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The April Energy Update Expand / Collapse
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Posted Tuesday, April 22, 2008 8:37 PM


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Comments posted to this topic are about the item The April Energy Update






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Post #489022
Posted Wednesday, April 23, 2008 4:08 AM


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Kudos, Steve! Your periodic dialogue on energy is inspiring. As I go to spend $50 to fill up my Jeep with fuel this morning my enthusiasm for alternative fuel and energy resources increase. The great thing is that the more I read about these opportunities it becomes evident that there are alot of solutions already on the market and they appear to work as well or better than standard methods.

There is a great episode of "Living With Ed" where Larry Hagman is showing off his house. The focus is all of the great "green" technology he has implemented. (Living With Ed : Episode HLWED-202)
This episode happened to air on 4/22 as a repeat.
Post #489159
Posted Wednesday, April 23, 2008 5:05 AM
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Although I am in favour of energy sources which do not rely on fossil fuels from states which may not always be friendly, or crops grown on limited arable land I have one question. Where does the power come from at night, on windless days when wave power will be down also. Days like this tend to be at the extremes of temperature range for a region/country and I would guess that power demands will be above average at these times. Even tidal power generation has its problems due to slack water - I think it is known as The rule of Twelfths. Hydro electric will be affected by periods of low rainfall in most countries.

In the worst case, what happens during the night, in summer with a stalled anticyclone, during a drought and at slack water in a neap tide?
Post #489184
Posted Wednesday, April 23, 2008 5:40 AM
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Wanted to say I enjoyed reading today's editorial. I have been trying to find several energy alternatives that would have lower impacts on the environment. I worked at an electric generating nuclear plant in the 1990's and learned that we were tops in the power generation field. Since I was from a computer oriented manufacturing environment where output should equal close to input (like 95% first quality goods), it surprised me to find out the energy output at a nuclear plant is somewhere between 40% and 60% of the energy released by the radioactive isotopes. But...with that said, nuclear power generation is still the more economical than coal and natural gas. The plant I was at even pumped water uphill during low peaks and released it as hydro power during peak times.
This year, I research putting up some generating capacity on my house (in eastern NC where the sun shines a lot.) To hook into the grid was too cost prohibitive. It still got me learning about many alternatives. My favorite to date is the heating/cooling system where you have a closed water system that goes into the ground a certain distance and it loops back out and circulates the water to get a cooling/heating effect.

As far as worrying about daylight, wind, etc. always being there... That's where you build in differing systems that cover for each other. We must develop good battery storage systems that can release the energy when other means of producing are not there.

Again, I am glad to see others in my industry focusing on conservation.


-- Al
Post #489194
Posted Wednesday, April 23, 2008 6:24 AM


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I just found this yesterday. They claim they will be able to produce "bio gas" for ~1.10 to 1.50 per gallon retail.

http://news.zdnet.com/2422-13748_22-191798.html

I've also been looking into renting solar panels. I live in the Houston, TX area and we get a lot of sun. I also have a 184 foot long barn that I can put the panels on! It's a $500 up front charge and then you pay only for the kilowatts you use. This is the one Ed Begley is promoting.

http://rentsolarpanel.com/


MG

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Post #489215
Posted Wednesday, April 23, 2008 6:29 AM
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An idea for you to look into is the Mariah Power company's Windspire Vertical wind turbine. They have a smaller footprint and are to some more pleasing to the eye. I too have put up a weather station and am collecting data. Would we truly be data driven dorks if we didn't collect data for long periods of time for what some would call trivial adventures. Best gift i ever gave my wife. You can get some fairly inexpensive weather stations (1-300 bucks) which are fairly robust. They also can link up with several weather monitoring services to provide a more robust weather footprint than just the local tv stations. Unfortunately i have found that we do not have a high enough wind speed at least to date (monitoring since february) and the other part i need to figure out is if the city will even allow the 40ft mast.

Check them out at http://mariahpower.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=13&Itemid=35
They will be installing one this spring in Central Wisconsin for a demo at the Midwest Renewable Energy Conference.
Post #489219
Posted Wednesday, April 23, 2008 6:37 AM
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Relative to the question regarding tidal power, there is a test scenario set up off Maui to test the viability of wave forces below the surface. Those forces are thought to more constant than wind-driven waves.

On the other hand there are huge expanses of ocean with nothing to block the wind and generally favorable wave action in consequence, like the pacific between Alaska and Hawaii...virtually nothing to block the wind. Of course there is a problem with harvesting the electricity from 3000 miles from nowhere...

Here in the Midwest some of us are being informed by American Electric Power that electric rates will jump 25%. Whether wave, wind and/or solar power are reasonable alternatives to fossil-fueled power generation, the fact that AEP owns 1 or more IDLE nuclear power generation plants, paid for by customers, is criminal. Those plants could have a significant impact on the use of fossil fuels in the Midwest, which is typically linked to acid rain on the East coast. And with the point taken relative to when it is dark and/or the wind is calm and/or misuse of arable land to produce fuels of dubious benefit versus the costs to world food supplies, it is about time America got off its duff and went back to long-term sustainable power generation with proven minor environmental impact.



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Buy the ticket, take the ride. -- Hunter S. Thompson
Post #489224
Posted Wednesday, April 23, 2008 6:57 AM
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we are going to definitely need to look into wireless for electricity to get it back from those wave generators :P

Just don't cross throuhg the liquid hot magma laser beem of electricity and you will be fine :P
Post #489239
Posted Wednesday, April 23, 2008 7:53 AM


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Since we're talking energy - this caught my eye the other day....

http://wral.com/news/state/story/2746305/

As always - there seems to be some amount of controvery as to how "green" this process is, but it is a definite improvement in the carbon footprint area. The regulators around here seem to love the idea...


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Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on my part...unless you're my manager...or a director and above...or a really loud-spoken end-user..All right - what was my emergency again?
Post #489287
Posted Wednesday, April 23, 2008 8:01 AM
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I always wondered why a Stirling engine couldn't be used to generate energy somehow, someway.


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