New Mars Forums

Official discussion forum of The Mars Society and MarsNews.com

You are not logged in.

Announcement

Announcement: This forum is accepting new registrations by emailing newmarsmember * gmail.com become a registered member. Read the Recruiting expertise for NewMars Forum topic in Meta New Mars for other information for this process.

#76 2023-04-01 09:04:51

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 29,306

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

Kbd512 posts 70 through 74 have been enlightening in many ways.
From status symbol to where they fit best for use as well as the charging systems to even coming up with other alternatives for such. The junk yard is a lack of knowledge on safety and what to do when the case is damaged after that the remaining is not an issue for the yards.  They have a gold mine for resale of what is not damaged as the cost of new is quite high for the replacement parts to fix these EV's.

Myself I have been sliding towards energy poverty and its due to how much everything costs that require energy in any form so researcch build and use is my way out since all the providers want to do is continue to raid my pockets.

Like we have discussed keeping thing simple is a key to making things last and not spinning out a new shiny piece of crap is part of why we are heading head long towards that poverty line. Using solid state chips when necessary other wise stay mechanic or electrical rather than electronic is part of that longevity of build and design.

We have talked about all of the other storage of energy methods and those are for the most part material supply issues and are stationary which is why so many desire a battery solution. As you point out on the technology side use less materials when posible is part of the answer. They both have there place in the strive towards energy for all.

Building cost effective reactors and not gouging the public is a lost cause as those providers are just passing the costs onto the consumer to keep profits fatter. So I am not seeing anything home sized ever showing up on the market and anything town or city sized will be just like the other resources they provide have done just make the porperty owner pay for it in higher taxes.

Offline

#77 2023-04-01 14:01:33

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 3,568

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

Interesting DOE project for small scale (building scale) pumped storage.
https://www.osti.gov/biblio/1817438

The device that they are describing is a hydraulic accumulator.  Energy is stored by compressing a fixed mass of gas within a steel bottle, by pumping a liquid into the bottle under pressure.  The hydraulic fluid compresses the gas as its level rises within the bottle.  It works as a liquid piston.  Energy is stored in the enthalpy change of the gas.  Its pressure rises and its temperature increases.  Ordinary low alloy steels lose negligible strength up to 400°C, but strength declines rapidly with increasing temperature thereafter.  At 550°C, tensile strength is down by 50%.
https://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/meta … _1353.html

Interestingly, we have mineral oils that are used as lube oils and heat transfer fluids that remain stable at temperatures up to 400°C.  A hydraulic accumulator can retain most of the compression heat that results when its internal gas reservoir heats up.  When it expands, the thermal energy of the gas is converted back into work.  This makes hydraulic accumulators a very efficient way of storing mechanical energy.  How much energy can be stored?  Let us assume a vessel 1m3 in volume, filled with nitrogen at 283K and compressed from 1 bar(a) to 30 bar (a).  I am going to use an online calculator because I am lazy.  But energy stored is given by the formula: E = P1V1 x ln(P2/P1).  This assumes isothermal compression and expansion.
https://www.omnicalculator.com/physics/ … -processes

Energy stored is 411.2KJ/m3.  Final volume is 0.088m3 and temperature is 748K.  We would want to store some of the heat in the oil I think, so our pressure vessel temperature doesn't exceed 673K.  A steel vessel with volume 4m2 could store 0.5kWh of mechanical energy.

If energy is stored as mechanical energy, then we may as well collect it as mechanical energy and use it as mechanical energy.  We could build home wind turbines equipped with piston hydraulic pumps that directly charge the cylinder.  This works better than compressed air, because no compression heat is generated in the turbine.  It is generated entirely within the cylinder, because the liquid oil is incompressible.  We could go a step further and have our fridges, washers and kitchen appliances powered by hydraulic motors whenever mechanical power is needed.  A small electric generator would generate some electric power for loads that can only use electricity, like lighting and electronics.  But putting the fridge, freezer and washers on hydraulic power, eliminates a fair chunk of the electrical load.  We could in fact do something a little more clever.  If we allow the gas to depart from adiabatic conditions, we can use the heat and cold of compression and expansion to provide our hot water, cooking heat and the cooling needed by the freezer.  In this way we can remove about 80% of the electrical load of a typical house.  What remains could be distributed on a 24v supply, or could even use rechargeable batteries.

Hydraulics provides us with a solution for direct use of mechanical energy, that is less cumbersome than direct mechanical couplings.  It is also sustainable in ways that electric systems never could be.  The materials that we need are mostly steel, with mineral oil that is endlessly reused, nitrogen gas (all around us) and some synthetic rubbers for seals.  I think the system would work best if the appliances using hydraulic power are directly under the turbine, in some sort of outhouse.  This allows for the minimum length of pipework.  It could also reduce fire risk to the house, by putting most mechanical equipment and the cooker in an annex outside of the house.  If I were to build such a system from scratch without space limitations, I would put the freezer in a bunker underground, using the soil as partial insulation.  The cooker would be served by an above ground hot rock thermal store, which would be insulated by dry sand and rockwool.

One thing that does make the design of such systems easier is demand management.  It is very difficult and expensive to build renewable energy systems that allow people to use energy without adjusting their behaviour according to the weather.  People could live on wind power alone if they were prepared to adjust their demand such that energy intensive activities are avoided on low wind days.  Part of the solution can be to store energy in hot and cold systems with lots of thermal inertia.  However, there are periods of days where high pressure weather systems can reduce wind power generation to almost zero.  Unless people are able to resort to a diesel generator during those times, there is no affordable way of storing electricity or mechanical power to cover becalmed conditions.  The easiest solution would be to adapt to going without high electric and mechanical power demands during these periods.  Lighting is a relatively easy load with modern LEDs.  A 60W equivelant LED bulb, draws about 9W of power.  Half a dozen of them would require 54W and our 500Wh hydraulic store would cover them for 9 hours.  Even light wind conditions would be sufficient for lighting.

Last edited by Calliban (2023-04-01 14:37:09)


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

Offline

#78 2023-04-01 14:32:11

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 7,606

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

SpaceNut,

We can have EVs, but they cannot be based upon electro-chemical batteries.  The metals required for such batteries are nowhere near plentiful enough.  That doesn't mean we can't devise drastically simplified systems to exploit temperature deltas between hot (very hot water) and cold materials (the atmosphere) using a simple refrigeration loop.  The process is not as-efficient as electrical discharge from an electro-chemical battery, but the overall ease and cost of storage is wildly lower, and sourcing the materials (low alloy steel and purified water) is no problem at all by way of comparison.

