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#451 2019-12-01 05:35:19

kbd512
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Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 3,337

Re: When Science becomes perverted by Politics.

GW,

There are no grid scale storage solutions to be had, there never have been, and it's unlikely that one will become available, never mind affordable for every country in the world with a significant population, in the next half century or so.  There sure is a lot of magical thinking going on here when it comes to completely changing our power grids in the next couple decades by waving our handy dandy magic wand.

The Germans have spent over $500B, fast approaching $600B, on their Energiewende over the past 2 decades.  Even after blowing mad money (or what we Americans refer to as half of our yearly defense budget), less than half of their power comes from "renewable energy".  By my math, that's 120 brand spanking new 1,250MW Gen-IV PWR's, which would produce enough electricity to account for 1/3rd of the EU's annual electricity generation.  Germany uses around 500TWh of electricity annually, which works out to just under 60GWh over any given hour of any given day.  If 1,250MW reactors were run at 90% of their rated capacity, then a grand total of 54 nuclear reactors would be required.  Let's call it 55 for easy math.

55 reactors * $5B/reactor = $275B <- That's for the whole shooting match, not 39% of total generation, which is all that solar and wind have achieved at double the cost of nuclear

For sake of completely asinine argument, let's pretend that monetary cost is meaningless.  In another 30 years when those solar panels / wind turbines / batteries have reached EOL, having consumed orders of magnitude more resources and thus embodied energy than the tiny quantities of Uranium mined to produce nuclear power, therefore the embodied energy required to create them, and the current surplus of energy / resources created through the use of fossil fuels and nuclear power no longer exists, where will the energy and resources come from to either recycle those products or create new ones?

Let me guess...  We're going to wave our magic wand again.

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#452 2019-12-01 09:27:54

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,340

Re: When Science becomes perverted by Politics.

Sure we will have Unobtainium by then to make power from.
The cost of nuclear to build rests on the pockets of those that pay for its energy as all things do.
The same as there disasters when they fail.

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#453 2019-12-01 13:17:30

GW Johnson
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From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 3,829
Website

Re: When Science becomes perverted by Politics.

Kbd512:

I never said a grid scale storage solution existed.  I said one should be developed and made available,  by means of a Manhattan Project-style focused development effort,  not the current NSF-academic playtoy stuff.  There really are a handful of good ideas showing promise for this.  The so-called "flow battery" that appeals to me is but one. 

A proper effort focused on a few of those need not take 50 years.   If it works out like the Manhattan Project,  the timeline is closer to 5 years.  50 years is "business-as-usual",  which is NOT a Manhattan Project.  This should have started a couple of decades ago.  But corrupt politics has prevented that.  Once available,  then renewables become feasible at more than 20% of the mix,  because the intermittency goes away.   

Renewables do indeed compete on price.  Because we are finally starting to pay more than lip service on the life-cycle pollution cleanup costs of coal,  renewables already look far more cost-effective than coal.  They do not yet out-compete natural gas,  but that's OK,  they don't need to. 

Like you,  I want nuclear to come back into the mix.  But I want two very serious safety deficits fixed,  and that will increase its costs. 

Plants need to be sited and designed for the geologic record hazards they will face,  not the historical record hazards.  That means they must resist bigger earthquakes and bigger tsunamis than they have been designed for so far.  Expensive,  unfortunately,  but necessary,  as Fukushima proved beyond any doubt.  I also want a solution for spent fuel that is better than pools in or near the reactor building,  which is a HUGE safety vulnerability in every single nuclear plant ever built,  so far.  I don't care if it's disposal,  reprocessing,  or some of both,  but the current practice is just NOT acceptable. 

As a result of doing nuclear "right",  it would seem ballpark-correct to presume that renewables and nuclear (and natural gas) will be more-or-less price-competitive. Just as we want them to be.  Let the market power the fast replacement of older assets with these 3.  That's better than any sort of government mandates. 

That would give us renewables,  nuclear,  and natural gas as our dominant electricity-generation sources.  And THAT would be a whole lot cleaner (in any sense of the word) than what we have been doing the last 100 or so years. 

Otherwise,  it's just nuclear and natural gas.  Why put your eggs in 2 baskets,  when you could have 3? 

