Get your fill of sci-fi, science, and mockery of stupid people
* FAQ    * Search   * Register   * Login 
Want to support this site? Click

Quote of the Week: "A committee is a cul-de-sac down which ideas are lured and then quietly strangled." - Barnett Cocks, British political writer (1907-)


All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 127 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: 50 months to avoid climate disaster PostPosted: 2012-10-14 09:01pm
Online
Emperor's Hand
User avatar

Joined: 2004-01-02 08:04pm
Posts: 21165
Location: Industrial armpit of the US Midwest
Simon_Jester wrote:
This is why I often suspect the real answer to the oil crisis will be "screw it, we're powering the cars with ammonia."

Of course, that means clouds of nitrous oxide in the air...

More likely, some form of alcohol. Brazil runs a fleet of agricultural planes on alcohol distilled from the refuse of sugar cane farming, as an example. Even very large aircraft could be converted, but the problem is that alcohol is not as energy dense. Sure, the planes would fly, but their range would be seriously impaired. A 747 that crosses the Pacific non-stop using jet fuel (which is a version of diesel) would not be able to make the trip non-stop on alcohol, it might take several refueling stops. We'd still have transoceanic flights, but the details would differ.

Likewise, we could power ground vehicles on alcohol (some are already suited "E85", which is a fuel mix that's 85% ethanol/15% gasoline) but their range would be seriously impaired (E85 compatible vehicles state very plainly in their manuals that fuel efficiency will drop on E85 as opposed to E10 or pure gasoline). Well, we could also install larger fuel tanks (easier for ground vehicles than aircraft) but the mileage ratings would plummet and we'd still have to make those vast quantities of alcohol somehow.

If all petroleum disappeared we'd still run a machinery intense civilization but fuel costs would soar, not the least because we'd all need a larger volume of an alternative to go the same distance. Large, ocean-going ships (submarines, aircraft carriers, etc.) can be run on nuclear but not your 4-seat sedan automobile. I do know trucks and buses can run quite well on natural gas or propane or various other gaseous fuels, but that's largely in circumstances where the operators have access to large quantities of the gasses (such as our local utility company than supplies natural gas, which also has trucks that can run on it). Brazil manufactures some of their fuel from agricultural waste, but it's not enough to supply all their needs.

So far, no alternative matches the energy density of petroleum based liquid fuels. We could synthesize them if we had to, but the cost would be pretty daunting. There is a point where the cost of petroleum rises so high that the alternatives catch on, but I suspect it's a lot higher than people think it is.



Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid. - Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice

Top
 Profile  
 Post subject: Re: 50 months to avoid climate disaster PostPosted: 2012-10-14 09:06pm
Online
Emperor's Hand
User avatar

Joined: 2004-01-02 08:04pm
Posts: 21165
Location: Industrial armpit of the US Midwest
Sea Skimmer wrote:
Or oil forever, the USN is mumbling about maybe having found a way to turn seawater into hydrocarbon fuel with large amounts of energy.

That's basically using nuclear power to synthesize hydrocarbon fuel. No crazier than using a nuke plant to manufacture oxygen for a submarine, or desalinate water on one - when you've got lots and lots of power/energy you can do all sorts of things. The problem is scaling all that up. How many nuclear plants will you need to power how many fuel synthesis plants to replace the mined petroleum?



Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid. - Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice

Top
 Profile  
 Post subject: Re: 50 months to avoid climate disaster PostPosted: 2012-10-14 09:10pm
Offline
Emperor's Hand

Joined: 2009-05-23 07:29pm
Posts: 21070
Broomstick wrote:
More likely, some form of alcohol. Brazil runs a fleet of agricultural planes on alcohol distilled from the refuse of sugar cane farming, as an example. Even very large aircraft could be converted, but the problem is that alcohol is not as energy dense...
We can synthesize ammonia from electricity and air, more or less. Alcohol requires farmland, at least for the cost-effective methods of production.

Ammonia gets close to burning hydrocarbons for fuel economy. It's not great but it's close enough, and easy enough to adapt existing technology, that it could take the place.

Or so I am given to understand.

Top
 Profile  
 Post subject: Re: 50 months to avoid climate disaster PostPosted: 2012-10-14 09:20pm
Offline
Jedi Council Member
User avatar

Joined: 2006-09-19 03:12pm
Posts: 2392
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
On the note of electric vehicles, batteries will definitely win the day. Future batteries for electric vehicles will charge in minutes (possibly seconds), be extremely light weight, flexible and integrated into the framework of the vehicles (structural batteries) and combined with other technologies like transparent photovoltaic glass and durable photovoltaic shells, their ranges will be almost unlimited due to continously recharging.