The EV design in question contains a tank of water in place of the electro-chemical batteries.  The tank volume needs to be about 10% larger than the actual volume of water it contains, so that the water inside the tank can freeze solid without rupturing the tank.  The tank contains a stainless steel electrical resistive heating element and half of a refrigeration or coolant loop containing an inert gas such as N2 or sCO2.  Outside the tank, in the front of the vehicle, is a large radiator assembly that exchanges heat from the mass of hot water in the tank with the much colder air / atmosphere.  Alternatively, heat can be exchanged with a cold water tank.  However, using the atmosphere as the cold sink is the lightest option.  The heating element heats the water to 250C to "charge" the EV.  The pressure inside the tank increases dramatically, but the water inside remains liquid and the tank is designed to contain the pressure.  The tank's 10% void space / volume can be pressurized with Nitrogen or CO2 inert gas to prevent that void space from filling with water vapor as the tank is heated well beyond the normal boiling point of water.  Thermal power in the form of flowing gas in the heat exchange loop spins a turbine to generate motive power.  A vacuum jacket or mylar insulation is used to keep the hot water hot, for as long as possible.  It will "self-discharge" faster than an electro-chemical battery, but not so fast as to be impractical.  A kevlar blanket will contain the force of a tank rupture and direct the force of the rupture away from the vehicle's interior.  All high-energy systems are potentially dangerous, and this system is no different in that regard.  It will not "burn" or "ignite", but high pressure is very powerful.

Drawbacks
1. It's very heavy because it's a low-energy density system.  Combustion engines are a cut above all types of batteries in the energy density department.  It's not quite as good as the very best Lithium-ion batteries, but still high enough to do useful work.
2. It uses more HSLA steel than a gasoline powered car.  The "fuel tank", much like the "battery pack" of a Tesla, is equal to the weight of a subcompact car.  It's not "better" in the sense of requiring less material, just much lower embodied energy materials that are very plentiful.
3. The tank can explode if it's over-heated / over-pressurized.  A tank rupture would be a very violent event, no different than a boiler rupturing.  There's no fire risk, but it will release scalding hot steam at temperatures comparable to that of an oven- 250C = 482F.  This would also be a very rapid event, so there's no time for passengers or passersby to avoid it.  It will rapidly cool, but not before inflicting serious injury.  As such, operable pressure release valves need to be maintained at all times.  The tank has to be built with a 3.5 safety factor / margin, per ASME's boiler pressure vessel code, which is why it's so heavy.  Special inspections at the time of manufacture and periodic recertification are a hard requirement.  In other words, just as electro-chemical batteries and gasoline can and do explode with great force, so can pressure vessels, and the results can be every bit as violent, with significant risk of injury to bystanders.
4. This system requires additional electrical generating capacity to recharge all these new EVs.  At the end of the day it's an EV, no different than one that runs on batteries.
5. These vehicles require more energy than a much lighter traditional gasoline powered car, so they will still be more expensive while providing less overall performance.  There's a trade-off for everything, and this is the tradeoff made for sake of not burning hydrocarbon fuels.

Benefits
1. It's a truly electrical vehicle, not electronic, thus it can accept input electrical power at any reasonable voltage / amperage / frequency without damage.  Recycling the vehicle is much easier without batteries or electronics and very little in the way of electrical equipment, because it's primarily HSLA steel, Aluminum for the radiator, and greater use of natural materials for the interior.  We can use bamboo "wood" dash and trim panels instead of plastics, Hemp fabric dash / head liner / seat coverings, treated cotton stuffing for cushioning the seats- all stuff that can be easily removed and burned after the car is wrecked or at end-of-life.  The sound deadening material can be bamboo fabric.  The door seals and tires still need to be rubber.  There are no acceptable substitutes for those materials that I'm aware of.  The bumpers need to be HSLA steel, not plastic.  The overriding goal here is permanence, not superficial cheapness.  The steel will be ceramic coated for corrosion resistance well beyond what the various paints presently used could ever provide.
2. It can be recharged any number of times without loosing heat energy capacity.  The degradation mechanisms that apply to electro-chemical batteries and electronics do not apply to it.  After 2,000 or 20,000 or 200,000 charge / discharge cycles, if you heat the water tank to the same temperature, then it contains the exact same amount of heat energy.
3. Range is increased rather than decreased by cold weather, so a car operated in Canada will achieve greater range than a car operated in Arizona.  This is the exact opposite behavior, as compared to all electro-chemical batteries subjected to the same temperatures.
4. It uses the lowest embodied energy cost materials suitable to task, namely HSLA automotive steel, Aluminum for the radiator assembly, and purified / deionized water (the stuff you're supposed to run in your Iron to iron your clothes).
5. The drive train and major parts of the vehicle are purely mechanical, so they can be repaired using hand tools.  No electronics are required to diagnose vehicle problems.  It will have an electrical system for the lights, windshield wipers, and windshield heaters.  A multi-meter is sufficient to troubleshoot electrical problems with those components.  It will use plain hydraulic brakes, manual locks and door handles, and manually operated power valves to increase or decrease flow rate of the gas through the thermal power transfer loop.  When you step on the brake pedal, it closes the valve that transfers power to the traction motors and actuates the valves in the braking system that stops the car.  The car can still have independent traction motors for each wheel, if so desired.

As to the construction of new nuclear reactors, the Democrats keep forcing the nomination of anti-nuclear political appointees to the NRC, to prevent the construction of any new nuclear reactors, or to make it so expensive as to be non-competitive.  A home-sized nuclear reactor makes very little sense.  For starters, most people have no clue about how they work or how to maintain them.  As to one providing electricity for a town or small city, there are solutions available, but again, the Democrat's NRC appointees sole purpose in life is to prevent construction of any new reactors.  The approval of all of President Trump's cabinet appointees was contingent upon the Democrats being permitted to nominate their anti-nuclear appointee to the NRC.  It's purely political / ideological for them.  They don't want people to come to the realization that nuclear power does everything they claimed they were doing with photovoltaics / wind turbines / electro-chemical batteries.  Eventually harsh economic reality will override ideology, hopefully before a violent revolution, but not before more irreversible damage is done.

Offline

#79 2023-04-01 16:20:28

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 3,568

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

Nuclear reactors would achieve all of the emissions reductions that the left want, within a material resource budget that the Earth and humanity could afford.  It will be very difficult and expensive for any combination of intermittant renewables to do the same job.  These energy sources are diffuse and intermittant.  This is why it takes 1-2 orders of magnitude more materials for each GWh of energy harvested.  This is a stubborn problem, because the amount of materials you need per kWh, is inversely proportional to power density.  It is a basic physics problem that is impossible to cheat.  The only solutions are to use materials that are energy cheap, to build systems that are long lived and choose intelligent strategies for managing problems around intermittency.  Avoud storage generally, adjust demand to natch load and store energy as heat in cheap bulk materials.  Much of what I write about with renewable energy on this board is looking for ways of boosting EROI using a combination of these three strategies.  But often this implies deep changes to the way we live and work.  With nuclear reactors, there is power to spare.  And they generate to meet demand.  This will always be a prefarable solution from a consumer viewpoint.