If we're going to do one Manhattan Project,  let's do two:  develop the thorium reactor technology into something as safe and mature as uranium/plutonium.  That'll take a while,  it's a tough problem,  as the Indians know from attempting it.  But once done (10 years?  More?),  that's 4 baskets to put your eggs into. 

Now,  doesn't that make sense?

GW

Last edited by GW Johnson (2019-12-01 13:25:25)


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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#454 2019-12-02 02:41:18

kbd512
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Posts: 3,337

Re: When Science becomes perverted by Politics.

SpaceNut,

It's not as if I'm happy about my options, it's that I know how to do the basic math that our self-styled environmentalists are either ignoring or haven't done.  "I believe in climate science, now watch as I completely ignore what the science behind energy tells me because I don't like what it says", is clearly demonstrating a religious belief, not a belief in science.  They will then proceed to blame anyone and anything except their own lack of understanding of the problem when the snake oil that's been sold to them still can't cure what ails them.  It's money or politics or oil companies or anything else except the blatantly obvious fact that the technology can't do what they want it to do.

The Germans already have nearly double the required installed capacity to supply 100% of their electricity needs, in terms of wind (59GW) and solar (48GW), as would otherwise be required to supply all of their energy needs if they were using nuclear reactors.  Unsurprisingly, all of that additional installed capacity to deal with the wild variability of wind and solar, which to date has only resulted in a 40% solution for Germany, ended up costing roughly double what a 100% solution would've cost them if they'd just accepted what math and science told them about the economics of renewable energy and used nuclear power to begin with.  When you need 50 to 100 times as much resources to use renewable energy to produce the same amount of power as nuclear energy, it ends up costing even more than nuclear energy.  To top it all off, the Germans are still burning coal and gas like it's going out of style while they're dismantling working nuclear reactors.

I want our self-styled environmentalists to tell me what they think went wrong there if it wasn't exactly what I've claimed all along- specifically, that nuclear remains the cheapest "more expensive than fossil fuel" option because of its exceptionally low variability in output and 1 million to 1 energy density advantage over coal and gas.  Extremely concentrated energy uses vastly less resources to produce the same amount of power as vastly more dilute energy resources.  Who could have possibly figured that out?

GW,

Politics didn't stop absolutely everyone on this planet from developing a battery with an energy density equivalent to gallon of gasoline.  Known science and physics did.  Politics did not dictate that we developed internal combustion engines to move people and materials instead of the batteries that existed in decades past, known physics did.  Politics did not dictate that fissile materials are at least a million times more energy dense than coal and gas, physics did.  It wasn't even a matter of money, obviously, since hundreds of billions of dollars, if not trillions of dollars, have been infused into a plethora of research / development / production efforts to create better and cheaper solar panels / wind turbines / batteries.  It's a known physics problem, nothing more.  You know that as well as anyone else who frequents this forum, so please stop pretending that politics or money or anything else caused this.  If we understood the physics of batteries much better than we obviously do, then we wouldn't have these problems and someone would undoubtedly want to get rich off of the solution, wouldn't they?

Electric motors of the non-superconducting variety are rapidly approaching 100% efficiency with current technology NdFeB magnets and Copper.  Current technology aviation electric motors are already between 96% and 98% efficient at converting electricity into torque.  As such, the potential energy utilization improvements to be made, with respect to converting electrical power into mechanical power, are rapidly coming to an end.  Meaningful future improvements will consist solely of reducing the weight of the conductors (CNT vs Copper or Aluminum), improving the energy product of the magnets (FeN vs NdFeB), and better cooling solutions (greater heat rejection per unit of mass).  Since the PWR of electric motors already grossly exceeds that of the most powerful jet engines, I think we know precisely where the "failure" to electrify everything comes in at, and it's certainly not here.  As such, the only "magic" that possibly can happen revolves around energy storage.  After taking stock of the amount of money spent for the paltry gains achieved, I've seen nothing resembling "magic".

We, as in all of humanity- irrespective of money and politics, do not know currently have the foggiest idea of how to make a battery that has the energy density of the chemical bonds that make various hydrocarbons so useful to us for producing power.  We keep throwing money at a growing array of different battery technologies, hoping something will "stick", yet none of those technologies have proven convincing enough to the people throwing money at them to further develop.  You could claim that's all a result of politics or money, but I think the answer is simpler than that.  If someone had a battery that could actually replace a gallon of gas, that could actually be built at the scale required, there's no corporation on the planet that wouldn't sign a check for however much money the inventor wanted.