Some references for battery developments underway:
New lighter-than-air material may be Holy Grail for batteries
New battery technology will allow for devices with 10x longer battery life
Record Battery Energy Density in Context
Scientists develop lithium-ion battery that charges 120 times faster than normal
The fast and the flexible: Graphene foam batteries charge quickly
Graphene gets commercialised in new battery tech
Supercapacitor breakthrough beats batteries with graphene

Again, these kinds of developments barely scratch the surface of what's going on in battery development. These are just quick sources I have on hand, and you also need to take into account many other factors like new developments in manufacturing processes, material sciences, available tools making nanotechnology engineering efforts faster, easier and cheaper, etc, etc.

Issues of cost, material availability, manufacturing techniques, etc...these are definitely valid issues and they are most definitely being considered when developing new battery technologies. It's obvious that many critics are fucking retards who think objections along these lines are something no one else is aware of, never considered or no one is working on resolving.

To handwave away all ongoing developments (many dozens I've come across, and god only knows how many I don't know about) because they're currently too expensive, still being developed/refined and any number of other objections is bordering on deluded absurdity.

Which ones are going to deliver on their promises? Who knows. What is known that is there are countless developments and efforts underway and they are taking into account the realities of implementation, scale of manufacturing, costs, raw materials, etc etc.

But hey, let the armchair analysts here continue their little ignorant tirades against these kinds of developments because no one else could possibly imagine the problems they can! Personally, I'll pit the sum of humanity's research and development sectors, financial backing & economic incentives, interested groups, manufacturing capabilities and energy needs against a few pessimistic users on a web forum any fucking day of the week. :roll:



"Now let us be clear, my friends. The fruits of our science that you receive and the many millions of benefits that justify them, are a gift. Be grateful. Or be silent." -Modified Quote

Top
 Profile  
 Post subject: Re: 50 months to avoid climate disaster PostPosted: 2012-10-14 09:34pm
Offline
Sith Marauder
User avatar

Joined: 2010-06-21 11:05am
Posts: 3793
Location: In Transit
Broomstick wrote:
We actually do have something like that in my area, in the form of commuter trains that are electrically powered either via overhead gantries or "third rail" systems. These actually aren't very new - the South Shore and South Bend system dates back to the 19th Century. Of course, there have been upgrades over the year.

Here are some of the problems I remember from my commuting days on those trains:
[...]

You forgot to mention ice on the third rail messing up conductivity; I ended up missing a couple of appointments with the welfare office that way when we had all that bad weather the year before last.

Quote:
That said, it's a viable system that's been around for over a hundred years, but it does seem limited to commuter rails - on the same rails South Shore South Bend RR freight is pulled by standard diesel-electric locomotives. I'm not sure if this would work as a substitute for the private automobile on city streets.

I don't know how much of the South Shore South Bend is electrified, but that might be an issue with 3rd rail in particular rather than electrification itself; overhead wires allow for much higher voltages (25kV versus 750v in Britain), and apparently pantographs impose much fewer speed restrictions. We certainly don't have much of an issue hauling freight with electric locomotives that run off the overhead wires, as long as their origin and destination are both electrified.

Sea Skimmer wrote:
Such a concept is absurdly more viable with induction charging devices buried in the road, which is a real idea for future highways as a way to recharge hybrid and battery powered vehicles that can move independently.

Absurd amounts of exposed overhead wires everywhere is a bad idea for even more reasons then people have already listed and the cost would be insane. Since you can't predict or control load the systems would have to be immensely over engineered, it must be able to meet peak capacity even though this might only last 1% of the year. This is a reason why electric passenger rail always got further and has retained more ground then electrified freight traffic. All electrified freight canetary in the US was taken down because it made about zero sense to maintain massively high amperage wiring to support one giant train every two hours. But this is precisely the issue you'd have trying to make all the roads electrified. Commuter rail does best with electrification because the power requirement is low but steady and near totally predictable.

Actually, you could predict peak load to within a few percent just by extrapolating from peak traffic flow, which is fairly predictable, and a road network doesn't have quite the same problem of traffic dropping to nearly nothing for long periods the way a freight-only railway does. Neither is it absolutely vital for freight and passenger rail traffic to be strictly segregated if they can maintain similar speeds, even if that might entail a shorter consist.

In any case, I'm not suggesting this as a complete replacement for every internal combustion-engined vehicle in the Western world by any means; I don't even really like it that much for cars and light trucks, not compared to just providing better bus and train links and depreciating the use of cars altogether where it's practical to go without them. But if we're really and truly wedded to the idea of personal automobiles, it might be a functional compromise.

And SI? You are Robert Walper and I claim my five pounds. I had this exact same argument with that guy over on the Arch Rival a while back, and I'm going to say the same thing to you as I said to him. Until one of these revolutionary new battery technologies progresses beyond a patent application and an excited article on the Internet, they amount to jack shit in the real world.
Yes, we probably will make a radical breakthrough in battery technology someday, but when? Ten years, twenty years, fifty? We haven't got that long; never mind climate change, we're bidding fair to have the next major push for "energy security" by war of conquest end with someone lighting off a nuke. These are problems we have to solve with the technology we already have, not the stuff we might have someday if we're lucky.



