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#576 2021-07-23 12:33:21

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 7,208

Re: Going Solar...the best solution for Mars.

Thanks Calliban.

Calliban wrote:

Hardness of ice increases as temperature declines.
http://www.minsocam.org/ammin/AM43/AM43_48.pdf

At -50°C it is as hard and strong as ordinary grade concrete.  You would need explosives to mine it.  Or lots of low grade heat.


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#577 2021-07-23 18:22:36

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 7,208

Re: Going Solar...the best solution for Mars.

Yes I recall the article.


tahanson43206 wrote:

The company behind the technology described in the article at the link below would appear to be solidly in Louis' corner:

https://www.fool.com/investing/2021/07/ … renewable/

But Somerville, MA's Form Energy has built a battery powered by pellets of iron, one of the world's most common elements, which costs a mere $6 per kilowatt-hour of storage on individual cells. Packaged in a battery system, the cost comes squarely in line with experts' $20 per kilowatt-hour target.
Form Energy's battery functions by intaking and expelling oxygen, and using an electrical current to charge and discharge iron to rust and back again, charging the battery in the process.

I wonder what efficiency is possible with this curious mechanism.

The article reminds me of a discussion started by (I think Louis) when I first joined the forum.  It was about a company (or more likely a college) investigating combustion of iron power as a way to create steam.  The output of the process would have been clinkers of rust.

A battery based upon the principle of oxidation of iron would (presumably) not require high temperatures.

If someone with posting privileges is inspired to investigate this report, I'd be interested to learn more about the concept.

If the process has reached the press, it would (presumably) have patent applications on file, so there might be something available in US government files.

(th)


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#578 2021-07-23 18:30:11

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 7,208

Re: Going Solar...the best solution for Mars.

Form Energy's battery (referred to by TA) does sound like it could be the Holy Grail of green energy - and who would bet against a Bezos-backed company? 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech … -days.html

I particularly like the idea it can store energy for 150 hours potentially. That's over 6 days - and I think that would mean in a country like the UK, a green energy system could be entirely reliable, with no intermittency in output. When I've looked at charts of very low wind/solar in the UK the maximum period seems about 3-4 days.

I am not sure how the $20 per KwH of storage figure translates into cost of power ouput per KwH.


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#579 2021-07-23 18:46:14

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 7,208

Re: Going Solar...the best solution for Mars.

Re land usage, that can of course (I assume) be addressed by building "up".  I can't see any particular reason why you couldn't have a ten level warehouse if you wanted. It would be a lot more expensive of course, but could last for hundred years.  However in the USA, there is still abundant land available in most States so it's probably not much of an issue there.

I think as well, that in terms of solar and wind such a system would allow you to operate with fewer wind turbines and solar panels, thus taking up less acreage for the energy generation (I am assuming that would be the case because currently a lot of energy is earthed ie wasted when there is an oversupply but with this system, in perods of over supply all the excess energy could be stored, so at other times the "oversupply" can be fed back into baseload. I am not sure how much smaller the wind and solar capacity could be but I'm thinking maybe something like 10%.

Exciting times!   

kbd512 wrote:

tahanson43206,

While very interesting from a cost and simplicity perspective, and I do like technology that is both simple and cheap because it means John Q. Public understands how to use and maintain it and can actually afford to do so (it looks stupidly simple to me, which is why it just might work), Form Energy says they can achieve a power storage density of around 3 MW / 450MWh PER ACRE of land surface area, and that each individual battery cell is approximately the size of a washing machine.  Their pilot project battery would then cover about 1/3rd of an acre of land, provide 1MWe of continuous power and store 150MWh of energy (1MWe for 150 hours).  For comparison purposes, a fossil fuel energy storage mechanism providing 150MWh of energy, at 50% thermodynamic efficiency, requires roughly 7,412 gallons of crude oil.  Current combined cycle gas turbines achieve 65% thermal efficiency and solid oxide fuel cells can achieve 80% thermal-to-electrical efficiency, so Form Energy's solution faces stiff competition wherever land area is at a premium.  Apart from that issue, which is significant in many places, I like every other aspect of what they did.  It's cheap, abundant, easily recyclable, and completely non-toxic (Iron / Oxygen / Salt / Water).  If we can obtain enough energy to mine the raw materials without falling into an energy trap, then it makes good sense to me.  They're claiming that their battery can also last for 20+ years, which is highly desirable and perhaps more important than all other considerations.  We need to start thinking about energy generating and storage technologies in terms of human lifetimes, and start building infrastructure that withstands the test of time, because renewable energy doesn't provide the same amount of surplus energy as coal / gas / oil or nuclear energy.

