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7 Energy Efficiency Myths Debunked
08-27-2010, 02:05 PM,
#1
7 Energy Efficiency Myths Debunked
Why all of these government granted taxpayer subsidies to help crony corporations switch to a greener alternative will do jack squat for energy independence. Opening wells in Alaska (Wildlife reserves, Lindsey Williams reports there is much oil to be had here), Coastal Louisiana (60B+ barrels under moratorium) more safe deep ground/water drilling, smart frakking (the way they are doing it now is a disaster - see Fuel), more environmentally conscious oil sands development and nuclear power are here and should be utilized. At least until someone can harness some of the ideas that Tesla allegedly developed.

Quote:7 Energy Efficiency Myths Debunked: Guest Analysis
March 26, 2008 3:14 AM
Adapted from the book Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of Energy Independence, from PublicAffairs, a member of the Perseus Books Group. © 2008

The emotional appeal of energy independence is undeniable—it suggests freedom from foreign oil and, therefore, from foreign entanglements. But over the past few years, veteran energy writer Robert Bryce argues, the political players who are promoting the concept of energy independence have created a set of false promises to bolster their campaigns and give such independence the appearance of credibility. In exclusive excerpts from his new book, Gusher of Lies, Bryce examines the facts behind those promises.

1. Energy independence will mean better energy security for the U.S.

After the hurricanes of 2005 ravaged New Orleans and other areas along the Gulf of Mexico, several damaged refineries in the region were unable to operate. Within a few days of the storm, gasoline shortages hit several southern U.S. cities. The shortages were, thankfully, short-lived. The reason: imported gasoline.

By mid-October 2005, just six weeks after Hurricane Katrina, gasoline imports had soared from 1 million barrels (or less) per day to 1.5 million barrels per day, the highest level recorded up to that time by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) since it began tracking these imports in 1982. Without gasoline from refineries in Venezuela, the Netherlands and elsewhere, the post-Katrina shortages would surely have continued.

Global commodities markets, like the one for oil, are famous for volatility and sensitivity to world events—even domestic events such as Katrina. To mitigate these effects and to ensure long-term economic security, the United States has no choice but to buy the gasoline it needs on the global market.


2. Greater efficiency results in lower energy consumption and, therefore, will hasten the day of energy independence.

History shows that as the U.S. economy has grown more energy efficient, energy consumption has continued to climb. In 1980, the U.S. was using about 15,000 Btu per dollar of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). By 2004, the energy intensity of the U.S. economy had improved dramatically, so that just over 9000 Btu were required for each dollar of GDP. By 2030, the EIA projects that energy intensity will fall to about 5800 Btu per dollar of GDP. But even with that dramatic increase in efficiency, the EIA predicts that overall energy consumption in the U.S. will increase by more than 30 percent, rising from 100.1 quadrillion Btu in 2005 to 131.1 quadrillion Btu in 2030. (A quadrillion Btu is equal to about 172 million barrels of crude oil.)


3. Federal mandates for higher-mileage cars will result in less fuel consumption, thereby reducing the need for imported oil.

Dramatic increases in America's automobile fuel efficiency will likely only slow the rate of growth of imported oil. Even if Congress mandated that the domestic auto fleet boost its average fuel economy to 44 mpg—a major increase over the 27.5 mpg standard in effect in 2007—America's motor fuel consumption will still grow by 3.7 million barrels per day by 2025.

Why? America's motor fleet is so huge that replacing it with a more efficient fleet will take decades. In 2005 (the last year for which statistics are available), the U.S. had 247.4 million registered motor vehicles—more than double the number in 1970. And Americans are keeping their vehicles longer, which means that older, less efficient cars will stay on the road for substantially longer periods. The reason is simple: Today's cars are of much higher quality than they were two decades ago.


4. Alternative fuel in the form of corn ethanol will swap in for gasoline, helping the U.S. achieve energy independence.

In 2006, the U.S. produced about 5 billion gallons of corn ethanol, which sounds like a lot of fuel until you realize that Americans use about 140 billion gallons of gasoline per year. That means the corn ethanol represents just 3.5 percent of America's current gasoline consumption.

In early 2007, President Bush pledged that the U.S. would be using 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels by 2017. In June 2007, the Senate passed a bill mandating the production of 36 billion gallons of ethanol per year by 2022.

Regardless of whether the target is 35 billion or 36 billion gallons, it's an awfully ambitious goal—a sevenfold increase in renewable and alternative fuel production in just 15 years. Even if America is able to meet the president's or the Senate's goals, renewable and alt fuels will still account for only about 11 percent of America's projected total oil consumption.


5. Advances in biotechnology will make cellulosic ethanol viable, replacing foreign hydrocarbons with domestic carbohydrates.

Cellulosic ethanol is fuel distilled from switchgrass, wood, straw and other plant-based feedstocks. Turning a diffuse source of energy like the sugars bound up in switchgrass into a more concentrated form of energy like ethanol is always an uphill battle. The lightest grade of crude can almost be pumped straight from the oil well into an automobile tank.

By contrast, switchgrass must be mixed with large quantities of water, fermented and then distilled before it can be utilized. And each of those steps takes energy. Some scientists have calculated that the energy returned on energy invested for cellulosic ethanol created from switchgrass results in a 50 percent net energy loss. That is, an investment of 1 Btu produces .50 Btu in return. Corn ethanol results in a net energy loss of 29 percent; that is, for 1 Btu invested, an investor gets 0.71 in return. The energy accounting for gasoline production shows that it yields energy profits of about 600 to 700 percent. Put another way, for 1 Btu invested in crude oil and gasoline production, an investor gets 6 or 7 Btu back. That high rate of return helps explain why oil-based fuels have been used so profitably, for so long. They have very high energy content, are fairly light and are easily managed and transported.


6. A vast electricity transmission grid between the Dakotas and Texas could take wind-generated electricity from where it is best produced to cities where it is needed most, thereby enhancing prospects for energy independence.

By 2010, the U.S. will generate about 50 billion kilowatt-hours per year from wind power. That figure needs to be put in perspective. In 2006, consumer electronics alone—TVs, computers, home theater systems, answering machines and so on—consumed 147 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity.


7. If the U.S. tapped its vast coal reserves effectively with clean and efficient coal-to-liquids (CTL) technology, America would achieve energy independence.

First, CTL plants are enormously expensive. A plant capable of producing just 50,000 barrels of CTL fuel per day will likely cost $4.5 billion. For comparison, an oil refinery capable of processing 200,000 barrels per day costs about $5 billion.

