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THE Solar Power & Space Thread (merged)

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: Electricity from Space

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Fri 18 Oct 2013, 04:33:29

I would say, Republicans and Democrats. I hate partisanship, it has broken our government.
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Re: Electricity from Space

Unread postby Keith_McClary » Fri 18 Oct 2013, 14:45:39

Tom Murphy
http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/201 ... lar-power/
figures that the higher cost of space+ground installations would far outweigh the advantages of ground based solar.
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Re: Space mirrors

Unread postby Tanada » Wed 06 Nov 2013, 22:37:15

KaiserJeep, thought you would get a kick out of this thread. Enjoy.
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Re: Space mirrors

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Thu 07 Nov 2013, 09:11:38

Tanada wrote:KaiserJeep, thought you would get a kick out of this thread. Enjoy.


Which just proves that you have pre-judged my opinion and have a closed mind.

Because I am already on record as opposing the idea of space-based mirrors illuminating the Earth. The reason being, Global Warming.

There is not actually much that humans can do to effect global temperature change, via GHG or anything else, as long as the global temperature remains a simple function related to the mean solar intensity. But once that relationship is broken, and you start adding heat to the globe from space, all bets are off, and GENUINE AGW can and will occur.

Although solar energy is for all practical purposes unlimited, it should be used only in space, and not reflected onto the surface of the Earth.

Now as an exercise for the student, what would happen to the Earth if major expansions were made to the total amount of Solar Photo-voltaic panels in use? Perhaps if we were to increase the current Solar PV production share from less than 1% of the grid power to 50%? That after all, it is one of the most devoutly held "green dreams". Unfortunately, when one removes solar energy as electricity, there is a net cooling effect in the immediate area of the PV panels. (My own solar PV roof has reduced my Air Conditioning usage from 15-20 days/year to less than 5 days/year.)

Answer: Big time global cooling, perhaps enough to tip the planet into a real Ice Age.

===> If you think AGW is bad, try comparing that to widespread species extinctions in an Ice Age.
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Re: Space mirrors

Unread postby John_A » Thu 07 Nov 2013, 10:32:41

KaiserJeep wrote:===> If you think AGW is bad, try comparing that to widespread species extinctions in an Ice Age.


Humans have benefited quite nicely from the warming world, you might attribute that warming to coincide with our launch into first agriculture and then landing on moon, humans like it warm, darn right! Everyone (especially the Canadians!) are willing to admit it. And humans have enjoyed the past warming periods much more than the likes of the LIA. But if you are trying to convince true believers of any of this, good luck with that. To them, it is "Venus-like atmosphere here we come!" and no amount of stable temperatures, changes in solar output, or past evidence of much wider temperature variability will change their minds. They won't even CONSIDER evidence to the contrary in their rush to zealotry.
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Re: Space mirrors

Unread postby Keith_McClary » Thu 07 Nov 2013, 10:43:43

KaiserJeep wrote:Now as an exercise for the student, what would happen to the Earth if major expansions were made to the total amount of Solar Photo-voltaic panels in use?
...
Unfortunately, when one removes solar energy as electricity, there is a net cooling effect in the immediate area of the PV panels. (My own solar PV roof has reduced my Air Conditioning usage from 15-20 days/year to less than 5 days/year.)

Answer: Big time global cooling, perhaps enough to tip the planet into a real Ice Age.
8O I hope you're joking.

Virtually all the electricity will end up as heating on Earth (except your lights that shine into space).

Any heating or cooling will depend on whether the PV replace a light or dark surface.

As for "big time global cooling", PV on 1/000 of Earth's area would supply world consumption of energy in all of its forms.

Source:
http://landartgenerator.org/blagi/archives/127
See their infographic map.
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Re:

Unread postby John_A » Thu 07 Nov 2013, 10:53:07

clv101 wrote:The space industry is one of the most energy intensive, energy expensive things we do. It's not something to promote when facing a lower energy future.


This is Chris Vernon! One of those guys who bailed out on bad ideas like this when TOD tucked tail and ran!

