Energy and stuff; where do we go?

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Energy and stuff; where do we go?

Postby Quasigriz » Fri Feb 24, 2012 8:24 am

So, regardless on your opinions of the future; the country could stand to make some changes in energy production and consumption.

I think one big part of the debate is population density. We like our space here in the States, but that same space generates a reliance on cars and trucking for transportation and supply. A consolidation of population would greatly reduce overall energy consumption.

Time to nuke up, or something else. Research on the MSTR (molten salt thorium reactor) would be a nice change from the standard production methods. If current methods aren't sufficient, because of energy production levels, waste, economic viability, then we need to get outside the box.

Diverse energy portfolio, activate!
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Re: Energy and stuff; where do we go?

Postby The Mad Zeppelineer » Fri Feb 24, 2012 8:29 am

Nuke up. Time to stop letting raging hippies hold up energy production. There would have to be a Chernobyl every month just to equal the amount of deaths caused by breathing air with fossil fuel emissions in it.

Thorium is promising. Very very little waste, (for gods sake, build a Yukka storage facility...) very safe.

But the goal should always be fusion. If we hadnt dropped the ball in the 70-80s, who knows?

EDIT: I was massively low-balling it with that "once a month number"

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/412202

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2 ... ion-deaths

http://www.livescience.com/1853-polluti ... eaths.html



Of course, it has the dreaded word "nuclear" so its not going anywhere.
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Re: Energy and stuff; where do we go?

Postby Harry K » Fri Feb 24, 2012 8:36 am

The Mad Zeppelineer wrote:Nuke up. Time to stop letting raging hippies hold up energy production. There would have to be a Chernobyl every month just to equal the amount of deaths caused by breathing air with fossil fuel emissions in it.

Thorium is promising. Very very little waste, (for gods sake, build a Yukka storage facility...) very safe.

But the goal should always be fusion. If we hadnt dropped the ball in the 70-80s, who knows?

EDIT: I was massively low-balling it with that "once a month number"

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/412202

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2 ... ion-deaths

http://www.livescience.com/1853-polluti ... eaths.html



Of course, it has the dreaded word "nuclear" so its not going anywhere.


If I could eliminate the human greed factor, I would be more trusting.
:hiding:


All fun and games until your groundwater is contaminated for life (and half-lives).
Some advice though, Henry (Harry) K is a sophisticated troll.

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Re: Energy and stuff; where do we go?

Postby The Road Rascal » Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:46 am

Harry K wrote:
If I could eliminate the human greed factor, I would be more trusting.
:hiding:


All fun and games until your groundwater is contaminated for life (and half-lives).



Appalachia would like a word with you.
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Re: Energy and stuff; where do we go?

Postby Harry K » Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:55 am

The Road Rascal wrote:
Harry K wrote:
If I could eliminate the human greed factor, I would be more trusting.
:hiding:


All fun and games until your groundwater is contaminated for life (and half-lives).



Appalachia would like a word with you.


Where do you think I get my acid rain from?
Some advice though, Henry (Harry) K is a sophisticated troll.

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Re: Energy and stuff; where do we go?

Postby Vox Contra » Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:16 am

I think we’re really facing 2 problems
First is energy production for the power grid. We got to get off coal. Turning mountains inside out and spraying mercury and uranium into the environment is really a poor way to make electrons.
New Nuclear reactors would definitely help on this angel, but I think some of the subsides the government grants to power companies are going to have to be rethought before anyone’s going to be making significant investments in anything outside the tried and true systems. New tech can be a big risk, and a power plant is a huge investment. That much cash on the line makes people nervous. Smaller or modular plants could bring down the barrier to entry, but the subsidies to coal make competition hard.
Renewables are a great middle road. Most don’t cost too much to set up, and in the right environment can make a good return on investment. But I think there’s a coordination issue that’s going to have to be addressed eventually. Solar power only collects energy when the sun shines, wind power only makes electrons when the wind blows, hydro has to deal with rising and lowering water levels in the rivers, etc. When a very large part of the grid is run off traditional plants it works OK, the renewables can be kicked on when conditions are right for them, and the other plants can output less, then ramp up when they’re needed. But as more and more renewables come on line we’re already starting to see cases where they’re stating to fight with each other over who should be running at any given time. With different companies all running different kinds of generation systems, there’s no solid way for them to coordinate, that’s going to have to change.

The second major problem we’re going to have to figure out is transportation.
Generating all the power you want in the grid doesn’t do a damn bit of good if you don’t have a way to take any of it with you when you drive around. This is more then just a problem of moving people, Trucks, boats, planes, trains, all need a way of carrying their energy with them. We need a way to store and transport energy. Batteries, biofuels, what ever it is we need a method that doesn’t involve digging a limited supply out of unstable and pissed off countries.
I think the only way you’re going to get from here to there is basic science R&D. We need a Manhattan Project or an X Prize to replace fossil fuels. Something that will give the equivalent available energy in the same size package.
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Re: Energy and stuff; where do we go?

