LENR vs Solar/Wind, and emerging Green Technologies.

  • Solar, wind, or geothermal power won't be enough to overcome the problems mankind is facing. They are simply no where near good enough! What we need is a portable, compact, power dense, cheap, and clean energy source that is so outrageously better than anything else available that the cost of a household or business not purchasing a unit would simply be unbearable. I think cold fusion could come close or be suitable - especially if plasma based cold fusion utilized.


    The idea of attempting to force people to change lifestyle or diet to combat climate change is not only fundamentally wrong but also won't work.

  • Solar, wind, or geothermal power won't be enough to overcome the problems mankind is facing. They are simply no where near good enough!

    That is not quite right. It would be difficult to produce all of the energy we need from these sources with today's technology, but with some improvements we could do this, and it would be at a lower cost than fossil fuel. For example, suppose you convert wind turbine output into hydrogen fuel (gas or liquid hydrocarbons). This can be done today, but it is not cost effective. Suppose the technology is improved and we install wind turbines in North and South Dakota to do this. They would produce more fuel than all of the oil wells in the Middle East. It would bankrupt OPEC. For most applications we could use hydrogen directly. For hydrocarbon fuel, we might use carbon from garbage or extracted from air, making it zero-carbon. This would be expensive but do-able. Either solar or wind could be used to make synthetic fuel for transportation, not just electricity. Generating electricity from hydrogen gas would solve the problem of distributing the power. Hydrogen gas pipelines have been used for over 70 years in Europe. Gas could be sent to distant cities for power generation on demand.


    The amount of potential energy from easily accessed wind and solar far exceeds total human consumption. In the U.S., one large solar installation in a place like Death Valley could produce all of the energy consumed in North America. In the Middle East they are now constructing solar farms ranging from 1 to 4 GW, the equivalent to 4 nuclear reactors during peak hours. Which is when they need the electricity, because air conditioning is a major demand.


    One of those 4 GW sites now under construction has a concentrated solar portion which will run well into the night. In that desert area, solar is far cheaper than nuclear or fossil fuel. In Saudi Arabia they plan to build a 200 GW solar farm in stages by 2030. Their total electric power production at present is 77 GW.


    https://singularityhub.com/201…er-than-any-in-the-world/


    Wind in the North Sea could provide about 4 times more electricity than Northern Europe consumes.


    Needless to say, cold fusion would be far cheaper than these methods. It would be roughly 200 times cheaper than today fossil fuel systems. See:


    https://www.lenr-canr.org/acrobat/RothwellJcoldfusionb.pdf


    It would have many other advantages:


    https://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/RothwellJcoldfusiona.pdf


    However, wind and solar could be far better than what we have now, despite being spread out at low power density.

  • Back in the day I built solar pans with clay ceramic and porcelain for a much hotter "like 15 mig welders going at it" but the internals would always obliterate as they were curing. 12 of them around a focus point.

    not much luck in them days.

  • The idea of attempting to force people to change lifestyle or diet to combat climate change is not only fundamentally wrong but also won't work.


    It will work if it becomes fashionable. For example Vegetarianism and electric cars are fashionable. Both are doing very nicely in Europe. The planet needs better PR

  • More relevant perhaps of the things we can change short-term is the methane component of the greenhouse effect.


    Methane from ruminants (cows etc) represents around 20% of the total emission budget. Methane has an occupancy time in the atmosphere of around 10 years, with the main sink being atmospheric conversion to CO2 and H2O. It gives us 25% of man-made warming


    So, for example, if we all ate 50% less meat and dairy products, and therefore farmed 50% less cows, this would within 10 years have a significant negative effect on the levels of warming.


    That may work, but there are also studies that show grazing animals not confined in an enclosed area, contribute to carbon sequestration, by breaking up the soil. That makes it more fertile for beneficial microorganisms. Just another example of natures fine balance, and the risk mankind takes on when trying to intervene.


    That said, we will know soon if reducing cow populations will have an effect on climate....anyone try one of those "Impossible Burgers"? Seriously, those things taste great. Who needs burgers? Yes, I know they are expensive, but it won't be long before competition, and production drives the cost down to a competitive level. They do give me gas though, so are we replacing one methane source with another? :)

  • Solar, wind, or geothermal power won't be enough to overcome the problems mankind is facing. They are simply no where near good enough! What we need is a portable, compact, power dense, cheap, and clean energy source that is so outrageously better than anything else available that the cost of a household or business not purchasing a unit would simply be unbearable. I think cold fusion could come close or be suitable - especially if plasma based cold fusion utilized.


    The idea of attempting to force people to change lifestyle or diet to combat climate change is not only fundamentally wrong but also won't work.


    As Alan says, veganism and EVs are fashionable, and a whole generation could end up viewing meat-eating or gas-guzzler driving as socially reprehensible - whether you approve of that or no.


