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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 » Tue 28 Oct 2014, 13:24:38

tom_s2 wrote:
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.

-Tom S


After 14,000 posts and 10 years on this site, I think I have looked up and determined for myself the "facts" that are reasonable proposals.

You have yet to do so.

Seriously? Semi-trucks with overhead electrical cables? :lol:
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby MonteQuest » Tue 28 Oct 2014, 14:04:48

What few consider is this: The more solar power there is, the more coal and natural gas stations there will be sitting there burning fuel providing "spinning reserve" all day, generating nothing at all.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby tom_s2 » Tue 28 Oct 2014, 14:51:39

pstarr,

Sheer unmitigated nonsense. EROEI, net-energy analysis does not measure energy>work efficiency, has nothing to to with 'waste heat losses', and is not used to compare transport modes. You don't get to make up definitions around here.


If you'd read the references I provided to you, then you'd have found out that some ERoEI analysis does (in fact) include those things. Also, if you'd read any of the literature on this matter, you'd find that Charles Hall (the inventor of the terms "EROI" and "ERoEI") has conceded this point.

If ERoEI is defined in the way you imply, then it's a useless measure which means nothing. If we don't count waste heat losses from internal combustion engines as losses, but instead count those as "energy returns", then the "energy returns" for fossil fuels is mostly measuring how much waste heat is put out by internal combustion engines. In which case, each unit of energy from solar power or wind accomplishes approximately 4x as much thermodynamic work as a similar unit of energy from diesel. Thus, solar power with an ERoEI of 3 (using the way you measure it) can perform the same amount of thermodynamic work as diesel with an ERoEI of 12.

Pstarr, this stuff is obvious. You are just repeating the same errors which have been floating around this bizarre little group forever.

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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby tom_s2 » Tue 28 Oct 2014, 14:56:13

Pstarr,

In the same way it would be straightforward to travel the universe in a kerosene/LOX powered Saturn-Five rocket. It could be done theoretically, but we don't have the time, money, kerosene, patience, or stupidity to attempt that.


Your analogy is just obviously invalid. I was talking about steam turbine ships, which were first constructed in about 1920 and were ALREADY the norm until about 1970. Trains with overhead wires are SIMPLER than trains with diesel engines. These things obviously are not analogous to traveling across the universe in a kerosene rocket.

I live in timber country. Diesel is how real stuff moves around. People commute by car and truck. The real world operates on gasoline and diesel.


Already, the entire trans-siberian railway has been electrified with overhead wires. That railway is going through the middle of nowhere and is the longest and heaviest-trafficked railway in the world.

People commute by cars and trucks, but for 97% of people, battery-electric cars will do fine.

There is VASTLY more time than is required to transition to these things, since the decline of oil will take more than a century.

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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby MonteQuest » Tue 28 Oct 2014, 15:09:10

tom_s2 wrote: You are just repeating the same errors which have been floating around this bizarre little group forever.-Tom S


Hmm...you resort to ad hominem attacks now. :lol:
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby MonteQuest » Tue 28 Oct 2014, 15:17:25

pstarr wrote: You must be high on corn liquor. Oh, excuse me, ethanol biofuel :lol:


I think he is just young and parroting articles that fit his motivated reasoning, much like the climate change deniers.

Tom, care to enlighten us to your age and background?

I am 63 years old, an ecologist and former National Park Ranger, who has written about the environment and energy issues for over 40 years.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby tom_s2 » Tue 28 Oct 2014, 15:37:20

After 14,000 posts and 10 years on this site, I think I have looked up and determined for myself the "facts" that are reasonable proposals.


Monte, the only evidence you've ever offered is that you've been a member of a fringe doomsday forum for 10 years. What you've offered is an obvious logical fallacy, and is evidence only of your own intellectual insularity.

Seriously? Semi-trucks with overhead electrical cables?


You could have looked it up in google, which would have taken about 10 seconds, and found that Siemens is ALREADY MANUFACTURING trucks that use overhead electrical wires. There is already a test highway in California, which is only 3 miles long at present, however that is a testbed before full production.

This stuff is SO INCREDIBLY OBVIOUS that it would have taken you about 10 seconds of either research or thought to determine it. Furthermore, what you're saying is SO INCREDIBLY SILLY ("Seriously? Semi-trucks with overhead electrical cables? :lol:") that I can't believe you'd even say it.