As to the debate around whether SMRs are preferable to large reactors, I am undecided.  Smaller reactors are technically less efficient.  As you scale thermal systems down, there are efficiency losses and you need more materials per kWh.  Smaller reactors have poorer neutron economy and this will negatively effect burnup, required enrichment and conversion ratio.  However, smaller systems can be simpler and can exploit natural heat loss for DHR.  They can also be modular, faster to build and able to exploit scale economies in other ways.  They are also more suited for direct heat applications and can be located closer to demand centres.

On the topic of thermal energy storage for vehicles, storing heat in a hot solid may be better than a steam vessel.  Sensible heat storage in solid avoids the need for a pressure vessel.  Quartz heated to 500°C, would have specific heat of ~1KJ/kg.K.  So 1kg of quartz heated to 500°C, will store 500KJ of heat.  A power cycle that converts heat into work with 30% efficiency, would yield 150KJ of work energy per kg.  That is comparable to lead acid batteries.  The downside of such a vehicle is its relatively poor energy efficiency.  The plus side is that all of the materials used to make it are abundant and recyclable.  A simple heating element can charge the vehicle.

A Tesla 3 with a 50kWh battery has range of 220 miles.  The Tesla Li-ion battery has energy density of 150Wh/kg.  Our heat battery has only about one third of that energy density, unless we develop a more efficient heat engine or we use higher temperatures.  Molten silicon can store 1MWh/m3 of heat.  High temperature thermal energy storage like this could power a ship, a train or maybe even a truck.  But it would be tricky powering something as small as a car, because of the thickness of insulation required.

Last edited by Calliban (2023-04-01 17:01:28)


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

Offline

#80 2023-04-01 20:46:38

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 7,606

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

Calliban,

One potential alternative I've explored is using paraffin wax instead of pure water.

Design considerations for paraffin wax:
1. Specific heat capacity: 3,260J/kg⋅°C vs 4,186J/kg⋅°C for pure water
2. Expands by ~23% when going from solid to liquid, so increased tank volume, but need not be a very stout pressure vessel
3. Boils at 370C vs 100C for pure water
4. Risk of fire with hot wax if it were to escape from the tank, but sealing the wax inside the tank and slightly pressurizing the tank with N2 or CO2 inert gas is one way to mitigate the risk of a fire
5. Costs about $1,100 per metric ton vs a few dollars for pure water
6. Tank will be much cheaper than the HSLA steel required to contain pressurized water at 250C
7. 1,000kg of this alternative material, 275C to 50C, stores 733,500,000J / 203,750Wh of energy
8. Bulk density is 900kg/m^3, so 1,000kg is 1.1m^3.

A paraffin wax "battery" made from 1/4" HSLA would weigh 2,272lbs or 1,031kg (internal tank reinforcement panel every 0.5m), 2mW x 4mL 18cmH.  So, we're already up to 2,000kg, for the "skateboard" portion of the vehicle chassis and paraffin tank alone.  This is for a large SUV type design of the kind Americans prefer.  It is a "commuter" vehicle, but one that has the size and utility that Americans have come to expect.  It will be approximately the same size as a Chevy Tahoe and weigh as much as a Cadillac Escalade ESV.  In other words, it's very heavy.  It will not achieve anywhere near the range of a Tahoe or an Escalade, but it will have zero tailpipe emissions, it uses less steel than the pressurized water tank vehicle, and has the same basic safety issues as a battery pack or internal combustion engine.

This is another compromise solution, which shares the same fire safety issues as all existing vehicles.  We know how to handle vehicle fires, but 1,000kg of paraffin wax is a LOT of fuel- essentially equal to 291 gallons of diesel or jet fuel.  It won't be "on fire" just because it escapes from its tank, but a hit hard enough to rupture the tank and spill the liquid paraffin onto the ground would add considerably to any existing fire.  It is a form of hazmat because it can burn if ignited, even though it's not poisonous to humans or most animals.

Is paraffin wax a good compromise solution that does away with extreme pressures and heavy pressure vessels?

Offline

#81 2023-04-02 14:22:33

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 7,606

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

Relating this back to Mars colonization, these are the sorts of "batteries" that we can readily make from in-situ materials.  They don't require a highly developed and sophisticated manufacturing and supply infrastructure to exist, nor the associated labor pool to make / transport / organize the various bits and pieces of the energy generating and storage solution, which Mars doesn't have and won't have for decades after the first missions and subsequent colonization.  They're fundamentally simple devices, their failure modes are well-understood from prior experience making / using boilers and other heat energy storage and thermal power transfer technology.  They can be used in conjunction with various closed-loop gas turbines, hydraulic motors, and electric traction motors.

If we can make water and Hydrogen Peroxide, as well as an onboard separation / concentration system to separate the HTP from its water diluent which keeps it stable enough for long-term storage, then we can feed that concentrated monopropellant into a catalyst bed and gas turbine to make real power, without separate or cryogenic or highly pressurized oxidizer and fuel storage tanks, using some or all of the remaining water as an open-loop coolant to prevent the engine from melting.  The "fuel" has approximately the same density as diesel fuel.  The fuel has to be kept liquid in the tank to be usable, above 32F / 0C, but that's about the only storage requirement.

Mars has Calcium and Sulfur bearing mineral deposits.  Sulfuric acid can be used to make H2O2.  The Calcium metal is the catalyst which decomposes the H2O2 into high temperature steam.  H2O2 can be synthesized using electro-chemical processes, one of which uses Carbon as the catalyst.  There are known methods to make H2O2 with Carbon Monoxide, for example.  IF you have H2O and CO and electricity, then you can make H2O2.

Production of hydrogen peroxide from carbon monoxide, water and oxygen over alumina-supported Ni catalysts

Novel amorphous Ni–B catalysts supported on alumina have been developed for the production of hydrogen peroxide from carbon monoxide, water and oxygen. The experimental investigation confirmed that the promoter/Ni ratio and the preparation conditions have a significant effect on the activity and lifetime of the catalyst. Among all the catalysts tested, the Ni–La–B/γ-Al2O3 catalyst with a 1:15 atomic ratio of La/Ni, dried at 120 °C, shows the best activity and lifetime for the production of hydrogen peroxide. The deactivation of the alumina-supported Ni–B amorphous catalyst was also studied. According to the characterizations of the fresh and used catalysts by SEM, XRD and XPS, no sintering of the active component and crystallization of the amorphous species were observed. However, it is water poisoning that leads to the deactivation of the catalyst. The catalyst characterization demonstrated that the active component had changed (i.e., amorphous NiO to amorphous Ni(OH)2) and then salt was formed in the reaction conditions. Water promoted the deactivation because the surface transformation of the active Ni species was accelerated by forming Ni(OH)2 in the presence of water. The formed Ni(OH)2 would partially change to Ni3(PO4)2.

