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#126 2021-07-15 05:15:53

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 1,154

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

Regarding efforts to boost solar panel lifetime.  You will notice that the same factors that will make solar panels more affordable (life extension), reduced wastage, economy of scale, etc, also boost system EROI.  Looking for ways to improve whole system EROI, will usually make the project more cost competitive as well.


Interested in space science, engineering and technology.

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#127 2021-07-15 07:14:02

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,854

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

Well probably but not necessarily and there is no direct relationship between EROI and cost otherwise nuclear power would be the cheapest power on Earth, whereas it's one of the most expensive.

Calliban wrote:

Regarding efforts to boost solar panel lifetime.  You will notice that the same factors that will make solar panels more affordable (life extension), reduced wastage, economy of scale, etc, also boost system EROI.  Looking for ways to improve whole system EROI, will usually make the project more cost competitive as well.


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

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#128 2021-07-16 08:53:17

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 4,601

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

Louis,

My underlying objection is not related to the material consumption, cost, useful service life, or intermittency alone.  It's the combination of all of those factors together that make wind and solar unsuitable for use as base load power, which is still a big part of what industrialized society actually needs to function well.  And no, denying that there is such a thing as base load power or that all industrialized nations rely upon it is not an actual solution.

If someone could make a solar panel that lasts 60 to 100 years, then despite the high initial energy investment, it pays for itself over time, and thus is not an "energy trap".  If solar panels / wind turbine blades / batteries were much longer lasting or easier to recycle than they presently are, then I would take far less issue with using them.  If we had the storage solution figured out, rather than "throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks", then I would take far less issue with "the vision" for the solution.  Throwing stuff at the wall is a giant red flag that you don't even know what the solution even looks like.

Whenever we attack an engineering problem such as running an electric power cable between two points with known voltage and amperage requirements, we're not flailing about, hoping that something works.  We don't try random wire diameter gauges or random materials to act as conductors to transmit electricity.  We use Aluminum if the power must be transmitted over great distances, Copper over much shorter distances (generally within buildings), or Silver over very short distances (electronics), and we know exactly what gauge to use for a specified voltage and amperage, to assure good performance.

If we can figure out how to solve those problems, then I have no objections to using solar / wind / batteries, if that's what everyone else is dead-set on doing, but present technology simply will not allow us to do that.  This is presently a variation of that 500 pound V8 that lasts 20 years and makes 5,000hp.  No such animal exists, and it would be foolish to throw money at that specific problem, rather than trying to engineer something that actually could work (solar thermal / nuclear thermal / geothermal / tidal / some storage using new types of batteries like NaS or SOXE fuel cells that run on Methane).

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#129 2021-07-16 13:26:34

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 7,208

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

For kbd512 ....

Not too long ago, (if my memory is holding up), I inquired if you would be willing to consider hosting a small fission reactor in a suitable underground bunker at your property.  If you had such a device on premise, then you could feed reliable power back to the power company in addition to your intermittent solar power supply.

Of all States, I suspect Texas (with the possible exception of Alaska) would be receptive to entertaining the idea of lots of small fission power supplies as a Texas-style distributed power generating system.

It would require a bit of leadership on someone's part to sell this concept to the citizens of Texas, but leadership seems to be drifting toward Texas these days.

(th)

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#130 2021-07-16 13:39:35

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,854

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

Do you accept that creating an effective storage system e.g. utility scale hydrogen (produced by electrolysis using wind and solar energy during times of surplus) will address your concerns over intermittency.

You can't possibly have concerns over service life when we know wind and solar work well for 25 years plus with regular maintenance.

As for material consumption, a fair comparison with nuclear power would involve how much material is going into the station on a daily basis including, for instance, the amount of petrol or battery life consumed by cars used by staff to travel to and from work. How much energy goes into lighting such a facility on a daily basis? What about the tarmac for the car park? What materials are brought into a nuclear power station to help it function? I doubt it's none.

As for recycling, I believe that 90% of a decommissioned panel can be recycled already. A great deal of effort is going into dealing with the final 10%. The nuclear industry hasn't even resolved the issue of nuclear waste yet.

kbd512 wrote:

Louis,

My underlying objection is not related to the material consumption, cost, useful service life, or intermittency alone.  It's the combination of all of those factors together that make wind and solar unsuitable for use as base load power, which is still a big part of what industrialized society actually needs to function well.  And no, denying that there is such a thing as base load power or that all industrialized nations rely upon it is not an actual solution.

If someone could make a solar panel that lasts 60 to 100 years, then despite the high initial energy investment, it pays for itself over time, and thus is not an "energy trap".  If solar panels / wind turbine blades / batteries were much longer lasting or easier to recycle than they presently are, then I would take far less issue with using them.  If we had the storage solution figured out, rather than "throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks", then I would take far less issue with "the vision" for the solution.  Throwing stuff at the wall is a giant red flag that you don't even know what the solution even looks like.

Whenever we attack an engineering problem such as running an electric power cable between two points with known voltage and amperage requirements, we're not flailing about, hoping that something works.  We don't try random wire diameter gauges or random materials to act as conductors to transmit electricity.  We use Aluminum if the power must be transmitted over great distances, Copper over much shorter distances (generally within buildings), or Silver over very short distances (electronics), and we know exactly what gauge to use for a specified voltage and amperage, to assure good performance.

If we can figure out how to solve those problems, then I have no objections to using solar / wind / batteries, if that's what everyone else is dead-set on doing, but present technology simply will not allow us to do that.  This is presently a variation of that 500 pound V8 that lasts 20 years and makes 5,000hp.  No such animal exists, and it would be foolish to throw money at that specific problem, rather than trying to engineer something that actually could work (solar thermal / nuclear thermal / geothermal / tidal / some storage using new types of batteries like NaS or SOXE fuel cells that run on Methane).


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

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#131 2021-07-17 09:56:33

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,024

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

Hydrogen is the hardest of elements to contain and we lose it as its got to have a very thick tank to slow that rate. It is easier to capture and contain water for direct electrolysis as do an on demand creation to lesson that rate.
Setup would be simular to the Tesla electric pump system where they are all over the place for a vehicle to refill there tanks when the customer needs.

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#132 2021-07-17 13:08:08

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 7,208

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

For kbd512 ....

Renewing the inquiry ....

The trend toward small nuclear reactors, such as described by Calliban in a recent post, should lead to neighborhood service plans.

The way I would see this working (and (again) building on the work of Calliban) is that the local utility would own and manager the reactors, but they would be located in receptacles on property of community members who would accept the responsibility in return for the benefit of ultra reliable service.

Calliban spoke of a service life of 20 or 30 years for each modular reactor, so the unit would be recycled by the local utility periodically.

Creating a national power system along these lines would eliminate the need for overhead power lines.

(th)

tahanson43206 wrote:

For kbd512 ....

Not too long ago, (if my memory is holding up), I inquired if you would be willing to consider hosting a small fission reactor in a suitable underground bunker at your property.  If you had such a device on premise, then you could feed reliable power back to the power company in addition to your intermittent solar power supply.

Of all States, I suspect Texas (with the possible exception of Alaska) would be receptive to entertaining the idea of lots of small fission power supplies as a Texas-style distributed power generating system.

It would require a bit of leadership on someone's part to sell this concept to the citizens of Texas, but leadership seems to be drifting toward Texas these days.

(th)

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#133 2021-07-17 16:17:37

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,854

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

I think the problem with that in terms of green energy storage is that with intermittency you don't have the green energy available in sufficient quantity to make the hydrogen when you need it With a green energy plus storage system, you have to produce the hydrogen when you have a green energy surplus (too much wind and solar).