There's been a Manhattan Project going on for at least 2 decades now, as it pertains to the development of better solar panels and batteries, with very little to show for all the time and money expended.  There are no clever aerodynamics that can make a wind turbine spin when the wind isn't blowing, so nearest we can tell the only practical way to make them spin more often is to make them as big as skyscrapers.  Mass manufacturing has already had the majority of its effect, yet we're no closer today to practical and affordable renewable energy for the entire world than we were when we started this charade.

The nuclear energy technology of the 1960's, with almost zero subsequent development, is still beating solar and wind on total cost when all inputs and outputs are tabulated and not masked with subsidies or other forms of obscuration such as not counting the cost of new power transmission lines, or indeed entire backup power plants, as a cost of using renewable energy technology or pretending that new solar panels won't be required in another 30 years when the old ones no longer function.  I couldn't help but notice that you never answered my question regarding where all this surplus power will come from to produce the next batch of panels and wind turbines to power the entire world, 30 years from now, when there's no more energy from coal / gas / nuclear to be had.  Distributing your eggs into multiple baskets is always a good strategy, but that's the exact opposite of what our renewable energy fanatics are implementing as policy.

I would rather we made the tough decisions now to lessen the burden on our children- even if doing so made us wildly unpopular with most of our renewable energy fanatics, rather than pretend that a better solution will materialize in the near future simply by throwing more money at the problem.  If a better solution does materialize 10 years from now, then nothing is stopping us from using it.  If it turns out that a better battery is actually 50 years down the road and we switch to nuclear today, then we still get the same benefits of reliable and clean power, arguably greater benefit, than if we wait 50 years to satisfy the religious zealotry or fetishes of our renewable energy shills.

I'm not looking for a price-competitive future, I'm looking for a maximum effectiveness future that meets current and projected power demands while doing so sustainability for at least the next century.  This isn't a Rube Goldberg academic curiosity for me where we blow mad money on a slew of different ideas and pray that one of them actually works.  It's a practical proposition about transitioning away from fossil fuels at best possible speed with the least economic and ecological impact.  Clear-cutting forests and leveling mountains to install gigantic fields of solar panels and wind turbines doesn't look much like progress to me, more like exactly what we did in the early 20th century when we were energy-poor and desperately trying to escape perpetual poverty that was part and parcel with a subsistence farming agrarian economy.  For reasons I will never understand, that seems to be exactly the kind of society that our renewable energy fanatics fervently want to take us back to.  Unless they plan to start genocidal wars with every 3rd world nation on the planet currently using fossil fuels to claw their way out of degrading abject poverty, which wouldn't surprise me in the slightest, I don't see that happening.

I want to see at least as much R&D money devoted to nuclear power, which currently provides more CO2-free electricity than any other source except hydroelectric.  Every credible report I've ever seen, no matter who published it, says there's no way in hell to meet 2030 climate targets without service life extension of existing nuclear power plants and new builds.  If some miraculous new battery technology comes along that makes storage issues a thing of the past, then I promise to back renewable energy technology 100%.  Until then, I expect blind faith and wishful thinking to take a back seat to current technological reality.

Now, does any of that make sense?

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#455 2019-12-02 17:14:07

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,340

Re: When Science becomes perverted by Politics.

For sometime the power companies were swithching there plants from coal to oil and then to gas but the rise in costs of all have stabalized and not given the change which is required. The creators of the energy versus the delivery is in many states allowing for the energy to be selectable but the delivery is the owner of the lines and the maintenance as well as hook up disconnects to the grid. So solar and wind are sold to local use directly but much of it is bought up by the grid owners to offset there rising maintenance costs. Up until recent the power companies owned all of the energy plus delivery and were able to broker the large reactors that we currently have but since the deregulations of the lines the tables are turned and now the customer is footing the bill and not an investor. Most solar happens to be small investors and not the power companies which would be the way to lower costs and increase the energy avaiable but the grid is not loading up with power walls to compensate for the extra energy.
Nuclear energy while clean needs to sink heat into something and that something is the earth air, water and soil of which its the heat that needs to be sold not just disposed of....

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#456 2019-12-02 17:19:13

GW Johnson
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From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 3,829
Website

Re: When Science becomes perverted by Politics.