Bear in mind that we have MORE THAN 150 YEARS to transition gradually off of fossil fuels, before they are exhausted.

If you have really been here for ten years, then you need to start seriously researching this matter now. By "researching" I don't just mean repeating the same obvious errors over and over again, ad infinitum, for ten years, on a fringe doomsday forum. I mean read something ELSE, from a serious source.

I've been following doomsday groups of various kinds of years. One of the big problems is the total intellectual seclusion which exists in those groups. The members just hang out with each other and repeat the same basic errors to each other, year in and year out. When the collapse/doomsday predictions fail, the members just ignore it by consensus, and keep repeating the same things to each other.

Try reading something else. Type into google "siemens electric truck overhead" and start reading. Don't stop there either! There's a world of information outside of this place. If you bothered to look, it would take you no time to refute this stuff.

One clue is that nobody who actually knows anything about these topics believes these things. If they did, they'd be warning about the imminent end of the world, but they don't. You guys get your information from EACH OTHER. You count being here, for ten years, as expertise. You could have typed into google about electric trucks at ANY TIME in the last ten years, or at least when I pointed it out to you.

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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby kublikhan » Tue 28 Oct 2014, 16:09:52

MonteQuest wrote: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 not well suited for the transportation industry. Given the current price of oil vs batteries or other EV transportation, current market dynamics favor oil. The energy density of oil means the transportation sector will probably be one of the last sectors to transition off of fossil fuels. To expect otherwise is to expect economic actors to behave irrationally.

As for manufacturing and maintenance, renewables already are contributing a growing share of net energy. To expect them to jump to 100% right out the door is nonsense given the current infrastructure inplace. These kind of transitions take decades. Renewables already provide us with a fifth of our total energy consumption(including manufacturing and maintenance of renewables) and their share is growing. Yet we will continue to use fossil fuels for decades to come.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby MonteQuest » Tue 28 Oct 2014, 17:23:08

tom_s2 wrote: Monte, the only evidence you've ever offered is that you've been a member of a fringe doomsday forum for 10 years.


Oh, well...there then you have it. Fringe doomsday forum where we all parrot our end of the world mantra. :roll:

You won't earn any respect for your posts using that approach.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby kublikhan » Tue 28 Oct 2014, 17:24:17

Pstarr, I am not of the opinion that there will be zero consequences to BAU because of peak oil. My thoughts on this matter are closer to what Raugei was saying here:

In this post, Marco Raugei makes a fundamental point about an often raised question: if we have to use fossil fuels to manufacture renewable plants, doesn't it mean that renewables are useless? Raugei's answer is a resounding "no". In fact, the EROEI of fossil fuels acts as a multiplier for the final EROEI of the whole process. It turns out that if we invest the energy of fossil fuels to build renewable plants we get an overall EROEI around 20 for a process that leads to photovoltaic plants and an even better one for wind plants. So, if we want to invest in our future, that's the way to go, until we gradually arrive to completely replace fossil fuels!

It seems that this argument is too often brought up to imply that, since PV development and deployment is currently (largely) underpinned by fossil energy, and hence PV is not (yet) a fully independent and truly 100% renewable energy technology, then "why bother" in the first place?

Actually, this kind of critique is aimed at countering the incurable technological optimists' view that "there is nothing to worry about: we can continue unabated in our reckless business-as-usual overconsumption of energy (and resources) because soon PV (and other renewables) will seamlessly step in and take the baton from dirty fossil fuels, and all will be well".

Such through-rose-tinted-glasses optimism is most likely wrong-headed and should probably be tamed. But it is also worth looking at the issue from another angle. Let us assume that the average EROI of the current mix of fossil fuels (which still represent our main sources of primary energy, globally) is some value X > 1. And let us also agree that we (as a society) need a large and ever-growing share of our energy budget in the form of electricity (to power our computers, telecommunications, trains, home appliances, etc).

Broadly speaking, we therefore have two options:
1) keep using all the oil (and other fossil fuels) directly as FEEDSTOCK fuel in conventional power plants. In so doing, we would get out roughly 1/3 of the INPUT energy as electricity (electricity production efficiency in conventional power plants being ~0.33). This would be the "quick and dirty" option, that maximizes the short-term (almost instantaneous, in fact) "bang for the buck".

2) Use the same amount of available oil (and other fossil fuels) as (direct and indirect) INPUT for the production of PV plants.