    Look what can be done using a combination of strong government action and the free market solar and wind renewables have both greatly outperformed predictions with volume and clever tech driving down costs. And solar, at least, still has a lot of technology to go.


    Batteries, that most difficult of technologies to crack, have continued to improve and when EVs become cost-competitive with petrol (in 10 - 20 years) it will be from volume and better batteries.


    Personally I am optimistic that we will as a civilisation manage to survive climate change. Largely because although it will be expensive and unpleasant, there are geo-engineering options that we can use to reverse things if positive feedbacks get out of control. Let us hope we do not need them - but there I am much less optimistic.


    THH

  • That said, we will know soon if reducing cow populations will have an effect on climate....anyone try one of those "Impossible Burgers"? Seriously, those things taste great.

    I have heard they are good. However, sooner or later I expect we will have in vitro meat production, which -- after some tweaking -- should taste exactly like meat grown in animals. Maybe better, because it will be the "prime cut" with the parameters set the way people prefer. Such as the amount of fat, and the right level of toughness. The in vitro fish developed years ago was mushy, meaning not tough enough, but they fixed that problem. (They make it more or less tough by exercising the growing muscle fibers. I kid you not.)


    The cost of in vitro meat measured in energy, space, materials and so on is far lower than animal meat. One of the researchers told me that per kilogram the materials, space, electricity and other overhead is roughly the same as for tofu or cheese.


    I recently bought some "Beyond Meat" hamburgers and some sausages. The hamburgers were so-so. No one would mistake them for the real thing. I thought they tasted a little too much like preservative, with an unpleasant aftertaste. The sausages were remarkable. I grilled them along with regular, real sausage. They were very similar. They tasted better in some ways. Less salty.

  • The gigawatt scale solar farms now being constructed in North Africa have big advantages over conventional sources such as the gigawatt Vogtle nuclear reactor now under construction in Georgia:


    They cost less per gigawatt.


    You can bring them on line one section at a time, so you start to make back the money long before the project is complete.


    The technology is simpler, much better understood, and the pricing is predictable, so there is less danger of a cost overrun. The Vogtle project is way over budget. Quote:


    Project Cost

    In August 2008, it was originally estimated that Plant Vogtle reactors 3&4 would cost $14.3 billion and begin commercial operations in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Now, updated estimates put the total project cost at roughly $28 billion and the completion dates for the two reactors in November 2021 and November 2022. This latest estimate means the project is $14 billion over budget and more than 5 years behind schedule, compared to initial estimates.


    https://www.taxpayer.net/energ…am-vogtle-reactors-3-4-2/

  • Converting sunlight into electricity, and then using that to make hydrogen gas or synthetic hydrocarbon liquid would be inefficient. A 1-GW solar farm would not produce a 1-GW flow of fuel. However, I believe other methods are being researched.


    You might use biology, converting algae into fuel.


    They have lots of empty space and lots of sunlight in the Sahara, so efficiency and saving space are not the important parameters. They need a method which is cheap and reliable. It has to produce fuel cheaper than oil. To accomplish this, perhaps oil should be taxed at a higher rate, since it contributes to global warming but hydrogen from sunlight would not.


    They could put hydrogen gas into a pipeline and ship it to Europe, for power generation and hydrogen powered cars. That would take a huge investment.

  • Batteries, that most difficult of technologies to crack, have continued to improve and when EVs become cost-competitive with petrol (in 10 - 20 years) it will be from volume and better batteries.

    Batteries now give the Tesla almost as much range as a typical gasoline automobile. Tesla 237 to 285 miles; average car 300 to 400 miles.


    The problem is recharging time. You can refuel a gasoline car in 5 minutes. It takes much longer to recharge Tesla batteries, even with a "supercharger." Wikipedia says 20 minutes for 50% charge, 40 minutes for 80% and 75 minutes for 100%. This make long distance highway travel impractical for many people. For commuting or in-town driving, the recharge time makes no difference. You recharge at home, overnight. In Texas where they have lots of wind turbine electricity, electricity is free at night. Use as much as you like. Recharge your car. Leave the AC on, do your laundry. The power companies encourage people to shift consumption to the night hours, because the wind blows all the time and they cannot store the electricity.

  • As Alan says, veganism and EVs are fashionable, and a whole generation could end up viewing meat-eating or gas-guzzler driving as socially reprehensible - whether you approve of that or no.


    And another- smoking has gone from social lubricant to pariah pastime in 30 years. Despite being highly addictive.

  • “The problem is recharging time. You can refuel a gasoline car in 5 minutes. It takes much longer to recharge Tesla batteries, even with a "supercharger." Wikipedia says 20 minutes for 50% charge, 40 minutes for 80% and 75 minutes for 100%. This make long distance highway travel impractical for many people.”