Second, CTL plants, which generally use German technology developed in the 1920s, create huge amounts of air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions. In 2005 Toyota issued a report on the "well-to-wheel" carbon dioxide emissions for 23 kinds of motor fuels. Fuel made from coal had the highest carbon dioxide footprint, releasing about 50 percent more carbon dioxide than gasoline. In its Annual Energy Outlook for 2007, the EIA predicted that CTL production in the U.S. would be just 440,000 barrels per day by 2030—less than 2 percent of America's total oil needs.
http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/energy/efficiency/4255840
There are no others, there is only us.
http://FastTadpole.com/
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08-28-2010, 02:03 AM,
#2
RE: 7 Energy Efficiency Myths Debunked
I'll have to disagree with a few flaws, but then again it's Popular Mechanics.


Quote:1. Energy independence will mean better energy security for the U.S. Global commodities markets, like the one for oil, are famous for volatility and sensitivity to world events—even domestic events such as Katrina. To mitigate these effects and to ensure long-term economic security, the United States has no choice but to buy the gasoline it needs on the global market.

It is actually that Refineries have not been built since 1976 and we only have about 1/2 left that were operating. This was due to EPA rulings and expenses associated with those rules.

http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/analysis_publications/chronology/petroleumchronology2000.htm


Quote:2. Greater efficiency results in lower energy consumption and, therefore, will hasten the day of energy independence.

History shows that as the U.S. economy has grown more energy efficient, energy consumption has continued to climb. In 1980, the U.S. was using about 15,000 Btu per dollar of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). By 2004, the energy intensity of the U.S. economy had improved dramatically, so that just over 9000 Btu were required for each dollar of GDP. By 2030, the EIA projects that energy intensity will fall to about 5800 Btu per dollar of GDP. But even with that dramatic increase in efficiency, the EIA predicts that overall energy consumption in the U.S. will increase by more than 30 percent, rising from 100.1 quadrillion Btu in 2005 to 131.1 quadrillion Btu in 2030. (A quadrillion Btu is equal to about 172 million barrels of crude oil.)

The numbers are flawed due to a failing economy and these projections are as if building was still continuing. Plus most of us heat with electricity rather than oil. Mostly northern homes are heated with oil.

Quote:3. Federal mandates for higher-mileage cars will result in less fuel consumption, thereby reducing the need for imported oil.

Why? America's motor fleet is so huge that replacing it with a more efficient fleet will take decades. In 2005 (the last year for which statistics are available), the U.S. had 247.4 million registered motor vehicles—more than double the number in 1970. And Americans are keeping their vehicles longer, which means that older, less efficient cars will stay on the road for substantially longer periods. The reason is simple: Today's cars are of much higher quality than they were two decades ago.

Again flawed as it assumes that all is well financially.

Quote:4. Alternative fuel in the form of corn ethanol will swap in for gasoline, helping the U.S. achieve energy independence.

This one is true. But, ethanol kills the fuel mileage thus needing more fuel per mile.


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08-28-2010, 04:38 AM, (This post was last modified: 08-28-2010, 04:55 AM by h3rm35.)
#3
RE: 7 Energy Efficiency Myths Debunked
Quote:4. Alternative fuel in the form of corn ethanol will swap in for gasoline, helping the U.S. achieve energy independence.

In 2006, the U.S. produced about 5 billion gallons of corn ethanol, which sounds like a lot of fuel until you realize that Americans use about 140 billion gallons of gasoline per year. That means the corn ethanol represents just 3.5 percent of America's current gasoline consumption.

In early 2007, President Bush pledged that the U.S. would be using 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels by 2017. In June 2007, the Senate passed a bill mandating the production of 36 billion gallons of ethanol per year by 2022.

Regardless of whether the target is 35 billion or 36 billion gallons, it's an awfully ambitious goal—a sevenfold increase in renewable and alternative fuel production in just 15 years. Even if America is able to meet the president's or the Senate's goals, renewable and alt fuels will still account for only about 11 percent of America's projected total oil consumption.

Ethanol is bullshit as far as a reduction in energy consumption. The largest intake in petroleum products next to chemical production in the US comes from agriculture, so the ethanol business is built on petroleum consumption. The push toward ethanol feeds the oil business as much as it creates its own.

If algae for biofuel production was the point of the crisis in the Gulf, then I know some farmers and Vilsacks that are going to be supremely pissed.

Quote:6. A vast electricity transmission grid between the Dakotas and Texas could take wind-generated electricity from where it is best produced to cities where it is needed most, thereby enhancing prospects for energy independence.

By 2010, the U.S. will generate about 50 billion kilowatt-hours per year from wind power. That figure needs to be put in perspective. In 2006, consumer electronics alone—TVs, computers, home theater systems, answering machines and so on—consumed 147 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity.
pretty pathetic argument, IMO. so we can only power a third of the consumer electronics portion (four years ago) of the grid by this year by using wind? Boo fucking hoo... This article was printed 2-3 years ago, and if we can create a self sustaining wind grid, who'd lose out but poison-spewing weapons-manufacturing behemoths?
[Image: conspiracy_theory.jpg]
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08-28-2010, 10:49 AM,
#4
RE: 7 Energy Efficiency Myths Debunked
Thomas Edison Wrote:Sorry peasants, but it won't work - I AM THE ALPHA ANCESTOR!!
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08-28-2010, 12:29 PM,
#5
RE: 7 Energy Efficiency Myths Debunked
1. Energy independence will mean better energy security for the U.S.

Its better to have reserves. You are less likely to buy reserves than save your own excess.

2. Greater efficiency results in lower energy consumption and, therefore, will hasten the day of energy independence.

This is a bell curve debate but actually you can blame the consumer for this. You see this in the computer field aswell. the computers we run these days could work very well on 10watts of power. however they wouldn't do much calculation. The same is said for cars. All those efficiencies have mostly been put into performance. most cars on the planet can almost double the legal limit. ask anyone if they would buy a car with a top speed of 70.....

3. Federal mandates for higher-mileage cars will result in less fuel consumption, thereby reducing the need for imported oil.

This can only stem what i pointed out above. the real key is people using the things.

4. Alternative fuel in the form of corn ethanol will swap in for gasoline, helping the U.S. achieve energy independence.

I agree this is a pointless lip service to the use of new methods on old problems. Not forward thinking and driving up the cost of food.

6. A vast electricity transmission grid between the Dakotas and Texas could take wind-generated electricity from where it is best produced to cities where it is needed most, thereby enhancing prospects for energy independence.

TBH the problem is "the grid". having to basically lose about 1/3 of your energy keeping wires warm seems a bit of a waste.

7. If the U.S. tapped its vast coal reserves effectively with clean and efficient coal-to-liquids (CTL) technology, America would achieve energy independence.

Agreed. On more waste of time. old problem with new methods. we can do better than this.
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08-29-2010, 10:01 PM, (This post was last modified: 08-29-2010, 10:12 PM by JazzRoc.)
#6
RE: 7 Energy Efficiency Myths Debunked
(08-28-2010, 12:29 PM)rsol Wrote: we can do better than this.

