Energy From Thorium Discussion Forum

It is currently Oct 01, 2014 1:15 pm

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 36 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Jan 29, 2011 3:58 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sep 02, 2009 10:24 am
Posts: 275
FRE wrote:
The graph comparing the fluctuations in wind power with the steady output of nuclear power is very dramatic. The already noted limitation is that the fluctuations would be expected to be less over a wider geographic area, but anyone with a knowledge of statics would suspect that the dips would occasionally coincide because of their random nature. However, that has not been empirically verified.


Though I expect what statistics will tell you is misleading. There is a certain amount of energy in the world's winds and this varies slowly, overall. So if it's quiet in one area, it's likely to be busy in another area. The USA is large enough to cover more than one weather system, sparsely populated, and windy enough that it could get most of it's energy from wind. But only with massive investment in HVDC.

Solar is probably more promising, especially since solar thermal can be built in with thermal energy storage. And the energy density of solar thermal is much higher than wind. But solar works best in the desert, where demand is low - so again, we come back to HVDC. Europe could balance wind around the UK, tidal flow off Scotland, and solar thermal in the Sahara, linked to pumped storage in Norway. The HVDC costs are rather high though.

One option is a renewable / nuclear mix. Take a 2 GWth MSBR, and increase the thermal mass of the secondary salt solution by several orders of magnitude (Think 100m diameter and 50m high). On the other side, 2GWe of electric generators work to cool the salt.

Alternatively, when the wind blows, nuclear power stations use thermal processes (HI) to make Hydrogen. When the wind doesn't blow, they make electricity. (Though I'm not a fan of hydrogen - best burn it with carbon to make syngas.

Coming soon are natural gas fuel cells that can make electricity at 60% efficiency on a domestic scale (currently 2KW). The 40% waste can then be captured for heat. These will be very cost effective in winter (using shale gas). But they will also provide a vast standby capacity for utilities through out the year.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Jan 29, 2011 5:28 pm 
Offline

Joined: Jul 14, 2008 3:12 pm
Posts: 5109
alexterrell wrote:
FRE wrote:
The graph comparing the fluctuations in wind power with the steady output of nuclear power is very dramatic. The already noted limitation is that the fluctuations would be expected to be less over a wider geographic area, but anyone with a knowledge of statics would suspect that the dips would occasionally coincide because of their random nature. However, that has not been empirically verified.


Though I expect what statistics will tell you is misleading. There is a certain amount of energy in the world's winds and this varies slowly, overall. So if it's quiet in one area, it's likely to be busy in another area. The USA is large enough to cover more than one weather system, sparsely populated, and windy enough that it could get most of it's energy from wind. But only with massive investment in HVDC.


Likely but far from certain, and we will not put wind turbines everywhere. The Tier3 website shows deviation maps, many areas deviate 10% between what's typicaly in a year easily. More important is the day to day and seasonal variation. This is serious even with many onshore wind parks connected thousands of miles away (see decarolis and keith paper). It is also serious for offshore wind even when covering the entire Atlantic coastline:

Image

You guys have to start reading The Capacity Factor :idea:

http://uvdiv.blogspot.com/2010/10/how-t ... -line.html


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Jan 29, 2011 5:37 pm 
Offline

Joined: Jul 14, 2008 3:12 pm
Posts: 5109
Here's the idealized graph from Decarolis and Keith showing the effect of US contintental windfarm spreading on delivered wind cost.
Attachment:
US wind cost.jpg
US wind cost.jpg [ 189.55 KiB | Viewed 429 times ]


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Jan 29, 2011 5:58 pm 
Offline

Joined: Jul 28, 2008 10:44 pm
Posts: 3513
alexterrell wrote:
FRE wrote:
The graph comparing the fluctuations in wind power with the steady output of nuclear power is very dramatic. The already noted limitation is that the fluctuations would be expected to be less over a wider geographic area, but anyone with a knowledge of statics would suspect that the dips would occasionally coincide because of their random nature. However, that has not been empirically verified.


