automobiles and their power sources are too expensive to use. Maybe Ponygirls will provide taxi (chariot) service in urban areas. Rickshaws were used in asia before automobiles.

Goods and people will need to be moved, even if animal power does it. Streetcars anyone?

Dominions Son

@sejintenej

My only experience is with 100% ethanol; firstly engines had to be redesigned because the fuel destroyed the lubrication.


It doesn't have to be ethanol. With the right process and catalysts, it is possible to synthesize gasoline. A research group in the UK has already done it. The only issue is how to scale the process up enough to generate industrial quantities.

Replies:   sejintenej
Dominions Son
Updated:

@Abs


You guys should write a joint story about the topic and have survives each living how you think earth will be without oil.


Edited:

It all depends on whether or not a substitute is available that is both economical and has sufficient energy density to serve the needs of a modern industrial society.

Solar and wind won't ever cut it. The source energy density is too low.

If some suitable substitute is found, life probably won't change much for those living during the switch over.

If no substitute is available, and we actually run out of oil, it means a return to a preindustrial economy and the death of 80+% of the world's current population. If you want to know what that would be like, read any book on what life was like for people in the 16th and 17th centuries.

There is no real sign that we will run out of oil that is more economical than any of the available substitutes any time in the foreseeable future.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater  Abs  Not_a_ID  Jim S
Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

It all depends on whether or not a substitute is available that is both economical and has sufficient energy density to serve the needs of a modern industrial society.


The two keys here are that you're talking about the 'current' level of the technology and the 'current' level of demand / usage in today's society. A significant change in either will have a serious effect on the equation.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Abs

@Dominions Son

A concentrated effort in developing fusion technology is a likely solution.

I do think the Earth's populations is unsuitable currently and we are more likely to destroy our own infrastructure due to wars and terrorist then running out of resources.

Capt Zapp

@Dominions Son

There isn't any way to get the global economy off petrol without going back to a preindustrial economy.


Everyone seems commenting about replacing fossil fuels. Doesn't anyone remember that the original diesel engine was designed to run on vegetable oil? It doesn't even have to me new! Properly filtered, waste oils from cooking can be used. Of course, you'll make everybody along your route hungry for fried chicken, but it works. It doesn't even have to be mixed with anything to make it work.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

The two keys here are that you're talking about the 'current' level of the technology and the 'current' level of demand / usage in today's society.


Sorry, but there isn't any remotely likely scenario in which either per capita or total energy demand declines without a collapse of civilization.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Dominions Son

@Capt Zapp

Everyone seems commenting about replacing fossil fuels. Doesn't anyone remember that the original diesel engine was designed to run on vegetable oil?


Yes I remember that and yes, you can make biodiesel from waste cooking oil, but not in large enough quantities to make a dent in the demand for fossil oil.

In terms of getting us of fossil fuels, bio fuels in general are a non-starter. Again, you have to put more energy into producing the fuel then you can get out of it. So without fossil fuels or some other energy dense/economical energy source separate from the bio fuel itself, no bio fuel can be produced in sufficient quantity to meet current, much less future energy demands.

Sorry, basic physics. The only way we are getting off fossil fuels is nuclear fission and or nuclear fusion.

Fossil fuels only work because the Sun, and the earth put more energy into them than it takes to dig them out of the ground.

Capt Zapp

@Dominions Son

Yes I remember that and yes, you can make biodiesel from waste cooking oil, but not in large enough quantities to make a dent in the demand for fossil oil.


Oops, I got confused as to which thread I was in. I thought this was the one discussing PA fuel sources. I agree that, while it may run a few vehicles, there is not enough supply to eliminate the need for other conventional fuels in current vehicles.

samuelmichaels

@Dominions Son

In general, biofuels or synthetic hydrocarbons (or even hydrogen) can be used to store and concentrate solar and wind energy. Although with modern electric cars reaching 200-300 mi range, lithium batteries can serve some of this purpose.

Hammingyrd7 has a story about using (spoiler) generator used to generate hydrogen for vehicles. Fuel cells, if I recall correctly.

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

Sorry, but there isn't any remotely likely scenario in which either per capita or total energy demand declines without a collapse of civilization.


technology changes have reduced the energy footprint of most houses and retail operations. Switch from incandescent lighting to LED means a huge drop in power needs. better construction design of buildings will have a similar effect by reducing environmental control energy usage. back in the early 1990s, before we had decent and cheap LED lights, I reduced the total energy bill for a large Australian military base by updating the technology used for environmental control, upgrading passive environment management, and upgraded lighting. over 30% reduction and there's a lot more that can be done by upgrading to the technology that's come on-line since then. Everything that i did then could be applied to any residence or business operation. Expenditure on the right upgrades can easily reduce the energy cost by 50% for of any building built before 1990 and not upgraded since, unless it was built with energy management as a top issue then. Do that across a city and that's a major change. Add in some individual solar panels for houses and business and you'll get another big savings, even if it isn't highly efficient.

Dominions Son
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


technology changes have reduced the energy footprint of most houses and retail operations. Switch from incandescent lighting to LED means a huge drop in power needs.


And yet the rate of increase in energy demand even just within the US hasn't even slowed down. People just use the energy saved in one place for something else that they would have forgone before.

Research has been done on this by both academics and energy industry. Increases in energy efficiency does not lead to people using less energy, it leads to people doing more things that use energy.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

And yet the rate of increase in energy demand even just within the US hasn't even slowed down. People just use the energy saved in one place for something else that they would have forgone before.


I suspect a large part of that is the increasing population - legal and illegal - also, the failure to introduce such energy saving measures in a wide enough scale are a major issue.

What can be done, and what is done are rarely the same.

Replies:   Dominions Son
sejintenej

@Dominions Son

It doesn't have to be ethanol. With the right process and catalysts, it is possible to synthesize gasoline. A research group in the UK has already done it. The only issue is how to scale the process up enough to generate industrial quantities.

SASOL did it from coal when South Africa couldn't trade with other countries legally

Replies:   Dominions Son
sejintenej

@Ernest Bywater

technology changes have reduced the energy footprint of most houses and retail operations. Switch from incandescent lighting to LED means a huge drop in power needs. better construction design of buildings will have a similar effect by reducing environmental control energy usage.

I understand that there are now some houses in the UK which need no power inputs due to solar panels, greenhouse windows and extreme insulation. However they are having problems because they overheat in summer. We are getting there slowly B U T
insulation, glass, solar panels etc. need energy inputs in manufacture and there are always the energy inputs required for food production (tractors etc), transport, non food items etc.

Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

I suspect a large part of that is the increasing population


Yes, increasing population has an impact on total energy consumption, but per-capita energy consumption has increased as well.

Researchers have done studies on this. If people save energy in one area, they do more instead of using less total energy.

Dominions Son

@sejintenej

SASOL did it from coal when South Africa couldn't trade with other countries legal


Synthesizing gasoline from coal is easy compared to doing it from H20 + CO2

Replies:   Not_a_ID
samuelmichaels

@Dominions Son

Yes, increasing population has an impact on total energy consumption, but per-capita energy consumption has increased as well.

Researchers have done studies on this. If people save energy in one area, they do more instead of using less total energy.


I am not sure that's quite right. From wikipedia:

In 2012 USA's electrical energy usage was 5% more than in 2002. It was 2.2% less than the peak in 2007. It was 1% less than in 2011. Per capita consumption has decreased about 6% since its peak in 2007 and every year since has shown a decrease in individual consumption. Conservation efforts are helping.