I bloody well hope so. How about:

1. Home & Workplace Heat Efficiency - Doubling the insulation standards and setting a new Ventilation Heat Recovery standard could save 300,000,000,000 dollars annually.

2. The centre of the USA has the LARGEST geothermal heat source on Earth. Perhaps a little drilling for all that inexhaustible energy could be tastefully employed (without even a single surface feature).

3. The west coast of the USA is a SUBDUCTION ZONE. Very close to the shore, the water depth falls to over a mile. The temperature of sea water beneath a depth of half a mile falls to 4 degrees Celsius. The TEMPERATURE DIFFERENCE may be used to BOIL, say, BUTANE gas and recondense it. Just pick your pipe size, and drive an appropriate butane turbine generator set. You'll NEVER drain the energy source. Try for ten thousand years... nope, you won't.

4. Quicker than that, I KNOW that four people and their luggage may be easily transported at 70 mph by a car that does EIGHTY mpg. So reset your standards, make such cars tax-free, and raise the rate of taxes on cars that consume more than that. Higher-quality CRAP ain't worth the time. Cars might have to be a little more fragile, but what the fuck are you doing using giant trucks on highways instead of using railcars and canalboats? Do raw materials need to rush to their destination?

5. Adopt a self-sufficient life-style and cut out all the fucking middlemen.

So that covers coastline and center. Who needs the grid? It should remain as a back-up but reducingly used. It's wasteful, as you say...

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08-29-2010, 10:25 PM,
#7
RE: 7 Energy Efficiency Myths Debunked
That actually ain't bad.
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08-31-2010, 04:19 PM,
#8
RE: 7 Energy Efficiency Myths Debunked
(08-29-2010, 10:25 PM)hilly7 Wrote: That actually ain't bad.
They all have additional benefits too, to do with the fertility of the sea, the safety of travel, general health and the quality of life.
There are POSITIVE things to look for in life, and by "look for" I mean "do, or get done".
Gene Roddenberry must have set a few standards. The Star Trek quality of life (but with toilets - and forget "beaming up") is not impossible at all, and at least it stands as an ideal worth referring to.
Mothandrust's teaching me not to make other comparisons... Smile
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09-01-2010, 02:24 AM,
#9
RE: 7 Energy Efficiency Myths Debunked
Quote:to do with the fertility of the sea..

Does this have to do with adding in iron filings to encourage plankton growth?

Another more up to date article on energy that I originally posted in this thread.

I came across an interesting article in the latest Popular Mechanics (my uncle gave me his copy of the July 2010 issue - thanks Frank) that reveals the issues that present themselves. Fairly level headed analysis coming from the AGW proponent side that think CO2 is a poison. I found there were some good facts within the article. Take from it what you will, as hilly7 pointed out it is Popular Mechanics.

Copy/Paste didn't translate too well as it was loaded with infographics and I didn't want to up a torrent with such a mixed message so I decided on hosting this one myself.

Popular Mechanics - The Truth About Energy

JPG Scans (800px):
http://jp.interspots.com/books/pm2010.07/The.Truth.About.Energy/

Entire Issue: PDF (Pages 72-81)
http://jp.interspots.com/books/pm2010.07/Popular_Mechanics_2010-07.pdf



Anyone read up on thorium nuclear reactors? Here's another pro-AGW / peak oil article that explores the technology. It rarely brought up as an alternative energy source for reasons you can conclude for yourself.

The ball has really been dropped in discussing more efficient means of transmission. For example monopole as opposed to the self cannibalizing dipole. Although there is a big move in having monitoring and centralized rationing via implemented 'smart' grids that are rolling out everywhere, all at once.

Quote:New age nuclear
Issue 8 of Cosmos, April 2006
by Tim Dean

Nuclear energy produces no greenhouse gases, but it has many drawbacks. Now a radical new technology based on thorium promises what uranium never delivered: abundant, safe and clean energy - and a way to burn up old radioactive waste.

What if we could build a nuclear reactor that offered no possibility of a meltdown, generated its power inexpensively, created no weapons-grade by-products, and burnt up existing high-level waste as well as old nuclear weapon stockpiles? And what if the waste produced by such a reactor was radioactive for a mere few hundred years rather than tens of thousands? It may sound too good to be true, but such a reactor is indeed possible, and a number of teams around the world are now working to make it a reality. What makes this incredible reactor so different is its fuel source: thorium.

Named after Thor, the warlike Norse god of thunder, thorium could ironically prove a potent instrument of peace as well as a tool to soothe the world's changing climate. With the demand for energy on the increase around the world, and the implications of climate change beginning to strike home, governments are increasingly considering nuclear power as a possible alternative to burning fossil fuels.

But nuclear power comes with its own challenges. Public concerns over the risk of meltdown, disposal of long-lived and highly toxic radioactive waste, the generation of weapons grade by-products, and their corresponding proliferation risks, all can make nuclear power a big vote-loser.

A thorium reactor is different. And, on paper at least, this radical new technology could be the key to unlocking a new generation of clean and safe nuclear power. It could prove the circuit-breaker to the two most intractable problems of the 21st century: our insatiable thirst for energy, and the warming of the world's climate.

BY THE END OF this century, the average surface temperature across the globe will have risen by at least 1.4˚C, and perhaps as much as 5.8˚C, according to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

That may not sound like much, but small changes in the global average can mask more dramatic localised disruptions in climate.

Some changes will be global: we can expect sea levels to rise by as much as 0.9 metres, effectively rendering a huge proportion of what is now fertile coastal land uninhabitable, flooding low-lying cities and wiping out a swathe of shallow islands worldwide.

The principal culprit is carbon dioxide, a gas that even in quite small quantities can have a dramatic impact on climate, and has historically been present in the Earth's atmosphere at relatively low concentrations.

That was until human activity, including burning fossil fuels, began raising background levels substantially.

Yet while we're bracing ourselves to deal with climate change, we also face soaring demand for more energy - which means burning more fossil fuels and generating more greenhouse gases.

That demand is forecast to boom this century. Energy consumption worldwide is rising fast, partly because we're using much more of it - for air conditioning and computers, for example. In Australia alone, energy consumption jumped by 46 per cent between the mid-1970s and the mid- 1990s where our population grew by just 30 per cent. And energy use is expected to increase another 14 per cent by the end of this decade, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Then there's China, which, along with other fast-growing nations, is developing a rapacious appetite for power to feed its booming economy.

And fossil fuels won't last forever. Current predictions are that we may reach the point of peak production for oil and natural gas within the next decade - after which production levels will continually decline worldwide.

That's if we haven't hit the 'peak oil' mark already. That means prices will rise, as they have already started to do: cheap oil has become as much a part of history as bell-bottomed trousers and the Concorde.

