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#151 2020-01-14 18:10:59

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 230

Re: Power to gas - the next step

Wind turbines are a far more resource intensive means of generating electric power than coal, natural gas or nuclear reactors.  Even so, 500GT of steel to power the world using wind would appear to be a high estimate.

Wind turbines typically require 450-500 tonnes of steel per average MWe according to this reference.

http://fhr.nuc.berkeley.edu/wp-content/ … _input.pdf

Offshore turbines have higher steel and concrete inputs, because of the need for deep piles driven into the seabed and steel plinths upon which the tower is constructed.  The 500t/MWe accords with my own estimate for the embodied steel per MWe for the Walney windfarm, minus the piles and plinth.

In 2018, the world consumed a little over 26,000TWh of electricity; equivalent to a continuous power of 3TW.  All human energy use is closer to 15TW.  But just focusing on electricity for now.  Taking a time average power of 3million MW and a steel requirement of 500t/MWe, gives a total steel requirement of 1.5billion tonnes.

Of course, adding energy storage into the mix would roughly double steel requirements, because in addition to the steel requirements of the storage plant, there are inefficiency losses, requiring the addition of even more wind turbines to overcome these losses.  In addition, there would need to be extra transmission lines.  Lets say 3-4billion tonnes when storage and transmission are accounted for.

That is about 30-40 times more steel than would be needed for a fleet of nuclear reactors of equivalent power.  And the nuclear power plants would have lifetime of 60-80 years, whereas the wind turbines would probably not exceed 30 year life expectancy.  So all up, powering the world with wind would likely require two orders of magnitude more steel.  Even so, it is hard to see wind turbine steel requirements exceeding 100MT per year.  That is about 10% of global steel production.  Pricey to be sure, but not so much so that it begins to look impossible.


Interested in space science, engineering and technology.

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#152 2020-01-14 20:45:53

kbd512
Moderator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 3,116

Re: Power to gas - the next step

Louis,

World energy consumption

2017 TPES: 162,494TWh
2017 Final Consumption: 113,009TWh

That's what needs to be replaced.  Electricity doesn't even account for a quarter of that.  That's where the half trillion tons of steel comes from.  It says nothing about delivering the power, either, just what would be required to supply the power in most scenarios.

"For example, on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms.  That's the only reason to build them.  They don't make sense without the tax credit." - Warren Buffett

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#153 2020-01-14 21:05:36

kbd512
Moderator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 3,116

Re: Power to gas - the next step

Calliban,

Have you given any thought to dealing with daily power surges measured in gigawatts?

Where is all that extra power going?

That'd be why I figured on using smaller wind turbines.

New insights into fluctuations of wind energy, with implications for engineering and policy

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#154 2020-01-14 22:26:19

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,402

Re: Power to gas - the next step

Small wind turbines used in residential applications typically range in size from 400 watts to 20 kilowatt.
https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/inst … ric-system

A typical home uses approximately 10,932 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year (about 911 kilowatt-hours per month). Depending on the average wind speed in the area, a wind turbine rated in the range of 5–15 kilowatts would be required to make a significant contribution to this demand. A 1.5-kilowatt wind turbine will meet the needs of a home requiring 300 kilowatt-hours per month in a location with a 14 mile-per-hour (6.26 meters-per-second) annual average wind speed.
To get a preliminary estimate of the performance of a particular wind turbine, you can use the following formula:

AEO= 0.01328 D2 V3

Where:

    AEO = Annual energy output (kilowatt-hours/year)
    D = Rotor diameter, feet
    V = Annual average wind speed, miles-per hour (mph), at your site

Note: the difference between power and energy is that power (kilowatts) is the rate at which electricity is consumed, while energy (kilowatt-hours) is the quantity consumed.

Sure anyone with enough cash can buy one and here is what others think of price to wattage with startup wind speed.
https://www.renewableresourcescoalition … -turbines/

For those that want to build there are quite a few designs and generator types to chose from
https://www.instructables.com/id/How-I- … d-turbine/

http://theselfsufficientliving.com/diy- … rid-power/

There are other windmill types which have there own unique abilities when other fail to produce power from the wind that you have to make use of.

https://singularityhub.com/2017/07/09/t … le-breeze/

https://www.treehugger.com/wind-technol … ne-30.html

https://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Wind/wind.htm

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#155 2020-01-15 06:02:07

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 230

Re: Power to gas - the next step

kbd512 wrote:

Calliban,

Have you given any thought to dealing with daily power surges measured in gigawatts?

Where is all that extra power going?

That'd be why I figured on using smaller wind turbines.

New insights into fluctuations of wind energy, with implications for engineering and policy

No.  What I presented was a back of the envelope calculation, based upon the amount of steel needed to build the tower and nacelle of a turbine that has been used in the Walney offshore wind farm.  I then estimated the amount of power it would produce in a year and divided it into the world's annual power requirements to get an approximate number of turbines.  From work I have done in the past, I estimate that storage roughly doubles the embodied energy and halves the EROI of any renewable energy system.  Even this only accounts for about a day of storage.  The reason, that 'storage' effectively means having a whole other power station that sucks in intermittent electricity and spits out a smaller quantity of controllable electricity.

