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Forced Responses: May 2021

Filed under: — group @ 2 May 2021

A bimonthly open thread on climate solutions. Perhaps unsurprisingly this is always the most contentious comment thread on the site, but please try and be constructive and avoid going off on wild tangents.

52 Responses to “Forced Responses: May 2021”

  1. 1
    David B. Benson says:

    Here is a variety of links to articles which might be discussed:
    https://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/thread/697/power-world?page=9

  2. 2
    michael Sweet says:

    Engineer poet at 515 last month:

    So no data to support your wild claims about renewable energy causing CCGT plants to close and carbon dioxide pollution to increase. Fortunately, the Union of Concerned Scientists has done an evaluation of California’s renewable energy and gas plants:
    https://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/attach/2018/07/Turning-Down-Natural-Gas-California-fact-sheet.pdf
    They find that about the same amount of CCGT and Peaker plants should be shut down. Your story is simply BS you made up. Your whining about California shutting down CCGT plants to reduce thermal pollution in the ocean is also just BS. Only a few CCGT plants are located on the ocean in California.

    The Union of Concerned Scientists looks at pollution with increased renewable energy.
    https://blog.ucsusa.org/mark-specht/do-renewables-lead-to-increased-air-pollution-from-california-power-plants
    They find that carbon dioxide is greatly decreased. They are concerned about NOx pollution from start up of CCGT plants. They find that pollution is decreasing in California as renewables increase, but that action should be taken to reduce startup issues with CCGT. They suggest simple fixes. Your suggestion that carbon dioxide and other pollution increases as renewables are built out is simply more of your BS.

    No data from Ireland, only “I think I once saw”. Was that current data you cannot remember? Wikipedia has an article on electricity in Ireland:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity_sector_in_Ireland
    Their graph shows that as renewable energy has increased in Ireland coal has decreased. Gas has stayed flat so far. Your claim that renewable displaced gas and not coal is simply more of your BS.

    Perhaps if you started to read the literature and stopped making stuff up you will not spew so much BS. If you cannot find data links to support your wild claims that means they are simply BS you made up. Whining about how you are working alone and don’t know how to find the data is not an excuse for not reading the peer reviewed literature. I have provided links to support my claims.

    Please provide a link to anyone who has energy system experience who has a plan for future energy that has more than 10% final user energy from nuclear power. They must show that the materials exist to build out the nuclear plants and include costs in their plans like building new distributed heating and the cost of making liquid fuels.

  3. 3
    Russell says:

    Coral conservation researchers have found that dimming underwater sunlight can mitigate reef bleaching from high water temperatures

    https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2021/05/coral-conservation-its-cooler-in-shade.html

  4. 4
    nigelj says:

    From Yale climate connections: “Report: All new cars and trucks in U.S. could be electric by 2035”.

    https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2021/04/report-all-new-cars-and-trucks-in-u-s-could-be-electric-by-2035/

    Please note there is an embedded link to a pdf of the detailed study and supporting data. Definitely not just hype, they have researched this in depth, but it does rely on certain government policies. Its essentially a feasability study on the technology, manufacturing, scaling up, and economics. Just thought it may be of interest.

  5. 5
    TYSON MCGUFFIN says:

    Professor Criswell’s perseverance finally bears fruit.

    Novel Orbital and Moon Manufacturing, Material, and Mass-efficient Design (NOM4D)
    General Information
    Contract Opportunity Type: Pre-solicitation (Original)
    All Dates/Times are: (UTC-04:00) EASTERN STANDARD TIME, NEW YORK, USA
    Original Published Date: Feb 26, 2021 05:11 pm EST
    Original Response Date: Apr 27, 2021 04:00 pm EDT
    Original Inactive Date: May 27, 2021
    Classification
    Product Service Code: A – RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
    NAICS Code: 541715 – Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences (except Nanotechnology and Biotechnology)
    Description
    The Defense Sciences Office (DSO) at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is soliciting innovative research proposals in the area of new materials, manufacturing, and design technologies to enable future structures to be built on orbit and/or on the lunar surface. The Novel Orbital and Moon Manufacturing, Materials, and Mass-efficient Design (NOM4D) program will provide the foundational proof of concept that new materials science, manufacturing, and design technologies can be brought together to enable future structures to be produced in their native environments without the constraints imposed by launch. In addition, this program will also explore opportunities to leverage existing materials on the moon (e.g., regolith) as a resource for future lunar-derived materials and structures. Specific technologies of interest include high performance feedstock materials, mass- and energy-efficient off-Earth manufacturing methods, high performance lunar resource utilization capabilities, and new design paradigms that will revolutionize the mass efficiency and precision achievable by future structures.

  6. 6

    The idea of putting a price on carbon to reduce ghg emissions is endorsed by economists from across the political spectrum. On July 30 and 31, Boston University will be hosting a virtual conference on carbon pricing focusing on the economic and technical research about pricing measures required to meet the Paris goals of a 1.5 to 2.0 degree C rise in global temperatures and the social change and political conflict likely to arise from higher energy prices.

    Only the call for papers has been posted so far (http://ires.ubc.ca/call-for-papers-conference-on-carbon-pricing-hosted-by-boston-university/), but the registration site should be up soon.

  7. 7
    Mike says:

    https://theconversation.com/installing-solar-panels-over-californias-canals-could-yield-water-land-air-and-climate-payoffs-158754

    “… we’ve found an easy win-win for both water and climate in California with what we call the “solar canal solution.” About 4,000 miles of canals transport water to some 35 million Californians and 5.7 million acres of farmland across the state. Covering these canals with solar panels would reduce evaporation of precious water – one of California’s most critical resources – and help meet the state’s renewable energy goals, while also saving money.”

    sounds like a good idea.

    Cheers
    Mike

  8. 8

    @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.

    https://cleantechnica.com/2021/04/30/grid-storage-winners-part-2-how-much-of-which-storage-by-when/

    This piece left me with more questions than I had before I read it.  F’rinstance, this little gem regarding total storage power (not energy):

    Keen-eyed readers will note two things immediately. My projection is to 2060, not 2050, and the total amount of capacity isn’t 3,700 GW.