This is a very small trend, to be sure, but at least the per-capita consumption has flattened out since about 1970.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

Yes, increasing population has an impact on total energy consumption, but per-capita energy consumption has increased as well.


and I wonder how much of that is related to the extra production of consumer goods and the like and additional activities and costs related to regulatory activities in business. When the government introduced socialised medicine here in Australia the small town doctors had to hire extra staff and keep the offices open longer as well as buy and use extra computers just to process the BS paperwork the government regulations now required, and they've increased each year since.

I know many people who's individual energy footprint has gone down dramatically in the last several years due to changes in how they did things and what they used as an effort to reduce their energy bills. The only places I know, for sure, as increasing energy costs are government offices and businesses with increased government regulations.

Replies:   Dominions Son
richardshagrin

The obvious solution to reducing use of scarce resources is to increase the price. If a kilowatt hour of electricity doubles in cost, people turn out lights they aren't using or use smaller, more efficient bulbs. If the price of gasoline doubles, alternate methods of transportation get used, people switch to more fuel efficient vehicles, or people walk or drive more efficient routes to combine travel to multiple destinations. If you can't pay for it, you don't buy it.

The other side of higher prices is that more supply is made available to take advantage of resources that were not efficient to use when pricing was lower. Shale oil starts to make sense with oil at $100 a barrel, or more. Fracking costs but with high enough price people decide to use that technology to increase supply. Recycling increases when the items being recycled become valuable enough to pay for sorting, transportation to markets, etc. Markets work, when people are allowed to use them. Grocery stores put foods they want to sell a lot of on sale, and demand responds. I bought less gasoline when the price at the pump was over $4 a gallon than now, when its close to $2. You don't need a government program or a lot of expensive "education" to adjust behavior when all you have to do is let the price rise or fall, depending on what behavior you wish to adjust.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater  Not_a_ID
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

I know many people who's individual energy footprint has gone down dramatically in the last several years due to changes in how they did things and what they used as an effort to reduce their energy bills.


And I know many people who aren't willing to do anything remotely inconvenient just to reduce their total energy use. Where they do make efforts to save energy, it's so they have more energy to do other things.

The only places I know, for sure, as increasing energy costs are government offices and businesses with increased government regulations.


Energy costs can go down while quantity of energy used goes up. You have to look at how much energy is being used, not the cost of that energy.

Increasing energy efficiency means people can do more for the same cost. Increasing energy efficiency by itself is highly unlikely to reduce aggregate or per-capita energy usage.

Replies:   sejintenej
sejintenej

@Dominions Son

Increasing energy efficiency means people can do more for the same cost. Increasing energy efficiency by itself is highly unlikely to reduce aggregate or per-capita energy usage

The energy demands of individuals could be controlled (Ernest has already done it) but what about business, industry, government. Surely those are the areas with the most potential to reduce demand?

Many decades ago the unions forced a three day week on the UK; demand from industry etc reduced but output didn't to any appreciable extent. It comes down to efficiency.

HM has an excellent way of controlling the length of meetings with her Privy Council. Despite being in her eighties she makes them stand throughout just as she does. That is the way to cut a 180minute BS meeting to 18minutes and everyone can get back to proper work. Of course that idea goes down like a lead balloon - I wonder why.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@sejintenej

The energy demands of individuals could be controlled (Ernest has already done it) but what about business, industry, government. Surely those are the areas with the most potential to reduce demand?


Yes, an individual interested in so doing can control their energy use. However, there is little evidence that more than a tiny minority is actually interested in reducing their total energy usage.

The energy demands of individuals can not be controlled in aggregate short of totalitarian measures.

Neither businesses nor governments have any interest reducing total energy use. A business would have great interest in efficiency improvements, but that's only to reduce cost per unit so it can sell more units and grow.

Efficiency can only do so much. In the end individuals want more and business want to grow. Improvements in energy efficiency are great. They are not however and never will be a path to sustainable reductions in total energy usage.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Dominions Son

I guess we will have to disagree. Pricing is the key to altering behavior in this area. If Gasoline were taxed like it is in Europe, or even higher, lets say $10 a gallon, you would see a reduction in energy usage from gasoline users. Similar increases in other energy costs would produce sustainable reductions in total energy usage. Of course there might be unpredictable consequences. People go into parks to cut down trees for firewood.

Such higher taxes likely would be extremely unpopular, unless the taxes were directed to something really popular (income tax rebate?) and would be politically difficult to support. However the principal is the same, the path to sustainable reductions in total energy usage does exist, and the important mechanism is pricing.

The Market has an invisible hand that guides consumers (to use less) and producers (to produce more) as prices increase.

sejintenej

@richardshagrin

Pricing is the key to altering behavior in this area. If Gasoline were taxed like it is in Europe, or even higher, lets say $10 a gallon, you would see a reduction in energy usage from gasoline users. Similar increases in other energy costs would produce sustainable reductions in total energy usage. Of course there might be unpredictable consequences.

An alternative would be necessary - buses, trains etc. On top of that is that at least over here malls and hypermarkets are situated way out of town (my local one is 17 miles each way and I live on the edge of a town)

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@sejintenej

Perhaps potential shoppers would carpool and make a social occasion of shopping together. Sports events and concerts and other expensive entertainments would cost more to get to but most people would pay and go anyway. Public transit would be more popular. Perhaps fewer meetings or sales calls in person would occur. Teleconferencing or internet/Skype interactions would be cheaper.

The issue was if less energy would be used. I think if using it cost much more, less energy use is likely. Market forces can be far more powerful than appeals to reason or some government efforts.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son
Updated:

@richardshagrin


I guess we will have to disagree. Pricing is the key to altering behavior in this area. If Gasoline were taxed like it is in Europe, or even higher, lets say $10 a gallon, you would see a reduction in energy usage from gasoline users.


Taxing something for the sole purpose of increasing the price to reduce usage is a totalitarian action. Besides, they tried it with tobacco and it didn't have much impact on usage.


The Market has an invisible hand that guides consumers (to use less) and producers (to produce more) as prices increase.


That's not how it works. There is one and only one price where companies maximize profits in the long term. That is the point where the demand curve and the supply curve intersect.

Government action to shift the price away from that point, up or down, distorts the market and creates economic inefficiencies.

Also, since the producer doesn't get the tax money and the tax money doesn't have a positive effect on their profits, price increase by taxes won't drive producers to produce more.

samuelmichaels

@Dominions Son

Taxing something for the sole purpose of increasing the price to reduce usage is a totalitarian action. Besides, they tried it with tobacco and it didn't have much impact on usage.

Yes. But not if it captures externalities.

Dominions Son

@richardshagrin

I think if using it cost much more, less energy use is likely. Market forces can be far more powerful than appeals to reason or some government efforts.


Government artificial raising prices through taxes for the sole purpose of raising the price is not market forces, it is a distortion of the market which necessarily creates economic inefficiencies.

sejintenej

@Dominions Son

Taxing something for the sole purpose of increasing the price to reduce usage is a totalitarian action. Besides, they tried it with tobacco and it didn't have much impact on usage.

Do you honestly believe that they care a hoot about being totalitarian?
In my short lifetime I have seen vicious food and fuel rationing and we are currently going through a totalitarian demand that traditional light bulbs cannot be imported or manufactured; only those approved by politicians can be sold. It hasn't happened here YET but one child per couple is not unknown with murder of the foetus being the penalty for a breach of the regs.
I have just had a message from a friend in Washington DC urging us to visit soon because foreigners will not be allowed into the US even as tourists

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@sejintenej

Do you honestly believe that they care a hoot about being totalitarian?


