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PostPosted: Jun 22, 2014 7:12 am 
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jagdish wrote:
There are some areas (niches) which are best served by distributed generation. A combination of wind and solar will be suitable in these areas. These will also need battery back up. They will find a proper balance once they start.
Remember the French took the wisest decision to go for nuclear in the 1970's. I hope they progress to gen IV in nuclear. Maybe they will develop new used fuel burners!


Come on now Jagdish. Put some more reading effort into it. You're making an argument (actually just blurting something out) about something you don't understand. France gets 90% of its power from large nuclear and hydroelectric installations. If the French energy policy was about that 10% for wind and solar, fine. Stupid and marginal, but fine and understandable.

It isn't. The French decision severely limits their most useful and successful electricity generating source. There is no technical justification for this, quite the opposite. There will be no emissions benefits from closing down nukes or running them at reduced capacity, and then making up the deficit with solar and wind. Quite the reverse, emissions, materials usage etc. will all increase. That is not a lifecycle environmental improvement, it is an affront to science and engineering.

The French are leaders in nuclear energy. This new policy seeks to destroy this. Replace nuclear with anything else to see how ridiculous this really is. For example the French are leaders in high speed trains. Lets say they want to make fewer high speed trains, they don't want to be a leader in it anymore. Why? Why give up your strengths? For what? Alternatives that are inferior in every measurable way!!

There is no legal basis whatsoever either for this decision. Imagine that there would be regulations to halve the solar power industry. Imagine how much protest that would produce.

This is a country that really should know better. Maybe it does as a whole, but the disconnect with the current leaders is staggering. Its insulting for the clever engineers - French engineers - who solved problems of emissions and energy dependence in the 70s.

It is amazing and disturbing to see such woefully unlawful and technically completely unbased policy in a modern Western country.

I can't imagine the industry will take this. If I were in the French nuclear industry I'd fight this unscientific, unlawful and even unconstitutional decision to the teeth.


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PostPosted: Jun 22, 2014 9:27 pm 
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@macpacheco
It seems you didn't read my link.

Unfortunately, I have only a minimal background in chemistry, so others please correct me as needed. I'm seeing values of 4V for some lithium ion batteries. Let's assume that a Li-ion battery liberates 1 electron per Li-ion at 4V. That gets us to 4 eV per lithium atom.

What's the specific energy of such a perfectly efficient lithium battery?
4 eV / atomic mass of lithium
= (4 eV / atomic mass of lithium) (1 eV / 2.24694336 * 10^25 eV / kWh) (6.02 * 10^23 lithium atoms / 6.941 g)
= 1540 Wh / kg

Wikipedia puts real lithium batteries at 100 to 265 Wh / kg. So, real batteries are in the ballpark of 6% to 17% efficient. Before you get all happy that there's a lot of room for improvement, we've been working on lead acid batteries for quite a while, and they're only roughly 25% efficient.

How much energy do we need for just the US alone? My link suggests "336 billion kWh" of storage, which is about a week of consumption.

Let's suppose we had a 25% efficient lithium battery at 4V. How much lithium would be actually need just for the US?
(336 billion kWh) (1 lithium atom / 4 eV) (x4 for 25% efficient) (6.941 g / mole of lithium atoms)
= (336 billion kWh) (1 lithium atom / 4 eV) (4) (6.941 g / 6.02 * 10^23 lithium atoms) (2.24694336 * 10^25 eV / kWh)
= 336 * 6.941 / 6.02 * 2.24694336 10^8 kg
= 8.70 * 10^10 kg

How much lithium is there in the world ready for this use? My link says about 1.18 * 10^10 kg in reserves, and 2.99 * 10^10 kg in estimated global reserves worldwide. I just broke your solution just by the required amounts of lithium, let alone costs of other materials, maintenance and replacement, etc. I again strongly urge to read my link.

Of course, as Mr Ireland says, it gets worse when we consider more northern latitudes. I'm not just breaking your idea for northern latitudes. I'm breaking your solution for most equatorial latitudes too.

I have quite a pessimistic outlook on chemical batteries at national grid scale. Maybe if someone works out some cool chemistry using only very common elements. Otherwise it's just a non-starter.


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PostPosted: Jun 23, 2014 2:47 am 
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Quote:
One would think that iron-air batteries could be perfected over a decade or two, no ?


No. Iron oxides are too stable. As in non-reversible. Ditto for aluminium. Rechargeable batteries are very difficult to engineer because of the conflicting requirements. You need large amounts of chemicals that are reactive and therefore need tons of packaging and protection, you also need it to be light and compact. You want it to yield high energy per kg but it also must be reversible. Reversible reactions are weak.