The results suggest that the embodied energy of wind farms is much higher than a fossil or nuclear power plant of equivalent average power.  And the amount of steel needed is well over an order of magnitude greater and approaches two order of magnitude greater when storage and transmission are factored in.  A lot of materials and energy, but not so much as you alluded to unless I missed something very significant.

For the record, I do not believe that mass expansion of wind or solar energy is a good way of mitigating the world's fossil fuel depletion and climate change problems.  Western economies have failed to achieve any real economy growth since about 2005.  Prosperity has fallen for the average person in the US and UK since then.  Developing country economies are now encountering the same headwinds.   The cause of these problems is rising energy cost of energy, especially from fossil fuels.  This doesn't mean that we are imminently running out.  It means that what is left requires a greater proportion of the resulting energy just to support the extraction process.  No one would be bothering with fractured shale oil or Canadian tar sands if the US still had abundant onshore conventional oil reserves.  So the cost of production is going up.  But the price that producers can expect from each barrel is dictated by what consumers can afford, which is heading in the opposite direction.

In the face of this problem, building up a renewable energy base which has even higher embodied energy and labour requirements is a dumb thing to do.  If we ever hope to get to Mars, we need a growing economy here on Earth, that can provide enough surplus wealth to fund the whole thing.  To achieve that, we need the sort of high EROI concentrated energy that used to be provided by fossil fuels and can now only come from splitting atoms.


Interested in space science, engineering and technology.

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#156 2020-01-15 10:20:49

tahanson43206
Member
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 1,645

Re: Power to gas - the next step

It may be of interest to someone in the forum readership ... It appears my initiative to contact a major builder of wind turbines entered their system via the trouble desk. 

Your request to the Customer Support Center dated 2020-01-14 - 19:35:18 concerning
Wind to Gas Offshore Facility - concept to make methane using wind energy
is processed under the Ticket-No.: 1-1008493.

For additional amendments to this ticket, please exclusively use the reply function, otherwise the correct allocation to your ticket cannot be ensured.

I'll report back if anything further develops.  I suspect the help desk personnel are perplexed.

(th)

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#157 2020-01-15 18:23:45

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,402

Re: Power to gas - the next step

A growing economy is one that has people with money to spend plus to save with assurance felt that nothing bad is going to be coming down the road. When people are not sure is when they stop spending and saving seeing the gas prices at the pump or rising electrical or water rates or sewage disposal climb means you fore go using the vehicle, shut lights and equipment off as well un plug things, use less water in baths or clothes washing, for restroom use its now at the favorite store or restaraunt....you make changes in life that cut corners that really only make it so that you survive the climb in costs.

Here is some more on the wind power to electric setup:
https://windexchange.energy.gov/small-w … k#generate

generate-1-d662669bc2a9672643e3f31298ee9d14fcebb93d703fd0e250774327cccd4b66.png

Energy of a wind turbine is the calculated total energy that would be produced during a 1-year period with an average wind speed of 5 meters/second (m/s, or 11.2 mph)

The wind force is effected by altitude.

generate-2-dfe73d5e7fd7c1e4484081a5fa5f7f3e164200c64b1b4edcf8ac5fb5834fd677.png

Average wind speeds increase with height and may be 15% to 25% greater at a typical wind turbine hub height of 80 ft (24 m) than those measured at airport anemometer heights.

enough-2-097cefd4e51e12dc96213f61b003d263680f9ff993ad2e40e38a51798d0e1238.png

This on a flat level open area but that may not be the case for along a hillside or ridge of a mountain or hill.

site-02af4d2109082dc64ae88481754064d1f794036da4374bbf6e4f1d58b2f26655.jpg

10 ft diameter wind turbine in 12 mph average winds might produce about (0.01328)(10^2)(12^3) = 2300 KWH/year

wind.h1.gif


https://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Wind/wind.htm

While there are a number of variables that can affect the output of this DIY wind turbine, including the efficiency of the alternator used (and obviously the speed of the wind where it's located), according to Connell, using a "50% efficient car alternator (the simplest and cheapest option) should produce 158 watts of electricity in a 50 km/h wind, and 649 watts at 80 km/h" with this design. Of course with a better alternator a six vane version should produce at least 135 watts of electricity in a 30 km/h wind, and 1.05 kilowatts at 60 km/h.

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#158 2020-01-15 23:46:01

kbd512
Moderator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 3,116

Re: Power to gas - the next step

Calliban,

The magnitude of the power fluctuations is certainly something to consider.  I can't see anything approaching grid stability without an incomparably greater number of wind turbines allocated to the project and widely dispersed throughout all countries and oceans to ensure that local changes don't cause power surges that melt wires.  For most places on land that are not near large bodies of water, the wind blows consistently twice per day, corresponding with the temperature fluctuations associated with the daily heating and cooling of the Earth caused by the Sun.  Absent a complete redesign and re-equipping of existing power grids with vastly greater numbers of tie-ins to control the flow of power, likely spanning multiple countries, having gigawatt-level fluctuations in the power supply simply doesn't work.