Large Scale, Long Duration Energy Storage, and the Future of Renewables Generation

Form Energy Announces Pilot with Great River Energy to Enable the Utility’s Transition to an Affordable, Reliable and Renewable Electricity Grid

As the above link indicates, Form Energy is demonstrating a 1MW / 150MWh capacity battery for Great River Energy.


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#580 2021-07-23 19:29:12

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 25,647

Re: Going Solar...the best solution for Mars.

The duration of power stored energy to usage has to do with current draw design and not the batteries ability.

There are batteries used in smoke detectors that have a 10 year period of use for providing power…. so hope is nothing without facts....

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#581 2021-07-23 20:06:22

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 5,667

Re: Going Solar...the best solution for Mars.

Louis,

Is it easier to stack washing machines that weigh as much as SUVs when they're sitting on the ground or when they're 100 feet up?

I think we both know the answer to that question.

You need 8,993m^2 to store 1GWh worth of electricity.

1/3 acre = 1348.950792

1348.950792 / 150MWh = 8.99300528m^2 per MWh

8.993m^/2 * 1,000MWh = 8,993m^2

Net generation for US nuclear plants was 809TWh in 2019.

809 * 0.5 = 404.5TWh (assumes wind and solar combined provide a 50% capacity factor to provide half of the total power requirement)

404.5TWh = 404,500,000MWh

404,500,000MWh * 8.99300528MWh/m^2 = 3,637,670,635.76m^2 = 3,637.67km^2

But nuclear power only provides 20% of our power so that figure represents 10% of the requirement if you make 50% and store 50% of what you need when wind and solar produce nothing.

So... 36,376.7km^2

That's equivalent to the total land area of Maryland and Rhode Island combined.  Granted, those are two of our smallest states, but you should drive through both of them to get a sense for how big they truly are, then imagine a battery sitting atop every square inch of both states.

When these things are filled with electrolyte, they will weigh about as much as 1/4m^3 of Iron plus 3/4m^3 of H2O (at least 2,725kg/m^3, and possibly double that based upon the prototype design I saw- tough for me to judge mass, but it looks like a giant steel cheese grater).  That means you'll need a foundation more solid than any skyscraper in existence to hold up the crushing weight of a 10 story battery made that way, and then that structure will cover the entire land area of Rhode Island.  A 50 story skyscraper with 3,000m^2 of floor space per floor only weighs approximately 250,000t (steel reinforced concrete, excluding the foundation, obviously).  Each square meter of "battery space" weighs as much as 1/9th of that entire 250,000t building, excluding the foundation.  If the actual battery weight is closer to 5,000kg, then that's delving deep into the realm of absurdity.

Maybe for offshore use in floating platforms so we don't have to construct the world most solid and therefore expensive foundation across a land are twice the size of Wales?

Or maybe this is pure fantasy?

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#582 2021-07-23 20:34:38

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 10,360

Re: Going Solar...the best solution for Mars.

For kbd512 re #581

Thanks for the easy-for-me-to-follow math in your reply to Louis ...

The idea of a floating platform is actually pretty good, although (I suspect) you may have tossed if off as a free bonus.

The best place for both wind and solar plants is floating on various oceans, and the battery system we're discussing in this (recent) sequence looks (to me at this point anyway) as capable of deployment at sea. 

Production of Hydrogen (and Oxygen as a useful byproduct) or Ammonia is practical at sea, and the infrastructure for shipping stored energy around the world already exists.

***
An objection that Calliban makes repeatedly is that wind and solar power devices require maintenance.  That fact could be taken into account in a well conceived vertically integrated facility at sea .... The materials needed for the initial configuration of a "permanent/self-maintaining" facility would be a one time investment.  Lubricants would needed to be imported, but I suspect even they can be fabricated on site, because Carbon is available from the atmosphere. It seems to me that thinking on this scale is needed to overcome all the traditional objections.

Can anyone (who is a member with posting privileges) think of anything I've overlooked?

(th)

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#583 2021-07-24 08:41:35

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 7,208

Re: Going Solar...the best solution for Mars.

I think there's a maths error in your post in the following section.

404,500,000MWh * 8.99300528MWh/m^2 = 3,637,670,635.76m^2 = 3,637.67km^2

But nuclear power only provides 20% of our power so that figure represents 10% of the requirement if you make 50% and store 50% of what you need when wind and solar produce nothing.

So... 36,376.7km^2

Surely you should be multiplying the 3,637.67 figure by 2.5 (20% x 2.5 = 50%) not 10 to get the storage requirement (as defined by you - not me, see below).  That would give you a figure of 9094 sq kms as the total land area under your analysis

However, that's still to misread the situation.