Quote:
"A LEAF uses just 4Kg worth of Lithium for its batteries"


And yet it costs many thousands of euros. In fact the price premium over comparable gasoline engine cars (gasoline engines cost about the same as electric motors+control electrics) is on the order of 10000 dollars.

The issue isn't the raw materials. We can use sodium-sulphur batteries if needs be.

The issue is cost. Batteries are highly engineered chemical products. Chemical products have certain costs that won't come down anymore at some point. It's about the energy density, it isn't there, so the cost is high (need a lot of engineered product per unit energy delivered).

The cost is ridiculous. As in we're not going to do this and burn fossil fuel "backup" instead.

Quote:
The concept of needing 7 days worth of storage for 100% of produced electricity is non sense


You are quite correct for a change. One week isn't enough at all. Solar for example is out with the falling of the leaves and only returns with the daisies. We can't shut down northern economies in winter. There'll be complete chaos and the teardown of the fabric of society. There will be many weeks of wind lulls.

We have a 90 day strategic oil reserve, to deal with calamities, anything from wars to severe natural events. You'd want more than that with solar because the risk of solar not being there for 90 days in a year is around 100% per year in northern Europe.

My guess is we would do less storage and severely overbuild the solar capacity and throw away the power in summer. That would then reduce the effective capacity factor from about 10% here in my country, to around 2%. Meaning you'd need 40 Watts of solar panels to match 1 Watt of nuclear capacity.

Even then we are not safe because snow on the panels... well I don't know what to say, solar enthusiasts just aren't living on the same planet as me.


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PostPosted: Jun 23, 2014 12:47 pm 
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macpacheco wrote:
The concept of needing 7 days worth of storage for 100% of produced electricity is non sense. It's necessary only if you go huge on wind, which is a flaky energy source, but solar provides predictable power production, so it should be necessary to store less than a days worth of solar production.
You have heard of clouds, storms, weather patterns, right? Whether it's predictable or not, you are going to experience longer outages in solar than merely the night. And that's also assuming winter doesn't kill you.


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PostPosted: Jun 23, 2014 12:55 pm 
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Cyril R wrote:
The issue isn't the raw materials. We can use sodium-sulphur batteries if needs be.

I think it's fun and effective to drive home both points. Knowing that there simply isn't enough readily accessible raw materials should be humbling. I find it telling that almost no solar advocate has ever mentioned sodium-sulphur batteries, and I know about them only because of this place (thanks).


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PostPosted: Jun 23, 2014 12:59 pm 
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Realistically I think this will never happen. Hollande's popularity is very low right now, and likely he will not win the next election (or a replacement from the Socialists). There are still many people of influence in France that know this is stupid.

There will be some good news for French Nuclear power in the near future. This year the first EPR in the World at Taishan will begin generating electricity. The second unit is just a year behind. They will get an order for 2 more units at Taishan, and probably 2 more to follow.

The Flamanville reactor will finally be done in 2 years (it has to happen eventually), and I think they will do a decent post-mortem on where the problems were (that and the feedback from China). The EPR seems overly complicated. On the other hand it does generate 1700 MWe ... nothing to sneeze at.

A new government could decide to build the plant at Penly that Sarkozy wanted (even 2 EPR's would generate 5% of France's total electricity production in 2013 -- 551 TWh, a growth of just 1.7%). If they could do a better job at Penly, it might look a lot better for nuclear. Think about it, building 1 EPR per year would do the job, replacing the oldest reactors as they retire, with no change in the system, no real pain at all (assuming they could do it for a reasonable price, as they did before).

They will of course extend the lifetime of the older plants ... as everyone is doing. Maybe even Fessenheim will get a reprieve.

By the way, the battle over Alstom has put some more focus on the fact that French nuclear technology is a source of pride for the nation. Alstoms' Arabelle turbine seems to be a popular choice for new nuclear plants, not just French ones, and GE has promised to continue development in a 50/50 joint venture that would take the 'nuclear' part of the company.

One last bit of encouraging news: New 9000-ton Forging Press at Creusot:

http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/C-Are ... 06144.html


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PostPosted: Jun 23, 2014 2:00 pm 
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Another story I noted recently is that the French Nuclear Regulator was whining that their Chinese counterparts were not consulting with them enough, etc.

Why the complaining all of a sudden? Because when that reactor turns on, and runs just fine, there is going to be a lot more focus on why this happened so fast in China, especially given that it will actually be the first-of-a-kind plant (think about how long ago Olkiluoto began construction). And there will be some attention paid to whether the regulator is gumming up the works. So, they would like to say the reactor wasn't built to be as safe as the one in France. That will probably be accepted, but I think this is a preemptive action on the part of ASN.

Maybe there will be some problem with Taishan 1, but I doubt it.