I don't think storing hydrogen at utility scale will be problematic.  But creating a hydrogen economy with hydrogen being used at all points within the economy would in contrast be a very challenging exercise.

SpaceNut wrote:

Hydrogen is the hardest of elements to contain and we lose it as its got to have a very thick tank to slow that rate. It is easier to capture and contain water for direct electrolysis as do an on demand creation to lesson that rate.
Setup would be simular to the Tesla electric pump system where they are all over the place for a vehicle to refill there tanks when the customer needs.


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

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#134 2021-07-17 17:13:52

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 4,601

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

Louis,

Sometimes I think you've built an entire alternate reality around this glittering new technology you love so much.  I don't love it or hate it, I think it definitely has good uses, but it's not a silver bullet, nor anything close to it.

louis wrote:

Do you accept that creating an effective storage system e.g. utility scale hydrogen (produced by electrolysis using wind and solar energy during times of surplus) will address your concerns over intermittency.

Show me a Hydrogen energy storage plant that's storing and generating at least 16 GigaWatt-hours of energy during the times that solar and wind turbines are not producing power.  With 100% efficiency, that's 476,190kg of H2, at 33.6kWh/kg.  You need to store roughtly 2.43 SLS tanks worth of LH2.  At 70% efficiency, which seems more practical for an Alkaline fuel cell, you need 680,272kg, or around 3.48 SLS tanks worth of LH2.  That equates to approximately 165 ChillZilla LN2 stainless vacuum thermos bulk cryogen storage tanks, so 3,787t of stainless steel.  UK needs about 35 such plants.  Larger units could potentially be built, obviously, but these units are truck-transportable.

The very best water electrolysis plants are around 80% efficient, so your overall energy conversion process is around 56% efficient.  In real terms that, means you need a minimum of roughly 32GW of installed capacity devoted solely to making sure you have power storage for times when the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow.  On top of that, you have to figure in whatever your daytime power requirements happen to be.  I'd wager it's a 60/40 day/night split overall.  Seasonal demand seems to vary between 30GW in the summer to 60GW in the winter.  The 34.6GW I previously calculated is time-averaged power over the course of a year for the UK, given your total yearly energy consumption for last year.

Chart Industries - ChillZilla Bulk LN2 Supply Management System

How long do you think it's reasonable for me to wait for you to be able to show me that, since I already know that you can't?

10 / 20 / 30 years?  Serious question.  How long?

louis wrote:

You can't possibly have concerns over service life when we know wind and solar work well for 25 years plus with regular maintenance.

Coal and nuclear power plants don't last for 25 years.  We have lots of them that have been producing power for 60 years, and the operators can't think of actual technical reasons why they can't operate for 100 years.  Take whatever your cost estimates are for wind and solar where you live and double or quadruple them.  That is how much your solution will ultimately cost for equivalent service life to a nuclear power plant.  25 / 50 / 75 / 100 years from now, humanity will still need commercial electric power, because no part of modern technology runs without it.  Period.

25 years from now not a single one of the wind turbines or solar panels presently in operation will still be in operation, because it's wildly too expensive to keep throwing more fossil fuel energy into something that's not "paying back enough surplus energy".  The theory behind how it's supposed to work is what I like.  How it actually works leaves a lot to be desired.

louis wrote:

As for material consumption, a fair comparison with nuclear power would involve how much material is going into the station on a daily basis including, for instance, the amount of petrol or battery life consumed by cars used by staff to travel to and from work. How much energy goes into lighting such a facility on a daily basis? What about the tarmac for the car park? What materials are brought into a nuclear power station to help it function? I doubt it's none.

Let's apply the same accounting principles to the use of wind and solar.  There is no comparison with nuclear.  It's not even close.  Current wind and solar energy generation processes consume more than an order of magnitude more energy input.  The fact that much of that happens in some other part of the world (China) doesn't make it any less real.

Sure a gas powered car is not as efficient as a battery, but 20 years from now a combustion engine will still be functional if it's built correctly and maintained correctly.  There won't be a single battery built 20 years ago that's still in operation 20 years from now.  There sure as hell won't be any working 2020 model year Teslas 100 years from now.  There are 100 year old Model T Fords still plying the roadways here in America.  Beyond that, if we compare the amount of useful work that batteries and fossil fuels perform, that's not a close comparison, either.  A battery is more than 1 order of magnitude less energy dense than petrol.  We use fossil fuels to make batteries.  We do not use batteries to make fossil fuels or other batteries.  There's probably a good reason for that.

If you use 20kWh of power per day for 10 years (1/5th of the capacity of a 100kWh Lithium-ion battery), then the battery has stored 73MWh of electricity.  That's a good thing because it took 98.8MWh to make a Chevy Volt battery of that size to begin with, so that amount of energy in terms of gasoline is enough for 137,222 miles of driving range.  100% of all actual Lithium-ion batteries are produced using copious quantities of fossil fuels (coal, gas, and diesel).  Tesla's "GigaFactory" is hooked up to the grid and uses gas turbine power at night.  You need to drive at least 411,667 miles to make up for the fact that the battery was not produced using sunshine and rainbows.

A Tesla Model X that drove for 400,000 miles required approximately $29,000USD in repairs, so around the same time that the battery reached energy payback, the owner spent enough on maintenance bills to purchase a brand new battery pack- except they can't, because their $29K was spent on other repairs.  A 610,000 mile 1971 Toyota Corolla cost WAY less than $29,000 for the vehicle, a complete engine and rear axle replacement, and all repair bills through multiple decades.  There are plenty of mid-2000s vintage Toyota cars and trucks with 500,000 to 1,000,000+ miles on them that didn't require $50K to purchase and $29K to maintain.  Heck, my 2005 Chevy Impala had around 120K on the clock before I purchased a Chevy Silverado.  The world record is a 1966 Volvo P1800 Coupe with 2.5 million miles on the original engine (a 130hp 4-banger).  It belongs to a teacher in New York.  Cummins 12-valve inline six cylinder turbo diesel engines are famous for lasting for around 1,000,000 miles in bone stock form, before requiring a rebuild, and I personally know people who have that many miles on the clock (privately owned work trucks used for highway hauling).  Your assumptions and assertions about maintenance costs are either wildly inflated and largely notional in nature.  You're either paying for exorbitant maintenance bills from Tesla (5K to replace the rear seats?) or you pay for simpler but more reliable gas powered cars.  Either way, you're not saving a penny by switching over to electric cars.

Tesla Model X with extreme mileage racked up $29,000 in repair/maintenance and that’s good

louis wrote:

As for recycling, I believe that 90% of a decommissioned panel can be recycled already. A great deal of effort is going into dealing with the final 10%. The nuclear industry hasn't even resolved the issue of nuclear waste yet.

Completely false.

Nobody on planet Earth is recycling 90% of the waste from solar panels and wind turbines.  This is notional capability, not demonstrated capability.

Nuclear waste would imply that there's no possible utility for the material in question.  Nuclear fuel with 98% of its original energy content does not fit that description when it can be put back into a nuclear reactor and the next 2% increment of the energy content consumed over 18 months.

Do you accept that all of the nuclear waste from nuclear power generation in the United States, from the beginning of commercial electric nuclear power to the present day, would all fit on a single football field?

Can we make that same claim about the waste products generated from wind turbine and solar panel production?

Obviously not.

We generate so much more nuclear waste from rare Earth mining and burning coal vs atoms that nuclear radiation from nuclear power plants, even the ones that melted down, barely registers on the scale.  Your "green energy" buddies spread that stuff across many square miles after their mining activities concentrate it.