Even coal, currently the world's favourite source of electricity generation, is in limited supply. The U.S. Department of Energy suggests that at current levels of consumption, the world's coal reserves could last around 285 years. That sounds like breathing room: but it doesn't take into account increased usage resulting from the lack of other fossil fuels, or from an increase in population and energy consumption worldwide.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, as of 2003, coal provided about 40 per cent of the world's electricity - compared to about 20 per cent for natural gas, nuclear power and renewable sources respectively. In Australia, coal contributes even more: around 83 per cent of electricity.

This is because coal is abundant and cheap, especially in Australia. And although a coal-fired power plant can cost as much as A$1 billion (US$744 million) to build, coal has a long history of use in Australia. Coal is also readily portable, much more so than natural gas, for example - which makes it an excellent export product for countries rich in coal, and an economical import for coal-barren lands.

But the official figures on the cost of coal don't tell the whole story. Coal is a killer: a more profligate one than you would expect.

And it maintains a lethal efficacy across its entire lifecycle.

One of the main objections held against nuclear power is its potential to take lives in the event of a reactor meltdown, such as occurred at Chernobyl in 1986. While such threats are real for conventional reactors, the fact remains that nuclear power - over the 55 years since it first generated electricity in 1951 - has caused only a fraction of the deaths coal causes every week.

Take coal mining, which kills more than 10,000 people a year. Admittedly, a startling proportion of these deaths occur in mines in China and the developing world, where safety conditions are reminiscent of the preunionised days of the early 20th century in the United States. But it still kills in wealthy countries; witness the death of 18 miners in West Virginia, USA, earlier this year.

But coal deaths don't just come from mining; they come from burning it. The Earth Policy Institute in Washington DC - a nonprofit research group founded by influential environmental analyst Lester R. Brown - estimates that air pollution from coal-fired power plants causes 23,600 U.S. deaths per year. It's also responsible for 554,000 asthma attacks, 16,200 cases of chronic bronchitis, and 38,200 non-fatal heart attacks annually.

The U.S. health bill from coal use could be up to US$160 billion annually, says the institute.

Coal is also radioactive: most coal is laced with traces of a wide range of other elements, including radioactive isotopes such as uranium and thorium, and their decay products, radium and radon. Some of the lighter radioactive particles, such as radon gas, are shed into the atmosphere during combustion, but the majority remain in the waste product - coal ash.

People can be exposed to its radiation when coal ash is stored or transported from the power plant or used in manufacture of concrete. And there are far less precautions taken to prevent radiation escaping from coal ash than from even low-level nuclear waste. In fact, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the U.S. estimates the amount of exposure to radiation from living near a coal-fired power plant could be several times higher than living a comparable distance from a nuclear reactor.

Then there are the deaths that are likely to occur from falling crop yields, more intense flooding and the displacement of coastal communities which are all predicted to ensue from global warming and rising oceans.

There's so much heat already trapped in the atmosphere from a century of greenhouse gases that some of these effects are likely to occur even if all coal-fired power plants were closed tomorrow. Whichever way you look at it, coal is not the smartest form of energy.

THERE ARE MANY REASONS to move away from coal as our primary source of electricity generation, but it's not an easy task. The list of required attributes for an ideal power generation technology looks intimidating.

First of all, it should offer abundant power.

It also needs to be clean, safe and renewable as well as consistent. And ultimately, it needs to be economical.

Solar power contains much promise as a clean and practically infinite renewable power source. But photovoltaics, the most common form of solar electricity generation, are still a very expensive form of electricity, and lack the consistency to be suitable as a primary source of power - to provide the 'baseload' that is, the kind of power you can rely on to be there to keep everyone's refrigerators humming all day and night.

Wind has seen application in specialised wind farms, both onshore and offshore, especially in Europe where solar power is less efficient than in sunnier climes such as Australia's. Germany alone accounts for around 40 per cent of the total wind power generated worldwide.

Wind is an effective and clean form of power, but it too has its drawbacks. First, it is uncommon for a wind generator to be operating at more than 35 per cent of capacity, and 25 per cent is more common. This means it's idle and not generating power for 65 to 75 per cent of the time. Wind power is relatively cheap, with a cost per kilowatt-hour similar to that of coal in some places, although the volume of wind power is limited and often the best locations for wind turbines are far from the populous areas where electricity is needed. Environmentally, wind power poses a minor threat to birdlife, as well as being considered an eyesore in some communities.

While solar power is relatively expensive, and wind is limited in its implementation, both have a highly important role in renewable electricity generation. Unfortunately, even granting considerable advances in technology and efficiency of both technologies, neither has the potential to become a primary source of electricity because of their intermittent nature: neither could ever be relied upon to meet baseload supply.

IN THE 1950s, nuclear power generation, or the so-called 'peaceful atom', promised to unshackle us from fossil fuels and provide our society with limitless clean power that was going to be "too cheap to meter". Like many utopian visions, the truth was considerably less appealing. While nuclear power has for the most part provided bountiful energy without significant environmental impact, what everyone remembers are the accidents: the Windscale fire at Sellafield in 1957, the meltdowns at Three Mile Island in 1979 and Chernobyl in 1986. At a time when the public psyche was reeling from the fear of global nuclear war, the threats from nuclear power plants were suddenly seen in a similar light.

Another issue that caused growing public concern was the disposal of high-level nuclear waste. Some of the by-products of nuclear power include spent fuel rods: mostly byproducts of nuclear fission, including some highly radioactive actinides with half-lives of many thousands of years - which means they remain lethally toxic for millennia. They have to be housed in waste dumps isolated from all possible contact with the environment for up to 10,000 years. This means building a structure that will survive for twice as long as the Great Pyramid of Egypt has to date.

Needless to say, the engineering difficulties involved in building facilities that can safely contain such waste for 100 centuries, are immense - as are the costs.

Then there are nuclear weapons. Some waste can be reprocessed into weapons-grade plutonium. In particular, the processing of plutonium for re-use as fuel for reactors is difficult and, as such, much of the waste is left to build in weapons-grade stockpiles that could pose a serious security threat were some to fall into the wrong hands.

All three of these issues result from the nuclear fuel cycle in conventional reactors.

The typical nuclear fuel cycle kicks off with a quantity of refined uranium ore. This ore is primarily composed of uranium-238 (U-238), the most common, weakly radioactive isotope that has a very long half-life and is not fissile.

This means U-238 doesn't easily undergo fission, the process in which the nucleus of the atom splits, releasing tremendous quantities of energy.

Usually, a very small percentage of the ore will be U-235. Unlike U-238, U-235 is fissile, and makes up the primary fuel for most nuclear reactors. It is also, incidentally, the uranium isotope that can be used to make nuclear weapons.