Apart from water, no other practical and economical new storage technology has materialized.  So, without storage, the number of turbines required to provide usable power throughout the day and night simply skyrockets.  The turbines are definitely smaller, easier to construct and transport, but the sheer numbers required is mind boggling.  If you had a super capacitor that provided your total daily energy requirement in a pair of morning and evening bursts of power, which become truly enormous when supplying power for industrialized countries, how would you use that energy?  I'm of the opinion that you couldn't without storage or without sheer numbers of turbines to adjust supply according to varying wind conditions because over-supply becomes a much greater problem than simply meeting demand.

I don't think using alternative forms of energy is dumb, I just think the notion that we're going to supply the entire planet with solar and wind using current technology is absurdly naive and shows a basic lack of understanding of how present power grids work.  It's either going to consume absurd amounts of resources or we're actually going to have to solve that storage problem for this to work at all.  The only remotely realistic proposals I've seen are the tethered kites, such as those from Makani Power.  They're not simple to engineer, but no different than other light aircraft, yet they'll work for the same reasons that other light aircraft work.

Energy Kite, a breakthrough wind generator: an Overview

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#160 2020-01-17 05:30:16

tahanson43206
Member
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 1,645

Re: Power to gas - the next step

For SpaceNut re #159

Thanks for the caution offered in the article you found at: http://www.winddaily.com/reports/Consid … r_999.html

It is easy for land creatures to forget about sea/water life.

(th)

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#161 2020-01-17 14:15:30

tahanson43206
Member
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 1,645

Re: Power to gas - the next step

For SpaceNut .... this report is up in your region ....

https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/rhod … 41154.html

Any chance your state will want to get into the game?

I recognize Rhode Island is smaller.

Per this site:
https://countryeconomy.com/countries/us … ode-island

there is a 1:6 ratio.

The challenge may be correspondingly greater for New Hampshire.

(th)

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#162 2020-01-17 14:25:19

tahanson43206
Member
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 1,645

Re: Power to gas - the next step

This is a follow up to #156 ...

tahanson43206 wrote:

It may be of interest to someone in the forum readership ... It appears my initiative to contact a major builder of wind turbines entered their system via the trouble desk. 

Your request to the Customer Support Center dated 2020-01-14 - 19:35:18 concerning
Wind to Gas Offshore Facility - concept to make methane using wind energy
is processed under the Ticket-No.: 1-1008493.

For additional amendments to this ticket, please exclusively use the reply function, otherwise the correct allocation to your ticket cannot be ensured.

I'll report back if anything further develops.  I suspect the help desk personnel are perplexed.

(th)

Apparently my inquiry was interpreted as an offer of an invention.  That was not my intent, although I can see how that interpretation makes sense.

Offer of Invention 2020A01079DE

Please see enclosure.
Best regards

Corporate Technology
Corporate Intellectual Property
Administration

They sent two enclosures so I'll look at them.

(th)

Last edited by tahanson43206 (2020-01-17 15:11:28)

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#163 2020-01-18 16:45:08

kbd512
Moderator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 3,116

Re: Power to gas - the next step

Calliban,

In Australia where roughly 10% of their grid's supply comes from wind or solar energy, their wind turbines produce regular power swings between 3,000MW and around 100MW of output.  Naturally, demand doesn't drop like a rock just because the supply does.  That's a 30 to 1 output delta across an energy grid that spans a land area the size of Europe.  When that happens, despite the fact that wind and solar produce around 10% of Australia's total electricity generation, they either have rolling blackouts or they release precious water through their hydroelectric dams to make up for the power deficit or individuals run small diesel generators which produce far more CO2 and NOx emissions per unit of power output than centralized coal or gas turbine power stations where that CO2 can be captured, despite the fact that doing that would consume up to 25% of a the fossil fuel power plant's output.  The supersonic CO2 compressors (think of a gas turbine that uses shock waves generated from supersonic flow to actually help compress the CO2, rather than just generate a massive amount of wave drag) that Dresser-Rand was working on, in conjunction with ARPA-E, would require around 10% of the plant's output, some of which can actually come from otherwise squandered waste heat.  I've already posted plenty of documentation on that in discussions about the technology with GW Johnson, which can be found by searching this forum.

Any fanciful idea that wind farms merely producing output equivalent to a reliable power plant, when the wind is blowing steadily, are absurdly misleading, to the point that I'd call it an outright falsehood perpetrated by people who know better against people like Louis or tahanson43206 who don't know any better.  Unfortunately, they'll read internet blog posts that claim something is possible without specifying how and then proclaim that such and such idea is imminently feasible without cursory examination of the underlying assumptions pertaining to how it would work.  My admonishment that this doesn't work at all without practical storage still stands.

