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THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby MonteQuest » Mon 27 Oct 2014, 09:13:28

DesuMaiden wrote:All renewable energy needs oil for manufacture of the equipment. You need oil to manufacture and ship the components of solar panels.


Exactly my point. So, in the declining arena of fossil fuel production, you advocate a huge new energy consumer as the solution?
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby DesuMaiden » Mon 27 Oct 2014, 19:57:21

MonteQuest wrote:
DesuMaiden wrote:All renewable energy needs oil for manufacture of the equipment. You need oil to manufacture and ship the components of solar panels.


Exactly my point. So, in the declining arena of fossil fuel production, you advocate a huge new energy consumer as the solution?

We can allocate our remaining fossil fuels towards the production of renewable energies which will hopefully be able to meet our energy demand. That's what I believe we should be doing.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby tom_s2 » Mon 27 Oct 2014, 20:56:30

Hi desumaiden,

But my question is do we have enough rare Earth minerals to create all of those solar panels? Currently 97% of all of all the rare earth minerals (RAM) are mined in China, and they are restricting their exports of RAM in order to use their RAM to build their own economy. I'm not sure we even have enough RAM to build enough solar panels to generate enough electricity from solar energy.


Solar panels do not require rare Earth minerals for their construction. Solar panels are made of silicon, which is by far the most abundant element in the Earth's crust. The materials in solar panels are essentially inexhaustible, meaning there is vastly more than could ever be required and we'd hit other limits (like waste heat problems) long before running out of resources.

Solar panels, and their mounts and the cables leading up to them, are essentially made out of dirt. There is enough silicon and aluminum in the Earth's crust to cover the entire terrestrial surface of the planet with solar panels. This would be impossible for other reasons, but we wouldn't run out of silicon or any other elements.

At present, a small amount of silver is used in solar panels for the front contacts, but aluminum would serve also (although it would be slightly less efficient since it's a worse conductor).

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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby tom_s2 » Mon 27 Oct 2014, 21:21:27

Hi MonteQuest,

What energy source do you suggest we use to manufacture, ship and maintain the components of the above mentioned?


Solar power can provide for much of its own transportation. Trucks, trains, and buses can easily be electrified using overhead wires, and can run during the day time. Many rail lines are already electrified in Europe and Russia.

Ships do not require oil for their propulsion. Until the 1970s, the most common kind of ship engine was the steam turbine, which can use anything that will burn as fuel, including wood chips or anything else.

There are some usages of fossil fuels (like tractors, mining equipment, steelmaking, and so on) which are more difficult to transition to other sources of energy. However, these uses make up less than 3% of all fossil fuel consumption. We will have enough oil for those uses for at least 100 years even if it peaks today and starts declining immediately according to a Hubbert curve. The economy will transition everything else to renewables first.

What happens after that, depends upon technological developments over the next 100 years. Those technological developments are impossible to foresee. However, collapse is not a serious possibility in my opinion, at least not for energy-related reasons. There are obvious substitutes for every use of fossil fuels, and vastly more time than is required to transition to them.

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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby tom_s2 » Mon 27 Oct 2014, 21:29:47

Hi sunweb,

sunweb wrote:The ERoEI of solar devices is very low if the whole systems input is taken into account.


The ERoEI of renewables is generally comparable to, or higher than, fossil fuels.

The calculation for ERoEI has always been carried out incorrectly in peak oil and energy decline circles. Peak oilers are wrongly counting the massive waste heat losses of heat engines as energy returns, when in fact, they are energy losses. For example, your car loses about 80% of the energy in gasoline as waste heat from the radiator which does not move the car. Those losses are not counted in calculations of ERoEI. If you count those waste heat losses, then the ERoEI of oil in gasoline-powered cars is about 2.9.

The ERoEI of fossil fuels is actually quite low and has always been lower than renewables.

sunweb wrote:And once you have the electricity (needs lots of copper - think big machines and environmental degradation)


You don't need copper for those purposes. Electrical wires are made out aluminum these days which is something like 8% of the crust of the earth.

sunweb wrote:where will you get the energy and materials to build the gizmos you want the electricity to run?


Manufacturing uses electricity and heat, which could be provided by solar power.

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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby MonteQuest » Mon 27 Oct 2014, 22:24:42

DesuMaiden wrote: We can allocate our remaining fossil fuels towards the production of renewable energies which will hopefully be able to meet our energy demand. That's what I believe we should be doing.


And what will the rest of the world run on while you do that? Who gets to do without heat and lights while they wait years for renewable energy construction to produce any net new energy?
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby MonteQuest » Mon 27 Oct 2014, 22:35:48

tom_s2 wrote:Hi MonteQuest, There are obvious substitutes for every use of fossil fuels, and vastly more time than is required to transition to them.


Tom, I guess you missed the fact that my question was rhetorical. The only answer to my question is oil.

I suggest you do a little more homework to avoid posting a grand prose of nonsense like you just did.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby MonteQuest » Mon 27 Oct 2014, 22:38:20

tom_s2 wrote: The ERoEI of fossil fuels is actually quite low and has always been lower than renewables.