No, but that doesn't mean we should just roll over without so much as an objection.

Switch Blayde

@Not_a_ID

Get the global economy off petrol, you shut down the inflow of money, at which point the proverbial festering swamp in the desert of the middle east can get drained.


You all are forgetting that petroleum isn't only used to power your car. It's used to make plastics, chemicals, and synthetics.

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@richardshagrin


The obvious solution to reducing use of scarce resources is to increase the price. I


More than likely it will increase usage because they will take on extra work to pay the increased bills. Such work will likely be done at night and thus use more energy than they use now.

typo edit

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID

@richardshagrin

The other side of higher prices is that more supply is made available to take advantage of resources that were not efficient to use when pricing was lower. Shale oil starts to make sense with oil at $100 a barrel, or more. Fracking costs but with high enough price people decide to use that technology to increase supply. Recycling increases when the items being recycled become valuable enough to pay for sorting, transportation to markets, etc. Markets work, when people are allowed to use them. Grocery stores put foods they want to sell a lot of on sale, and demand responds. I bought less gasoline when the price at the pump was over $4 a gallon than now, when its close to $2. You don't need a government program or a lot of expensive "education" to adjust behavior when all you have to do is let the price rise or fall, depending on what behavior you wish to adjust.


The thing that comes into play here, and this is where people get lost in the proverbial hedge rows is this this:

There has to be an alternative available when that point is reached. I'm a lot more comfortable with the idea of alternatives being available once we reach those kinds of crisis points now, than I would have been even 15 years ago.

But just because I'm reasonably comfortable that an alternative will be available, doesn't mean it will be ready for prime time as it were.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Not_a_ID

doesn't mean it will be ready for prime time as it were.


especially if no real research is done on it between now and then.

Replies:   sejintenej
sejintenej
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


especially if no real research is done on it between now and then.


or, as happened in the UK the research was done but the government didn't have the balls to follow it up. To realise that the UK would be 100% green for electrical power now if ........

It comes back to politicians looking to ensure their re-election rather than to ensuring the good of the country

Just think of 160 BILLION tons of water rushing through a go every six hours with a maximum height close to 50feet That should set up a good part of the eastern Canada / USA for electricity.

We have a similar place in the UK - only 48 feet maximum which could supply 5% of our electricity needs but they are too afraid to commission the deed

Not_a_ID

@samuelmichaels

In 2012 USA's electrical energy usage was 5% more than in 2002. It was 2.2% less than the peak in 2007. It was 1% less than in 2011. Per capita consumption has decreased about 6% since its peak in 2007 and every year since has shown a decrease in individual consumption. Conservation efforts are helping.


This is a very small trend, to be sure, but at least the per-capita consumption has flattened out since about 1970.


Upon reflection, that may partially be a fluke, due to multiple things hitting at once, we shall see if the trend continues. That also coincided with the analog to digital transition, and the introduction of LED backlight television sets. Those old school vacuum tube TV sets ate electricity like nobody's business in comparison to even a 50+ inch LED TV set.

Also going on here is the rise of the smartphone and tablet devices, which replaced the PC for many people. Going from a PC + Monitor combo that was burning somewhere around 400 watts at the least, particularly if their monitor was still a tube, and replacing it with a tablet that cruises along at less than 24 watts(2 amps@12Volts). Throw in other things hitting around that time, and noticing a per capita power use drop shouldn't be too surprising.

But things like the tablet(I'm using one right now) also demonstrate that new technologies that aren't even being billed as "green technology" can cause reductions in power use in some cases due to changes in consumer habits they caused.

Not_a_ID

@Dominions Son

Synthesizing gasoline from coal is easy compared to doing it from H20 + CO2


The U.S. was doing it during WW2. It isn't exactly new technology. It just requires petrol to reach a certain price point before becoming viable.

Not_a_ID

@Dominions Son

Solar and wind won't ever cut it. The source energy density is too low.


Flashing back to the 1970's to revisit one space colonization proposal. They were talking about building orbital solar collectors and transmitting the power down to earth. Being outside the atmosphere, they get higher efficiencies as there is no attenuation from the atmosphere scattering light, and no weather issues or day/night cycles to be concerned with. The power downlink does present a major issue though. ;)

Alternatively, start shifting a lot of (heavy/power intensive) industry into orbit or beyond where they can use solar directly. If someone found a way to work some kind of biofuels in space solution, they could also be returning that to earth(or use it up there) as their use case may be.

And the reality is, that option is probably a more long term viable one to pursue, as the only thing to be cracked there is economical access to at least LEO so we can start sorting the details of large scale construction in space. Once we're there, we can get completely stupid with solar for their energy needs.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Ernest Bywater

@Not_a_ID

But things like the tablet(I'm using one right now) also demonstrate that new technologies that aren't even being billed as "green technology" can cause reductions in power use in some cases due to changes in consumer habits they caused.


Going from the CRT to the flat screen TV saw a big reduction in power usage for computers, so did the use of internal components that use less power. But as to your comment I highlighted above, you need to consider the overall energy footprint of the technology and how much of it has already been expended.

I won't go into the inability to repair smartphones and tablets, thus making them throwaway consumer devices with short lifespans. But a smartphone works off a cell tower, which actually takes more energy to operate than a copper cable network for the same area. Now, if you're talking about which to put into a new area without either, then the copper has a higher up front cost while the cell system has a higher cost over it's lifespan -and that's without going into the cost of network frequency changes. But, for places where the copper network already exists, it's much cheaper to use the local copper network than use the cell network because the majority of the cost has already been spent. Due to the higher demand you need to put in decent fibre trunks, but that's needed for both networks.

Mind you, not all consumer computer needs are met by tablets and smartphones, and a part of the problem with the mobile device market is the way the companies are tripping over each other trying to come up with some new consumer game or way to use them in a new way while saying it's more convenient. - but isn't always so.

And that very convenience is pushing up the energy usage envelope. I only use my tablet for reading, prior to my son getting me one I only read print books while sitting around or in the bath having a hot soak, now I read e-books over the wi-fi internet on the tablet. That means more energy to run the tablet, the wi-fi connection which was bought to enable this, and the sue of the network for just reading on the tablet.

My new mobile cell smartphone needs more energy than my old brick style cell phone - old frequency network closed so had to get a new one. The new one can do a lot of things I don't use or want to use, but ti still needs the energy to run the built-in components to do things I don't want. Consumer electronics at their best.

There's a LOT of factors involved in the issue. However, one of the biggest is regardless of what regulations and laws are passed, you can bet the government bodies won't have to adhere to them and their energy usage will go up, especially when they employ more people to enforce the regulations and laws.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID

@Ernest Bywater


More than likely it will increase usage because they will take on extra work to pay the increased bills. Such work will likely be done at night and thus use more energy than they use now.


California's energy crunch a little over 10 years ago saw some of this, as some facilities shifted their production to off-peak power use hours. Of course, for most facilities, the lights would be on if a human is in there regardless of any ambient light from outside so your point would be mostly moot for them.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Not_a_ID
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


I won't go into the inability to repair smartphones and tablets, thus making them throwaway consumer devices with short lifespans. But a smartphone works off a cell tower, which actually takes more energy to operate than a copper cable network for the same area. Now, if you're talking about which to put into a new area without either, then the copper has a higher up front cost while the cell system has a higher cost over it's lifespan -and that's without going into the cost of network frequency changes. But, for places where the copper network already exists, it's much cheaper to use the local copper network than use the cell network because the majority of the cost has already been spent. Due to the higher demand you need to put in decent fibre trunks, but that's needed for both networks.