Have a look at actual wind farm production data from across all of Australia:

Aneroid Energy - Australian Energy Market

I'm going to ask the question again, just to see if I get any meaningful responses:

How would you deal with daily power fluctuations measured in tens of gigawatts?

That is precisely what we will have here in America if we try to implement this nonsense.

What are we supposed to do with power that looks like what wind turbines actually produce?

The only response the electric utilities have come up with is to turn off the wind turbines (potential output gone forever, which means far greater numbers than sophomoric estimates that don't account for the power curves actually produced), burn more coal and gas (in practice, the coal boiler or gas turbine runs 24/7 because they simply don't ramp up in seconds to minutes- a half hour or so for the gas turbine or hours for coal, which is why the coal is being steadily displaced by gas turbines; marketing literature from GE and Siemens doesn't include fine print that explains to the operator exactly what happens to the ceramic metal in the hot section when you transition from idle to full output in 10 minutes or how that drastically affects maintenance costs), or pump water (deplete finite reserves of a resource we require for agriculture and human or animal consumption and are already short of).

I think that when we're honest with everyone about the limitations of existing technology, it changes opinions regarding what's feasible and what's stretching credulity.  If what humanity requires is reliable 24/7 base load power that doesn't fluctuate in output and produces very little CO2 emissions, then our realistic choices at the present time are a dramatic expansion of nuclear power or resigning ourselves to capturing the CO2 from coal and gas power plants.  Between the two, I think CO2 capture is the most realistic.  After CO2 has been captured, it can be transformed into useful products such as fuels or lightweight / high strength materials.  The austerity / scarcity model so prevalent in European thinking doesn't work for America, which has always sought to create abundance, despite our numerous failings.

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#164 2020-01-18 17:10:33

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 230

Re: Power to gas - the next step

kbd512 wrote:

Calliban,

I'm going to ask the question again, just to see if I get any meaningful responses:

How would you deal with daily power fluctuations measured in tens of gigawatts?

That is precisely what we will have here in America if we try to implement this nonsense.

What are we supposed to do with power that looks like what wind turbines actually produce?

I will reply in more detail later on.

The only option I can foresee that would use this power affordably would be resistive buffer loads, installed very close to the wind farm, before power goes onto the grid.

I am thinking of a series of heating elements that can be rapidly switched on/off within a large insulated block of stone and concrete that stores the energy as heat.  The heat can then be used to raise steam supplying an ultracritical steam powerplant.  The strength of this sort of design is that rock solids are very cheap and hot rock has high energy density.  So something like this could store very large amounts of energy at relatively low capital cost.  We might realistically be able to build a system that stores a couple of days worth of power output from the wind farm. It could absorb large fluctuations in power input, since resistance elements are non-inductive loads and can be switched on and off very rapidly.

The obvious downside is poor efficiency.  A steam power plant taking in intermittent electricity, storing it as heat and reconverting it into electricity, would be about 40% efficient even using ultra critical steam cycle.  Suppose we build one of these at the site of a wind farm and it absorbs half of all power and load follows to ensure that a steady supply goes onto the grid.  For every 1KWh produced by the wind farm, about 0.7KWh would get onto the grid.  Realistically, I think it would double the cost of wind power that is sold to the grid, but it would at least be something that society could functionally (if not economically) make use of.

Below is a link to gridwatch, the UK equivalent of the Australian site that you linked to.
https://gridwatch.co.uk/

Peak wind power production in the UK runs at about 13GW.  But it isn't uncommon for lulls of <3GW to last for days.  Wind power is also naturally lower in the summer in the UK.

The maximum average power density of a wind farm is 2-3MW/km2.  This is dictated by wind shadowing.  So a wind farm producing 1000MW on average, would cover 400km2 or roughly 20km x 20km.  To try and level out fluctuations, utility grade solar plants could be constructed close to the wind farm.  If we build a rock-steam thermal storage plant roughly in the middle of the wind farm, then the maximum transmission distance to the plant would be 10km.  If a grid connection is provided to the storage plant, it should be possible to provide a baseload power input.  What are your thoughts?

Personally, I doubt that such a system could ever compete with PWR in terms of generation costs.  And whole system EROI would be <10.

Last edited by Calliban (2020-01-18 18:16:02)


Interested in space science, engineering and technology.

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#165 2020-01-18 18:30:07

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,345

Re: Power to gas - the next step

As I said elsewhere, sudden appearance of ad hominems is often a sign of weak argumentation.

42%, not 10%, of Denmark's electricity comes from wind power. The lights have not gone out. There are ways of balancing supply and demand including importing and exporting electricity on a continental grid. Denmark imports energy from Scandinavian hydro plants when wind energy is low.

Green energy is a developing technology. Not all the solutions have been found yet. But I would say most fossil fuelists and nuclearists have been dumbfounded by how the costs of wind and solar energy have reduced so dramatically over the last 20 years, resulting now in extremely low tenders for contracts in many parts of the world.

