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#126 2023-06-22 13:04:12

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 17,530

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

For Calliban re oil reserves ...

Those reserves are best left in the ground for use as lubricants.

It is time for a transition to atomic energy.

You've been beating that drum for a while now.

From my perspective, there seem to be more voices joining yours, but there are not yet enough of them.

(th)

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#127 2023-06-22 14:51:42

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 7,469

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

tahanson43206,

If they're left in the ground, how do you suppose they'll be used as lubricants?

I'm curious about how you rationalize statements like that.

How exactly do you think oil production works?

Do you think that you can "only" get lubricants from crude oil?

It doesn't work that way.

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#128 2023-07-07 07:01:34

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 17,530

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

For kbd512 re #127

I'm giving Post #127 a well deserved rest.

In the mean time, here is a "Just Have a Think" episode that seems to capture all the gloom and doom ideas that are circulating on the Internet.  It even includes the "Club of Rome" report.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kr_JjO9YWOo

One section caught my eye in particular ... apparently there was a study of topography, to see where hydrostorage might be constructed.

The number of suitable sites appears to be well over 1000.

Any location that is away from a river and which has a difference of elevation appears to be a candidate.

There's been a flurry of notice of the presence of Lithium in sea water recently.

The video even mentions that option.

(th)

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#129 2023-07-07 14:29:00

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 7,469

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

tahanson43206,

Nobody is promoting gloom and doom ideas, except for our climate changers, who seem to think that the world getting a few degrees hotter or cooler is some sort of apocalypse.  I think it gives them something to do, as well as something to use as a political weapon to push their doomsday ideology.  This "Just Have a Think" fellow is very intellectually lazy in his argumentation.  He regurgitates data points that agree with his beliefs.  It's obvious that he hasn't watched any of the videos of Professor Michaux explaining his papers, let alone read those papers, because of the counter-factuals present in Professor Michaux's publications.

Here’s what I see from “Just Have a Think”:
No math to support his claims and assertions (show how you arrived at your answers)
No methodology, certainly nothing approaching the decade of research work conducted by Professor Michaux
No apparent reading of the source material that Professor Michaux wrote, wherein counter-factual evidence exists asserting that we would need more (much more) of the very things “Just Have a Think” brought up
Provably false statements from “peer-reviewed” research papers (or “Just Have a Think” mis-quoted the authors, and boy do I ever hope that is the case)
Personal attacks

Michael Barnard’s paper proves very little.  He does not address at all whether or not making all the new materials and giant machines to create this new energy system will immediately cannibalize all the theoretical energy efficiency increase benefits he thinks making everything electric will produce (there are precisely zero examples of this phenomenon to draw upon, because more energy is always consumed doing something else, or more of what we already were doing), nor the fact that these machines have to be recycled and replaced far more often.  Moving coal and oil is easy.  A human can move a lump of coal sufficient to provide hours of warmth.  They have no such ability to move the equivalent energy in battery form.  That should tell you that the purported benefits to transportation are less beneficial than hoped for.  A Tesla is 73% well-to-wheels, according to California.  A modern gasoline or diesel engine is about 40% efficient.  23% is a non-trivial increase, but the notion that 50% of the energy will be saved is silly.  Actual test results with actual vehicles don’t support a 50% decrease in energy consumption.  When gasoline is cheaper, people drove more.  Case closed on that silliness.  Beyond that, there’s not a damn word about where all this additional material is coming from.  So, what the hell has been “debunked” by it?  It’s a non-sequitur.

Let's review his mischaracterizations in his pinned comment of the video you linked to:

Hi folks. Here's some helpful extra clarification, posted on LinkedIn by Michael Barnard, whose article I quoted in the video...

"In this video, Dave steps through why a recent non-peer reviewed paper by Simon Michaux claiming we don't have enough minerals for an electrified future is utter nonsense.

Michaux first commits the primary energy fallacy, multiplying the future requirement for energy by a large percentage. As I noted recently, with heat pumps, electrified ground transportation and some more efficient industrial electric heat, the USA's primary energy demand drops by 50%, even accounting for continued inefficiencies. Fossil fuels are deeply wasteful forms of energy.

Professor Michaux's papers are either in peer-review or have been peer-reviewed.  Thus far, nobody has been able to refute what he's stated.  A few intellectually dishonest people have merely asserted it's not true without showing their own math, which is what “Just Have a Think”’s YouTube channel has done.  Professor Michaux has a lot more basic math behind his paper than his detractors do.  It's a variation on the, "I don't like your argument, so I'm making my own argument while claiming that your argument is false, but without showing my math."

This fellow cites a peer-reviewed research paper asserting that "solar panels and wind turbines produce primary energy input into the grid with virtually zero waste."

That is an absurdly false claim to make in either a peer-reviewed research paper or marketing literature.  If you were to claim that you created an electric power transformer that was 100% efficient, then it would not require radiators or cooling surfaces to get rid of excess heat.  If your electric power transformer did have a radiator, we would validly conclude your claim was either outright false or a stunning display of ignorance.  Has anyone ever seen an electrical power transformer with no cooling fins or fans or both?  Has anyone ever seen a power generating station without power transformers?  No?  Me, neither.

If that made it through peer-review, then the peer review process itself is utter nonsense.

In engineering school, or at least those schools where they still teach electrical engineering instead of "green ideology", every electrical engineer who graduated knows that any time you transmit electrical power over any length of wiring, some of that power is ALWAYS lost to a physical phenomenon known as "electrical resistance".  Electrical resistance even applies to superconductors, but to a far lesser degree more congruent with that otherwise highly dubious claim.  This concept is so fundamental to electrical power that there's an equation for it, which tells you how much electrical power output you get for given voltage, current flow, and resistance values.  At a grid scale, those resistance losses are not "small values".  They're huge.  Somewhere between 10% and 20% of the total electrical power output is lost in the process of getting it to the point of use.

In the commercial solar power plant nearest to us, more than 20% of the electrical power being generated is lost within the wiring of the power plant, before the generated electricity ever touches the feeder wire connected to the grid.  The people who designed that plant put this in a paper about their plant's design, to illustrate gross output generated and the net output delivered to the grid.  I posted their paper to this forum.  Maybe we can find a peer-reviewed research paper that "debunks" P=V^2/R as "utter nonsense".

As to the claim:
"As I noted recently, with heat pumps, electrified ground transportation and some more efficient industrial electric heat, the USA's primary energy demand drops by 50%, even accounting for continued inefficiencies."

I need to see his math.  I'm guessing that there isn't much, if any at all.  People who make claims like this require evidence that their assertions are correct.  Where is his evidence (this would require pilot plants, testing, and independent validation)?

Then he vastly overstates the requirement for batteries, by at least an order of magnitude, ignoring first the massive HVDC interconnects being built around the world that deflate grid storage requirements. HVDC is the new pipeline (and LNG tanker and oil tanker) after all.

Read the full answer from Ron Davis, PhD, Physics, which was upvoted by Ron McNamara, PhD EECS:
When and why is DC used instead of AC for long-distance electric power lines? Is DC becoming more common now? What are its advantages and disadvantages?

Now we need photovoltaics, wind turbines, batteries (some with new and unproven cell chemistries), electric vehicles, electric everything else, heat pumps, HVDC transmission lines between continents to share electricity, additional DC-DC power transformers, and much more pump hydro storage.  Am I the only one who thinks all of this is getting a bit absurd, while desperately trying to ignore the state of our technological development?

If electro-chemical batteries aren't paired with intermittent energy generating systems to, you know, help maintain someone’s false belief that there is "virtually zero waste" in transmitting electrical power from the wind and solar to the grid, then you de-facto require extreme over-build on the generating side of the equation, or those "wasteful" heat engines he dislikes so much.  He even admits this in his video.

His answer to "storage is too expensive“ (in both terms of money and materials), is to make generation much more expensive.  To what end?  Is that not outright proving Professor Michaux’s claim?  Germany has 3X the peak gross demand of their grid, in terms of nameplate capacity of wind and solar.  Their CO2 emission from burning coal are increasing.  If they spent the same money on nuclear reactors, CO2 emissions from generating electricity would already be an academic debate for them, not at all applicable to what they actually run.  Such is quite clearly not the case.  If 3X peak grid demand is not enough generating capacity, then how much is required?  Irrespective of how much you increase generating capacity, whenever the Sun goes down or the wind doesn’t blow, 100% of your nameplate capacity is offline.  If you fail to account for this, then your electric output drops to zero, and then it can take weeks to months to restore the grid.