    He’s talking storage power roughly 8x the average load on the US grid.

    One more thing worth stating. There’s vastly more than enough fresh water for pumped hydro. I hear this as an argument against it regularly, so let’s put it to rest. The suggested roughly 2 TW of capacity is like 120 TWh of capacity. With closed-loop pumped hydro storage, a 500-meter head height requires a gigaliter of water to provide a GWh of storage. That equates to 120,000 gigaliters required for pumped hydro.

    A teraliter is a cubic kilometer.  120 Tl is 1/4 the water volume of Lake Erie!  And the requisite geography is NOT easy to come by.  Barnard assumes 500 meters hydraulic head, but the Ludington PHS plant, located in perhaps THE best site in the Great Lakes, only has 111 meters of head and the upper reservoir has an active volume of a mere 0.64 km³.  And his scheme assumes the equivalent of 200 such sites!

    If it was easy, we already would have done it.

  9. 9

    Whenever man and nature have come into conflict, nature has lost. We show that aside without regard to the species that are depend upon it. Meaning population control because there are too many people for the resources required, forcing some to starve while others demonstrate with egregious lifestyles that there is no limit to greed.

    We are killing the planet by choosing to use inefficient, intermittent, resource-gobbling,, environment-wrecking short-lived wind and solar farms that primarily rely on carbon-burning power plants to generate he majority of their capacity that wind and solar cannot provide.

    A look at the science convinced says that we should be expanding highly efficient, 24/7, resource-sipping, environment-be nine, long-lived nuclear power, particularly the new units that cannot melt down and can consume 90% of our stored nuclear spent fuel “waste” as fuel, converting it into electricity.

    Download the free PDF of Unintended Consequences From the home page of http://www.tundracub.com.

  10. 10
    Robert Bradley says:

    In a recent debate with John Christy, Kerry Emanuel author of the 70-page primer What We Know About Climate Change (MIT Press: 2018), stated: “If I’d written a book called What We Don’t Know about Climate Science, it would have been an encyclopedia.”

    https://www.econtalk.org/john-christy-and-kerry-emanuel-on-climate-change/

    With Koonin’s ‘Unsettled” book, recent UAH temperature data, and Lindzen’s April 2021 Asia-Pacific Journal of Atmospheric Sciences by the Korean Meteorological Society paper, global lukewarming/climate optimism is looking up.

    [Response: Maybe they should look down? https://assets.climatecentral.org/images/made/2016CoastalFloodDays_Bars_CONUS_web_900_506_s_c1_c_c.jpg – gavin]

  11. 11

    Going back to my “replace all fossil-fueled energy in the USA with nuclear” scheme to use biomass as the carbon source and USDOE’s projection of something north of 1 billion tons available per annum, it’s time to look at what this does to electrical generation capacity and the need for storage.

    Total US delivered energy from motor fuels (gasoline plus diesel) comes to around 180-200 GW at the engine crankshaft.  The majority of this can be electrified by a combination of 3 expedients:

    1.  Switching most vehicle drivetrains to PHEVs.  A light-duty vehicle in the US travels half its lifetime mileage in its first 6 years, so this would be a relatively rapid transition.

    2.  A renaissance of rail freight transport, coupled with electrification of most rail lines.  Some sort of scheme for powering refrigerated cargo containers would be a bonus here.

    3.  Some sort of charging-in-motion system for heavy trucks operating on highways.

    The USA consumed 38.3 quads of petroleum products in 2019.  Replacing 75% of motor gasoline and 50% of distillate fuel consumption with electric power slashes that to 21.1 quads, comfortably inside my calculated energy of 25.8 quads of MeOH; replacing half of propane with electricity further cuts that to 20.5 quads.

    In my post on a biomass-plus-electric scheme to replace petroleum in the USA, I calculated that conversion of 1 billion tons of biomass to syngas would require an average thermal power of 132 GW, which I later updated with an estimate of 89.5 GW thermal losses if the product gas was simply quenched with no energy recovery.  That comes to a total of 221.5 GW average power demand for the basic system.

    How much energy can be recovered depends on questions of chemistry that I simply don’t have answers to.  The syngas consists of CO + H2, with excess steam and probably traces of CH4 and CO2.  Whether H2 and excess steam would prevent carbon deposition from the Boudouard reaction is crucial to energy recovery.  If there’s a significant reaction of CO to C + CO2, instead of CO + H2O to CO2 + H2, then heat exchangers would tend to foul above about 400°C and the recoverable heat is fairly limited.  If OTOH excess steam and hydrogen favors gaseous reaction products until the reaction rate falls to negligible levels, much more heat can be recovered.

    One dry kg of biomass at 45% carbon reacts with steam to make 1.05 kg CO and 0.075 kg of H2.  This requires 0.125 kg of steam for consumption, and I will assume a ~50% excess to drive the reaction toward syngas.  I’ll estimate 0.1872 kg (10.4 moles) of steam per kg of biomass.  17.4 MJ of biomass plus 392.5 kJ/kg biomass of energy to heat the steam to reaction temperature seems about right.  The resulting syngas consists of 1.05 kg (37.5 moles) of CO, 0.075 kg (37.5 moles) H2, and 62.2 grams (3.46 moles) excess steam.  The ΔH between 1000°C and room temperature is 37.74 kJ/mol for H2O, 30.94 kJ/mol for CO, and 29.08 kJ/mol for H2.  The heat yield in cooling is 2381 kJ/kg of biomass, more than sufficient to heat the input steam to reaction temperature; assuming 95% efficiency in the steam-heating process, the heat loss would be 2008 kJ/kg biomass.  The excess can probably be tapped to drive a steam turbine.  Since steam turbines don’t like rapid thermal cycling and the biomass processing will be used as an interruptible and highly variable dump load, the system should probably use heat storage such as solar salt and run the steam turbine from that.  This would require a certain amount of centralization of the biomass processing to operate at the required scale, which may or may not be desirable.  Another possibility is to generate excess steam to convert half of the CO into CO2 + H2 so that the balance of CO can be converted to methanol; the MeOH+CO2 mixture is transportable by pipeline, retaining 100% of the carbon.  The CO2 can be combined with H2 to make MeOH+H2O, where and when energy is available to make the H2.