This is because when a U-235 atom splits, it releases a spread of high-energy neutrons.

If one of these neutrons then collides with another U-235 atom, it can cause the atom to split, releasing more neutrons in the process.

This runaway chain reaction is responsible for the fantastic explosive power of an atom bomb - and for the meltdowns at Chernobyl and Three Mile Island.

However, there is too little U-235 in mined uranium ore to maintain enough fission for a nuclear reactor or a bomb. The ore needs to be 'enriched', boosting the proportion of U-235 in the ore. Nuclear reactors require around 3 per cent to 5 per cent of U-235, while nuclear weapons often require 85 per cent or more. One of the most popular methods of enriching uranium is a gas centrifuge, where the uranium in the ore is converted into uranium hexafluoride gas and rapidly spun, forcing the heavier U-238 gas to the extremities for separation.

Once a sufficient proportion of U-235 is achieved, the ore can be made into fuel suitable for a reactor. Also, while U-235 is busily destroying itself in the reactor, the U-238 in the fuel is not sitting idly by. This is because U-238 is 'fertile', which means it can transmute into other, fissile elements in a process called 'breeding'. In this process, if an atom of U-238 absorbs a neutron, such as one thrown out by a nearby splitting U-235 atom, it can transmute into the short-lived U-239. This then rapidly decays into neptunium-239, which itself quickly decays into plutonium-239 (Pu-239). Pu-239 is another possible fuel for nuclear reactors because, like U-235, it is actively fissile and can maintain a chain reaction. The problem is that many reactors are not optimised for burning plutonium, and as a consequence large quantities of Pu-239 remain as a waste by-product in spent fuel rods.

Pu-239 can be reprocessed from spent fuel rods and turned into a compound called MOX (Mixed Oxide) fuel. This can then be reused in some nuclear reactors in the place of conventional enriched uranium. However, it is Pu-239 that also represents the greatest weapons proliferation threat. So reprocessing plutonium becomes a very costly and a politically sensitive business. This means it is less likely to be used as a nuclear fuel for a civilian power plant and is less likely to be reprocessed.

Nuclear physics is a complex and messy business, especially when dealing with large unstable elements such as uranium. When the U-235 in nuclear fuel burns down to around 0.3 per cent concentration, it's no longer of use in a reactor. At this point, the proportion of U-238, along with other fission by-products, including some very radioactive isotopes of americium, technetium and iodine, is too high. Many of these elements are called 'neutron poisons' because they absorb neutrons that would otherwise be happily colliding with other U-235 nuclei to spark off more fission.

This spent fuel can be reprocessed - but this is a much more difficult job than basic enrichment because of the high number of fission by-products in the spent fuel. This means that a great deal of spent fuel - highly radioactive as it is - becomes waste that needs to be stored. For a very long time.

THIS IS WHERE THORIUM steps in. Thorium itself is a metal in the actinide series, which is a run of 15 heavy radioactive elements that occupy their own period in the periodic table between actinium and lawrencium. Thorium sits on the periodic table two spots to the left (making it lighter) of the only other naturally occurring actinide, uranium (which is two spots to the left of synthetic plutonium). This means thorium and uranium share several characteristics.

According to Reza Hashemi-Nezhad, a nuclear physicist at the University of Sydney who has been studying the thorium fuel cycle, the most important point is that they both can absorb neutrons and transmute into fissile elements. "From the neutron-absorption point of view, U-238 is very similar to Th-232", he said.

It's these similarities that make thorium a potential alternative fuel for nuclear reactors. But it's the unique differences between thorium and uranium that make it a potentially superior fuel. First of all, unlike U-235 and Pu-239, thorium is not fissile, so no matter how much thorium you pack together, it will not start splitting atoms and blow up. This is because it cannot undergo nuclear fission by itself and it cannot sustain a nuclear chain reaction once one starts. It's a wannabe atom splitter incapable of taking the grand title.

What makes thorium suitable as a nuclear fuel is that it is fertile, much like U-238.

Natural thorium (Th-232) absorbs a neutron and quickly transmutes into unstable Th-233 and then into protactinium Pa-233, before quickly decaying into U-233, says Hashemi- Nezhad. The beauty of this complicated process is that the U-233 that's produced at the end of this breeding process is similar to U-235 and is fissile, making it suitable as a nuclear fuel. In this way, it talks like uranium and walks like uranium, but it ain't your common-or-garden variety uranium.

And this is where it gets interesting: thorium has a very different fuel cycle to uranium. The most significant benefit of thorium's journey comes from the fact that it is a lighter element than uranium. While it's fertile, it doesn't produce as many heavy and as many highly radioactive by-products. The absence of U-238 in the process also means that no plutonium is bred in the reactor.

As a result, the waste produced from burning thorium in a reactor is dramatically less radioactive than conventional nuclear waste. Where a uranium-fuelled reactor like many of those operating today might generate a tonne of high-level waste that stays toxic for tens of thousands of years, a reactor fuelled only by thorium will generate a fraction of this amount. And it would stay radioactive for only 500 years - after which it would be as manageable as coal ash.

So not only would there be less waste, the waste generated would need to be locked up for only five per cent of the time compared to most nuclear waste. Not surprisingly, the technical challenges in storing a smaller amount for 500 years are much lower than engineering something to be solid, secure and discreet for 10,000 years.

But wait, there's more: thorium has another remarkable property. Add plutonium to the mix - or any other radioactive actinide - and the thorium fuel process will actually incinerate these elements. That's right: it will chew up old nuclear waste as part of the power-generation process. It could not only generate power, but also act as a waste disposal plant for some of humanity's most heinous toxic waste.

This is especially significant when it comes to plutonium, which has proven very hard to dispose of using conventional means.

Current programs used for the disposal of plutonium reactor by-products and weapons-grade material using the MOX process are both expensive and complex. Furthermore, thorium proponents say that in conventional reactors, MOX fuel doesn't use plutonium as efficiently nor in the same volumes as thorium fuel would at lower cost.

So thorium might just be able to kill two birds with one stone. Not only does a thorium-fuelled reactor produce significantly less high-level waste, but it can also dispose of the decommissioned nuclear weapons and highly radioactive waste from nuclear reactors using more conventional fuels. Oh yes, it can also generate electricity.

SO WHY ISN'T EVERYONE using thorium reactors? The main drawback to thorium is that it's not vigorously fissile, and it needs a source of neutrons to kick off the reaction.

Unlike enriched uranium, which can be left to its own devices to start producing power, thorium needs a bit of coaxing.

Thorium also cannot maintain criticality on its own; that is, it can't sustain a nuclear reaction once it has been started. This means the U-233 produced at the end of the thorium fuel cycle doesn't pump out enough neutrons when it splits to keep the reaction self-sustaining: eventually the reaction fizzles out. It's why a reactor using thorium fuel is often called a 'sub-critical' reactor.