    First of all, several Tesla models have well over 300 miles range (Model 3 LR 325 miles; Model S LR 370 miles.) As for charging, adding 200 miles in less than half an hour makes long-distance highway travel eminently practical for most people. Stopping for half an hour during a 500-mile drive is not exactly a major inconvenience for the great majority of people, especially those with bladders and who consume liquids and eat food. Yes, there are use cases where this is a problem, but I would consider them way out on the fringe. In addition, Tesla is in the process of upgrading Superchargers to Version 3 which basically cut charging times in half. All this adds up to a very practical mode of transport for the great majority of people.

  • Decreased battery performance in cold weather, and loss of range using climate control (ac/heater) factor in also.

    They factor in but are not a big deal even in most places with fairly harsh winters. For example, in the Northeastern US where temperatures in the teens and twenties are common during winter, the Tesla Model 3 loses maybe 25% of its range running the heater and driving in the cold. It matters but having 250 miles of range on a charge is still plenty for most people most of the time. Like all things automotive, it boils down to your own personal needs and not some theoretical standard.

  • First of all, several Tesla models have well over 300 miles range (Model 3 LR 325 miles; Model S LR 370 miles.) As for charging, adding 200 miles in less than half an hour makes long-distance highway travel eminently practical for most people. Stopping for half an hour during a 500-mile drive is not exactly a major inconvenience for the great majority of people, especially those with bladders and who consume liquids and eat food.

    You have to stop where the superchargers are. You may have to go out of your way, especially if you driving to a rural location off the beaten path. If there were superchargers at most McDonald's, that would be a different story. However, the supercharger gadgets are expensive and the number of electric cars is small, so it will be a long time before they become widely available.

  • You have to stop where the superchargers are. You may have to go out of your way, especially if you driving to a rural location off the beaten path. If there were superchargers at most McDonald's, that would be a different story. However, the supercharger gadgets are expensive and the number of electric cars is small, so it will be a long time before they become widely available.

    Fair enough, but once again it is a matter of use cases. For a very large number of drivers in the US, there are superchargers all over the place along most routes one might take to do a long-distance trip and more are being added literally every week. For those of us living in reasonably pooulated parts of the country, it is a non-issue. If you are in Montana, you need to be more strategic.


    https://supercharge.info/map

  • Fair enough, but once again it is a matter of use cases. For a very large number of drivers in the US, there are superchargers all over the place along most routes one might take to do a long-distance trip and more are being added literally every week. For those of us living in reasonably pooulated parts of the country, it is a non-issue. If you are in Montana, you need to be more strategic.


    https://supercharge.info/map


    In any case, availability of high quality charge points is a matter of EV volume, just as EV volume depends on high quality available charge points.


    Government will and this feedback loop can be switched by incentives. That is one of the easier issues facing adaptation to a low carbon civilisation.

  • In any case, availability of high quality charge points is a matter of EV volume

    True, but it is complicated by logistical differences between electric cars as gasoline cars. I doubt there will ever be as many charging stations as there are gas stations, because people can charge a car at home. Most people will not need charging stations, whereas everyone with a gasoline car needs a gas station. There are ~25,000 electric cars in Atlanta, but I doubt there will be many superchargers because most of those cars are used for commuting within battery range, and they are charged at home. You do see a few charging stations around here. There are two at the FAA office of the PDK airport where my office is located, but I have never seen them in use. The mayor wants new buildings to have charging stations, but I do not see the need for it:


    https://www.bizjournals.com/at…le-market-to-require.html


    To take another example, there are long stretches on Rt. 81 in western Virginia where there are no gas stations. There is not much of anything. I doubt it would make sense to install a supercharger there, because there would be no local use of it. Anyone with an electric car living in Staunton, VA is going to charge it at home. They are not going to all the way to a supercharger at an exit of Rt. 81 and then wait around for a half hour, or even ten minutes. Whereas everyone in that area who lives within 15 miles of a gas station off of Rt. 81 goes to it, because there are no other gas stations.


    Furthermore, because you can charge at home, anyone who plans to drive a long distance will charge up at home the night before. You will always start off with a "full tank." So if you are going from Atlanta to Staunton, you will drive past the first several hundred miles of superchargers north of Atlanta. Whereas with gasoline you might forget to fill up, or not bother to fill up, and then fill 100 miles north. You can fill up anywhere on short notice.


    All of this means charging is likely to be less convenient than gasoline for people who run low on charge in long distance travel. That is in the U.S. where things are spread out over long distances. In Europe or Japan the situation may be different.


    One solution for people like me would be to rent a gasoline car for long distance travel. Commercial airlines are ruled out for the kinds of places I go, such as Staunton, VA, and Gettysburg, PA, plus you cannot carry boots and camping gear. A self-piloting Lilium air taxi would be great, but the range is only 300 km. Plus I would probably be terrified, but decades from now perhaps they will be common.