He also ignores the dominant form of grid storage in operation and under construction globally today, pumped hydro, instead assuming as incorrectly as the rest of his efforts, that cell-based lithium ion batteries would be every form of storage.

Except that Professor Michaux didn't ignore pumped hydro power.  He noted that either vast sums of money must be poured into new projects, or there's not enough energy storage.  This character would know this if he'd read through all the papers that Professor Michaux published, but he clearly didn't do that.  Furthermore, he'd know that Professor Michaux proposed that we start making batteries out of more abundant materials for grid storage.  Beyond that, he even suggested that perhaps the grid could be altered to quit providing perfect sine wave AC power at a fixed frequency.

He also doesn't realize that aluminum is a commonly used conductor and almost entirely used in transmission, so vastly misstates copper requirements on top of his other massive errors.

And then he assumes that there has been and will be no battery chemistry innovation like LFP and the shift away from cobalt.

Finally, he ignores that the total requirement for all minerals for any realistic future electrified world is vastly less than a single year's oil, gas and coal extraction today.

Professor Michaux talks about using Aluminum conductors as substitutes for Copper wherever possible, specifically because we'll run short of Copper.  The major problem is squarely related to the "wherever possible" part.  There's a reason we use Copper in electric motors / generators, rather than Aluminum, as well as many power transformers.  It might have a little something to do with P=V^2/R.  Don't take my word for it, though.  See if you can find someone who designs electric motors for a living who will "debunk" that.  Here's a small hint.  As you move a conductor away from a magnetic field, V drops and R increases, and you encounter a phenomenon known as “eddy current losses”.  Aluminum occupies significantly more volume than Copper, even though it's lighter.  You can see where this is going.  Well, at least I can.  If the conductor loop isn’t as near to the source magnetic field as possible, then you start getting secondary electromagnetic fields generated in the conductor, which then counter the current flow in the direction you want it to flow in.  That’s why R increases.  When that happens, you lose more power to heat from electrical resistance.

LFP is quite literally another Lithium-based battery, so the limiting factor there is clearly the Lithium.  How has this claim "debunked" Professor Michaux, who is pointing out the Lithium shortage, by claiming that another Lithium-based battery has "solved" the Lithium shortage?  Will these Lithium-based batteries be made without Lithium?

That last statement boggles my mind.  The issue is not whether or not the weight of special materials required is "less than" hydrocarbon fuels, it's whether or not those special materials exist in sufficient quantity to begin with, while paying close attention to the fact that all of them are exclusively provided by burning through massive amounts of hydrocarbon fuels.  Mining equipment requires continuous power that wind turbines and solar panels don't provide.  Mining is already electrical, except for the haul trucks, but the equipment can't suddenly shut down when it's cloudy or the wind doesn't blow.

Auke Hoekstra did a good debunk on Twitter and points to an even more detailed debunk by another actually credible analyst here:

Michaux has so many compounding mistakes that it's remarkable anyone takes him remotely seriously. But, of course, he is telling a story a lot of people want to hear, and so is being amplified by the usual suspects. He is undoubtedly taking their praise as indication that he's right, as opposed to simply useful temporarily and soon to be discarded. Confirmation bias doesn't overcome reality."

Auke Hoekstra thinks cows are a greater threat to the environment than giant strip mines.  I’ve seen wild animals share pasture land with cattle.  I’ve never seen wild animals in strip mines, unless they were dead or could fly away.  There’s something about all that blasting and fast moving machines the size of buildings that doesn’t agree with them.  How he arrived at that conclusion appears every bit as dubious as the claims made against Professor Michaux.  I’ll listen some more to what he has to say before passing judgement.  I’ve seen nothing approaching a “debunk”, though.

Professor Michaux doesn’t have a YouTube channel because he’s too busy writing research papers analyzing energy use, tracing it back to the source, and sourcing raw materials, to worry about what someone thinks about him after he called their baby “ugly”.  Speaking of confirmation bias, what does this math-free series of personal attacks from “Just Have a Think” amount to?

There's been a flurry of notice of the presence of Lithium in sea water recently.

Nobody has "just noticed" that Lithium is in seawater.  I've pointed out that there isn't enough Lithium from terrestrial-based known global reserves to come anywhere close to meeting demand, merely to replace all passenger cars.  This is so obvious that people looking to support their ideological beliefs about batteries throw this out there, as if it means something.

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#130 2023-07-07 14:48:39

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 7,469

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

tahanson43206,

You know what common feature all these "debunkers" share, based upon what little I've gleaned from listening to them / watching interviews?

They don't "zoom out" far enough.  They fixate on what interests them.  People normally do that.  It's a feature of human behavior, not a bug.  Sometimes that's really helpful.  At other times, it impedes or even prevents progress.

I wasted hours of my life doing the leg work you should've done if you choose to believe some YouTube "influencer" that governments don't listen to.  What the influencer says may agree with what you wish to believe, but that doesn't make it factual.  There's a reason governments listen to Professor Michaux.  They've had their own people try and discount what he's told them, but they've not been able to do it thus far.

Maybe you should do what I do, wherein I tried to make sense of these arguments about electrification for years, and eventually had to conclude that they were ideological in nature, because no energy was being saved at all.  It was new and sleek and sexy, but not practical, which is how Lithium prices jumped from $6.6K/t 3 years ago to $60K/t today.  Gasoline didn't jump nearly so high, at any point in time.  There's not enough to go around, and it's obvious now, which is why so much money is being spent on alternatives.  I've wasted enough ink on this one.  It's rather silly.

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#131 2023-07-08 00:42:32

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 7,469

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

Here's how you can tell that something's very wrong with the premise of the arguments made about why full replacement of hydrocarbon fuel energy is not necessary.

No explanation whatsoever is given as to how we arrive at this future where over-building wind and solar (to a much greater degree than Germany already has), or creating gargantuan hydro energy storage facilities, or grid scale batteries, or HVDC power cables, and presumably lots of new high-voltage AC infrastructure, without also consuming massive amounts of hydrocarbon fuels and metals.  The materials associated with wind turbine blades and towers and generators or photovoltaic semiconductors are incredibly energy-intensive themselves, and also require their own specialty metals and materials which are in short supply.  That means mining must expand by quite a lot, as in hundreds to thousands of years of output squeezed into the next 20 years or so.

This is quite clearly a Rube Goldberg machine intended to obfuscate how inefficient and therefore expensive that it truly is.  If you have to totally replace the energy system, the transport system, the way we live (upgrade all buildings to improve energy efficiency, force people to live in “tiny homes” or corral them into cities- there’s no energy involved in remodeling buildings or creating entirely new ones, is there?), the food people eat (bugs and tofu- I’m with Professor Michaux on this one; I’ll eat the people proposing this idiocy first), where goods and services are sourced from (locally vs globally), which goods and services are produced (all of them made from expensive new materials and manufacturing methods requiring electrification), new computer technology (to somehow control this madness), new recycling technology (which doesn’t even exist at any practical level), and then you scale all that up to the global level (with a shrinking energy, capital, and labor supply)…  The energy over-consumption and waste associated with doing that will dwarf the present hydrocarbon fuel energy system, assuming each "new thing" to be produced is a like-kind replacement (and nobody has even spoken of where the insulation for all this wiring is coming from, if not from oil).

Let's see how fast you can lose over 20% of your gross input energy from photovoltaics when every connected system is 95% efficient (spectacular for most real-world applications):
100 * 0.95 = 0.95 <- photovoltaic on-panel efficiency
0.95 * 0.95 = 0.9025 <- losses in wiring runs to step-up transformer
0.9025 * 0.95 = 0.857375 <- losses in step-up transformer
0.857375 * 0.95 = 0.81450625 <- losses in power lines to point-of-use
0.81450625 * 0.95 = 0.7737809375 <- losses in step-down transformer

Just like that, we lost 22.6% of the input electrical power, and we’ve done nothing with that power, except distribute it.  This is how much power the photovoltaic generating station loses near where we live.  It's actually a little more than that, about 23% IIRC, and that's before the generated electricity touches the feeder wire into the grid.  The resistance of the high voltage power lines is not zero, nor are the step-down transformers loss-less.  No mathematical genius is required to understand that if the power is traveling across continents, quite a bit more than that is going to be lost along the way.  In point of fact, at a certain point our total efficiency is no better than a modern combustion engine.  We’ve baked-in the inefficiency, though, with no practical way to improve it.  It’s an entropy problem- another one of those ironclad thermodynamics issues.  At that point, we’re trading the relative extreme abundance of hydrocarbon fuels, which we could drastically curtail using more intelligent mixes of energy, for much more scarce materials and high-cost installation and construction requirements.