Chris? Lower energy future? What ARE you talking about? We've been using more energy since you wrote this, haven't tapped near enough of the energy available to use from things like tides, solar, or whatever, and as we get better at using the less dispersed forms to do yet more work, the one thing you can be sure of is this isn't going to stop any time soon because you were WRONG about a lower energy future.

Do not fear! You have since learned how wrong you were back these many years ago, and hopefully your vote as a TOD editor to flee the field of battle is just your way of apologizing for not knowing near enough on this topic, and have since learned the error of your ways.

clv101 wrote:This coming from an engineer with a masters degree in computational physics - I'm no technophobe.


Are you commenting on the quality of education in the UK then? Because the engineers with actual experience in the field certainly didn't fall for this lower energy nonsense "back in the day".
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Re: Space mirrors

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Thu 07 Nov 2013, 11:07:34

Keith, I'm not joking, and I have first-hand experience that says that having a Solar PV roof has eliminated 3/4 ths of my energy expenses for A/C. Most of this of course is from the shade they create on my mineral-coated steel shingles, solar heat gain that is avoided. But as an exercise, you could measure the temperature of a PV panel with an open circuit to one that has a complete circuit and is producing power, and the functioning panel is much cooler, because of the energy removed as electricity versus heat. (The mono-crystalline silicon cells are a very deep blue, almost black.)

Your point that most such electricity ends up as heat in other locations is well taken and compliant with Thermodynamics. The exception being that electricity which is used to a phase change in matter. The simplest example of this would be a "swamp cooler" - which extracts heat from air by turning water into water vapor. I do that too, to cool the central atrium in my home, using mister nozzles. It is quite refreshing on a hot day, and the tropical plants out there love the extra moisture.

Then of course, the water ends up as extra cloud cover, water vapor being the primary GHG, not carbon dioxide. These if present in the upper atmosphere do reduce the solar gain of the planet by reflecting more heat into space. Which cooling reduces the cloud cover, of course....
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Re: Space mirrors

Unread postby Keith_McClary » Thu 07 Nov 2013, 12:29:59

KaiserJeep wrote:Your point that most such electricity ends up as heat in other locations is well taken and compliant with Thermodynamics. The exception being that electricity which is used to a phase change in matter. The simplest example of this would be a "swamp cooler" - which extracts heat from air by turning water into water vapor. I do that too, to cool the central atrium in my home, using mister nozzles. It is quite refreshing on a hot day, and the tropical plants out there love the extra moisture.

Then of course, the water ends up as extra cloud cover, water vapor being the primary GHG, not carbon dioxide. These if present in the upper atmosphere do reduce the solar gain of the planet by reflecting more heat into space. Which cooling reduces the cloud cover, of course....
Just do quantitative calculations on that and you've got yourself a climate model. 8O

Of course your model will take into account that it rains when the RH gets higher (so your swamp water falls on somebody else somewhere :lol: ) and your electrical energy gets released as heat.

The point being that the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere is limited, depending on temperature and not cumulative like CO2.
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Re: Space mirrors

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Thu 07 Nov 2013, 12:37:18

CO2 is not cumulative either. Extra CO2 stimulates plant growth and phytoplankton growth which in turn removes more atmospheric CO2.
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Re: Space mirrors

Unread postby Keith_McClary » Thu 07 Nov 2013, 13:01:02

KaiserJeep wrote:CO2 is not cumulative either. Extra CO2 stimulates plant growth and phytoplankton growth which in turn removes more atmospheric CO2.
Oh.
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Re: Space mirrors

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Thu 07 Nov 2013, 14:02:28

Ah, the Mauna Loa data. :mrgreen:

The only place on Earth where rising CO2 levels are measured - on top of an active volcano which is becoming more active over time. It's useless, a single point measurement.