We're really not very far apart,  Kbd512.  I think you and I agree that the impediment holding back renewables on a large scale is grid-scale storage.  Such does not yet exist in a practical form,  I agree. 

However,  for a fixed-location installation,  what you require out of a battery is just NOT the same as what you would require of a transportation battery.  There is no need for high energy density in a fixed application,  neither high energy per unit mass,  nor high energy per unit volume.  The only thing to worry about is buying enough of the chemicals and materials (and dealing safely with the hazards they pose). 

Picking the materials and packaging that works most cost effectively,  is what the Manhattan Project I proposed would be all about. 

Because of the tank farm and chemical reactor approach,  I think the so-called "flow battery" might have an advantage for earlier application feasibility.  These things have been made to work as academic lab benchtop scientific feasibility experiments,  but have NOT been turned into manufacturable items yet. 

Can't give you numbers,  I am no expert on batteries.

Spacenut:  ALL heat engines generate waste heat,  not just nuclear. 

GW

Last edited by GW Johnson (2019-12-02 17:20:32)


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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#457 2019-12-02 19:25:26

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,340

Re: When Science becomes perverted by Politics.

How much waste heat from nuclear versus the oil, gas ,coal is there an equal trade for it or is it less for the fossil fuels, I do not know?

So the game changer for storage is, not to store at all but to not over produce from all of those others. Or to connect the world with a continous grid from one nation to the next and grow up...

We have seen the power from solar concentration, solar chimneys both with the ability to create power at higher efficiencies than a PV panel...

The flow battery is eligant in that the materials can obsorb the excess charge but its got storage limitations for how much extra can be contained in a given area.

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#458 2019-12-03 09:12:50

GW Johnson
Member
From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 3,829
Website

Re: When Science becomes perverted by Politics.

All the power plants except gas turbine use the same basic steam turbine technology to create shaft power to run generators. They are all in the same ballpark for thermal efficiency,  which means they are all in the same ballpark for waste heat and cooling requirements.

Gas turbine power plants have a bit lower thermal efficency but a much faster response to load changes.  That is why natural gas power plants are usually gas turbine,  and are usually used for dealing with surges in capacity. 

Given an as-yet non-existent grid-scale energy storage solution,  renewables plants could deal with surges in demand as well as gas turbine plants,  by temporarily drawing upon the storage.  The trick there is not to deplete the storage for the surge,  which would negate its performance dealing with the intermittency and variability.

Grid-scale solar PV would be around 20-25% efficient at making electricity out of sunlight.  That's about half the efficiency of making electricity out of fossil fuel,  or running a nuke steam plant.  It's feasible only because you don't have to buy the "fuel" (sunlight). 

Wind is around 40-50% efficient,  same basic ballpark as fossil and nuclear,  but wind is free,  if intermittent. (One guess why Texas went with wind.)

For nuclear,  you buy very little (but rather expensive) fuel,  but you have to amortize some rather expensive construction costs,  compared to fossil.  Better stuff just has to be used.

The renewables already work competitively,  they just work extremely variably and intermittently.  THAT is why they cannot be more than about 20% of your source mix,  without that grid-scale storage solution. 

You have to have backup plants for when they don't supply effectively.  Long distance resistance losses preclude just drawing power from more remote parts of the grid. Those coping mechanisms get too expensive when renewables (as they currently are) get to be too high a percentage of your source mix. It's $ not technical that makes that decision.

It's complicated.  Sorry.  No simple answer.  But now I think you can see why I persist in talking about putting eggs in more than one basket.

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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#459 2019-12-30 13:13:04

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,340

Re: When Science becomes perverted by Politics.

We have a topic for the summer california wild fires of which some started by man or man made conditions but many are fgrom the drying effects of the long hot summers that have been pervailing. Now we are seeing the same for the world down under. Australia fires worsen as every state hits 40C

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

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#460 2020-01-08 19:42:11

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,340

Re: When Science becomes perverted by Politics.

While we see the change we also see it from above as Climate signals detected in global weather

north-american-surface-temperatures-dec-26-2017-hg.jpg

Surface temperature change...

http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41558-019-0666-7

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#461 2020-01-27 13:00:08

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,340

Re: When Science becomes perverted by Politics.

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#462 2020-02-07 20:09:06

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,340

Re: When Science becomes perverted by Politics.