    So anyway, the heating value of the biomass input is 17.4 MJ/kg, the product syngas is about 21.55 MJ per kg of input (4.15 MJ gain), and the heat losses are about 2.01 MJ/kg input.  The energy increase plus losses comes to 6.16 MJ/kg of input, or 6.16 EJ/yr for a billion tons per year.  This is an average thermal power of 195.2 GW.  This is well within the realm of feasibility.

    Converting the rest of the carbon to fuel is more energy-intensive.  My previous analysis came to 3750 TWh/yr to make 75 million tons of H2 @ 50 kWh/kg.  That is an average power of 427.8 GW, or 475.3 GW nameplate @ 90% capacity factor.  Combining this with the ~460 GW average load on the US grid plus about 150 GW direct to electric traction, there’s a clear opening for about 1350 GW of electric generation to drive existing grid loads and replace the remaining uses of petroleum with biomass-derived carbon, with about 5 quads/year of fuel left over.  1350 nameplate is well in excess of peak US grid load, so no other electric energy storage is necessary or even desirable.  That’s what the 5 quads/yr of excess fuel is for:  contingencies and carbon sequestration.

    So there you are, almost all neatly tied up.  I haven’t accounted for industrial energy consumption, but decarbonizing both the grid and transport gets two huge economic sectors and the use of waste heat for space heating hits a third very hard.

  12. 12
    Carbomontanus says:

    Dear Dr. R. Climate
    You ask for climate solutions, and the most promising that I found for a very long time is Syntetic Diesel by SOEC Electrolysis. =Solid Oxide Electrolyzer Cell.

    I am rather a chemist and a combustion engine & musical acoustics freak, so this is rather the way that I have allways approached it together with botanics and meteorology, gardening.

    SOEC & furter advanced Syngas and Frischer Tropsch- synteses brings it all into my own domains.

    To my opinion now for a long time, the combustion engine has hardly drawn its last sigh. I truly admire that class of engines. They only need better fuel now, and that is a challenge rather for chemistery.

    The Diesel engine is Science` answer to the question ever since Rudolf Diesel, and just got better and better since then. Turbo- diesel has got all the worlds records of efficiency and fuel economy, the only Motor that went around the globe without landing, and the only that could stay aloft at 20 Km for 24 hours.

    Personally We began with oars and then got it under sail. Then a 1 cyl 2 stroke outboard motor, and there were no more sailing. Then my father bought a 2 cyl 2 stroke “speedboat” where we had to carry a large “gallon” that did cost our skirt each time, just to go to sea. With severe noise and rattle at high speed in pleasant summer weather allready.

    Then we changed to 20` displacement hull with 1 liter 2cyl 4 stroke low compression side- valved engine , that could take us all around the fjord at hull speed on 1 Jerrycan of low octane gasoline. “Hull speed” in knots is the square root of ship length in feet times 1.4, giving 6 knots for a 20`boat. That is the moderate, economic and pleasant speed in displacement boats. At higher speeds, Fuel consumption grows by 3rd potensial.

    But gasoline with spark electricity is unsafe, so we changed to 2 cyl high compression 2/3 L top valved 4 stroke Diesel and also had the propellars minutely controlled and calculated. After that, it goes more silent than ever, faster than ever, and the fuel budget is neglectible. I could gladly pay for syntetic diesel also, and now it seems to come at last. I thought of distilling and rinsing turpentine from spruce, and save and compress the charcoal for eventual smithwork.

    The principle of SOEC technology is intelligible and should be discssed.

    The very tricky source is Hydrogen.

    40 years ago I saw an exhibition festival i Bremen celebrating hydrogen technology. The space shuttle and some other very valuable techniques were shown. “But, where do you get your hydrogen from?” I asked. Because in Norway it is no problem. We exel in hydroelectric power.

    Well, they had the Syngas- industry where water is reduced on white hot cokes. H2O + C -> H2 + CO, that can furter be fractioned by Lindes cooling machine, that also had to be driven by fossile fuels. That method gave Hydrogen for the Zeppeliners and for the Haber Bosch NH3- syntesis for further enormeous quantities of necessary fertillizers. (The world hardy has got a cubic meter of hydrogen left over for combustion. 60-70% og the worlds production of hydrogen goes for the Haber Bosch- synthesis)

    In the meantime, north sea gas has taken over a lot. CH4 + 2H2O -> 4H2 + CO2.

    Todays rumors of “Soec electrolyzers” should be seen and judged in that context.

    As with the boat and the engines and to make it as cheap and efficient as possible, avoid producing exhaust and waste,.. the SOEC processes with further frischer tropsch do require electrical energy, but can further take care of CO2 that is supposed to be captured and stored., And then quite essencial, it can utilize geothermal heat, solar heat, and atomic heat quite directly, and there is where research seems to be going on in our days.

    A large oil refinery is being condemned and taken down right here further out in the fjord, at Slagen. Rumors in press with photos say that they re-building a plant for syntetic diesel and jet fuel, showing small bottles of absolutely clear and clean whitespirit and kerosene.

    Which is what I am waiting for.

    To my opinion, 3 things should not run on electricity because the extension cords become too long: 1, cars. 2, boats and 3, Aeroplanes!

    Theese SOEC- rumors should give us a faint, new hope for aeroplanes at last

  13. 13
    fretslider says:

    We can beat this climate anxiety/distress/grief etc simply by admitting that there is no problem in the first place. It’s a classic case of:

    Induction of Psycho-neuroses by Conditioned REflex with Stress

    Via the narrative driven media and the hellholes of social media.

