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Forced responses: Mar 2021

Filed under: — group @ 1 March 2021

A bi-monthly open thread on climate solutions.

519 Responses to “Forced responses: Mar 2021”

  1. 501
  2. 502
    Killian says:

    496 Mike says:
    28 Apr 2021 at 10:25 AM

    Some of us have been suggesting that these kind of changes would produce large benefits. They would be hard on the industries that produce tilling machinery that breaks up the soil on an industrial scale, so there are definitely tradeoffs.

    Only in the strictest sense. Ending a planet-killing practice in ending tillage and ending the abuse of resources that tilling machines represent vs. a relatively small number of people that need to find other work is really a huge win. Besides, these goobers are actually going to replace tilling machines with crimping/rolling/planting machines, so not likely much of a net loss of jobs.

  3. 503
    Killian says:

    nigelj says:
    27 Apr 2021 at 6:20 PM

    This is why design is sometimes sub optimal.

    No, it is sub-optimal bc people have no overarching principles guiding them. Engineering principles are mechanistic, not generally First Principles. They need both, but have only one of the two.

  4. 504
    nigelj says:

    Richard @490

    “That you ( allegedly poor old MS) aren’t skilled enough to do things in virtual space says nothing about me and my skills/techniques…..Try to beat (or even match) 100% success.

    Such humility and credibility. You appear to be saying because you were a good computer programmer (I don’t doubt it) and didn’t need to test your programmes you would be a good engine designer and wouldn’t need to test your engines with their new technology. Okaaaay. Right. Such comparable things. Such humility (again)

    Three cylinders still sounds complex to me as I pointed out previously. Seems MS and myself have finally found something we agree on. You still end up with one cylinder the main combustion cylinder with relatively high wear components. An engine is only as good as its weakest link. That cylinder will need maintenance or its pistons or rings replacing. Wouldn’t one cylinder with high quality pistons and rings that last be a great deal better?

    Even if a car engine lasts for 30 – 50 years or more (at normal rates of use) almost nobody will pay a premium price because the technology will be out of date by then and the rest of the car will be out of date or falling apart. This comes back to the idea of built in obsolescence. Nobody wants things falling to bits within 3 years, (like my last dvd player) but if you go too far in the OTHER direction it doesn’t make much sense, not with high technology like cars and computers. You wouldn’t pay a premium for a computer built to last say 10 – 20 years for the same reasons. I would pay a premium to buy a set of screwdrivers that lasts a long time because its very unlikely that the basic design of a screw driver will date and screws will be around for a long time yet.

    Maybe your long lasting engine would work well for special applications like ships which normally have a reasonably long design life. Just not so sure about cars.

  5. 505
    nigelj says:

    Richard @490, small correction. Even if a car engine lasts for 30 – 50 years or more (at normal rates of use) almost nobody will pay a premium price because the technology will be out of date “well before” then and the rest of the car will be out of date or falling apart “well before” then.

  6. 506
    Mr. Know It All says:

    496 – Mike
    “Let’s ignore the methane issue for the moment.”

    Engineers got you covered. Soon as they smell a problem they rise to the occasion and provide a solution, and they will do the same for CO2 as well.


  7. 507
    nigelj says:

    “Major parties’ climate programs are miles apart. Vastly different climate approaches outlined by Biden and House GOP members. Dana Nuccitelli, APRIL 28, 2021.”

  8. 508
    Richard Caldwell says:

    Michael Sweet: Still no peer-reviewed or non-peer reviewed plans that use a significant amount of nuclear power in future energy systems. (significant is >10% of

    RC: EP has one. He gave the high points here, and has numbers and logic to back it up.

    I only used the nebulous sort of “math” I use, but my plan is rather similar to his. Both use biomass and nuclear as primary energy sources. Both of us pondered and developed new ways to harvest biomass. I think I posted here a bit about what mine looked like back then.

    The major difference between our plans is that I like wind and solar, too. They’re fun.

    When two Lexes converge on a Nexus, the odds go astronomical, eh?

  9. 509
    Richard Caldwell says:

    Nigel: because you were a good computer programmer (I don’t doubt it) and didn’t need to test your programmes you would be a good engine designer and wouldn’t need to test your engines with their new technology

    RC: Nope. I said that it takes a team to build a system.

    I am horribly inept when it comes to running programs. It would take me forever to set up and run a test.

