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Forced responses: Oct 2019

Filed under: — group @ 1 October 2019

Bi-monthly open thread on climate solutions. Please try to be civil. Remember, climate science questions can be discussed on the Unforced Variations thread.

544 Responses to “Forced responses: Oct 2019”

  1. 401

    Al Bundy writes @368:

    Nearly all of your concerns aren’t applicable to my comments. We agree on lots but you take my full-stopped points, remove the brakes, and shove the resulting strawman off a cliff.

    You never put actual stops on things.  You never Do. The. Math.

    You also take subsections out of systems instead of looking at the whole. I talk DC backbone, grid, and loads and you reply that converting to AC and back is costly and inefficient. Duh. That’s what the concept eliminates.

    What you miss is that DC conversions to ANYTHING are expensive and lossy.  Also, the converters are relatively costly, fragile and short-lived.  There is a reason that Tesla created the standard and Edison’s vision was abandoned.  You need to understand that reason and show why your vision is a net improvement.  Hand-waving will not do.

    It’s revealing that you think I think 12 volts is adequate.

    Where I erred was in attributing that concept to you, rather than zebra @253.

    It’s funny that you scream about the impossibility of gathering enough feedstock for biofuel and then note that you’re homing in on a solution.

    I have what I believe is a solution for the radically reduced energy-share that chemical fuels would have under my model.  Note, “radically reduced”.  Also radically rethought to avoid losing precious carbon in conversion processes.

    I have run the numbers.  I can’t be certain they correspond to reality, but they do pencil out.

    You implied that DC voltage regulation is as difficult and critical as AC frequency regulation.

    I said it’s the same thing.  And if you keep boosting your current draw as your DC voltage sags to maintain power consumption, you’ll have an all-out failure too.

    I don’t know for sure, but my phone disagrees. Is it wrong? Cites, please.

    Exactly how does your phone disagree?  It stops pulling power if the voltage runs too low, and it shuts down if its battery runs too low.  It has a relatively massive energy storage system inside it, good for many hours… which will nevertheless fail it if you have a multi-day energy deficit.  So how exactly does your phone prove me wrong?  (Rhetorical.)

  2. 402
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy, I support your hybrid electricity generation, in the sense of renewables plus storage plus nuclear. I’ve thought this for some time anyway.

    Also, if storage costs don’t fall fast enough nuclear will become a more attractive option.

    What has to happen is for government to make the transmission lines companies responsible for managing the entire system so that there’s always enough components in place to ensure grid stability 1) at lowest cost and 2) at zero carbon or close to it and 3) only very limited use of gas fired. You can still have an open grid with competition and consumer choice. If things are structured this way nuclear power and renewables will both have a reasonable chance on their merits.

    Engineer poet identifies some valid problems with how current grids are managed but those are often just bad policy decisions that can be fixed.

  3. 403

    Al Bundy writes @392:

    assuming long distance transmission, would your initial front-runner be DC or AC, given some R&D before construction?

    I would not assume long-distance transmission in the first place.  Electric power does not travel well.  If you can generate it close to where you need it, why would you generate it far away?

    The whole LD HVDC idea is premised upon feeding metropoli and industry from distant wind/PV farms… which are notoriously fickle producers of energy that those consumers RELY upon.  There is a fundamental mismatch between need and purported “solution”.  So part of my answer is that I do NOT accept the assumption.  It is up to YOU to show that your “solution” is fit for purpose.  You have not.

    For example, my engine has rings.

    BFHD.  Does it run uncooled?  Does it run without liquid lubricants?  If so, close enough.

    Note that diesels have horridly long combustion times.

    With horridly SHORT ignition times.  The classic “diesel knock” is caused by the near-instantaneous ignition of pre-mixed fuel across the combustion chamber as it mixes with air and the temperature rises as it all begins to burn and increase the pressure.  Mechanical injection engines are inherently loud because of this.

    A hot-walled 50:1 W=H combustion chamber allows the first stage of combustion to occur during dwell

    Hold up.  What does that mean?  Do you mean a 50:1 geometric compression ratio (roughly 3x the max used today), or something else?  Most modern diesels use dished pistons which limit the compression ratio despite the pistons nearly striking the cylinder head.

    Provide some links to your “Caldwell cycle engine” including drawings of all the relevant pieces, so we can understand exactly what you are talking about.

    Re #393:  If your patent application is not published, you have nothing that explains your concept.  It is not “patent” (obvious).  So either elucidate outside that system, or quit making obscurantist references to it.

    Our conversation and some reading pinged another invention (nothing to do with engines), one that could use your expertise. Care to collaborate?

    Always, to someone with sense.  Follow my blog link, E-mail is on the right sidebar.

    Wind is going offshore. Efficiency and capacity factor up, costs down.

    Half right.  Offshore drives capacity factors up, but costs up and lifespans down.  Ocean environments are much harder on equipment.

    That’s both admirable and the problem. You improved YOUR understanding as opposed to combining OUR understandings.

    I gave you the conclusion of my new understanding, and I linked to the source of it.  If you couldn’t read and follow my source, you are not as bright as I am.  Some things are not obvious at first glance, and from my experience I know that some (many? most?) people cannot follow inevitable conclusions even when the logic and math are laid out.