Novel amorphous Ni–B catalysts supported on alumina have been developed for the production of hydrogen peroxide from carbon monoxide, water and oxygen. The experimental investigation confirmed that the promoter/Ni ratio and the preparation conditions have a significant effect on the activity and catalytic lifetime. Among all the catalysts tested, the Ni–La–B/Al2O3 catalyst with 1:15 atomic ratio of La/Ni, dried at 120 °C, shows the best activity and lifetime for the production of hydrogen peroxide.

CO + O2 + H2O - Amorphous Nickel Catalyst at 20C and 435psi -> H2O2 + CO2

That work was done about 20 years ago.  There are numerous other parallel process methods for making H2O2 (chemical and electro-chemical).  The H2O2 can be stored in water and then separated prior to being fed into the catalyst bed.  The H2O2 generates power as it decomposes and the remaining water carries away the waste heat from the reaction.

We could do the same thing here on Earth to produce storable chemical fuel from H2O and CO from CO2.  There are no shortages of materials and a myriad of different methods for making the H2O2.  While the "fuel" is less energy dense than gasoline or diesel, as it combines the oxidizer with the fuel, it remains far better than any kind of electro-chemical or thermal battery when it comes to gravimetric and volumetric energy density.

Long story short, we have multiple practical ways of fueling vehicles without producing CO2 emissions.

I have proposed 2 true electric vehicles, one that uses water and the other paraffin wax for thermal power storage.  If the power comes from solar thermal or nuclear thermal, then after the quantities of steel and concrete are produced, there are no further CO2 emissions for about a human lifetime.  In conjunction with this, I have proposed a "de-electronification" reform of process that favors recyclable and non-toxic materials to stem the tide of toxic electronic wastes, most of which are also powered by hydrocarbon fuels.

I have proposed 2 CO2-free fuels ( LNH3 and H2O2) that don't produce CO2 emissions and can be synthesized without CO2 emissions.

I have also proposed synthesis of hydrocarbon fuels for applications that truly require them (aircraft and rockets).

If you want some kind of energy transition to actually happen within our lifetimes, then pick and choose the best methods or applications for each set of technologies and pursue these instead of unattainable electrification goals, which are actually unattainable electronification goals.  A technologically advanced industrialized society cannot run off of electronics using the natural resources that Earth can offer.  There is not enough Copper, Lithium, or rare Earth metals to do that to begin with.  That way is blocked by a lack of materials, energy, and technology that is orders of magnitude insufficient to achieve the stated goal.  The methods and applications I propose do not impose any such limitations.

Whether or not we choose to live under some insufferably stupid scarcity / preservation model that fails to preserve both the natural world and humanity, or an abundance model that uses the most practical available means to achieve our stated ends, is entirely up to us.  It's not written in stone anywhere that using technology must destroy the environment or that we have to use the most consumptive and destructive methods to feed / house / clothe / educate  / otherwise take care of ourselves.  The only people who think otherwise don't have the engineering education to know what they're talking about, or their groupies who glom onto ideas based upon aesthetics and ideology.  If you're truly after real solutions, those are the very last sorts of people you should look to for solutions.  Apart from expressing their displeasure with how they view the world as it presently is, they haven't presented any viable alternatives.  Most of us are not going to live in caves or mud huts the way the Neanderthals did, where every day was a struggle just to survive the day.  We're not going to live in "luxury communism", either, because no such thing exists.

No single person or idea is "the solution".  I certainly don't have all the answers.  That's why I present multiple realistic alternatives.  I have an approximate idea of what "right looks like" when it comes to the application of energy generating and storage technologies.  That's how I can tell that an electro-chemical battery that requires Lithium will never be a globally scalable technology, unless we find enormous quantities of Lithium some other place besides Earth.  That is why some solutions are much better than others, only certain solutions are actually desirable, and others have so many underlying problems with them that it's difficult to know where to start.  I can tell you that the longer and more complex your supply chain and technical knowledge to operate it, the greater the constraints on how and where a technology can be used.  That's why we can put a nuclear reactor on a ship, but powering a personal car with a reactor is a non-starter.  There's someone out there who could feasibly make it work for their uses, probably a nuclear engineer, but vanishingly few others could do the same.  That's where appropriate use of technology and materials comes into play, and what we seem to be lacking.

Offline

#82 2023-04-02 18:55:19

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 3,568

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

Hydrogen peroxide is an interesting possibility.  There have been explosions caused by catalytic decomposition in the past.  But this is more of a hazard with high test peroxide.  Water solute adds heat capacity that tends to dampen any thermal runaway.  Careful control of contaminants is important to eliminate anything that could serve as a catalyst.  A fuel storage tank needs to be stainless steel to avoid corrosion.  Copper and nickel surfaces must be avoided, as these act as catalysts for decomposition.  But with proper precautions, this is a fuel that can be dispensed as a liquid like gasoline.  Concentration is key.  We want enough water to dampen unwanted reactions, but not so much that we dillute energy density unnecesarily.  I don't know what the magic number is.  The pure substance releases 2.8MJ/kg through decomposition.  If we assume 50% water by weight (74% water by mol fraction) then energy density is reduced to 1.4MJ/kg.  If burned in an engine that is 30% efficient, then we get 0.42MJ/kg, or 0.12kWh/kg.  That is comparable to a nickel hydride battery and a little less than a Li-ion battery at ~0.2kWh/kg.  But the fuel tank gets lighter as it empties.  The batteries do not.

Peroxide can also be used as part of a bipropellant.  We could burn ammonia or methanol with peroxide.  The advantage that peroxide would then give us, in addition to its own decomposition energy, is an extremely high effective compression ratio.  We are not reliant on air as a source of oxidiser, so there are no energy losses from compression.  Both fuel and oxidiser would be injected as liquids into the combustion chamber.  The engine can have a very high effective power-weight ratio.

MIT have developed a new process for making h2o2.
https://news.mit.edu/2019/mit-process-c … laces-1023

As a side benefit, hydrogen peroxide water mixtures remain liquid far beneath the freezing point of pure water and the waxing point of diesel.  This is something that can be used in cold environments, like on Mars.  At typical Martian temperatures, the tank need not be pressurised.  That makes it much easier to fill up, because even at low Martian atmospheric pressure, a standard fuel pump could be used.  The saturation pressure of water at 0°C is about 6mbar.  So Martian atmospheric pressure is sufficient to prevent boiling.