Gonna add a battery power buffer?
Subtract another 5%
Gonna charge and then discharge an EV battery?
Subtract another 5%
Gonna do any of that multiple times?
Reconsider what you’re doing.
Gonna immediately convert the power into electrical resistance at the point of use?
Reconsider what you’re doing, because HVAC systems are not terribly efficient.

There are also limits to what an electrical power transformer can do, and we’re going to need to build these like gangbusters, so how well they work becomes very important:
CSE Magazine - Transformer efficiency: Minimizing transformer losses by Kenneth L. Lovorn, PE, Lovorn Engineering Assocs., Pittsburgh

An excerpt from the article:

In 2002, NEMA issued a Standard TP-1 in support of the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s guidelines for more energy efficient electrical devices. This standard was based on a previous U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study showing that the typical dry type transformer under normal operating conditions was loaded to approximately 35% of its nameplate rating. Therefore, TP-1 established a table of minimum efficiencies for various sized transformers when operating linear loads (see Table 1). These efficiencies are really quite incredible as they range from 97% to 98.8%. What TP-1 does not tell you is that it is very unlikely that you will ever see such efficiencies in actual installations. In addition, TP-1 does not tell you that using these very efficient transformers will impact your electrical designs significantly.

Because of the differences among the efficiencies shown in TP-1 and what really happens with real transformers in real applications, the approach you take in your electrical design could be significantly different when attempting to design an electrical system with minimized losses. This article offers suggestions regarding how you approach your electrical designs to maintain minimum losses in the system transformers (see Figure 1). It will also show areas in which you will have greater losses than those shown in TP-1—no matter which design direction you might choose.
...
TP-1 was developed using linear loads. However, in today’s business environment, most of the loads are nonlinear (rich in harmonic content). Computers, fluorescent light fixtures, printers, elevators, or variable frequency drives for motors generate harmonics. Applying harmonically rich loads to transformers can double or triple their total losses. For example, a 75 kVA transformer that would normally have 2% losses at 35% loading would actually have 4% to 6% losses. Therefore, the 26 kVA load (35% of the 75 kVA) would have losses totaling more than 1.5 kW.
...
Typically, the total losses for a 75 kVA transformer are about 1,000 W at 35% loading or 1.3%. The actual losses when the transformer is fully loaded can be more than 3,000 W for linear loads and 7,000 W for nonlinear loads. This amounts to 4% and 9.3% respectively—considerably more than the NEMA TP-1 table for minimum efficiencies for a 75 kVA transformer. While the overall concept for requiring more energy-efficient transformers is quite good, engineers may want to be very careful about transformer selection when the anticipated operating conditions do not match the base criteria that were used in developing the TP-1 table.

By selecting transformers with lower temperature ratings, that is, 115 and 80 C rise instead of the standard 150 C rise transformers, the core and load losses will change. To reduce the temperature rise, the core is increased in size. This increases the core losses but reduces the load losses, so, according to the anticipated operating point, the total losses may be higher or lower than the standard transformer. Due to the smaller core losses, the total losses for the 150 C transformer are less than the total losses of the 80 C transformer up to about 60% loading. With transformer loading above 60%, the total losses are less than those of a 150 C transformer of the same size (see Figure 2).

A good compromise between core and load losses is the 115 C rise transformer. While the core losses are somewhat higher than those in the 150 C transformer, they are less than the 80 C transformer core losses. Correspondingly, the load losses are less than the 150 C transformer, allowing the total losses to be less than those of the 150 C transformer under normal operating conditions (see “Know the loss data, loading when specifying transformers”).

Distribution transformers and TP-1

Transformers that have primary voltages of 34.5 kV or less and secondary voltages of less than 600 V also must meet the efficiency ratings of TP-1 at a linear loading of 35%. However, TP-1 covers only 3-phase distribution transformers between 15 kVA and 1,000 kVA, so the larger transformers are not addressed by this standard. In addition, the distribution transformers are traditionally designed to be loaded to between 50% and 75%. As noted previously on the smaller, dry-type transformers, loadings that exceed the 35% TP-1 point will have significantly greater losses than the tabularized values. So while the goal of TP-1 was very lofty, it does not apply as well to actual installations.

Historically, it was common to see distribution transformers that had impedance ratings of 5.75%. As the electrical utilities have worked to reduce their operating costs, the impedance for distribution transformers has dropped to values as low as 1.5% impedance. Since the utilities typically absorb the transformer losses as a part of their operating costs, reducing the impedance percentage from 5.75% to 1.5% has saved more than 70% of their losses at the transformer. This turned out to be very convenient because TP-1 was requiring that these transformers have higher efficiencies at the same time that the utilities were attempting to reduce their operating costs.

This process had a negative side effect that was not immediately evident but had a major impact on the electrical engineer’s design: the available fault duty on the secondary of the transformer. A 1,000 kVA transformer with 5.75% impedance will have an available fault duty of 21,000 A at 480 V, assuming an infinite bus on the primary side. Given the same criteria for a 1.5% impedance transformer would result in an available fault duty of 80,000 A. The same transformer operating with a 120/208 V secondary will have available fault duties of 48,000 A and 185,000 A, respectively. This operating efficiency improvement has a major impact on the electrical system design, particularly at the lower secondary voltage of 120/208 V (see “Sizing stepdown transformers”).

While TP-1 did not address transformers that were rated larger than 1,000 kVA, there have been similar reductions in their impedances to affect matching savings for these larger transformers. As one would anticipate, available fault currents for a 2,500 kVA transformer are dramatically, though proportionally, larger. At 480 V, the fault duties would increase from 52,000 A to more than 200,000 A for a 1.5% impedance transformer. Thank goodness transformers of this size do not commonly come with a 208-V secondary, because the fault current would approach 500,000 A.
...
In the engineer’s quest to reduce energy consumption, matching the transformer to its anticipated load is critical in achieving that goal. By applying a 150-C rise transformer to a lightly loaded linear circuit, the losses noted in TP-1 will be very close to the actual losses. However, heavier transformer loadings will suggest the engineer design around one of the lower temperature-rise transformers, such as the 115 C or 80 C transformers. When there are significant harmonically rich loads that are to be fed by a dry transformer, the lowest losses are likely to be achieved by using K-rated transformers that are sized for the anticipated harmonic currents.

Injudicious transformer selection can exceed the losses shown in TP-1 by 300% to 400%, resulting in a negative return on investment for the increased cost of the higher efficiency transformers.

What this means is, designing an efficient transformer de-facto means designing it for a particular load and acceptable temperature rise (loss of power by any other definition).  When your input fluctuations from intermittent energy are measured in gigawatts, this becomes a serious problem.  Load balancing off of other sources is no longer possible, either, because the system is so large that it must internally balance itself out, or it’s merely a secondary system working in conjunction with hydrocarbon fuel systems, which means you need 2 complete energy grids, one based upon wind turbines and photovoltaics and the other based upon gas turbines or nuclear reactors.  It's not merely a loss of money to heat generated by excessive electrical resistance, but the potential to explode transformers that take weeks to months to replace.

Why is the above so pertinent to an energy system powered by wildly fluctuating generating systems?

It means if you fail to design-in significant excess capacity (another form of inefficiency, as the article about transformer design shows) to absorb power spikes, you will no longer have an electric grid.  Electricity is doing almost everything at this point, so that’s rather bothersome.  Worrying about minimizing electrical losses becomes a secondary consideration to making sure that fault currents don't explode transformers or power lines, and possibly destroy whatever is connected to them.  If the 3X nameplate generating capacity of Germany's peak demand is insufficient to provide reliable power without gas turbines and nuclear reactors back-stopping the entire system, that means 3X the transformer capacity, 3X the wasted power when actually operating at full capacity (something that seldom happens if that much over-capacity needs to exist), and all those rosy efficiency projections of people like Michael Barnard are rapidly cannibalized by the energy system, merely trying to keep the spikes from ruining all the transformers between your home and the generating station.