Building and deploying a modern crystalline silicon PV system requires approximately 3 GJ of primary energy per m2. What this means is that the c-Si PV system would provide an output of electricity roughly equal to 18/3 = 6 times its primary energy input, which corresponds about 6/0.33 = 18 times the amount of electricity that we would have obtained, had we burnt the fuel(s) as FEEDSTOCK in conventional power plants (option 1 above), instead of using them as INPUT for the PV plant.

A planned long-term investment might be advisable, for instance, aimed at bringing about a gradual transition. The latter is in fact what many have been advocating, often only to be met with rather negative ‘gloom and doom’ reactions by others on a number of prominent discussion forums. It seems as if, in the minds of the latter, the desire to show that ‘the emperor has no clothes’ (i.e. that PV and other renewables are not yet, and might never be in full, a real, completely independent and high-EROI alternative to fossil fuels) overrides all other considerations, and prevents them from realizing/admitting that, after all, it may still be reasonable and recommendable to try and push this slow transition forward.

To conclude, I would like to dispel all doubts and clearly state that I do agree with the aforementioned ‘pessimists’ that if we (as a society) do not come to grips with the notion that there is no such thing as infinite growth on a finite planet and re-align our goals and ‘development’ strategies accordingly, then all the technological fixes in the world stand little to no chance of being enough to avert an ominous crash. But, why write off PV (and other renewables) and deny their value as useful tools to (hopefully) help us out on a safe slide along the slopes of a "prosperous way down"?

If we have to use fossil fuels to manufacture renewable plants, doesn't it mean that renewables are useless?
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby MonteQuest » Tue 28 Oct 2014, 17:37:42

kublikhan wrote: Renewables already provide us with a fifth of our total energy consumption(including manufacturing and maintenance of renewables) and their share is growing.


No, modern renewables only provide 10%. 9% comes from traditional biomass like wood and cow dung.

Wind, solar, biomass, geothermal only provide 1.2%. And due to growth in electrical demand, their contribution in that arena is shrinking, not growing.

Image

Source: RENEWABLES 2014 GLOBAL STATUS REPORT

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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby MonteQuest » Tue 28 Oct 2014, 17:54:46

tom_s2 wrote: You count being here, for ten years, as expertise.


No, I "count" having done my homework via extensive research with each and every post and earning the respect of the posters for doing so.

You should try it.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby kublikhan » Tue 28 Oct 2014, 17:57:54

Monte, repeating wrong information again does not make it right. First off, renewables share is growing not shrinking. Even if we use your limited category of not including heat, transportation, traditional biomass, or hydro, the numbers grew by over a third, from 0.8% in 2006 to 1.2% in 2012(page 9):
Renewables 2007 Global Status Report

Second, I must continue to question your decision to exclude heat, transportation, traditional biomass, and hydro. If you exclude all of those you are only talking about electricity production. But then you turn around and use the totals for total energy consumption. This is misleading. I will reiterate: if you want to talk about electricity production only, just the electricity only numbers for both renewables and the total. If you want to talk about all energy, use all renewable numbers, including heat, transportation, hydro, traditional biomass, etc.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby MonteQuest » Tue 28 Oct 2014, 18:07:21

kublikhan wrote:Pstarr, I am not of the opinion that there will be zero consequences to BAU because of peak oil. My thoughts on this matter are closer to what Raugei was saying here:

It seems that this argument is too often brought up to imply that, since PV development and deployment is currently (largely) underpinned by fossil energy, and hence PV is not (yet) a fully independent and truly 100% renewable energy technology, then "why bother" in the first place?


Solar will always be underpinned by fossil fuel energy. I cannot even envision the day when solar/wind system components are mined, manufactured, shipped, installed, maintained, replaced, and disposed of by the same electrical energy they produce.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby MonteQuest » Tue 28 Oct 2014, 18:13:29

kublikhan wrote:Second, I must continue to question your decision to exclude heat, transportation, traditional biomass, and hydro. If you exclude all of those you are only talking about electricity production. But then you turn around and use the totals for total energy consumption. This is misleading. I will reiterate: if you want to talk about electricity production only, just the electricity only numbers for both renewables and the total. If you want to talk about all energy, use all renewable numbers, including heat, transportation, hydro, traditional biomass, etc.


I posted numbers for all. I didn't exclude anything. Look again. I focused on the modern renewables solar/wind numbers because that is where everyone thinks the hope lies. Most of the renewable growth has been in hydro.
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