Laptops rarely see more than basic repairs before getting tossed. Likewise for desktop computers for many, and even for the ones that go into more depth on a desktop, they'll find the faulty module/card, and replace it/upgrade it and toss the old part rather than effect repairs. Even TV sets have reached the point where it is often more cost effective to replace the entire thing rather than try to repair it.

As to wired vs wireless, yes wireless uses more energy simply to be used, and is additionally constrained by EM bandspace issues that copper wire, or even better, fiber, doesn't have to contend with. It's an inherent part of the transmission medium, but that discussion is off track from discussing energy in general.

But also ignores that a person on a wireless tablet is still using less power than a person sitting at a hardwired desktop computer. Unless, of course, they're using the tablet to use things on a desktop computer that would then need to be on as well. ;)

Ernest Bywater

@Not_a_ID

Of course, for most facilities, the lights would be on if a human is in there regardless of any ambient light from outside so your point would be mostly moot for them.


There's a big difference between the cost of lighting and air-conditioning a building for 8 hours a day, 10 hours a day, 12 hours a day, 15 hours a day and 24 hours a day. Places that used to operate only 10 hours a day to cover an 8 hour work day, lunch, and a bit of before and after work time, have a large increase in energy costs when they go to 14 hours a day operation to cover an extra four hours of work each day. And if they go to a full double shift, that's usually about 18 hours of operation each day.

On a personal level if people have to take on a part-time job, then they're also up and move about a lot more at night, and often have more showers and the like, as well as more driving about. All of which means more energy usage.

Replies:   Not_a_ID  richardshagrin
Not_a_ID

@Ernest Bywater


There's a big difference between the cost of lighting and air-conditioning a building for 8 hours a day, 10 hours a day, 12 hours a day, 15 hours a day and 24 hours a day. Places that used to operate only 10 hours a day to cover an 8 hour work day, lunch, and a bit of before and after work time, have a large increase in energy costs when they go to 14 hours a day operation to cover an extra four hours of work each day. And if they go to a full double shift, that's usually about 18 hours of operation each day.


Well, as I was discussing places moving to off-peak hours, most of that is somewhat extraneous. Moving from the traditional 9 to 5(0900-1700) and doing 2300-0700 instead, for example, shifts the energy burden away from the employer, who is now drawing from the grid during off peak hours, and also during the typical coolest part of the day(just after sunrise) and instead places it on their employees who will now be at home during the entire peak usage time frame.

The grid operators may not benefit much, depending on how power intensive that particular company's work is compared to their employees power use at home.

The employer certainly would benefit however, if they're operating in California during the summer and are being billed based on market rates at the time of their power consumption.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
richardshagrin

@Ernest Bywater

Should we discourage people bathing/showering as often as they do to save energy? Is once a week often enough? I hear the first Queen Elizabeth took a bath once a year, whether she needed it or not.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Not_a_ID


Well, as I was discussing places moving to off-peak hours,


I was talking about the increased usage through taking on more work, and when you took my quote, I naturally expanded on that.

As to shifting the load, I don't know what it's like in the US, but where I am commercial facilities do not get charge the same way as residential facilities. And to shift to a cheaper rate for the whole lot you need to shift the usage about 12 hours. The best way to reduce the load costs is to actual stagger you ramp-up activities because the charges are based on the highest level of usage per hour and most commercial electrical equipment have the higher st usage when first turned on. At one base I managed we greatly reduced the energy bill by having the kitchen staff come in a half hour early and turn the main stove on at low, then ten minutes later they turned the other gear on in a set staggered manner. The peak usage over the morning start up got cut to 25% of what it was when they walked in and turned it all on at once. That's a significant cut in the bill.

Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin

Should we discourage people bathing/showering as often as they do to save energy?


I never said that. I was simply pointing out if you up the costs simply to cut usage, people will take extra work to make ends meet, and that means they'll need to take extra showers and / or baths between the jobs and that will actually increase the overall energy usage instead of cutting it.

Replies:   sejintenej
Dominions Son

@Not_a_ID

Sorry, but even if solar could hit 100% efficiency, it's still to diffuse to meet more than about 15% of total energy consumption. Even moved to orbit, the truly high energy consuming industries (things like making steel) would still not be able to operate off of solar power. On top of that, by putting them in orbit, you increase raw materials and finished product transportation energy requirements by orders of magnitude.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Dominions Son

@Not_a_ID

Upon reflection, that may partially be a fluke, due to multiple things hitting at once, we shall see if the trend continues.


The single largest factor in the dip in total energy consumption was the recession.

BlinkReader

Khmmm...

Did anyone of you tried to live without electricity and running water for longer period like couple months or even years (much longer than 5-7 days like some of you have endured during some cross country camping, or hiking, or...)?

Only then you are going to appreciate luxury of electric energy :D

Ernest Bywater

@BlinkReader

Did anyone of you tried to live without electricity and running water for longer period like couple months


Closest I cam was living in a remote residence where we had a hand-cranked generator for powering the radio and the electric kettle.

Replies:   BlinkReader
BlinkReader

@Ernest Bywater

Then you should be familiar with joy of having electricity again, and all the foolish thoughts about it - when there was none :)

Ernest Bywater

@BlinkReader

Then you should be familiar with joy of having electricity again, and all the foolish thoughts about it - when there was none :)


Oh yes, and it's also why I don't freak out when we have a power outage. I ring up and report it, then go take a nap - and others can't understand how I can be so complacent about it.

In that regards, I helped a friend plan a house in a remote area that gets a lot of snow but is on the grid. He couldn't understand why I insisted he have one room with a fireplace in it. A few years later when he lost the power for two days due to heavy snows in winter, he appreciated having the fireplace.

sejintenej

@Ernest Bywater

that means they'll need to take extra showers and / or baths between the jobs and that will actually increase the overall energy usage instead of cutting it

Showers take a small fraction of the water than baths do. That means less water to purify and less water to heat and less to dispose of / purify. OK so if someone starts needing 9 showers instead of one bath then the equation gets skewed

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
sejintenej
Updated:

@BlinkReader


Did anyone of you tried to live without electricity and running water for longer period like couple months


Two continuous months on each of two occasions.

sejintenej

@BlinkReader

Then you should be familiar with joy of having electricity again, and all the foolish thoughts about it - when there was none :)

We get power cuts from time to time - up to a couple of days occasionally. We have rechargeable lamps, candles, a wood burning fire, gas cooking (with no requirement for electric safety controls which are normal here) and good insulation. The biggest bugbear is not being able to use electric blankets and herself has cold feet!

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@sejintenej

Showers take a small fraction of the water than baths do. That means less water to purify and less water to heat and less to dispose of / purify. OK so if someone starts needing 9 showers instead of one bath then the equation gets skewed


which totally misses the point I was making about the person needing additional showers or baths (which every they take) due to having to work an extra job to pay for the increased charges on utilities caused by extra taxes to try and push people into using less.

The best way to get people to use less is to offer them free or discounted energy saving gear to use in their home. Most of the gear costs mroe then the energy hog stuff does.

Ernest Bywater

@sejintenej

and herself has cold feet!


thick wool lined boots help with that.

Not_a_ID
Updated:

@Dominions Son


Sorry, but even if solar could hit 100% efficiency, it's still to diffuse to meet more than about 15% of total energy consumption. Even moved to orbit, the truly high energy consuming industries (things like making steel) would still not be able to operate off of solar power. On top of that, by putting them in orbit, you increase raw materials and finished product transportation energy requirements by orders of magnitude.