Hydrogen peroxide can be produced through the electrolytic breakdown of perchlorate ions.
https://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/acs.iecr.1c04845

Last edited by Calliban (2023-04-02 20:03:01)


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

Offline

#83 2023-04-02 20:27:37

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 7,606

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

Calliban,

If we feed in 50/50 mixes of H2O2/H2O, it's 260Wh/kg using a 70% efficient expansion turbine.  Tesla battery packs, not the batteries themselves, which are not used by themselves, are 160Wh/kg.  I'm sure some types of cells can do better, but 60% better than that?  Going back to our alternatively powered train, which actually generates 79,500,000Wh of energy from its 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel, we then need 305,770kg of 50/50 H2O2/H2O mix.  That's ~254.8m^3 of 50/50 mix.  We can use DOT-111 tanker cars for storing H2O2/H2O with no modifications, since they're already used for storing H2O2, and each tanker car holds just shy of 114m^3.  Given the size and weight of the catalyst bed and expansion turbine, a train so-powered would not be appreciably larger or heavier by having 2 DOT-111 tanker cars.  The steam-driven turbopumps of 1950s rocket engines could provide several thousand horsepower or more, using catalyst beds and turbopumps smaller than a V8 engine.  H2O2 was used to spin turbopumps to feed bi-propellants into rocket engines.  We'd need appropriate shafting and gearing to increase torque to the wheels, but this is still a mechanically simple device.

Offline

#84 2023-04-03 03:41:54

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 3,568

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

Kbd512, at least one other person has had the same idea.
https://eagle-research.com/echo-fuels/h … e-as-fuel/

He notes that the engine will be compact and lightweight.  The reduced energy density of H2O2 is therefore compensated by a far more compact engine.  Interestingly, h2o2 can be used in combination with another fuel.  Methanol perhaps?

3(H2O2 +3H2O) + CH3OH = CO2 + 14H2O

dHc = 3MJ/kg bipropellant.

I think the problem with H2O2 is that at a safe concentration it has greatly inferior energy density to most chemical fuels.  Complete combustion of methanol in air will yield 22.69MJ/kg fuel.  That is about 50x the energy per unit mass of our 25% mol fraction H2O2 solution.  Diesel has about double the mass energy density of methanol.

I think methanol offers a lot of advantages as a fuel.  It is the easiest synthetic fuel to synthesise from scratch from CO2 and H2O.  It is a storable liquid at room temperature.  Its toxicity is comparable to gasoline.  It can be burned in conventional ICEs, if we remove aluminium components.  We can also react it with pyrolysis oils to produce synthetic diesel.  There are direct methanol fuel cells that can be used to generate offgrid power for small devices.  Efficiency is around 30%, but they are mechanically simpler than small ICEs.

So once again, we are drawnback to synthesis of hydrocarbons from recycled CO2.  Ammonia is another alternative, but has slightly lower energy density that methanol, must be stored under pressure and its vapours are irritant.  But a synthetic fuel system based on ammonia would be more energy efficient than methanol or synthetic hydrocarbons, if we could tolerate its other problems.

Any process producing methanol will also generate dimethyl ether.  This can be used in diesel engines with little modification.  But like ammonia, it must be stored under pressure.  It has similar vapour pressure to propane.

Last edited by Calliban (2023-04-03 04:35:39)


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

Offline

#85 2023-04-03 06:19:44

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 18,127

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

For Calliban re #84

You've been talking about the advantages of methanol and dimethyl ether for a long time.  I bought a book you recommended and started a topic about the contents of the book, which is pending continuation because other interests came along to consume my time.

Since you inspired me to buy that book, we now have a Small Modular Reactor designed and approved by the US Atomic Energy Agency in the 50 Megawatt configuration.  Since this design is now approved in the United States, I presume it would be accepted in other Nations.  It should be possible for you to estimate the total cost of a plant to make methanol and dimethyl ether using that 50 MW plant, and figure out whether the financing could be paid back with income based upon current prices of these products. 

Theory goes a long way in this forum.  I would like to see a bit more practical accomplishment.

Can you work out a solution that would pay for itself in some reasonable number of years, assuming patient investors such as pension funds?  Pension funds do not need the massive returns that venture capitalists require.  They need enough income over 100 years to stay ahead of inflation, with a small buffer to cover expenses.

You know how to make methanol and dimethyl ether.  You know how to use power from a reactor.  Can you put that knowledge into an economically justifiable framework that the members of this forum would find plausible?

If you can do that, then you are a short distance from publishing your vision in the wider media.

(th)

Offline

#86 2023-04-03 06:20:02

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 3,568

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

More here on cable drawn tram systems.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cable_car_(railway)

These were once widely used, but were eventually displaced as electrically powered systems were cheaper to build and operate.  San Francisco is the only major city to still use them for mass transit.  There has been a limited revival of these systems since the 1990s.  But this revival is for slow moving trains in leisure facilities.  The hoist gear needed for street tram systems is shown in the wiki article and it is extensive.

If we needed to build a non-electrical and non-fossil propelled transit system, cables are probably the way we would choose to go and indeed, before electricity was established, cable propulsion was extensive, with a long list of cities equipped with cable railways.  If the intention is to power transportation using renewable energy, then directly harnessed mechanical wind power could drive a system like this.  Because wind speed varies, we would probably need a gear box and some sort of mechanical brake to prevent overspeed at high wind speeds.  The mechanical brake would generate heat which can be put into a district heat network.

Compared to the early 20th century, we have better steels now and carbon fibres which could provide high strength cores for tensile cables.  So cables and hoists could be lighter, which would cut down costs.  Hydraulics are also a lot more advanced, allowing for energy storage and hydraulic power transmission between a wind turbine and a hydraulic motor on the hoists.  Hydraulic accumulators can be built as raised pistons within a sleeve containing hydraulic fluid.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydraulic_power_network

If electricity becomes difficult due to shortages of copper and other rare metals, hydraulics provides one of several options for mechanical transmission of power.  The technology has advanced considerably over the past century.  It would be entirely practical to install hydraulic power networks covering entire cities.  Large parts of London were covered by hydraulic power transmission networks, before the invention of the AC grid.  Maybe it is time for a revival of hydraulic systems.

Before the age of electricity, many factories used a rotating line shaft, which would run the length of the building and would be coupled to a water wheel or steam engine.  Individual machines would draw power from the shaft using belts.  Some line shaft systems are still used in America.  But after the 1920s, they began to fall out of favour because the leather belts were maintenance intensive and the need to locate machines along the line tended to constrain factory layouts.  Belts were cumbersome and sometimes dangerous.  The heavy iron shafts and pulleys also lost power due to friction.  Electricity allowed factory layouts to be optimised for better work efficiency.  In the 21st century, hydraulic systems provide a mechanical power transmission option that wasn't sufficiently developed when electricity displaced line shafts.  This could potentially tip the balance back in favour of mechanical power transmission, especially if electrical systems become more difficult to supply.  Hydraulics provides all of the layout advantages of electrical systems and often gives better overall power density and cheaper systems.  There is potential for mixed mode machinery, with electrical actuation of hydraulic prime movers.  This allows hydraulics to power cnc machines and even complex devices like 3d printers.