There are hardly any excesses of the most crazed psychopath that cannot easily be duplicated by a normal kindly family man who just comes in to work every day and has a job to do.
-- (Terry Pratchett, Small Gods)


IReplace "ginger" with "n*gger," and suddenly it become a lot less funny, doesn't it?
-- fgalkin


My tea cosy has a mohawk. Your argument is invalid.

Top
 Profile  
 Post subject: Re: 50 months to avoid climate disaster PostPosted: 2012-10-14 09:49pm
Offline
Yankee Capitalist Air Pirate
User avatar

Joined: 2002-07-03 11:49pm
Posts: 35322
Location: Passchendaele City, HAB
Zaune wrote:
[
Actually, you could predict peak load to within a few percent just by extrapolating from peak traffic flow, which is fairly predictable, and a road network doesn't have quite the same problem of traffic dropping to nearly nothing for long periods the way a freight-only railway does.


Actually roads have a much worse problem with traffic drop off, because almost nobody
uses them all night long, while freight rail never stops so near completely. I live right by a as major a highway as they get in a major city and at night you can count the cars and trucks passing one by one on an eight lane road.

Predicting traffic flow is far harder then you make it out, because for this purpose it is completely weight/acceleration dependent and traffic is normally and traffic is only easily measured per axle and speed. Meanwhile the power demand is specific to each segment of the grid. Those in turn will have to be very small to be practical to maintain, a horrendous problem with this concept in its own right, and that means each one has to be really high powered least several 40 ton dump trucks pass by in a convoy ect..

Quote:

Neither is it absolutely vital for freight and passenger rail traffic to be strictly segregated if they can maintain similar speeds, even if that might entail a shorter consist.


If they maintain similar speed, which they normally don’t. Passenger traffic does not like 40mph hauls. Service on Amtrack is completely horrendous precisely because the traffic is not segregated. Mixed traffic also tends to waste space in general because the passenger trains are smaller and can slow down better, yet if they have a freight train behind them you need even more space for safety precisely because the passenger train will stop faster. Very annoying. Putting back the track to segregate traffic more again, and operating a lot more auto trains would be one very reasonable and useful step to slash hydrocarbon use, but that isn't going to happen easily. If people could be made to realize they wont just save gas but ware and tear on the vehicle this idea would become a lot more attractive on key routes.



"This cult of special forces is as sensible as to form a Royal Corps of Tree Climbers and say that no soldier who does not wear its green hat with a bunch of oak leaves stuck in it should be expected to climb a tree"
— Field Marshal William Slim 1956

Top
 Profile  
 Post subject: Re: 50 months to avoid climate disaster PostPosted: 2012-10-14 10:31pm
Online
Emperor's Hand
User avatar

Joined: 2004-01-02 08:04pm
Posts: 21165
Location: Industrial armpit of the US Midwest
SI, you remind me of all the people back in the 60's and 70's who predicted we'd be vacationing on the Moon by the year 2000. Funny, though, none of them foresaw utilizing computers to play games the way we do now. Used to be people talked about how improved carburetors would result in 100 mpg cars but modern cars don't even have carburetors, it's computer-controlled fuel injection and other engine controls that generate significantly higher mileage than in the past (though still not 100 mpg for strictly gasoline cars). Lasers were supposed to evolve into "ray guns" but instead we use them to play music and movies.

By and large people are very hit and miss predicting the future, and that applies to scientists and engineers as much as the common man.

It would be just as plausible to argue that we'll be synthesizing liquid hydrocarbons for fuel utilizing nuclear power to drive the machinery to do it - with the advantage that we can already do that and don't because of costs, not technological limitations. Zaune said it best - your examples are patent applications and an article on the internet. I'll be impressed when they actually have something that works in the real world.



Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid. - Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice

Top
 Profile  
 Post subject: Re: 50 months to avoid climate disaster PostPosted: 2012-10-14 10:39pm
Online
Emperor's Hand
User avatar

Joined: 2004-01-02 08:04pm
Posts: 21165
Location: Industrial armpit of the US Midwest
Zaune wrote:
Broomstick wrote:
We actually do have something like that in my area, in the form of commuter trains that are electrically powered either via overhead gantries or "third rail" systems. These actually aren't very new - the South Shore and South Bend system dates back to the 19th Century. Of course, there have been upgrades over the year.

Here are some of the problems I remember from my commuting days on those trains:
[...]

You forgot to mention ice on the third rail messing up conductivity; I ended up missing a couple of appointments with the welfare office that way when we had all that bad weather the year before last.

There is also the issue of severe weather fucking up the automated switching, requiring some poor fool to go out to the big-ass manual level with a hand-held propane torch to melt the ice off the mechanism, which I've seen happen dozens of times over the years I rode mass transit in the Chicago area.