It's a shame that objective reality and physics don't work the way you want them to, but once again, I didn't personally determine how the universe actually works.  I wish I could change it to make your techno-fantasy reality, because I'd like to live in that world, too, but I can't because the world works the way it does.  It's a tough break, that's for sure.

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#135 2021-07-17 18:31:06

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,854

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

kbd512 wrote:

Louis,

Sometimes I think you've built an entire alternate reality around this glittering new technology you love so much.  I don't love it or hate it, I think it definitely has good uses, but it's not a silver bullet, nor anything close to it.

louis wrote:

Do you accept that creating an effective storage system e.g. utility scale hydrogen (produced by electrolysis using wind and solar energy during times of surplus) will address your concerns over intermittency.

Show me a Hydrogen energy storage plant that's storing and generating at least 16 GigaWatt-hours of energy during the times that solar and wind turbines are not producing power.  With 100% efficiency, that's 476,190kg of H2, at 33.6kWh/kg.  You need to store roughtly 2.43 SLS tanks worth of LH2.  At 70% efficiency, which seems more practical for an Alkaline fuel cell, you need 680,272kg, or around 3.48 SLS tanks worth of LH2.  That equates to approximately 165 ChillZilla LN2 stainless vacuum thermos bulk cryogen storage tanks, so 3,787t of stainless steel.  UK needs about 35 such plants.  Larger units could potentially be built, obviously, but these units are truck-transportable.

The very best water electrolysis plants are around 80% efficient, so your overall energy conversion process is around 56% efficient.  In real terms that, means you need a minimum of roughly 32GW of installed capacity devoted solely to making sure you have power storage for times when the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow.  On top of that, you have to figure in whatever your daytime power requirements happen to be.  I'd wager it's a 60/40 day/night split overall.  Seasonal demand seems to vary between 30GW in the summer to 60GW in the winter.  The 34.6GW I previously calculated is time-averaged power over the course of a year for the UK, given your total yearly energy consumption for last year.

Chart Industries - ChillZilla Bulk LN2 Supply Management System

How long do you think it's reasonable for me to wait for you to be able to show me that, since I already know that you can't?

10 / 20 / 30 years?  Serious question.  How long?

First let me point out that the USA has a strategic petroleum (fossil fuel) reserve of 600 million barrels - enough to keep the USA afloat with gas for at least a month at normal consumption levels. That's a requirement, it seems. of having a fossil fuel economy.

So, if we are talking storage that's probably a good benchmark. Will a green energy system require more or less. Clearly, a lot less.

For the UK from everything I've read on the subject there has never been a run of more than three or four days when the wind hasn't blown and the sun hasn't shone significantly. You'd probably approach this conservatively and look to have a reserve that lasts perhaps 3 days at 100% demand in order to cover those periods. You might go a little over the 100%, perhaps 140% to allow for recovery time before the next low point.

Remember as well that we can also rely on a contribution from other green energy sources e.g. you can use energy from waste, biofuels and hydroelectricity as a form of storage and wave, tidal and sea current for instance could all be used as contributors to the overall energy requirement. So for the period of low wind/solar perhaps 10-20% could be met from these sources.

In a mature green energy system, we can also use vehicles as battery storage to help deliver the system. That could be a reserve of 1000 GwHs in the UK, and you might be able to access 50% of it.

Chemical batteries will likely be dealing with a lot of the night load and cannot be considered as part of the solution to periodic intermittency.

There will be other forms of storage available (e.g. pressurised water in old gas or oil fields would likely be a useful form of energy storage). However, hydrogen is an atractive solution at utility scale I think. Yes, the storage is expensive compared with other gas storage but manufacturing the hydrogen from water is conversely very simple.

The hydrogen storage would be built up gradually.

I think 30 years is probably a realistic time frame in which to convert the whole of our energy system to green energy plus storage. None of this will happen overnight.


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

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#136 2021-07-18 13:50:06

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,854

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

To add to my previous post:

25 years from now not a single one of the wind turbines or solar panels presently in operation will still be in operation, because it's wildly too expensive to keep throwing more fossil fuel energy into something that's not "paying back enough surplus energy".  The theory behind how it's supposed to work is what I like.  How it actually works leaves a lot to be desired.

This is an absurd claim. Of course we will continue with these installations if economic. Wind turbines will be able to carry on producing huge amounts of energy, and even if the turbine itself needs renewing the likelihood is the blades and certainly the tower can continue.


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

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#137 2021-07-18 17:19:02

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,854

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

Also to add to the previous two e mails:

I think you are building far too much on that one Tesla example of maintenance cost.

In general terms we know that tyre wear is far more with EVs containing heavy batteries than in petrol-driven automobiles. That's accepted. But 100,000 miles per annum is a huge mileage (about 300 miles a day! - maybe not so huge for Americans, but huge for most of the world). It's certainly way above even the American average daily mileage.  So that is very unrepresentative. Then you had items like the seat adjustment replacement - clearly teething troubles with the design.

We know electric motors involve less maintenance than ICEs - that's just basic understanding of engineering

As soon as we get detailed fleet performances comparisons the truth will emerge. Incidentally I've seen YT videos that show v. low maintenace and fuel costs for EVs. They seemed pretty convincing but obviously we need proper performance testing to judge for sure.

Anyway, you ignored the point that with fossil fuel technology, the USA feels the need to keep a ONE MONTH MINIMUM storage facility.

Given your concerns about the impracticality of storing green energy over a few days why aren't you concerned about the fossil fuel storage?


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

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#138 2021-07-18 18:40:34

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 4,601

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

Louis,

1. 1 barrel of crude oil is ~1.7MWh of stored energy, so 600M bbl is 1.2GWh.  We're unlikely to store that much LH2, so we probably have to convert it to LNH3, and then back to H2 for use in fuel cells.  1 bbl of crude oil contains approximately 47.3kg of H2.  H2 is 0.2679kg per gallon, so 176.56 gallons of LH2 is required to replace each bbl of crude oil.  In other words, we need ~4.2 bbl of LH2 to replace 1 bbl of crude oil.  That works out to ~2.522 billion gallons of LH2, assuming I did that correctly.  It seems improbable that we're going to store that much LH2 at all times.  Each gallon of LH2 consumes 10kWh to 20kwh per kg to liquefy.

28,354,536,000kg <- a LH2-based strategic reserve in terms of weight

283,545,360,000,000 <- minimum number of Watt-hours of electricity to liquefy all of that H2 using current industrialized processes

283GWh <- The output of a 1,250MWe nuclear reactor over ~9.43 days or ~1/3rd of the total yearly output of the Solana Generating Station

The US consumes 337 million gallons of finished motor gasoline per day.  In total, ~750M gallons of petroleum products per day, or ~17,857,143 bbl per day.  The US strategic reserve has a total capacity of 714 million bbl, so that represents a 42 day supply.  Replacing all of that with LH2 over 30 years might be technically possible, but seems absurdly optimistic.  We'd need to expand Solana by a factor of 283 to manufacture a daily working supply of crude oil replacement.

Americans drive around 3.25 trillion miles per year.  1.4T miles by passenger cars, the rest by freight vehicles, aka "big rigs".  We'll presume that the Tesla type passenger cars consume 240Wh per mile and the big rigs consume 1.89kWh per mile.  From 1975 to 2018, this has been remarkably stable.  In 1975 it was 1T miles and in 2018 it was 1.4T miles.  So, that's 336TWh for the passenger vehicles and 3,496.5TWh, or 3,832.5TWh / 3.8325PWh.