Though I expect what statistics will tell you is misleading. There is a certain amount of energy in the world's winds and this varies slowly, overall. So if it's quiet in one area, it's likely to be busy in another area. The USA is large enough to cover more than one weather system, sparsely populated, and windy enough that it could get most of it's energy from wind. But only with massive investment in HVDC.

Solar is probably more promising, especially since solar thermal can be built in with thermal energy storage. And the energy density of solar thermal is much higher than wind. But solar works best in the desert, where demand is low - so again, we come back to HVDC. Europe could balance wind around the UK, tidal flow off Scotland, and solar thermal in the Sahara, linked to pumped storage in Norway. The HVDC costs are rather high though.

One option is a renewable / nuclear mix. Take a 2 GWth MSBR, and increase the thermal mass of the secondary salt solution by several orders of magnitude (Think 100m diameter and 50m high). On the other side, 2GWe of electric generators work to cool the salt.

Alternatively, when the wind blows, nuclear power stations use thermal processes (HI) to make Hydrogen. When the wind doesn't blow, they make electricity. (Though I'm not a fan of hydrogen - best burn it with carbon to make syngas.

Coming soon are natural gas fuel cells that can make electricity at 60% efficiency on a domestic scale (currently 2KW). The 40% waste can then be captured for heat. These will be very cost effective in winter (using shale gas). But they will also provide a vast standby capacity for utilities through out the year.


Given the nuclear reactor and the salt storage and I'm not sure what value the renewables bring.
The load is pretty uniform from weekday to weekday, so if we have enough storage to shift production at night to consumption at the daytime then we are in pretty good shape. The seasonal variation is too much to provide storage for. You can cover some of it by scheduling your maintenance during the low demand season but some needs to be covered simply by having excess capacity.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Jan 30, 2011 10:30 am 
Offline

Joined: Aug 29, 2008 4:55 pm
Posts: 664
Location: Idaho Falls, Idaho
alexterrell wrote:

One option is a renewable / nuclear mix. Take a 2 GWth MSBR, and increase the thermal mass of the secondary salt solution by several orders of magnitude (Think 100m diameter and 50m high). On the other side, 2GWe of electric generators work to cool the salt.

Alternatively, when the wind blows, nuclear power stations use thermal processes (HI) to make Hydrogen. When the wind doesn't blow, they make electricity. (Though I'm not a fan of hydrogen - best burn it with carbon to make syngas.



To quote a guy I knew in the trucking business. "If the wheels on the truck are not moving then the truck is not making money. If the truck is not making money then the bank comes a knockin' wanting their money. Also if he does not charge enough to make money then why move the wheels." If the power plant is not making and SELLING electricity then the bank is knocking. Why would you burden your power plant with low money making actives. Renewables, like wind and solar, without storage is like buying a new Kenworth and having it parked at the rest stop 70 % of the time with the driver(s) having at tailgate party.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Jan 30, 2011 12:10 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Dec 08, 2009 6:07 pm
Posts: 389
Location: Albuquerque NM USA
Not only that, but our existing nuclear and coal plants would not work well as backup. The output of wind generators can change very quickly providing insufficient time to get nuclear and coal systems on-line. The existing nuclear and coal plants are not designed for load following anyway. Thus, especially if wind provided a large portion of our power, it would probably be necessary to build more plants using natural gas turbines since they can effectively provide spinning reserve. Either that, or there'd have to be huge storage capacity to provide sufficient time to get the existing nuclear and coal plants running. In any case, there'd have to be multiple generating systems would greatly increase investment costs.

I will be sending an e-mail to representative Martin Heinrich. He should be able to understand this because he has an engineering degree. However, he has avoided even mentioning nuclear power, no doubt for political reasons. But if he pushes renewables and we end up wasting hundreds of billions of dollars, his name will be mud, which I intend to point out.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Jan 30, 2011 9:27 pm 
Offline

Joined: Jul 01, 2009 1:13 am
Posts: 326
I can't imagine why anyone would take Jacobson seriously.

He's been a joke, for like, forever.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Jan 30, 2011 9:46 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Dec 08, 2009 6:07 pm
Posts: 389
Location: Albuquerque NM USA
NNadir wrote:
I can't imagine why anyone would take Jacobson seriously.

