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#276 2022-10-21 17:36:21

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 6,338

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

Calliban,

I have empirical values from actual installations on how much steel and concrete are required per TWh of power produced per year using data gathered from actual solar thermal implementations, so then I can work backwards from there to determine how many millions of tons of steel and concrete are required to produce TeraWatt-hours of power per day, in order to obtain the CO2, turn it into Methane, and then Propane.

Having real-world data on the demonstrated performance of existing systems and technologies, already deployed at utility scale for many years, is how I can "know" that something will perform as-advertised.  To me, this kind of performance data and analysis is better than all the theoretical possibilities in the world.  This assumes that the end goal is to derive a practical solution sustainable into perpetuity, rather than a wish-list of competing funding priorities.

165 million metric tons of steel is required to generate about 6.875TWh of electricity per day.  I need 66,000t of steel to generate 1TWh of electricity per year.  I multiplied by 365, so I need 24,090,000t of steel to generate 1TWh of electricity per day.  I multiplied again by the amount of power I expect I need to generate to capture (CO2) or synthesize (CH4 / C3H8) the required quantities of output products, based upon what we could expect in terms of average daily consumption rates with the types of passenger vehicles I had in mind.  I then used the data I've collected about existing catalytic processes and figures from industrial scale operation of those processes.  We're mostly using thermal power and generating a limited set of short-chain hydrocarbon products, so that we don't lose so much of the power in the conversion processes.

3,465,000,000,000,000Wh in steel (at 21,000Wh/kg of steel) / 6,875,000,000,000Wh of electricity generated per day = 504 days (if we were only generating / converting to electricity from the solar trough concentrators)

I need a very similar tonnage of concrete as well.

My SWAG is that 3 years of continuous operation is required before all the energy invested into the materials is paid back, in full.  Say it only operates for 25 years instead of the 40+ years of service life that NREL's metal-based reflectors have already demonstrated.  That's an 8X gain.  If it operates for 40 years, that's a 13X gain, and 75 years would be a 25X gain in output.

It's not like these fuel synthesis plants, which will be located in several different states, need to be built in a year.  I expect it'll take 10 years or more to construct, but we need to start while energy, capital, and labor are still available.  My first order of business is to replace gasoline with Propane, and unsustainable personal transport with sustainable personal transport.  America presently consumes about 369 million gallons of gasoline per day.  Replacing gasoline with Propane, and diesel truck engines with spark-ignited Propane burners, will be a monumental achievement all by itself.  While that work is in-progress, we're going to work on replacing kerosene / jet fuel with Propane.  We already have LNG-powered ships, so I presume that those can be Propane-powered as well.

I'm aware that none of this will be easy and it'll probably take more time and cost more money than we think it will, but at least it's technically feasible to do without running afoul of various basic math and physics issues, which is more than I can say for the photovoltaics / wind turbines / batteries.

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#277 2022-10-21 18:08:13

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 27,140

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

Tell that to Tesla Energy Generation And Storage Business

Tesla Energy revenues increased 38.6% year-over-year to $1,117 million (5.2% of the total revenues), while the cost of revenues stands at $1,013 million. Tesla reports that its battery energy storage systems deployment increased 62% year-over-year to a new quarterly record of 2,100  MWh.

AA13bauT.img?w=768&h=362&m=6

Tesla offers three main types of ESS products:

Powerwall for home installations (13.5 kWh usable / 7 kW peak / 5 kW continuous per unit)
Powerpack for commercial installations (Up to 232 kWh / Up to 130 kW per unit)
Megapack (3 MWh units the largest project by utilities)

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#278 2022-10-21 19:00:26

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 6,338

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

SpaceNut,

Tesla's energy storage business is the energy equivalent to pissing lighter fluid on a forest fire.  You're obviously having some effect on the fire, but it's not actually helping anything and won't stop the fire from incinerating you.  Compared to how much stored energy the US uses per day, everything that Tesla has produced to date is almost too small to measure.

