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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. 351

    E-P 343: Chernobyl is the only accident which did measurable damage to the environment, and it was both highly local and temporary.

    BPL: 4,000 people dead.

    E-P: We could have a Three Mile Island every year and be just fine.

    BPL: The investors wouldn’t be fine. They lost $1 billion on TMI-2, and that was back in the 1970s. That’s why no one will invest in nukes nowadays without massive subsidies and captive ratepayers.

  2. 352
    jgnfld says:

    Re. EP @ “dangerous industry” which is provably safer in major accidents than coal-fired power is when it’s working as designed.

    Nice little caveat there. Covers any and all outcomes.

  3. 353
    Richard Caldwell says:

    Kevin: To my mind, the mechanical simplicity of the EV drivetrain far outweighs the other advantages listed

    RC: Mechanical simplicity? That’s why cars shouldn’t have windshield wipers, right?

    A truly modern engine that is used in a strictly simple paradigm where it NEVER sees the situations that provide wear and tear, eliminates most of the wear parts, does NOT degrade its lubricating oil, does NOT have a radiator, does NOT have pressurized exhaust, etc…

    will last a million miles with negligible service (an air filter every year and an oil change per 50,000 miles or so). The complexity of obsolete engines arises from trying to make a century old design fit in the modern world. I absolutely agree that obsolete engines with all kinds of intricate valve control systems, excess cylinders (a modern engine has one or two combustion cylinders) make for a complex system. But the answer isn’t to accept “obsolete” as the best possible and then reject the modern without thought.

    The issues are weight, cost, materials, labor and industrial capacity (all those workers and machines that do internal combustion exist; tossing them in the garbage is a dead loss).

    “Complexity” is not a primary metric. And heck, a large battery and management system is incredibly complex compared to a modern small battery and engine.

    Aptera is a grand idea. I like my design better (of course) but an Aptera-like vehicle with space for a removable engine will be part of the future. So you get a puttering around EV that can be turned into a continent-crosser in five minutes.

    And it is silly to say that pumping methanol is impossible without the grid. I bet that if you designed a methanol dispensing system you’d ensure it could operate independently. Like, say, including a tiny methanol generator? And then you glossed over all of the incredibly expensive and complicated and space-taking stuff an EV owner would have to have to get through bad times even though regular folks (like you) have about zero capacity to achieve what would be dead simple in a hybrid world.

    “Reliability”, “longevity”, “adaptability”, and “inexpensive” are what matters.

    Diversity rules.

  4. 354
    Richard Caldwell says:

    Michael Sweet,
    EP is wicked smart. If you want to dis his stuff you need to provide more than “peer reviewed” stuff. Did you notice the paper a year or two ago that noted that a huge percentage of peer reviewed stuff can’t be reproduced?

    Peer review doesn’t make a typical doctoral-level sub-genius brilliant. Peer review is only there to catch obvious errors.

  5. 355
    Richard Caldwell says:

    Nigel: A 15% difference in weight between EVs and hybrids is of no huge significance.

    RC: I disagree. 15% is huge. Besides, the difference is likely much larger. Heck, it can be 50% or more. The methanol system can be removable, so it only needs to be rented and carried when needed. Heck, stick it in one’s garage to provide backup. And since range anxiety is eliminated even if the engine is so small it can only go 40mph without battery assistance the methanol system can be man-portable. Why not save thousands of dollars and 1000 pounds while increasing reliability and utility?

    But, stipulating your number, are you saying that a 15% reduction in microplastics and energy consumption, along with a, say, 30% reduction in cost should be ignored because of some nebulous concept, ‘complexity’?

    What, specifically, are the downsides to including an incredibly reliable million plus miles between rebuilds subsystem in vehicles?

    And I apologise for snapping at you. I was robbed of everything, including my latest work, my priceless artifacts, my cash, my car, and my ability to reach my online life (banks, email, etc).

    I was surviving with a light jacket under a tarp in a field by the railroad tracks in a blustery downpour during the first half of March.

    So instead of driving to Stanford to reveal my engine I was trying to not die of exposure.

    Not an excuse, for sure. It was wrong of me to dump on you.

  6. 356
    Richard Caldwell says:

    EP: ALPS water be loaded onto barges, pushed out into the Pacific beyond the local fishery, and dumped.

    RC: Good idea, but even that is excessive. One of the largest (fastest?) ocean currents goes by there. Instead of ice walls and schemes, just let the water trickle naturally. Can anyone think of any downside to “just do nothing” other than making radiophobes go ballistic?

    And if, out of an overabundance of caution, the fisheries were temporarily closed…

    Paying fishermen their pay to not fish would be cheaper than ice walls and whatnot, and it would build the fishery up, perhaps by an order of magnitude (random number).

    Can anyone here give a reason why “doing nothing” wouldn’t have been the best solution?

  7. 357

    Nuclear energy is the only proven way to reverse that trend; it has almost completely decarbonized the grids in France, Sweden and Ontario.