In the real world you need back up systems. That's why every airliner still carries an old fashioned compass and paper charts, because sometimes the new fangled shit like GPS lets you down. Any transportation system will have to contend with real-world weather which is far from completely predictable and can be impressively formidable. Over the decades we've worked out ways to keep fuels lines from freezing and fuel from congealing in our current ICE engines but as soon as we switch over to another system we'll be contending with that system's quirks and limitations.



Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid. - Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice

Top
 Profile  
 Post subject: Re: 50 months to avoid climate disaster PostPosted: 2012-10-14 10:52pm
Offline
Charismatic Cult Leader
User avatar

Joined: 2002-08-18 07:27pm
Posts: 13738
Location: Wheeeee!!
Singular Intellect wrote:
On the note of electric vehicles, batteries will definitely win the day. Future batteries for electric vehicles will charge in minutes (possibly seconds), be extremely light weight, flexible and integrated into the framework of the vehicles (structural batteries) and combined with other technologies like transparent photovoltaic glass and durable photovoltaic shells, their ranges will be almost unlimited due to continously recharging.

Some references for battery developments underway:


Once again, do you even read your own links? Do you know what a watt-hour/kg is? No, really, do you?

Because your own goddamn articles state that this new miracle breakthrough in graphene capacitors is a whopping 85Wh/kg. And this new super lithium ion battery is 400Wh/kg. Oh, and by the way it also states that gasoline is 12,000Wh/kg.

By the way, the maximum theoretical energy density for lithium ion is about 555Wh/kg. Why is it 555? Well, if you didn't sleep through high school chemistry you should remember redox reactions (anyone remember OIL RIG?), which is what all battery chemistries are based on. You work out the reaction, calculate the change in energy potential, then convert to mols & grams.

Look, here's the bottom line. You can't even do high school physics and chemistry which makes you completely unqualified for discussions on this topic. You keep posting links but it's clear that you don't even read or understand the damn things, and I'm not sure if you even read anything past the headlines. The number & hard physical limits are what they are, and no amount of wishful thinking or human ingenuity is going to change it. You might as well ask for a gallon of gasoline to fly a jumbo jet from London to Tokyo. And if you can't tell me why that isn't possible, well, that just explains why you need to shut the hell up on energy discussions.



Image
aerius: I'll vote for you if you sleep with me. :)
Lusankya: Deal!
Say, do you want it to be a threesome with your wife? Or a foursome with your wife and sister-in-law? I'm up for either. :P

Top
 Profile  
 Post subject: Re: 50 months to avoid climate disaster PostPosted: 2012-10-14 11:07pm
Offline
Charismatic Cult Leader
User avatar

Joined: 2002-08-18 07:27pm
Posts: 13738
Location: Wheeeee!!
Broomstick wrote:
It would be just as plausible to argue that we'll be synthesizing liquid hydrocarbons for fuel utilizing nuclear power to drive the machinery to do it - with the advantage that we can already do that and don't because of costs, not technological limitations.


Adding on to that, we've already done that minus the use of nuclear power. 70 years ago in Germany. And in present day South Africa they've had a large scale coal to liquid hydrocarbons program in full commercial operation going for many years.

If you want have some real fun, you could do the following. As most of us know, coal contains some amount of radioactive elements, the fun one being thorium. Take the billion tons or so of coal that the US uses in a year, separate out the thorium and use it to run nuke plants. Use the power from the nuke plants to turn all that coal into diesel & gasoline. Once you crunch the numbers you'll have enough thorium each year to run enough nuke plants to power the entire country, run the coal to liquids plants, and have plenty of power left over. That billion tons of coal gives you enough liquid fuel to run all the vehicles in the country. And we have the technology to do it right now.



Image
aerius: I'll vote for you if you sleep with me. :)
Lusankya: Deal!
Say, do you want it to be a threesome with your wife? Or a foursome with your wife and sister-in-law? I'm up for either. :P

Top
 Profile  
 Post subject: Re: 50 months to avoid climate disaster PostPosted: 2012-10-15 12:18pm
Offline
Padawan Learner
User avatar

Joined: 2010-06-17 02:50pm
Posts: 226
D.Turtle wrote:
Magis wrote:
Of course there will be some niche applications where solar is better than a nuclear reactor (like on the front of my calculator), but that hasn't been the proposition by the solar crowd in this thread. Rather, the discussion regarding solar has been about solar power being a potential large-scale solution to the energy demands of large nations. And my request for an argument showing a solar advantage in that role has still gone unanswered except for fallacious remarks about safety, which have been made contrary to the actual established safety statistics of the technologies in question.

Yes, niche applications like providing 5% of electricity of Germany in the first half of 2012 (renewables in total provided almost 26% of electricity). Solar energy costs have gone down drastically over the last 20 years, have shown no sign of slowing down, and are rapidly approaching grid parity (and in some areas have already reached it).
(Bolding mine).
Germany has some solar panels. Please feel free to explain why they are better than nuclear reactors. Just because Germany built them doesn't automatically mean that they are the better choice. Your reply really makes no sense an indicates a lack of reading comprehension on your part. I claimed that there are some good niche applications for solar and you essentially replied, "But Germany built lots!". Okay. So what? You don't think that qualifies as an argument do you? It barely even qualifies as an observation.