No way would you be storing 50% of the energy requirement. You would be storing whatever percentage in a year's total green energy output (solar + wind + hydro + geothermal + energy from waste + wave + tidal + sea current + biofuel) fell short of the required total.  Remember the non-intermittent elements like hydro and energy from waste can probably be ramped up to 15% of total during periods of low wind and solar. So it's really a question of how do you ensure the remaining 85% is non-intermittent using the storage system. 

For that, you have to look at days when wind and solar fails to meet 85% of the energy requirement and days when it exceeds that requirement (possibly above 100% on some days). When I've looked at the UK there are maybe on average 3-4 days per month when there is very low wind and solar. But there are also days when there is an abundance of wind and solar energy. The shortfall periods maybe amount to 10% of the total produced. That would amount to roughly 36 days of needing to be supplied from stored energy but of course you aren't just draining batteries all the time, you are also replenishing them in times of surplus. I suspect the 150 hours target storage time (just over 6 days) was chosen carefully and  equates to this sort of scenario where you are having to provide about 10% of the total energy output from storage (let's say beyond diurnal storage which won't be an issue). 6 days would cover both a freakish low period and also a period when Period A of low wind and solar is followed quickly - say within a week by a second Period B of low wind and solar.

At 150 hours, the overall storage capacity would be less than 2% of 85% of annual energy output.

So on your figures I make that a total area  requirement for the Form Energy system of 309.2 sq. kms. Somewhat less that your figure! If all the units were housed in 10 storey equivalents of concrete car parks that would be a land requirement of 30.9 sq kms or 5.5 kms x 5.5 kms.  If that were split into 1000 facilities dotted around the country each unit would be 4000 sq. metres or 63 metres x 63 metres.

kbd512 wrote:

Louis,

Is it easier to stack washing machines that weigh as much as SUVs when they're sitting on the ground or when they're 100 feet up?

I think we both know the answer to that question.

You need 8,993m^2 to store 1GWh worth of electricity.

1/3 acre = 1348.950792

1348.950792 / 150MWh = 8.99300528m^2 per MWh

8.993m^/2 * 1,000MWh = 8,993m^2

Net generation for US nuclear plants was 809TWh in 2019.

809 * 0.5 = 404.5TWh (assumes wind and solar combined provide a 50% capacity factor to provide half of the total power requirement)

404.5TWh = 404,500,000MWh

404,500,000MWh * 8.99300528MWh/m^2 = 3,637,670,635.76m^2 = 3,637.67km^2

But nuclear power only provides 20% of our power so that figure represents 10% of the requirement if you make 50% and store 50% of what you need when wind and solar produce nothing.

So... 36,376.7km^2

That's equivalent to the total land area of Maryland and Rhode Island combined.  Granted, those are two of our smallest states, but you should drive through both of them to get a sense for how big they truly are, then imagine a battery sitting atop every square inch of both states.

When these things are filled with electrolyte, they will weigh about as much as 1/4m^3 of Iron plus 3/4m^3 of H2O (at least 2,725kg/m^3, and possibly double that based upon the prototype design I saw- tough for me to judge mass, but it looks like a giant steel cheese grater).  That means you'll need a foundation more solid than any skyscraper in existence to hold up the crushing weight of a 10 story battery made that way, and then that structure will cover the entire land area of Rhode Island.  A 50 story skyscraper with 3,000m^2 of floor space per floor only weighs approximately 250,000t (steel reinforced concrete, excluding the foundation, obviously).  Each square meter of "battery space" weighs as much as 1/9th of that entire 250,000t building, excluding the foundation.  If the actual battery weight is closer to 5,000kg, then that's delving deep into the realm of absurdity.

Maybe for offshore use in floating platforms so we don't have to construct the world most solid and therefore expensive foundation across a land are twice the size of Wales?

Or maybe this is pure fantasy?


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#584 2021-08-03 15:42:32

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 7,208

Re: Going Solar...the best solution for Mars.

I think there was a big error in kbd's calculation but not sure if kbd accepts that...(see post above).

Anyway we are seeing very interesting developments all round. Void posted a link to http://www.novasolix.com/

What I particularly like about their presentation video is that, although they have a very good story to tell about efficiency, they realise it means nothing unless you can drive down price and destroy the competition. Essentially they are saying the same that I am - it's not EROI that is crucial, it's price and price reflects the amount of labour coming together in a product.

Whether novasolix has what it takes to make the grade we will see, but I like the concept and it's one that will work well on Mars.


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#585 2021-09-09 12:12:09

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 10,360

Re: Going Solar...the best solution for Mars.

https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/sola … 51060.html

This report ought to be encouraging to forum members who are advocating for solar cells ...