The main stumbling block until now has been how to provide thorium fuel with enough neutrons to keep the reaction going, and do so in an efficient and economical way.

In recent years two new technologies have been developed to do just this.

One company that has already begun developing thorium-fuelled nuclear power is the aptly named Thorium Power, based just outside Washington DC. The way Thorium Power gets around the sub-criticality of thorium is to create mixed fuels using a combination of enriched uranium, plutonium and thorium.

At the centre of the fuel rod is the 'seed' for the reaction, which contains plutonium.

Wrapped around the core is the 'blanket', which is made from a mixture of uranium and thorium. The seed then provides the necessary neutrons to the blanket to kick-start the thorium fuel cycle. Meanwhile, the plutonium and uranium are also undergoing fission.

The primary benefit of Thorium Power's system is that it can be used in existing nuclear plants with slight modification, such as Russian VVER-1000 reactors. Seth Grae, president and chief executive of Thorium Power, and his team are actively working with the Russians to develop a commercial product by the end of this decade. They already have thorium fuel running in the IR-8 research reactor at the Kurchatov Institute in Moscow.

"In the first quarter of 2008, we expect to have lead test assemblies in a full-size commercial nuclear power plant in Russia," said Grae.

He believes mixed thorium fuels can not only dispose of weapons-grade plutonium, but also be developed into a fuel for many conventional reactors to prevent production of any further plutonium as a by-product.

Thorium Power believes there is a market for about four thorium-powered reactors each in Russia and United States just for plutonium disposal. It's also aiming for reactors dealing with commercial plutonium by-products in Europe, Japan, Russia and the USA.

Grae is also enthusiastic about the benefits thorium fuels offer the environment. "All nuclear compares well to coal, in terms of no emissions into the atmosphere, including no carbon dioxide," he said. The environmental credentials of his company are also boosted by the presence of environmental lawyer and former member of the Centre for International Environmental Law, David MacGraw, he added. Grae muses that Thorium Power may be the "only nuclear company in the world with an environmentalist on the board".

AN ALTERNATIVE DESIGN does away with the requirements for uranium or plutonium altogether, and relies on thorium as its primary fuel source. This design, which was originally dubbed an Energy Amplifier but has more recently been named an Accelerator Driven System (ADS), was proposed by Italian Nobel physics laureate Carlos Rubbia, a former director of one of the world's leading nuclear physics labs, CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research.

An ADS reactor is sub-critical, which means it needs help to get the thorium to react. To do this, a particle accelerator fires protons at a lead target. When struck by high-energy protons the lead, called a spallation target, releases neutrons that collide with nuclei in the thorium fuel, which begins the fuel cycle that ends in the fission of U-233.

A nuclear reactor that requires a particle beam to keep it running might seem a bit strange. But on the contrary, this is one of the ADS design's most attractive features. If the particle beam is switched off, it is impossible for the fuel to enter a chain reaction and cause a meltdown. Instead, the rate of fission will immediately begin to slow and the fuel will eventually cool down and die out. According to Sydney's Hashemi-Nezhad, a sub-critical reactor such as this has clear safety benefits over uranium reactors. "It has zero chance of a Chernobyl-type accident," he said.

Another major advantage of this design is that it only requires thorium as fuel.

Hashemi-Nezhad also says thorium is a highly abundant resource "550 times more abundant in nature than uranium-235".

It's also an element in which Australia is well blessed - we have the largest known thorium reserves in the world. Thorium mining is also less complex than uranium mining; and the ore doesn't even require enrichment before use in an ADS reactor.

In a non-proliferation sense, there are also good reasons to prefer a sub-critical thorium reactor, as it is impossible to make weapons-grade materials from thorium.

Even traces of unburnt U-233 in thorium reactor waste products are more difficult to convert into a usable nuclear weapon than U-235 or Pu-239. Imagine the West offering thorium-fuelled ADS reactors to countries such as Iran or North Korea: this would satisfy their demands for cheap nuclear power, but entirely avert the risk of the civil nuclear program leading to the development of nuclear weapons.

The other key advantage of the ADS design is that it can be used to dispose of dangerous weapons-grade material and commercial reactor by-products in a similar way to mixed thorium fuel.

While the ADS design has promise, it presents challenges. First, there's the design itself: while lab tests have proven the concept of using a particle beam to start the thorium fuel cycle, the physics of scaling it up to the size of a commercial reactor are unproven and could be more complex. Then there's the way the particle beam interacts with the spallation target and the fuel in order to operate efficiently. Also, while there are plenty of existing conventional nuclear reactors that can be fairly inexpensively converted to mixed thorium fuel, an ADS reactor would have to be designed, built and paid for from scratch.

Retrofitting old reactors is not an option.

Does this make a large-scale ADS reactor viable? CERN thinks so. It recently released a detailed report covering the financial viability of the ADS design for power generation, and found it to be at least three times cheaper than coal and 4.8 times cheaper than natural gas. Any nuclear reactor will have a high establishment cost, but CERN stresses that a long-life reactor will be highly competitive compared to fossil and renewable energy fuels.

Hashemi-Nezhad has been working on the ADS reactor concept with colleagues in Germany, Russia, India and Eastern Europe, and is enthusiastic about it. "The future of nuclear reactors is in ADS because it operates in a sub-critical condition. Only under this condition it is possible to transmute waste isotopes while gaining energy and producing fuel at low cost. And it's safe," he said.

He also thinks Australia could play a leading role in the development and promotion of thorium-fuelled reactors. "It is up to the Australian government to make an investment in this research. Huge thorium resources in Australia can provide green energy at low cost for several centuries." An enticing prospect, to say the least.

CAN ATOMIC POWER be green? Physics suggests it can. And our consumption of energy is accelerating at the same time the climate is being affected by power generation.

Unless we start seriously exploring energy alternatives to burning fossil fuels, erratic and destructive weather conditions could be with us for generations to come. Renewable energy such as wind and solar have bright futures, and will play a large role in any future energy program - but they can never hope to satisfy baseload requirements of a city.

Hydroelectric power is an option - but most of the economical sites have been exploited, and biodiversity suffers when valleys are flooded to create dams. So, unless some groundbreaking discovery in nuclear fusion is made, making it not only possible but efficient and economical - then nuclear fission will remain on the agenda for promising baseload energy alternatives.

Despite its drawbacks, conventional uranium-fuelled nuclear power is a realistic option that is likely to be continued worldwide.