Guess I need to clarify, the 1970's model NASA had some engineers put together had them building space colonies for the purpose of processing, refining, and construction of other space facilities. Specifically orbital solar collectors for transfer of that power to ground stations. As silica is abundant in space(and on the moon), and solar cells are mostly silicon, it made a kind of sense to them at the time.

The operative part of their idea wasn't to send raw materials into space, it was to obtain the raw material from space. The initial expense is getting that initial capacity into orbit, and building things out from there. Ie. We put into orbit everything needed for facility A, once complete, Facility A then either helps with, or does on its own,the build out of Facility B. Then you can have Facility B start on C while A assists with C, or starts on B2. Repeat as warranted or until a previously built facility is deemed functionally obsolete, and continue down the chain of larger and more capable facilities.

So you don't send iron into space from earth, you find a ferrous asteroid and send that instead for processing(if you didn't build on/next to it in the first place). If you're so inclined, you can then send the finished product to earth, as it's likely to always be much cheaper to send things down a gravity well than up because of physics. You know, all those refined products made using electric furnaces(only viable in areas with cheap electric power, but they do exist), powered by vast solar arrays that don't have day/night cycles, weather, or atmospheric attenuation.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Not_a_ID

Guess I need to clarify, the 1970's model NASA had some engineers put together had them building space colonies for the purpose of processing, refining, and construction of other space facilities. Specifically orbital solar collectors for transfer of that power to ground stations.


Yes, and it wasn't implemented because it wouldn't work. The problems are numerous. Here are just two of them.

To be large enough to collect enough power to meaningfully reduce fossil fuel use, the space based solar array would have to be so large that it could potentially eclipse a significant area on the earth's surface.

The plan for getting power to the ground was to used focused microwave beams. The beam would not be super efficient. It would lose a significant amount of power to the atmosphere. To get meaningfully amounts of power to the ground the beam would have to be extremely powerful. Any living thing that intersected the beam would be almost instantly cooked to death. Aircraft passing through the beam would be destroyed.

I focus on these two issues, because the solutions to them are mutually exclusive.

You could solve the first problem by putting the collector in a polar orbit.

However, the only real solution to the second is to have a fixed beam path so that air traffic can be routed around it. This requires a geosynchronous orbit. Which would reduce the amount of power obtained as part of the time the array would necessarily be in the shadow of the Earth.

If you're so inclined, you can then send the finished product to earth, as it's likely to always be much cheaper to send things down a gravity well than up because of physics.


Actually, this is probably not true. Sure it's very cheap to get something down from orbit if you don't care what condition it's in when it lands.

However, transporting finished goods from orbit to ground requires a soft landing. Recovery of the goods from an Apollo style water landing would be a huge and expensive operation.

A vertical soft landing by rocket would require at least as much energy as putting the same payload in orbit.

A glider style reentry vehicle would technically require little energy for de-orbiting, but without powered flight there would be potential reliability issues. Then there is the issue where they either have to be disposable which ups the cost or you have to get them back into orbit, which ups the cost again.

A space ladder might work, but the technology to build such a thing does not exist.

Replies:   Not_a_ID  Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID

@Dominions Son

To be large enough to collect enough power to meaningfully reduce fossil fuel use, the space based solar array would have to be so large that it could potentially eclipse a significant area on the earth's surface.


Well, that would be one solution to global warming. ;)

Agreed on the power transmission issues, already alluded to them earlier.

Which is why I suggested moving many of the energy intensive industries into space, so they're directly hooked into the solar collectors. Considering many of those same industries also happen to be among the most environmentally destructive ones on the planet, or tightly linked to them, it's a win on multiple fronts. (Iron Ore mining, Iron ore smelting, and steel mills, as an example)

And there is no reason it would need to be built in one single megaproject. Just building a station capable of building only the most basic of components needed for subsequent stations using only materials obtained in space would be a major engineering and scientific feat right now, as nobody really fully understands what such a process actually entails. Although some robotics and 3d printer types are starting to work on it. (Robot/printer that can create it own replacement with feedstock, then robot/printer that can do so from very raw materials that must first be processed into feedstock)

Not_a_ID
Updated:

@Dominions Son


Actually, this is probably not true. Sure it's very cheap to get something down from orbit if you don't care what condition it's in when it lands.

However, transporting finished goods from orbit to ground requires a soft landing. Recovery of the goods from an Apollo style water landing would be a huge and expensive operation.


That is the case today, presuming the technical capability has been created that such space based construction is possible, it isn't much of a leap to presume they've mastered ways of returning things from LEO. And even then, if they have surplus manufacturing abilities in space, why would ALL of the earthbound craft being used to send cargo to earth need to reusable?

That goes for the craft as a whole, and the parts comprising the craft itself. Building for a one way trip certainly simplifies many aspects of the craft design, the only constraint is safe delivery of cargo. The design constraints for craft delivering 20 tons of pig iron is going to have wildly different requirements than the one bringing down experimental bacteria cultures. If you're going for single use, then building for the relevant cargo starts to make sense. (If it helps, think cargo shipping containers, that's been something of an ongoing issue in the Western World, often times it has been cheaper to build a new one in East Asia than it would cost to ship an empty container back)

Once the craft lands, it gets parted out, maybe the electronics and "other advanced parts"(not easily produced in space, or not considered to be disposable tech) get bundled up for the next outbound trip to be used on yet another cargo delivery, while the remaining 90-ish percent of the (inbound) craft's mass is recycled as scrap.

You're wanting to assume a 1 to 1 relationship on all craft exchanges between a spacefaring society and the worlds they inhabit. While I would generally agree the ratio is probably close to that for outbound craft(the difference being slight enough to not matter, as anything able to leave the surface and enter orbit is likely to be advanced enough to return by that point), I think you'd find it eventually tip towards many inbound craft for every 1 outbound craft.

Particularly if the society involved was making a deliberate effort to move most forms of heavy industry off world.

Of course, that also presumes they get agriculture working in space, or at least, on a comparatively low gravity planet(such as Mars) or other stellar body(moon, asteroids) so they don't have to rely on getting their food boosted out of the stronger(more expensive) gravity well of their homeworld.

docholladay

@Not_a_ID

The science and tech worked because he did not explain the science or the tech. It was used as a fact with very little if any explanation of the science behind them.

Look at the science and tech we all use today. How many could really explain the science or technology behind televisions or cell phones to someone in the 18th century for example.

Dominions Son

@Not_a_ID

That is the case today, presuming the technical capability has been created that such space based construction is possible, it isn't much of a leap to presume they've mastered ways of returning things from LEO.


Sorry, but if we are going to talk about getting off fossil fuels anytime in the next century, this is a complete non-starter. We need to talk about things for which there is at least some existing technological basis.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID

@Dominions Son

Sorry, but if we are going to talk about getting off fossil fuels anytime in the next century, this is a complete non-starter. We need to talk about things for which there is at least some existing technological basis.


You did notice I didn't completely handwave all of that? We currently have things like SpaceX which has already achieved far more to reduce the cost of access to space than most thought possible when they started. There are a number of other (rocket) engine technologies that still remain in their relative infancy due to lack of funding, material science not quite being there yet, or the current crowd being more focused on other options.

For that matter, it seems 3d printers able to work with advanced materials are doing a lot to change the game in rocket engine construction right now. Improvements in the capabilities and precision of 3d printers alone may yield very interesting results in a multitude of fields in the coming decade alone, Space being just one of many.