    The average human is simply not very bright or knowledgeable.  When both knowledge and brainpower are required to go someplace, very few have what it takes to get there.  Sad but true.

    Mr KIA: Close to 100% of existing homes are not passive solar – THAT is why my example matters.

    AB: Close to 100% of existing cars are not EVs – THAT is why building EVs is stupid.

    Grossly false equivalence.  Vehicles are relatively cheap, short-lived items; we WILL replace most of them in 20 years or less, and half of their lifetime mileage is covered in their first 6 years.  The building stock represents far more embedded energy and has a lifespan on the order of a century, if not longer.  Do. The Math. Already!

  4. 404
    nigelj says:

    mike @397, thanks for the links. My point was that people need to be careful not to cherrypick what consensus positions they believe in, or at least take seriously. Any consensus should be taken seriously, but obviously that doesnt make it above criticism either.

    I’m well aware of the failings of economics, and it is indeed not as developed as the physical science but economics is a powerful tool and much of it is well proven.I just get annoyed when people make sweeping statements that economics is rubbish and economists are useless. If we want economists to think more broadly insulting them probably wont work.

    Mainstream economic theory isn’t too bad and free markets are fine. Most economists accept markets cant be literally free, and need some management or regulation. Much of the problem is politicians who pick and choose what bits of economic theory they like, and the extreme schools of economics like the Chicago school that promote very limited government to the point it becomes impractical.

    Googling jokes about economics and economists is always good value.

  5. 405
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy & Engineer poet. Maybe you two guys should team up on engine design. There may be some complimentary skills happening.

  6. 406
    Al Bundy says:

    mike: argue that economics falls short of the definition of a science for a number of reasons, including a lack of testable hypotheses, lack of consensus and inherent political overtones.

    AB: Hey! Climate science is WAY political!!

    Nevermind. “Orwellian” might possibly be inevitable but it isn’t “inherent”
    _______

    E-P,
    My flywheel response seems to have been eaten. Note that I said “ultra-massive flywheels”. Efficient, durable, and cheap flywheels must follow physics, which dictates that diameter must be maximized and RPM minimized. This results in humongous flywheels that loaf around. That racecar engine’s flywheel is not 250ft across.

    E-P: I have given you examples of places and times that wind and PV “electrons” would be in very short supply for DAYS or WEEKS. One of them covered the entire area of the Bonneville Power Administration and lasted nearly 2 weeks. Your response was hand-waving.

    AB: No, I spoke of transmission, bio/synfuel (PHEVs and buildings), batteries (EVs and stationary), pumped storage, demand reduction and whatever other wedges can be built. So yep, you can divide and pretend to conquer.

    I haven’t been going to the links. Your summaries seem relevant, concise, and factual. So please re-post the Bonneville-related link. Thanks. One of my questions is, “What were the adjacent areas’ electron supplies like? If Bonneville and all its neighbors did all the ‘hand-waving’ I described above and shared the resulting power without gouging then…?”

    E-P: One of the things I’ve never seen you admit is that life-essential systems in our society rely on base-load electric supply.

    AB: Now I’m wondering about you. I’ve been talking baseload (I like that spelling) the whole conversation. I’ve been praising nuclear because it provides this vital service. I’ve literally chided folks for not groking that a nice fat nuclear wedge makes everything so much cheaper, easier, and stable. If you’ve got 25% covered by nukes then triage becomes relatively painless during “Armageddon week”.

    “A man hears what he want to hear and disregards the rest” Simon and Garfunkel

    And you haven’t answered my question. I said that our conversation pinged an invention into my head (thanks) and you have the expertise needed to bring it about. Care to consider collaborating?

  7. 407
    Al Bundy says:

    E-P: I have given you examples of places and times that wind and PV “electrons” would be in very short supply for DAYS or WEEKS. One of them covered the entire area of the Bonneville Power Administration and lasted nearly 2 weeks.

    AB: I’m really looking forward to that link, given that you limited electrons to wind and PV when Bonneville’s reason for existence is hydro, which is another wedge.

    And remember overcapacity, as required to yank CO2 out of the atmosphere. Another wedge.

  8. 408
    nigelj says:

    Direct current is allegedly simpler than alternating current, but this doesn’t necessarily make it better. Direct current transmission is just to cope with long distances while minimising losses. You dont need to be an engineer to work that out or knowing it’s not an easy or cheap task making it work.

    Simpler is not always better and is often not better. For example the simplest and most electrically elegant hi- fidelity audio speaker is a single driver unit, but such thing’s mostly struggle to reproduce both high and low frequencies adequately because the size of the cone is not ideal for either frequency, so most audio speakers use two or three different driver units and multi component crossovers. They are quite complex although not more than absolutely necessary.

    The crossover degrades the sound, but not as much as a single driver unit does. Single unit drivers do work for headphones, and for electrostatic array speakers, but full range electrostatic panel speakers are huge and costly things, so simplicity can be ideal but often at huge cost. Not that electrostatic panles are all that simple anyway.

    Of course there are simple and elegant solutions to all sorts of problems including where we have hopelessly overcomplicated things. Look at the nightmare complexity of tax codes, done to satisfy greedy special interest groups.