3,825,000,000,000,000 (A) / 10,950,000,000,000 (B) = 349.3(C)
A. Watt-hours of electric power required to run the US fleet of vehicles per year
B. Watt-hours of electric power provided by a 1,250MWe nuclear reactor
C. Number of 1,250MWe nuclear reactors required to run the fleet

3,825,000,000,000,000 / 365 = 10,479,452,054,794 Watt-hours per day.

10.479TWh per day <- a couple of TeraWatt-hours shy of global annual energy consumption in 1999.  This is what complete conversion of land transportation to electric power looks like for America alone.  That does not seem feasible to replace over 30 years, given that it took a lot longer than 30 years to reach that level of coal / oil / gas energy output.

3,835,616,438 miles per day, or 9.589 miles per person with a population of 400M people.  That means our entire fleet of vehicles powered by gasoline engines is achieving a paltry 11.38mpg, which really sucks if you ask me.  We're averaging 22.5mpg in our Cadillac Escalade during our daily commuting, which is mostly highway driving.  It's still a 6,000 pound SUV equipped with a 420hp V8, though.  That makes me wonder about what my fellow Americans are daily driving that they're only averaging 11.38mpg overall (total fleet of gas powered machines)?  My 318 V8 equipped 1971 Dodge Challenger was the last car I owned that drank that much gas, but it wasn't a daily driver.  A 1970 Cessna 170B equipped with a Continental O-300 gets 15mpg but it's the weight of a small passenger car that flies at 120mph!  A Wittman Tailwind would get around 21.5mpg from the same engine because it flies significantly faster.

We fill up once per week during a normal work week and once per month during the COVID lockdown.  Over 10 years of driving, that amounts to $39,000 in gasoline assuming $75 spent per fill up.  Since there are numerous LS equipped Tahoe / Suburban / Yukon / Denali / Escalade vehicles from 10 to 20 years ago that are still on the road, we can safely assume that our vehicle will last at least that long with proper maintenance.  There are no 10 to 20 year old electric vehicles to compare with, so we have no way of knowing how comparable they will be in terms of maintenance costs.  $29,000 in maintenance over 5 years doesn't bode well.  There is zero aftermarket support for Teslas, so no hope of lowering maintenance costs through competition for replacement parts, either.

That is what you're proposing to replace using solar / wind / batteries.  If you still can't understand how utterly ridiculous that is, even with nuclear power, then I guess your highly creative imagination is having another "failure of mathematics".  Earth receives 84TWh per day, so you're talking about covering 1/8th of the Earth's surface with solar panels and wind turbines so Americans can drive their cars.  This is a pipe dream, kemosabe, not a plan for anything except failure.  I hope you know that.

2. It's not about a lack of Sun or wind, it's how many states does the solution need to cover to produce equivalent output as all the coal / oil / gas / nuclear power currently being used.

3. Burning paper and plastic is not "green energy".  Good grief, man.  Try harder.

4. No, you can't use vehicle batteries to deliver energy.  They get depleted during the day and need to be recharged at night.

5. Pressurizing water in old oil or gas wells is a great way to fracture the rock, but not much else, so that doesn't seem feasible, let alone practical.  I discussed that very topic with a petroleum engineer earlier this week, so I think it's safe to say that that's definitely out.  If you pressurized the well enough for the water to naturally rise to the surface without expending energy (pumping power) to make that happen, then it would rupture the casing or fracture the reservoir or both.  I suggest that you go talk to an actual petroleum engineer if you think this would work.  We use weighting agents to adjust the hydrostatic pressure exerted by the column of heavy mud to bring cuttings to the surface and we still have to be careful not to fracture the rock formation or casing, so you'd be pumping a slurry with a weighting agent added, rather than liquid water.  The liquid water would come rocketing out of the well one time, as the well bore implodes, but otherwise this simply doesn't work in the real world.  So your proposal is a great method for expending energy, but not for storing it.  Yet again, stop throwing stuff at the wall and do some silly research.  Go talk to someone who designs oil wells for a living.  That's what I did.  You have to maintain both pressure and volume, or the Earth will fill it up for you.  The max bore hole temperatures in most wells is at or below the boiling point of water, due to the hydrostatic pressure being applied by the column of weighted mud (the ppg of the heavy mud is adjusted using barite or hematite).  If the bore hole was any hotter, then the water would likely diffuse out into the rock formation (hydrate the rock formation).  The Earth is also an unpredictable layer cake of sedimentary rock, igneous rock, and salt.

If you tried to line the bore hole with steel, then the salt in the layer cake of materials we've drilled through would corrode the hell out of the steel, the way the salt (used to prevent the drilling fluid from seeping out into the formation if it contains salts by super-saturating the mud / slurry with salt) in the mud corrodes the drill pipe.  Short term, there are mitigation strategies for this, but long term we use concrete to line the well bores.  That's a process we refer to as "casing the well".

In geothermal wells, they use high grade stainless piping to limit corrosion, but still have problems with it, and they're tapping into naturally-formed reservoirs or caverns that are fairly close to the surface of the Earth.  If the reservoir is deep enough, then you need pumping power to bring the hot water to the surface, which is why they locate geothermal power plants along tectonic plate boundaries or places where underground magma chambers are close to the surface.  It's very expensive to do this properly, and even more expensive over time if you don't, although it can be done, just not with most oil wells, because we don't drill anywhere near underground magma pools.  If you did some research into drilling for oil and gas, then you'd know that we studiously avoid drilling in locations containing lots of igneous rock, because we never find oil there.  All of this information is publicly available if you look for it.

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#139 2021-07-18 18:59:38

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 4,601

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

louis wrote:

To add to my previous post:

This is an absurd claim. Of course we will continue with these installations if economic. Wind turbines will be able to carry on producing huge amounts of energy, and even if the turbine itself needs renewing the likelihood is the blades and certainly the tower can continue.

Louis,

What's absurd is your inability to deal with objective reality.

Show me some photovoltaic farms from 25 years ago that are still producing commercial electric power using the photovoltaic panels they started with a quarter of a century ago.  There are some solar thermal farms doing that, but no photovoltaic farms.  The Germans, for example, have begun replacing all the photovoltaic panels they started using 20 years ago.  There's a limit to the amount of land that you can clear-cut to put solar panels on.  We also have numerous examples of wind turbine towers that weren't 10 years old when their foundations cracked or their blades flew apart.  They stripped off the blades, cut them up, dumped them in landfills, and the towers are rusting in place as I write this.

If wind and solar energy companies had to follow the same environmental protection practices that coal and nuclear power plants are required to implement, then you wouldn't have any wind farms or photovoltaic farms.  Arsenic is every bit as fatal as a high dose of radiation and unlike nuclear material, it never changes through radioactive decay.  Arsenic is an element, so it's Arsenic today and it'll be Arsenic until the end of time.  The major difference is that your plan requires spreading millions upon millions of tons of this poison around the planet.  If there's some other photovoltaic technology that doesn't involve spreading poisonous elements and heavy metals across more and more of the entire planet, then why aren't we using those technologies?

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#140 2021-07-18 19:09:35

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,854

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

Can't deal with all your post now but surely, surely you've got to be wrong on 1.2 GwH from 600 millon barrels of petroleuem!!!

That would only fully power 14000 EVs.

No way can that be right!

You must be out by a huge factor because that petroleum reserve can power every motor vehicle in the USA for a month at least! So we are talking about probably 200 million vehicles not 14000 (I'm guessing by the way but can't be that far off).



kbd512 wrote:

Louis,

1. 1 barrel of crude oil is ~1.7MWh of stored energy, so 600M bbl is 1.2GWh.  We're unlikely to store that much LH2, so we probably have to convert it to LNH3, and then back to H2 for use in fuel cells.  1 bbl of crude oil contains approximately 47.3kg of H2.  H2 is 0.2679kg per gallon, so 176.56 gallons of LH2 is required to replace each bbl of crude oil.  In other words, we need ~4.2 bbl of LH2 to replace 1 bbl of crude oil.  That works out to ~2.522 billion gallons of LH2, assuming I did that correctly.  It seems improbable that we're going to store that much LH2 at all times.  Each gallon of LH2 consumes 10kWh to 20kwh per kg to liquefy.