Continued cost reduction is going to take us to a point where energy storage becomes commercially viable. Which storage technology will win out remains to be seen.

We're beginning to see the start of very cheap solar plus storage contracts in California (under 2 cents per KwHe). The storage may be relatively limited (up to 3 hours in one case) but it is the shape of the future I think. There may be some subsidies within the US energy system but I don't think they are huge.  The overall price trend is clear: wind and solar energy are beginning to beat fossil fuels and nuclear power on price. Eventually green plus storage will beat them on price across the board, at which point it is game over.

https://www.pv-tech.org/news/california … e-pipeline

kbd512 wrote:

Calliban,

In Australia where roughly 10% of their grid's supply comes from wind or solar energy, their wind turbines produce regular power swings between 3,000MW and around 100MW of output.  Naturally, demand doesn't drop like a rock just because the supply does.  That's a 30 to 1 output delta across an energy grid that spans a land area the size of Europe.  When that happens, despite the fact that wind and solar produce around 10% of Australia's total electricity generation, they either have rolling blackouts or they release precious water through their hydroelectric dams to make up for the power deficit or individuals run small diesel generators which produce far more CO2 and NOx emissions per unit of power output than centralized coal or gas turbine power stations where that CO2 can be captured, despite the fact that doing that would consume up to 25% of a the fossil fuel power plant's output.  The supersonic CO2 compressors (think of a gas turbine that uses shock waves generated from supersonic flow to actually help compress the CO2, rather than just generate a massive amount of wave drag) that Dresser-Rand was working on, in conjunction with ARPA-E, would require around 10% of the plant's output, some of which can actually come from otherwise squandered waste heat.  I've already posted plenty of documentation on that in discussions about the technology with GW Johnson, which can be found by searching this forum.

Any fanciful idea that wind farms merely producing output equivalent to a reliable power plant, when the wind is blowing steadily, are absurdly misleading, to the point that I'd call it an outright falsehood perpetrated by people who know better against people like Louis or tahanson43206 who don't know any better.  Unfortunately, they'll read internet blog posts that claim something is possible without specifying how and then proclaim that such and such idea is imminently feasible without cursory examination of the underlying assumptions pertaining to how it would work.  My admonishment that this doesn't work at all without practical storage still stands.

Have a look at actual wind farm production data from across all of Australia:

Aneroid Energy - Australian Energy Market

I'm going to ask the question again, just to see if I get any meaningful responses:

How would you deal with daily power fluctuations measured in tens of gigawatts?

That is precisely what we will have here in America if we try to implement this nonsense.

What are we supposed to do with power that looks like what wind turbines actually produce?

The only response the electric utilities have come up with is to turn off the wind turbines (potential output gone forever, which means far greater numbers than sophomoric estimates that don't account for the power curves actually produced), burn more coal and gas (in practice, the coal boiler or gas turbine runs 24/7 because they simply don't ramp up in seconds to minutes- a half hour or so for the gas turbine or hours for coal, which is why the coal is being steadily displaced by gas turbines; marketing literature from GE and Siemens doesn't include fine print that explains to the operator exactly what happens to the ceramic metal in the hot section when you transition from idle to full output in 10 minutes or how that drastically affects maintenance costs), or pump water (deplete finite reserves of a resource we require for agriculture and human or animal consumption and are already short of).

I think that when we're honest with everyone about the limitations of existing technology, it changes opinions regarding what's feasible and what's stretching credulity.  If what humanity requires is reliable 24/7 base load power that doesn't fluctuate in output and produces very little CO2 emissions, then our realistic choices at the present time are a dramatic expansion of nuclear power or resigning ourselves to capturing the CO2 from coal and gas power plants.  Between the two, I think CO2 capture is the most realistic.  After CO2 has been captured, it can be transformed into useful products such as fuels or lightweight / high strength materials.  The austerity / scarcity model so prevalent in European thinking doesn't work for America, which has always sought to create abundance, despite our numerous failings.


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

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#166 2020-01-18 18:53:34

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 230

Re: Power to gas - the next step

Louis, the renewable energy industry is so loaded with hidden subsidies, that cost may not be as straightforward as it seems.  And cost and price are two different things.  How do you explain the fact that Germany has some of the highest electricity prices in Europe?

The fact of the matter is that here and now, despite huge investments totalling trillions of dollars, wind and solar power make a very small contribution to global energy production.  You mentioned Denmark.  Both Denmark and Germany are heavy users of coal, which provides backup power for wind and solar in both countries.  Germany is the biggest coal user in Europe.  Both states also dump excess power onto neighbouring grids, often causing severe instability.

In spite of enormous investment, renewable energy provides a minor contribution to Danish and German energy consumption.  And what contribution it does provide, comes at the expense of high systematic costs that lead to some of the highest electricity prices in the world.

Based on performance so far, renewable electricity has been an outright failure in achieving any systematic replacement of fossil fuels on a scale that would make a difference.  And what little it has achieved has been expensive.  For this to change would require revolutionary improvements in whole system power density and energy storage, that simply aren't on the cards.