Also on things like the space elevator. Going back to reliable one way transfers. The material science isn't there yet, but it is getting closer, and a descent only path is a much simpler issue than the ascent path would be(chiefly in the form of it's going to "want" to descend anyway because of gravity, so you don't need to power the descent so much as you need to keep control of it). Further, unlike the ascent path, a descent path doesn't necessarily have to reach the ground(as it doesn't have to deal with the challenges of trying to do a midair rendezvous in an atmosphere).

It just has to get the payload close enough that it can safely and reliably "deliver" itself, if that happens to be landing in a 1x1 mile grid, or a precision runway landing, the requirements can vary wildly depending on a number of factors.

Jim S

@Dominions Son

Solar and wind won't ever cut it. The source energy density is too low.

While I agree with your post in general, I disagree with the above. Do you have any idea how much solar energy hits the planet each day? You can find it on the net. It's mind boggling.

I'd agree that wind won't ever cut it, even though plentiful. It's just not stable/consistent enough (I used to work in the industry, so I speak with some knowledge). And current collection of said energy does present other problems. I view large windmills as nothing more than migratory bird cuisinarts.

Solar, however, is a different story. The only thing stopping economic exploitation is collection and storage, i.e. technology. Which, if you think about it, is what fossil fuels have already solved. In effect, the energy produced by the gallon of gas you're burning or the ton of coal that the power plant is burning was really generated by the sun some 30 million years ago. Or thereabouts.

FWIW

Dominions Son

@Jim S

o you have any idea how much solar energy hits the planet each day? You can find it on the net. It's mind boggling.


It's not the total solar energy that matters, it's the amount of solar energy available per square meter that matters. Even if you could create 100% efficient solar cells and achieve efficient and effective storage, to replace the amount of energy we get annually from fossil fuels you would need to cover a significant portion of the earth's surface with solar arrays. The land foot print of a solar electric plant whether photo electric or solar/thermal is 2 orders of magnitude greater per unit capacity than coal or nuclear.

You mention issues on the collection end. There are numerous issues beyond raw efficiency.

1. Photoelectric cells loose efficiency over time.
2. anything that gets on the solar cell/reflector; dust, water, ice, snow, will negatively impact the capacity of a solar array. Immense labor would be needed to keep the cells and/or reflectors clean.
3. The above mentioned energy density/land area requirements.

Replies:   Grant  Jim S
Grant

@Dominions Son

3. The above mentioned energy density/land area requirements.

There's a lot of land covered by buildings.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Jim S

Do you have any idea how much solar energy hits the planet each day?


As I said before, it's the density (energy/m^2) that matters, not the total. TSI at the Earth's surface is approximately 1000 Watts/m^2

Electric generation capacity in the US is around 1000 Gigawatts

Now, solar can't generate power at night, so you would need to about double that to generate enough power for use during the day and have enough left over to store for nighttime use.

1000 GW = 1,000,000,000 KW

And solar energy density at the earth's surface is around 1 KW/m^2 So to replace all exiting electric generation for the US you would need 2,000,000,000 square meters of solar array. That would be around 2% of the total land area for the united states. And we haven't even started to talk about the energy requirements for transportation.

Dominions Son

@Grant

There's a lot of land covered by buildings.


Not nearly enough.

Jim S
Updated:

@Dominions Son

I agree with all three of your points. My point, inelegantly made, is that we're far, far away from exploiting solar energy due to still primitive technologies. Think centuries. Fusion will be available before it happens. Think also that most everything I've read on the topic only refers to land area available for collection, totally ignoring the 70 odd percent of surface area covered by water.

I understand the bias towards immediate solutions that our relatively short life span engenders. However, sometimes, it helps to think outside the box.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Jim S

My point, inelegantly made, is that we're far, far away from exploiting solar energy due to still primitive technologies.


Your point is still wrong. You can't get past the energy density problem. Even if 100% efficiency (an impossibility) could be achieved in both collection and storage, so much surface area is required that it will never be cost competitive with any other option.

Replies:   Jim S
Jim S

@Dominions Son

I'm not so sure. Compare technological advances (i.e. how efficiently (i.e. reduced cost) energy is used) through recent earth history, say the Industrial Revolution. To keep it simple, postulate the progression continuing linearly. And assume the entire surface of the planet is fair game. All of this assumes, of course, per capita consumption of energy doesn't change dramatically from current levels, which is likely naive.

Note that the above ignores the potential for space based aggegators on the Mars side of the planet (so no shadow is cast on the planet).

Even though all this is possible, I think the real game changer is fusion. Inexpensive fusion, that is. It doesn't do any good if the $/calorie of energy is so high as to be unaffordable to the masses. Civilization cannot advance that way. Obviously. Such a situation more accurately describe the Dark Ages. Such a solution may well be in the reach of an average life span. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Jim S

Compare technological advances (i.e. how efficiently (i.e. reduced cost) energy is used) through recent earth history, say the Industrial Revolution.


There is solid evidence that improvements in efficiency does not lead to reductions in total energy usage.

To keep it simple, postulate the progression continuing linearly.


Look at total energy usage and per-capita energy usage over that same period. Total energy usage has expanded exponentially. Per capita energy use increased exponentially.

And assume the entire surface of the planet is fair game.


No! Hell No!

1. 70% of the earth's surface is ocean.
2. If you actually captured 100% of the solar radiation hitting the earth you would utterly destroy nearly all the life on earth. 99% of the earth's ecosystem is dependent on photosynthesis.

ll of this assumes, of course, per capita consumption of energy doesn't change dramatically from current levels, which is likely naive.


You are right it's naive in the extreme, and it's far more likely to increase than decrease in the long term.

Even though all this is possible


None of that is remotely possible.

Replies:   Jim S  Not_a_ID
Jim S

@Dominions Son

There is solid evidence that improvements in efficiency does not lead to reductions in total energy usage.


And this is the Holy Grail? I'd postulate that increasing consumption of energy is what raises the standard of living. For example, compare the energy consumption per capita for Africa and the US. Then answer where you'd rather live. This should be a goal, not something to avoid.

If you actually captured 100% of the solar radiation hitting the earth you would utterly destroy nearly all the life on earth.

Your own post states only 2% of the land area would be needed. Including the oceans drops that to about 0.6%. What am I missing here?

...and it's far more likely to increase than decrease in the long term.

See my first point. This is good, not bad.

None of that is remotely possible.

Very true today. Tomorrow? Too bad neither you not I will be around to see.

Dominions Son

@Jim S

Your own post states only 2% of the land area would be needed. Including the oceans drops that to about 0.6%. What am I missing here?


First you said to assume that the whole surface of the earth was available.

2% would be needed just to replace existing electrical generation. You still have to consider transportation energy needs and future growth.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Dominions Son

@Jim S

And this is the Holy Grail? I'd postulate that increasing consumption of energy is what raises the standard of living.


Total conversion to solar (which I do not support) is very unlikely to be possible without drastic reductions in per-capita energy use.

Dominions Son

@Jim S

See my first point. This is good, not bad.


I agree, but your whole solar scenario requires the opposite to be feasible.

Dominions Son
Updated:

@Jim S


Tomorrow? Too bad neither you not I will be around to see.


Not tomorrow either. Even at 100% efficiency which the laws of physics says is impossible no matter how much advancement in technology occurs energy density for solar is still too low.

By the way. My 2% of US land mass to replace existing electric generation with solar assumes 100% efficiency which is of course impossible no matter how much the tech improves.