    An untruth oft-repeated remains an untruth. While nuclear energy is a prominent part of the mix in all three nations–and I’m quite willing to give credit on that heading–there’s a lot more to all three stories.

    First, Sweden also makes considerable use of renewables:

    The share of renewable energy used in Sweden keeps growing. Already in 2012 the country reached the government’s 2020 target of 50 per cent [of total energy use]. For the power sector, the target is 100 per cent renewable electricity production by 2040.

    https://sweden.se/nature/energy-use-in-sweden/

    Second, Ontario was *not* “almost decarbonized” via the addition of nuclear power; the total retirement of its coal generation capacity was accomplished essentially by substituting wind, solar, and natgas while simply maintaining already extant nuclear capacity. As the system operator, IESO, puts it:

    Over the past decade, wind, solar, bioenergy, hydro, refurbished nuclear and natural gas-fired resources have replaced Ontario’s coal fleet. These resources, together with investments in conservation, demand response and transmission have reduced greenhouse gas emissions in Ontario’s electricity sector by more than 80 percent.

    It is true that the mainstay–about 60%–is nuclear. But note that the province, in decarbonizing, did *not* choose to build any new nuclear capacity. (The “refurbishment” referred to above is essentially a 30-year service life extension of the Darlington complex, not new capacity.)

    Third, France does indeed have a grid dominated by nuclear power–about 70% share. But:

    France’s energy landscape… underwent a profound transformation in the 1970s with the large-scale development of nuclear energy, and again in the 1990s with the increasing use of natural gas. Today, it is experiencing a fresh transition with the development of renewable energies and the implementation of policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

    https://www.planete-energies.com/en/medias/close/france-s-overall-energy-mix

    France’s current policy is to reduce the share of nuclear power to 50% of the mix, replacing it with–you guessed it–renewable energy, principally wind and solar. By all accounts, the process has been beset by bureaucratic delay, and they are not on track to meet their targets. However, the process is continuing:

    https://renewablesnow.com/news/renewables-share-in-power-consumption-hits-23-in-france-in-2019-686911/

    https://www.rechargenews.com/wind/late-to-the-party-france-finally-set-to-join-offshore-wind-big-league-rystad/2-1-805559

    So, what does it say that all three of E-P’s nuclear success stories continue to expand renewable energy, not nuclear power?

    Meanwhile, E-P continues to ignore examples such as Uruguay:

    https://energytransition.org/2020/01/uruguay-latin-americas-renewable-champion/

    The International Energy Agency (IEA) announced in October that the country is in fourth place globally, producing 36 percent of its electricity from wind and solar energy. First place in the IEA ranking list goes to international renewables champion Denmark (50 percent), followed by Lithuania (41 percent) and Luxemburg (37 percent).

    Including hydropower, Uruguay now produces more than 97 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources. The country has undergone a remarkable change in its energy sector in recent years: only twenty years ago, oil accounted for almost 30 percent of Uruguay’s imports and large bulks of electricity were imported from neighboring Argentina.

    E-P will tell you that this ‘doesn’t count’ because Uruguay has quite a lot of hydro. And it’s true that hydro remains important there. But note:

    The shift to renewables has also enabled a more diverse electricity generation, thus making the country’s energy sector more resilient to a changing climate. Whereas a large number of Latin American countries get a predominant share of their electricity from hydropower plants – and pride themselves as green champions – Uruguay can spare its water resources for the rare times when the wind is not blowing. As such, it allows dams to hold water for longer in their reservoirs which has helped to reduce droughts by up to 70 percent.

    And, of course, relevant to our primary concern:

    Uruguay [reduced] its greenhouse gas emissions by a staggering 88 percent by 2017 against the 2009-2013 average.

  8. 358
    Killian says:

    I read two different articles on Cahokia, one of the major Mississippian sites. Another a few weeks ago posits it was another?site more southerly than Cahokia that was the primary population center. Now that makes more sense as the first I read today claims Cahokia was not a have city, though populated, but the primary ceremonial site for the vast network. BIG parties. Then most went home. So cool…

    The second?today gets to sustainability. Cahokia wasn’t abandoned because of resource depletion: Tree consumption leading to flooding. In fact, researches make the point, unequivocally, that the extractive paradigm was *not* typical of indigenous non-urbanized peoples.

    Check it out.

    Look at what happened with the bison,” Rankin says. Plains Indians hunted them sustainably. But “Europeans came in and shot all of them. That’s a Western mentality of resource exploitation—squeeze everything out of it that you can. Well that’s not how it was in these Indigenous cultures.”

    Tim Pauketat, a leading Cahokia researcher and Rankin’s supervisor at the University of Illinois, agrees that the difference in cultural worldviews needs to be considered more seriously. “We’re moving away from a Western explanation—that they overused this or failed to do that—and instead we’re appreciating that they related to their environment in a different way.”

    https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/why-was-ancient-city-of-cahokia-abandoned-new-clues-rule-out-one-theory

  9. 359
    David B. Benson says:

    Barton Paul Levenson @351 — You should read Kate Brown’s book before commenting about deaths from the Chernobyl disaster:
    https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20190725-will-we-ever-know-chernobyls-true-death-toll

    But don’t forget about the Babushkas who continue to live in the Chernobyl exclusion zone and are quite comfortable there.