D.Turtle wrote:
Quote:
But I also take issue with the implication of your post that an ideal power infrastructure will include many types of technology. Why is that? This seems like a misguided attempt at compromise to me, or perhaps some variation of a golden mean fallacy. Why should a power grid include some of everything? Power should only be produced by whatever technology is the best at producing it. Instead of merely listing off a bunch of competing technologies and assuming that they all probably have some utility, why not offer some substantive arguments about the benefits of each one of them, and in what circumstances they are actually the best choice?

And once we have omniscient knowledge about which path is best, and everybody agrees on that path being the best, it will always require some amount of trial and experimentation and utilization of various technologies in order to find some solution that apparently works for the moment, but even that solution will change as technologies mature, new ones arise, circumstances change, etc.

Live in the real world.
I am in the one living in the real world. My statement that you quoted was in reply to someone that made a claim, that the ideal power grid would include generation from multiple technologies. I asked for justification of that claim. The people living in the fantasy world are the ones assuming that the "greeniest" technologies must be the best because.... "Green! No radiation! Exponential fits should last forever, right? Yuk yuk yuk."

So how much experimentation do you think we need? We've been building nuclear power reactors for over 60 years and solar panels aren't exactly new. What is your recommendation? To spend a fortune building, say, 50% solar power production and then just see what happens? There are more sophisticated ways of deciding what technology to use (hint: it involves actual engineering).

D.Turtle wrote:
Quote:
On a per-energy basis, nuclear is safer than solar, wind, oil, gas, coal, etc. This has been established over and over again in multiple threads where the statistics have been presented. Nuclear is safer that solar, just deal with that already.

Nuclear appears safer on a deaths per energy produced look.
Nice weasel wording there. Nuclear "appears" safer because it is safer.

D.Turtle wrote:
However, nuclear always carries the risk of contaminating - and making mostly inhabitable for humans - land areas for decades. Solar does not carry that risk.
You're right. Solar carries different risks, and those risks cause more deaths. The result is that solar is more dangerous to human health. But feel free to ignore this and focus on radiation exclusively, because radiation is the only thing in the universe that can harm someone, right?

By the way, no commercial nuclear power plant constructed after 1968 has ever released any dangerous amount of radioactivity to the environment, period. What you're doing is equivalent to claiming that automobiles are dangerous because 60s models cars didn't have airbags. The newest nuclear designs (such as some Gen IV nuclear designs) are almost entirely melt-proof, have enormously high thermodynamic efficiency, and consume much less nuclear fuel. Even currently installed 3rd Generation plants have logged decades of accumulated operation with a perfect operational record. The solar fanboys should stop pretending nuclear technology isn't improving continually as well.

And I find it especially ironic that you're making such a big deal about rendering a land area uninhabitable to humans. A grid powered by solar panels would render thousands of square kilometers uninhabitable by humans, by design, because they'd be covered in solar panels! So what's worse? A small chance of sealing off a few square miles (temporarily) due to nuclear accidents, or devoting thousands of square miles to solar panels, perpetually, for as long as those panels existed?

Top
 Profile  
 Post subject: Re: 50 months to avoid climate disaster PostPosted: 2012-10-15 06:00pm
Offline
Jedi Council Member
User avatar

Joined: 2002-07-26 08:08am
Posts: 1909
Location: Bochum, Germany
Magis wrote:
Germany has some solar panels. Please feel free to explain why they are better than nuclear reactors. Just because Germany built them doesn't automatically mean that they are the better choice. Your reply really makes no sense an indicates a lack of reading comprehension on your part. I claimed that there are some good niche applications for solar and you essentially replied, "But Germany built lots!". Okay. So what? You don't think that qualifies as an argument do you? It barely even qualifies as an observation.

I admit I misread that line. However, one humongous advantage that solar has in comparison to nuclear power is the speed of building additional power production capability. For quite obvious reasons (maintaining the high safety standard it has mostly had so far), building new nuclear plants is a very costly and lengthy affair - beyond the mere fact that it requires tons of investment in very large plants, which drastically limits the group of companies (and completely excludes individuals) capable of building one. In comparison to that, pretty much every schmuck with a few thousand dollars can put up solar production. This has lead to massive speed of adoption - so that the problem in Germany, for example, is that it is being adopted too quickly for the current government to keep up. Such a development is simply impossible with nuclear (unless you handwave away reality).

D.Turtle wrote:
I am in the one living in the real world. My statement that you quoted was in reply to someone that made a claim, that the ideal power grid would include generation from multiple technologies. I asked for justification of that claim. The people living in the fantasy world are the ones assuming that the "greeniest" technologies must be the best because.... "Green! No radiation! Exponential fits should last forever, right? Yuk yuk yuk."