  9. 409
    Al Bundy says:

    E-P: But never the hard, essential questions. You won’t even answer questions about the carbon emissions from your own super-engine

    AB: I spoke of 60% efficiency at the shaft in a format that maintains said efficiency in real life. Carbon emissions depend on the fuel source. You want synfuel generated with excess wind or tar sands oil? Whatever. Do the math yourself.

    E-P: What you miss is that DC conversions to ANYTHING are expensive and lossy. Also, the converters are relatively costly, fragile and short-lived.

    AB: You’re so used to combative arguing that you convert my questions into strident claims. I ASKED about DC and AC conversions because I respect your knowledge on the subject.

    E-P: if you keep boosting your current draw as your DC voltage sags to maintain power consumption, you’ll have an all-out failure too.

    E-P quotes me: I don’t know for sure, but my phone disagrees. Is it wrong? Cites, please.

    E-P: Exactly how does your phone disagree? It stops pulling power if the voltage runs too low, and it shuts down if its battery runs too low.

    AB: What, NO NUMBERS? You spoke of a tiny drop in frequency nuking an AC grid. My phone works just fine with the same relative drop in battery voltage, or so it seems. That a phone will eventually die from lack of voltage says nothing… oooo… it’s HAND WAVING!!!! (sorry, I had to sling those two back) ;-)
    ______

    E-P (re: rings): Does it run uncooled? Does it run without liquid lubricants?

    AB: Did you read for comprehension? The bottom end is cooled traditionally, but it requires much less cooling because it is largely isolated from combustion and pre-compression cylinders act as oil coolers.

    E-P quotes me: Note that diesels have horridly long combustion times.

    E-P: With horridly SHORT ignition times. The classic “diesel knock” is caused by the near-instantaneous ignition of pre-mixed fuel across the combustion chamber as it mixes with air and the temperature rises as it all begins to burn and increase the pressure. Mechanical injection engines are inherently loud because of this.

    AB: Was that “pre-mixed” a typo? Petrol engines generally pre-mix. Diesels never do. (Caldwell doesn’t either). I love it when an engineer tells an inventor that something is inherent. I suppose you didn’t consider the ramifications of staged combustion on noise. DO THE INVENTING!!! O wait, I do the inventing. You do the math. Ain’t diversity grand?

    E-P quotes me: A hot-walled 50:1 W=H combustion chamber allows the first stage of combustion to occur during dwell

    E-P: Hold up. What does that mean? Do you mean a 50:1 geometric compression ratio (roughly 3x the max used today), or something else? Most modern diesels use dished pistons which limit the compression ratio despite the pistons nearly striking the cylinder head.

    AB: You forget that working compression ratio is the combustion cylinder’s native compression ratio multiplied by the pre-compression cylinder to combustion cylinder size ratio. Have you forgotten the MotivEngine design already? It uses 56:1 compression.

    E-P: Provide some links to your “Caldwell cycle engine” including drawings of all the relevant pieces, so we can understand exactly what you are talking about.

    AB: Are you dense??? You want me to splash intellectual property across the internet?!? Remember, I offered YOU, specifically YOU a look at my design. You weren’t interested. Since then I told you that I no longer trust you and withdrew the offer. And now you scream and demand??? Ef Off.

    E-P: Re #393: If your patent application is not published, you have nothing that explains your concept. It is not “patent” (obvious). So either elucidate outside that system, or quit making obscurantist references to it.

    AB: I revealed function while withholding technique. Revealing technique puts an inventor’s intellectual property at risk from being invalidated via public disclosure or reduced via leapfrogging and/or secondary patents. Even putting out what I’ve divulged here is a bit unwise.

    E-P quotes me: Our conversation and some reading pinged another invention (nothing to do with engines), one that could use your expertise. Care to collaborate?

    E-P: Always, to someone with sense. Follow my blog link, E-mail is on the right sidebar.

    AB: Naw. My email provider remembers the email addresses of folks I’ve corresponded with. I’ll grab some standard non-disclosure agreement off the web and send it to you along with a vague blurb on the invention. Electronic signature it and send it back. Or use any standard non-disclosure agreement you desire. I ain’t picky. Then I’ll give you the scoop. Agreed?

    E-P quotes me: Wind is going offshore. Efficiency and capacity fctor up, costs down.

    E-P: Half right. Offshore drives capacity factors up, but costs up and lifespans down. Ocean environments are much harder on equipment.

    AB: “But recent auctions in Maryland and Massachusetts resulted in fast-falling prices for new offshore wind. Maryland utilities recently executed long-term offshore wind contracts for $132/MWh over 20 years in the 248 MW U.S. Wind, and 120 MW Skipjack Wind projects. Massachusetts utilities then promptly cut those prices in half with contracts for 800 MW of offshore wind in the Vineyard Wind project at an average price of $70/MWh.”

    https://www.utilitydive.com/news/offshore-wind-prices-have-fallen-75-since-2014-heres-how-to-de-risk-pro/543384/ (Dec 2018)

    I’m thinking 75% in four years is a pretty good decline. And offshore is just getting started. And yes, salt is corrosive.

    And aren’t you the one who keeps noting how nuclear’s high capacity factor makes its electrons especially valuable? Why didn’t you give the relative same (as opposed to exact same) consideration to offshore wind?

    E-P quotes me: That’s both admirable and the problem. You improved YOUR understanding as opposed to combining OUR understandings.