  10. 360
    Ray Ladbury says:

    EP: “Nuclear energy is the only proven way to reverse that trend; it has almost completely decarbonized the grids in France, Sweden and Ontario.”

    Funny thing. Whenever someone starts to tell me that there is only one solution to a complex problem, my spidey bullshit detector starts tingling.

  11. 361
    Mr. Know It All says:

    357 – Kevin McKinney
    “First, Sweden also makes considerable use of renewables:

    The share of renewable energy used in Sweden keeps growing. Already in 2012 the country reached the government’s 2020 target of 50 per cent [of total energy use]. For the power sector, the target is 100 per cent renewable electricity production by 2040.”

    I would question the environmental “friendliness” of biofuels and hydro. Hydro kills fish, and what is the CO2 footprint of biofuels? Nuclear, oil, coal and gas are likely the backbone of Sweden’s energy supply.

    Scroll down to the colored graph for Sweden energy sources:

    https://www.iea.org/countries/sweden

    More stats:

    http://www.energimyndigheten.se/globalassets/statistik/energilaget/databars-2017..pdf

    KM writes: “So, what does it say that all three of E-P’s nuclear success stories continue to expand renewable energy, not nuclear power?”

    My guess is it says enviros will not allow more nukes and they are subsidizing renewables.
    ;)

  12. 362
    Mr. Know It All says:

    357 – Kevin McKinney
    “First place in the IEA ranking list goes to international renewables champion Denmark (50 percent),..”

    Denmark energy per Wikipedia:

    Denmark has changed its energy consumption from 99% fossil fuels (92% oil (all imported) and 7% coal) and 1% biofuels in 1972 to 73% fossil fuels (37% oil (all domestic), 18% coal and 18% natural gas (all domestic)) and 27% renewables (largely biofuels) in 2015.

    Source:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Denmark#Energy

    Maybe wikipedia needs an update?

    More:
    https://www.iea.org/countries/denmark

  13. 363
    nigelj says:

    Richard Caldwell @355

    You make a lot of big claims about your engine designs. Big claims require big levels of proof and in terms people without engine knowledge can understand. Some people on this website can take very complex issues and make them accessible.

    Design often tends naturally towards complexity, but this sometimes adds problems and costs. You have to be able to analyse and recognise when that is happening. Sometimes you have to stop and strip things back, and simplify. Its like a dance between simplicity and complexity. You have to also be practical, and in a wide sense of that word.

    I accept your apology. However I wont be corresponding with you again offline.

    Agree entirely with your comments on the peer review issue.

  14. 364

    Okay, back @339:

    Here is a free copy of the Connelly 2016 paper

    Here’s the paper itself, not just the abstract.  But the abstract has plenty of red flags:

    The results indicate that a 100% renewable energy system is technically feasible in Europe using the Smart Energy System approach, assuming technologies develop according to industry’s current expectations.

    And if they don’t, is there a Plan B?  Further, technical feasibility does not imply that e.g. the ecological cost of losing habitable land to massive wind farms is acceptable, or that the system as a whole is affordable.

    even more significant, the 100% renewable energy system will consist of much more investments instead of fuel imports.

    Funny, Germany thought that about PV, only to find their money going to China.

    Nuclear power also consists mostly of investments, and it also creates lots of good jobs.  Further, we know exactly how to beat the costs out of the system:  build standardized designs over and over.  France did it, and S. Korea is doing it.  I don’t know much about Russia, but they appear to be doing it too and are making international sales.

    On to the body of the paper.  Figure 2 (p. 5) shows that these people are starting to get the issues involved, but some things are extremely vague.  For instance, boxes in two diagrams are labelled “Power Exchange”, but the term is not defined anywhere in the text.  Also, the connections that the authors claim are so important are missing in some crucial places.  For instance, bioenergy fuels go to combustion engines and CHP plants, but there’s no hint that any of them are upgraded.

    Approximately 500 inputs and 30 hourly distributions are required to make a complete model in EnergyPLAN so the EU has been modelled as one energy system in this study. This means that there is one model for the EU instead of separate models for different regions or countries. Hence, there are no bottlenecks included in the electricity or gas grids in the model.

    HUGE red flag there.  Bottlenecks are everywhere in real systems.  If you could simply wish them away, Texas would not have had rolling blackouts this year and the 2018 cold snap would not have almost brought the PJM portion of the grid down.

    Even nuclear power has bottlenecks; you can only get heat out of a reactor so fast, and turbines can only handle so much steam per hour.  However, the neck of that particular bottle is huge.  A fully-nuclear US grid would have several times as much heat as required to replace all natural gas burned for space heat and DHW, even in the peak demand month of January.

    As the level of wind and solar increases, more electricity is produced which cannot be consumed.