Postby Quasigriz » Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:56 am

I just petitioned the government.

http://wh.gov/8sD
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Re: Energy and stuff; where do we go?

Postby Algr » Sun Feb 26, 2012 12:44 am

The Mad Zeppelineer wrote:There would have to be a Chernobyl every month just to equal the amount of deaths caused by breathing air with fossil fuel emissions in it.


:doioi: ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Animals born in the Chernobyl exclusion zone today still have shortened lifespans and highly elevated levels of malformaties; this will likely still be true thousands of years from now. Animals in Norway died. A Chernobyl every month would have left earth as sterile as venus by now.

Nuclear power isn't getting any safer at all. The rate of disasters is unchanged since three mile island. Mistakes happen. Greed happens. Take Fukushima - Do you really believe that no one in Japan knew that earthquakes can cause tidal waves? When the next reactor blows up - maybe near you - there will be an equally lame excuse.

Nuclear is non-polluting - until it suddenly becomes the worst pollution imaginable. Mistakes happen. Highly radioactive waste has already shown up in unexpected locations. (A cargo container in Italy?) Solar and wind are far safer, and cheaper if you take the long term consequences into account.

======
BTW, I do think Thorium sounds interesting, but I'd like to hear safety analysis from someone who doesn't work for the industry.
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Re: Energy and stuff; where do we go?

Postby Quasigriz » Sun Feb 26, 2012 12:34 pm

Algr wrote:
The Mad Zeppelineer wrote:There would have to be a Chernobyl every month just to equal the amount of deaths caused by breathing air with fossil fuel emissions in it.


:doioi: ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Animals born in the Chernobyl exclusion zone today still have shortened lifespans and highly elevated levels of malformaties; this will likely still be true thousands of years from now. Animals in Norway died. A Chernobyl every month would have left earth as sterile as venus by now.

Nuclear power isn't getting any safer at all. The rate of disasters is unchanged since three mile island. Mistakes happen. Greed happens. Take Fukushima - Do you really believe that no one in Japan knew that earthquakes can cause tidal waves? When the next reactor blows up - maybe near you - there will be an equally lame excuse.

Nuclear is non-polluting - until it suddenly becomes the worst pollution imaginable. Mistakes happen. Highly radioactive waste has already shown up in unexpected locations. (A cargo container in Italy?) Solar and wind are far safer, and cheaper if you take the long term consequences into account.

======
BTW, I do think Thorium sounds interesting, but I'd like to hear safety analysis from someone who doesn't work for the industry.

Wind and solar don't produce enough to outright replace coal and nuclear. I believe they could greatly reduce demand if installed in residential and businesses.

From what I understand, the mstr reactor is self regulating, as opposed to active regulation in current fission reactors needing cooling rods. A big drawback, from a government viewpoint, is the resulting waste from the mstr is not weaponizable.
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Re: Energy and stuff; where do we go?

Postby Kiltman » Sun Feb 26, 2012 12:52 pm

An interesting book on this very subject is The Poverty of Power by Barry Commoner. It discusses the interlocking crises in the economic, production and ecosystem areas.

The main point is that we need to focus on maximizing social value of energy sources rather maximizing profits. One way to do this is to match the source with the task (don't use electric space heaters). We rely on non-renewable power sources whose extraction demands more and more capital. Even if production and consumption were to remain constant, prices would still rise.

As for nuclear power, Commoner uses the phrase "thermodynamic overkill" when describing the amount of energy wasted in the process creating steam. Also, in the nuclear industry the risks have been public but the rewards have been private. Finally, we need to find a way to deal with nuclear waste. Can we truly trust a Nuclear Priesthood to survive long enough to properly watch over radioactive refuse as it decays? I think not.

Though it sounds a bit hippie-dippy, I like what Commoner has to say about solar in that it cannot be monopolized by anyone: "It is ephemeral. Its value is derived from its use so we will be forced to find the best way to link, cherish and find value in the resources nature lends us rather than profit in their private possession."

Now, granted the book was written in 1976 but it's still an interesting read.
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Re: Energy and stuff; where do we go?

Postby Algr » Sun Feb 26, 2012 1:08 pm

Wind and solar don't produce enough to outright replace coal and nuclear.

Oh really?
The report notes that a 100-mile-by-100-mile solar thermal installation in the American Southwest could meet the entire country’s energy needs. That area, it further adds, is just a little larger than the amount of land in the U.S. that has been strip-mined for coal.
Source: EcoLocalizer (http://s.tt/12tAM)


Maps for solar-only and wind-only world.
http://articles.pvsolarsalestraining.co ... ertheworld

Note that in either case, the plants don't need to be clumped up as shown - they work better if they are more dispersed. Also the list is for photoelectric. Thermal solar uses mirrors to make steam, and the resulting steam can be stored to turn a turbine at night.