Solar Startup Born in a Garage Is Beating China to Cheaper Panels
Ashlee Vance
Thu, September 9, 2021, 4:05 AM
(Bloomberg) -- About seven years ago, Vince Allen barged into the garage he shared with some flatmates in a Sydney suburb and set about trying to shake up the solar industry. He was at the time a PhD candidate at the University of New South Wales, and he had an idea for making solar panels much cheaper: replace the expensive silver typically used to pull electricity out of the devices with plentiful, cheap copper.

Shi, the SunDrive investor nicknamed “Sun King,” said it will be hard to find enough affordable silver if the solar business grows as predicted. Over the next decade, he expects to see manufacturers move to a 50-50 split between silver and copper in the solar cells. “The shift to copper is something that we’ve long desired but has been very hard to do,” he said.

He recalled visiting Allen at his homemade lab and being surprised by what the PhD student had accomplished. “He had all these simple tools and things he’d bought off Amazon,” Shi said. “Innovation really is related to the individual and sometimes the right moment, and not to being at a big company with lots of resources.”

(th)

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#586 2021-10-08 09:38:38

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 10,360

Re: Going Solar...the best solution for Mars.

For Louis ... I thought of you immediately when this article showed up in today's news feed ...

The only adjustment I would make (in thinking about Mars) would be to drop the solar panels below the leaves of the vines, so they pick up anything that is not captured by the vines.

I'm generally skeptical of your devotion to solar panels, but am willing to report items like this that seem to support your point of view.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/solar-panels … 21903.html


Reuters Videos
Solar panels help winemaker fight climate change
Fri, October 8, 2021, 10:26 AM
French winemaker Pierre Escudie feared extreme weather caused by climate change would destroy this year's grape harvest.

But he decided to put his trust in a roof of solar panelsto insulate his crops - and it paid off.

The panels keep the grapes warm during periods of extreme cold, and shield them from the sun's harsh rays during heatwaves.

They also rotate to allow more light to hit the vines on overcast days.



(th)

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#587 2021-10-08 19:11:33

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 7,208

Re: Going Solar...the best solution for Mars.

Not sure this is particularly relevant to initial human settlement of Mars since a pragmatic utilitarian approach is called for and in the context of a mission that will cost tens of billions of dollars, the cost of the solar panels is not a huge component.

But this is an encouraging development and shows that a well thought out path to innovation can pay huge dividends.

Nearly all analysts believe the cost of solar power is going to reduce dramatically in the next couple of decades and I think they are right.



tahanson43206 wrote:

https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/sola … 51060.html

This report ought to be encouraging to forum members who are advocating for solar cells ...

Solar Startup Born in a Garage Is Beating China to Cheaper Panels
Ashlee Vance
Thu, September 9, 2021, 4:05 AM
(Bloomberg) -- About seven years ago, Vince Allen barged into the garage he shared with some flatmates in a Sydney suburb and set about trying to shake up the solar industry. He was at the time a PhD candidate at the University of New South Wales, and he had an idea for making solar panels much cheaper: replace the expensive silver typically used to pull electricity out of the devices with plentiful, cheap copper.

Shi, the SunDrive investor nicknamed “Sun King,” said it will be hard to find enough affordable silver if the solar business grows as predicted. Over the next decade, he expects to see manufacturers move to a 50-50 split between silver and copper in the solar cells. “The shift to copper is something that we’ve long desired but has been very hard to do,” he said.

He recalled visiting Allen at his homemade lab and being surprised by what the PhD student had accomplished. “He had all these simple tools and things he’d bought off Amazon,” Shi said. “Innovation really is related to the individual and sometimes the right moment, and not to being at a big company with lots of resources.”

(th)


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#588 2021-10-22 22:03:51

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 25,647

Re: Going Solar...the best solution for Mars.

It would seem that we could make a solar covered greenhouse if space apart to keep natural light levels that plants could benefit from a roof of panels.
Growing Crops Under Solar Panels? Now There’s a Bright Idea

The farm is growing a huge array of crops underneath them—carrots, kale, tomatoes, garlic, beets, radishes, lettuce, and more.

Science_inline_Agrivoltaic-potatoes.jpg

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#589 2021-10-31 13:54:19

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 7,208

Re: Going Solar...the best solution for Mars.

I think the age of thin film PV really is upon us now.

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

Power Roll looks like a really promising technology and one that might be applied on Mars. Low efficiency (11%) but ultra low mass.  Very cheap as well, but that's not a big issue on Mars for the early missions.

Scheduled to reach mass production by 2023.

Will have a big impact on Earth of course.

If you could use drones and robots to fix these to roofs on industrial buildings, you could maybe be slashing overall costs of purchase and installation by 50%.


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#590 2021-11-01 17:46:22

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 25,647

Re: Going Solar...the best solution for Mars.