    The primary user can generally do such things in a flash.

    We talk and go back and forth. My favorite assignment was at Lucent Technologies in North Andover, Mass, to build parts lists for switching equipment.

    Don’t remember his name, so ‘Mike’. Mike had been there forever, so he had a mental map. Nobody else in the building could figure out the convoluted complexity. If Mike dropped dead the North Andover plant would be toast for a bit.

    But he couldn’t describe his mental map. So we decided to do it in stages. He described the top level, I wrote it, he built a virtual switch. Then we talked about what didn’t map right. I rewrote. Once the first stage ran out of steam, I wrote a second stage to run the first stage’s output through. Back and forth a couple time until we ran out of steam again.

    It took maybe 14 stages to make the program’s output match Mike’s map.

    I told sys admin to put it in production…

    … and I never heard from Mike again.

    Of course iterations and tests are needed, be it programming or engine design.

    And of course I can’t design, say, a cylinder bore (they aren’t round).

    I don’t test. I don’t build physical engines. But, for example, I was concerned about the extreme pressure in the CC. Would the rings work?

    Well, MotivEngines’ engine ‘proves’ that aspect of my design even though I have no clue how they did it.

    I find examples that have solved my issues rather than reinventing stuff that I’m not even remotely qualified for.

  10. 510
    Richard Caldwell says:


    I attribute my success as a programmer to two things:

    I happened into “Progress”, a fourth generation language that writes like English. I suck at retaining arbitrary data, such as someone’s random choice for a button. And languages, too. I tried to learn German. Nothing much stuck. George Bush material, I am. So Progress worked for me. Just keep the programming manual between my arms to flip through to confirm the syntax of commands I constantly used and I was ready to rock.

    Pregress was wordy, so it took a lot of typing.

    I also attribute my success at programming to my being lousy at programming. I used strict capitalization, spacing, and so much more.

    Stuff that would end up in a column of ‘and’s needed to have clear names of the same length. I fretted over a name that ‘needed’ to be a letter shorter, but clarity would suffer.

    It has to be readable and formatted so the format prevents errors.

    Changes become easy. “It’s in test…” The user checks it out. Might hit a bump, but the anal formatting guarantees that changes and fixes take minutes. Maybe hours.

    Lex Luthor wannabe? Well, I tended to scare people. Highwires are kinda scary at the circus, but when it’s your system (and you’re dealing with a jerk), life gets stressful.

    Oh, and since I can’t program ‘normally’, when assigned to fix or update someone else’s stuff the first thing I’d do was distill it through equivalencies and stuff so as to look like mine. Then make the change and put it in test. Invasion of the Prolific Program Snatcher.

    Some folks get nervous when their company’s ten page program comes back as a five pager. Or when the guy doing this to your stuff points to your code and says, “I don’t know what this bit is supposed to do, but I know this doesn’t do it

    My best manager was at Rich Seapak (sp?) On St Simons Island. She pointed me to people to satisfy. If I had time to fill she’d either find something or let me play.
    I built a report writer with some (a lot!) of play time. It was sweet. But it had a fatal flaw. I spent time getting the input to fit on a single screen. Too complex and overwhelming.

    So though it was a technical success, now I’d call it a failure. Interesting. If it had been an assignment the user surely would have wanted multiple screens.

    Back to “It takes a team”

  11. 511
    Richard Caldwell says:


    If the engine is man-portable then the vehicle’s decay is irrelevant. Remember, the engine is in a box, even if “permanently” installed.

    Did you read what I wrote about minimizing wear? If any and all conditions that cause significant wear in engines are avoided by design, then engine life goes way up. Remember the “90% of wear occurs during cold starts” rule of thumb? And the concerns you express were core to my ponderings. Lots of design decisions were informed by the longevity issue and the engine is never run sub-optimally.

    Yes, the CC will eventually have to be rebored and fit with an oversized piston (or whatever they’ll do then). Current engines easily last 20 years between rebuilds. So yeah, in 200-400 years it might be time for a rebuild.

    My guess is that electrical stuff will need replacing long before that, especially since the engine box is quite warm.

    But we’ll just have to disagree about complexity.

  12. 512
    Richard Caldwell says:

    The traditional oil cooling solution, a sump, is unacceptable. It splashes oil droplets into fast-moving parts’ paths. This is called ‘windage’ and is a serious source of internal drag. No serious engine builder would use a sump.