    E-P: I gave you the conclusion of my new understanding, and I linked to the source of it.

    AB: Sigh. I noted that you are operating as if knowledge is a one way street. You confirmed that I’m correct. You don’t learn anything here.

  10. 410
    Al Bundy says:

    E-P: With horridly SHORT ignition times.

    AB: Then you’d hate Caldwell cycle. It works best with a high volatility fuel because explosive ignition is the goal (high volatility + hot walls + ultra-tumble + short combustion path + 50:1 compression = :::BOOM:::). Like I said, first stage during dwell.

    Yeah, yeah, I know. Engineers have found that all standard designs would quickly or immediately fail with explosive ignition.

    But Carnot demands it so inventors find a way.

  11. 411
    Al Bundy says:

    E-P,
    The invention requires some electrical and some mechanical engineering. Nothing too difficult. You qualified?

    Anyone else? This invention will plug two huge holes in renewables.

  12. 412
    Al Bundy says:

    E-P: Mechanical injection engines are inherently loud because of this.

    AB: No. Diesel fuel at medium compression does not burn immediately upon injection, thus allowing for various points of ignition along the still-liquid fuel stream. Knock is the result of the interaction of pressure waves between the points of ignition.

    The conditions in a Caldwell engine’s combustion chamber ensure that no raw fuel escapes beyond the single burn front, preventing knock.

  13. 413
    Al Bundy says:

    E-P: Grossly false equivalence

    AB: Audience matters. I was speaking to the mentally retarded know it all, not you.

  14. 414
    zebra says:

    Al Bundy, and others still doing the factoid dance on renewables v nuclear,

    There is no Global Energy Czar, and you are not engineers pitching The Global Energy Solution to that big daddy-figure. There is no global solution.

    We can see that just in the USA. Conditions here vary wildly, both in climate, and existing infrastructure, and population density, and politics, and so on.

    So, AB, yes of course a DC system would work at various levels, and of course lots of fuel can be generated from waste and plant growth, and on and on. And likewise the demand side has lots of off-the-shelf ways to reduce consumption and create better matches with the energy source. Various combinations work; depends on where you are doing it.

    But going back and forth with EP so that he can make (often incorrect and outdated) negative claims about all those elements is pointless. Just like the usual suspect Denialists, he is simply out of touch with reality. It should be obvious by now, for heaven’s sake, that bashing wind and solar is what it’s about, not finding a solution. Reality:

    1. The USA is never going to have a Nationalized Socialist Electricity Sector, locating nuclear plants where it chooses. (Well, maybe after we establish a rational national health-care structure, we’ll get to that, right?)

    2. Nuclear plants will not be built as long as FF plants are a way, way, better investment.

    3. The only way to get nuclear plants actually built is what I have suggested. Set up a real market situation, where the different options for supply and demand can compete.

    Simple logic:

    -If you set up a market system,
    -And everything EP says about how good his approach is, and how bad all the others are is correct,
    -Then nuclear would triumph… so EP should be all in on my approach.

    The fact that he isn’t… that it is the one thing for which he has no answer… is all we need to know.

  15. 415

    E-P 398: China acknowledged that the AP1000 design was sufficiently safe to locate INSIDE THE CITY.

    BPL: Who was going to object? We’re talking about a country that still has labor camps and secret police.

  16. 416

    EP, 399–

    There won’t be a massive nuclear buildout mostly because 1) it’s very hard to finance, and 2) people often fear and distrust it. Accepting your claim about the UAE’s plans at face value would actually illustrate, in that the UAE is awash in cash and is pretty much governed by fiat.

    I don’t altogether accept your claim, though, because it is at odds with accounts like this one:

    https://www.export.gov/article?id=United-Arab-Emirates-Renewable-Energy

  17. 417

    he has said there could be one in our homes, implying something on the order of 1 billion of the things might be made.

    Ding ding ding! Strawman. I said others’ solutions, such as heat pumps, can benefit from the electricity my solution adds (this is exactly E-P’s argument, though we have different “my”s

    I’m ahead of you by a few years:  https://ergosphere.blogspot.com/2005/12/cogeneration-could-have-come-to-rescue.html

    Note that a district heating system can use district backup generators.  A 350 cubic inch V8 is way too big for a single house but might both light and heat a whole block of houses.

    @396:

    Does AC’s sub-50-volt limit for assumed safety apply to DC sytems?

    Yes.  This is why 48-volt vehicle electrical systems are a nominal 48 volts.  Anything below 60 volts is presumed non-hazardous and requires no special shock protection.

  18. 418
    nigelj says:

    Comments 404 – 417 are invisible. No doubt they will appear when I post this as seems to happen on other threads. What a strange software problem. Maybe you guys need ghostbusters or something :)

  19. 419
    nigelj says:

    Yes the comments have now appeared. Who wrote that song ghost in the machine?

  20. 420

    @405:

    Maybe you two guys should team up on engine design.

    I think we have fundamentally different objectives.  If I had time to work on an engine design, I would try to make one that is permanently lubricated, can be fired up with a recoil starter and fits inside a furnace blower fan on the same shaft as the electric motor.