Arctic Ice Melt Is Changing Ocean Currents

arctic-sea-ice-floe-beaufort-gyre-exploration-project-hg.jpg

This fresh water is important in the Arctic in part because it floats above the warmer, salty water and helps to protect the sea ice from melting, which in turn helps regulate Earth's climate. The gyre then slowly releases this fresh water into the Atlantic Ocean over a period of decades, allowing the Atlantic Ocean currents to carry it away in small amounts.

But the since the 1990s, the gyre has accumulated a large amount of fresh water - 1,920 cubic miles (8,000 cubic kilometers) - or almost twice the volume of Lake Michigan. The new study, published in Nature Communications, found that the cause of this gain in freshwater concentration is the loss of sea ice in summer and autumn. This decades-long decline of the Arctic's summertime sea ice coverhas left the Beaufort Gyre more exposed to the wind, which spins the gyre faster and traps the fresh water in its current.

Persistent westerly winds have also dragged the current in one direction for over 20 years, increasing the speed and size of the clockwise current and preventing the fresh water from leaving the Arctic Ocean. This decades-long western wind is unusual for the region, where previously, the winds changed direction every five to seven years.

Antarctic base records hottest temperature ever

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#463 2020-02-11 20:25:27

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,340

Re: When Science becomes perverted by Politics.

Aerosols have an outsized impact on extreme weather

50 years, the occurrence of extremely cold days has decreased throughout Europe and northern Eurasia, which includes Russia. Combining long-term observations with a state-of-the-art climate model revealed what researchers describe as an "unambiguous signature" of the reduction in the release of man-made aerosols over that time. This has caused changes in the wintertime Northern Hemisphere polar jet stream (a swiftly moving channel of air flowing from west to east) and surface-temperature variability during that time.

The work suggests that aerosols, which are solid particles polluting the atmosphere from activities like burning coal, can have a stronger impact on extreme winter weather than greenhouse gases at regional scale, although the relationship between aerosols and extreme weather is complicated to untangle.

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#464 2020-02-12 21:32:57

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,340

Re: When Science becomes perverted by Politics.

Antarctica Giant Iceberg B49

A US research ship is the first vessel to encounter the giant new iceberg knocked off the edge of Antarctica. The RV Nathaniel B Palmer passed within a few kilometres of B49, as it's been designated - the largest of a group of ice fragments ejected by Pine Island Glacier (PIG) over the weekend. Antarctica giant iceberg B49, Pine Island Glacier (PIG). A shocking video reveals how a huge chunk of ice more than three times the size of Paris has broken off one of Earth’s most critical ice shelves, Pine Island Glacier (PIG).

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#465 2020-02-13 18:56:04

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,340

Re: When Science becomes perverted by Politics.

Slowing the direction may be the best that we can do but its worth the effort.
Trump withdrew from the Paris climate agreement, but nearly half of states vowed to uphold it anyway. Here's what they're doing. standing up against him: 24 states and Puerto Rico have joined the US Climate Action Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of governors who vow to stick to the original carbon emission reduction goals set by the Paris agreement.

He has reversed direction on many regulations that were to slow the effects caused by pollution and so much more.

BBZXZHs.img?h=373&w=624&m=6&q=60&o=t&l=f

Will give energy but the real issue is that we are using to much of it and if the prices are dropped we will likely use even more.


BBZY3BD.img?h=373&w=624&m=6&q=60&o=t&l=f

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#466 2020-02-13 21:11:53

kbd512
Moderator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 3,337

Re: When Science becomes perverted by Politics.

SpaceNut,

An increased use of energy is closely tied to an increased standard of living.  Humanity is using more energy these days because we've collectively decided that we don't want to live like peasant farmers from the Stone Age / communist utopias.

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#467 2020-02-14 19:10:56

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,340

Re: When Science becomes perverted by Politics.

Summer in Antartica... Temperature in Antarctica breaks barrier of 68 degrees Fahrenheit for 1st time

Scientists in Antarctica have recorded a new record temperature of 69.35 degrees Fahrenheit (20.75 degrees Celsius), breaking the barrier of 68 degrees Fahrenheit for the first time on the continent, a researcher said Thursday.

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#468 2020-02-16 15:39:46

kbd512
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Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 3,337

Re: When Science becomes perverted by Politics.