And I provided that justification. Thats why I'm for an "All of the above" approach - as long as they reduce CO2 output.

Quote:
So how much experimentation do you think we need? We've been building nuclear power reactors for over 60 years and solar panels aren't exactly new. What is your recommendation? To spend a fortune building, say, 50% solar power production and then just see what happens? There are more sophisticated ways of deciding what technology to use (hint: it involves actual engineering).

Solar panels aren't new, but cheap, mass-produced solar cells are new - and getting better and cheaper by the day. The cost-curve of nuclear on the other hand is in the opposite direction: getting more expensive by the day.

Overall, the speed with which which new developments, technologies, approaches, etc are appearing with regards to renewable power sources makes it pretty much impossible to come up with a "best" solution that is then adopted. Thats why you let the market decide (which is telling nukes to fuck off, and embracing renewables whole-heartedly).

Quote:
Nice weasel wording there. Nuclear "appears" safer because it is safer.

You're right. Solar carries different risks, and those risks cause more deaths. The result is that solar is more dangerous to human health. But feel free to ignore this and focus on radiation exclusively, because radiation is the only thing in the universe that can harm someone, right?

There is a reason why most people are more afraid while traveling in a plane than in a car, or while walking - even though the highest death rate per mile traveled is while walking, and traveling by plane is one of the safest methods of travel. Its the same thing with nuclear: Nuclear power is safe most of the time - safer than any other power generation method when compared to the amount of power generated. However, when something goes wrong with nuclear power - it has massive local and regional impact. You might not like that view, or find it stupid, but thats the way the vast majority of humanity thinks. Thats why nuclear is nice on paper, but mostly hopeless in reality.

Quote:
By the way, no commercial nuclear power plant constructed after 1968 has ever released any dangerous amount of radioactivity to the environment, period. What you're doing is equivalent to claiming that automobiles are dangerous because 60s models cars didn't have airbags. The newest nuclear designs (such as some Gen IV nuclear designs) are almost entirely melt-proof, have enormously high thermodynamic efficiency, and consume much less nuclear fuel. Even currently installed 3rd Generation plants have logged decades of accumulated operation with a perfect operational record. The solar fanboys should stop pretending nuclear technology isn't improving continually as well.

Yes, nuclear power technology is improving. The difference to solar power is that solar power is getting cheaper all the time, while nuclear power is getting more expensive all the time.

Quote:
And I find it especially ironic that you're making such a big deal about rendering a land area uninhabitable to humans. A grid powered by solar panels would render thousands of square kilometers uninhabitable by humans, by design, because they'd be covered in solar panels!

Unless you put them on - gasp - roofs. Of course, in addition, they are (just like wind turbines) generally all spread around, lessening their impact, in comparison to if they were all in one huge square in the middle of the country.
Quote:
So what's worse? A small chance of sealing off a few square miles (temporarily) due to nuclear accidents, or devoting thousands of square miles to solar panels, perpetually, for as long as those panels existed?

The public has spoken: Solar panels, wind turbines, farms producing biofuel, etc spread all around, not making huge impacts on the population living there, are not as bad as having to suddenly evacuate tens or hundreds of thousands of people from hundreds or thousands of square miles of territory.

Top
 Profile  
 Post subject: Re: 50 months to avoid climate disaster PostPosted: 2012-10-16 02:16am
Offline
Cowardly Codfish
User avatar

Joined: 2002-07-07 12:01am
Posts: 8586
Location: Beneath the Deepest Sea
D.Turtle wrote:
Overall, the speed with which which new developments, technologies, approaches, etc are appearing with regards to renewable power sources makes it pretty much impossible to come up with a "best" solution that is then adopted. Thats why you let the market decide (which is telling nukes to fuck off, and embracing renewables whole-heartedly).


Maybe in Germany (not likely), but in the US renewables are largely dependent on the tax credits and subsidies that they receive. Without them, the now-exposed-to-market-conditions solar and wind power installations here would economically implode, leaving behind a few areas with the sunk costs already paid for plus a smaller number of people installing them on their houses. They're already facing slower growth because natural gas power is eating their lunch here in the US (the same thing is happening to coal power), and several of the major solar installations have failed in spite of subsidies, tax credits, and a tariff on chinese solar panels.

D.Turtle wrote:
There is a reason why most people are more afraid while traveling in a plane than in a car, or while walking - even though the highest death rate per mile traveled is while walking, and traveling by plane is one of the safest methods of travel. Its the same thing with nuclear: Nuclear power is safe most of the time - safer than any other power generation method when compared to the amount of power generated. However, when something goes wrong with nuclear power - it has massive local and regional impact. You might not like that view, or find it stupid, but thats the way the vast majority of humanity thinks. Thats why nuclear is nice on paper, but mostly hopeless in reality.