28,354,536,000kg <- a LH2-based strategic reserve in terms of weight

283,545,360,000,000 <- minimum number of Watt-hours of electricity to liquefy all of that H2 using current industrialized processes

283GWh <- The output of a 1,250MWe nuclear reactor over ~9.43 days or ~1/3rd of the total yearly output of the Solana Generating Station

The US consumes 337 million gallons of finished motor gasoline per day.  In total, ~750M gallons of petroleum products per day, or ~17,857,143 bbl per day.  The US strategic reserve has a total capacity of 714 million bbl, so that represents a 42 day supply.  Replacing all of that with LH2 over 30 years might be technically possible, but seems absurdly optimistic.  We'd need to expand Solana by a factor of 283 to manufacture a daily working supply of crude oil replacement.

Americans drive around 3.25 trillion miles per year.  1.4T miles by passenger cars, the rest by freight vehicles, aka "big rigs".  We'll presume that the Tesla type passenger cars consume 240Wh per mile and the big rigs consume 1.89kWh per mile.  From 1975 to 2018, this has been remarkably stable.  In 1975 it was 1T miles and in 2018 it was 1.4T miles.  So, that's 336TWh for the passenger vehicles and 3,496.5TWh, or 3,832.5TWh / 3.8325PWh.

3,825,000,000,000,000 (A) / 10,950,000,000,000 (B) = 349.3(C)
A. Watt-hours of electric power required to run the US fleet of vehicles per year
B. Watt-hours of electric power provided by a 1,250MWe nuclear reactor
C. Number of 1,250MWe nuclear reactors required to run the fleet

3,825,000,000,000,000 / 365 = 10,479,452,054,794 Watt-hours per day.

10.479TWh per day <- a couple of TeraWatt-hours shy of global annual energy consumption in 1999.  This is what complete conversion of land transportation to electric power looks like for America alone.  That does not seem feasible to replace over 30 years, given that it took a lot longer than 30 years to reach that level of coal / oil / gas energy output.

3,835,616,438 miles per day, or 9.589 miles per person with a population of 400M people.  That means our entire fleet of vehicles powered by gasoline engines is achieving a paltry 11.38mpg, which really sucks if you ask me.  We're averaging 22.5mpg in our Cadillac Escalade during our daily commuting, which is mostly highway driving.  It's still a 6,000 pound SUV equipped with a 420hp V8, though.  That makes me wonder about what my fellow Americans are daily driving that they're only averaging 11.38mpg overall (total fleet of gas powered machines)?  My 318 V8 equipped 1971 Dodge Challenger was the last car I owned that drank that much gas, but it wasn't a daily driver.  A 1970 Cessna 170B equipped with a Continental O-300 gets 15mpg but it's the weight of a small passenger car that flies at 120mph!  A Wittman Tailwind would get around 21.5mpg from the same engine because it flies significantly faster.

We fill up once per week during a normal work week and once per month during the COVID lockdown.  Over 10 years of driving, that amounts to $39,000 in gasoline assuming $75 spent per fill up.  Since there are numerous LS equipped Tahoe / Suburban / Yukon / Denali / Escalade vehicles from 10 to 20 years ago that are still on the road, we can safely assume that our vehicle will last at least that long with proper maintenance.  There are no 10 to 20 year old electric vehicles to compare with, so we have no way of knowing how comparable they will be in terms of maintenance costs.  $29,000 in maintenance over 5 years doesn't bode well.  There is zero aftermarket support for Teslas, so no hope of lowering maintenance costs through competition for replacement parts, either.

That is what you're proposing to replace using solar / wind / batteries.  If you still can't understand how utterly ridiculous that is, even with nuclear power, then I guess your highly creative imagination is having another "failure of mathematics".  Earth receives 84TWh per day, so you're talking about covering 1/8th of the Earth's surface with solar panels and wind turbines so Americans can drive their cars.  This is a pipe dream, kemosabe, not a plan for anything except failure.  I hope you know that.

2. It's not about a lack of Sun or wind, it's how many states does the solution need to cover to produce equivalent output as all the coal / oil / gas / nuclear power currently being used.

3. Burning paper and plastic is not "green energy".  Good grief, man.  Try harder.

4. No, you can't use vehicle batteries to deliver energy.  They get depleted during the day and need to be recharged at night.

5. Pressurizing water in old oil or gas wells is a great way to fracture the rock, but not much else, so that doesn't seem feasible, let alone practical.  I discussed that very topic with a petroleum engineer earlier this week, so I think it's safe to say that that's definitely out.  If you pressurized the well enough for the water to naturally rise to the surface without expending energy (pumping power) to make that happen, then it would rupture the casing or fracture the reservoir or both.  I suggest that you go talk to an actual petroleum engineer if you think this would work.  We use weighting agents to adjust the hydrostatic pressure exerted by the column of heavy mud to bring cuttings to the surface and we still have to be careful not to fracture the rock formation or casing, so you'd be pumping a slurry with a weighting agent added, rather than liquid water.  The liquid water would come rocketing out of the well one time, as the well bore implodes, but otherwise this simply doesn't work in the real world.  So your proposal is a great method for expending energy, but not for storing it.  Yet again, stop throwing stuff at the wall and do some silly research.  Go talk to someone who designs oil wells for a living.  That's what I did.  You have to maintain both pressure and volume, or the Earth will fill it up for you.  The max bore hole temperatures in most wells is at or below the boiling point of water, due to the hydrostatic pressure being applied by the column of weighted mud (the ppg of the heavy mud is adjusted using barite or hematite).  If the bore hole was any hotter, then the water would likely diffuse out into the rock formation (hydrate the rock formation).  The Earth is also an unpredictable layer cake of sedimentary rock, igneous rock, and salt.

If you tried to line the bore hole with steel, then the salt in the layer cake of materials we've drilled through would corrode the hell out of the steel, the way the salt (used to prevent the drilling fluid from seeping out into the formation if it contains salts by super-saturating the mud / slurry with salt) in the mud corrodes the drill pipe.  Short term, there are mitigation strategies for this, but long term we use concrete to line the well bores.  That's a process we refer to as "casing the well".

In geothermal wells, they use high grade stainless piping to limit corrosion, but still have problems with it, and they're tapping into naturally-formed reservoirs or caverns that are fairly close to the surface of the Earth.  If the reservoir is deep enough, then you need pumping power to bring the hot water to the surface, which is why they locate geothermal power plants along tectonic plate boundaries or places where underground magma chambers are close to the surface.  It's very expensive to do this properly, and even more expensive over time if you don't, although it can be done, just not with most oil wells, because we don't drill anywhere near underground magma pools.  If you did some research into drilling for oil and gas, then you'd know that we studiously avoid drilling in locations containing lots of igneous rock, because we never find oil there.  All of this information is publicly available if you look for it.


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

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#141 2021-07-18 20:22:49

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 4,601

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

louis wrote:

Also to add to the previous two e mails:

I think you are building far too much on that one Tesla example of maintenance cost.

I think you're trying to ignore absolutely every aspect of objective reality that doesn't comport with your proposed solution.

Do you own a significant number of shares of stock in wind or solar or battery companies?