Good lord, guy. Stop posting already. :roll:
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby MonteQuest » Mon 27 Oct 2014, 23:02:14

pstarr wrote: Where do suppose he picked up that crap?


Who knows. :roll: When I first came to this site 10 years ago, I "lurked" for weeks, read every thread I had an interest in, and some I didn't, before I ever posted, much less wrote a thread.

Homework new members. Do your homework, if you want your posts to be acknowledged.

With google today, there is no excuse.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby tom_s2 » Tue 28 Oct 2014, 02:13:12

MonteQuest wrote:Good lord, guy. Stop posting already.


Hi Monte. If you have some serious objection, feel free to post it.

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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby tom_s2 » Tue 28 Oct 2014, 03:03:39

pstarr wrote:Where do suppose he picked up that crap? It's not a liberal thing. Limbaugh and Hannity don't have a clue regarding net-energy analysis. It must be one of Graeme's green rags. :razz:


Pstarr, I pointed out the error for you. I pointed out the error in the calculations of ERoEI done by the energy declne movement. You could easily perform the calculations yourself by looking up any of the relevant papers on the ERoEI of fossil fuels, and seeing that they have, in fact, counted waste heat losses as energy returns. Those papers, and essentially all the ERoEI analysis found on sources like theoildrum.com, etc, were based upon a simple, obvious mathematical mistake, which I've now pointed out to you.

You responded to this by posting childish personal remarks with no relevant content whatsoever. You also speculated about where I got the idea, which obviously has no logical relevance. I can only assume you have no serious response.

You're a fool if that's the only way you respond to contrary information. What you should do now is pay attention to content.

There are some papers which do not commit the obvious mathematical error, for example, one by Mason Inman, and another by Johan Lundin ("EROI of crystalline silicon photovoltaics"). The latter paper correctly performs an energy quality correction and does not compare primary energy from fossil fuels against electricity from renewables. When carrying out the calculation correctly, the author finds that solar PV has a primary energy-equivalent ERoEI of approximately 20, in high insolation areas. That figure is undoubtedly higher than the ERoEI of either natural gas or oil.

The paper by Mason Inman and accomanying article in Scientific American, attempts to perform the calculation correctly. As a result, the author arrives at the conclusion that renewables have ERoEI ratios which are comparable to fossil fuels.

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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby tom_s2 » Tue 28 Oct 2014, 03:18:33

Hi Monte,

Tom, I guess you missed the fact that my question was rhetorical. The only answer to my question is oil.


Then you have just posted an obvious factual error. Oil is certainly not the only possible source of energy to ship or manufacture things, as I pointed out above.

I suggest you do a little more homework to avoid posting a grand prose of nonsense like you just did.


Once again, you've failed to produce any serious objection. Instead you've resorted to childish name-calling and absolutely nothing else. If you had any serious objection, I suspect you'd have posted it by now.

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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby Shaved Monkey » Tue 28 Oct 2014, 06:45:43

Solar thermal looks promising but its not suitable for everywhere but it has the potential to deliver base load.
On a sunny winters day in Qld there is enough solar energy produced by domestic panels to make the wholesale price of electricity zero.
Similar thing happens in South Australia on a warm windy winters day with their turbines.
Warm or windy winter means no need for heat but maximum output.

http://tasmaniantimes.com/index.php/art ... ee-to-burn

Downside is power generators arent making money selling power so they increase connection charges.
Until batteries become cheap they still have you by the goolies
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby kublikhan » Tue 28 Oct 2014, 07:14:32

MonteQuest wrote:What energy source do you suggest we use to manufacture, ship and maintain the components of the above mentioned?
The solar industry is already generating more energy than it consumes.

kublikhan wrote:When an energy producing industry is small and growing rapidly, it consumes more energy than it outputs. This is especially true for capital intensive industries like solar PV, wind, etc because most of the energy needed is used up before the panels/turbines are even operating. Operation and maintenance costs for Solar PV are fairly small in comparison. Up until around 2012, the Solar PV industry was acting as a net drain on our global energy balance because the rapidly growing factories were sucking up more juice than was coming out of the panels installed on people's roofs. However this report and others like it now point out that the panels are now putting out more juice than the factories are sucking up. And further, the positive value of energy provided by solar PV will have repaid it's fossil fuel energy debt sometime between 2015 and 2020(this article says 2018). Here's another article with the same theme:

The construction of the photovoltaic power industry since 2000 has required an enormous amount of energy, mostly from fossil fuels. The good news is that the clean electricity from all the installed solar panels has likely just surpassed the energy going into the industry's continued growth.

The rapid growth of the solar power industry over the past decade may have exacerbated the global warming situation it was meant to soothe, simply because most of the energy used to manufacture the millions of solar panels came from burning fossil fuels. That irony, according to Stanford University researchers, is coming to an end.

For the first time since the boom started, the electricity generated by all of the world's installed solar photovoltaic (PV) panels last year probably surpassed the amount of energy going into fabricating more modules. With continued technological advances, the global PV industry is poised to pay off its debt of energy as early as 2015, and no later than 2020.