  14. 14
    Piotr Trela says:

    fretslider (13) “ We can beat this climate anxiety/distress/grief etc simply by admitting that there is no problem in the first place

    Do you need to click the heels of your red ruby slippers three times?

    And how this has worked for you with that “COVID” thing? You know, pushed by “narrative-driven media and the hellholes of social media“?
    A certain very stable genius assured us that there is no need for anxiety/distress/grief because there is no problem in the first place: e.g.:
    when you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done.

  15. 15
    nigelj says:

    fretslider @13 “We can beat this climate anxiety/distress/grief etc simply by admitting that there is no problem in the first place. It’s a classic case of:Induction of Psycho-neuroses by Conditioned REflex with StressVia the narrative driven media and the hellholes of social media.”

    The denialist ‘narrative’ in your completely idiotic, evidence free comments seems more concerning.

  16. 16
    Killian says:

    6 Gary Rucinski says:
    3 May 2021 at 10:50 AM

    The idea of putting a price on carbon to reduce ghg emissions is endorsed by economists from across the political spectrum.

    “Delusional pseudo-scientists of all stripes encourage greater transfer of wealth to the rich in carbon shell game.”

    Fixed it for you.

    On July 30 and 31, Boston University will be hosting a virtual conference on carbon pricing focusing on the economic and technical research about pricing measures required to meet the Paris goals of a 1.5 to 2.0 degree C rise in global temperatures and the social change and political conflict likely to arise from higher energy prices.

    “On July 30 and 31, Boston University will be hosting a virtual conference on delusional aspirations to meet the Paris goals of a 1.5 to 2.0 degree C rise in global temperatures without addressing any of the underlying causes. Social change and political conflict certain to arise from higher energy prices, but will be swamped by the eventual collapse-/extinction-related panic.”

    Fixed that, too.

  17. 17

    E-P 8 objects to pumped hydro because, in the aggregate: “120 Tl is 1/4 the water volume of Lake Erie!”

    BPL: And if all the railroad track mileage in the United States were laid end to end, it would stretch more than halfway to the Moon!

  18. 18

    f 13: We can beat this climate anxiety/distress/grief etc simply by admitting that there is no problem in the first place.

    BPL: And if we close our eyes as we plunge off the cliff, we’ll never hit the bottom.

  19. 19
    jgnfld says:

    @ “We can beat this climate anxiety/distress/grief etc simply by admitting that there is no problem in the first place.”

    True. And when you hide under the covers the monsters out there will never get you. Amazing how blind they are.

  20. 20
    David B. Benson says:

    A brief account of Chernobyl causes:
    https://hackaday.com/2021/05/05/the-soviet-rbmk-reactor-35-years-after-the-chernobyl-disaster/

    Lack of safety culture…

  21. 21
    michael Sweet says:

    engineer Poet at 11:
    You are proposing building nuclear reactors at the center of giant industrial complexes. Immense piping systems to distribute district heating will radiate out from the industrial complexes. To heat all the homes in the USA, the piping will be hundreds of thousands of miles long. Most existing roads will have to be rebuilt to get the pipes in the ground. What is the cost of that?

    Your 1 billion tons of biomass will all have to be shipped to your industrial complexes. What will the cost of shipping all that material be? How much energy will it consume?

    Other plans call for building biomass to liquids refineries near the biomass sources and using renewable electricity to make the liquid. That uses less energy and is more efficient.

    Have you considered how you will cool houses in the summer? Other plans lump heat and cooling energy together. You cannot use district heating to cool houses in summer, you will need an additional system.

    Your “plan” is just so much pie in the sky. You have not thought through the consequences of your proposals. You have not considered the efficiency of the processes like liquidation of biomass (Connelly et al 2016 considers the efficiency of the process, the transport of the biomass and the cost of the chemical plants to do the liquidation). Even if work was begun today it would be long after 2050 before your industrial complexes and district heating systems could be built.

    You are wasting your time doing calculations about biomaterials. These have already been published in the peer reviewed literature. A friend of mine used to say “A month’s doing calculations can save you four hours in the library”. You should look up the calculations in Connelly et al 2016 and its references.

    You do not have a serious proposal, just a bunch of uninformed guesses. Even David Benson does not reference you as a nuclear plan. Do you plan to build out reactors in Afghanistan, Syria and Zimbabwe? How will they be defended from terrorists? How will you power these countries? I am good with building out wind and solar in those countries. If you cannot power the world yo do not have a plan.

  22. 22
    zebra says:

    Michael Sweet #21,

    I am not disagreeing with your overall critique, but waste heat can be and is used for cooling.

  23. 23

    Michael Sourpuss @21:

    You are proposing building nuclear reactors at the center of giant industrial complexes.

    Not really.  I’d planned to put them close enough to cities that their waste heat could be used for space heating, like the AP1000s at Haiyang in China.

    Immense piping systems to distribute district heating will radiate out from the industrial complexes.

    We already have such piping systems for potable water, sewage and natural gas.

    To heat all the homes in the USA, the piping will be hundreds of thousands of miles long.

    The EIA claims there are about 3 million miles of NG pipelines in the USA.  The district heat network would be considerably smaller, because it would not have any analog to interstate mainline pipelines and would not serve outlying areas either; it would only run where the cost of piping was less than the cost of other energy sources, such as electricity or electrofuels.

    Your 1 billion tons of biomass will all have to be shipped to your industrial complexes.

    I made it clear that that is NOT the case.  The system moves energy much more than matter; electrically-powered gasification units can be located anywhere that wires are, or can be run.  You could put one right in the middle of a forest to process logging slash if there’s a transmission right-of-way going through it.  The product MeOH+CO2 can be shipped out by pipeline using the same ROW.  Crop wastes might not be processed right at the farm, but local processing units could be located every few miles to minimize transport requirements.

    Other plans call for building biomass to liquids refineries near the biomass sources and using renewable electricity to make the liquid.

    I’ve substituted nuclear power for unreliable “renewables”, to eliminate one MAJOR source of availability problems.  Most BTL processes lose substantial carbon as CO2, taking the hardest-to-get portion of the required inputs and throwing much of it away.  My scheme keeps ALL of it.

