The bit on cellphone chargers puts it all in context.
The bit on cellphone chargers puts it all in context.
So, the obvious solution is, get started on those nuclear power plants TODAY! ;-)
Where? California is Earthquake Central. Nevada's in the middle of nowhere, and will need lots of HV power line to the nearest city. Oh, and cooling water.
Did you feel yesterday's quake?
Skip the nukes in CA, except in areas of stability. Must be some towards the Nevada side and perhaps the north-eastern corner near Oregon.
But CA has some mostly useless area (except to the few insects living there) with lots of sun -- death valley comes to mind. Perhaps solar? I remember the article mentioned "wind farms with a total area roughly equal to the area of California." Replace "wind farm" with "solar farm?"
And attending losses. I think I remember reading that about 50% is lost in transmission systems, as an mean US-wide value.
CA already drains one entire river in other states for its own water supplies and has been making motions to take _my_ river (Columbia) for some time. Nevada's Las Vegas has been getting flak over taking what little water is available elsewhere in the state for farming and other uses to supply its sometimes extravagant city needs.
Speaking of which, there was a drought years ago when I was commuting to Burbank every week by air. SF had cut back by 50% and was letting lawns go brown and so on. At the same time, I read in the LA Times paper that LA itself had only cut back 10%. And as I flew over, coming into Burbank, there was all the same swimming pools everywhere all full and ready to go and evaporating like crazy. Which tells me that certain areas in CA really don't care that much, even when asked to care by administrators. Life goes on and a lot of people just ignore the problems leaving others to suffer for it.
Have these attitudes shifted somewhat?
Not in Oregon, I didn't. :)
By the way, were you aware of the discovery in 1987 that 9.0 earthquakes have occurred off the Oregon coast consistently at spans running from about 300 years to about 600 years, for the last 15,000 years? The last one was about 310 years ago and killed people in Japan. The tital waves arrived there about every hour for three days. The researcher I spoke with in Seattle in 2001 or so was the one who did the original work in the mid-1980's in Oregon and whose team first reported this discovery. He had just come back from Japan (I'd left a message and he didn't get back to me for 3 weeks) when we talked. There, he had been going through the old records in Japan regarding the last quake a year or two before 1700, I think. This relates to the Juan de Fuca plate; maximum deflections take place around Vancouver Island, memory serving. Satellite systems combined with ground stations continue to monitor the continued compressions right now.
We may be due for another not so far out. Or maybe still a long time away... it's hard to know. I don't know how this propagates in CA or impacts faulting there. But it seems also related to the Gorda plate. So maybe.
Don't I wish. You'd think the Mojave Desert would be the ideal place to build more SEGS systems...
A co-worker who used to work for the Calif. Energy Commission mentioned these environmental studies that had to be done... you know, on the Endangered Desert Snake... the Endangered Desert Mosquito... these studies delay construction of solar plants quite a bit. Yay environmentalism.
Palo Verde is a large nuke reactor in Arizona... hmm...
Wow, it uses treated sewage for cooling. No need for a river/lake. Pretty cool technology there.
I doubt it. Here in Sacramento there's some talk about water rationing - but the water gets pumped via aqueduct to LA regardless, for those same swimming pools and lawns. At least, as long as the Endangered Fish aren't harmed by the huge water pumps...
Ah. 4.x quake near LA, no news of injury though. Amazing.
Didn't know about that.
Looks like the 5 Kramer SEGS total 150MW. Nothing like the 500-1000MW light water nukes. But it's something.
Hmm. Let's put it in context. I used the annual figures for all five sites: 68555+68278+72879+67758+65048 MWh. That's less than 1.17e12 BTU. About 0.1% of a quad. The US uses 100 quads a year. So this is about 0.00001, or about 10ppm of US annual use. It occupies 230300 +230300+233120+188000+194280 or 1076000 m^2 of area or about 265 acres. This is compared to California's 423970 km^2. In terms of area in California, this is 2.5ppm. So we can get 10ppm of the US requirement from 2.5ppm of California's state area.
Looks like a win to me! 1/4th of the state of California and we are good!!
Okay. So we got a problem. But snakes like shade. Maybe they will like solar panel shade, too?