"Most of humanity" didn't have a problem with it in the 1950s and 1960s, and in France during the period when they went majority nuclear for their power. It has more to do with the fact that nuclear power's expansion and development overlapped with the rise of the environmental movement and anti-nuclear sentiment coming from the growing anti-nuclear war crowd. Coal, by contrast, got and has much more leniency because it became widespread before the environmental movement, which is why there isn't a serious, "block-it-now" fear of coal by the general public even though it regularly emits stuff that kills people and natural habitat (and because you can't blow up cities with coal power).



"You can't hammer tin into iron, no matter how hard you beat it, but that doesn't mean that tin is worthless."
-Jon Snow, A Game of Thrones

"I prefer my history dead. The dead sort is written in ink, the living in blood."
-Rodrik Greyjoy, A Song of Ice and Fire

Top
 Profile  
 Post subject: Re: 50 months to avoid climate disaster PostPosted: 2012-10-17 09:20am
Offline
Charismatic Cult Leader
User avatar

Joined: 2002-08-18 07:27pm
Posts: 13738
Location: Wheeeee!!
Oh hey look, no numbers! I keep seeing claims from the solar & renewable energy proponents who claim exponential growth and decreasing costs, yet I don't see a single fucking number or cost calculation.

Look, it's very simple, to make it cost competitive you need to get the cost down to under 5 cents/kWh, coal is about 4 cents and nuclear is 3.5 cents. Given that the capacity factor is around 10% in Germany, and operation & maintenance plus decommissioning costs are about 0.1 cents/kWh each, go work out the fucking math for what the installed cost per watt needs to be for solar to be cost competitive with nuclear. Then compare this to the current installed cost/watt, which by the way is a bit over $3/watt. Until I see this math there's no point in continuing the discussion.



Image
aerius: I'll vote for you if you sleep with me. :)
Lusankya: Deal!
Say, do you want it to be a threesome with your wife? Or a foursome with your wife and sister-in-law? I'm up for either. :P

Top
 Profile  
 Post subject: Re: 50 months to avoid climate disaster PostPosted: 2012-10-17 12:44pm
Offline
Gözde
User avatar

Joined: 2002-09-18 01:06am
Posts: 14354
Location: Exiled in the Pale of Settlement.
Guys, just ignore him. This entire thing is a very elaborate troll by SI.



The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth. -- Wikipedia's No Original Research policy page.

In 1966 the Soviets find something on the dark side of the Moon. In 2104 they come back. -- Red Banner / White Star, a nBSG continuation story. Updated to Chapter 4.0 -- 14 January 2013.

Top
 Profile  
 Post subject: Re: 50 months to avoid climate disaster PostPosted: 2012-10-17 02:25pm
Offline
Cowardly Codfish
User avatar

Joined: 2002-07-07 12:01am
Posts: 8586
Location: Beneath the Deepest Sea
I think he was just dying for a chance to post some of the thousands of links he's no doubt accumulated on solar power from various blogs, the news, and various pro-solar websites.



"You can't hammer tin into iron, no matter how hard you beat it, but that doesn't mean that tin is worthless."
-Jon Snow, A Game of Thrones

"I prefer my history dead. The dead sort is written in ink, the living in blood."
-Rodrik Greyjoy, A Song of Ice and Fire

Top
 Profile  
 Post subject: Re: 50 months to avoid climate disaster PostPosted: 2013-01-12 09:36pm
Offline
Padawan Learner
User avatar

Joined: 2011-04-15 11:31am
Posts: 162
Location: Staring at my computer
Does anyone else think nobody is gonna do anything about this? No one cares about global warming. Lots of people deny it even exists.

Top
 Profile  
 Post subject: Re: 50 months to avoid climate disaster PostPosted: 2013-01-12 10:18pm
Offline
Padawan Learner
User avatar

Joined: 2013-01-02 05:31pm
Posts: 169
aerius wrote:
Hillary wrote:
Of course it's not entirely clean. However, "uses dangerous chemicals in its prodcution that will cause bad river pollution if not handled with care" is in a fairly different league to "uses highly radioactive material in its generation that will make a wide area uninhabitable for decades if not handled correctly".


http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/ ... ways-paid/

Solar only kills 5 times as many people as nuclear per unit of energy produced. But those people don't count since they're in some country on the other side of the world, and deaths from exposure to toxins & pollutants doesn't make the news. It's like how everyone flips out when a jumbo jet crashes and kills 300 people, yet many times more people die in car accidents and no one notices or cares.

Which reminds me. Why is nuclear power always so obsessed with safety? If they are already the safest way of generating electricity by orders of magnitude, why are they still researching into how to make it safer as opposed to how to make it cheaper, more efficent, and more widespread? If anything the government should be working to relax regulations to give them more room to work with.



Image
"OK, I get it. You don't believe in the truce any more. Fair enough. Hands up - who fancies draining a nice juicy breather?"
"Oh, me!"
"Anyone else?"
...
"Good."