    Since I doubt I’ll ever have time to develop this, I’ll just give you the idea.  It’s a very simple 2-cycle engine using either PTFE bearings and rings or ceramic which can run directly on steel/iron, perhaps with a low-friction coating.  Piston-ported, it would have no valves.  It would burn a very rich mixture of methane, propane or dimethyl ether (which would probably require fuel injection).  A low compression ratio is fine, as efficiency is secondary to simplicity, reliability and cost.  Ignition would be by magneto, or maybe glow plug for DME.

    This engine would be built into the fan unit of a furnace, using the fan motor as an induction generator while in operation.  The engine would be cooled by heat pipes plus its own fuel/air flow.  The exhaust would have no NOx in it due to the over-rich mixture, and would consist of N2, H2O and CO2 plus reformed fuel in the form of CO and H2.  The exhaust would be mixed with more fuel gas, diluting the fuel and reducing its flame temperature.  This gas mixture would be burned in the furnace proper.  As there is no “engine exhaust” per se, this might get around EPA requirements for exhaust aftertreatment.  Furnace-out NOx would be lower than in operation on straight fuel.

    The furnace becomes a net electric generator when it is in operation.  With careful energy management, it might be able to run all of a house’s essential appliances:  the refrigerator, a fair amount of LED lighting, and with some battery energy storage and an inverter/charger it could also run a well pump.  In off-grid mode, excess power is dumped to a resistor in the engine cooling heat pipe.  The idea is that you can not only offset your own electric consumption and compensate for peak demand from heat pumps, you can come into a blacked-out house that’s at risk of freezing the plumbing and have heat and light for the effort of pulling the starting cord.  In other words, resilience:  turning a crisis into a bother.

    So there’s the idea.  I think a basic engine like that, plus carburetor, could be made to sell for $300 or so.  Fancy electronics and a self-starter for off-grid operation would cost extra.  I bet you could sell a couple million of those a year in the USA, at least until gas service starts going away.  By then most people will have PHEVs serving as their backup generators.  Resilience.

  21. 421
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @409

    “AB: What, NO NUMBERS? You spoke of a tiny drop in frequency nuking an AC grid. My phone works just fine with the same relative drop in battery voltage, or so it seems. That a phone will eventually die from lack of voltage says nothing… oooo… it’s HAND WAVING!!!! (sorry, I had to sling those two back) ;-)”

    Not sure exactly what you mean, but I will say this: Phones are actually very voltage sensitive. If the battery voltage drops by more than about 5% the phone may not work. Just because your phones lithium battery is flat doesnt mean its at 50% voltage. It will be effectively be flat at about 5 – 10% below its rated voltage. I’m going a bit on memory of these figures so do check.

    If the charger has the wrong voltage it can wreck the phone. A difference of about 5% should be ok, but anything more is an issue. You have to check the phones tolerance for a difference. Now I think the more recent smartphones and chargers do have circuitry to detect and compensate for bad voltage and amperage matches. But you need to be a bit careful certainly with older phones. EP might be able to clarify. I would like a bit more certainty on the issue myself.

  22. 422
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @413, the mentally retarded know it all is not mentally retarded. It’s lashings of deliberate ignorance, because his political antenna are over sensitive and see socialists conspiracies everywhere to drink our blood.

  23. 423
    nigelj says:

    Zebra @414, you are not wrong about how the electricity grid should work in terms of process, but its still interesting comparing the merits of different generation systems. We need that information. The MARKET needs better information on how generating options compare in terms of viability and costs. It looks like it all comes down to costs anyway.

  24. 424
    Al Bundy says:

    nigelj: if storage costs don’t fall fast enough nuclear will become a more attractive option.

    AB: That wouldn’t do. E-P would gloat and that would hurt my even-after-61-years-still-testosterone-poisoned-mind so I figured out how to provide a day or so’s worth of storage for free. Bye, bye duck curve!

    I filed the no-math provisional patent this morning. I’m holding off on publishing it here for a couple of days while I make sure my IP is safe.

  25. 425
    Al Bundy says:

    E-P: I’m ahead of you by a few years

    AB: You didn’t know me in 2005 so you are talking through your hat. Co-generation is an old and mature concept that has had decent penetration in Europe for many years. My addition is to increase the ratio of high quality (electricity) to low quality (heat) energy output, NOT co-generation itself.

  26. 426
    Al Bundy says:

    E-P: Yes. This is why 48-volt vehicle electrical systems are a nominal 48 volts. Anything below 60 volts is presumed non-hazardous and requires no special shock protection.

    AB: Thanks. That makes sense. 48v nominal + charging peak will still fly under the radar.

  27. 427
    Al Bundy says:

    zebra,

    Actually, I addressed the nuclear v renewables factoid dance upthread with a one-word conclusion: “Whatever”. Folks can whine and pontificate and “whatever”. It’s mainly noise to me and purists tend to forget that diversity brings strength.

    In other words, you’re right.

  28. 428
    Al Bundy says:

    nigelj: Al Bundy & Engineer poet. Maybe you two guys should team up on engine design. There may be some complimentary skills happening.

    AB: When I think of you my mind often flashes to, “From the mouths of babes”.

    You provide both value and grounding.

  29. 429
    nigelj says:

    Mike.

    One of your economics articles described how economics is very reliant on observational evidence and can’t do experiments with entire countries or large groups of people (obviously) where science generally can do experiments. However the problem with economics is not unlike the climate issue. We can’t put the entire planet in the laboratory and do an experiment, and so this is why its difficult identifying climate senstivity.