And think about property values. Would you rather live a half mile from a wind farm, or a half mile from a nuclear plant?
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Re: Energy and stuff; where do we go?

Postby Dr. Strangelove » Sun Feb 26, 2012 1:36 pm

1. De-urbanize the United States into many spread-out but sustainable communities.

2. Reorganize our economy (what economy really means, not just money and commerce) so that our energy consumption no longer grows exponentially with respect to our population growth. That means re-evaluating everything every one of us does every day of our lives. It means a fundamental alteration in our social and political structures as well.

3. Distribute power generation rather than centralize it. Spend a significant portion of our GDP on outfitting every building and home (in our new smaller communities) with solar and wind generators, backed up with fuel cells. Surplus energy goes back to the grid at profit to the owner of the structure that generates it, thus creating an actual incentive for people to reduce their energy consumption. Newest generation nuclear plants can provide the excess capacity and back-up electricity. It should be the other way around from how we do things today -- centralized power plants should serve as our backup generators do today, and our own generators should provide the primary source of our structure's power.

4. Remove the need for automobile traffic in most communities. Reduce fuel consumption of new vehicles. Build train networks between communities, and separate cargo pipelines for moving goods.

5. Step up oil and natural gas production. Join OPEC. Drive up oil prices. Pay off debts incurred to switch America to energy independence.
Last edited by Dr. Strangelove on Sun Feb 26, 2012 1:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Energy and stuff; where do we go?

Postby The Mad Zeppelineer » Sun Feb 26, 2012 1:39 pm

Algr wrote:
The Mad Zeppelineer wrote:There would have to be a Chernobyl every month just to equal the amount of deaths caused by breathing air with fossil fuel emissions in it.


:doioi: ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Animals born in the Chernobyl exclusion zone today still have shortened lifespans and highly elevated levels of malformaties; this will likely still be true thousands of years from now. Animals in Norway died. A Chernobyl every month would have left earth as sterile as venus by now.

Nuclear power isn't getting any safer at all. The rate of disasters is unchanged since three mile island. Mistakes happen. Greed happens. Take Fukushima - Do you really believe that no one in Japan knew that earthquakes can cause tidal waves? When the next reactor blows up - maybe near you - there will be an equally lame excuse.

Nuclear is non-polluting - until it suddenly becomes the worst pollution imaginable. Mistakes happen. Highly radioactive waste has already shown up in unexpected locations. (A cargo container in Italy?) Solar and wind are far safer, and cheaper if you take the long term consequences into account.

======
BTW, I do think Thorium sounds interesting, but I'd like to hear safety analysis from someone who doesn't work for the industry.


I have no doubt that one day Solar (not wind, that will never happen) will be our dominant energy generator.

But until then, stop acting like a hysterical drama queen, man up, and get to building nuclear plants.

There have been two major accidents in nuclear powers entire history. One because a generation one plant was being run by corrupt soviet coal miners, and another because it was hit with two earthquakes and a Tsunami.

Meanwhile, millions, MILLIONS of people around the world die every year due to pollution in the atmosphere. They dont die sexy deaths glowing with radiation. They dont all die in one place. They die of diseases of the lungs. They die from countless diseases related to polluted water and air.

But the green movement could give two shits about that. Because the alternative has the word "nuclear" in its title. So we year by year sacrifice millions on that alter.

For shame.
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Re: Energy and stuff; where do we go?

Postby Algr » Sun Feb 26, 2012 2:07 pm

That's right, the green movement is entirely about fear of a word, and nuclear power makes you more manly! You'll just believe anything, won't you. Now tell us all how three mile island was no big deal.
Dr. Strangelove wrote:5. Step up oil and natural gas production.... Drive up oil prices.


Aren't these two things directly contradictory? Or do you mean ending oil and Nuclear subsidies to make them compete on an even playing field with green energy? (No one is ever going to shed blood for solar power.)
Last edited by Algr on Sun Feb 26, 2012 2:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Energy and stuff; where do we go?

Postby The Mad Zeppelineer » Sun Feb 26, 2012 2:12 pm

Algr wrote:That's right, the green movement is entirely about fear of a word, and nuclear power makes you more manly! You'll just believe anything, won't you. Now tell us all how three mile island was no big deal.


It wasnt. 3 mile Island killed exactly 0 people. Tell me friend. How many people die every year in your coal fired plants?

EDIT: Also, thanks for proving my point. Pro-nuke person makes argument. Green person sneers.
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