These sorts of problem cannot be hand-waived by an actual electrical engineer, at least not one who intends to keep his or her job.  They skirt around them by using massive quantities of Iron, Copper, cooling oil, and/or electric fans to keep the transformer from overheating.

Here’s a more simplistic energy inefficiency example that doesn’t require advanced electrical engineering knowledge, but is still subject to the capricious dictates of that pesky “real world” which refuses to entertain the efficiency fantasy of our electricity enthusiasts (I’m one of them, I love electricity and efficiency, but sometimes what I want is not amenable to what engineering can provide):

Science is unaware of a solution to eating fewer than 2,000 calories per day for the average adult who is physically active.  You can eat different foods since some will require fewer fertilizers or water or other inputs than others, but without those 2,000 calories of energy for your body to metabolize, you're slowly starving to death.  During my recent gastro-intestinal health problems, I had the fun and exciting experience of slowly starving to death by eating maybe 150 calories per day at most, for about a month, until some combination of the antibiotics and surgery worked its magic.  My wife fed me what they feed cancer patients, a rice / vitamin powder mixed into a cup of hot water, once per day, maybe enough to fill one cupped hand, because that’s all I could tolerate on a good day.  I assure everyone that it was not an experience that I ever wish to repeat.  Towards the end, my wife remarked that I looked a bit like a concentration camp survivor.  I think I looked a lot better than most of those guys, but yes, I was rather skinny when compared to the prior month.  If someone ever suggested that the least of my brothers and sisters be subjected to such a regimen in the name of “energy efficiency”, I would promptly tell that person where hell was located and how to get there at best possible speed.  Since I’m at least part-Irish, I would try to ensure that they looked forward to making the journey as well.  Anyone who suggests we force people into such degrading poverty in the name of efficiency, regardless of intent, is completely off the reservation.

Asserting that you’re going to replace the calories industrialized farming provides, but without specifying where they’re coming from and how they’re going to be made, is not “debunking” anyone who claims that such a thing is not practical.  You can technically eat USCG survival rations and water, and remain alive due to caloric intake, but asking everyone to eat those nasty things for every meal, for any significant period of time, constitutes inhumane treatment.  The efficiency of eating such things may look great because they’re very compact / easy to store for long periods of time / fast to make.  However, feeding them to people as anything but a “get out alive” food option is not a plan for anything but a violent revolution.  This is the sort of superficial efficiency nonsense that’s technically possible, but physically impossible back in the real world where people are not cattle.  A cow can chew on grass all day, but that’s pretty much all it does until it dies or is slaughtered.  Equating people with cattle because both need to eat food to live is the sort of sophomoric solution that ideologues lust after, whilst ignoring the much bigger picture.  If that’s what you have to resort to, in order to make your efficiency idea work, then go back to the drawing board and try again.

Onwards!

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#132 2023-07-08 01:07:46

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 7,469

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

Regarding review and input for Professor Michaux's report entitled Assessment of the Extra Capacity Required of Alternative Energy Electrical Power Systems to Completely Replace Fossil Fuels by Simon P. Michaux, I counted no less than 25 names of people who reviewed the report and contributed to it.  One man wrote it, but many men and women helped to create it, some of whom were tasked with critiquing the report so that the report met the standard of rigor required to present it to the European Union and various national governments of the world.

It's a 1,000 page report.  This wasn’t some wild idea Professor Michaux suddenly had while taking a dump.  It’s based upon decades of knowledge and experience accumulation.  Basically, he’s looking at what we’re attempting to do with electricity and wondering what’s going on upstairs.  The lights are clearly on, but nobody’s home.  Michael Barnard's articles, which are not reports, fails to mention how we're supposed to obtain these fabulously efficient "unwasted energy machines and services.  Is all the equipment 100% efficient, or nearly so?  It’s clearly not, assuming it was made by humans.  The entire premise of “Just Have a Think”’s argument falls apart shortly thereafter.  The words "Copper" and "Lithium" don't even appear in the article Michael Barnard wrote, so the question of “where is all this stuff I want actually coming from?”, was not answered.  He’s not thinking about how energy systems are built and used and maintained, merely about energy flow diagrams that appear to show too much waste, in his opinion.  Are we transitioning to “all-electric” without electrical power lines and transformers?  Good luck with that.

Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES) is about what you can do with what you have.  It’s entirely possible to do much more with what we’re already using, but there must be some reason why we haven’t that’s non-trivial in nature.  That said, TPES represents what’s possible, not what’s practical or realistic to do, and that’s the correct way to view it.  If your plan is to give humanity an extreme energy makeover, then even if you get much better efficiency in some or even all areas of human civilization, you cannot wave a wand to instantiate all these new devices and services and ways of doing things.  The process of “changing everything” is both energy intensive and messy and inefficient.  It’s always been that way.  No doubt many people came to view internal combustion engines the same way.  If we “just” had an engine small and powerful and efficient enough, that would change everything.  Well, in some ways it did.  In other ways, not so much.  A gas powered cell phone remains about as practical as a battery powered car, which is to say not at all practical, even though it’s technically possible to do.

A larger point that seems to be totally lost on people like “Just Have a Think”, is how otherwise reasonably intelligent and rational people come to very bizarre and counter-factual conclusions about how ideas will or won’t work when subjected to that very ugly “real world”.  To a person, we all prefer the fantasy world we’ve constructed in our heads, even though we know that world is not real.  Maybe some of us “don’t know that”.  As I’ve stated before, fixating on objects of affection is a very human behavior.  Pretending that changing one thing, or everything, will transform society into a magical wonderland, or something like that, is simultaneously very human and very naive and almost certainly very wrong.  That won’t stop a good many people from believing what they fancy, along those lines, but it does lend creedence to the notion that our own character flaws, to say nothing of our technology flaws, indicate why we haven’t already radically transformed society into something different than what we have now.  Change is often a very slow process.  The pace of progress is frequently upsetting to those who lack the patience to allow ideas to fully mature before attempting to make wholesale changes without greater experience and deeper understanding of the nature of the change they wish to make.

When you keep adding new technologies and additional complexities to try and make some particular idea work or ameliorate its shortcomings so that it remains within the realm of feasibility, then if you also have to continually add to the sophistication for long enough, what you’ve created is no longer comprehensible.  A great example is a modern microchip or computer operating system.  There is not one single person who truly knows every aspect of any given design.  It’s not possible.  We have individuals focused on singular aspects of the system for a decade or more.  That means a good many decisions made about a fundamentally new system will not be all that efficient or organized.  It’s going to under-perform, because all new highly complex systems don’t initially perform to expectations.  A complex system that is not also well-organized tends to have too many failure modes to be practical to maintain into perpetuity.  That is what we must do in order to actually replace whatever came before it.

The entire notion that we’re going to make a completely new and inordinately more complex energy system, using only half as much input energy, is firmly within the realm of fantasy-based thinking.  Such a thing will not happen.  I have no idea how long it will take other people to realize that, but that will be the inevitable outcome.  Anyone who believes otherwise is only deluding his or her self.  There’s a reason I devised a much simpler system to “keep the lights on”, and it wasn’t because I particularly fancied the idea.  It had to be that way to work at all.

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#133 2023-07-08 10:37:11

Terraformer
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From: Ceres
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,821
Website

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

So, efficiency in transformers suggests storage is best placed at the site of generation. I'd like to see wind farms required to have some, probably flywheels, as a condition of grid connecting. If the operator can't give advance warning to any power reductions they don't get to build. Not even a sizeable amount, maybe not even an hour, but they shouldn't be allowed to sell to the grid if they can't guarantee a minimum level of reliability. Otherwise the grid operator has to pay for idled (not off) gas turbines to handle the fluctuations.