    The economic theory of neoliberalism and free markets seems to have produced some socially unjust outcomes, unfortunately, however it’s not necessarily that these theories are wrong; its how politiicans impliment the ideas that often goes wrong. Eg few economists would support Donald Trumps destroying of climate and other environmental legislation. This is politiicans taking the economic theory of don’t over regulate, and turning it into an excuse to vastly under regulate, to appease corporate donors.

    Neoliberalism on wikipedia is worth a read.

  30. 430
    nigelj says:

    https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/aug/18/neoliberalism-the-idea-that-changed-the-world

    Something interesting on neoliberalism from the guardian. Imho some elements of neoliberalism make sense like generally free markets, but the ideology is too extreme and underestimates the problems markets can create, and the need for governments to try to mitigate these problems.

  31. 431
    Al Bundy says:

    E-P: I would not assume long-distance transmission in the first place… It is up to YOU to show that your “solution” is fit for purpose

    AB: Questions are NOT claimed solutions. Refusal to engage in an enlightening hypothetical is evidence of assholiness.

  32. 432
    Al Bundy says:

    clarification:
    My addition is to increase the ratio of high quality (electricity) to low quality (heat) energy output while eliminating the noise that degrades a user’s quality of life, NOT co-generation itself.

  33. 433
    Al Bundy says:

    I’ve decided. I sent a description of my one-day-storage-solution to nigelj and Kevin McKinney. They can weigh in without divulging technique as they see fit.

  34. 434
    Al Bundy says:

    E-P,

    I understand that you’re responding based on an incorrect axiom. You don’t believe that I exist so you are responding as if I were just another internet fool.

    No problem. I understand that I’ve got to blast through that axiom before there can be significant productive interaction.

    So please don’t take my broadsides personally.

  35. 435
    Al Bundy says:

    nigelj,

    DC is constant. You get those electrons scurrying around the loop in the best efficiency possible. Each electron is unimpeded by those in front and not shoved by those behind. (yeah, a metaphor as opposed to “science”)

    AC is relatively inefficient because it requires the stopping and restarting of the flow.

    But control is way easy when there is no flow. So AC provides a hook that can be used for control. And that generally makes AC stuff cheap and inefficient.

    Where does that lead? Dunno. That’s why I asked E-P for data.

    Your species is strange. Why respond to a request for data and opinion with hostility? (not you)

  36. 436
    Al Bundy says:

    E-P: I think we have fundamentally different objectives.

    AB: Bull. We may have different visions with regard to solutions but we have a shared objective.

  37. 437
    zebra says:

    Factoid Alert,

    I am obliged by concern for the well-being of others to point out:

    No, below 48V or 60V is not “safe”. I say this from personal experience, and also from a quick search. Apart from the potential for death, which has occurred at 42V if the literature is to be believed, your body’s involuntary response can result in various forms of muscle damage or trauma.

    So, don’t stick your head under the hood of even those somewhat electric cars and start poking around mindlessly.

  38. 438
    zebra says:

    #435 Al Bundy,

    Since we agree about multiple “wedges” I’m just pointing out that AC and DC can easily coexist. That was the idea in my response to KIA earlier, which may have gotten lost in the comment confusion.

    There’s no problem with “controlling” DC. You can in fact have an installed lighting circuit in your house that is directly connected to solar panels and a battery, and you can have dimming and occupancy response and so on. More efficient than even existing LED bulbs. And obviously, you can run/charge all your media stuff from dedicated outlets.

    And if you have a lot of panels, there is no reason you can’t have the option of hooking up your hot water heater before the inverter that gives you the AC to sell (on my common carrier grid).

    And none of this means you can’t access the AC grid if you need it; it is all off-the-shelf level technology.

    And, as I think you suggested, you can have a local DC grid, for example a development of 100 well-designed houses all contributing. You could even have smart appliances that are synchronized to reduce capacity requirements.

    Again, it isn’t some sci-fi tech. Anyone could design it.

  39. 439
    Al Bundy says:

    E-P: As there is no “engine exhaust” per se, this might get around EPA requirements for exhaust aftertreatment.

    AB: That’s reprehensible. To KILL people via getting around standards is pure-t-evil

  40. 440

    This one is long.  Al Bundy writes @406:

    My flywheel response seems to have been eaten. Note that I said “ultra-massive flywheels”. Efficient, durable, and cheap flywheels must follow physics, which dictates that diameter must be maximized and RPM minimized. This results in humongous flywheels that loaf around.

    Okay, now I know you failed physics.  Kinetic energy stored by a differential unit of mass dm moving at speed v is ½v² dm; integrate this over the entire flywheel (v=ωr) and you get the total energy.  High speed is required; “loafing around” means storing very little energy.  You cut your losses by operating in a vacuum and riding on magnetic bearings where possible.