Redirecting:

louis wrote:

That's not how I read it and installation costs are a large part of the cost of solar.

SpaceNut wrote:

Louis, I take it that you are willing to pay twice as much for the thin roll out PV since that's what its going to take.

The cost takes both the panels and the installation requirements into total cost to the customer. That said since you are placing twice the panel count its going to double that section of the cost and double the labor as well. Sure if they are the good guy's they might discount their install but do not count on it.

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#591 2021-11-01 17:58:00

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 7,208

Re: Going Solar...the best solution for Mars.

Nope you're wrong. They estimate a 45% overall reduction in cost. That makes sense because (a) the cost of per sq metre production is much cheaper and (b) the panels are quickly applied to surfaces with adhesives, not bolted on to expensive steel frames which themselves have to be bolted on to roofs. Probably an ideal location would be a large flat or sloping roof on a factory. It would be a quick job to lay the roll with adhesive. You can then pretty much forget about it for the next 10 years.

(a) and (b) more than make up for the lower efficiency and shorter life span.

SpaceNut wrote:

Redirecting:

louis wrote:

That's not how I read it and installation costs are a large part of the cost of solar.

SpaceNut wrote:

Louis, I take it that you are willing to pay twice as much for the thin roll out PV since that's what its going to take.

The cost takes both the panels and the installation requirements into total cost to the customer. That said since you are placing twice the panel count its going to double that section of the cost and double the labor as well. Sure if they are the good guy's they might discount their install but do not count on it.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#592 2021-11-01 18:03:18

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 25,647

Re: Going Solar...the best solution for Mars.

Adhesives would breakdown in the summer heat and winter cold, not to mention the panel would produce less power being hotter due to a roof under them.
Also the maker of the panels selling price does not matter to the installer for what they charge the consumer...

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#593 2021-11-02 14:49:01

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 7,208

Re: Going Solar...the best solution for Mars.

The Mosquito bomber was put together with adhesives back in WW2. Let's assume they know what they're doing!

SpaceNut wrote:

Adhesives would breakdown in the summer heat and winter cold, not to mention the panel would produce less power being hotter due to a roof under them.
Also the maker of the panels selling price does not matter to the installer for what they charge the consumer...


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#594 2021-11-02 17:45:40

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 5,667

Re: Going Solar...the best solution for Mars.

Louis,

There are more P-40s, P-47s, P-51s, and Spitfires at any given airshow, anywhere in the world, than there are airworthy examples of the Mosquitos in the entire world.  I can count all the airworthy Mosquitos on one hand.  Those other American and British fighters were made with Aluminum.  Since the Mosquito was made from wood and adhesives, the only airworthy Mosquitos had the majority of their airframes completely rebuilt from scratch after WWII.  Any wood and adhesive airframe left out in the elements for a single year is typically completely destroyed and will never be airworthy again.  We have examples of Aluminum WWII airframes that were restored more than half a century later merely by stripping the old paint off the parts, repainting, and reassembling them.  No such restoration is possible with wood and glue.

Similarly the Allison V-1710, with a bit over 7,000 total parts, had fewer total parts than the Merlin had total fasteners.  In testing with a 2-stage supercharger, the V-1710 made more horsepower than the Merlin at lower RPM (it's a very similar but larger displacement engine, so no real surprise there).  The Ford GG Aero V-12 had drastically fewer parts than the V-1710, at fewer than 1,000 total parts including the turbocharger system, and was drastically cheaper to produce than either of its competitors (far fewer total parts, far fewer machining operations, far fewer assembly steps, large but simple components).  The Ford engine also produced more horsepower with far fewer maintenance hours expended than either the Allison or Rolls-Royce engines.

We produced Allison and Rolls-Royce V-12 aircraft engines because we already had production lines established to make them, not because they were better engines than other competing designs.  Maintenance-wise, the Merlin's 14,000 parts were an absolute nightmare during repairs, as compared to the Allison.  The Allison was still a nightmare compared to the Ford.  Ford stubbornly refused to play ball with our military, so they cut Ford out of the aircraft engine business, despite the fact that the Army Air Corps knew unequivocally from actual testing that the Ford GG was a more reliable, durable, and powerful engine design than either the Allison V-1710 or Rolls-Royce Merlin engines.

The US Army had serious problems with the reliability and maintenance schedules dictated by their use of aviation-derived Wright R-975 radial engines in their M4 tanks, so the moment the Tank Corps was able to replace the Wright engines and that multi-bank abortion that Chrysler came up with, using reliable Ford GAA series engines (a 60-degree V-8 variant of the GG Aero with 4 cylinders removed), they did so and never looked back.