    Have you considered how you will cool houses in the summer?

    1350 GW of electric generation would do that without breaking a sweat.  You ignore the part that the bioelectrofuels system is used as a DUMP LOAD; immediate electric demands like A/C and PEV charging come first.

    You have not considered the efficiency of the processes like liquidation of biomass (Connelly et al 2016 considers the efficiency of the process, the transport of the biomass and the cost of the chemical plants to do the liquidation).

    I swear, you’ve left your brain somewhere and can’t find it.  I made it abundantly clear that my scheme is mainly thermochemical and requires no fancy plants.  MeOH synthesis and WGS reactors are old hat; you can buy turnkey MeOH plants, that’s how easy it is.

    You are wasting your time doing calculations about biomaterials.

    I learn by doing.  Your refusal to dig into the numbers yourself is probably why you’re so uncreative and locked into a mindset of appeal to authority.

    Do you plan to build out reactors in Afghanistan, Syria and Zimbabwe? How will they be defended from terrorists? How will you power these countries?

    Let Syria and Zimbabwe lease off-shore nuclear generator barges, if they can collect the fees to pay for them.  In the case of half-a-can-of-spam, they can go back to the stone age.

    I am good with building out wind and solar in those countries. If you cannot power the world yo do not have a plan.

    So, where are the countries which are powering wind and solar production with wind and solar?  If you can’t support the industries required to make your components, you don’t have a plan.

  24. 24
    TYSON MCGUFFIN says:

    6 Gary Rucinski
    The idea of putting a price on carbon to reduce ghg emissions is endorsed by economists from across the political spectrum. On July 30 and 31, Boston University will be hosting a virtual conference on carbon pricing focusing on the economic and technical research about pricing measures required to meet the Paris goals of a 1.5 to 2.0 degree C rise in global temperatures and the social change and political conflict likely to arise from higher energy prices.

    Reply
    Along with carbon pricing we must also proceed immediately to end U.S. Federal and State Tax subsidies to fossil fuels which support their exploration, production, and consumption.

  25. 25

    #8, E-P–

    A teraliter is a cubic kilometer. 120 Tl is 1/4 the water volume of Lake Erie!

    Correct, but misleading. Erie is by far the shallowest of the Great Lakes. The others by volume, in ascending order:

    Ontario: 1,640 km3
    Huron: 3,500 km3
    Michigan: 4,900 km3 (N.B.–Huron & Michigan are really one bilobed lake.)
    Superior: 12,000 km3

    Total for Great Lakes: 22,520 km3

    So we go from “That’s 1/4 the volume of Lake Erie!” to the rather less impressive “That’s more than 0.5% of the volume of the Great Lakes!”

    And let’s remember that Barnard was talking about *global* numbers, not US ones. So it’s worth remembering that North America doesn’t have a monopoly on large natural reservoirs. In fact, it’s not even #1. The distribution of lake waters:

    …29% in the African Great Lakes, 22% in Lake Baikal in Russia, 21% in the North American Great Lakes, and 14% in other lakes.

    But that’s not even the most central point. That would be that there’s no need for massive reservoirs at all. Barnard, citing an Australian study we’ve previously discussed here:

    …there are 100 times the global requirement in sites with greater than 400 meter head heights, near transmission, off of waterways and off of protected lands. A GWh of storage at 500 meters head height requires 2 square kilometers of reservoir between upper and lower, while a single 800 MW dam, Site C in BC, requires 93 square kilometers of reservoir.”

    Here’s E-P, with my comments:

    And the requisite geography is NOT easy to come by.
    KM: Not what Monash University found, despite the categorical assertion by E-P.

    Barnard assumes 500 meters hydraulic head…
    KM: Not for his scenario, merely for the illustration of the scale problem existing for PHES deniers.

    …but the Ludington PHS plant, located in perhaps THE best site in the Great Lakes…
    KM: Source? I searched but found no support for this claim. A cursory examination of a topo map of the Lake Superior basin–see link below–suggests that it’s probably untrue.

    …only has 111 meters of head and the upper reservoir has an active volume of a mere 0.64 km³. And his scheme assumes the equivalent of 200 such sites!

    KM: Classic argument from incredulity. And a lame one, remembering that the total needed is global, not national.

    https://en-ie.topographic-map.com/maps/zxn1/Lake-Superior/

    An interesting case in point is the Bath County PHES facility. Note that its water supply consists of only a couple of minor creeks:

    Back Creek and Little Back Creek, the water sources used to create the reservoirs, have a relatively small flow rate. However, since water is pumped between the reservoirs equally, the only water taken from these creeks now that the reservoirs are full is to replace the water lost to evaporation.

    Again, no need for massive water sources, or reservoirs. Those interested in the Bath County case can examine the details about the reservoir sizes, head height and so forth on their own.

    Ditto the Raccoon Mountain site, another well-known example, and in some ways a contrasting one:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raccoon_Mountain_Pumped-Storage_Plant

  26. 26
    Piotr says:

    Poet (8) “ This piece left me with more questions than I had before I read it. F’rinstance, this little gem regarding total storage power (not energy):
    “[Barnard] My projection is to 2060, not 2050, and the total amount of capacity isn’t 3,700 GW.” He’s talking storage power roughly 8x the average load on the US grid.

    Yes, there is a “ little gem” in your F’rinstance – but not where you think it is: the 3,700 GW refers to quote: Jacobson and co’s modeling cover 143 countries, broken into 24 grid regions

    143 countries – NOT the same as one country

    Before _I_ get all uppity ridiculing others (“ this little gem“) I try to make sure that I don’t base my arrogance on my ignorance. Saves me ending up with an egg on my face… You might give it a try one day.

  27. 27
    Robert M says:

    @8 Engineer-Poet: 120 TWh of pumped hydro does sound like a lot. Jacobsen’s 100% renewable scenario only has 0.8 TWh of pumped hydro, along with 500 TWh of other storage, mostly underground heat. I don’t know if he considered the full potential of pumped hydro though, e.g. underground storage.