Last edited by Calliban (2020-01-18 18:54:29)


Interested in space science, engineering and technology.

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#167 2020-01-18 19:08:17

tahanson43206
Member
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 1,645

Re: Power to gas - the next step

For Calliban re #166

Your observation about the cost of energy in Germany caught my eye, so I gave the question to Google.

It came back with the news (to me at least) that Germans make more than others, so the higher energy costs amount to a smaller part of their budgets.

https://www.cleanenergywire.org/news/ge … ces-europe

I recognize that this report does not necessarily change the power of your argument.

As I understand your argument, nothing can be done about the imminent demise of the human population, so everyone should just give up << grin >>.

(th)

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#168 2020-01-18 20:27:57

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,402

Re: Power to gas - the next step

Yes dumping excess energy into dummy loads which are resistive is what is done with windmills some use it to make hot water such that it has a use Later when energy is less abundent.
Still the issue is capacity of storage and efficiency of return of that energy when needed. The powerwall is such as device but thats for short term dipping and not for long term low out puts that remain over the course of days. They do have limited capacity of storage. Having these installed all over the grid would slow the rolling brown outs.
There is no one magical energy storage at this time but lots of different ones will get it done.

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#169 2020-01-18 21:09:42

kbd512
Moderator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 3,116

Re: Power to gas - the next step

Louis,

Wind power output in the windier coastal areas of Australia, where virtually all of the wind turbines are located, varies by a factor 30.  Stare at those graphs of recorded wind power output until that simple and unavoidable point of fact finally penetrates your ideologically driven belief system!  Demand does not go down simply because wind power output falls off a cliff every single day, twice per day.  Sometimes you don't get to choose when you're doing laundry or taking a shower or on the operating table in a hospital.

Wind output ranges from gigawatts to less than 100 megawatts in the span of a single day and it does that every day, twice per day, exactly as the graphs show.  Asking you to answer a very simple question is not a personal attack.  Since you refuse to answer that question and ignore the recorded output in the graphs shown in that link, I can only surmise that neither you nor anyone else has anything approaching a reality-based answer to what's so blatantly obvious from looking at the wind power output graphs.

Australia had electricity prices that were on par with US electricity prices before they started this renewable energy silliness.  I pay 6 cents per kWh using natural gas.  I paid 12 cents per kWh using solar until last year when I decided I didn't need to fork over a car payment to the electric utility each month to be "green" (pay someone else a lot of my green to pretend I was "saving the planet").  Australia's electricity prices now, with just 10% renewable / unreliable energy, range between 25 and 40 cents per kWh.  On the low end, Australians pay 4 times as much as I do to prop up the "green energy" religion.  On the high end, Australians pay 10 times as much.  That's the result of just 10% unreliable / renewable energy.  Try to imagine how screwed they'd be with 100% unreliable / renewable energy.  Think they'd care at all if you blithely said, "Well, solar worked in Saudi Arabia and wind worked in Denmark"?

You flatly refuse to address this because you don't like what it says.  Denmark is a place in the world that happens to be consistently windy.  Denmark doesn't represent the world.  Saudi Arabia is a place in the world that happens to be consistently sunny.  Saudi Arabia doesn't represent the world.  We're not all going to move to Denmark or Saudi Arabia and very few people live in Denmark or Saudi Arabia compared to the rest of the world.

Moreover, the costs of renewable energy have not been reduced.  The costs are "hidden in plain sight" in the form of subsidies and higher rates.  My electric bills did not lie to me when I forked over my money and I did not lie to you when I told you what my electricity rates were / are.  Any assertion that the cost of renewable energy costs have come down is a big bright shining L-I-E.  It's economic sophistry foisted upon us by people with no belief in the concept of right and wrong.  You're willingly buying into their nonsense because the people doing the lying are telling you what you want to hear.  If anyone tells you anything different, you stick your fingers in your ears and scream "LA LA LA" so loudly that you don't notice how silly that looks.

There is no such thing as 2 cents per kWh cost to actual rate payers in California.  I have relatives who live in San Diego.  They know what they pay for their electricity and they pay about 3 times more than I do for their "green energy".  America is subsidizing the living hell out of wind and solar, which is the only way in which it competes with anything at all.  If the people living somewhere still can't afford energy after the subsidies, then they simply don't get any power.  That's another way of saying that the religious faithful have no problem with depriving poor people of energy.  That's the way it works in the real objective world.

Calliban,

Louis doesn't have any answer to Australia's or Germany's or California's incredibly high electricity prices.  He'll move on to the next point of economic sophistry because green religion demands it.  He will never acknowledge that people using solar and wind are paying much higher prices for electricity than those exclusively using fossil fuels or nuclear power, despite the fact that pure objective reality illustrates that point very clearly.  That's just the way religion works.  If something disagrees with your religious dogma, then you don't acknowledge that you have a problem, you simply double-down on your religion.  That's the only response I've ever seen from nearly all religious people I've encountered.  The overwhelming majority of people need a religion, for various personal reasons, and even as an ardent atheist I've come to accept that fact.  I don't fault them for their religious beliefs, so long as they don't demand that I pay for or otherwise partake in their religion.