We can say that the V-1710 and the Merlin both produced enough power with acceptable reliability for service in the then-modern fighter aircraft, but only if we totally ignore every other aspect of what makes a good liquid-cooled V-12 fighter aircraft engine design.  In those days, it was rare for an airframe to last more than 25 hours before it was destroyed.  The moment airframe lifespans exceeded 25 hours, the numerous maintenance issues with the Merlin engine became painfully apparent, which is what prompted studies for further V-1710 development.  That ultimately went nowhere because by that time there was simply too much time and money invested in the Merlin.

In war, a mediocre design that is available right now is always better than a dramatically better design the might become available in the future.  As is so often the case in aerospace engineering, what was demonstrably better than what we had, never came to be, due to the "Sunk Cost" fallacy.

The sunk cost fallacy is now killing general aviation.  We're still using engines from the 1950s because we put so much time and effort into those specific designs that nobody wants to take a chance on development of modern automotive engines.  The end result is that stupidly simple engines cost as much as a house, due to lack of production volume.  Expansion of general aviation is now functionally impossible, due to lack of investment into less costly and more modern automotive engine designs that would enable greater participation in general aviation.  It's a vicious circle.  Thankfully, experimental aviation is exempt from the insanity of what we're presently doing.  As a result, there are now greater numbers of experimental aircraft turned out of garages every year, than all the professional aircraft manufacturers combined.  All of the battery electronic aircraft cost dramatically more than the existing engines and aircraft, for dramatically less range and payload carrying capability.

To that end, if someone can make the combination of solar panels and storage, whatever form that takes, cheap enough to replace fossil fuels, then stop talking about it and start doing it.  A solar panel will only ever be 1/2 or 1/3 of any 24/7/365 power provisioning system.  If it merely costs as much as natural gas or coal or slightly less in some specific part of the world, then that's a long way from a complete solution that actually replaces coal and gas.  Ultimately, I fail to see the point in continually trying things that can't work using existing technology.

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#595 2021-11-02 19:45:24

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 7,208

Re: Going Solar...the best solution for Mars.

It's not that the Mosquitoes were falling apart.They would have been out in all weathers.  The adhesives were used throughout the structure (which was basically as I understand it plywood) so you couldn't disassemble them in the way you can a Spitfire.

But they were basically for several years the best aircraft operating in WW2 - able to bomb accurately, take on fighters and fly long distances (very long with drop tanks).

BTW I am firmly of the view that if the RAF has switched production to the Mosquitoes for bombing and moved away from long range high altitude bombing, we could have taken out just about every factory, coal reserve, oil tank,  railway and road in German-controlled Western and Central  Europe.  We could also have destroyed the gun emplacements along the French coast. Sadly the vast majority of investment went into inaccurate bombers.

And here for SpaceNut is a reference to external use of adhesives eg on roofs.

https://www.designingbuildings.co.uk/wiki/Adhesives

kbd512 wrote:

Louis,

There are more P-40s, P-47s, P-51s, and Spitfires at any given airshow, anywhere in the world, than there are airworthy examples of the Mosquitos in the entire world.  I can count all the airworthy Mosquitos on one hand.  Those other American and British fighters were made with Aluminum.  Since the Mosquito was made from wood and adhesives, the only airworthy Mosquitos had the majority of their airframes completely rebuilt from scratch after WWII.  Any wood and adhesive airframe left out in the elements for a single year is typically completely destroyed and will never be airworthy again.  We have examples of Aluminum WWII airframes that were restored more than half a century later merely by stripping the old paint off the parts, repainting, and reassembling them.  No such restoration is possible with wood and glue.

Similarly the Allison V-1710, with a bit over 7,000 total parts, had fewer total parts than the Merlin had total fasteners.  In testing with a 2-stage supercharger, the V-1710 made more horsepower than the Merlin at lower RPM (it's a very similar but larger displacement engine, so no real surprise there).  The Ford GG Aero V-12 had drastically fewer parts than the V-1710, at fewer than 1,000 total parts including the turbocharger system, and was drastically cheaper to produce than either of its competitors (far fewer total parts, far fewer machining operations, far fewer assembly steps, large but simple components).  The Ford engine also produced more horsepower with far fewer maintenance hours expended than either the Allison or Rolls-Royce engines.

We produced Allison and Rolls-Royce V-12 aircraft engines because we already had production lines established to make them, not because they were better engines than other competing designs.  Maintenance-wise, the Merlin's 14,000 parts were an absolute nightmare during repairs, as compared to the Allison.  The Allison was still a nightmare compared to the Ford.  Ford stubbornly refused to play ball with our military, so they cut Ford out of the aircraft engine business, despite the fact that the Army Air Corps knew unequivocally from actual testing that the Ford GG was a more reliable, durable, and powerful engine design than either the Allison V-1710 or Rolls-Royce Merlin engines.