    In a primarily nuclear energy system, the odds of this happening are minuscule.  The peak-to-average (which determines the degree of overbuild required) and peak-to-valley (which determines the buffering requirements for everything over base load) ratios of grid demand aren’t all that large.  This is emphatically not true for wind, and especially not solar.

    No Nuclear: Removing nuclear power from the EU energy system due to its economic, environmental, and security concerns. In addition, nuclear power does not fit in a renewable energy system with wind and solar, since it is not very flexible. Even if these issues are resolved, there are also major challenges in relation to the safe disposal of nuclear waste and the safety of nuclear power stations.

    And in this they are 100% wrong.  The EC’s Joint Research Centre has quite the opposite opinion:

    The European Commission’s in-house scientific body, the Joint Research Centre, released its much-awaited report on nuclear power on Friday 2 April, just before the Easter break.

    Its conclusions were clear: nuclear power is a safe, low-carbon energy source comparable to wind and hydropower, and as such, it qualifies for a green investment label under the EU’s green finance taxonomy.

    It’s long past time for that reality to be acknowledged, and used as the basis for policy.

    I’m going to leave off with the paper here.  I don’t have the time to mess with it any more.

  15. 365
    nigelj says:

    KIA @361

    “I would question the environmental “friendliness” of biofuels and hydro. Hydro kills fish, and what is the CO2 footprint of biofuels?”

    Have you ever bothered to research the huge damage fossil fuels do to the biosphere, its wildlife and also humans health? Start here:

    https://ourworldindata.org/safest-sources-of-energy#:~:text=Fossil%20fuels%20and%20the%20burning,The%20second%20is%20accidents.

  16. 366
    nigelj says:

    RL said “Funny thing. Whenever someone starts to tell me that there is only one solution to a complex problem, my spidey bullshit detector starts tingling.”

    Funny that. Happens to me as well. Reminds me of this quote:

    “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.” Quote by H. L. Mencken.

  17. 367
    Mr. Know It All says:

    359 – David B. Benson
    “You should read Kate Brown’s book before commenting about deaths from the Chernobyl disaster:…….”

    Is Chernobyl relevant to anything nuclear in modern Western Nations? We don’t build power plants the way Chernobyl was built. I will say however, that our practices of “hire based on various physical characteristics” rather than on merit and expertise could produce a bad result.

  18. 368

    RC, #353–

    “Hybrid” covers some territory, but most current versions involve dual drivetrains, as I understand it. A pretty clear source of extra weight and diminished efficiency, I’d have thought. And they have to play nice together, of course–which I’m guessing is more complex a problem than battery management.

    Heck, even a range extender configuration schematizes as an FF add-on system.

    Now, I’m far from dogmatic on this. There’s a ton I don’t know, and there’s a ton that isn’t known to *anyone* just yet. In particular, if lithium supply turns out to be a significant constraint, then the hybrid model you propose gains a lot of economic utility. I merely remark, briefly, on what things look like to me at present.

    And it is silly to say that pumping methanol is impossible without the grid.

    Good thing I didn’t say it, right?

    What I did say–and I’m phrasing it more clearly this time, I hope– is that extant gas pumps are considerable less useful than doorstops without electric power. How many stations have backup generators, do you think?

  19. 369

    KIA–

    Hydro kills fish…

    It can. On the other hand, I live on the shore of a hydro reservoir, and one of the few downsides is Saturday morning fishing tournaments, which customarily start at the crack of dawn.

    …what is the CO2 footprint of biofuels?

    Good question. Why don’t you find the answer for us? It would be value added.

    Scroll down to the colored graph for Sweden energy sources…

    Thanks, but read the same stats prepping my comment… Yes, that exact site.

    My guess is…

    Keep guessing; it does no harm.

    Maybe wikipedia needs an update?

    There’s really no “maybe” about it; data from 2015 is way out of date in the context of RE. You also need to be sure that the comparison is apples to apples; I’m thinking it may not be. I’ll follow that up with a cite showing why, I hope.

  20. 370

    https://www.iea.org/countries/denmark

    Yep, that has both primary energy–everything, pretty much–and electric generation. And much of the discrepancy KIA noted is that the quote referred to the latter, while the Wikipedia relates to the former.

    Apples and oranges.

  21. 371

    357 – Kevin McKinney
    “First place in the IEA ranking list goes to international renewables champion Denmark (50 percent),..”

    KIA 362: Denmark energy per Wikipedia . . . Denmark has changed its energy consumption from 99% fossil fuels (92% oil (all imported) and 7% coal) and 1% biofuels in 1972 to 73% fossil fuels (37% oil (all domestic), 18% coal and 18% natural gas (all domestic)) and 27% renewables (largely biofuels) in 2015.

    BPL: Kevin is talking about electricity, you are talking about energy. The first is a subset of the second. 73% of Denmark’s energy is fossil fuel but 50% of its electricity is renewable. That, too, will go down as they increase EVs and decrease gasoline and diesel engines.

  22. 372
    michael Sweet says:

    Nigelj at 347:

    Because of their extremely high capitol cost it is not economic to turn off nuclear power plants when the electricity is not needed. They must run full out all the time or they lose more money. In addition, nuclear plants cannot simply be turned off and then turned back on. They must slowly turn on and off or they go out of control. It loses even more money to turn off.