2,100,000,000Wh <- This is how much energy storage Tesla deployed over 3 months
23,333,333Wh <- This is how much energy storage Tesla deployed per day
12,435,300,000,000Wh <- This is how much gasoline energy we use per day for passenger vehicles alone
532,941 <- The multiple of the amount of energy US passenger cars use every day, as compared to the amount of energy storage Tesla deployed over 3 months

Teslas are only 25% to 50% more energy efficient than non-optimized combustion-powered vehicles, except that they're nowhere close to that after the embodied energy cost of the batteries is taken into consideration.

266,470.5 <- That's the average daily energy storage demand multiple (of what Tesla actually created per day in their best quarter) for US passenger vehicles to use electricity alone, while completely ignoring the energy used to create the batteries in the first place.

It takes 100 barrels of oil of input energy to create 1 barrel of oil of energy equivalent, in the form of Lithium-ion batteries.

Can you spot the energy deficit discrepancy there?

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#279 2022-10-22 00:25:35

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 6,338

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

Calliban,

I overestimated the energy consumption associated with a low carbon steel, but we'll presume that my over-estimate on the steel's embodied energy would then be applied to the shipment of materials, fabrication processes, manufacturing equipment, etc, since all of that could entail substantial embodied energy.

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#280 2022-10-22 08:08:32

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 27,140

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

Comparing global to a local or personal use is just as you said a drop in the bucket for what can be delivered from the sun. So why would we need to create more when that much is arriving every second and then some to earth.
Oh, it's because it's not an AC power source that allows you to plug in devices to a grid.

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#281 2022-10-22 16:01:08

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 6,338

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

SpaceNut,

My gasoline consumption figures were for the United States only, meaning no other countries.  America alone consumes 369 million gallons of gasoline PER DAY.  If you believe the hype, then a Tesla is anywhere between 25% to 50% more efficient than the combustion engines they replace.  That means the energy supplied by electricity must be equivalent to between 184.5 (50% more efficient) and 276.75 (only 25% more efficient) million gallons of gasoline.  Real world studies on Teslas operated in California say that they're only 23% more efficient than combustion engines, well-to-wheels (all energy inputs and outputs accounted for in the real physical world, in a place called "California", not some non-existent theoretical world or an alternate universe where this universe's physics don't apply).

That implies that the energy equivalent contained within 276.75 million gallons of gasoline will be required to truly "replace" the energy from gasoline for passenger cars ALONE (meaning, exclusive of all trucks, farming equipment, ships, aircraft, and electric power generating turbines that use coal or gas as their fuel source), in America ALONE (meaning, ignoring gasoline consumption of passenger cars from all other countries on planet Earth).  If 100% of Americans were driving Tesla battery powered cars, then we would need to supply the energy equivalent, in terms of gasoline consumption, of the energy contained within 276.75 million gallons of gasoline, EVERY SINGLE DAY!

276.75 million gallons of gasoline, at 33,700 Watt-hours per gallon, (276,750,000 * 33,700) contain 9,326,475,000,000 Watt-hours of energy, or 9.326475 TeraWatt-hours (TWh) of energy.  This is the amount of energy required for 100% of all Americans to drive Teslas instead of Ford / Chevy / Chrysler / Toyota / Honda / Mazda / VW / BMW / Mercedes-Benz.  The 369 million gallons of gasoline is for Americans to drive all of those brands, plus a handful of Teslas.

My plan was to reduce that gasoline consumption figure to 1/3rd of the present level of consumption using 25hp to 50hp passenger vehicles (right-sizing gasoline engines for driving at 55mph to 75mph- the legal speed limit on highways across all 50 states), which means 3,108,825,000,000 Watt-hours or 3.108825 TWh.  25hp to 50hp is a reasonable amount of horsepower to propel a 1,000 pound to 1,500 pound motor vehicle at 55mph to 75mph.