"I'm gonna die surrounded by the biggest idiots in the galaxy." - If this forum was a Mars Colony

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#134 2023-07-08 14:25:53

kbd512
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Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 7,469

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

Terraformer,

Since 99% of real world large scale energy storage is pumped hydro, instead of having a complex array of transformers / flywheels / batteries / power cables between continents, this is an indicator that the most overall efficient way to use wind and solar is to pump water into a reservoir, via mechanical pumps, and then use the reservoir to make highly predictable and load-following electrical power output, such that you can use more efficient transformers and power distribution methods that don't have to account for intermittency at all.  If you do it this way, which is what I propose, then you don't need any Rube Goldberg silliness to ensure that you have electrical power whenever the wind quits blowing or the sun quits shining.

This is something wind turbines can do using direct mechanical or hydraulic drives, removing hundreds of tons of weight from the nacelle, and virtually all special materials.  There is no Copper, Aluminum, Rare Earth magnets, and minimal control electronics for slewing and speed control.  The drive shaft or hydraulic hose from the turbine nacelle is effectively connected to an engine dyno water brake.  Spinning the turbine "too fast" in a storm should be less of an issue with proper design, and braking can ordinarily be accomplished using the water brake to reduce wear and tear on the mechanical brake.  If the turbines are located closer to the coast, then you can use sea water.  The wind turbines pump the water into an elevated reservoir, and then it's discharged back into the ocean where it came from.

This solution doesn't satisfy complexity and efficiency cravings of people who lust after impractical to unattainable energy goals, but it does actually solve the problem of intermittency in an elegant and cost-effective way, using its own form of efficiency, that does not require unattainable quantities of special materials by strip-mining large portions of the Earth.  In point of fact, it looks an awful lot like our existing energy system, but without burning hydrocarbon fuels to deliver all other forms of energy unrelated to transportation, nor requiring a complete gas turbine or nuclear reactor backup.  If it's expanded a bit more, then it can also serve terrestrial transportation needs (trains / semi-trucks / passenger cars / tractors).

Solar thermal works on temperature and pressure, but again, no special materials are required as long as the temperatures and pressures remain within the limits of low-cost carbon steel.  Since 70% of the electricity generated is converted right back into low-grade heat, a solar thermal plant that provides large quantities of hot fresh water is going to be very useful for cleaning and showering, heating homes in the winter, slow-cooking dinners, providing refrigeration and air conditioning, and even powering short-range passenger cars and trains.

After we've used up the service life in these massive machines, most parts of the machines can be quickly and easily recycled into brand new copies of the original equipment.  They are not mish-mashes of wildly different materials, which is what electro-chemical batteries and photovoltaics and electric motors / generators are.  No money needs to be spent on theoretically better technology.  Total costs remain low because no novel new technologies or operating methodologies need to be invented to make this work.  Apart from wind turbine blades, this sort of technology dates back to the start of the industrial revolution.

Sending power between continents is outright admitting that in actual practice, creating an all-electric system using intermittent energy sources, that's intended to provide reliable on-demand power, is impractical after cost and complexity are considered.  If that's where you have to go to get enough power, then you need to consider more practical alternatives.  The direct path, via immediate storage in hot or cold water reservoirs, mechanical wind turbines and solar thermal heat, are both perfectly viable ways of doing that.

Cost and efficiency estimates should include all connected systems, right down to the appliance in a home using the power.  Actual demonstrated plant capacity of an intermittent energy power plant over 5 years of operation, rather than nameplate capacity alone, should inform decision making on dollars spent per Watt of power delivered.  Only considering the installation cost of the solar panels and maximum rated output, or some similar nonsense, that doesn't equate to any sort of real world usable energy generation and storage system, is not a valid measure of cost-effectiveness.

Average daily solar radiation per square meter in Germany:
January 0.5kWh
February 1.2kWh
March 2.25kWh
April 3.5kWh
May 4.25kWh
June 4.9kWh
July 4.8kWh
August 4.1kWh
September 2.8kWh
October 1.5kWh
November 0.6kWh
December 0.4kWh

Given those solar radiation fluctuations, anyone who doesn't include the cost of energy storage for a solar-based energy system is intellectually dishonest.  The input solar energy delta between June and December is 12.25X.  That is how much you would have to "over-build" a solar energy generating system by, to maintain June levels of electrical output in December.  Alternatively, you will have to store energy for months at a time by somewhat over-building the solar array to a lesser output level.  This favors solar thermal to pump water uphill during summer months when solar radiation is plentiful, and then slowly release the energy during the winter months to generate electricity.  It's easy to understand why 99% of the energy storage is pumped hydro.  It's the only form of energy, except coal or Uranium, that you can easily store for 6 months or more by throwing it in a hole in the ground, and still have energy when you need it.  Batteries can't do that.  You can't even store diesel or gasoline fuels for that long without special additives and well sealed tanks.  Propane is technically indefinitely storable in a strong metal tank.  Natural gas is use / lose for all practical purposes.  Beyond the dramatic effect of seasonality, there's that whole "energy generation at night" thing that solar can't do.  Wind turbines operate on differential heating of the Earth, which is also tied to diurnal and seasonal sunlight fluctuations.  Heck, even tidal changes are mostly diurnal.  On the other hand, gravity is always doing its thing.

Ignoring losses not related to the building itself, direct space heating is 100% efficient in concept.  If you pump 1,000W of heat into a home, it doesn't matter in the slightest if the input energy had to go through a dozen different voltage and amperage conversions using electricity, or a heat collection and pumping cycle using hot water.  The only meaningful difference is how much each system costs to make and install, how long it lasts (also a measure of cost), and how much it costs to repair or replace (again, another measure of cost).  Only your wallet can tell the difference between electrical heating and hot water flowing through a radiator.

On a per-foot basis, steel pipe remains cheaper per foot (for transmitting a given amount of power) than an equivalent Copper or Aluminum conductor.  Lightning strikes and high winds have little to no effect on buried pipes.  Over all my years living in Texas, I can count the loss of water pressure on one hand.  We lost electrical power as recently as a week ago.  Every major storm, almost without fail, we lose power, or someone living nearby loses power, for a few hours to a few days at a time.  In terms of reliability, there is no contest whatsoever between water pressure and electricity.  In point of fact, the only times we lose water pressure are directly related to loss of electrical power at the pumping stations.  If people ever do learn from their mistakes, then maybe there's an object lesson in there somewhere.

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#135 2023-07-08 14:32:10

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 3,483

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

Terraformer wrote:

So, efficiency in transformers suggests storage is best placed at the site of generation. I'd like to see wind farms required to have some, probably flywheels, as a condition of grid connecting. If the operator can't give advance warning to any power reductions they don't get to build. Not even a sizeable amount, maybe not even an hour, but they shouldn't be allowed to sell to the grid if they can't guarantee a minimum level of reliability. Otherwise the grid operator has to pay for idled (not off) gas turbines to handle the fluctuations.

In the UK, new offshore wind farms do typically include some battery storage for exactly this reason.  But this doesn't avoid the need for backup generation, which is typically combined cycle gas turbine plants.  The batteries are there to avoid grid frequency instability in the time it takes to bring the CCGT plant onload.  Gas turbines can be brought on load rapidly (minutes).  However, waste heat boilers which produce about half of the total power, are steam systems that suffer limitations on heating rate due to thermal shock.

I agree that flywheels are a better technology for frequency control than batteries.  System lifetime is superior and the system contains angular momentum that makes frequency drop a more gradual process.  If flywheels are used, then they could be mounted directly to a ground based generator and the flywheel provided with mechanical power from a group of mechanical wind turbines.  In this way, the wind machines are simple mechanical systems with dozens of them providing power to a single ground based generator.

But unless we fundamentally change the way we use electricity, innovations like this only take us so far.  The CCGT still needs to be there.  It must be built and paid for, manned and maintained and all these costs are fixed regardless of how often it operates.  The only thing the wind farm can do is save some fraction of the fuel that the CCGT uses.  That isn't without value.  But when weighed against the capital, operating, maintenance costs and embodied energy of two powerplants instead of one, the case for wind power is weak.  Wherever this has been tried the cost of power has skyrocketed because increased capital and operating costs outweigh the value of any fuel that is saved.

Last edited by Calliban (2023-07-08 14:49:40)


"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act. It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyse every possible obstacle and begin nothing. Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."

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#136 2023-07-10 06:28:08

Mars_B4_Moon
Member
Registered: 2006-03-23
Posts: 9,501

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

If there is a break through in Cold Fusion coming, why would you not invest. Is it wise to be left behind?

