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 > A top to bottom look at green energy

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ppine

Northern Nevada

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Posted: 12/28/20 10:01am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I am a retired environmental consultant. We developed coal gasification, oil shale technology and other synfuels in the 1970s.

Wind, solar, hydro and tidal power are for real. You have to look into the future to appreciate them. Battery technology is improving and expanding by leaps and bounds. That is how wind and solar are stored.

I remember a professor at the U of Washington in 1974, proposing the idea that we will never run out of fossil fuels. Because when they get too expensive, we will stop trying to recover them.

Economics drive the use of fuel and power sources. The US has a long track record of cheap energy. When diesel prices are over $4 or a little higher biodiesel is very competitive. Until then we will stay with dino fuel and natural gas. We already have developed the technology to shift to green power. People need to recognize that it is coming whether you want it or not.

agesilaus

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Posted: 12/28/20 10:22am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Well why are high speed trains feasible in Europe and Japan? Look at the population density, the distance between cities is much less than it is in the US. Berlin to Hamburg--177 miles
Berlin to Munich-- 350 miles
Tokyo to Osaka-- 330 miles
New York City to Houston 1700 miles
The cities are close, the population density is high. US population density about 90 per sq mile, Germany about 500 per sq mile

See the problem. The Cali idiotic planned high speed rail runs thru mostly unpopulated sections of the state. Places that cannot support the train line.

Different places mean different economic realities. Added on top of this is the fact that the US optimized train traffic for Freight, thus all those mile long freight trains. Europe and I assume Japan went for passenger trains and they have many more semi trucks on their toads.


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BenK

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Posted: 12/28/20 10:40am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Another interesting tech is to encapsulate spent nuclear fuel pellets in layers of diamond. That is now safe to handle.

That nugget produces tiny amounts electricity and has a half life in the hundreds to thousand years

Stack them up to make more voltage, but would take thousands...but...still in the pre-embyronic phase.

Solves nuclear power plants spent fuel and becomes a possible power source

EVERYTHING we humans can do with current technology will have a crude source process(s).

That is just the way of it...for now


-Ben Picture of my rig
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wapiticountry

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Posted: 12/28/20 10:55am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

agesilaus wrote:

Well why are high speed trains feasible in Europe and Japan? Look at the population density, the distance between cities is much less than it is in the US. Berlin to Hamburg--177 miles
Berlin to Munich-- 350 miles
Tokyo to Osaka-- 330 miles
New York City to Houston 1700 miles
The cities are close, the population density is high. US population density about 90 per sq mile, Germany about 500 per sq mile

See the problem. The Cali idiotic planned high speed rail runs thru mostly unpopulated sections of the state. Places that cannot support the train line.

Different places mean different economic realities. Added on top of this is the fact that the US optimized train traffic for Freight, thus all those mile long freight trains. Europe and I assume Japan went for passenger trains and they have many more semi trucks on their toads.
Bingo! That density and the vast distances are but a part of the problem with rail in the US. Many cities also subscribe to urban sprawl, mean the population and economic hubs are spread around, not concentrated in city centers. Get off your high speed train in downtown Dallas and you might be 50 miles from your Metro Dallas home or business destination. At the same time, that downtown Dallas is almost devoid of a residential population. No one would get off the train and walk home.
That same person who marvels at the convenience of trains in Europe and Japan should rightly be impressed with the Roadways in most major US cities as well as our interstate highway system. One can easily travel thru that downtown Dallas and on to any of the many suburbs in their personal car without a worry that the road will be a dead end or narrow to the point only a smart car could pass. That would not be the case in Italy or other European cities where the roads were laid out 500 years ago. Transportation is not a one size fits all proposition.

pianotuna

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Posted: 12/28/20 11:31am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

valhalla360 wrote:


So where exactly will the asphalt for the roads come from? Right now probably 70-80% of lane miles are asphalt (and portland cement concrete isn't exactly a green product).

Nothing political about it. What will these big beautiful roads be built from?


India is having good success with recycling plastic for roads.


Regards, Don
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Reisender

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Posted: 12/28/20 11:31am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

wapiticountry wrote:

agesilaus wrote:

Well why are high speed trains feasible in Europe and Japan? Look at the population density, the distance between cities is much less than it is in the US. Berlin to Hamburg--177 miles
Berlin to Munich-- 350 miles
Tokyo to Osaka-- 330 miles
New York City to Houston 1700 miles
The cities are close, the population density is high. US population density about 90 per sq mile, Germany about 500 per sq mile

See the problem. The Cali idiotic planned high speed rail runs thru mostly unpopulated sections of the state. Places that cannot support the train line.