The US Army had serious problems with the reliability and maintenance schedules dictated by their use of aviation-derived Wright R-975 radial engines in their M4 tanks, so the moment the Tank Corps was able to replace the Wright engines and that multi-bank abortion that Chrysler came up with, using reliable Ford GAA series engines (a 60-degree V-8 variant of the GG Aero with 4 cylinders removed), they did so and never looked back.

We can say that the V-1710 and the Merlin both produced enough power with acceptable reliability for service in the then-modern fighter aircraft, but only if we totally ignore every other aspect of what makes a good liquid-cooled V-12 fighter aircraft engine design.  In those days, it was rare for an airframe to last more than 25 hours before it was destroyed.  The moment airframe lifespans exceeded 25 hours, the numerous maintenance issues with the Merlin engine became painfully apparent, which is what prompted studies for further V-1710 development.  That ultimately went nowhere because by that time there was simply too much time and money invested in the Merlin.

In war, a mediocre design that is available right now is always better than a dramatically better design the might become available in the future.  As is so often the case in aerospace engineering, what was demonstrably better than what we had, never came to be, due to the "Sunk Cost" fallacy.

The sunk cost fallacy is now killing general aviation.  We're still using engines from the 1950s because we put so much time and effort into those specific designs that nobody wants to take a chance on development of modern automotive engines.  The end result is that stupidly simple engines cost as much as a house, due to lack of production volume.  Expansion of general aviation is now functionally impossible, due to lack of investment into less costly and more modern automotive engine designs that would enable greater participation in general aviation.  It's a vicious circle.  Thankfully, experimental aviation is exempt from the insanity of what we're presently doing.  As a result, there are now greater numbers of experimental aircraft turned out of garages every year, than all the professional aircraft manufacturers combined.  All of the battery electronic aircraft cost dramatically more than the existing engines and aircraft, for dramatically less range and payload carrying capability.

To that end, if someone can make the combination of solar panels and storage, whatever form that takes, cheap enough to replace fossil fuels, then stop talking about it and start doing it.  A solar panel will only ever be 1/2 or 1/3 of any 24/7/365 power provisioning system.  If it merely costs as much as natural gas or coal or slightly less in some specific part of the world, then that's a long way from a complete solution that actually replaces coal and gas.  Ultimately, I fail to see the point in continually trying things that can't work using existing technology.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#596 2021-11-03 09:13:00

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 5,667

Re: Going Solar...the best solution for Mars.

Louis,

I never claimed or asserted that the Mosquitos were falling apart during the war, even though that did happen when the airframes were overstressed.  Mosquitos were a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of the British woodworkers more than anything else.

I did claim that the reason there are far more Aluminum warbirds are flying around today is because Aluminum has much better long term durability when exposed to moisture and repeated hot / cold cycles, as compared to wood and glue.  That's also why solar panel manufacturers use Aluminum and glass protection for their panels, rather than wood and adhesives.  Aluminum and glass are also easier to recycle.

Mosquitos didn't take on enemy fighters so much as they avoided most of them with pure speed.  They were not maneuverable dog fighters the way P-38s were, but that's not what they were designed to do, so no real surprise there.  When Mosquitos were first introduced, only the P-38s were faster.  Mosquitos fared poorly against equally fast FW-190s that appeared later.  However, Mosquitos were much cheaper than P-38s, made primarily from non-strategic materials, they were available in large quantities at the right time, came equipped with a navigator, navigational equipment, auto-throttles, an internal bomb bay, and reliable 20mm cannons.  That combination of characteristics made them fantastic multi-role aircraft.

Your assertion is that Mosquitos would have been more successful than your Lancaster heavy bombers may have proven correct, but nobody on either side of the war thought so at the time.  Lancasters were also pretty fast, as heavy bombers went.  There must have been some reason why they were not used in that capacity, because all belligerents literally tried every imaginable experiment with air power during the war.  The Mosquito and Lancaster were not comparable aircraft.

The Lancaster could carry a bomb load equivalent to the dry weight of the Mosquito, for example, and it had much greater range with lighter bomb loads.  If anything, Lancasters escorted by night fighter variants of the Mosquitos would have stood the best chance of getting through with minimal losses.  They weren't frequently used in conjunction with each other because the Mosquitos couldn't fly nearly as far.

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#597 2021-11-03 09:34:42

Oldfart1939
Member
Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 2,300

Re: Going Solar...the best solution for Mars.

The first encounter of a Mosquito with a Messerschmitt Me 262 marked the end for the Mosquito. A wooden airframe was pulverized by the 30mm cannons of the much faster jet aircraft. The structure of the De Haviland wasn't designed for a long life span--it was an expedient design that was cheap to produce in quantities. kbd512 is correct in stating that Aluminum is much better and durable construction material.