The media tv 'experts' reading out their lines, experts and coin collectors that could easily be switch for characters in a Monty Python's comedy film series want to turn peasants upside-down and shake them so coins fall out of their pocket, now how to make Windmills, how to begin Taxing farts...'flatulence' what if they are in the Mosque and they start farting into another jihad dudes face...do you double tax them or will the 'King' cheer on the mob as they go sudden jihad, more plans on taxing Carbon, taxes on Nitrogen and more Solar Panels

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#137 2023-07-10 06:32:31

Mars_B4_Moon
Member
Registered: 2006-03-23
Posts: 9,501

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

High hopes for fusion
https://www.datacenterdynamics.com/en/a … or-fusion/

New Iceland Tech Shakes Up Global Geothermal Energy
https://www.forbes.com/sites/arielcohen … al-energy/

Germany hits back at French nuclear double standard accusation
https://www.euractiv.com/section/politi … ccusation/
German officials defended the country’s renewable energy record after Paris criticized Berlin for importing nuclear energy

Europe’s Crisis: Blame Green Energy Policy
https://heartland.org/opinion/europes-c … gy-policy/
For the last two decades, closures of traditional power plants and renewable energy policies made European countries highly dependent upon a combination of intermittent wind and solar sources.

Biden to promote clean energy over tea with King Charles at Windsor Castle
https://www.aol.com/news/biden-off-wind … 57188.html

Joe Biden heads to Windsor Castle to visit King Charles, promote clean energy
https://www.fox5dc.com/news/biden-visit … ean-energy

After Meeting Sunak, Biden Heads To Windsor Castle To Discuss Clean Energy With King Charles
https://www.republicworld.com/world-new … eshow.html

in regard to space we also have other discussions on Activity on a Mars Colony,
recent flows and quakes on Mars and if 'Geothermal' is a possibility

Last edited by Mars_B4_Moon (2023-07-10 06:33:43)

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#138 2023-07-10 10:57:30

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 7,469

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

China is now banning Gallium (from Aluminum smelting) and Germanium (from Zinc smelting) exports to the United States.  Let's hope the Chinese government bans export of all specialty materials and technologies to the United States and Europe, especially photovoltaics, wind turbine blades, permanent magnets, and the low-tier semiconductors that control the rather pointless electronic junk which doesn't need to be electronic, such as coffee makers and toasters.  The Chinese presently provide over 90% of the photovoltaic panels and many of the inputs into electronic vehicles, electric motors / generators, and Lithium-ion batteries.  The loss of this supplier will drastically curtail the production rates of electronic trash coveted by the West's envirofraudulists by raising the costs of photovoltaic panels, wind turbines, and battery-operated electronic vehicles.

This will force the America and Europe to grapple with just how expensive those electronic gadgets are to make without China's de-facto slave labor and no environmental regulations to speak of.  It will force us to acknowledge just how damaging this electronic-everything nonsense is to the environment, even with EPA regulations.  We will get to witness first-hand how this sort of electronic trash accumulates and poisons the environment over time, or it will cause us to pursue alternative solutions with some chance of actually doing what the greentech "true believers" claim it will.  If I had to guess, our fake environmentalists will try to find some other group of poor people to exploit while claiming that they're "saving the planet".

I detest the communist government of China, but everyone unfortunate enough to live there is entitled to basic human dignity, regardless of my thoughts about their nihilistic government.  It's hard to have much dignity when you can't breathe the air outside, drink the water, or eat the food without being poisoned by the lethal toxins that their government allows to be dumped on the ground and into the air in the name of economic progress, because proper disposal would eat into the profit margin.

Ironically, the industry that mines for Rare Earth metals in China, and elsewhere, has created more radiological contamination than Fukushima and Chernobyl combined.  The explosion at Chernobyl released about 50t of radioactive Uranium from its core.

The most infamous mine in China is Bayan-Obo, the largest REE mine in the world. Even more infamous than the mine itself is the tailing pond it has produced: there are over 70,000 tons of radioactive thorium stored in the area. This has become a larger issue recently because the tailing pond lacks proper lining.

Thorium is almost always mixed in with Rare Earth metals.  Instead of collecting and separating out the Thorium, the Chinese and other Rare Earth metals miners spread the radioactive mining tailings over huge areas, contaminating the ground water.  The workers who work their have their teeth fall out and their bones demineralize.  The combination of the radiation and fluorine used in the extraction process produces an ooze that looks similar to the stuff that created "The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles".  Similar procedures are used in other mines in other countries, and is also the reason why most Rare Earth mines here in America have been shut down by the EPA.  It's not economical to dispose of the Thorium, and we refuse to put it in a reactor to make fuel, so it becomes a cost burden above what the market will bear in terms of Rare Earth metal prices, precluding the production of many electric motors / generators for wind turbines and electronic vehicles.

I look forward to bringing that kind of filth to America, and then to rub the noses of our fraudulent environmentalists / climate changer activists in their own brain screed, by inviting these mental midgets to move next door to a Rare Earth metals mine or Lithium mine if they think they're doing less damage to the environment than CO2 is.  So long as they're exploiting someone else that they never have to lay eyes upon, in order to get what they want, they don't care about results or environmental impacts.  I want to see their reaction when its them and their children on the receiving end of their madness.  Maybe they are that nutty, but I'm guessing we won't get a single volunteer from the climate changer bowel movement to go swimming in the beautiful glow-in-the-dark Rare Earth mining tailing ponds.

So you can see what these places look like:
Rare Earth Mining Pictures

They do the same thing everywhere, so don't think "it's gonna be different here".  Take note of the captions on the pictures and where those mines are actually located.

Anyway, our climate changers want to turn planet Earth into a giant toxic radioactive electronics waste dump, regardless of what they claim they want.  The end result is clearly what they were actually after, because it's what we actually received is what you see in the pictures in the link above.  These religious nutters proclaim it to be "good" or "better" than what we have, because they largely don't have to live with the consequences of their ideation.  They get their magic totem without seeing the blood spilled to provide it to them.  They can't claim they wanted something else the second or third time they did it.  Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.  Ignorance is not an excuse at this point.  There is nothing clean or green about how their proposed solution is actually made.  They're increasingly desperate to achieve a solution that will not happen because the only way it possibly could happen is to pollute the living hell out of large swaths of the planet.  At least for now, they're largely stymied by the people promising this stuff to them taking our money and delivering little to nothing, and again, all blame falls back on them, not the charlatan politicians promising things they cannot deliver.  The polity is a reflection of the people.  I blame the people advocating for the travesty at this point, not our half-wit politicians for exploiting our dimwits.

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#139 2023-07-11 10:36:37

kbd512
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Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 7,469

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

Electricity consumption in the United States totaled 4,050 terawatt-hours in 2021, the highest value in the period under consideration. Figures constitute energy end use, which is the sum of retail sales and direct use of electricity by the producing entity.

1TWh = 0.001PWh
1,000TWh = 1PWh = 10^15Wh
4,000TWh = 4PWh
4PWh = 4 * 10^15Wh = 4,000,000,000,000,000Wh
4,000,000,000,000,000Wh per year / 365 days per year = 10,958,904,109,589Wh per day

10,958,904,109,589Wh per day is what you have to replace in terms of electrical output, not to power transportation, but everything else exclusive of transportation.

Over most of the Southwestern United States, which is de-facto a giant desert, you can get at least 5,000Wh/1m^2/day:
solar-insolation-us.jpg

We would put the arrays in places that gets 5.5kWh/1m^2/day to 6.5kWh/1m^2/day to make extra sure this is the actual case.  Maybe we get more some days and maybe we get less on others, but this is working with averages.