    That is why sometimes electric prices go negative at night. Coal and nuclear power cannot turn off. And they take hours to turn back on. By contrast, both wind and solar can be turned off and back on at the flick of a switch. With a renewable system there would never be negative prices.

  23. 373
    michael Sweet says:

    Mr KIA 362:
    Your reference for Denmark has data from 2015. Renewable energy changes fast. Here: https://denmark.dk/innovation-and-design/clean-energy
    they say that in 2019 80% of electricity was generated using renewables. That is higher than nuclear in France, Ontario or Sweden (Sweden generates more electricity from renewables than from nuclear). Looks like Engineer Poet will have to find a new misleading figure to cite since Denmark generates more electricity from renewables than any country in the world has ever generated from nuclear.

    Apparently Sweden now generates more than 50% of All Energy (all energy, not just electricity) from renewable energy. https://www.flandersinvestmentandtrade.com/export/sites/trade/files/market_studies/2020-Report%20energy%20sector%20Sweden.pdf

    Since electricity is only 20-25% of All Energy, the renewable energy in Sweden is about 3 times greater than nuclear power is in France. Nuclear proponents cannot keep up with current data since they are used to nuclear being flat for years and generally declining.

  24. 374
    Mr. Know It All says:

    357 – Kevin McKinney
    “An untruth oft-repeated remains an untruth.”

    Dat SHOULD be true.
    https://www.sovereignman.com/trends/if-a-lie-is-only-printed-often-enough-it-becomes-a-quasi-truth-31956/
    ;)

    In other news:
    “If this global warming gets any worse we’re all going to freeze to death.”

    https://www.zerohedge.com/weather/snow-mid-april-winter-blast-headed-northeast
    ;)

  25. 375
    David B. Benson says:

    michael Sweet @359 — Wrong again. Due to tax policies, wind farms can and do make money with so-called negative prices. To avoid this, and over generation, BPA pays the wind farms to not generate on occasion in the spring of some years.

    A properly designed thermal generatin plant such as nuclear has a diversion of all the generated steam directly to the condenser, instantly turning off the synchronous electricity generator.

  26. 376
    Richard Caldwell says:

    Kevin M: So, what does it say that all three of E-P’s nuclear success stories continue to expand renewable energy, not nuclear power?

    RC: That success is no match for politics and radiophobes.

  27. 377
    Richard Caldwell says:

    Kevin M: This shift to renewables has also enabled a more diverse electricity generation, thus making the country’s energy sector more

    RC: complex, which you reject.

    Consistency is an interesting concept

  28. 378
    Richard Caldwell says:

    Killian: But “Europeans came in and shot all of them. That’s a Western mentality of resource exploitation—squeeze everything out of it that you can. Well that’s not how it was in these Indigenous cultures.”

    RC: perhaps there is something in that, but IIRC the slaughter of the bison was done specifically to starve the “enemy”.

  29. 379
    Richard Caldwell says:

    Nigel,
    You CAN’T connect with me. You don’t have my email address or any other way either.

    But I won’t forget the incredibly generous deal I gave you. There was NOTHING in the deal except generosity.

    The engine? Sure. Here goes:

    An engine’s friction depends on piston speed squared times pressure (the rings have to be stout enough to prevent blowby).
    By using three cylinders (precomoression, combustion, re-expansion) the cylinders with large movements have low maximum pressure. Do the math.

    Then, since there are three cylinders in a single path, water injection outside of the combustion cylinder can cool it while providing power to the other two cylinders, solving Crawley’s 6-stroke’s flaws.

    Then, the thermal isolation of the combustion chamber from the oiled surfaces (via gaskets) eliminates the need for a radiator.

    And the three cylinders allows for the use of different sorts of valves. The pre-compression cylinder needs NO control at all, just passive flaps. Of course, the flaps are designed so as to induce tremendous swirl, which, through the above the rings side-ports gets multiplied in the combustion cylinder, which is re-multiplied as gasses are scrunched into the combustion chamber.

    Almost no energy is lost since there are gaskets between the hot titanium parts and the cool oiled parts. There is little friction because almost all of the movement is in cylinders that never see high pressure nor high temps. The use of external-to-the-combustion-chamber water cooling that is internal to the precombustion and re-expansion cylinders totally solves Crawley’s dilemma.

    The secret sauce is that the pre-compression and re-expansion cylinders run at half the combustion cylinder’s RPM. Sounds impossible, eh? But it works, allowing for the transfer of gasses between cylinders to occur DURING compression and expansion, eliminating waste.

    The 10 strokes are:
    Intake, intake, pre-compression, pre-compression and transfer, compression, expansion, re-expansion and transfer, re-expansion, exhaust, and exhaust.

    Note how slow everything outside the combustion cylinder is. That is core. Bigger parts MUST be way slower. Ask EP. Tis basic engineering.

    Eh, there’s more, but that’s the core. NO losses via cooling (other than energy quality, not amount). NO losses via pressurized exhaust. NO serious wear.