But it is thorium reactors that present a real quantum leap forward. Humble thorium could potentially alleviate three of the most pressing issues facing modern civilisation in the 21st century: the hunger for energy, the spectre of climate change and the need to eliminate nuclear weapons.
http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/node/348/full
To make matters worse we have China being subsidized for our future energy needs. They appear to be dead focused on what the banks, energy firms and their subsidiary spinoffs are banking on - wind, biofuel and solar. Well known alternatives such as geothermal and nuclear (especially non-uranium reactors) are not getting proportionate coverage.

I had heard somewhere (can't recall where) that China had actually successfully created and are now harness hot fusion technology that produces a positive net gain in energy output. Can anyone confirm this?

I apologize for all the MSM sources in this thread. This article is from the New York Times.

Quote:China Leading Global Race to Make Clean Energy
By KEITH BRADSHER
Published: January 30, 2010

TIANJIN, China — China vaulted past competitors in Denmark, Germany, Spain and the United States last year to become the world’s largest maker of wind turbines, and is poised to expand even further this year.

China has also leapfrogged the West in the last two years to emerge as the world’s largest manufacturer of solar panels. And the country is pushing equally hard to build nuclear reactors and the most efficient types of coal power plants.

These efforts to dominate renewable energy technologies raise the prospect that the West may someday trade its dependence on oil from the Mideast for a reliance on solar panels, wind turbines and other gear manufactured in China.

“Most of the energy equipment will carry a brass plate, ‘Made in China,’ ” said K. K. Chan, the chief executive of Nature Elements Capital, a private equity fund in Beijing that focuses on renewable energy.

President Obama, in his State of the Union speech last week, sounded an alarm that the United States was falling behind other countries, especially China, on energy. “I do not accept a future where the jobs and industries of tomorrow take root beyond our borders — and I know you don’t either,” he told Congress.

The United States and other countries are offering incentives to develop their own renewable energy industries, and Mr. Obama called for redoubling American efforts. Yet many Western and Chinese executives expect China to prevail in the energy-technology race.

Multinational corporations are responding to the rapid growth of China’s market by building big, state-of-the-art factories in China. Vestas of Denmark has just erected the world’s biggest wind turbine manufacturing complex here in northeastern China, and transferred the technology to build the latest electronic controls and generators.

“You have to move fast with the market,” said Jens Tommerup, the president of Vestas China. “Nobody has ever seen such fast development in a wind market.”

Renewable energy industries here are adding jobs rapidly, reaching 1.12 million in 2008 and climbing by 100,000 a year, according to the government-backed Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association.

Yet renewable energy may be doing more for China’s economy than for the environment. Total power generation in China is on track to pass the United States in 2012 — and most of the added capacity will still be from coal.

China intends for wind, solar and biomass energy to represent 8 percent of its electricity generation capacity by 2020. That compares with less than 4 percent now in China and the United States. Coal will still represent two-thirds of China’s capacity in 2020, and nuclear and hydropower most of the rest.

As China seeks to dominate energy-equipment exports, it has the advantage of being the world’s largest market for power equipment. The government spends heavily to upgrade the electricity grid, committing $45 billion in 2009 alone. State-owned banks provide generous financing.

China’s top leaders are intensely focused on energy policy: on Wednesday, the government announced the creation of a National Energy Commission composed of cabinet ministers as a “superministry” led by Prime Minister Wen Jiabao himself.

Regulators have set mandates for power generation companies to use more renewable energy. Generous subsidies for consumers to install their own solar panels or solar water heaters have produced flurries of activity on rooftops across China.

China’s biggest advantage may be its domestic demand for electricity, rising 15 percent a year. To meet demand in the coming decade, according to statistics from the International Energy Agency, China will need to add nearly nine times as much electricity generation capacity as the United States will.

So while Americans are used to thinking of themselves as having the world’s largest market in many industries, China’s market for power equipment dwarfs that of the United States, even though the American market is more mature. That means Chinese producers enjoy enormous efficiencies from large-scale production.

In the United States, power companies frequently face a choice between buying renewable energy equipment or continuing to operate fossil-fuel-fired power plants that have already been built and paid for. In China, power companies have to buy lots of new equipment anyway, and alternative energy, particularly wind and nuclear, is increasingly priced competitively.

Interest rates as low as 2 percent for bank loans — the result of a savings rate of 40 percent and a government policy of steering loans to renewable energy — have also made a big difference.

As in many other industries, China’s low labor costs are an advantage in energy. Although Chinese wages have risen sharply in the last five years, Vestas still pays assembly line workers here only $4,100 a year.

China’s commitment to renewable energy is expensive. Although costs are falling steeply through mass production, wind energy is still 20 to 40 percent more expensive than coal-fired power. Solar power is still at least twice as expensive as coal.

The Chinese government charges a renewable energy fee to all electricity users. The fee increases residential electricity bills by 0.25 percent to 0.4 percent. For industrial users of electricity, the fee doubled in November to roughly 0.8 percent of the electricity bill.

The fee revenue goes to companies that operate the electricity grid, to make up the cost difference between renewable energy and coal-fired power.

Renewable energy fees are not yet high enough to affect China’s competitiveness even in energy-intensive industries, said the chairman of a Chinese industrial company, who asked not to be identified because of the political sensitivity of electricity rates in China.

Grid operators are unhappy. They are reimbursed for the extra cost of buying renewable energy instead of coal-fired power, but not for the formidable cost of building power lines to wind turbines and other renewable energy producers, many of them in remote, windswept areas. Transmission losses are high for sending power over long distances to cities, and nearly a third of China’s wind turbines are not yet connected to the national grid.

Most of these turbines were built only in the last year, however, and grid construction has not caught up. Under legislation passed by the Chinese legislature on Dec. 26, a grid operator that does not connect a renewable energy operation to the grid must pay that operation twice the value of the electricity that cannot be distributed.

With prices tumbling, China’s wind and solar industries are increasingly looking to sell equipment abroad — and facing complaints by Western companies that they have unfair advantages. When a Chinese company reached a deal in November to supply turbines for a big wind farm in Texas, there were calls in Congress to halt federal spending on imported equipment.

“Every country, including the United States and in Europe, wants a low cost of renewable energy,” said Ma Lingjuan, deputy managing director of China’s renewable energy association. “Now China has reached that level, but it gets criticized by the rest of the world.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/31/business/energy-environment/31renew.html?pagewanted=print
There are no others, there is only us.
http://FastTadpole.com/
Reply
09-01-2010, 02:45 AM,
#10
RE: 7 Energy Efficiency Myths Debunked
I'm not much on nuclear energy myself. I know though this would come about, especially here in the states. That is who funded Obama and Clinton in addition to "clean coal", which is an oxymoron in itself.
Reply
09-02-2010, 03:29 PM, (This post was last modified: 09-02-2010, 03:50 PM by JazzRoc.)
#11
RE: 7 Energy Efficiency Myths Debunked
(09-01-2010, 02:45 AM)hilly7 Wrote: I'm not much on nuclear energy myself. I know though this would come about, especially here in the states. That is who funded Obama and Clinton in addition to "clean coal", which is an oxymoron in itself.
I reckon there's a good balance to be struck with ALL the techs covered so far.
The long-term benefit of disposing with plutonium has it for me.