Here is the real reason that most of us are still using internal combustion engines, despite what we know about the deleterious effects on Earth's climate that are associated with the rapid release of a substantial additional increment of CO2:

Engineering Explained - The Truth About Electric Cars Biggest Problem

As he explains in the video, passenger cars moving at highway speed are near the limit of what a battery can practically power before you start carrying entire extra passengers in the vehicle, in terms of battery weight, to increase range beyond what we're currently limited to.  Each 60 miles you wish to carry in a battery electric vehicle at 65mph represents an additional 140 pounds of mass.  The increase is also linear since the vehicle never becomes any lighter as the battery packs are depleted.  The video also explains why going just a little faster (65mph vs 75mph) and having just a little worse drag coefficient effectively doubles the energy requirement, to the point of making electric trucks impractically heavy or reducing useful load to impractical levels unless new roads with the capacity to support greater vehicle mass are built.

An electric semi truck with a 500 mile range could easily have 15,000 to 20,000 pounds of battery weight between the battery itself, its support structure, and environmental management systems weight.  That could be as much as a quarter of the 80,000 pound maximum allowable Gross Vehicle Weight Rating.  If the 100kWh battery costs $10,000, which it clearly doesn't since that's not what it sells for even in the used market, then that's $100,000 worth of vehicle cost right there.

A brand new 2020 Mack Anthem AN64T semi truck is about $150,000.  As tested, it used 97 gallons of fuel with a 65,720 pound GVWR to cover 947 miles.  It comes with the new MP8 diesel engine that weighs around 2,700 pounds.  I believe the manufacturer claims 10mpg and testing showed that that was slightly optimistic (~9.76mpg actually achieved).  Therefore, an equivalent weight battery electric truck would have to more than double the energy density of the existing batteries to achieve the same weight and about half the range.  I think the range issue is overstated since all practical driving involves rest breaks and recharging / refueling / eating / drinking / using the bathroom, but the problem that increased weight causes for things that require power to move them is never going away and it doesn't make any difference what the power source happens to be.  There are lots of good things to be said for batteries for use in personal electrics or home energy storage devices and personal transportation, but mass transportation is at least an order of magnitude beyond current battery technology.

Anyone who thinks they're going to travel very far or very fast with an electric aircraft is mathematically illiterate.  It's not a question of whether or not it can be done.  We could make aircraft from lead if we chose to do that and if we put enough thrust behind them, they will indeed fly.  The real question is how practical / efficient such a solution is... or not.  Weight usually determines cost in aircraft because it's directly tied to the cost of fabrication materials and associated labor.  Present and projected future battery technology is absurdly inadequate to create aircraft with equivalent cost for equivalent useful loads.  Why it is that we'd even waste our time and money trying to countermand basic math and physics is beyond my comprehension, especially when so many practical solutions exist to lower energy consumption.

Those intractable mathematical problems cause people such as myself to look at batteries and say "Well, batteries are nice for what we can use them for, but something at least 10 times better is what we actually need for any kind of wholesale replacement of fossil fuels, so why can't we work on something like fuel cells that can supply equivalent energy for equivalent weight and half the emissions?" and...  "Oh by the way, the greatest improvement to energy usage reduction would come from reduced weight that only Carbon NanoTube composites can provide, so why can't we dump money into that as well since we're already producing them in multi-thousand-ton quantities per year?"

Here in America we are cursed with an ever-growing contingent of mathematically illiterate people thanks to our non-educational system run by regressive leftists who fervently desire to implement communism under the guise of "saving the planet".  They're not interested in educating people, merely indoctrinating them.  We couldn't have people thinking for themselves, else most of them wouldn't be co-dependent on government to meet their basic needs.  As these brain-dead ideologues slowly take over our government and do their utmost to spread their idiocy, the pile of evidence that Darwin was correct only grows higher by the day.  If the math disagrees with them, then the math must be wrong.

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#469 2020-02-16 15:47:28

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,340

Re: When Science becomes perverted by Politics.

Thanks for the link and paragraph on battery energy to mass. Copying that to the human powered context where we would recharge at parking lots after use via solar and leg recharging generator used for exercise and power for the vehicle so as to not need any power charging from electrical systems.

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#470 2020-02-16 16:49:38

kbd512
Moderator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 3,337

Re: When Science becomes perverted by Politics.