Then there is the Antarctic ice core data, which inconveniently shows that carbon dioxide and temperatures have had extremes beyond present levels in the past, and totally unrelated to the burning of fossil fuels:

Image

....and worst of all: atmospheric carbon dioxide content lags temperature data by 70-140 years, it does not drive temperatures.
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Re: Space mirrors

Unread postby Keith_McClary » Thu 07 Nov 2013, 16:07:16

KaiserJeep wrote:Ah, the Mauna Loa data. :mrgreen:

The only place on Earth where rising CO2 levels are measured - on top of an active volcano which is becoming more active over time. It's useless, a single point measurement.
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Re: Space mirrors

Unread postby dorlomin » Thu 07 Nov 2013, 16:45:47

KaiserJeep wrote:The only place on Earth where rising CO2 levels are measured - on top of an active volcano

http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/flask.html

Why do these people think they have anything of value to add to any conversation.
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Re: Space mirrors

Unread postby ralfy » Thu 07 Nov 2013, 20:51:02

KaiserJeep wrote:Ah, the Mauna Loa data. :mrgreen:

The only place on Earth where rising CO2 levels are measured - on top of an active volcano which is becoming more active over time. It's useless, a single point measurement.

Then there is the Antarctic ice core data, which inconveniently shows that carbon dioxide and temperatures have had extremes beyond present levels in the past, and totally unrelated to the burning of fossil fuels:

Image

....and worst of all: atmospheric carbon dioxide content lags temperature data by 70-140 years, it does not drive temperatures.


The chart shows CO2 ppm at around 300 only. It's almost 400 now. Try the chart shared here:

http://www.wunderground.com/blog/RickyR ... re-and-co2

Re: C02 lagging temp. anomaly, try

"CO2 lags temperature - what does it mean?"

http://www.skepticalscience.com/co2-lag ... rature.htm

Finally, the NAS argues in its final report:

http://nas-sites.org/americasclimatecho ... al-report/

that CO2 has a feedback and forcing factor, and that the latter now dominates.
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Re: Electricity from Space

Unread postby Keith_McClary » Sat 08 Feb 2014, 00:16:29

Keith_McClary wrote:Tom Murphy
http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/201 ... lar-power/
figures that the higher cost of space+ground installations would far outweigh the advantages of ground based solar.
Tom's day job is featured on Physorg:
Source of 'moon curse' revealed by eclipse
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Re: Space mirrors

Unread postby JV153 » Fri 21 Feb 2014, 14:27:04

KaiserJeep wrote:
Tanada wrote:KaiserJeep, thought you would get a kick out of this thread. Enjoy.


Which just proves that you have pre-judged my opinion and have a closed mind.

Because I am already on record as opposing the idea of space-based mirrors illuminating the Earth. The reason being, Global Warming.

There is not actually much that humans can do to effect global temperature change, via GHG or anything else, as long as the global temperature remains a simple function related to the mean solar intensity. .



Answer: Big time global cooling, perhaps enough to tip the planet into a real Ice Age.

===> If you think AGW is bad, try comparing that to widespread species extinctions in an Ice Age.


I'm not sure if your reply was serious - my reply is serious, but .. keeping in mind that most likely the path of using fossil fuels will continue, and space-based solar will never amount to much of anything .

GHG's and albedo changes are already effecting a large change in global temperatures that will only increase with time. Beaming 15 TW (terawatt, 10^12 Watt/second) of space-based power into earth is insignificant next to the effect of GHG's and albedo effects.

Currently the 15 TW (thermal) of power dissipated by FF+nuclear is much smaller than the effect of GHG's and albedo changes.

The infrastructure for sending large quantities of solar panels into space doesn't exist, and would require an enormous amount of rocket fuel. Not enough rocket fuel and not enough space shuttles for solar. The last time I checked, NASA had cut back on the space program. I'm not sure what the probabilities of meteorites (or space junk) making large holes in such a solar array are, even if it could be created.. So don't worry, it won't happen.


FYI, 15 TW is roughly the energy equivalent of 4 kilotons of TNT exploding every second. That's about how much heat energy fossil fuel and nuclear power use world-wide dissipates.