Hydraulic systems allow the use of mechanical forms of renewable energy to be used to provide direct mechanical power, without prior conversion into electricity.  Wind, wave, hydro and tidal power, are all kinetic forms of energy and can be converted into hydraulic flows.  In Britain, wind and wave power are plentiful.  Wind machines could be built around the periphery of towns and cities.  We would build a deliberate excess of capacity, with excess energy producing heat in mechanical brakes feeding district heat networks.  Power could also be stored in raised reservoirs or raised pistons.  These would dampen short term fluctuations in power generation and demand.  The distribution network would be carbon steel pipes.  These would run under or over streets.  Houses could be served by hydraulic power supply to appliances like washing machines, fridges, freezers, heat pumps and mechanical tools.  Even cooking energy can be supplied by using hydraulic power to turn an impellor within an oil bath, generating high heat by friction.  Hydraulic supply of mechanical power would reduce electrical power demands to levels that could reasonably be met using an offgrid home solar system.  Such systems are far more viable if daily electrical energy requirements can be reduced by 80%.
**********************************************************************

Additional: Some free hydraulics text books.
https://archive.org/details/hydraulic-e … 0practice/

Kris DeDecker's article 'Water Power Networks'.
https://www.resilience.org/stories/2016 … -networks/

Hydraulic wind turbines
https://www.tudelft.nl/en/3me/about/dep … -turbines/
https://www.machinedesign.com/markets/e … d-turbines

Ground breaking energy storage
https://escovale.com/downloads/GBES-01-Introduction.pdf

Also, a more practical option for powering electric transit.  Electrification without catenaries.
https://www.masstransitmag.com/rail/art … light-rail

Presumably, a similar ground level power supply would work for main line trains as well.  If third rails could be activated so that a section is only live when the train is present, it would solve a lot of safety problems.

Last edited by Calliban (2023-04-03 08:53:28)


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

Offline

#87 2023-04-03 09:21:44

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 7,606

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

tahanson43206 wrote:

Theory goes a long way in this forum.  I would like to see a bit more practical accomplishment.

Anyone who has a viable business plan is probably not talking to random people on internet forums about the details of their business plan.

tahanson43206 wrote:

You know how to make methanol and dimethyl ether.  You know how to use power from a reactor.  Can you put that knowledge into an economically justifiable framework that the members of this forum would find plausible?

The viability of Calliban's proposal is not dependent upon what forum members here think, unless they're also billionaire investors or hedge fund managers who are looking to put their money into his ideas.

tahanson43206 wrote:

If you can do that, then you are a short distance from publishing your vision in the wider media.

Anyone can post a YouTube video with their ideas, provided it's not censored because it runs afoul the political or economic interests of those in power.

Offline

#88 2023-04-03 09:35:54

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 18,127

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

For Calliban re #86

Thank you for the link you provided to a long article about alternative to overhead electric transit lines ...

I noticed your observation that it would be safer if power were NOT supplied to the third "rail" when the train is absent, and it appears that all four of the solutions described in the article implement this sensible policy.

Catenary-less Solutions
All of these issues are solved by a catenary-less system. With the power source in the ground rather than above, there are fewer costs to install and maintain an electrically powered train. Safety is less an issue, because catenary-less systems do not supply power when the tram isn’t present (making them safe for pedestrians and other vehicles), and because the lines cannot be brought down by inclement weather or line breaks. Finally, urban centers are visually enhanced by the absence of lines and poles, thereby creating a more pleasing environment.

In the city where I live, at one time, trolley service was well established and very popular.  There are still a few remnant buildings from that era and from time to time I see reports of groups wanting to save them from demolition.  The current public transportation system consists entirely of rubber wheeled independently powered vehicles of all sizes.  In recent years, a few vehicles have been converted to natural gas. 

One of the four options described in the article you referenced caught my eye as potentially of interest to the civic leaders here. That one serves rubber wheeled vehicles with a hybrid system consisting of batteries in the vehicles and high speed charging platforms that use induction power transfer at the regular stops along the line.  The power flowing to the recharging stations at the regular stops could also provide heat for passengers waiting for vehicles, if that were considered desirable.  All four systems only deliver power when a vehicle is overhead, so I would expect the recharge at stop system to be the same.  A delay to top off the vehicle might be built into the transit time table. 

This community won a competition to try advanced (new-fangled) transit systems, so there might be some interest in exploring this option.  I'll give some thought to the possibility there might be some interest in considering a change from the present all hydrocarbon based system to a hybrid electric system.

Thanks again for the link!

(th)

Offline

#89 2023-04-03 09:59:43

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 3,568

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

TH, diesel fuel is averaging about $3.5/gallon in the US at the time I am writing.
https://www.eia.gov/petroleum/gasdiesel/

That is 92 cents per litre, which contains 11kWh of stored energy, or 8.4 cents per kWh.  That doesn't sound too bad, until you realise that to produce a synthetic fuel at that price, we have to start with something like 20kWh of electricity.  And then we pay for the capital, maintenance and operating costs for CO2 capture, electrolysis and chemical reactors.  It can be done, but it is very difficult to do it at a price point that would be competitive with legacy fossil fuels over an entire economic cycle.  If fuel prices dip during a recession, you lose money until they rise again, or you go bankrupt, whichever comes first.

If people want clean synthetic fuels or other options for sustainable transportation, there are technical options for getting it done.  But these options are likely to be more expensive than a fuel that we dig out of the ground and refine.  It would take some very impressive scale economies to seriously under price diesel from any natural source of oil.  It isn't something you can just demonstrate with a start up.  Groups like Lucid Catalyst have presented plans for nuclear powered synfuel synthesis that will compete with oil products at prices above $50/barrel.  But the scale economies required are enormous, many thousands of reactors in the 100MWe class would be needed to do this.  They are arranged in hundreds of modular offshore rigs, that such up seawater for cooling and feedstock.  I am impressed by their plan.  I don't think I can better it.

If this sort of analysis tells us anything, it should tell us what a wonderful gift we were given with naturally occuring liquid fuels.  We can produce thinfs synthetically that are almost as good.  But they are rarely as cheap.  And in a price competitive environment, everyone pays lip service to environmental goals.  But these goals tend to hit a brick wall when serious financial capital is concerned.
********************************

Regarding direct electrification, in this case we are drawing power directly from the grid and using it in AC or DC motors with high efficiency.  No storage is implied and no energy transitions.  On high use tracks, direct electricity competes well with diesel, provided there is sufficient transit volume to cover the capital and maintenance cost of electrification infrastructure.  This infrastructure has non-trivial financial and embodied energy cost.  But on mainline railways it is usually worthwhile.  For suburban passenger rail, noise and air pollution from diesel trains are an important consideration as well.