Replies:   Jim S
Jim S
Updated:

@Dominions Son

You seem to keep coming back to present day capabilities re: capturing solar energy. My premise when starting this discussion is that improving technologies will render our current weak attempts at solar energy capture laughable. I'll agree that current technology is inadequate. As you're unwilling to consider improved solar energy extraction technology in the future, how about we leave this discussion at that we agree to disagree? This went far beyond what I intended anyway and is way outside this discussion of Island Mine, the subject of this thread.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son
Updated:

@Jim S


You seem to keep coming back to present day capabilities re: capturing solar energy. My premise when starting this discussion is that improving technologies will render our current weak attempts at solar energy capture laughable.


No, you are missing my point. Even assuming we could capture 100% of incoming solar energy at 100% efficiency (which is impossible at any level of technology) within a limited area, it still wouldn't be enough to make solar practical at grid scale.

Replies:   sejintenej
Not_a_ID
Updated:

@Dominions Son

There is solid evidence that improvements in efficiency does not lead to reductions in total energy usage.


Didn't we just have a discussion about how per capita energy use dropped in the U.S. for the last several years we have data for?

Now I agreed, a lot of that drop was probably due to the confluence of several things happening at once, but even then it still did result in people doing a lot more, while using less electricity.

I doubt that trend will continue for much longer, but there are old tube style TV/Monitor sets still out there being retired, as well as other large aging durable appliances(refrigerators and deep freezers anyone?). Which isn't to mention the incandescent to florescent to led lighting transition that is ongoing(albeit, some are skipping from incandescent straight to LED) which likely has a little more life left in it for reducing power consumption at rates equal to or beyond increases in consumption.

I agree Solar isn't THE solution, neither is Wind, or any combination thereof. There will be other power sources involved, what mix that ultimately entails, we shall see in time. But as I already mentioned there are other venues(not on earth) where Solar makes sense if certain other preconditions are met. But we're a long ways from that right now.

However, in the meantime, Solar and wind are good techs to pursue as a supplement and auxiliary to the baseline grid power production capability. They're just not particularly economically feasible in much of the world as they either rely on massive subsidies, or can take a couple decades to pay for themselves otherwise.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son
Updated:

@Not_a_ID


Didn't we just have a discussion about how per capita energy use dropped in the U.S. for the last several years we have data for?


Yes, but that was due to the economic downturn, not efficiency improvements. Seriously, look at when the drop started, 2008 at the height of the financial crisis.

but the it did result in people doing a lot more, while using less electricity.


No, it dropped because people were doing a lot less due to an economic downturn.

Not_a_ID

@Dominions Son

2% would be needed just to replace existing electrical generation. You still have to consider transportation energy needs and future growth.


You do realize that a internal combustion engine that is tied into a vehicle's power train is a horribly inefficient critter? The hybrids that use the ICE as a generator and nothing else are decent, but their efficiency is still poor compared to a 1MW power plant, regardless of their fuel source and(typical) power transmission losses?

Yes, it's a LOT of generation/transmission/storage technology and infrastructure to build out, and it certainly won't happen overnight. Particularly when battery technology available today only slightly edges out an ICE for cars in terms of efficiency, and carries a host of other issues(mostly around convenience, but not just limited to that).

I would bet that if someone does successfully bring to mass prodution a battery with performance characteristics comparable to a tank of gasoline, the energy world we'll be looking at just 5 years later will be hard to recognize for many people. It changes almost everything, and yet so much would only change subtly in ways so hard to notice most will have a hard time wrapping their minds around it having changed at all, until they go to recharge their car.

The other thing being overlooked is scientific progress and research(as well as many aspects of engineering) isn't progressing linearly anymore, and hasn't been for some time. It's moving at an exponential rate. Stuff that took labs months a couple decades ago could be done in weeks a decade ago, and can often be done in hours or near real time today. Faster and cheaper analysis cycles leads to faster (and potentially cheaper) research cycles.

That to an outside observer it seems that progress is happening linearly is a larger testament to the difficulty(or expense) of the issues being tackled now. But in that same vein, once someone manages to unlock the next proverbial door, movement into the next proverbial room is going to be that much quicker.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Not_a_ID

You do realize that a internal combustion engine that is tied into a vehicle's power train is a horribly inefficient critter? The hybrids that use the ICE as a generator and nothing else are decent, but their efficiency is still poor compared to a 1MW power plant, regardless of their fuel source and(typical) power transmission losses?


Yes, but:

1. the energy density of gasoline is several orders of magnitude higher than solar.

2. Batteries will loose energy over time even when not in use, even if completely isolated. Liquid hydrocarbon fuels can be stored for a very long time.

I would bet that if someone does successfully bring to mass prodution a battery with performance characteristics comparable to a tank of gasoline


There is nothing that would meet these requirement s on the near term horizon, and probably not in the next 50 years.

Actually the biggest obstacle to practical electric cars is not battery capacity or charge shelf life, it's charge rate. As long as an EV takes hours to recharge, they will not overtake ice powered vehicles.

Replies:   Not_a_ID  Grant  Capt Zapp
Not_a_ID

@Dominions Son

There is nothing that would meet these requirement s on the near term horizon, and probably not in the next 50 years.

Actually the biggest obstacle to practical electric cars is not battery capacity or charge shelf life, it's charge rate. As long as an EV takes hours to recharge, they will not overtake ice powered vehicles.


If I was developing a battery tech that I thought could rival an ICE in terms of power density and charge/discharge rates in relation to time it would take to fuel an ICE for the same distance of travel. The first you'd hear of it was when it was nearly ready for market, or maybe the patent office if you're watching that traffic scene.

The only exception to that might be if a research university found it, and decided to publish in a search for further funding. I'm skeptical, I have doubts it will be 50 years out, 30 years maybe but 50 is perhaps a bit too pessimistic for my book. Look at where battery tech was in 1965 compared to today, or even 1985. Then remember that the rate of change and refinements on it has increased in the intervening years.

Also, the amount of R&D money being thrown at it now compared to even 15 years ago is absolutely nuts, never mind 50 years ago, when most people probably would have thought you were nuts to put too much focus on making better and smaller batteries because why would you need them and who would buy them? (Aside from DOD)

Replies:   Dominions Son
Grant

@Dominions Son

2. Batteries will loose energy over time even when not in use, even if completely isolated. Liquid hydrocarbon fuels can be stored for a very long time.


From the BP Opal fuel fact sheet.

The storage life of petrol (gasoline in the US) is one year when stored under shelter in a sealed container. Once a seal is broken the fuel has a storage life of six months at 20°c or three months at 30°c.
Diesel- when stored under cover in sealed containers it will usually last for one year but it can last longer.
Ethanol blends, equivalent storage life to regular petrol
LPG is stable when stored in sealed containers.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Grant

Yes, but a rechargeable battery wont hold a charge for anywhere near that long.

Replies:   Grant
Dominions Son

@Not_a_ID

If I was developing a battery tech that I thought could rival an ICE in terms of power density and charge/discharge rates in relation to time it would take to fuel an ICE for the same distance of travel. The first you'd hear of it was when it was nearly ready for market, or maybe the patent office if you're watching that traffic scene.


With that attitude, you would never be able to bring it to market at all.

You would need investors long before you could bring it to market, which means promoting the technology.

Plus you would need patents. The patents, and even the patent applications are public records.

Grant

@Dominions Son

Yes, but a rechargeable battery wont hold a charge for anywhere near that long.

Nope.
But it has the advantage of being rechargeable.

Dominions Son

@Grant

And a gas tank is refillable. The difference is that a gas tank properly maintained, does not lose gasoline over time the way a rechargeable battery loses charge over time.