Different places mean different economic realities. Added on top of this is the fact that the US optimized train traffic for Freight, thus all those mile long freight trains. Europe and I assume Japan went for passenger trains and they have many more semi trucks on their toads.
Bingo! That density and the vast distances are but a part of the problem with rail in the US. Many cities also subscribe to urban sprawl, mean the population and economic hubs are spread around, not concentrated in city centers. Get off your high speed train in downtown Dallas and you might be 50 miles from your Metro Dallas home or business destination. At the same time, that downtown Dallas is almost devoid of a residential population. No one would get off the train and walk home.
That same person who marvels at the convenience of trains in Europe and Japan should rightly be impressed with the Roadways in most major US cities as well as our interstate highway system. One can easily travel thru that downtown Dallas and on to any of the many suburbs in their personal car without a worry that the road will be a dead end or narrow to the point only a smart car could pass. That would not be the case in Italy or other European cities where the roads were laid out 500 years ago. Transportation is not a one size fits all proposition.


Meh. I don’t know. We have done a lot of miles in rental cars in Europe. The infrastructure there is generally superior to anything in North America.

But regardless. It comes down to what the people and society wants. On this side of the pond there is no desire for high speed trains so there won’t be any. Nothing wrong with that. The people are always right. In Europe it’s different. People expect modern transportation infrastructure and vote accordingly. To each his own.

pianotuna

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Posted: 12/28/20 11:51am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

How much nuclear fuel is there?

"As of 2017, identified uranium reserves recoverable at US$130/kg were 6.14 million tons (compared to 5.72 million tons in 2015). At the rate of consumption in 2017, these reserves are sufficient for slightly over 130 years of supply. The identified reserves as of 2017 recoverable at US$260/kg are 7.99 million tons (compared to 7.64 million tons in 2015)."

The problem is that the current long term prices is $78/kg.

The elephant in the room is waste storage. Some suggest using breeder technology to reprocess the fuel. But, there are few breeder reactors--and it is cheaper to mine uranium for fuel than to use this technology. Russia and China have a couple each, with one in China being the most recent.

The point is that nuclear is NOT a renewable energy source.

agesilaus

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Posted: 12/28/20 12:08pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

That nugget produces tiny amounts electricity and has a half life in the hundreds to thousand years


Let me clear up your understanding of radioactive half life. Did you know that bananas contain a good amount of radioactive potassium 40? But you can safely eat bananas. If you ate the same amount of Cobalt 60 in your hand it would kill you. Both radioactive so what is the difference. K-40 has a half life of 1,250,000,000 years, Co-60 has a half life of 5.6 years (IIRC). One is death, the other not. The shorter the half life the more dangerous a material is, generally.
This is why the radioactive waste will kill people a hundred thousand years from now is mostly BS. Reactor waste is a mix of elements. Some with a very short half life and thus very dangerous. For example Ba-139 is present in that waste and it has a half life of 83 minutes. A speck od Ba-139 would kill you right there. But you can generally assume that almost all of an isotope is gone in 5 half life's. Meaning that in 8 hours that Ba 139 is gone. The dangerous short half live stuff is gone in 100 years. !000 years from now you half long half life material that isn't that hazardous and 10,000 years from now you can figure what is left. Stuff with a half life longer than 2000 years.No as to your carbon enclosed hot stuff, it would not do a thing for a gram of Ba 139, it would still kill you right there. For a gram of Th-230 you would be fine, it has a HA of 75000 years. But you's get very little energy from it.

2112

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Posted: 12/28/20 12:51pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I found THIS interesting. They use excess wind energy to pump water up a mountain into a reservoir. Then they release the water into a hydrogeneration system when wind and solar is low. Of course this only works at a small scale in certain locations, but it's one way to store wind or solar energy.


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valhalla360

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Posted: 12/28/20 01:30pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

2112 wrote:

I found THIS interesting. They use excess wind energy to pump water up a mountain into a reservoir. Then they release the water into a hydrogeneration system when wind and solar is low. Of course this only works at a small scale in certain locations, but it's one way to store wind or solar energy.


Old news. There's a big one on Lake Michigan that's several decades old.

The problem is there are limited locations where it makes sense. Electric storage is still a huge issue.


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