In the UK, the SE England has an extensive third rail network.  Every year, about half a dozen people get fried on it and maybe twice that number get injured from shocks.  Because the power supply is DC, it tends to lock people onto it during a shock event.  Whether or not it is survivable depends upon whether the individual falls onto or off of the rail by gravity, or is rescued by someone nearby.  Most electrocutions are trespassers who aren't aware of the danger.  I knew a chap who worked on the railway and had been injured by a third rail shock.  He changed jobs not long afterwards.  It left him with burns and muscle damage in his leg.  New third rail electrification is banned by network rail, largely because of safety concerns.  But there are other problems with it.  Resistance losses are higher, because it relies on high current.  Also, at 750v, trains can draw a maximum of 3MW (4000HP) from the track.  That implies a scary 5000 amp current!  Those power levels are adequate for passenger trains, but are generally considered less than ideal for freight trains.  Third rail is also limited to speeds of ~100mph.  That is OK for suburban rail, but for intercity, faster would be better.  The economics of rail electrification are complicated.  Because of the voltage drop with such high currents, transformer stations must be spaced 1-3 miles apart.  That is a significant capital cost.  And I doubt that better switching will improve the problem dramatically.  Catenary electrification has been carried out at a range of voltages, up to about 30,000v.  Power transmission is more efficient, but the cable must be held about 15' above the track to eliminate the possibility of shocks.  Catenary shocks are rarely survivable.  Victims are  often chared beyond recognition.

The low voltage DC ground level electrification scheme applied in Bordeaux, is being slowly rolled out in other places.  It largely solves the safety problems of third rail.  Within the context of a light street railway, the shortfalls of third rail are less problematic, as trains move slowly and carriages tend to be light.  But ultimately we want suburban railways to multi-task and provide freight transportation as well.  Whether third rail can do that is questionable.

Last edited by Calliban (2023-04-03 10:32:46)


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

Offline

#90 2023-04-03 10:34:51

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 18,127

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

For Calliban re theme of "what's the hurry"

Your correspondence covers such a wide range that I am never sure where you are in a particular day.

In post #89, it sure comes across to me that (for this post standing alone) that there is no hurry about converting away from fuels dug out of the ground.

In post #89, it comes across to me that there is no risk of global temperatures rising to the point that all ice melts at both poles, and all mountains.

A human being who is about to be put to death used to be given a choice of whatever they might desire for their last meal.  Such a person might chose an expensive entree, a fine wine, and all the side dishes to match.

In the present circumstance, such a person might chose to pay $3.50 per gallon for diesel fuel.

Thanks for the reminder, for me and (hopefully) other readers of this public forum, that there is an argument to be made for continuing to pull hydrocarbons out of the ground and spew CO2 (and particulates) into the atmosphere.  After all, the atmosphere is thought by some to be infinite in carrying capacity, and if water rises in the oceans, those who live inland don't have anything to worry about.

On the other hand, if I catch you on a day when you are pessimistic about the future of the planet and economic systems in particular, then the option of investing now to produce fuels we need now and will need in the future without pulling them from the ground might seem attractive.

I'll say it again ... pension funds are NOT in the business of short term investing.  They ** have ** to plan for the long term, and 3.50 per gallon diesel from ground sources may not look feasible to sustain in that time period.

Pension funds don't pay interest to a bank or anyone else... they invest to make a return so they can pay out to their beneficiaries.

Please remove the cost of financing from your calculations and try again.

(th)

Offline

#91 2023-04-03 10:53:44

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 7,606

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

Calliban,

I think we're going to do nothing, or nothing effective.  Regardless, there are effective solutions on offer.  After this battery madness falls flat on its face for lack of materials and energy, then we can work on realistic solutions if there's anything left to work with.

Offline

#92 2023-04-03 10:57:13

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 3,568

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

TH, there is an argument to be made for using fossil fuels.  If the alternative is more costly, then it has a direct impact upon human wealth and living standards.  That will in turn effect quality of life and for at least some people, it will effect the length of their lives as well.  That isn't to say we shouldn't be developing alternatives and that the negative effects of burning those fuels are not real.  But the decision to subsidise alternatives or force people to use them, needs to be carefully balanced.  It is a complicated decision, because once developed it is entirely possible that the synthetic fuels would be superior from the viewpoint of energy security, planetary protection, as well as channeling wealth into a domestic industry.  But if you are asking society to take a near term hit to their prosperity based upon some potential benefits in the future, you will inevitably have a lot of explaining to do.  And there will be sceptics who doubt the efficacy of your programme and the reality of the problems you are trying to solve.  That is life.  It is human nature.  And the sceptics aren't always wrong.

Last edited by Calliban (2023-04-03 10:59:23)


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

Offline

#93 2023-04-03 11:35:32

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 18,127

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

For Calliban .... thanks for continuing the conversation in post #92

May I offer a solution to the dilemma?  Please consider NOT shouldering the responsibility for the fate of the human race.  There are people who are paid to do that. What those folks are ** not ** are engineers with decades of experience.  Those folks are dependent upon ** real ** engineers giving them options to consider.

If you can make a buck from folks who you think are out of their minds, because they are trying to think for the long term, why not make a buck?

All I've suggested is costing out a solution to employ a 50 MW SMR to make methanol and dimethyl ether.

You would have to do some work, but clearly you are NOT someone who is afraid of work.

You would have to invest some time, and ** that ** is a resource that is dear to everyone, and this request may not rise to the threshold needed. 

I am more than willing to send a reasonable looking proposal to the heads of various pension plans in the US.  It is possible there is nothing comparable in the UK.  I have no way of knowing.

The point is, these folks CANNOT consider a proposal they cannot see.

(th)

Offline

#94 2023-04-03 11:37:16

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 3,568

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

kbd512 wrote:

Calliban,

I think we're going to do nothing, or nothing effective.  Regardless, there are effective solutions on offer.  After this battery madness falls flat on its face for lack of materials and energy, then we can work on realistic solutions if there's anything left to work with.

Most likely.  High interest rates are already culling a lot of sacred cow ESG projects.  The low rate environment of the past 15 years has channeled a lot of cash into pet projects that won't be sustainable when real world economic conditions reassert themselves.  A lot of people confused the short term benefits allowed by low rates with some fundamental technological change that had made previously uneconomic solutions appear viable.  They weren't aware that they were living in a bubble.