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PostPosted: Jun 23, 2014 2:02 pm 
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Although it is an utterly stupid energy plan I think very little will come of it eventually. It remains to be seen how long the Socialist Party will remain in power in France. The main opposition, the UMP party, is pro-nuclear. And even within the Socialist Party there is a lot of infighting. The economics/industry minister Montebourg is known to be pro-nuclear. Also, the current French government put a lot of effort into securing control over the production of the Arabelle steam turbines, which are used in large nuclear power plants and are manufactured in Belfort by Alstom, which is likely to merge its energy operations with GE (action speaks louder than words).

Sweden also made stupid a decision in the early 1980s to abandon nuclear energy, but reversed its decision and is now actively planning to build new nuclear power plants. The same is going to happen in France. I am not completely sure about Germany, but it would not surprise me if they ultimately would reverse their "Atomausstieg", simply because their energy transition plans will prove to be far too costly in the next economic downturn.


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PostPosted: Jun 24, 2014 2:47 am 
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(2nd attempt to write this - don't know where the first went).

On France:
France could reduce it's nuclear power by reducing electricity consumption. I get the impression they waste a lot.

We went skiing in France last year. We had a brand new apartment, with fairly standard insulation - no triple glazing. At night it was -10C outside (it can go to -20). And yet, all the heating was resistance heating. We needed about 8KW on - almost continuously - to keep a 50 square metre apartment warm.

Also, you say France has a technical lead - but they may have blown it with the EPR, and it would be hard for them to accept foreign designs. This may be a factor.

On Storage:
Li-ion is getting the development funding at he moment, and most over-night storage at the moment is based on this. However, longer term, Zinc Hybrid will be a lower cost option. Solar plus storage will often be the lowest cost source of electricity in the home (i.e. compared to retail rates).

For longer term storage, organic flow batteries and Isentropic (http://www.isentropic.co.uk/) look the lowest cost paths. But these have to compete at grid prices.

I can envision using two old oil tankers to make a 1 million ton flow battery, or using isentropic technology to heat and cool two mountains.


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PostPosted: Jun 24, 2014 3:17 am 
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I don't know anywhere in the world where triple glazing is standard.......

Resistive Heating is acceptable in France because it allows load stabilisation - they have gone far more for 'Economy 7' than anyone else in the world. Reducing heating demand will not necessarily reduce peak demand. Also with -10C outside how effective do you think heat pumps would actually be? Ground Source pumps are incredibly expensive and Air Source ones do not do well in cold weather.

Remember also that French power demand has two peaks in the year, Winter and again in Summer (for air con) so reducing one and not the other would likely be counterproductive.

Solar with battery storage will never be competitive in the home without massive subsidies.
Which is why the FIT is still larger than the retail price of electricity.


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PostPosted: Jun 24, 2014 6:51 am 
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Triple glazing is common (possibly "standard", but not yet mandatory) on new build in Germany. Not on refit - it only makes sense if you have a heat exchanger and 20cm of insulation. I suspect it's the same in Scandinavia.

Given the widespread use of winter electrical heating - I'd think winter demand in France is much higher than summer (when they can often shut reactors on rivers, and suck in free German solar power during the day). Storage heaters help (common in Britain).

If you're building a new apartment block, a ground source heat pump is not going to be too expensive. Again - it's pretty common for new build houses in Germany. It's probably not worth it in much of France (as in the UK - go for Air-Source), but it should be standard for new builds in the alpine region.

I'm not sure why you think solar + storage will never be competitive with retail electricity. People said the same thing about solar even 5 years ago, and now it's cheaper than retail in Italy, Spain, Germany (and even the UK at a 3% discount rate). With falling battery prices solar + storage will be cheaper than retail prices by 2020 in the above countries.


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PostPosted: Jun 24, 2014 7:03 am 
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' I find it telling that almost no solar advocate has ever mentioned sodium-sulphur batteries...'
From solar enthusiast Clean Technica, the sad tale of the Hawaiian grid storage battery problems - 'Exploding Sodium Sulfur Batteries From NGK Energy Storage' .
http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/ ... gy-Storage
Renewable types are fond of pointing out the insanity of running a fast reactor with liquid sodium coolant, so it would be ironic if the only way they could run a wind/solar grid was with much larger quantities of liquid sodium in close proximity to another element it reacts violently with.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=capWYUiLLWU


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PostPosted: Jun 24, 2014 7:18 am 
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jon wrote:
' I find it telling that almost no solar advocate has ever mentioned sodium-sulphur batteries...'
From solar enthusiast Clean Technica, the sad tale of the Hawaiian grid storage battery problems - 'Exploding Sodium Sulfur Batteries From NGK Energy Storage' .
http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/ ... gy-Storage


Sodium Sulfur hasn't made the cost progress I expected a few years ago. I suspect it'll miss the boat, the technologies are:
Li-ion - for 1 hour fastest discharge time
Zn-Hybrid - for 4 hours
Organic flow batteries, for >8h
Pumped Heat storage, for <8h

Quote:
Renewable types are fond of pointing out the insanity of running a fast reactor with liquid sodium coolant, so it would be ironic if the only way they could run a wind/solar grid was with much larger quantities of liquid sodium in close proximity to another element it reacts violently with.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=capWYUiLLWU


Well, hopefully nuclear reactor designers would be even more concerned about it. (It's their concern which makes nuclear safe)

You will have to assume that at some point, the sodium is going to catch fire. If that happens in a basement, you have a burnt down house - it happens now with gas pipes.