You're an engineer.  You can see what's going on just as well as I can.  These people try something that basic math says won't work and yet they try it anyway because they're desperate to achieve a result that won't be forthcoming and predictably, it doesn't work in the real world, and even though that's not surprising at all to any engineer, all of us end up paying more as they continue to double-down on their ideology.  You know as well as I do that nuclear fission is the only practical low CO2 emission electric generating technology that can reliably supply the many terawatts of power that humanity now uses.

The mere fact that we're here arguing over means of power generation that objectively don't work when actually tried shows just how non-sensical this entire charade has become.  The green energy religious zealots make over-the-top claims about cost and resource consumption that are plainly false to any real engineer, those claims very predictably never translate into lower rates for the people who must pay for that power (And how in the hell could it ever when the resource inputs are multiple orders of magnitude greater?), and the rest of us are forced to endure the economically destructive results of their radical ideology while we move further and further away from a practical solution.

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#170 2020-01-18 22:15:23

kbd512
Moderator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 3,116

Re: Power to gas - the next step

tahanson43206,

Whether or not Germans make more money than the French, the French had CO2-free electricity before green energy religion and climate hysteria eclipsed basic math and reasoning.  Nuclear energy is the cleanest form of energy we know how to make by a country mile.  It produces the least amount of waste and requires the least amount of resource input and nothing else even comes close.  What little "waste" (fuel we voluntarily choose to not completely deplete) it does produce is now being stored.  If we don't know how to store it securely, then it's not apparent to the nuclear power plant operators who have done that every day of every year since the year my father was born.  If Americans ever decided that we wanted the other 98% of the energy content in the fuel by reprocessing it, then we wouldn't have to mine new fuel for at least the next thousand years or so.

Instead of rejoicing at the abundant and clean power that nuclear energy provided for humanity, our beloved "green energy zealots" / "charlatans to their own religion" did everything they possibly could to prevent humanity from having CO2-free electricity before I was born through every means that their twisted and evil anti-humanist minds could concoct.  Humanity has spent trillions and wasted precious decades of time trying to prop up their anti-science religion of doom.  It's a bigger scourge tormenting humanity than any other religion could ever hope to be.

Last but certainly not least, there is no "imminent demise of the human population".  This is more 100% unsupportable hysteria bandied about by hysterical people who can't seem to understand that all of those trees surrounding them are what normal non-hysterical people would call "a forest".  We used to lock up hysterical people and people who spread hysteria in rubber rooms so they weren't a danger to themselves and others.

We're doing better now than we ever have at any point in time in human history and the primary reason we're doing better now is the availability and affordability of energy to use.  If anyone here doesn't think the availability of the master resource doesn't matter, they really should go to Africa or the Middle East to see what life is like without it.

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#171 2020-01-18 22:33:30

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,402

Re: Power to gas - the next step

article post here on liquified air as storage of energy.

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#172 2020-01-19 08:25:43

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,345

Re: Power to gas - the next step

Renewable energy provides about a third of Denmark total energy consumption (that's total energy, not just electricity).  I don't think that is "minor"!



https://cleantechnica.com/2019/04/08/ne … e-in-2018/

Calliban wrote:

Louis, the renewable energy industry is so loaded with hidden subsidies, that cost may not be as straightforward as it seems.  And cost and price are two different things.  How do you explain the fact that Germany has some of the highest electricity prices in Europe?

The fact of the matter is that here and now, despite huge investments totalling trillions of dollars, wind and solar power make a very small contribution to global energy production.  You mentioned Denmark.  Both Denmark and Germany are heavy users of coal, which provides backup power for wind and solar in both countries.  Germany is the biggest coal user in Europe.  Both states also dump excess power onto neighbouring grids, often causing severe instability.

In spite of enormous investment, renewable energy provides a minor contribution to Danish and German energy consumption.  And what contribution it does provide, comes at the expense of high systematic costs that lead to some of the highest electricity prices in the world.

Based on performance so far, renewable electricity has been an outright failure in achieving any systematic replacement of fossil fuels on a scale that would make a difference.  And what little it has achieved has been expensive.  For this to change would require revolutionary improvements in whole system power density and energy storage, that simply aren't on the cards.


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

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#173 2020-01-19 09:02:45

tahanson43206
Member
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 1,645

Re: Power to gas - the next step

This is for Calliban re #151, with an invitation to kbd512 to assist if willing ...

Wind turbines are a far more resource intensive means of generating electric power than coal, natural gas or nuclear reactors.  Even so, 500GT of steel to power the world using wind would appear to be a high estimate.

Wind turbines typically require 450-500 tonnes of steel per average MWe according to this reference.