(09-01-2010, 02:24 AM)FastTadpole Wrote: Does this have to do with adding in iron filings to encourage plankton growth?
Something more complex than that. Stewarding the midocean ecosystem might be better. That is like farming on land, and hopefully like permaculture farming, where some natural barriers to fertility are removed, and attention is maintained on ensuring that the system remains in a relative state of balance.
Stimulating the mid-ocean ecology would have some positive effects in halting the fishing extinction presently taking place, as well as raising the albedo of the earth by increasing its cloud cover, the droplets of those clouds being mostly seeded by the exhalation of dimethyl sulfide from the activities of ocean phytoplankton.
Can you see how much cheaper this is to do than "chemtrailing"? Can you value the increase in productivity of the ocean, with its carbon-swallowing capacity, its albedo-raising qualities, the potential to restore the fish stocks?
Hilly7 should, though I doubt if he will...

Reply
09-02-2010, 09:03 PM,
#12
RE: 7 Energy Efficiency Myths Debunked
Yep, doubtful I will. Icon_biggrin It doesn't have to be either or, can be both.

Replenishing the fish could be as easy as 123 though. Perhaps if corporate fishing were to do as they do with the crabs in Cuba which there, they have put the rest of the world to shame.

The again I just watched a short flick about plastics. Weren't the plastics suppose to save the planet by ridding us of paper products which destroy the trees? http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/926.html

Funny how some idiot comes up with something then sheeple follow it, like the CFL bulb.

Instead of doing or at least doing what you previously mentioned, we toss money back into the same old same old. Insanity is repeating the same action and expecting a different result.
Reply
09-16-2010, 01:16 PM,
#13
RE: 7 Energy Efficiency Myths Debunked
I'm looking into Hydro-Electric power. I've found it is quite the issue to balance the needs of man and nature in it's implementation. Also I've concluded it is situational as to size, diversions and sediment build up, can release rates. Upon actual generation there is little to argue in context to byproduct.

It can be combined with irrigation solutions as well. The fact that it is scaleable is a real positive and can be implemented along free flowing streams and rivers.

Flooding and human displacement are a big issue when putting up these projects it can create many refugees and displace many people from the land in its implementation.

Case Studies

Aswan Dam in Egypt
http://www.arch.mcgill.ca/prof/sijpkes/arch374/winter2001/dbiggs/aswan.html

Three Gorges Dam, China
http://www.arch.mcgill.ca/prof/sijpkes/arch374/winter2001/dbiggs/three.html

Issues in Dams in Developing Countries
http://www.waterencyclopedia.com/Da-En/Developing-Countries-Issues-in.html

The Proposal of the NAWAPA Project that I am wary of but encouraged by, I want to believe in its goals to create a real culture of sharing in North America in terms of sharing our water resources responsibly. It's being heavily promoted by the Larouche Pack right now. It clearly identifies that water is a distribution problem as food is and that world scarcity is a myth. Water management practices can be a way to address this. It originated in the 1960s.

The risks is that the irrigation will be unfairly distributed and that it will be a control mechanism to allocate water to cronies. It can be used as a control mechanism as much as it can be used to serve a common benefit. The key lies in the implementation and administration of this idea.

Spirit of NAWAPA
http://ecofascism.com/article19.html

A Real Green Idea: NAWAPA from the Standpoint of Biospheric Development
http://axiomatica.org/environment/green-technology/1175-a-real-green-idea

Bottom line hydroelectric power, water diversions, irrigation, pros and cons - add to it and critique it.
There are no others, there is only us.
http://FastTadpole.com/
Reply
09-16-2010, 06:00 PM,
#14
RE: 7 Energy Efficiency Myths Debunked
7.

Do you recall from chemistry what a reaction using heat is? That is what happens when we burn coal. Anything contained in fly ash is contained in the coal including the emissions that went to atmosphere. We are not creating or destroying anything, just redistributing. Coal has arsenic in it; which means fly ash has arsenic in it. There is only trace amounts in the coal and fly ash, hell there are trace amounts of gold in there too! The power industry is probably the most safety conscious industry out there.

If your key word is RELIABLE then you would be looking at Nuclear, Coal, and Natural Gas.
Here is an example:
Power Distributor: "we will need 1000 MW from your site tomorrow."
Nuclear, Coal, and Natural Gas: "Will do!"

Power Distributor: "we will need 1000 MW from your site tomorrow."
Wind: "We can try, but if the wind is not blowing we will not be able to."
Solar: "We can try, but if the sun is not shining we will not be able to."
Hydro: "We can try, but if there is not enough flow we will not be able to."

Guess what smelly? Yeah, that shit coming out of those stacks is mostly water vapor. Less than 3 ppm (parts per million) NOx, SOx, and COx.

As far as clean coal, buzz word. We extract the coal from the earth, we put it through a chemical reaction, some elements contained within the coal's makeup go to atmosphere (nothing created nor destroyed in this chemical reaction just separated), and all the others go into the ash. With CLEAN COAL the atmospheric shit is sent underground (sequestered). That is the only difference.
Reply
09-16-2010, 11:21 PM, (This post was last modified: 09-16-2010, 11:33 PM by JazzRoc.)
#15
RE: 7 Energy Efficiency Myths Debunked
Hey, cool, lockntross.
FastTadpole Wrote:I'm looking into Hydro-Electric power. I've found it is quite the issue to balance the needs of man and nature in it's implementation. Also I've concluded it is situational as to size, diversions and sediment build up, can release rates. Upon actual generation there is little to argue in context to byproduct. It can be combined with irrigation solutions as well. The fact that it is scaleable is a real positive and can be implemented along free flowing streams and rivers. Flooding and human displacement are a big issue when putting up these projects it can create many refugees and displace many people from the land in its implementation.
I once explored the whole of Wales for hydroelectric sites, armed as I was with a list of likelies. Out of hundreds I found three - all in operation.
The rest had dried up due to remote changes in land use. This is a SEVERE PROBLEM. You are dependent on the actions of people beyond your horizon.
For me it was a terminal problem. I filed my stuff in the round bin... ...mind you, I never tried Scotland.
Now I'm in Tenerife I have forgotten the idea. Here there is almost NO rainfall, but every OTHER year you might get FIFTY INCHES in a single day. So earth dams and extreme water conservation measures or the way to go. And the OBVIOUS energy is SOLAR and WIND, but the locals, bless'em, haven't noticed yet, and you can't GIVE solar energy away here. They'd rather import cheap oil from VENEZUELA. And it IS cheap.
Reply


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