    Let’s riff on your example:  a granite flywheel, ρ=3.5, 40 meters radius (roughly 250 feet across), 2 meters thick.  Maximum speed of a flywheel is set by the tensile strength of the material from which it’s made divided by the density.  Granite has a tensile strength of perhaps 4.8 MPa and a density of 3.5.  Setting a 3.2 MPa working limit, the maximum speed of a flywheel made therefrom is the square root of 3.2e6 kg/m/sec² divided by 3500 kg/m³

    = √(914 m²/sec²)
    = 30.2 m/sec

    At 40 meters radius, it would HAVE to “loaf around” to avoid tearing itself apart; its maximum speed is 0.756 radian/sec, roughly 7.2 RPM.  Angular inertia I of a circular plate of radius R around an axis perpendicular to the plate through the center is ½MR².  For this plate M=3500*π*40²*2 = 3.52e7 kg; multiplying by ½R² yields I = 2.81e10 kg m².  Multiplying by ½(0.756/sec)² squared yields 8.0e9 kgm²/sec² or 8 GJ.  That’s a bit over 2200 kWh.

    Real superflywheels are made from high-strength stuff and go FAST.  High-strength CF composite has a tensile strength of about 600 MPa and a density of 1.6.  Setting a 400 MPa working limit, the maximum speed of a flywheel made therefrom is the square root of 4e8 kg/m/sec² divided by 1600 kg/m³

    = √(2.5e5 m²/sec²)
    = 500 m/sec

    A 4-meter radius CF flywheel 2 meters high would mass 161,000 kg, I = 1.287e6 kg-m².  Rotating at ω=500/4=125/sec, it would store 10 GJ (~2780 kWh) in less than 1/200 the mass.

    All of this stuff is kinetics, literally first-semester physics.  And you didn’t know any of it.

    I spoke of transmission, bio/synfuel (PHEVs and buildings), batteries (EVs and stationary), pumped storage, demand reduction and whatever other wedges can be built.

    To be more accurate, you referred to those things.  You did not quantify a single one of them.  What are the losses in your bio/synfuel conversions?  How much of the total energy supply has to be handled that way?

    How many avenues for carbon sequestration do you have, at what annual tonnage?

    In contrast, I know almost exactly what it would take to supply 100% of the USA’s primary energy consumption from uranium:  fission of just over 1050 metric tons per year.  I can tell you how many reactors it would take:  about 7700 Fermi 1 equivalents, or about 3900 PRISMs.  I can tell you my calculated electric efficiency:  upwards of 45% in electric-only service, 32.6% in CHP service with the condenser at 100°C (steam cycle assumes 5000 psia boiler pressure, boiler output at 900°F, 90% turbine efficiency and 2 reheats).  I have calculated whether these CHP systems could supply the peak heating load of the USA in winter:  with ease (users outside the heating districts might well need supplemental heat beyond heat pumps).  AAMOF they would be over-specced for district heating, so much of the steam would still go through the LP turbines to the vacuum condensers even when heat demand hit peak.  This means the minimum electric generation from 3.3 TW(th) of heat would be closer to 1300 GW(e) than 1070 GW(e).  Peak would be over 1500 GW(e).

    Average US electric consumption is up, coming to about 477 GW last year.  It would take perhaps 130 GW(e) to electrify 2/3 of ground vehicle power, leaving the rest for biofuels.  That takes us up to ~610 GW(e).  Another 330 GW(e) goes into making biofuels in my model, but this is deferrable demand; that takes us to 940 GW(e).  Space heat and DHW outside the district heating systems accounts for less than 30 GW(e) average, plus some biofuels; that brings us to 970 GW(e).  The wildcard is the 700 GW(t) of industrial energy consumption which ranges from low-temperature drying to cement-making and metallurgy.  If 25% of that has to be electrified (175 GW(e), total 1145 GW(e)), 25% can be done with direct nuclear heat at 250-500°C (175 GW(t)), and 50% with spent steam at 250°C or below, it’s all in the bag.  All of it.  And there would be several hundred GW(e) of electric power left over, to do things like direct atmospheric remediation of CO2.  250 GW(e) applied at 2.5 GJ/ton pulls 100 tons/second, 360000 tons/hr, 3.16 billion tons/year.  Decarbonize energy and put 1 TW to work pulling carbon back out of the atmosphere and you’d see concentrations going down faster than they’re currently going up.

    Note, I’m assuming the same 3.3 TW(th) that the USA consumes right now.  No more primary energy is required, no more direct heat output.  Just making it carbon-free and using it better.

    I can tell you how much intrinsic carbon-sequestration capability I’ve got:  roughly 25% out of 1.3 billion tons CO2 captured to make storable fuels.  That’s tiny compared to the 35 GT humanity currently adds to the atmosphere each year, but it’s something.  At 2.5 GJ/ton required to capture CO2, that’s the equivalent of 26 GW of power freed for other purposes.  26 GW is 10% of the USA’s share of power required for atmospheric remediation.

    I can tell you how much liquid storage I’d need:  8.4 billion barrels worth to hold 1 year of reserve fuel (20 quads).  This is a bit over 4x the US petroleum inventory right now.  There are enough evaporite deposits lying around that we can solution-mine storage cavities in.  It would take roughly 1.3 cubic kilometers.  We might already have that much in spent natural gas wells, at least for fuels like dimethyl ether.  DME is particularly good on the environmental front, as it has an atmospheric lifespan of about 5 days and no greenhouse potential to speak of.

    That’s a short summary of what I’ve got.  What have you got?  And just for kicks, how are you going to finance your CO2 removal efforts when net CO2 emissions are negative and you have no carbon taxes coming in?  Looks like a job for… POLICY!