Is that why you can't accept any data that disagrees with your ideas?

louis wrote:

In general terms we know that tyre wear is far more with EVs containing heavy batteries than in petrol-driven automobiles. That's accepted. But 100,000 miles per annum is a huge mileage (about 300 miles a day! - maybe not so huge for Americans, but huge for most of the world). It's certainly way above even the American average daily mileage.  So that is very unrepresentative. Then you had items like the seat adjustment replacement - clearly teething troubles with the design.

Tire wear is a function of weight, rolling resistance, and usage.  The power source for the vehicle wouldn't make a lick of difference if both vehicles had the same weight.  What is true is that a Tesla Model S sedan has the exact same weight as a regular cab Chevrolet Silverado light duty pickup truck, but it doesn't come equipped with tires that are as robust, because if it did then it's range would be significantly worse than it is.  The end result is that you pay for frequent tire changes, and even more often if the front end is not in proper alignment.

louis wrote:

We know electric motors involve less maintenance than ICEs - that's just basic understanding of engineering

You keep making that claim that runs contrary to available evidence, yet that 400,000 mile Tesla has had more maintenance to components required by its power train than any Cummins 12 valve turbo diesel in existence.  There's a very good reason why they call the 12 valves "million mile engines".  Beyond that, the LS3 series of engines were designed by GM to be maintenance free for approximately 130,000 miles, and there are numerous examples with 250,000 to 300,000 miles on them before a rebuild was required.  Unlike a battery or electric motor, you can clean up the engine, swap the gaskets / bearings / piston rings, put a fresh cross hatch on the cylinder bores, re-deck the heads and block as required (the only part of the rebuild process that requires machine shop services), polish the crank journals, and reassemble the motor.  Numerous shade tree mechanics across the country do this on a routine basis.  They don't have advanced degrees in anything, yet they can figure out how to do this.  Through multiple decades of concerted effort, we've managed to come up with reliable spark plugs and computers to control said engines.  Whereupon Tesla has several decades of engineering effort into their components, I'm sure it'll be every bit as reliable and durable, but we're not there yet.

I change the oil and monitor the coolant level in my engine, and perform the recommended periodic system flushes.  Apart from running good quality fuel, that is the only maintenance that I've ever done to our LS equipped vehicles (Tahoe / Silverado / Escalade).

Your claims about maintenance could very well be true of the British or other European engineered vehicles due to all the plastic crap you guys try to use in inappropriate places, but a LS engine is as close to bulletproof as anything you're likely to see.  In particular, the Cummins B series, GM LS series, and AMC / Chrysler Straight 6 engines require nothing more onerous than oil and coolant.  The same is true of a number of different Honda and Toyota engines.  Toyota's 2JZ immediately comes to mind.  Every attempt at squeezing every last penny out of the engine manufacturing cost is what has hurt auto makers.  If you want end of the world reliability, that means liberal use of cast iron and steel.

louis wrote:

As soon as we get detailed fleet performances comparisons the truth will emerge. Incidentally I've seen YT videos that show v. low maintenace and fuel costs for EVs. They seemed pretty convincing but obviously we need proper performance testing to judge for sure.

I don't need to watch any YouTube videos to know that a lot of these claims are specious in nature, because I have actual data in hand, rather than anecdotal data.  I know exactly how much I've spent on engine maintenance and fuel for 4 LS equipped vehicles through hundreds of thousands of miles of driving across the US.  Over a period of ten years, I've spent zero dollars on engine parts (not so much as a radiator hose), $50 per 5,000 mile oil change, and $2 to $3 per gallon of 87 or 93 octane gasoline.  If an individual or GM sunk as much money into a V8 as Tesla sunk into their battery pack, it would last a million miles.  Despite running afoul of the bean counters at GM, their engineers still managed to develop an engine that lasts for a quarter million miles with routine maintenance.

louis wrote:

Anyway, you ignored the point that with fossil fuel technology, the USA feels the need to keep a ONE MONTH MINIMUM storage facility.

You ignored the point that EVERYTHING is fossil fuel technology.  There are no solar panels or wind turbines or batteries made without it.

Building the machines that make the machine, without using coal / gas / oil, would be a great place to start, because you can't have any actual "green energy" economy without it.

louis wrote:

Given your concerns about the impracticality of storing green energy over a few days why aren't you concerned about the fossil fuel storage?

I am concerned.  I'm even more concerned that there are so many Pollyanna type personalities who make every assertion imaginable about these new technologies and how much better they are than whatever they purport to replace, despite having little to no actual understanding of the technologies they're comparing.  You watching a few YouTube videos doesn't make you an engine mechanic, let alone an automotive engineer.  I judge overall performance based upon empirical observation of numerous real world examples, not claims based upon laboratory results or cherry-picked data points that nobody else has been able to replicate.

For example, if someone made the claim that they can make a 500 pound V8 that makes 5,000hp and can last for 20 years, then not only would I need to see their engine producing 5,000hp for at least 1 year, I'd also need to see someone else do the same thing to ensure that the results achieved could be replicated by at least one other engine builder.  Until then, I would be highly skeptical of such claims and would dismiss all such claims as specious in nature.

GM / Tesla / BMW / Mercedes vehicles turn up the plastic garbage and electronic gadget-ification creep up to an 11.  Sometimes it's reliable and sometimes it's not.  It's great when it works, but horridly expensive when, not if, it doesn't.  It's completely unsurprising that the damn thing would need $29,000 worth of maintenance as a result.  The stupid headlights don't need a computer control system to operate them.  They need a simple on/off switch that's operated by a competent driver.  Function is more important than "it looked cool in the movie".  I make that same claim about all other vehicles.  Vehicles sure as hell don't need a way for someone to reprogram the way they work or remotely control them from the other side of the world.  All they actually had to do was design a reliable and durable battery control system, as simple as they could possibly make it, for some reasonable cost.  The rest of the electronic crap is pure unadulterated computer game nonsense.  Driving is not equivalent to playing a computer game and it should never be viewed that way by the vehicle operator.

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#142 2021-07-18 22:56:24

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 4,601

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

louis wrote:

Can't deal with all your post now but surely, surely you've got to be wrong on 1.2 GwH from 600 millon barrels of petroleuem!!!

Louis,

Good catch.  That was supposed to be 1.02PWh, not 1.2GWh.  I both fat fingered the numeric entry and wrote the incorrect unit behind it, and probably ran with it from there.  If you've ever had children or a wife, then I presume you've also had numerous distractions while pursuing your free time hobbies.

Each barrel of crude oil represents ~1,700,000Wh of embodied energy, so 1.7M * 600M barrels = 1,020,000,000,000,000Wh = 1.02PWh, not 1.2GWh.

That little foible of mine wasn't quite as important as the following point, though:

Americans are presently driving 1.4 trillion miles in passenger vehicles per year, as of 2018.  In 1975, they were already driving 1 trillion miles per year.

1,400,000,000,000 miles * 240Wh per mile = 336,000,000,000,000 Watt-hours of power = 336TWh

That's assuming that every electric passenger vehicle on the road, which must replace every gasoline powered vehicle on the road, is as energy efficient as Tesla claims their electric vehicles to be.  That means we need to generate AT LEAST 920,547,945,205 Watt-hours of power per day, presuming 100% electrical efficiency, in order to provide enough electrical energy to power a nationwide fleet of electric passenger cars.

336,000,000,000,000 Watt-hours / 365 days per year = 920,547,945,205 Watt-hours of electricity per day.

920GWh PER DAY

That is equivalent to the output of 31 1.25GWe nuclear reactors.

That's an enormous amount of electrical power, even with nuclear power, but still seems doable using wind and solar thermal energy.