Out here, we treat it and then drink it. I wonder if they clean that water up much, or just bake the crap out of the crap, instead. ;)
Yeah. That's what crossed my mind, back then. Why should the SF area folks go to all that trouble they did when the folks in LA were still filling their pools and watering their lawns with a devil-may-care attitude. I remember reading that something like maybe half of the SF aquifers were sent on down to LA, anyway, where it just got used to fill the swimming pool again. What's up with that? Can't the SF folks say "If you are going to live in a semi-arid desert like that, then either conserve like the rest of us humans do or else go find your own water?"
Ah. Nothing to write home about.
It was an interesting discovery, from looking at sediments in marshes (among other things.) The history of it isn't without a fair amount of disagreement, at first. Some additional studies were needed to put to bed other suggestions and to re-inforce the original conclusions. But so far as I'm aware, the more vocal opposition has been long since quieted and it's pretty much a granted fact today.
I sure wouldn't want to be the guy who has to pressure-wash the mirrors every evening though...g a
Or at least cover the aqueducts with plastic or something... I wonder how much water is lost due to evaporation in the desert. I played around with some diffusion equations, but they all required a nonzero wind velocity term, else the equations would fail. How annoying.
Arizona, then. I'm sure Jim won't mind the sheeting and monkey bars to hold it up suspended over his house. I certainly won't care. :)
Ah, crap. You're making this hard. Now we need water, again. Probably clean water, too! You find a nice sunny place where the sun is good and it just always seems to come with a lack of nice clear fresh water supplies. Why is that? ;)
yeah, well that is because of the significance of removing the water vapor to somewhere else. Otherwise, it just returns to the surface. There will will be a vertical diffusion column, but that only goes so far and then it's over. There is diffusion laterally, too. But it's all small. So you really need a lateral velocity figure. Just plug in a gentle breeze of a few mph and be done with it.
Better would be to figure out some way of estimating how much water is brought into the area, how much they get from rainfall (near zero) and how much leaves (probably not high) and figure the rest is evaporated or incorporated in the growing mass of humans or plants. Probably, that would bound the question, at least. Maybe then you could solve for the wind speed that must be the average to achieve it, then. ;)
Nobody in California is stable :>
Basically the whole place is fault lines. Everywhere there is water, there is a fault. If you draw all the police and fire stations on a map and play connect the dots, you have a map of the faults.
Up there you get earthquakes and volcanoes. The southern end looks more promicing.
A lot of land has had all the water sent to LA so it would make sense to put solar power plants there too. Basically nothing will grow on some of the land.
If you ran a really good set of power lines north to south through the whole state hitting just the good places to put wind farms, nearly all the power could come from wind. It is always blowing somewhere
It may be better to do something with the power locally to make a high energy material that is shipped by rail to where the power is needed. If hydrogen wasn't so nasty to ship, it may work.
Ha ha ha. :D?
Potassium hydroxide? IIRC, alkaline cells depend on the stuff. Or, ok, metallic sodium. Instant Hydrogen! Just add water! :DM
Yes, the dusty desert makes it necessary to clean the mirrors daily. I reviewed the SEGS reports once upon a time... they experimented with handheld pressure washers, finally settling for a truck that just sprayed the mirrors while someone drove it.
Good point. It just pissed me off that the equations couldn't tell me how quickly water evaporates from a pan of water sitting outside, no breeze, in 110 F heat. Or a wet T-shirt, hanging on the clothesline, in 110 F heat. Obviously it *does* evaporate, but the usual Fick's Law didn't seem to work for me.
I get the feeling that the evaporative loss would be small compared to the water conveyed, but it would be nice to quantitatively prove it's less than 10%, etc...
That is far from true. Losses in converting fuel energy to delivered electrical energy are actually somewhat worse, with 50% being efficiency of converting heat energy to electrical energy.
Transmission losses from generating station output to the transformer upstream from your home are much less. Combined transmission and distribution (distribution is at the neighborhood level, including transformers immediately upstream of homes) is about 7.2-7.4%.
- Don Klipstein ( email@example.com)
The 'high energy' material, that is safe to ship and has significantly higher energy density than hydrogen, by volume, is called diesel or gasoline. Nothing touches it for convenience, safety, and compact storage of chemical energy. Plus, all the infrastructure is already in place. But it's probably still not so good an idea.
