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The December Energy Update


The December Energy Update

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Steve Jones
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Comments posted to this topic are about the item The December Energy Update

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Jeff Moden
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Now, that's quite an article... some great references, too! Thanks for the research, Steve.

--Jeff Moden

RBAR is pronounced ree-bar and is a Modenism for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column.
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jay-h
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Compressed air as a power source probably predates most electric applications. There is a themal heat loss, however which tends to make it much less efficient than electricity.

...

-- FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers --
Steve Jones
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Hadn't thought about that, but it would be nice if you could use that thermal energy somehow. Maybe incorporate into some heating/cooling application?

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Charles Kincaid
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I like the personal nuclear reactor. w00t Sure, let's hook that bad boy up in my backyard. I could use it to boil my stew and sell the excess power.

ATBCharles Kincaid
Jeff Moden
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Heh... use the heat of compression to make hot water, the thermal losses of expansion to provide refrigeration, and the left over pressure to drive a low pressure turbine.

--Jeff Moden

RBAR is pronounced ree-bar and is a Modenism for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column.
If you think its expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur. -- Red Adair

Helpful Links:
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Steve Jones
Steve Jones
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I was thinking that the compression could aid the solar hot water in providing radiant heat. The cold air could be used for cooling in the summer.

I still agree the portable nuclear reactor is cool. I think it would be neat to have one, but more than likely this would be a great small town investment. Provide power fairly locally instead of using such large centralized plants.

I'm donating land if they give me free power Smile

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Jeff Moden
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What would really be "cool" is Low Temperature Differential Stirling Engines. Design one that would work at 70-90oFd Diiferential (would be kinda large but light-weight) that would kick out 3,000 watts certain and continuous... would run on hot water from solar. Neat thing is, it would also run at night when air temps were a bit lower and would work very well in the winter when you'd only need to get the water to 100-120o to achieve the temperature differential. In the summer, it would have plenty of reserve power to not only turn a generator, but it could drive a second Stirling Motor backwards to make some cold air for air conditioning. Waste heat from that would make more hot water.

--Jeff Moden

RBAR is pronounced ree-bar and is a Modenism for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column.
If you think its expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur. -- Red Adair

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DEK46656
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Nice editorial. A couple of "opinions";

micro-nuclear is great, and even though it could be used in some locations, I want to see that used in spacecraft. Imagine what could be done if there were 100's of Kilowatts to 10's of Megawatts on a satellite orbiting the outer planets. On the "space industry" side of things, to support the idea of "mining" the moon for Helium 3 (an expensive nuclear fusion fuel), a small reliable power plant on the surface is needed. On the propulsion front, it could be used for an ION drive, an NTP (Nuclear Thermal Propulsion) drive, or one of the many hybrid concepts that have been proposed. Something along these lines is probably needed to make a manned Mars trip / exploration viable.

The CO2 capture is IMHO missing the point, any capture that is done should be turned back into fuel. Carbon is the "low tech" approach to create a storage system for Hydrogen. The technology is available now, and can easily be deployed. The one that I lean towards is making Methanol; there is an industrial process that can work on a large scale, and the alcohol can be used directly in an IC engine, or fed into a fuel cell. Methanol does have some negatives with it, so I don't see it as a cure all, but it could definately be deployed in a closed system.

Beer's Law: Absolutum obsoletum
"if it works it's out-of-date"
Jeff Moden
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My problem with a mega-watt satilite would be that some idiot would figure out a way to turn it into a beam weapon. ION drive? Way cool application for the mini-nuke.

So far as Ethanol goes, it's nothing more than an only slightly less harmful substitute in my eyes... it's still going to give off CO2 (the major green house gas) and another green house gas that comes in second right after CO2... water vapor. Not sure what the byproducts of combustion are for Methanol, but I believe its going to be a little more nasty. It's also tough on plastics and rubber so car manufacturers would have a serious change. In fact, right now, most owners manuals state that if you use either Methanol or Isopropyl alchohols in the vehicle, the warranty will be rendered null.

Big question would be when are we going to stop Oxydizing carbon based materials as heat source? If the mini-nuke can be made safe enough to put in my back yard, why not put an electrical outlet on it to charge up the car? Sure, since it's mostly free electricity, you could also crack some ionized water (NAOH as an ionizer in a semi-closed system, for example) to make some H2, but then there's that green house gas known as H2O vapor again. We've gotta find some way stop burning stuff...

Handful of tera-watt parachute generators in the Gulf Stream would do it with virtually no environment impact... no fish choppers (turbines), no ugly windmills, and it's basically solar/planetary-rotation driven. Would make the combination of Hoover Dam and Niagra falls look like a triple-A battery in comparison. Or dig a couple of "Project MOHO's" (drill past the Earth's crust to get some real heat from the Mantel, done on the ocean floor where the crust is thin) and we'd have all the electricity we'd need.

Of course, the boys selling oil, natural gas, and corn-squeezin's would squawk... Tongue

--Jeff Moden

RBAR is pronounced ree-bar and is a Modenism for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column.
If you think its expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur. -- Red Adair

Helpful Links:
How to post code problems
How to post performance problems
Forum FAQs
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