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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 tom_s2 » Wed 29 Oct 2014, 17:21:01

Monte:

No hydrocarbons are needed to produce ammonia.
Sorry, due the laws of thermodynamics, it takes more energy to make hydrogen than you get from it.


Monte, do you have an objection to what was actually said? I claimed you can make AMMONIA from hydrogen from water. You're not on topic here.

All agriculture is net-energy negative at present, but that's not the point here.

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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby MonteQuest » Wed 29 Oct 2014, 17:26:42

tom_s2 wrote: Monte, do you have an objection to what was actually said? I claimed you can make AMMONIA from hydrogen from water.


Sure you can, but why would you?
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby tom_s2 » Wed 29 Oct 2014, 17:31:13

ralfy:

(Oil's ERoEI is comparable for renewables) because energy returns for oil dropped considerably.


That may be true, but this level of ERoEI is obviously compatible with maintaining industrial civilization, because civilization has not collapsed despite the lower ERoEI. In fact, China continues to grow at 8% per year despite an ERoEI of fossil fuels which is no better than the ERoEI for renewables.

The global population, meanwhile, requires higher energy returns and increasing energy quantity as part of capitalist systems.


A growing population doesn't require increasing ERoEI. It's possible to increase net energy by increasing the number of power plants even if ERoEI remains constant. In fact, net energy has been increasing by leaps and bounds over the last 80 years despite declining ERoEI, for that reason. Furthermore, the decline in ERoEI is almost over because of vast amounts of energy available (like from solar PV) at these lower ERoEIs.

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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby ralfy » Wed 29 Oct 2014, 21:35:35

tom_s2 wrote:ralfy:

That may be true, but this level of ERoEI is obviously compatible with maintaining industrial civilization, because civilization has not collapsed despite the lower ERoEI. In fact, China continues to grow at 8% per year despite an ERoEI of fossil fuels which is no better than the ERoEI for renewables.


Industrial civilization in a global capitalist system requires both increasing energy returns and increasing energy quantity due to the need for a growing middle class. Both also mean increasing material resource availability.

These are not possible because in terms of biocapacity, the planet is already in overshoot:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_c ... _footprint

Ave. ecological footprint per capita is expected to rise due to a growing global middle class while biocapacity is expected to drop given pollution and growing population.


A growing population doesn't require increasing ERoEI. It's possible to increase net energy by increasing the number of power plants even if ERoEI remains constant. In fact, net energy has been increasing by leaps and bounds over the last 80 years despite declining ERoEI, for that reason. Furthermore, the decline in ERoEI is almost over because of vast amounts of energy available (like from solar PV) at these lower ERoEIs.

-Tom S


A growing population in a global capitalist system does. The IEA and others show that we will need the equivalent of one Saudi Arabia every seven years to maintain economic growth, equivalent to around 1-2 pct increase in oil demand per annum. In order to meet a growing global middle class plus deal with low energy returns for U.S. shale oil, etc., even more Saudi Arabias will be needed.

It is theoretically possible to transition to renewable energy, but one study argues that it will take more than a century. In its 2010 report, the IEA states that in order to deal with both peak oil and global warming, we will have to replace at least 70 pct of oil demand increase per annum with renewable energy while governments implement strong regulatory policies to conserve oil and oil producers operate at maximum depletion rates.

I don't think these are possible in a global capitalist system.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby Keith_McClary » Wed 29 Oct 2014, 23:59:04

Saharan solar power opens energy corridor to Europe
Oct 27, 2014
The TuNur project aims to generate clean energy from a giant solar plant in the Tunisian Sahara from where it will be connected to the European electricity grid via a dedicated undersea cable. TuNur say their initiative will produce roughly twice as much energy as any current nuclear power plant and can even produce energy when the sun is down.
They have spent some money scouting for a location.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby Shaved Monkey » Thu 30 Oct 2014, 05:19:26

Solar thermal does look the most likely
We cant get away from boiling water to spin turbines.
It does make Tunisia strategically important to Europe that will need to be protected.
There was plans and talk of building a real one in Australia with graphite as the heat store (there is a prototype)

http://www.solarpowertoday.com.au/blog/ ... rmal-powe/

Coal lobby is pretty strong here though so Im sure there will plenty of delay

Had one that had its funding scrapped by the conservative coalition government
(the nickname for the coalition is the coal alition)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloncurry_Solar_Farm
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Re: THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Unread postby fjciv » Thu 30 Oct 2014, 15:43:12

If you havent been watching freeenergynews.com your missing out
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby dashster » Tue 04 Nov 2014, 02:57:29

Shaved Monkey wrote:Solar thermal does look the most likely
We cant get away from boiling water to spin turbines.
It does make Tunisia strategically important to Europe that will need to be protected.
There was plans and talk of building a real one in Australia with graphite as the heat store (there is a prototype)

http://www.solarpowertoday.com.au/blog/ ... rmal-powe/

Coal lobby is pretty strong here though so Im sure there will plenty of delay

Had one that had its funding scrapped by the conservative coalition government
(the nickname for the coalition is the coal alition)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloncurry_Solar_Farm


The outback could really come in handy in coming years to Australians if it gets filled up with solar thermal.