    Your options are to increase drag via a heat exchanger, or pressurize the intake air by a factor of four. And…

    The PC replaces both the oil cooler and the turbo.

    And it requires no .. oops IP considerations…

    Don’t diss the PC. It is insanely cheap and outpunches two expensive systems. Go price a 4:1 compression capable turbo.

  13. 513


    You shoot yourself in the foot constantly, EP. I suggest you button your mouth on social issues.

    It’s really easy to believe you’re correct when an upstream gatekeeper prevents any contrary information from reaching you.  This is the situation with all big social media these days, straight down to Real Climate.

    If you actually care about the technical stuff, that is.

    I wouldn’t write about it if I didn’t care.

  14. 514


    we need to be squeezing the gas out of the system to the greatest economically efficient extent

    This is impossible when policy REQUIRES that 24/7 carbon-free generators be pushed off the grid to make room for “renewables” which then have to be backed up by gas.  “The plants that we’re building, the wind plants and the solar plants, are gas plants.”

  15. 515


    Can you provide data from even one location in the world that installed a significant amount of renewable energy and that caused an increase in emissions because of this issue?

    California.  CA is closing or has closed its CCGT plants because they use open-cycle seawater cooling (the same pretext being used to force the closure of Diablo Canyon).  This forces a large increase in per-kWh natural gas consumption.  Of course, CA also imports a huge fraction of its electric power and honest accounting of the impact of this is simply not available to hoi polloi like us; you can go to the EIA and they’ll show you national totals, but per-state breakdowns of emissions by economic sector are not one of the available options.

    I once saw an analysis of Irish wind power impacts.  The analyst found that it displaced gas-fired power rather than coal, because the coal plants were harder to ramp than the gas plants.  The putative emissions benefits of wind were correspondingly much greater than reality.

  16. 516
    nigelj says:

    Richard Caldwell @509 – 512, ok so you’re good at your computer coding job. I was paid decent money and asked for an got some enormous pay rises so draw your own conclusions. But I dont think that gives me fantastic credentials on other areas. And I tend to look at peoples comments on their merits rather than their other achievements. If Jesus Christ said he had a great engine design on paper, I would say show me proof Jesus. Show me a working prototype. A lot can go wrong even when designed by experts and nobody is infallible or all knowing. Google BMW nickasil problem.

    Yes I anticipated the engine portability thing. But you ignored what I said. By about half way through the life of your engine it will be out of date. There will be better, faster engines that last as long and are cheaper to produce. And transferring engines from one car to another adds yet more real world COMPLICATIONS and potential problems. However I can see this both ways. Sometimes doing something because it can be done or is a challenge is good in itself. Applications are sometimes found that aren’t immediately apparent. I just don’t think it will be car engines that last almost forever, maybe taxis excepted.

    Electric cars look intuitively appealing and I’ve learned to trust my intuition, but there will probably be supply bottleneck issues with lithium sooner or later. This may create opportunities for other engines but there are many competing possibilities as well as hybrids including hydrogen fuel cells and running conventional engines on hydrogen or electro fuels.

  17. 517

    Michael Sourpuss @471:

    Nuclear proponents are used to describing current electric systems, not All Energy future systems like those modeled by Connelly and Jacobson.

    Ye gods, I’m just one guy without any sort of external funding or access to paywalled data, and I am trying to model a total energy system for the United States.

    All Energy is 4-5 times the amount of energy as electric only.

    Roughly 40% of US primary energy consumption goes to the electric sector.  Nuclear energy generated 8.452 quads of heat in the USA in 2019, the last “normal” year on record.  That’s some 8.4% of total US energy consumption, much greater than your nonsense assertion of 4-5%.

    I normally skip over your comments, because they are not worth anyone’s attention.  I’ll probably regret spending the time to dig up the facts to refute you, because it won’t change you a bit.  It wastes my time and annoys the pig.

  18. 518


    The dangers of the [RBMK] design were recognized in the USA.

    They were recognized in the USSR, too.  The control computer was PROGRAMMED to recognize and warn about the unsafe operating conditions.  The operators disabled the safeties and ignored the warnings.

  19. 519

    Here’s an interesting projection from the estimable Michael Barnard. I think many here will enjoy reading it; some will object vociferously to this or that. But IMO it’s both sensible and non-dogmatic–Barnard doesn’t mistake his spreadsheets for a crystal ball.