The diesel powered heavy duty trucks are using 2,020Wh per mile and Tesla is claiming that their big rigs will only use 1,890Wh per mile.  The heavy duty trucks drove 1.85 trillion miles during the same year (2018).

1,850,000,000,000 miles * 1,890Wh per mile = 3,496,500,000,000,000 Watt-hours per year

3,496,500,000,000,000 Watt-hours per year / 365 days per year = 9,579,452,054,795 Watt-hours per day

9,579GWh / 9.5TWh PER DAY

In total, 10.5TWh PER DAY

The US generated 4,009TWh of electricity from all sources in 2020.  That includes coal / gas / oil / hydroelectric / nuclear / wind / solar / geothermal / biomass, the whole shooting match.  In 2017, total global electrical energy consumption was 21,372TWh and 20,900TWh in 2020 (20.9PWh).  COVID was a speed bump.  30 years from now, I'll bet you it's more like 30PWh.  Humanity has a voracious appetite for energy of all types.

4,009 / 10.5 = 381.8 <- This means the US would have to ALMOST DOUBLE its current total electricity output to power an all-electric fleet of vehicles.  According to your plan, 100% of it would have to come from wind or solar, unless your plan is to simply keep burning fossil fuels, which is what we have been doing.

America would need 140 Solana Generating Stations to produce the electricity required to power our fleet of vehicles.

Solana Generating Station cost $2B to build over a period of 3 years and it covers 1,920 acres, which means a fleet of 140 Solana Generating Stations would cover 420 square miles and cost $280B to build.

80,000t of steel was used, so the total steel demand is equivalent to the displacement of 112 Nimitz or Ford class super carriers.  The pair of A1B nuclear reactors in those carriers each supply 700MWt (Solana's nameplate power output, never achieved in operation, is 280MWe), and the whole A1B reactor and all subsystems weigh less than 1,000t.  The reactor vessel itself weighs 110t and the total reactor cost was around $200M.  It's refueled every 20 years or so.  For the cost of a single Solana, we can have approximately 10 naval nuclear reactors that each produce the same amount of power output as a single Solana Generating Station.  All 140 reactors would easily fit on a parcel of land approximately equal to the acreage of land that the Ford class super carrier occupies.  $28B is still a crazy amount of money, but equal to the amount of money we'll spend on Gerald Ford and her two sister ships currently being built.  Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates could easily afford to purchase all of those reactors, if they really wanted to, but the pair of them would blow through nearly all of their fortunes to purchase all of those solar generating stations, which is why they convince the peons to purchase solar power using public money, which all of us ultimately end up paying for in the form of higher electric utility rates.

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#143 2021-07-19 17:14:33

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,854

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

kbd512 wrote:
louis wrote:

Can't deal with all your post now but surely, surely you've got to be wrong on 1.2 GwH from 600 millon barrels of petroleuem!!!

Louis,

Good catch.  That was supposed to be 1.02PWh, not 1.2GWh.  I both fat fingered the numeric entry and wrote the incorrect unit behind it, and probably ran with it from there.  If you've ever had children or a wife, then I presume you've also had numerous distractions while pursuing your free time hobbies.

Each barrel of crude oil represents ~1,700,000Wh of embodied energy, so 1.7M * 600M barrels = 1,020,000,000,000,000Wh = 1.02PWh, not 1.2GWh.

Yes, I am familiar with that scenario! lol

That little foible of mine wasn't quite as important as the following point, though:

Americans are presently driving 1.4 trillion miles in passenger vehicles per year, as of 2018.  In 1975, they were already driving 1 trillion miles per year.

1,400,000,000,000 miles * 240Wh per mile = 336,000,000,000,000 Watt-hours of power = 336TWh

That's assuming that every electric passenger vehicle on the road, which must replace every gasoline powered vehicle on the road, is as energy efficient as Tesla claims their electric vehicles to be.  That means we need to generate AT LEAST 920,547,945,205 Watt-hours of power per day, presuming 100% electrical efficiency, in order to provide enough electrical energy to power a nationwide fleet of electric passenger cars.

336,000,000,000,000 Watt-hours / 365 days per year = 920,547,945,205 Watt-hours of electricity per day.

920GWh PER DAY

That is equivalent to the output of 31 1.25GWe nuclear reactors.

That's an enormous amount of electrical power, even with nuclear power, but still seems doable using wind and solar thermal energy.

The diesel powered heavy duty trucks are using 2,020Wh per mile and Tesla is claiming that their big rigs will only use 1,890Wh per mile.  The heavy duty trucks drove 1.85 trillion miles during the same year (2018).

1,850,000,000,000 miles * 1,890Wh per mile = 3,496,500,000,000,000 Watt-hours per year

3,496,500,000,000,000 Watt-hours per year / 365 days per year = 9,579,452,054,795 Watt-hours per day

9,579GWh / 9.5TWh PER DAY

In total, 10.5TWh PER DAY

The US generated 4,009TWh of electricity from all sources in 2020.  That includes coal / gas / oil / hydroelectric / nuclear / wind / solar / geothermal / biomass, the whole shooting match.  In 2017, total global electrical energy consumption was 21,372TWh and 20,900TWh in 2020 (20.9PWh).  COVID was a speed bump.  30 years from now, I'll bet you it's more like 30PWh.  Humanity has a voracious appetite for energy of all types.

4,009 / 10.5 = 381.8 <- This means the US would have to ALMOST DOUBLE its current total electricity output to power an all-electric fleet of vehicles.  According to your plan, 100% of it would have to come from wind or solar, unless your plan is to simply keep burning fossil fuels, which is what we have been doing.

America would need 140 Solana Generating Stations to produce the electricity required to power our fleet of vehicles.

Solana Generating Station cost $2B to build over a period of 3 years and it covers 1,920 acres, which means a fleet of 140 Solana Generating Stations would cover 420 square miles and cost $280B to build.

80,000t of steel was used, so the total steel demand is equivalent to the displacement of 112 Nimitz or Ford class super carriers.  The pair of A1B nuclear reactors in those carriers each supply 700MWt (Solana's nameplate power output, never achieved in operation, is 280MWe), and the whole A1B reactor and all subsystems weigh less than 1,000t.  The reactor vessel itself weighs 110t and the total reactor cost was around $200M.  It's refueled every 20 years or so.  For the cost of a single Solana, we can have approximately 10 naval nuclear reactors that each produce the same amount of power output as a single Solana Generating Station.  All 140 reactors would easily fit on a parcel of land approximately equal to the acreage of land that the Ford class super carrier occupies.  $28B is still a crazy amount of money, but equal to the amount of money we'll spend on Gerald Ford and her two sister ships currently being built.  Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates could easily afford to purchase all of those reactors, if they really wanted to, but the pair of them would blow through nearly all of their fortunes to purchase all of those solar generating stations, which is why they convince the peons to purchase solar power using public money, which all of us ultimately end up paying for in the form of higher electric utility rates.

They're naming aircraft carriers after Gerald Ford? That made me smile.

$280 billion would be an investment over probably 30 years  so more like $9 billion per annum.

Lots of things need to happen before we can create a green energy infrastructure that is reliable and cheap but I remain optimistic and I do so on that basis that, as we have seen with price drops over the decades, technological innovation, robotisation of manufacturing and economies of scale can lead to huge price reductions. It's not me just saying things, all the leading analysts see continued huge drops in price.

As the price drops, lots of things become possible including hydrogen storage.