Top
 Profile  
 Post subject: Re: 50 months to avoid climate disaster PostPosted: 2013-01-12 10:55pm
Online
Emperor's Hand
User avatar

Joined: 2004-01-02 08:04pm
Posts: 21165
Location: Industrial armpit of the US Midwest
If only our other means of generating power would make the same effort towards safety....

The reason the nuclear industry is so obsessed with safety is because accidents have the potential to be extraordinary catastrophes. Rather like aviation, which is extremely safe but an another area where an accident can result in serious consequences. These areas of endeavor are safe only because there is such emphasis on safety.



Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid. - Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice

Top
 Profile  
 Post subject: Re: 50 months to avoid climate disaster PostPosted: 2013-01-25 06:38pm
Offline
Village Idiot
User avatar

Joined: 2013-01-25 02:02am
Posts: 395
HSRTG wrote:
The problems of private companies ignoring safety issues in nuclear power plants is not an argument against nuclear power plants. It's an argument against privately owned and run nuclear power plants. The obvious solution is to not let private companies run things like that.

The solution is nationalization of all electrical infrastructure. Why FDR didnt do that or Eisenhower didnt is beyond me.



Because, Murrica, thats why.

Top
 Profile  
 Post subject: Re: 50 months to avoid climate disaster PostPosted: 2013-01-25 06:53pm
Offline
Village Idiot
User avatar

Joined: 2013-01-25 02:02am
Posts: 395
Sky Captain wrote:
World run largely on solar power would be possible if there were global power grid because half of the planet always have sun. If you had solar power plants spread around the globe in tropical deserts and transmission lines running around the world there always would be power available without massive storage requirements. Obviously costs of building something like that would be astronomical.

Mass produced super conducting materials. On the scale of current copper production and wiring.



Coils of Graphene and Cubes of Graphene. Carbon Magitech.

Thats what you would need.



Because, Murrica, thats why.

Top
 Profile  
 Post subject: Re: 50 months to avoid climate disaster PostPosted: 2013-01-25 08:26pm
Online
Emperor's Hand
User avatar

Joined: 2004-01-02 08:04pm
Posts: 21165
Location: Industrial armpit of the US Midwest
Dominarch's Hope wrote:
HSRTG wrote:
The problems of private companies ignoring safety issues in nuclear power plants is not an argument against nuclear power plants. It's an argument against privately owned and run nuclear power plants. The obvious solution is to not let private companies run things like that.

The solution is nationalization of all electrical infrastructure. Why FDR didnt do that or Eisenhower didnt is beyond me.

FDR had enough trouble just getting rural America electrified, nationalizing the whole mess didn't even enter the picture. And I think Eisenhower was too busy with getting the highway system up and running.



Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid. - Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice

Top
 Profile  
 Post subject: Re: 50 months to avoid climate disaster PostPosted: 2013-01-25 08:33pm
Offline
Village Idiot
User avatar

Joined: 2013-01-25 02:02am
Posts: 395
Broomstick wrote:
Dominarch's Hope wrote:
HSRTG wrote:
The problems of private companies ignoring safety issues in nuclear power plants is not an argument against nuclear power plants. It's an argument against privately owned and run nuclear power plants. The obvious solution is to not let private companies run things like that.

The solution is nationalization of all electrical infrastructure. Why FDR didnt do that or Eisenhower didnt is beyond me.

FDR had enough trouble just getting rural America electrified, nationalizing the whole mess didn't even enter the picture. And I think Eisenhower was too busy with getting the highway system up and running.

What FDR was focusing on was the South and specifically TVA, which is what made the modernization of the South possible, social issues notwithstanding.


It just seems like legislating that *all* electrical infrastructure is Federal/State instead of just certain bits would have been fairly simple, if capital heavy in terms of political capital.



Because, Murrica, thats why.

Top
 Profile  
 Post subject: Re: 50 months to avoid climate disaster PostPosted: 2013-01-31 11:17pm
Offline
BANNED

Joined: 2010-06-29 03:35am
Posts: 527
Question(given this stuff is way outside anything I could call my area of expertise even given ludicrous latittude):

Which areas of the world are probably the safest, in terms of avoiding the impact of climate change? Say I move to another country- in what country will I have the least to worry about?

Top
 Profile  
 Post subject: Re: 50 months to avoid climate disaster PostPosted: 2013-01-31 11:27pm
Online
Emperor's Hand
User avatar

Joined: 2004-01-02 08:04pm
Posts: 21165
Location: Industrial armpit of the US Midwest
Look for somewhere significantly above sea level with a source of fresh water not dependent on rainfall.

There will still be effects, of course, but not having to worry about flooding and drinking water will mitigate the most severe worries. In addition, some latitudes will have warmer winters and longer growing seasons and be winners provided rainfall/irrigation remains sufficient for agriculture.



Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid. - Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice

Top
 Profile  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 127 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Broomstick and 8 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group