SpaceNut,

Mars offers an advantage to battery powered vehicles in the form of decreased gravity and virtually non-existent aerodynamic drag losses at practical vehicle speeds, so they can travel father for an equivalent battery mass.  However, it also partially offsets that advantage with substantially increased rolling resistance associated with off-road use.

I would like to reiterate that this is not about what I'd rather have, simply "what is".  We've very nearly hit the efficiency limit of electric motors without special technology and have no significantly more energy dense batteries on offer.  Therefore, for at least the next several decades, we're struck with batteries that are just adequate for personal transportation and woefully inadequate for mass transportation.  None of that should be taken to mean we shouldn't continually advance the state-of-the-art, just that we should more vigorously pursue other more immediately practical alternatives to combustion engines in recognition of the limitations of current battery technologies.  A fuel cell semi-truck with a power train that weighs half as much as a diesel and far less than batteries, yet produces equivalent reliable power with a 50% reduction in emissions over diesel is far preferable to unavailable or impractically heavy batteries.

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#471 2020-02-17 12:07:47

Terraformer
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From: Lancashire
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,227
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Re: When Science becomes perverted by Politics.

Perhaps it's worth considering highway catenary wires. Use the batteries to solve the last-mile problem, but trucks spend almost all their time on motorways.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#472 2020-02-17 14:26:52

kbd512
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Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 3,337

Re: When Science becomes perverted by Politics.

Terraformer,

Well, we'd "just" (there's that dirty word again) need tens of thousands of miles of wires here in America.  Building an entirely new grid to service our tens of thousands of miles of highways should be a piece of cake, right?

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#473 2020-02-17 15:17:26

Calliban
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From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 351

Re: When Science becomes perverted by Politics.

kbd512 wrote:

Terraformer,

Well, we'd "just" (there's that dirty word again) need tens of thousands of miles of wires here in America.  Building an entirely new grid to service our tens of thousands of miles of highways should be a piece of cake, right?

In densely populated countries like the UK, this could work.  Back in the early 2000s, the cost of railway electrification in the UK was estimated to be £1 million per lane mile.  The UK has 2,173 miles of motorway network.  Assuming 1 lane is electrified in either direction, and we can electrify roads for the same cost; total cost would be £4.4billion, or about $6billion.

I'm not sure what the equivalent cost would be in the US.  But the costs are not out of this world.  I find it doubtful that a car and a HGV could use the same catenary.  A third rail type arrangement might be more workable.  The other option is battery units mounted on trailers that can easily be swapped at service stations.


Interested in space science, engineering and technology.

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#474 2020-02-17 16:02:00

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,340

Re: When Science becomes perverted by Politics.

Currently ev charging stations are popping up in parking lots of Hanafords (tesla branded) and many other locations in some cities but its the rural area that is going to have trouble with electric vehicle use on just batteries, hence the desire for the hybrid which is using gas or desiel to generate power for the battery by its carry on generator.
As pointed out the faster we go and the mass increases fro the vehicle we need ever more batteries onboard just to keep the distance that we travel with them currently as kbd512 pointed out.
So just how many comute to work as a single person versus needing passengers?
Why not change the vehicle to fit with the use as that drops the mass and brings back range?

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#475 2020-02-17 16:08:23

kbd512
Moderator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 3,337

Re: When Science becomes perverted by Politics.

Calliban,

The problem is not the $200 billion we'd have to spend on reworking every highway in America.  It's the trillions in new electric grid infrastructure that would have to be created and maintained into perpetuity and the unknowable lost productivity from shutting down major parts of our existing roadways.  We'd also need a standing army of electrical engineers and electricians many times the strength of the US Army.  Furthermore, we'd need to replace our existing trucking fleet to maximize use of it to make the investment pay us back, which would mean another $300 billion if the cost per new truck was $150,000.  The price tag for this "little" operation would be at least a trillion dollars, if not more.

Once you create something fundamentally new that doesn't maintain itself, you're obligated to maintain it.  We have constant fights over new roadways, as is, and the in-fighting would only become more severe if it was associated with an all-new electric grid infrastructure.

If this is such a good idea, then why hasn't it been done in the UK yet?

The UK must have an extra $6 billion rattling around in the seat cushions somewhere.

I could care less if we spent an extra $200 billion on new roads, but we have at least that much in upcoming repair bills to the existing highway system and that's being quite conservative with the cost figures.  We could test it here in Texas first.  If it works well, then we'll keep it.  If not, back to the drawing board.

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