This article below suggests we might already be down to 14 cents per KwHe for electric power generated by hydrogen. If hydrogen produces 10% of your annual power requirement at 14 cents per KwHe, 60% is produced direct from wind and solar at 2 cents per KwHe, 10% from other renewables at 8 cents, and 20% from chemical battery storage at 10 cents. That would give an overall price of 6 cents per KwHe. Everything I read suggests that sort of scenario is achievable over the next decade or so.

https://www.powermag.com/how-much-will- … ower-cost/

I really think the construction times and use of materials for these big PV facilities, will need to change. Time for some creative thinking. Perhaps anchored inflatable balloons covered in ultrathin PV film would make more sense. When a hurricane's coming your way you deflate them and lock them away. This becomes much more possible if you have reliable hydrogen storage.


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

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#144 2021-07-19 17:30:04

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 7,208

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

For Louis re link to powermag in Post #143

Thanks for article by Ms. Patel ... this is not intended as a criticism, but more as an observation confirming current thinking ... the article did not foresee space travel as a possible market for hydrogen.

While Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin are currently the only space launch company (that I know of) that uses hydrogen, i expect that more launchers will find it worth while to master the intricacies of working with Hydrogen to secure the benefits.

NASA was a customer at one time, and they might be again.

(th)

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#145 2021-07-19 17:58:20

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,854

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

As mentioned earlier in the thread, when you compare the amount of energy used in aviation and vehicular traffic on Earth with the amount used in space travel, the latter is tiny and even if Musk builds a million person city on Mars, will still remain tiny in comparison (over 4 billion people travel by airplane in a normal year!). So I would forgive her the omission.

tahanson43206 wrote:

For Louis re link to powermag in Post #143

Thanks for article by Ms. Patel ... this is not intended as a criticism, but more as an observation confirming current thinking ... the article did not foresee space travel as a possible market for hydrogen.

While Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin are currently the only space launch company (that I know of) that uses hydrogen, i expect that more launchers will find it worth while to master the intricacies of working with Hydrogen to secure the benefits.

NASA was a customer at one time, and they might be again.

(th)


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

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#146 2021-07-19 18:38:41

tahanson43206
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Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 7,208

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

For Louis re #145

We are at risk of talking apples and oranges in this situation.

At the moment, the amount of hydrogen consumed by automobiles is vanishingly small, although I understand Toyota would like to change that with their line of hydrogen fuel cell cars, and there is at least one line of over-the-road trucks that are planned to consume hydrogen.

I do not doubt the consumption of fossil fuel will remain massive compared to hydrogen consumption for decades to come.

What I'm interested in here is the omission of space propulsion as a significant "future" market for hydrogen, although (again) I recognize that fossil fuels (methane/kerosene) are likely to far exceed hydrogen as a space propulsion fuel for decades.

I'll have to go back to reread the article to see where Ms. Patel foresaw the market for hydrogen. I read it rapidly the first time, to try to get an impression.

(th)

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#147 2021-07-19 20:56:09

kbd512
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Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 4,601

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

Louis,

I love your creativity and I like the premise / theory behind a lot of it, but you have a very cavalier attitude towards spending other peoples' money, as well as resource consumption.  The goal of sustainability is not to attempt to do it no matter the cost or complexity involved, or damage done to the environment in other ways, but to do it in an affordable and practical way that limits consumption and waste production.  There's nothing particularly sustainable or environmentally friendly about consuming 10 to 1,000 times more resources, at a global level.  As of right now, grid level storage at the scale required is every bit as expensive as nuclear power is here in America and then some.  There's no feasible way to produce a power plant that costs 10 times more than a competing alternative does to simply construct, because it requires 10 to 1,000 times more resources, and then proclaim that to be "green energy".

When I evaluate a proposal and think to myself, "this could work because it uses well understood principles demonstrated at the scale required" or "this won't work using present technology or has yet to be demonstrated at the scale required".  I approach it the same way I'd approach any other engineering problem.  We can either demonstrate an affordably repeatable process at the scale required or we can't.  I don't think I've seen anyone else ignore that principle quite so often as you tend to.

If you can generate power, then you don't have to store it.  You don't need mega-scale engineering projects that consume resources at an alarming rate, only made possible by the cheapest and dirtiest forms of energy production.  As with all other forms of energy generation, wind and solar have practical limits, but you're unwilling to accept that, because it means something that you don't personally agree with will have to play some part in the energy mix.

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#148 2021-07-19 21:25:13

kbd512
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Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

Propane / Ammonia (more H2 per unit volume than LH2) / gasoline (without alcohol added to it) / kerosene / diesel are storable for significant periods of time without cryogenics, so that means energy is not expended / lost merely to store them.  Since Hydrogen and Methane are not storable as dense liquids without resorting to cryogenics, they're mostly limited to stationary generator or specialty type applications, such as rocket propulsion.  The LNG powered tankers have enough problems with storage of their cargo, and LH2 would probably be a bridge too far, in terms of both cost and practical considerations such as supplying the power to keep it liquid.

We can burn Propane in spark or compression ignition internal combustion engines / external combustion engines / gas turbine engines without major modifications.  Propane burns almost as cleanly as Methane, mixes thoroughly with Oxygen without very high pressure injection (kerosene and diesel, and gasoline to a lesser extent), and stationary gas turbine power plants operate every bit as happily on Propane as Methane.  If we had to continue to maintain two practical energy carriers for portable power applications or other uses such as fertilization of crops or refrigerant, Propane and Ammonia are pretty close to ideal.  Most people in industrialized countries, and even people who don't live in industrialized countries, are familiar with their use and storage.  The same can't be said of pure Hydrogen.  Methane is a great fuel for cooking and heating because it's so plentiful, but storing it is a bit of a challenge.  If nature hadn't given us so much of it, essentially for free, then we probably wouldn't be using it as much as we do.

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#149 2021-07-19 21:48:22

tahanson43206
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Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 7,208

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

For kbd512 re #148

"Propane and Ammonia" come off pretty well in #148, as I read it.

Your comment about Hydrogen reminded me to see how practical it might be to ship Hydrogen by pipeline ... Google came up with some citations that seem to hint at practicality of shipping by pipeline under certain circumstances.  I don't have time to follow up right now, but I would imagine pipelines will be popular if the Hydrogen economy takes off, for whatever reason ...

[PDF] Blending Hydrogen into Natural Gas Pipeline Networks: A ... - NREL
www.nrel.gov › docs

Oct 14, 2010 · This benefit is similar to increasing the mix of renewable generation on the electricity grid in that it does not require significant changes in ...
People also ask
Can natural gas pipelines be used for hydrogen?
Is hydrogen energy practical?
Can natural gas replace hydrogen?
Are hydrogen pipelines dangerous?
Hydrogen Pipelines | Department of Energy

www.energy.gov › eere › fuelcells › hydrogen-pipelines

Gaseous hydrogen can be transported through pipelines much the way natural gas is today. Approximately 1600 miles of hydrogen pipelines are currently ...
Missing: practical | Must include:practical

[PDF] Energy and the Hydrogen Economy - Alternative Fuels Data Center
afdc.energy.gov › files › pdfs › hyd_economy_bossel_eliasson
that it can be handled much like natural gas in today's energy economy. ... while the practical aspects of a hydrogen economy, Figure 1, are rarely.

Repurposing gas infrastructure for hydrogen | 2020 | Siemens ...

www.siemens-energy.com › home › News › Magazine

(th)

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#150 2021-07-19 23:33:56

kbd512
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Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 4,601

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

tahanson43206,

Yes, H2 can be blended into CH4, but at what cost to the overall distribution system?

Will a H2 / CH4 blend make the iron and carbon steel pipes brittle?

If not, then blends have some potential benefits, such as a cleaner burn, less noxious fumes, mildly improved BTU per cubic foot, stuff like that.

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