    In New Zealand we are considering building a 5-12 TWh pumped hydro facility which would enable complete decarbonisation of the economy and also fix the present weakness of our electricity system which involves a lot of hydropower and very little storage. So when it stops raining, like now, electricity prices go through the roof and our last remaining coal-fired power station makes big profits burning cheap Indonesian coal.

  28. 28
    jef says:

    It is well understood that we could reduce FF based electrical generation by around 50% or more and the associated Co2 if we had large scale, economical, ecological, batteries/storage.

    I believe that “renewables” also require large scale, economical, ecological, batteries/storage in order to be practical and scale up.

    What that means is that large scale, economical, ecological, batteries/storage would benefit the planet immediately and allow for the serious transition to “renewables”.

    Why is it then that we have not solved this critical piece of the puzzle?

  29. 29

    The idea of putting a price on carbon to reduce ghg emissions is endorsed by economists from across the political spectrum.

    K 16: “Delusional pseudo-scientists of all stripes encourage greater transfer of wealth to the rich in carbon shell game.”

    BPL: Yes, Killian, taking money from CO2 producers and redistributing it to the public at large is a transfer of wealth to the rich. And prices don’t affect how much is supplied. I can see why you hate economics–you must never have passed an introductory course in it.

  30. 30

    An article of slightly more general or perhaps theoretical interest, in the context of mitigation. We frequently enough refer to Hardin’s “Tragedy of the Commons”, but does it really possess the inevitability that is supposed to be a hallmark of true tragedy? Elinor Ostrom found otherwise.

    https://aeon.co/essays/the-tragedy-of-the-commons-is-a-false-and-dangerous-myth

    There’s also the simplicity v. complexity question, and the danger of supposed panaceas. Ponderable, definitely.

  31. 31
  32. 32

    Realism from TVA:

    https://www.powermag.com/tva-eyeing-coal-phaseout-by-2035-will-rely-on-nuclear/

    While TVA’s “low-carbon” plans include renewables—“solar and wind as much as that system can integrate, there are limitations to that,” Lyash noted. TVA’s “first priority” today is “to preserve and extend the valuable nuclear fleet we have running in this country by addressing the dysfunctions in the organized markets and in the revenue models that we’ve set up that inappropriately disadvantage these very valuable plants,” he said.

  33. 33
    Mal Adapted says:

    Robert Bradley:

    In a recent debate with John Christy, Kerry Emanuel author of the 70-page primer What We Know About Climate Change (MIT Press: 2018), stated: “If I’d written a book called What We Don’t Know about Climate Science, it would have been an encyclopedia.”

    https://www.econtalk.org/john-christy-and-kerry-emanuel-on-climate-change/

    With Koonin’s ‘Unsettled” book, recent UAH temperature data, and Lindzen’s April 2021 Asia-Pacific Journal of Atmospheric Sciences by the Korean Meteorological Society paper, global lukewarming/climate optimism is looking up.

    Dr. (of Political Economy) Bradley evidently believes uncertainty is his friend. That’s the central fallacy of “luckwarmism.” Yet a glance at the current consensus PDF of ECS (scroll to the end to see figures) shows the most likely modal value (sufficiently alarming on its own), and the probabilities of actual ECS being higher as well as lower. By inspection, it’s clear uncertainty is not our friend, because our luck could as easily be bad as good!

    As for “What We Don’t Know about Climate Science”, Dr. Bradley is quote mining here. Dr. Emanuel was merely expressing humility appropriate to all science: It’s understood that what is known about climate is finite, while what is not known is infinite, because scientists will always have more questions. Bradley seeks to exploit the fundamental uncertainties of natural science, in order to cast doubt on the things climate science is confident of: 1) The globe is warming; 2) It’s due to the large scale, economically driven transfer of fossil carbon to the atmosphere; 3) The human cost of the warming in money and tragedy is already high, and will mount as long as the atmospheric concentration of CO2 does. Despite Robert Bradley’s bespoke opinions on behalf of his capitalist clients, there is no disputing that the longer humanity delays in replacing fossil fuels with carbon-neutral alternatives, the greater both the private profits and the social losses will be. Consider the source, and follow the money!

  34. 34
  35. 35
    Killian says:

    While I have some fairly strong reservations about some of the techniques this guy is using, he does a good job of overviewing the value of bio-char and thereby tangentially illustrates just how poorly many understand the power of regenerative practices to feed the world and sequester carbon. (I strongly suspect he has read neither The Bio-Char Solution nor Burn.)

    https://www.growingproduce.com/fruits/why-grape-growers-are-turning-to-biochar-for-vine-growth/

  36. 36
    Richard Caldwell says:

    EP: How much energy can be recovered depends on questions of chemistry that I simply don’t have answers to.

    RC: When one doesn’t have the chops (or the time) to do as folks are admonished: “study, reasearch, get post-doctoral knowledge and then decide” (when exceptions to one’s “prescribed path” encompass what? 99.9% of actual people? then it kinda comes down to integrity in the broadest definition possible…)

    A pontificator who brings up a topic that they didn’t have to, only to declare themself to be ignorant, sure smells like “integrity” to me. How about you?

  37. 37
    Richard Caldwell says:

    To clarify:

    I was speaking of regular folks wondering which pontificator’s analysis to trust.

    And yes, EP is a special case. Where does one draw the line between stuff he and his math excel at and stuff that comes from axioms you disagree with, perhaps vehemently?