If that happens in a nuclear plant - I'd hope the reactor can be isolated from the burning sodium.


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PostPosted: Jun 24, 2014 7:32 am 
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alexterrell wrote:
Given the widespread use of winter electrical heating - I'd think winter demand in France is much higher than summer (when they can often shut reactors on rivers, and suck in free German solar power during the day). Storage heaters help (common in Britain).


Storage heaters are only really common in rented apartment stock in Britain thanks to the fact that they do not require regular checks by professionals to ensure safety. The vast majority of UK heating demand is satisfied by the combustion of gas.

alexterrell wrote:
If you're building a new apartment block, a ground source heat pump is not going to be too expensive. Again - it's pretty common for new build houses in Germany. It's probably not worth it in much of France (as in the UK - go for Air-Source), but it should be standard for new builds in the alpine region.

Apartment blocks are not exactly the typical building type in Britain (and to a lesser extent elsewhere) - detached houses are the name of the game.
Surely the objective is to drive electricity prices so low that heat pumps are not worth it anywhere?
The reason that heat pumps are becoming more common in Germany but not in France is that retail electricity rates in Germany are essentially double those in France.
So per kWh of delivered heat a h eat pump in Germany will cost about as much as a resistive heater in France without considering the collosal capital costs of the heat pump compared to a simple fan heater.

The problem with significant property densities and ground source heat pumps is they can freeze the ground solid during a cold winter which has some major implications for both local plant life and for underground utilities (you start to get frost heave and similar problems)
alexterrell wrote:
I'm not sure why you think solar + storage will never be competitive with retail electricity. People said the same thing about solar even 5 years ago, and now it's cheaper than retail in Italy, Spain, Germany (and even the UK at a 3% discount rate). With falling battery prices solar + storage will be cheaper than retail prices by 2020 in the above countries.


If it were cheaper than retail why does it still rely on huge subsidies for new installations?
Solar+Storage is especially worthless in northern latitudes because it will produce almost no power for several months of the year.


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PostPosted: Jun 24, 2014 9:22 am 
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E Ireland wrote:
alexterrell wrote:
Given the widespread use of winter electrical heating - I'd think winter demand in France is much higher than summer (when they can often shut reactors on rivers, and suck in free German solar power during the day). Storage heaters help (common in Britain).


Storage heaters are only really common in rented apartment stock in Britain thanks to the fact that they do not require regular checks by professionals to ensure safety. The vast majority of UK heating demand is satisfied by the combustion of gas.

alexterrell wrote:
If you're building a new apartment block, a ground source heat pump is not going to be too expensive. Again - it's pretty common for new build houses in Germany. It's probably not worth it in much of France (as in the UK - go for Air-Source), but it should be standard for new builds in the alpine region.

Apartment blocks are not exactly the typical building type in Britain (and to a lesser extent elsewhere) - detached houses are the name of the game.
Surely the objective is to drive electricity prices so low that heat pumps are not worth it anywhere?
The reason that heat pumps are becoming more common in Germany but not in France is that retail electricity rates in Germany are essentially double those in France.
So per kWh of delivered heat a h eat pump in Germany will cost about as much as a resistive heater in France without considering the collosal capital costs of the heat pump compared to a simple fan heater.

The problem with significant property densities and ground source heat pumps is they can freeze the ground solid during a cold winter which has some major implications for both local plant life and for underground utilities (you start to get frost heave and similar problems)
alexterrell wrote:
I'm not sure why you think solar + storage will never be competitive with retail electricity. People said the same thing about solar even 5 years ago, and now it's cheaper than retail in Italy, Spain, Germany (and even the UK at a 3% discount rate). With falling battery prices solar + storage will be cheaper than retail prices by 2020 in the above countries.


If it were cheaper than retail why does it still rely on huge subsidies for new installations?
Solar+Storage is especially worthless in northern latitudes because it will produce almost no power for several months of the year.


Solar+Storage makes the most sense (speaking relatively) in areas where there is a significant intraday temperature gradient and low latitude. Best in low humidity deserts, but not terrible in monsoon areas either.


Last edited by Cthorm on Jun 24, 2014 10:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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