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#598 2021-11-03 12:44:39

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 5,667

Re: Going Solar...the best solution for Mars.

There have been repeated attempts to reintroduce a kit-built "go fast" wooden aircraft (like the Italian Sequoia Falco experimental amateur built) back onto the market, due to the low cost of aircraft plywood relative to metals and composites, excepting Sitka Spruce for wing spars, for which good substitutes (Douglas Fir) already exist in quantity.  However, none have been commercial successes, relative to the Aluminum Vans RV series or the Aluminum Zenith STOL series or the numerous steel tube and fabric STOL designs.

Wood is very time consuming to work with and requires considerable skill, although I find it fun.  The completion rate for Aluminum sheet metal kit-built / experimental amateur built aircraft is much higher than for other types.  There's a reason they call the RV builds part of Vans Air Force, because there are more flying examples than the US military has total aircraft.  I think a new one or sometimes two is turned out every single day of the year (completed / inspected / granted its special airworthiness certificate by a FAA DAR).  At EAA Air Venture / Oshkosh (Mecca for pilots and aviation enthusiasts), they build and fly a kit-built Aluminum aircraft (Vans RV or Zenith STOL or Sling TSI or similar Aluminum bird) in less than a week using unskilled labor to buck rivets and assemble pieces with clecos (random people walk up throughout the week to buck a rivet or two or to help the small core team of about a half dozen sun-up-to-sun-down workers mount the wings or engine or wire avionics).  There's a single seat Cessna 172 clone (looks like a 172 shrunk from 4 seats to 1 seat) called the Merlin PSA that a single person can build in two weeks if they're willing to put in 16 hour days.  Any similar project would be a monumental undertaking using wood, no matter how much tooling you have.  You'd need at least a dozen skilled personnel.

Non-professional race aircraft like the KR series are still frequently built using wood.  However, all race-competitive Formula 1 Class airframes are made with glass / carbon fiber composites and synthetic foam.  The old Aluminum warbirds in the unlimited class already have much smaller composite airframes powered by far less powerful "flat" engines nipping at their heels, speed-wise.  For example, in 2019 the Unlimited Class that the warbirds race in, the top speed attained was 403mph.  In the Sport Class with the custom composite aircraft, the top speed attained was 390mph, with the absolute speed record being 405mph, I think.  A few LS or BBC or Mazda wankel powered machines have gone considerably faster, but they were entirely one-off experiments not particularly suitable for racing at Reno (not very reliable).  Rutan's Pond Racer immediately comes to mind, and it qualified at Reno at 400mph.  Unfortunately it also crashed later due to oil starvation, which killed the pilot when he overshot the landing area and impacted rough terrain.  The fastest speed ever attained in the Unlimited Class was by Dago Red (a highly modified P-51D), at 507mph (they basically destroy the engine to do this, but it can hold the required power output level for a few minutes).  In the Jet Class, I think 543mph is the record, but those are all L-39 trainer aircraft.  The fastest time-to-climb to 10,000 feet is now held by a sport-type airframe with a turbocharged alcohol-fueled Mazda 13b wankel engine.  That thing climbed at a near vertical deck angle from the moment it departed the runway, and took less than 2 minutes from brake release to attain 10,000 feet.

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#599 2021-11-03 19:28:43

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 7,208

Re: Going Solar...the best solution for Mars.

You might say "the beginning of the end" but it was late in the war (1944). 1400 Me 262s were built against 7700 Mosquitoes. My point is that had we ramped up Mosquito production from 1940 onwards at the expense of the very inaccurate big bombers, we would have won the war earlier.

I think I'd like to see some citation, as opposed to assertion, for this claim that the life of a Spitfire was longer than a Mosquito.

Oldfart1939 wrote:

The first encounter of a Mosquito with a Messerschmitt Me 262 marked the end for the Mosquito. A wooden airframe was pulverized by the 30mm cannons of the much faster jet aircraft. The structure of the De Haviland wasn't designed for a long life span--it was an expedient design that was cheap to produce in quantities. kbd512 is correct in stating that Aluminum is much better and durable construction material.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#600 2021-11-03 19:38:03

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 25,647

Re: Going Solar...the best solution for Mars.

Just think about had we had remote tele-robotic controlled or AI, then these could have been used in the expendable delivery system to end the war quickly.

Not all adhesives are good for use against materials of one type to that of another. These depend on the porousness of those materials, absorption of the adhesive and surface adhesion.
Most roofs are apshalpt shingles with the lose stone which means the thin layer adhesive will have little to stick to. This is why the roofing materials and the panels are combined into a different type of panel.

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