The world really should be starting to cover the deserts with solar. Maybe it's time to "declare war" on fossil fuel depletion and then the US and others can free up their military budgets to "weaponize" against the new enemy.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby careinke » Tue 04 Nov 2014, 15:08:28

DesuMaiden wrote:Solar energy cannot make up for the fact that 7 to 10 calories of fossil fuel energy is required to produce every calorie of food in the industrialized world. Solar energy might be able to provide us with electricity, but you can't use solar panels to produce enough food to feed 7 billion people.


I live in the industrial world, and am sure I am not using 7-10 calories of fossil fuel energy to produce a calorie of food.

Just Sayin... :roll:
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby Shaved Monkey » Wed 05 Nov 2014, 01:10:32

Me either
About 9 months worth of tomatoes required a few buckets of rain water and a bucket of my urine once a week.
My potted herbs get a shared weekly dilution of bird poo from the water bath
Most of my other veg a doing real well with rain water home made compost tea , liquefied weed manures,ash and liquid seaweed extract.
My mulberry runs on air and rain and the freezer is full and Im about to pick some more.
Plenty of protien in the leaves to feed a few animals if you want too.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby dashster » Sat 08 Nov 2014, 08:00:26

pstarr wrote:
Like Monte pointed out, the cost to string overhead wires out into the real world is prohibitive. It only makes sense in and around very dense urban cores.


Would the cost to string overhead wires over train tracks be higher than the cost to build freeways all over the country? Remember also that the United States, while having a long interior, also wastes massive amounts of money on the military. We could always divert money from there. We could also declare war on railroad tracks that don't have overhead wires. That way we could use the existing military budget to build them.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby DesuMaiden » Mon 17 Nov 2014, 04:40:42

careinke wrote:
DesuMaiden wrote:Solar energy cannot make up for the fact that 7 to 10 calories of fossil fuel energy is required to produce every calorie of food in the industrialized world. Solar energy might be able to provide us with electricity, but you can't use solar panels to produce enough food to feed 7 billion people.


I live in the industrial world, and am sure I am not using 7-10 calories of fossil fuel energy to produce a calorie of food.

Just Sayin... :roll:

Yes you are. It is a fact that it requires 7-10 calories of fossil fuel energy to create every calorie of food in the industrialized world. This includes packing and transportation but excludes the energy for cooking the food.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby kenberthiaume » Mon 17 Nov 2014, 12:43:02

DesuMaiden wrote:
careinke wrote:
DesuMaiden wrote:Solar energy cannot make up for the fact that 7 to 10 calories of fossil fuel energy is required to produce every calorie of food in the industrialized world. Solar energy might be able to provide us with electricity, but you can't use solar panels to produce enough food to feed 7 billion people.


I live in the industrial world, and am sure I am not using 7-10 calories of fossil fuel energy to produce a calorie of food.

Just Sayin... :roll:

Yes you are. It is a fact that it requires 7-10 calories of fossil fuel energy to create every calorie of food in the industrialized world. This includes packing and transportation but excludes the energy for cooking the food.

It doesn't really matter how many calories it takes of energy to make food. You can't eat gasoline, so it's a ludicrous comparison.

Obviously it takes energy to produce food. So the question about producing food with oil is no different than anything else related to "peak oil". If good enough substitutes are found, it won't be a problem. If not, it will. "But you can't drive a tractor on sunshine!". Whatever, you'd be surprised how ingenious people are if the price is high enough.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby Keith_McClary » Mon 17 Nov 2014, 18:56:08

Huge US solar plant lags in early production
The largest solar power plant of its type in the world—once promoted as a turning point in green energy—isn't producing as much energy as planned.
One of the reasons is as basic as it gets: The sun isn't shining as much as expected.
Sprawling across roughly 5 square miles (13 sq. kilometers) of U.S.-government desert near the California-Nevada border, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System opened in February, with operators saying it would produce enough electricity to power a city of 140,000 homes.
So far, however, the plant is producing about half of its expected annual output for 2014, according to calculations by the California Energy Commission.
It had been projected to produce its full capacity for 8 hours a day, on average.
It could take until 2018 for the plant backed by $1.6 billion in federal loan guarantees to hit its annual peak target, said NRG Energy Inc., which operates the plant and co-owns it with Google Inc. and BrightSource Energy.