"Despite its fantastically fast growth rate, PV is producing – or just about to start producing – a net energy benefit to society." The achievement is largely due to steadily declining energy inputs required to manufacture and install PV systems. The new study indicates that the amount of energy going into the industry should continue to decline. As investment and technological development have risen sharply with the number of installed panels, the energetic costs of new PV modules have declined. Thinner silicon wafers are now used to make solar cells, less highly refined materials are now used as the silicon feedstock, and less of the costly material is lost in the manufacturing process. Increasingly, the efficiency of solar cells using thin film technologies that rely on earth-abundant materials such as copper, zinc, tin and carbon have the potential for even greater improvements.

The PV industry ran an energy deficit from 2000 to now, consuming 75 percent more energy than it produced just five years ago. The researchers expect this energy debt to be paid off as early as 2015, thanks to declining energy inputs, more durable panels and more efficient conversion of sunlight into electricity.

Strategic implications
If current rapid growth rates persist, by 2020 about 10 percent of the world's electricity could be produced by PV systems. At today's energy payback rate, producing and installing the new PV modules would consume around 9 percent of global electricity. However, if the energy intensity of PV systems continues to drop at its current learning rate, then by 2020 less than 2 percent of global electricity will be needed to sustain growth of the industry.

The energy payback time can also be reduced by installing PV panels in locations with high quality solar resources, like the desert Southwest in the United States and the Middle East. "At the moment, Germany makes up about 40 percent of the installed market, but sunshine in Germany isn't that great," Dale said. "So from a system perspective, it may be better to deploy PV systems where there is more sunshine."

This accounting of energetic costs and benefits, say the researchers, should be applied to any new energy-producing technology, as well as to energy conservation strategies that have large upfront energetic costs, such as retrofitting buildings. GCEP researchers have begun applying the analysis to energy storage and wind power.
Global solar photovoltaic industry is likely now a net energy producer
Renewable energy and economic growth

MonteQuest wrote:And what will the rest of the world run on while you do that? Who gets to do without heat and lights while they wait years for renewable energy construction to produce any net new energy?
See above. Solar is already producing net energy.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby kublikhan » Tue 28 Oct 2014, 07:37:45

DesuMaiden wrote:But my question is do we have enough rare Earth minerals to create all of those solar panels?
I wouldn't worry about it. Only thin film uses rare earths. Thin film makes up less than 10% of solar panels. That means over 90% of solar panels currently manufactured do not use rare earths.

Solar cells can be classified into first, second and third generation cells. The first generation cells—also called conventional, traditional or waver-based cells—are made of crystalline silicon, the commercially predominant PV technology, that includes materials such as polysilicon and monocrystalline silicon. Second generation cells are thin film solar cells, that include amorphous silicon, CdTe and CIGS cells and are commercially significant in utility-scale photovoltaic power stations, building integrated photovoltaics or in small stand alone devices. The third generation of solar cells includes a number of thin-film technologies often described as emerging photovoltaics—most of them have not yet been commercially applied and are still in the research or development phase. Many use organic materials, often organometallic compounds as well as inorganic substances. Despite the fact that their efficiencies had been low and the stability of the absorber material was often too short for commercial applications, there is a lot of research invested into these technologies as they promise to achieve the goal of producing low-cost, high-efficient solar cells.
Solar cell

Thin-film production will continue to lose market share, declining from 9.4% in 2013 to 8.9% in 2014. Investments in new thin-film manufacturing equipment declined to an eight-year low during 2013.
Multicrystalline Silicon Modules to Dominate Solar PV Industry in 2014
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby MonteQuest » Tue 28 Oct 2014, 10:23:06

tom_s2 wrote:Hi Monte. If you have some serious objection, feel free to post it.


Tom, I've been posing on this site for 10 years. Senior Moderator for years. I've seen it all on here. What you post is nonsense. So, much so, I won't even respond to it.

I've already posted my serious objection: you haven't done your homework.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby MonteQuest » Tue 28 Oct 2014, 10:30:10

kublikhan wrote:The solar industry is already generating more energy than it consumes.


But they aren't using that solar energy to manufacture, ship and maintain the components of the solar industry. That's the point.

Solar is already producing net energy.


So? My question wasn't disputing that. Read the context again.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby MonteQuest » Tue 28 Oct 2014, 10:39:09

tom_s2 wrote:Oil is certainly not the only possible source of energy to ship or manufacture things, as I pointed out above.


Sure, over-head wire long-haul electric trucks and wood chip powered ships. Nonsense.

We take the discussions here seriously. Please do the same.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby tom_s2 » Tue 28 Oct 2014, 11:48:49

Sure, over-head wire long-haul electric trucks and wood chip powered ships. Nonsense.


Monte, as I pointed out, there are ALREADY many rail lines in the world powered by overhead wires. Furthermore, it obviously would be straightforward to power trucks that way, and there ALREADY have been trucks which do so (although this is uncommon). Furthermore, there were ALREADY steam turbine powered ships (it was the norm until about 1970) and you could obviously use wood chips or almost anything else that will burn in a boiler designed for that fuel.

Far from being "nonsense", these are basic facts which you could easily look up and determine for yourself.

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