Theoretical maximum efficiency:
10,958,904,109,589Wh / 5,000Wh/1m^2/day = 2,191,780,822m^2 = 2,192km^2, at 100% efficiency

Solar thermal efficiency with polished Aluminum reflector material:
10,958,904,109,589Wh / 4,500Wh/1m^2/day = 2,435,312,024m^2 = 2,435km^2, at 90% efficiency

Commercial single-junction Gallium-Arsenide photovoltaic cell efficiency:
10,958,904,109,589Wh / 1,250Wh/1m^2/day = 8,767,123,288m^2 = 8,767km^2, at 25% efficiency

Array representation as "sides of a square", if the entire array was one giant square patch of desert:
sqrt(2,192km^2) = 47km by 47km
sqrt(2,435km^2) = 49km by 49km
sqrt(8,767km^2) = 94km by 94km

Take all of those figures and double them to represent the actual solar power plant land area to prevent shading of the panels.  We're assuming single-axis Sun tracking in all cases.  For example, 2,192km^2 becomes 4,384km^2.  That is not the actual array area, but the total land area required by the array to prevent the individual array elements from casting shadows on each other.  Shadowing or shading of panels, regardless of technology selected, takes potential power output away from the array.  Panel height above ground determines how much space is required between rows to prevent shadowing or shading.  If we assume each panel is 1m wide, then 1m tall at maximum tilt using a semi-recessed concrete pad, then you need at least 1m between rows of adjacent panels, so the land area required doubles.  If the panel height above ground is greater, then you need more land area.  For places where you want vegetation to grow under the panels, 1.5X panel height is a good starting point.  The point is, you're not getting away with less than double the total land area covered by the panels, so 4,870km^2 for the solar thermal panels and 17,534km^2 for the Ga-As photovoltaic panels.

Jun 22, 2022. The price of a solar panel is about $200 per square meter, and the efficiency of a typical solar cell is about 11%, which is about 14W per square meter under the sun on a sunny day.

I'm assuming average efficiency is actually 25% for sake of argument, because most commercial panels are more efficient than that and cost to the purchasing company will most likely work out to be around $200 per square meter, or $1,753,424,657,600 for the entire array.

1m^2 by 4mm thick piece of A36 sheet steel weighs 15.7kg.  4mm thick A36 sheet steel costs about $550 to $600 per metric ton.  If each square meter of ground needs to be covered by a 2mm thick steel plate with Aluminum coating with a tubular A36 support structure, then each square meter of ground to be covered costs $38.22, or $93,077,625,557 for the entire array.

For each square meter covered, I get at least 3.6X more input power by not immediately losing power to electrical conversion.  My base material (a corrosion-protected polished metal surface) is around 5.2X less costly.  If I only have 80% hydro-pump efficiency to pump water, then I still get 2.88X more input power to work with.

1,753,424,657,600 / 93,077,625,557 = 18.38 times more money for the panels alone, before any costs are added for the mounting structure, Copper wiring runs, electric power transformers, or any other infrastructure to use the electrical output is created.  I assume labor costs for installation wil apply to both solar thermal and photovoltaics.  I further assume that neither system is any easier to set up.  Thermal power is a plumbing problem and photovoltaics are an electrical problem.  Both are going to be expensive to install and then chase down all the nagging little issues with the plant.

Let's say we have to store 1/4 of the power we generate:

2,739,726,027,397.25 / 6 (hourly generating requirement) = 456,621,004,566 or 457GW = avg US hourly electricity consumption

This is what the PHES has to supply in order to generate electrical power when required

456,621,004,566 * $2/Watt (min avg PHES CAPEX per Watt) = $913,242,009,132
456,621,004,566 * $6/Watt (max avg PHES CAPEX per Watt) = $2,739,726,027,396

Looking at the capital expenditures associated with all forms of energy storage except hydrocarbon fuels, which are also egregiously expensive to store, I'm starting to understand why we haven't actually switched to another form of energy.  Nuclear is now looking very attractive in terms of cost.

$2,739,726,027,396 / $5,000,000,000 per 1.25GWe PWR = 548 reactors

No BS nonsense about paying less money for pressurized water reactors.  We pay through the nose to meet safety regulations and that's the way it always will be.  Whether China or France could do it cheaper is irrelevant, because we're not talking about reactors built there, to whatever their regulations happen to be.

Nuclear power is by far the cheapest option, with 20% excess generating capacity for the same money spent on the water-based energy storage alone.  The $6/W figure is for the largest / most capable / Gold-plated kinds of PHES, which America will need if we're 100% dependent upon hydro energy storage.  Just as we have Gold-plated reactor solutions, we will have Gold-plated pumped hydro energy storage.  Since 99% of real world storage that is not hydrocarbon-based is PHES, according to "Just Have a Think", or 98% according to Professor Michaux, that means the storage costs alone are greater than America prices for a fleet of PWRs.

I believe we should build the fleet of reactors for electricity, use the waste heat for home heating, and build the solar thermal array, with no provision for storage as such (storage of hot water in gas station or home storage tanks only), so that we can power a fleet of new hot water refrigeration loop powered vehicles.  To do both at the same time, we'll need to reallocate approximately 1/3rd of our military budget to build-out of the power plants, over a time horizon of about 20 years.  It's not realistic to do it any faster than this, even if cost was not an issue, due to material resource constraints.

The astute amongst us will note that 6 hours of backup power is not enough to make it to the next sunrise.  Double those cost figures for PHES, just to make it to the next sunrise.  Add additional cost if you need to account for the fact that there's a 10X power per square meter delta in total insolation between summer and winter.  Basically, the combined cost of the solar panels and PHES grossly exceeds the cost of the reactors.  Wind turbines suffer the same problem.  That's why you need photovoltaics, wind turbines, batteries, and power lines criss-crossing continents.  The costs associated with energy storage quickly get out-of-hand for wind and solar.  We have people who fixate on the cost of the power plant without taking stock of the fact that all costs are additive in nature, and all so-called "renewable energy" systems immediately become non-competitive with nuclear power when they're forced to store power for more than a few hours.  Over-building wind and solar is as non-competitive with nuclear as building the energy storage buffer required to preclude the wind and solar systems from turning into giant and incredibly wasteful Rube Goldberg machines.

By about the time I retire, assuming I live that long, the transition will be complete if we decide to build nuclear and solar thermal power plants.  Ships and aircraft will still be conventionally powered, due to a lack of practical alternatives.  Global shipping will trend downwards as global population declines.  The population collapse seems almost terminal at this point.  The money supply will follow demographics trends, because that's all it can do without inflation, which is a misnomer for massive devaluation of the money everyone earns by working, because real economy is based upon free exchange of goods and services without market manipulation.  If we keep messing around with electronic gadgets that don't work, we will undoubtedly run ourselves out of energy.

If that is not a desirable outcome, then we have to pay the piper and build the thermal power plants.  Those are the only kinds of power plants that provide 24/7 energy.  Renewable energy fantasies aside, this post deals with what it would actually take to use renewables to truly replace hydrocarbon fuels for present electricity generation only.  There are no "massive inefficiencies" to rectify here, because all the energy being consumed IS electricity, it IS based upon current consumption (not energy flow diagrams or wasted energy that could theoretically be saved by using electricity or any similar malarkey), and it IS the case that up to this point we cannot seem to merely change what's providing the electricity without burning something.

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#140 2023-07-27 06:03:07

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 3,483

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

How the French have ruined their once world-beating nuclear power sector.  Mark Nelson summarises exactly what has gone wrong with the energy economy that not so long ago dominated the European electricity market.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isgu-VrD0oM

However talented a country's scientists and engineers are, it cannot prosper if it is being led by political morons.


"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act. It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyse every possible obstacle and begin nothing. Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."

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#141 2023-07-28 16:15:27

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 29,052

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

Myself I have been looking at the solar thermal to generate hot water and power. Have been looking to build a hybrid system that could make use of a heat pump for summer cooling and heating with the energy from the solar to offset energy cost.

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#142 2023-07-29 14:36:11

GW Johnson
Member
From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 5,493
Website

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

Spacenut:

Glad to see you still with us.  Was worried after I saw there was a tornado in New Hampshire.  As small as that state is,  the event could not have been very far from you.

GW


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#143 2023-08-01 07:04:14

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 7,469

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

We're either going to turn the Earth inside out, desperately trying to obtain all these new minerals and metals we require to attempt to convert our energy systems into short-lived electronic devices, or we're going to rediscover why humanity created heat engines, and then we're going to start making heat engines that don't involve burning things for energy.  Nobody proposing that we replace combustion with electronics has done enough basic math to know how or merely "if" it's even possible to create the numbers and types of electronic devices required.  This idea started with ideology, rather than basic math.  That was a mistake, and it needs to be corrected.

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#144 2023-08-25 14:29:49

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 3,483

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

3D modelling of a Persian windmill.
https://heritagesciencejournal.springer … 21-00587-0

These were very simple, vertical axis windmills, that were used for grinding grain.  They were not particularly efficient, but were easy to build.  The device is made from just four natural materials: Wood, stone, adobe (mud brick) and rope.  They did not even require gearing, as the vertical wooden shaft would directly turn the mill stones.