  38. 38
    Mal Adapted says:

    Kevin McKinney:

    We frequently enough refer to Hardin’s “Tragedy of the Commons”, but does it really possess the inevitability that is supposed to be a hallmark of true tragedy? Elinor Ostrom found otherwise.

    https://aeon.co/essays/the-tragedy-of-the-commons-is-a-false-and-dangerous-myth

    30 years after The Tragedy of the Commons was published, Hardin published a follow-on article titled The Tragedy of the Unmanaged Commons. His proposed escape from tragedy was through collective management of common-pool resources: “mutual coercion, mutually agreed upon”. Ostrom’s work was primarily on the ways stakeholders in a common-pool resource can mutually agree to regulate its use, enforced by social pressure within local cultural norms. Elsewhere, Ostrom expressed her preference for “The Drama of the Commons“, to emphasize that common-pool resource problems need not end in unmitigated tragedy. Common-pool resource tragedies arise when access to the resource is mediated by a “free” market, in which buyers and sellers agree on a price per unit that externalizes social costs. To prevent tragedy, users must collectively agree to limitations on their freedom to externalize costs in the market. That’s what makes AGW a drama of the commons. The solution is collective intervention in the otherwise-free market for energy. Has that ever been in doubt?

  39. 39
    Susan Anderson says:

    Mal A:
    If it were only “luckwarmism”! I’m afraid it’s worse than that.

  40. 40
    nigelj says:

    Kevin MCKinney @30, thanks for the tragedy of the commons link. Local community initiatives (rules and policing systems) work for making sure people take care of the local park, (and the other examples quoted in the link) but I’m not sure about the safety standards of the local nuclear reactor, or the local factory discharge issues, or the climate change problem for example. Local communities probably don’t have the expertise or resources to deal with the big issues, and the big industries. Its worth remembering that its deficiencies of local government that lead to a need for central government (and vice versa)

    You also risk ending up with every community having different rules, policing systems, and other solutions, if they have any at all. Massive duplication of systems isn’t very efficient. Its also very easy for business interests and other crazies to dominate local communities (eg anti water flouridation zealots). This is why central government generally play a big part in resolving tragedy of the commons issues. I doubt that its practical to change this very much.

  41. 41
    Killian says:

    38 Mal Adapted says:
    7 May 2021 at 2:24 PM
    Common-pool resource tragedies arise when access to the resource is mediated by a “free” market, in which buyers and sellers agree on a price per unit that externalizes social costs. To prevent tragedy, users must collectively agree to limitations on their freedom to externalize costs in the market. That’s what makes AGW a drama of the commons. The solution is collective intervention in the otherwise-free market for energy.

    Yes, which is why only a true system of nested Commons can get us to a regenerative system of governance.

    Has that ever been in doubt?

    You doubt it. I presented Regenerative Governance to this site ten years ago. You have yet to engage meaningfully. You are barking words, basically. All sound and fury with no real action being taken to implement what you claim to support.

    Put your money where your mouth is if you want to be believed.

  42. 42
    nigelj says:

    BPL: “Yes, Killian, taking money from CO2 producers and redistributing it to the public at large is a transfer of wealth to the rich. And prices don’t affect how much is supplied. I can see why you hate economics–you must never have passed an introductory course in it.”

    And this sort of carbon tax and dividend scheme would also help push people to consume less energy and tech, all of which I thought was the point of ‘simplification’.

  43. 43
    Killian says:

    29 Barton Paul Levenson says:
    6 May 2021 at 6:35 AM

    The idea of putting a price on carbon to reduce ghg emissions is endorsed by economists from across the political spectrum.

    K 16: “Delusional pseudo-scientists of all stripes encourage greater transfer of wealth to the rich in carbon shell game.”

    BPL: Yes, Killian, taking money from CO2 producers and redistributing it to the public at large is a transfer of wealth to the rich. And prices don’t affect how much is supplied. I can see why you hate economics–you must never have passed an introductory course in it.

    Oh, Beep, you do so charm with your irascible ideological pandering…

    I don’t hate Economics, Beep; unlike you, I understand Economics.

    Carbon schemes do not shift wealth to the poor. Don’t lie. Fee and Dividend would, but that is not what will be implemented. I would fully support that and long have.

    Your sad, deep, emotional binding to Capitalism keeps you from understanding a few things.

    1. Economists don’t know what “sustainable” means, so they cannot create a carbon price system that would help get to a sustainable state.

    2. Economists *still* think they can have their “economic development” and keep Capitalism going strong. This is literally impossible. Since they believe this, they cannot create a carbon pricing scheme that results in a sustainable economy.

    3. Economists think they have outsmarted Nature, so collapse can never happen. This is stupid.

    4. Economists – even the most enlightened – still do not understand resource limits.

    5. Economists are pretty much all technocopians who do not understand natural systems, trophic flows, etc., so cannot create biomimicking systems.

    Etc.

    Stick to physics. You have little understanding of anything else.

  44. 44
    Killian says:

    Mal said, To prevent tragedy, users must collectively agree to limitations on their freedom to externalize costs in the market.

    This is not precisely correct. In regenerative communities, absolute personal autonomy exists. No freedoms are “given up” as each person chooses when, how, and whether to participate at any given time.

    Participation is voluntary, but because the people have an intimate knowledge of their ecosystem (inclusive of the very human aspects thereof) they do not require coercion to act; they know what *needs* to be done. Interdependence is an obvious requirement to meet their own needs, so even if one is (relatively) selfish, in the end, their own survival depends on doing what work is *necessary*. Their personal autonomy guarantees they need not participate in “work” that is superfluous to meeting their needs or those of the community.

    What coercion there is tends to be very gentle.

  45. 45
    zebra says:

    On The Fallacy Of The Commons,

    What is always left out in these discussions is that if you have a stable population, small enough that the resources used are abundant, the commons gets along just fine.

    In that situation, you still need a structure of some kind to deal with interpersonal conflicts, but there will not be (rational) conflicts based on the concept of ‘ownership’ of resources.

    Ownership is defined by the ability to deny the use of a resource to others, and in a state of abundance, it is neither rational nor practical to attempt to do that. So, if there is much more than enough land for enough milk cows to graze to supply the entire market for milk, what would be the point of having more cows?

  46. 46

    Mal, #38–

    Thanks for the comments…

    The solution is collective intervention in the otherwise-free market for energy. Has that ever been in doubt?

    Perhaps not. What’s been in doubt is the human capacity to implement it, with some seeming to suggest that that capacity is low or even non-existent. That’s a species of doomerism, of course.