That is where my 6.875TWh of solar thermal energy input requirement comes from.  It wasn't a random number.  I didn't pull it out of my butt.  I took what I believed the energy requirements to be for CO2 collection, which was based upon actual data from real world CO2 capturing plants presently in operation, input thermal power into the Sabatier reaction to produce Methane, and input power into another catalytic process to convert Methane into the Propane fuel used for transportation.  Those input energy figures were used to determine how much total input solar thermal power would be required for us to drive these new plastic chassis cars.  The total power and input material requirements assumed that the thermal power produced by the solar plant was first converted into electricity first, which is not required for the Sabatier reaction, nor is it required to drive the fans to collect the CO2.  As such, I have a very comfortable buffer, if using mostly thermal processes to drive fans, drive catalytic reactions, etc.  If certain parts of the plant require electrical power or more thermal power, then I have excess power available.  This is being conservative in my estimates of the total power requirements, i.e. "being realistic".

A YouTuber who goes by the name "Robot Cantina" proved that by taking a 1,300 pound Honda InSight (he called it a "street legal Go-Kart") and 200 pound test driver (himself), stripped of its hybrid power train batteries and liquid-cooled engine (1,300 pounds is the new vehicle curb weight with the existing engine and hybrid power train removed), and replacing it with a 25hp to 40hp air-cooled Harbor Freight "Predator" riding lawn mower / cement mixer / go-kart engine from Harbor Freight (naturally-aspirated, turbocharged, or supercharged, carbureted or electronic fuel-injected; he tried all of the above combinations to see what worked best, using his home garage to build the engine and a local chassis dyno to configure and tune the engine).  He achieved 30mpg to 60mpg in real-world driving on real roads (in city traffic and on a highway), dependent upon actual engine configuration (there were many, and testing continues using a Saturn Ion chassis donated to him for more testing) and various options added to the engine.

Our current annual fuel consumption shows a national average fuel economy, total gasoline consumed per year divided by total number of miles driven in passenger vehicles per year, of just 13mpg.  That's pretty terrible.  Bare minimum, my proposed solution more than doubles that, and could feasibly quadruple that without invoking any new technology.  Basically, no electronics are required.  If electronics and new technology are applied, then as Calliban has pointed out, certain hybrid vehicle engine configurations have already demonstrated average fuel economy of more than 100mpg.  At that point, using batteries to power cars makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Both the Honda InSight and Saturn Ion are sub-optimal test mules that are heavier than they need to be, because both are based upon sheet metal construction technology, which is considerably heavier than the plastic I proposed using, for equivalent strength.  However, they're also existing cars that don't need to be designed, fabricated, assembled, and tested.

If we pursue this course of action, versus trying to power everything with batteries, then it's very possible to reduce our gasoline consumption to 1/4 or less of the current figure, at which point in time no matter how you try to slice it, an all-electric future uses inordinately more energy than one powered by Propane.  The corollary is that an all-electric future means vastly increased fossil fuel consumption and environmental damage from all the heavy mining activities.

Back to Tesla:

Tesla's battery sales figures are across all countries on the planet that purchase Tesla batteries, which is a lot of them.  Americans are not Tesla's only customers.

Making a battery by burning a bunch of diesel or natural gas in South America to mine and refine the Lithium, bringing the Lithium and other materials to the US on ships burning bunker fuel, burning some more natural gas or coal to make the battery, and finally burning some diesel to truck the car to a dealership, doesn't make your battery powered car "clean and green".  All I can say is that it's a darn good thing there's no tailpipe on that car, because the process of producing said car was absolutely filthy.

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#282 2022-10-25 16:50:56

Mars_B4_Moon
Member
Registered: 2006-03-23
Posts: 4,796

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

Canada commits C$970 million to new nuclear power technology

https://www.reuters.com/business/energy … 022-10-25/

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#283 2022-10-27 10:31:47

Mars_B4_Moon
Member
Registered: 2006-03-23
Posts: 4,796

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

Molten Salt Reactors: Maritime’s Nuclear Option

https://www.worldenergynews.com/news/mo … ion-735139

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