    And on to #407:

    I’m really looking forward to that link

    https://atomicinsights.com/wheres-wind-need/  And not unique to the USA:  http://euanmearns.com/the-loch-ness-monster-of-energy-storage/   Events such as these are frequent and ordinary… yet “renewablistas” want to bet our society on them NOT occurring.  Remember, “the trouble with renewables isn’t fundamentally technical—it’s natural.

    Bonneville’s reason for existence is hydro

    All this nonsense is wearing me out.  I’m taking a nap.  Wake me when you’ve figured out how to manufacture another Columbia river, and the rain to fill it.

    remember overcapacity, as required to yank CO2 out of the atmosphere.

    It’s all in the bag.  The only question left is the price.

  41. 441

    AB @409:

    Was that “pre-mixed” a typo?

    Nope.  Do you think diesel ignition is instantaneous?  Diesels inject a relatively cold liquid fuel, which atomizes into droplets.  Those droplets first have to evaporate, mix with air and only then warm up to ignition temperature before they can burn.  The delay between injection and ignition allows a substantial amount of fuel-air mixture to form, and when the onset of ignition causes pressure and temperature to rise the premixed fuel detonates.  This is the cause of “diesel knock”.

    Modern diesels minimize this by using a small initial injection to establish a flame and then inject more fuel into the hot gas.

  42. 442
    Al Bundy says:

    E-P,

    Think about it. An engine has to deal not only with large fuel molecules but also the oil’s VOC outgassing. A furnace only deals with CH4.

    I’m seriously reconsidering my opinion of your IQ

  43. 443
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @433, I will take a look at your one days storage design, but some places look like they would need a one week storage solution. Imagine a small country reliant mostly on wind power, with the whole country sitting under one big stalled anticyclone with little wind, the sort of thing that typically can last up to about one week. Either you need a hell of a lot of batteries, or you would need a vast number of wind turbines, or a lot of pumped hydro or some combination or some other storage solution.

    Its all possible in theory, but I’m starting to wonder about the costs and how high they will get. I must do some arithmetic on the issue, and some internet searches. Has anyone got some interesting links on these issues that are not from the anti renewables people, and too long and ponderous?

  44. 444
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @435,

    “DC is constant. You get those electrons scurrying around the loop in the best efficiency possible….”

    Yeah yeah true, but electricity is mostly generated as AC so the question is does it make economic sense to change it to DC for transmission then back to AC at the consumers end? It does not make much sense for short distances that tend to be most common, because of the costs of the converters. It makes economic sense for very long distances, because DC has some real advantages that outweigh the converter cost issue. I remember reading up on this a few years back. Google desertec for a grand application of dc transmission.

    Of course it all changes if you have solar power as the dominant power source to begin with but not many countries will have this as the dominant centralised power source.

    Most of you guys just don’t get it. Yes simplicity is always good aim, for obvious reasons and any designer in any field uses this as a starting point, but complexity is often the cheapest solution. It all comes back to $$$. Almost anything is possible but its about $$$. You have to calculate the $$$.

  45. 445
    nigelj says:

    OK I have just noticed EP @445 has partly answered my question on wind power and electricity storage. Thank’s.

  46. 446
    nigelj says:

    Correction. Simplicity is always the goal, but complexity is often the cheapest and best solution.

    Having said that hybrid cars tend towards complexity and I’m not all that convinced by these things. A lot of things have to line up well for them to make sense, and notice they have never grabbed much market share and that includes plug in hybrids.

    It seems to me fully electric cars make the most sense, and biofuels make sense for aircraft because they are near impossible to electrify. In fact hybrid aircraft might make some sense.

  47. 447

    One of the often-overlooked aspects of wind and solar is that output can readily be curtailed as necessary in times of high output. Here’s a discussion of the advantages of this practice:
    https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2019/11/19/economic-curtailment-what-it-is-and-how-to-embrace-it/

  48. 448
    nigelj says:

    Engineer-Poet @440 I think you have misinterpreted Al Bundys comment on flywheels. He isn’t suggesting we build massive fly wheels, just that they are ideal but impractical in practice.

    Dear god Al, why cant you and Zebra talk in plain english?

  49. 449
    Al Bundy says:

    E-P,

    Cruising the web for confirmation that one is unique is a waste. Cruising the web searching for connections with others who are just as unique is wise.

    My analysis of you has resulted in a limited number of possibilities, none of which are flattering. My hope is that the answer is “unwise” because that deficiency can start to be corrected with a simple decision.

  50. 450
    Al Bundy says:

    E-P: Do you think diesel ignition is instantaneous? Diesels inject a relatively cold liquid fuel, which atomizes into droplets. Those droplets first have to evaporate, mix with air and only then warm up to ignition temperature before they can burn. The delay between injection and ignition allows a substantial amount of fuel-air mixture to form, and when the onset of ignition causes pressure and temperature to rise the premixed fuel detonates. This is the cause of “diesel knock”.

    AB: Read for comprehension. My POINT is that diesel ignition is too slow to corral raw diesel fuel, resulting in multiple ignition points. Multiple ignition points is THE ENTIRE PROBLEM.

    So a fuel/burning technique that vaporizes and burns fast enough to prevent multiple ignition points will NOT suffer from diesels’ woes.

    Buy a clue.