Can anyone explain why wind turbines are being manufactured using steel?

Could it be (this is just a guess on my part) that Carbon would be more than able to meet or exceed the capabilities of steel?

Engineers have gone with the tried and true, and steel has held up well for millennia.

From wikipedia per Google:
The Chinese of the Warring States period (403–221 BC) had quench-hardened steel, while Chinese of the Han dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD) created steel by melting together wrought iron with cast iron, gaining an ultimate product of a carbon-intermediate steel by the 1st century AD.

However, Ma Nature built towering structures of Carbon millions of years before humans started working with iron.

Humans have learned how to take advantage of the properties of Carbon to go beyond what Nature achieved.

Building wind turbines out of Carbon would be a very nice Carbon sink, and a company that can achieve that should earn plenty for stock holders from Carbon credits alone, setting aside benefits I'm not aware of.

Louis ... I'm hoping you'll be inspired by this post to look into the potential for a new industry.

SpaceNut ... there is no reason at all why the enterprising constituents of New Hampshire should be denied an opportunity to consider this question.

Edit#1: In a recent post (or in a post I found while doing a recent post) I ran across an observation, to the effect that US military ships are streaked in rust and looking bedraggled compared to more shipshape allied nation fleets.

I suppose the observation could have come from an Internet feed .... it showed US military vessels at sea streaked in rust ... the article concluded that the Navy would be battling rust as it has for two centuries (or so), unless it made ships out of another material than steel.

OK ... setting aside aluminum which is already in trial in the US Navy, can Carbon be adapted for military vessels?  Nature's wood has been tried and found wanting compared to steel.  Can modern knowledge of the properties of Carbon allow for formulations that are equal to or superior to steel in this application?

(th)

Last edited by tahanson43206 (2020-01-19 09:09:14)

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#174 2020-01-19 12:50:19

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,402

Re: Power to gas - the next step

tahanson43206 I must dance around the naval rusting issue but the observations of its occurance is real. Sure technology changes for what would be the outer hull of carbon would work until something would strike it causing it to crack. Others would be to change the outer metal alloys to make them more resistent. Then again sonar would bounce off from such a hard shell making them visible.

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#175 2020-01-19 13:14:39

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 230

Re: Power to gas - the next step

For Tahanson,

Carbon steel has flexural strength and a very forgiving stress cycle.  Compared to many other more advanced materials it is also cheap and has relatively low embodied energy.  It is ductile and will deform plastically before snapping and defects in welds and other structural abnormalities are easy to pick up using non-destructive testing.  So steel is a very popular material.  Carbon fibre and glass fibre tends to be used in blades that need high strength to weight ratio.  But steel is the most practical material for construction of the tower and nacelle housing.

Traditionally, windmill towers were made from stone, brick, wood or even rammed earth.  For small to medium scale turbines, these options are far more sustainable than steel and have lower embodied energy.  On the downside, they impose rather wide towers, because all forces must be absorbed through compression.  On the plus side, this allows the tower to serve as a building, housing equipment that makes use of the generated wind power.  Traditional windmills were made from cheap and lower embodied energy materials and made direct use of mechanical wind power without transmission.  They also made no attempt to store energy.  Work rates were a function of wind speeds.  When the wind was not blowing, whatever the windmill was powering shut down and people took time off.

In many ways, traditional windmills were a far more practical means of harnessing wind power than the giant offshore steel units that we see today.  But those were simpler times.  Back in the 17th-19th century, wind was providing far more modest quantities of mechanical power than we use today and labour rates were much lower.

I spent some time exploring the possibility of a workshop for a farm in Scotland or Northern England, powered by direct mechanical wind energy.  The attraction is that direct wind power systems are very simple to make using readily available materials.  The prime mover end can be relatively cheap.  But the problems are numerous.  Mechanical power transmission is not a simple or cheap option.  I quickly discovered that I would need a gearbox and that with each change of speed or direction of rotation, there are substantial energy losses.  There are safety issues with having a rotating shaft running through a workshop, with various machines drawing power off of it.  As the wind speed changes, provisions must be put in place to avoid over speed and ideally, the utilisation of equipment should rise and fall with load.  But that requires constant manning and planning of projects around weather patters.  Worst of all, most equipment for sale is electrically powered, so I would have needed to mod it for direct mechanical power.

It all got very complicated and ultimately, that defeated the point.  I may go back to that project some day.  In not too much longer, I intend to build a whisky distillery.  Wind and solar power could provide a practical source of heat for the stills.  And heat can be stored.  Using an energy source like this requires careful planning and understanding of its limitations.  Using wind power to provide industrial quantities of electricity to a grid system that must precisely balance supply and demand in real time, does not play to its strengths.  Using wind power to provide direct mechanical energy to relatively simple devices is a much better idea.

Some further reading:

https://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2009/10 … mills.html
https://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2019/06 … bines.html
https://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2017/09 … ather.html

Last edited by Calliban (2020-01-19 13:40:20)


Interested in space science, engineering and technology.

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