    The re-expansion cylinder does all the control, so it has a single variable exhaust valve. This is cheap because the 10 stroke in a four stroke format gives a single trio three power strokes out of four. You can use a single trio that has three power strokes out of four, or two trios, resulting in 6 out of 4 power strokes.

    That doesn’t quite “do” it, so I included two incredibly cheap Temporal Torque Transfer Devices, which transfer torque from the more powerful half of a shaft’s 360 degrees to the less powerful half with essentially no losses.

    The result is a twin trio (two combustion cylinders) engine that is butter smooth.

    Then there’s the seventh cylinder that provides secondary air after the reduction side of the cat, giving the oxidizing side of the cat plenty of oxygen even though the reducing side is oxygen deficient. That solves the PCV valve intake valve gunk buildup crapola that plagues obsolete direct injection engines, too.

    And remember, your wallet disagrees with you. It wants me to succeed. 33.33x is a big multiplier. :-)

  30. 380
    Killian says:

    366 nigelj says:
    14 Apr 2021 at 10:40 PM

    RL said “Funny thing. Whenever someone starts to tell me that there is only one solution to a complex problem, my spidey bullshit detector starts tingling.”

    Funny that. Happens to me as well. Reminds me of this quote:

    “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.” Quote by H. L. Mencken.

    I suppose the answers to climate change at Chaco Canyon and climate change and ecosystem destruction for the Maya were to stay in that canyon and keep haning out in those temple-centered urban monstrosities rather than, um, simplify.

    Fixed it for all three of you:
    “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear and simple or complex. Wisdom, intellect, knowledge and insight are needed to determine which. Oh, and don’t listen to the bullshitters who, ironically, oversimplify the complexities of problem-solving with cookie cutter thinking.” Quote by Killian.

    :-)

  31. 381
    Richard Caldwell says:

    EP: “Nuclear energy is the only proven way

    Ray L: Whenever someone tells me there is only one way

    RC: Whenever someone removes the CRITICAL word in a quote (in this case “proven”) I roll my eyes.

  32. 382
    jgnfld says:

    re. “In other news:
    “If this global warming gets any worse we’re all going to freeze to death.”

    https://www.zerohedge.com/weather/snow-mid-april-winter-blast-headed-northeast
    ;)”

    To mods: Why?

  33. 383
    Dan says:

    re: 374. “In other news:
    “If this global warming gets any worse we’re all going to freeze to death.”
    https://www.zerohedge.com/weather/snow-mid-april-winter-blast-headed-northeast

    Meanwhile, Mr Know Nothing At All continues to flaunt his ignorance about the difference between weather and climate. Someone truly failed to teach him about critical thinking skills when growing up. Let alone his gross insecurity about not being able to admit to being completely wrong. Quite seriously. He certainly owes an apology to every educational institution he ever attended as well.

    Facts that prove a. you are wrong and b. you are clueless:
    https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/service/global/map-percentile-mntp/202103.png

    “March 2021 also marked the 45th consecutive March and the 435th consecutive month with temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th-century average.”

    Busted again, junior!

  34. 384

    E-P 364: Nuclear power also consists mostly of investments, and it also creates lots of good jobs.

    BPL: No, it does not. Nuclear power is THE MOST capital-intensive of all forms of power. Meaning, capital-intensive as opposed to labor-intensive. Any other power source creates several times more jobs per GWe, renewable energy especially so.

  35. 385

    KIA 367: I will say however, that our practices of “hire based on various physical characteristics” rather than on merit and expertise could produce a bad result.

    BPL: You’ve joined E-P’s camp on the race issue, I take it. Industry not hiring enough white people for your taste?

  36. 386
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Hydro done wrong kills fish. Hydro done right provides habitat, recreation, flood control, drought relief and energy.

  37. 387
    michael Sweet says:

    David Benson:
    If wind farms are selling electricity they are being paid a positive price. Nuclear sells at negative prices to keep from shutting down since they cannot load follow. No nuclear reactors in the USA can load follow.

  38. 388
    Richard Caldwell says:

    Here’s a comparison of the Toyota RAV4 and Tesla Y.

    Even with lousy aerodynamics, larger size, a spare tyre, and a huge obsolete engine the RAV4 is only a bit less efficient in lifecycle emissions.

    Double the engine’s efficiency, reduce the engine size by 90%, and do an apples to apples (same size, aero, etc) and it is no contest. The hybrid wins easily.

    https://youtu.be/MEqxaH47DTs

  39. 389
    Piotr says:

    “China leads world’s biggest increase in wind power capacity”
    Developers built windfarms with a total capacity of almost 100GW in 2020, a rise of nearly 60% on previous year.
    China built more new windfarm capacity in 2020 than the whole world combined in the year before.
    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/mar/10/china-leads-world-increase-wind-power-capacity-windfarms

  40. 390

    Readers may (or may not) want to check out my latest essay in musical climate fiction, which just premiered on Youtube this (ie., Saturday) morning:

    https://youtu.be/o1Bc8IndJaE

    (And please remember to share and/or like, if it does anything for you…)

  41. 391
    Killian says:

    I’ve said time is short. A major bifurcation is already triggered. How many habit been already?