??? Are they expecting more sunlight in 2018?
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby MonteQuest » Mon 17 Nov 2014, 19:13:19

dashster wrote: Why is renewable energy not producing any new net energy now?


Never said it wasn't. My point is this: if one doesn't have enough energy to meet existing demand and you wish to divert energy to a massive build out of renewables, who is going to do without while that construction takes place taking years to produce any net new energy?
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby MonteQuest » Mon 17 Nov 2014, 19:34:48

tom_s2 wrote:I've been following the energy decline/peak oil movement for quite awhile now. As you know, it has had a long string of badly failed predictions. Many of you guys thought that civilization would promptly collapse around 2006. Most of you expected a "natural gas cliff" with drastically declining natural gas supplies. Many expected permanent electrical blackouts as per "The Olduvai Gorge". Almost everyone expected an end to world trade and world shipping. Almost everyone expected that oil supplies would start declining around 2005 at around 3% per year. None of these things have occurred, yet the movement continues along unhindered. (Actually, I shouldn't say "unhindered", because it appears that more than 95% of people have left the movement and moved on, but some are still here).

If the prediction fails again, what then? Do you pack it in, acknowledge you were wrong about these topics, and move along? Or do you just push doomsday further into the future by 10 more years and hang around these forums for awhile longer?

What is the criterion of falsification here? When would you guys conclude that you're just wrong about these things?


Can't speak for anyone but myself. I've had two main predictions: one, that peakoil would manifest itself as an economic crisis, which it has. As to predictions, I've always said that we don't know three things:

1. How much oil there is to recover.
2. What the decline rate will be
3. How the monkeys will react

The second isn't exactly a prediction, more of an ecological trusim; the sequel to overshoot is a die-off.

As to my positing that I think the majority of large scale renewables have already been built is based upon the current world debt levels and investment shortfalls.

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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby MonteQuest » Mon 17 Nov 2014, 19:50:34

kenberthiaume wrote: It doesn't really matter how many calories it takes of energy to make food. You can't eat gasoline, so it's a ludicrous comparison.


That's not the point. If you could eat gasoline, soon you won't be able to.

Obviously it takes energy to produce food. So the question about producing food with oil is no different than anything else related to "peak oil". If good enough substitutes are found, it won't be a problem. If not, it will.


Well, the only new energy source of any mention in the last 150 years was nuclear, and it was still born.

The substitute must be a liquid fuel that will run in a diesel engine. And not biodiesel.

So, I guess it's going to be a problem.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby Keith_McClary » Tue 18 Nov 2014, 01:12:21

MonteQuest wrote:Can't speak for anyone but myself. I've had two main predictions: one, that peakoil would manifest itself as an economic crisis, which it has. As to predictions, I've always said that we don't know three things:

1. How much oil there is to recover.
2. What the decline rate will be
3. How the monkeys will react
I would add, how much will the replacements for (peaked) conventional crude cost, and how fast they can be produced and transported to consumers.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby Ulenspiegel » Tue 18 Nov 2014, 04:01:48

MonteQuest wrote:
tom_s2 wrote: No hydrocarbons are needed to produce ammonia. Although natural gas is used at present, the gas is used as a hydrogen donor. Any source of hydrogen would do, such as water.


Sorry, due the laws of thermodynamics, it takes more energy to make hydrogen than you get from it.


That statement does not make sense for me as chemist. :-(

The hydrogen from partial oxidation of methane is purified and compressed (together with nitrogen), it would not be a real difference with hydrogen from water. The electrolysis of water of course requires much energy.

How does this additional ~500 kJ/mol in comparison to a partial oxidation of methane affect the ammonia price? Is this the end of the world?

Quick and dirty estimate:

1000 kg of ammonia are 60000 mol and require, therefore, 90000 mol hydrogen.
90000 mol * 300 kJ/mol = 27 000 000 kJ = 27 000 MJ = 7. 500 kWh

1kWh = 3.6 MJ cost 0.04 EUR. The price for 1 ton of ammonia would increase by 300 EUR i.e. + 50%.

OTOH we save some methane.
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