As to the ice ages, I think that's why us human's are always trying to burn more stuff, probably afraid of catching a cold..
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Re: Space mirrors

Unread postby JV153 » Sun 23 Feb 2014, 03:05:04

Keith_McClary wrote:
KaiserJeep wrote:Ah, the Mauna Loa data. :mrgreen:

The only place on Earth where rising CO2 levels are measured - on top of an active volcano which is becoming more active over time. It's useless, a single point measurement.
Oh.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... 8tPKj20GFo


CO2 levels are recorded around the world, but it did take me some internet research to find the other stations.

Here are the stations from a global monitoring network, via ESRL (Earth System Research Laboratory). 83 sites that monitor CO2 levels.
http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/flask.php?active=on



Several sites are way over 400 ppm now.

Below are direct links to 5 sites and their CO2 data.



data from Pallas-Sammaltunturi, GAW Station, Finland (PAL), CO2 levels exceeded 410 ppm in November 2012.

ftp://aftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/data/trace_gas ... _event.txt

GMD Projects at South Pole, Antarctica, far away from any kind of CO2 emitters, about 391 ppm last reading.

ftp://aftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/data/trace_gas ... _event.txt

Storhofdi, Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland (ICE)

ftp://aftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/data/trace_gas ... _event.txt

Near 410 ppm CO2 last reading.

Moody, Texas, United States

ftp://aftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/data/trace_gas ... ower/wkt//

Over 402 ppm in 2011

Wendover, Utah, United States

ftp://aftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/data/trace_gas ... _month.txt
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Re: THE Solar Power & Space Thread (merged)

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Thu 08 May 2014, 11:12:02

This month's IEEE Spectrum has an article on orbital solar plants with microwave beam delivery to Earth:

http://spectrum.ieee.org/green-tech/solar/how-japan-plans-to-build-an-orbital-solar-farm

Image

Although I continue to have doubts about how "green" such a power source is, the tech is impressive and the message is that there are plans going in place to implement this idea.
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Re: THE Solar Power & Space Thread (merged)

Unread postby Graeme » Tue 13 May 2014, 16:27:20

Could a space-based solar farm become a reality by 2040?

Space-based solar power seems like an idea from a Star Trek script, but given the uncertain future of its power generation industry, Japan stands to gain as much as anyone by exploring this potential source of renewable energy. The disaster at Fukushima, limited access to fossil fuels and advances in technology has, at least in the eyes of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), added further weight to the notion of a space-based solar power system. The agency is developing a complex roadmap involving a 1 GW extraterrestrial solar farm, a microwave beam and a man-made island in the Tokyo harbor which could be used collect solar energy in space and supply power to Earth by 2040.


JAXA is working on two concepts. The simpler one involves a huge square panel that measures 2 km (1.24 mi) per side. The top surface would be covered with photovoltaic elements, with transmission antennas on the bottom side. A small bus housing controls and communication systems would be tethered to the panel via 10 km (6.2 mi) long wires. A limitation with this design is that the orientation of the panel is fixed, meaning that as the Earth and the satellite spin, the amount of sunlight the panel receives will vary, impacting its ability to generate power.

The more complex solution seeks to address this problem by positioning two huge mirrors alongside two photovoltaic panels. These mirrors would reflect sunlight onto the panels 24 hours a day and would be free-flying, meaning that they are not tied to the panel nor the transmission unit. While the technology that enables formation flying in space continues to develop, Sasaki says considerable advances would need to be made to coordinate formation flying with kilometer-long structures. Other challenges in building this type of SPS include developing light materials for the mirror and high-voltage power cables to transmit the power from the two solar panels to the unit, technologies that Sasaki says are still years away.


JAXA is planning to conduct tests by the end of this year demonstrating its retrodirective beam control system. In 2018 it hopes to perform the first microwave power transmission in space, channeling several kilowatts from low Earth orbit to the ground while ensuring that the microwave beam doesn't interfere with existing communications infrastructure.


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