    Incrementalism is dead.

    https://eand.co/were-ripping-the-heart-out-of-life-on-earth-and-the-consequences-will-be-disastrous-da1d50c712bc

  42. 392
    Richard Caldwell says:

    And since (biofuel) methanol produces 60% more power per cubic foot of air (because methanol contains oxygen, which also helps prevent NOX) a 90% smaller modern engine will produce 0.1 (size) * 2 (efficiency)* 1.6 (methanol vs gasoline) = 1/3 the power of that huge obsolete engine. And that’s if you don’t take advantage of the slower RPMs of the pre-compression and re-expansion cylinders (PC and RC) and the combustion cylinder’s (CC’s) tiny stroke to increase the CC’s RPM.

    If desired, a modern engine can scream along at 15,000 RPM or more quite easily because of the half-speed pre-compression and re-expansion, the use of a single valve type in the cylinder head above the PC and RC (obsolete engines must cram two types of valves in over each cylinder, precluding the far cheaper and more efficient single valve per RC modern design), and the fact that combustion takes place over three strokes instead of one (and the first phase of combustion is incredibly explosive since the combustion chamber’s walls are far above ignition temperature, the gasses have tornadoesque spin, and the fuel injection system atomizes the fuel much better even though it is low pressure (and so cheap and reliable)).

    I wouldn’t design for maximum power since I’m into chasing Carnot, but a modern engine can be designed to produce the same power as an obsolete engine perhaps eight times its size, given identical maximum piston speeds.

    Very few parts, all of which are protected from wear, and extremely light. Compare to a huge and monsterously heavy, complex, and expensive battery that can’t even go 500 miles.

    The biggest issue is the dead loss involved in the heat of vaporization of the cooling water. It can be recovered with a bottoming cycle (ammonia), but that adds significant bulk. Thus, vehicle engines will likely only get to 60% real world efficiency instead of a stationary engine’s 2/3.

    Way LESS complicated (a battery is NOT one component), way more reliable, way longer lifespan, way less time wasted while charging, way way better.

    I’ll be back on my foot soon, and off to Stanford I’ll go.

  43. 393
    michael Sweet says:

    EP at 364:
    Well if you use double standards it is easy to criticize others.

    You say for renewables: ” assuming technologies develop according to industry’s current expectations.” are a problem. Yet you describe using nuclear process heat at 1200C (a technology no-one is working on) to drive industrial reactions. There are no nuclear powered industrial installations. You also use process heat to heat the entire country!! Many cities and homes are too far from a cooling source and large district heating is not installed in the most of the world. You have to add that cost to your already too expensive reactors. I note that Connelly et al cost out district heating that they want installed.
    Renewable energy has gone down in price more than Connelly et al expected so it is even cheaper for a renewable system than they estimated.
    Germany made a one time purchase of generators and now has no fuel costs for their renewable energy. They save large amounts of money.
    You are concerned about ” Hence, there are no bottlenecks included in the electricity or gas grids in the model.” What about the bottleneck that district heating is not installed for your wild heating scheme? Or the bottleneck that the reactors have not been designed yet? Or the fact that it is illegal to locate nuclear reactors in cities where district heating could be used? A few issues for you to address.
    You hand wave off the concern that nuclear plants require extensive storage, both shout time and seasonally, that you have not accounted for. We do not know how much storage will be needed since no researchers use nuclear power in a future energy system. No one serious has ever proposed a primarily nuclear power system for the world. Even for the USA only no-one has proposed a nuclear only power system. Abbott 2012 has shown that it is impossible to build more than a very small amount of nuclear poser.
    I have provided three references and can provide 30 more that show scientific energy researchers are in 100% agreement that nuclear power is not needed or helpful for a future energy system. Provide a reference to support your wild claim that Connelly et al are incorrect when they say nuclear should not be considered.

    Even Brave New Climate has not published a pronuclear article since 2015.

  44. 394

    #375, DBB–

    Due to tax policies, wind farms can and do make money with so-called negative prices.

    Tax policies or PPAs? Either way, it’s feature, not a bug; the intent was to get a lot more wind farms built, stat. And it’s worked to a considerable extent.

    Accordingly, in a lot of places different types of contracts are being let, as the subsidy is less needed. (And by “less needed,” I mean that wind developers no longer face the kinds of upfront financial obstacles that they used to, so subsidies to compensate for them are to a significant degree superfluous. But subsidies of various sorts may still be used where policy makers judge that hastening the adoption of carbon-free energy is urgent. And yes, there are numerous facets of energy policy to consider in connection with that. But I need to keep this comment brief.)

    More than most of us will ever want to know here:

    https://www.projectfinance.law/publications/2019/august/buying-a-wind-farm/

  45. 395
    David B. Benson says:

    michael Sweet @387 — And yet doubly wrong, yet again.