Similar technologies, though used much later in history: 'The home made windmills of Nebraska'.
https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/view … sengfacpub

Back in the 19th century, the wind provided much of the mechanical power used on farms in the US.  It was used to pump water, saw wood and later on, generate electricity.  Most of the devices were very simple and were home made.  The Jumbo windmills were usually ground mounted and were not particularly efficient, but were easy to build using whatever materials were at hand.  They were mostly used for water pumping.

These devices provided useful mechanical power for centuries.  They did not place absurd requirements on the Earth's stock of natural resources.  The materials used were simple, natural materials with very little emboodied energy.  They were often scrap materials that would have otherwise been thrown away.  And they were simple systems that were easy to build.  But they were intended for very different functions.  Something to chew on as we contemplate adding trillions more to national debt in order to fund a high tech, low EROI renewable energy revolution.  Our ancestors actually lived on renewable energy.  But the solutions they developed were very different to the technologies that are now being pushed on us by the champaign socialist overclass.

Last edited by Calliban (2023-08-25 15:15:29)


"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act. It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyse every possible obstacle and begin nothing. Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."

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#145 2023-09-02 11:20:42

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 7,202

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

I thought this was worth noting: https://phys.org/news/2023-08-evidence- … thium.html
Quote:

AUGUST 31, 2023 REPORT

Editors' notes
New evidence suggests McDermitt Caldera may be among the largest known lithium reserves in the world
by Bob Yirka , Phys.org

Does it solve everything?  No not really, but every little bit helps.

But the "Hairshirt Perverts", have already started to harass mining.

My current theory about this is that the Vertical Hierarchy persons of this country and this planet are aligned with foreign powers to control or sell overseas our industrial activities.  If my theory is correct though the tide is against them slowly turning more and more against them.

But enough Hair shirting about it.  smile

If it is, then it is.  If not, then not.

Done.

Last edited by Void (2023-09-02 11:28:31)


Done.

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#146 2023-09-02 16:14:09

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 7,469

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

Void,

Estimates for Thacker Pass alone (66,000t/year) are almost equal to total global annual production, but how much we have is unknown, and we'd need to build the infrastructure to process our own Lithium.  It's good that we now have our own supply, but it would be better to know how much is economically recoverable.  It's still nowhere near enough to replace all vehicles with EVs, but as you noted, some is always better than none.  The real question is whether or not Democrats will allow miners to use it.  They hate mining, all forms of it, even for stuff they advocate for.  Maybe they'll come around to the idea when the existing supply becomes unaffordable.  Lithium prices have increased during the past 6 years at a rate never experienced at the gas pump.  Without more supply, the EV industry is about to hit a brick wall.  Lithium-ion batteries require Lithium...  Who knew?  I always thought they came from the magic battery plant.

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#147 2023-09-02 17:19:56

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 7,202

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

I think, the difference between one type of people of power and the other, is one wishes to subordinate other humans to exploit their labor.  The weird thing is these lefties are royalty wanna-be's.  They regard technology and industry as demons they have to endure.  They want their subordinates to be weak and exploitable.  Poor, ignorant will work very nicely as long as they get their plush life style.

Another type of person wants to encourage other citizens to grow in all ways.  It should be no surprise that the authoritarians of both right and left want to confuse and damage common people.

The very public school system in the country was changed from the country schoolhouse to a servant training program.

For now that is what I think.

Done.


Done.

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#148 2023-09-02 19:03:22

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 7,469

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

Void,

I don't really intend for this thread to become politically-charged.  My only point was that Democrats don't like mining and it's a well-known fact.  It's a little perplexing since most mines are union-run, and union members tend to vote for Democrats.  That said, if they really want their EVs, then they need to join hands with the mining industry so we can mine the metals to make them.  Everything we make comes at some environmental cost.  The cost of the EVs they want will be destroying this one patch of ground.  Maybe it's not worth much and has no other uses.  If they're willing to do it and it results in the US having its own supply of Lithium-ion batteries, then so am I.

You're well aware by now that I think electronics-based energy systems are a technological dead-end when it comes to energy solution that don't involve burning something.  It's painfully obvious to anyone who has done the math on the logistics of accomplishing this.  I don't care if someone tries anyway, but thus far no revolutionary new technology has come along.  What I don't want is for public money to continue to be squandered on impractical technologies making false promises when the math is so clear and nothing has fundamentally changed in that regard.  If EVs were practical personal transportation, then we would never have stopped making them.  Intellectually honest people know that they're not.  When we decided to switch to internal combustion engines over 100 years ago, politics and ideology had nothing to do with it.  The issue was purely about the engineering aspects of the solution, and our engineers were "following the science".  Science says heavy vehicles need more energy and materials, so our engineers made them much lighter using combustion engines.

If someone decides that they want to spend private or corporate money on battery or photovoltaic companies they favor, I have no issue with that.  The moment they start spending public money on those companies, there must be an expectation that the end goal is achievable.  We've also spent enormous sums of money on fusion, with nothing to show for it.  This is an indicator that the people handing out public money have not asked any hard questions of these companies about the reality-based feasibility of their energy technology.  For example, making enough personal transport EVs for the entire market is not feasible with any existing battery tech.  I have a major issue with Democrats preventing the hydrocarbon fuel industry from functioning when it provides the overwhelming majority of the energy to everyone on the planet.  You don't bet the farm on a new technology before knowing that the planet contains enough economically recoverable Lithium to do such a thing.  That's pure ideological belief on display, no different than any other religion.  Even the Middle East runs on oil, not Islam.

I think these people are too far removed from their sources of food, water, and energy to appreciate what goes into making them.  I don't get wrapped around the axle over the fact that sometimes the current way of doing things is the best way, and wasn't arrived at through any amount of manipulation or politics or ideology.

We burn fuel because it's the only practical solution at the present time.  We didn't pursue more practical solutions, because we put the cart before the horse.  Everybody jumped aboard the electric-everything train without asking if there was enough track to take them to where they wanted to go.  That seems like a very basic question to ask first, but nobody had an answer to it because they never asked it of themselves.  If I, as a non-expert, was able to predict the most obvious problems here by simply reading reports about how much metal we have to work with, then why didn't they have a plan to deal with that problem?  Maybe "the science" can't answer any important questions unless the people asking them don't have an agenda to pursue.  The lack of attention paid to these sorts of "basic deductive reasoning" issues are what bother me the most.  It tells me that the end goal is not to arrive at a practical solution.

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#149 2023-09-02 19:45:10

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 7,202

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

I don't have a political agenda.  Nor more than a bit of annoyance at dealing with wasted lives and time.

I do understand that what I mentioned is more a historical matter.  It is an inertia that we have to swim against to get anything useful done.  But it is best to understand better why it is so.

And I can even understand reasonably why the "Management" has done what it is done.  But it is frustrating.

Done.


Done.

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#150 2023-09-04 19:31:24

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 3,483

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

Hydraulic power networks were constructed in several UK cities towards the end of the 19th century.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydraulic_power_network

Power was transmitted from central pumping houses to distributed loads through iron and steel pipework, using pressurised water. Most systems operated at a pressure of around 50 bars.

The UK systems were gradually displaced by electricity.  The London hydraulic network didn't close until the late 1970s.  There could still be a market for hydraulic power distribution if maintaining electricity supply becomes difficult.  Compared to electricity, hydraulics requires relatively large pipes and suffers frictional losses.  However, it is technically easier to transmit mechanical power in this way and there is no need for rare elements like copper for hydraulic power transmission.  Carbon steel pipes are all that is required.  Likewise, the pumping machinery can be made from steel and cast iron.  In the UK, we could use the wind to drive the pumps, if we were willing and able to adjust load to an intermittent supply.  Small modular nuclear reactors could drive hydraulic pumps instead of electrical generators.

Could we build hydraulic power networks on Mars?  For mechanical power transmission, it would be much easier to produce pumps, pipes and water motors using ISRU, than attempting to produce components for an entirely electrical power distribution system.  All such components can be produced from cast iron or plain carbon steels.

Last edited by Calliban (2023-09-04 19:41:51)


"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act. It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyse every possible obstacle and begin nothing. Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."

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