  47. 47
    michael Sweet says:

    Engineer Poet at 23:
    At post 317 in the last forced response thread you introduced your biofuels plan. There you said:
    “The difference between the energy of the input biomass and the syngas product is 13.39 EJ/year. This comes out to about 424 GW thermal power; this is not even as much as average US electric power consumption. If we could engineer nuclear plants which operate at perhaps 1200°C, they could supply the required process heat directly with a reactor fleet not much more powerful than what we’re operating today… I shouldn’t need to mention just how well a heat-driven biomass conversion process meshes as a thermal dump load in lieu of electric generation,”
    Meanwhile at post 23 here you say ” The system moves energy much more than matter; electrically-powered gasification units can be located anywhere that wires are, or can be run.”
    So which is it? Do you plan to use process heat from reactors or electricity generated by the reactors? When you change your plan with each post you make it is easy to imagine you have a plan instead of just pie in the sky. Changing your plan with each post indicates that you do not really have a plan at all. You are just making it up with each post. All pie.

    I note that you want reactors at 1200C which do not exist. They can be designed and built in only about 50 years. More pie.

    To use process heat as you described you must co-locate the nuclear reactor and the bioliquids plant. In previous posts (for example 330 last thread), you have described doing many industrial operations using nuclear process heat. All those plants must be colocated. That is impossible as you concede in post 23. More pie.

    Thank you for pointing out that millions of miles of pipe will be needed for your district heat scheme and my distance was much too low. I note that existing sewage, water and gas lines were installed as the roads were built and not added afterwards (in some cases the roads were rebuilt). I live on well and septic. For your new district heat system all the millions of miles of road will have to be rebuilt. What does that cost? you must include the estimate in your plan. More pie.

    You have no estimates of the amount of electrical power you will need for your new plan to use electricity to make the liquids (this is the hardest step for most real plans), no estimate of the amount of liquids required, no estimate of the energy needed to deliver the biomaterials and no estimate of the energy needed for the cooling you plan to use electricity for. Since the basis of your plan was to use waste heat for all heating and cooling and process heat to make the biofuels it seems a few items have been left out. More pie.
    Peer reviewed papers I have referred you to state the efficiency of the bioliquids manufacture. You are just too ignorant to look it up. More pie.

    I see we agree that your plan cannot be used everywhere in the world. This immediately disqualifies your plan from consideration, we need a worldwide plan. Zimbabwe cannot lease nuclear barges, it is landlocked (so is Afghanistan). No pie for a plan that you admit cannot work.

    I note that you have started to deliberately insult my name. When you have no argument to support your position you rely on insults. Not very scientific. All your posts deserve to go to the borehole.

    Can someone tell me how to indent and italicize quotes?

  48. 48
    michael Sweet says:

    Zebra at 22:
    Googling district cooling I see that it is not impossible to utilize some waste heat. Using the entire waste heat stream from a 3 MWth nuclear power plant to heat a city in the winter and cool it in the summer is another matter entirely. You would need at least one additional pipe and the cooling equipment for an entire city would be installed at the reactor site. Imagine the heat loss/gain in a million miles of pipe!! You could install electric heat pumps at every building and dump the excess heat into the hot water delivered but that would have to be more expensive than simply installing heat pumps alone. Please provide a reference where massive industrial waste heat is used to cool a city.

    The plan to use waste heat from thermal power plants to heat and cool a city is completely imaginary. The smallest amount of thought indicates that it is not economically possible.

  49. 49
    zebra says:

    Michael Sweet #48,

    Dude, I said I didn’t disagree with your critique overall. But I really wonder about all the energy (heh) people get sucked in to using in replying to various trolls and crazies.

    Anyway, FYI:

    https://www.districtenergy.org/HigherLogic/System/DownloadDocumentFile.ashx?DocumentFileKey=0e4d8024-4f07-af32-174f-c30f3238d188

    The thing is, as long as natural gas is available for use, all the nuclear hand-waving is just hand-waving. And the suggestion about using waste heat from nuclear is even more ridiculous, because if NG is available you do the tri-generation at the termination of a NG line; you don’t transport thermal energy much distance at all, as the reference indicates. This is established technology, and well suited to populated locations.

    NYC has a massive NG infrastructure in place, and I assume most cities have to some extent. It is irrational to think that will not be the last area where transition away from FF will occur.

    But if you want to ‘debate’ pseudo-engineering fantasy numbers from EP, carry on.

  50. 50

    #40, nigel–

    You’re reading the “drama of the commons” material differently than I did, and perhaps also reading my brief remarks differently than I intended them.

    In a nutshell, I wasn’t putting forward local control as some sort of panacea. Nor do I think (FWIW) that Dr. Ostrom was, either. I think that the cooperative voluntary arrangements she cited were more by way of existence theorems showing that a commons need not always end in tragedy.

    Obviously, scale matters; a global issue requires coordination of some sort on a global level, and if a federal body consisting, say, of all municipal governments on Earth seems a tad unwieldy, well, we could always try governing the thing by referendum of all individuals! (Or, probably, NOT.)

    Note that the conservation associations which are the focus of the second portion of Nijhuis article I cited essentially span the national and local scales–the conservancies operate locally, but are organized under national law:

    In 1996, the Namibian National Assembly passed a law that allowed groups of people living on communal land to establish institutions called conservancies. Conservancies would be governed by elected committees, and all members would share the benefits of any tourism or commercial hunting within conservancy boundaries.

    Also relevant here are the Ostrom-enunciated empirical criteria for success:

    The features of successful systems, Ostrom and her colleagues found, include
    *clear boundaries (the ‘community’ doing the managing must be well-defined);
    *reliable monitoring of the shared resource;
    *a reasonable balance of costs and benefits for participants;
    *a predictable process for the fast and fair resolution of conflicts;
    *an escalating series of punishments for cheaters;
    *and good relationships between the community and other layers of authority, from household heads to international institutions.

    (Formatting and emphasis mine.)

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