    Due to the ITC, Investment Tax Credit, wind farms can prosper during times of negative prices.

    Nuclear power plants in the USA can load follow although ordinarily that’s not necessary. The Columbia Generating Station reduced power to 20% in the spring of the year some years ago.

  46. 396
    Bill Henderson says:

    Looking ahead to Biden’s climate summit and what should be on the agenda as part of a real US climate plan, both Murphy and Fancy have insights about a path through our present predicament. Murphy suggests those in power (p331):

    “appeal to the fundamentally conservative nature of most people. This is conservative with a small‘c,’ rather than the Conservative (right-leaning) political party. In this sense, conservative means: 1. low risk: let’s not gamble the future on speculative notions; 2. conservation of resources and quality of the earth environment; 3. laying the groundwork for future generations (e.g., grandchildren)to have a liveable world…An apt analogy is that our society is, metaphorically, barrelling toward a cliff. Faced with credible warnings, the low-risk (conservative) approach would be to alter course: get serious about a non-fossil infrastructure and transition away from growth.”

    While Fancy concludes his OpEd:

    “Canadian business executives must find the moral clarity to make clear to the public that systemic problems require systemic solutions led by democratically elected leaders. Truly averting the climate threat requires governments and the private sector to come together to rapidly transform our economy into one that doesn’t have to be bad for business, but can no longer be business as usual.”

    Amen.

    https://www.hilltimes.com/2021/04/15/coming-to-grips-with-our-climate-predicament/293094

  47. 397
    nigelj says:

    Richard @379 yes I understand that the conventional engine design uses one cyclinder for everything, so lots of pressure from tight fitting components and so friction and wear. You appear to have replaced it with three cylinders linked together, two of which have low friction and the combustion cylinder still has high friction? I’m not seeing where the basic advantage is as far as friction goes. And I assume a standard 4 cylinder engine ends up with 12 cylinders. Plus you mentioned it needs a water delivery system for cooling, so Im totally mystified how that eliminates a radiator in some form.

    ———————————

    Richard @381, when someone tells me there is only one PROVEN way I still get suspicious.

    ————————–

    Richard Caldwell @388

    Yes Hybrids make plenty of sense if run entirely or mostly on biofuels. The trouble is there is no certainty about whats happening with biofuels and there are big resourcing challenges. This is probably why car companies are developing both electric and PHEV vehicles. Yes if internal combusion engines were really small and super efficient, hybrids would win hands down. Surely if that could be done in a useful, practical cost effective way it would have been done by now. Engines have been around for ages.

  48. 398
    nigelj says:

    M Sweet criticises Nuclear power for needing extensive storage. EP criticises renewables for needing extensive storage. It’s almost comical. Its why I have given up on this sort of discussion. Its like my one is bigger than your one.

  49. 399
    nigelj says:

    Richard Caldwell @379 adding to my previous reply. What Im getting at is this: one of the cylinders will still have high wear so the engine will need to be completely pulled apart and serviced well before all cylinders need work, and pulling engines apart is expensive. Its also not clear that extending the life of engines is a winner. People can already buy long lasting cars like toyotas, but most dont. Most cars get junked before the engines are worn out anyway, because other things wear out or simply become outdated. So Im just intuitively a bit unconvinced. Could be wrong of course.

  50. 400
    Mr. Know It All says:

    365 nigelj
    “Have you ever bothered to research the huge damage fossil fuels do to the biosphere, its wildlife and also humans health?”

    Good pro-nuclear power article. I liked the “Summary” graph at the top, that indicates nuclear power has lower C02 emissions than biomass, hydro, wind, and solar. Not bad.

    On the URL link to 5 million deaths by air pollution, from the map you can see that the worst death rates are in developing nations, and most of it is unlikely due to power production. Much of it is due to cooking and heating using open fires indoors, and not just with fossil fuels, but also burning dung, wood, etc. Germany had a higher rate than I would expect – maybe they are getting bad air from Russia due to winds???

    https://ourworldindata.org/air-pollution#air-pollution-is-one-of-the-world-s-leading-risk-factors-for-death

    Industrialized nations have strict laws to prevent fossil fuel pollution being a huge issue.

    Fossil fuels run the world economy and have done so since the early 1900s at least. They aren’t perfect, but most would agree that they are better than burning forests – I think the Europeans did that until there weren’t many forests left. Fossil fuels have enabled humans to travel the world with ease, to be comfortable in our homes when it’s -60F outside, to have abundant food without back-breaking labor, and on and on. Not perfect, but they made the good life possible for a LOT of people. If you want to change the system, you’d best be doing your homework – it’s vast and complex, and simplistic feel-good replacements may not end well.

    385 – BPL
    “BPL: You’ve joined E-P’s camp on the race issue, I take it. Industry not hiring enough white people for your taste?”

    Did I say ANYTHING about race or white people? No, I did not. So you’re OK with hiring people to design, build, and operate nuclear power plants based on ANYTHING other than merit and expertise in their fields? I’m not OK with that. Actions have consequences. In many fields of work, mediocrity may be OK; but not with nukes.