Last time I checked H2O gives up the H2 at the rate of 195MJ/kg with current methods of electrolysis. It's good for 120MJ/kg. However, in terms of volume it's 8.4 MJ/liter at 20K cryo, 3.4MJ/liter at 150K cryo, 2.75MJ/liter at 5000 psi, and 2.0MJ/liter at 3600 psi. By comparison, gasoline is about 31MJ/liter at room temps and in a nice liquid form that can be pumped, carried, poured, etc.
Best to get the CO2 from the air, though. And cracking off the C is going to cost energy. If doing it is about as efficient as getting H2 from H2O (and I've no reason to argue one way or another), then it's going to be about 32.8*195/120 or 53.3MJ/kg of C. Maybe someone knows the process and can give a better figure. So then some other process combines the two, probably releasing some energy that can be captured (ineffeciently, of course.) And then there is the re-conversion back to the electricity at the other end -- the engine to mechanical, mechanical to electrical, regulation and phase synch, etc.
Oh... and transportation costs energy, too.
The upshot is that out of the initial generation on-site, only a small part of it will actually be usable in the end. It's probably better to just stuff it "into the grid" at the source site.
Nice article, wind turbines are sprouting around where I live like dandelions. (Java Center, NY USA) Solar is still a bit to expensive. And did you see the latest quote for a nuclear plant! We need to standardize nuclear and get the price down by an order of magnitude.
I forget where I saw the figure and now that I go check, I believe you are correct. I must have seen it for something like what you mention and stuffed it away impropertly in mind. Thanks for the correction.
Yes, after taking your clue I went and checked and came up with about the same figure. Thanks, again.
On May 18, 7:46=A0pm, Jon Kirwan [.. solar to fuel ..]
The last figure I heard was that it only took 300 gallons of fuel to get a tanker truck of gasoline across the whole country. The transportation losses are the smaller part of the fuel problem. Conversion is the big part.
A statistic making the rounds from our local Fortune 500 company, the Norfolk Southern railroad: Freight trains move a ton of freight an average of 436 miles on a single gallon of diesel fuel. Not too shabby.
Wonder what the equivalent MPG would be for a plug-in electric vehicle, counting the fossil fuel, transmission losses, conversion efficiency, etc. needed to charge one up for a 400 mile trip?
-- Rich Webb Norfolk, VA
Yes, as a matter of fact, I did. It was WAY KEWL! ;-) I'm in Whittier. I was reclining on my couch, watching old reruns, and I felt a bump as if someone had shoved my RV. My hackles rose. Then, the shove turned into a wave, I guess it's called the "P" wave, that's longitudinal, like a sound wave but in rock. It shook for a second or two, and then I felt the "S" wave, which was like being in a boat on the ocean, except for the sideways component. When I figured out that it probably wasn't The Big One - the electricity stayed on through the whole adventure - I just decided to sit and enjoy the ride. Then there was another P wave, and then another S wave, and then it all kind of petered out. I started channel-surfing, to see if there was any breaking news. and one of the local indies had video of a local seismograph, which looked like white noise, but clipped Drastically. Like, a block of solid blue, which delineates "This is the time when the earthquake is occurring", but no more useful information than that. You'd think they'd have a lower-gain seismograph available somewhere - this one was just snapping from peg to peg.
Then, of xourse, the reports started coming in. Some stuff fell off some shelves in Compton, and that was about the extent of it.
But, I do have to admit, once I realized I was going to live, I rather enjoyed the ride. ;-)
Global warming will drive the coastline inland quite a ways. That'll kill two birds with one stone: Clean out the Los Angeles basin, San Diego, etc., and move the water's edge w.r.t. the San Andreas fault.
There are no global socioeconomic problems that can't be solved by a good100 meter rise in the sea level.
-- Paul Hovnanian firstname.lastname@example.org ----------------------------------------------------------------------
Yes. I actually found a "figure" for that conversion in a book a physicist, David MacKay. He writes: "In an alternative world (perhaps not far-off) with relatively plentiful electricity and little oil, we might use electricity to make liquid fuels; in that world we would surely not use the same exchange rate ? each kWh of gasoline would then cost us something like 3 kWh of electricity!"
If he's right about it, that is a working estimate.
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