Replies:   Grant
Grant
Updated:

@Dominions Son

And a gas tank is refillable.


Not if the gas you want to put in the tank has gone off. Once refined it has a finite life before it will become unusable.

The difference is that a gas tank properly maintained, does not lose gasoline over time the way a rechargeable battery loses charge over time.


The advantage a battery has is it can be recharged, be it by solar, hydro, wind or whatever.

Fuel, once it has gone off, is not so easy to produce.

sejintenej

@Jim S

I'd agree that wind won't ever cut it, even though plentiful. It's just not stable/consistent enough (I used to work in the industry, so I speak with some knowledge)...... I view large windmills as nothing more than migratory bird cuisinarts.

Interesting development in the western USA. In stead of those horrible windmills they have developed a horizontal turbine (developed from the old vertical axis turbine) which they site on the edges of the roofs of tall buildings and looks rather like another storey. Allegedly they are sufficient for the building on which they are installed. Yes, reliability of wind forces is a potential problem but if it can be done cheaply and attractively why waste the resource. Just looked at historical data for here; average wind is about 20kph for each separate month with minima over 10kph but for this week I have forecasts from 20 kph and up to 51kph.

sejintenej

@Dominions Son

Even assuming we could capture 100% of incoming solar energy at 100% efficiency (which is impossible at any level of technology) within a limited area, it still wouldn't be enough to make solar practical at grid scale

but what is the estimated maximum efficiency? I read that it is under 20%

sejintenej

@Grant

But it has the advantage of being rechargeable.


But such batteries cannot be recharged indefinitely. My phone has an estimate of 500 recharges (and has to be recharged every 36 hours or so)

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Capt Zapp

@Dominions Son

Actually the biggest obstacle to practical electric cars is not battery capacity or charge shelf life, it's charge rate. As long as an EV takes hours to recharge, they will not overtake ice powered vehicles.


The solution to that problem would be a battery pack that could be quickly changed our, like a cell phone battery. Instead of having to sit and wait for the battery to charge, You would pull into a 'charging station' where the change out could be automated and take as little time as filling a fuel tank. The discharged battery is tested before being put on a charger. Any batteries found to be below standards are reconditioned either on-site or at a central location. The 'service station' could use any alternative energy source for recharging; solar, hydro, wind, etc.

I realize that such a facility would require a large storage area.

Of course, the vehicles can still be charged at home when not in use.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Not_a_ID
Updated:

@sejintenej

But such batteries cannot be recharged indefinitely. My phone has an estimate of 500 recharges (and has to be recharged every 36 hours or so)


You're presuming the battery in question is storing energy in a chemical fashion. When most people talk about a "solid state battery" for example, they're normally talking about something more like a super capacitor, just with a significantly improved ability to retain a charge.

There is plenty of scientific theory out there as to how one would work, it's just working out the applied materials science to make it happen. Such batteries, if someone manages to find a solution, should be good for literally millions of charge/discharge cycles. In other words, it's more likely to fail and need replacement due to external factors rather than internal ones. If sufficiently engineered for protection from external factors, it could outlast the vehicle it was initially installed in, and the next several after that.

Edit to add:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solid-state_battery

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Capt Zapp

The solution to that problem would be a battery pack that could be quickly changed our, like a cell phone battery. Instead of having to sit and wait for the battery to charge, You would pull into a 'charging station' where the change out could be automated and take as little time as filling a fuel tank.


Tesla tried to do that. They built one battery changing station in California. It turned out that the demo they did for the grand opening was faked and the station was permanently shut down after less then a month in operation due to technical problems.

Even if it had worked properly:

1. It still took 2 to 3 times longer than filling a gas tank.

2. The station could only do one car at a time.

Replies:   Capt Zapp
Dominions Son

@Not_a_ID

There is plenty of scientific theory out there as to how one would work, it's just working out the applied materials science to make it happen. Such batteries, if someone manages to find a solution, should be good for literally millions of charge/discharge cycles.


That's a big if. Someone could figure it out next year or it could take the next 100 years to make it work.

Not_a_ID

http://www.computerworld.com/article/2973483/sustainable-it/samsung-mit-say-their-solid-state-batteries-could-last-a-lifetime.html

Researchers have developed a new material for a basic battery component that they say will enable almost indefinite power storage.

The new material -- a solid electrolyte -- could not only increase battery life, but also storage capacity and safety, as liquid electrolytes are the leading cause of battery fires.


Might not be waiting too long on a couple of those fronts, if that's any indication. It already exists in Labs. The questions are how quickly it can safely accept a charge, and can they mass produce it. If their claims prove out.

Replies:   Dominions Son
BlinkReader

Guys,
That was (maybe) good exercise in energy thinking for just a couple of you.

But can anyone tell me what connection this have with some good story about some alien/human synergy and consequences of this?
:(

Dominions Son

@Not_a_ID

Might not be waiting too long on a couple of those fronts, if that's any indication. It already exists in Labs.


There are a lot of materials that can be produced in a lab (if you throw enough money at it) that are impossible or just too expensive to produce in the industrial quantities that would be needed for the manufacture of a consumer good.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID

@Dominions Son


There are a lot of materials that can be produced in a lab (if you throw enough money at it) that are impossible or just too expensive to produce in the industrial quantities that would be needed for the manufacture of a consumer good.

Not going to dispute that. Having it work in a lab, and having it work in a production environment are two different things.

Although sometimes the degree of different involved isn't much. I've noticed some things go from labs to limited production runs in under 2 years already. With larger rollouts in the following year. As Samsung is involved in this, they'll probably lock down the rights to the tech for mobile devices to some degree, possibly laptops as well. Automotive and large scale industrial/commercial/home uses of it are a giant question mark right now on that.

I could certainly see them trying to push out partial implementations(if such is possible) to their tablets and cellphone product lines as fast as they can if it bears out either increased battery life(more charge/discharge cycles), or higher energy densities. Both would just be icing on the proverbial cake.

But someone having a proven "this works" solution, economical or not, opens other doors as they now have something to test against, and work from in that category. It is no longer just theory.

Capt Zapp

@Dominions Son

Even if it had worked properly:

1. It still took 2 to 3 times longer than filling a gas tank.


From Car & Driver: "... a means of exchanging a depleted battery pack for a full tank of electrons in 90 seconds.

I don't know of any car that can have the fuel tank filled in 90 seconds with the exception of race-cars (NASCAR pit crews can do it in seconds!). I am usually stuck standing by the car for at least 5 minutes. Ninety seconds is good considering there are 39 fasteners to be removed and replaced as well as any connections that need to be made.

2. The station could only do one car at a time.


Early service stations only serviced one car at a time too.

Ninety seconds isn't very long and if they had a setup similar to automatic car washes where the vehicle is moved by conveyor, you could leave your vehicle at one end, go grab a coffee or use the facilities, and come back to a completed swap. Beats the heck out of waiting for somebody that leaves their vehicle at the pump while they go inside.

I see the stations being more for people on long trips, not for daily drivers.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son
Updated:

@Capt Zapp


I don't know of any car that can have the fuel tank filled in 90 seconds with the exception of race-cars (NASCAR pit crews can do it in seconds!). I am usually stuck standing by the car for at least 5 minutes. Ninety seconds is good considering there are 39 fasteners to be removed and replaced as well as any connections that need to be made.


Yea, the early press releases claimed 90 seconds, but it was later shown that the demo was faked and that in actual practice it was taking 30 minutes or more to do one car, that is when it worked at all.

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