Continuing with low rates will destroy the value of money.  Allowing rates to rise severely curtails investment into capital intensive systems (renewables and over-regulated nuclear).  A lot of much beloved ESG projects are headed for the scrapper.  A clear breaking point will come if China ceases to be a mass manufacturer of commodities and low cost products.  The Chinese situation as the world's largest bulk exporter, is another bubble that we know is on borrowed time and cannot continue for more than a little while longer.  Peter Zeihan thinks this is their last decade.  I am in no position to second guess, but everyone can see they have big problems.  Their demographic situation is terminal.  Their energy situation is precarious.  Their geopolitical position makes them hostage to supply lines which are disintegrating and they don't have the power to enforce.  Their internal debt problems are huge and all the worse for not being transparent.  A collapse would seem inevitable.  But even a terminal patient won't necessarily drop dead immiediately.  Sometimes they surprise you with their ability to limp on.

In a more disconnected world, we need to think about systems we can build with local resources.  We are going to need a lot of ingenuity to survive with reasonable living standards.


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

Offline

#95 2023-04-03 11:44:16

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 7,606

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

tahanson43206,

We're going to continue to pull fuel out of the ground because it's the cheapest option by far.  Calliban already alluded to that fact.  Other alternatives have been presented here, but we're right back to discussing how to burn more fuel.  All the options I presented were a way to do a lot less of that, but this thread has drifted like all others.  I'm totally fine with that, so long as we quit pretending that we're "saving the planet" from "evil CO2", or that this space rock we live on needs to be saved from / by humans.  Every species changes its environment.  We're the only species with members who behave as if the environment should remain unchanged forever.  Birds fly south during the winter, rather than insisting that the northern latitudes have year-round temperatures more to their liking.  People who live near oceans have 50 to 100 years to move to higher ground before any dramatic ocean rise occurs, assuming it happens at all.  Banks keep handing out home loans for ocean front property, so not even the finance sector thinks climate change is real.

Why are there never any complaints about all the plants spewing Oxygen and other particulates into the air?

Why do we instead complain about spewing the CO2 that plants need for their survival, into the air?

The plants certainly aren't complaining about that.

It's the same CO2 that was present in Earth's atmosphere back when our scientists assert that the Earth had the greatest amount of biodiversity at any point in time in its history.  We're transforming the Earth back into a warm and lush tropical paradise which created the most biodiversity in Earth's entire history.  Far worse things could happen.  If some people are inconvenienced by humans burning fuel to prevent the extinction of most life, that's a small price to pay.  During the last ice age, the CO2 level was so low that if it dipped just a little lower, then it would've extinguished most plant life on Earth, and by extension most of animal life.

Humanity came along and prevented that catastrophic loss of almost all life by burning things.  That helped us get to the point where some of us became so affluent and wanted for so little that they could afford to sit around and play with computer models all day long.  The environment changes because it does.  What causes it is irrelevant to how you choose to deal with it.  All the people who move right back to the coast after a hurricane wipes out the area is proof of that.  Some of us are very stubborn.  That's also why humanity is still here.

Offline

#96 2023-04-03 11:54:04

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 3,568

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

tahanson43206 wrote:

For Calliban .... thanks for continuing the conversation in post #92

May I offer a solution to the dilemma?  Please consider NOT shouldering the responsibility for the fate of the human race.  There are people who are paid to do that. What those folks are ** not ** are engineers with decades of experience.  Those folks are dependent upon ** real ** engineers giving them options to consider.

If you can make a buck from folks who you think are out of their minds, because they are trying to think for the long term, why not make a buck?

All I've suggested is costing out a solution to employ a 50 MW SMR to make methanol and dimethyl ether.

You would have to do some work, but clearly you are NOT someone who is afraid of work.

You would have to invest some time, and ** that ** is a resource that is dear to everyone, and this request may not rise to the threshold needed. 

I am more than willing to send a reasonable looking proposal to the heads of various pension plans in the US.  It is possible there is nothing comparable in the UK.  I have no way of knowing.

The point is, these folks CANNOT consider a proposal they cannot see.

(th)

You mean like this?
https://www.epri.com/research/programs/ … 3002018348

Brighter minds than mine have grappled with this problem.  This report is about a year old, but I remember the same people publishing more detailed plans back in 2015.  Here we are, 7.5 years later and very little seems to have changed.  Very little investment is taking place.  Most people do not have a clue as to what is going on.  Money flows into 'renewables' because they are trendy.  Nuclear regulatory bodies have made new nuclear development long winded and expensive for anyone brave enough to try.  Something clearly needs to change.  But I don't think there can be technological development until we decide to change as a culture.


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

Offline

#97 2023-04-03 11:54:18

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 7,606

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

Calliban,

Lucky for us, the world still has some people like you in it, which can evaluate proposed solutions on their technical merits to decide which ones show the most promise.  We have enough people with enough education to solve technical problems, should we decide that we have an actual problem for them to solve.  I'm not worried about this aspect of humanity.  The sooner we can clear away these useless ideologically-held "false realities", the better.

Offline

#98 2023-04-03 13:28:12

Terraformer
Member
From: The Fortunate Isles
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,857
Website

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

Please consider NOT shouldering the responsibility for the fate of the human race.  There are people who are paid to do that.

HA! There are no such people. At least, no such people who have the mind built for such a task. The Future Of Humanity guys are obsessed with the rise of the Machine God. The UN's people are ill chosen, and at any rate have specific areas and are funded by countries that have interests, not friends. Those in national governments likewise are hired to think only of their nation's future.

Perhaps less than one witch a generation is suited to take the world as her steading. It's a very unusual combination of traits, and intelligence is only part of it. Many people smarter, perhaps much smarter, than me are either myopic, arrogant, or both. Saruman was greater than Gandalf, and yet. Who, in public life, would you trust to be a Wallfacer?


Use what is abundant and build to last

Offline

#99 2023-04-03 18:45:16

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 18,127

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

For Calliban re #96

Thank you for the link to this report!

I've scanned it enough to realize this is a document worth careful study.

It contains historical data that I had not seen before, such as the US Army supply of 10 MW from a ship in the Panama Canal Zone while onshore facilities were being renovated/improved.

(th)

Offline

#100 2023-04-03 19:28:23

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 29,306

Re: Why the Green Energy Transition Won’t Happen

Agreement on materials Stellantis: Earth May Not Have Enough Lithium To Replace EVery ICE With an EV

Ev's are 40% higher in cost so getting more being bought will slow the requirement for the materials and cause it to be extended beyond the dates to full switch over.

Then again Mitt Romney calls new bike lanes 'the height of stupidity' as bicyclists press Congress to make roads safer and e-bikes cheaper

Lots less materials and one can downsize the number of materials to make them more weather capable for all year-round use.

Offline

Board footer

Powered by FluxBB