He's been a joke, for like, forever.


I can tell you why.

He is a professor at Stanford which is generally considered to be a respected university. From reading papers he's written, there is no hint of bias or incompetence. The material that Stanford has on him on the Internet contains nothing to indicate that his reputation is questionable.

He may be a joke, but exactly how could most people be expected to know that?


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Jan 31, 2011 4:05 am 
Offline

Joined: Jul 14, 2008 3:12 pm
Posts: 5109
FRE wrote:
NNadir wrote:
I can't imagine why anyone would take Jacobson seriously.

He's been a joke, for like, forever.


I can tell you why.

He is a professor at Stanford which is generally considered to be a respected university. From reading papers he's written, there is no hint of bias or incompetence. The material that Stanford has on him on the Internet contains nothing to indicate that his reputation is questionable.

He may be a joke, but exactly how could most people be expected to know that?


Uh, you can tell by actually *reading* his papers and see what he writes about nuclear power. Same old fear mongering and half-truths. The way he talkes about nuclear it is clear And google critiques. And read the links I posted upthread.

Jacobson has suggested that the CO2 emissions from nuclear war should be added to nuclear power’s CO2 emissions. How is that supposed to be NOT a joke? Jacobson is a nutcase.

Anyone with this rare thing called “common sense” and armed with ‘google’ and being able to do an even rarer thing called ‘mathematics’ using a little used tool called a ‘calculator’ can see his work on variability is not grounded in reality or anything realistic like effective load carrying capacity using real wind and solar system outputs and then comparing that to real grid load demands. All this data is available from a variety of systems in different places in the world, and load data on various grids is also publicly available.

Wind and solar are very unproductive and non-dispatchable sources with poor match to total grid loads. They don’t make a lot of power and cannot be turned on when there is electricity demand but no wind/sun. If you actually look at anything real you’ll be dismayed by the poor performance of wind and solar.

First you will be in denial. Then after some time and thinking you’ll start to worry about the poor performance of wind and solar as a true alternative. Then you look at the facts of nuclear energy and realise that nuclear is a real alternative, unlike wind and solar which are, due to unproductiveness and variability, mostly fossil fuelled systems.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Jan 31, 2011 11:02 am 
Offline

Joined: Jul 28, 2008 10:44 pm
Posts: 3513
I agree that Jacobson's makes statements that are extreme and misleading. Among them are:
1) nuclear power produces more CO2 than other energy sources due to high likelihood of a nuclear war resulting from the use of nuclear power (also implicit in the statement is that somehow the CO2 emissions from a nuclear war are the most significant impact of such a war)
2) high reliability of wind turbines compared to coal or nuclear (while it is possible that this is technically true the important metric is not the reliability of the machine but the reliability of the power it produces)

However, he does sway audiences - see the TED debate between Stuart Brand and Mark Jacobson.
http://www.ted.com/talks/debate_does_th ... nergy.html

While I do not take his work seriously I do take seriously his ability to sway audiences and his impact on public policy.

Before entering into a debate with Professor Jacobson one should spend time studying his claims.

He also knows how to toot his own horn. Here is his web description:
http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/
The main goal of Jacobson’s research is to understand physical, chemical, and dynamical processes in the atmosphere better in order to address atmospheric problems, such as climate change and urban air pollution, with improved scientific insight and more accurate predictive tools. He also evaluates the atmospheric effects of proposed solutions to climate change and air pollution, examines resource availability of renewable energies, and studies optimal methods of combining renewables. To accomplish many of these goals, he has developed and applied numerical solvers to simulate gas, aerosol, cloud,radiative, and land/ocean-surface processes. In 1993-4, he developed the world’s first combined gas-aerosol-radiative air-pollution model with interactive feedback to weather on any scale, and in 2001, the first nested global-through-urban air-pollution-weather-climate model. In 2000, he discovered that black carbon, the main component of soot particles, may be the second-leading cause of global warming in terms of radiative forcing after carbon dioxide. This finding provided the original scientific basis for proposed U.S. laws H.R. 1760 (Black Carbon Emissions Reduction Act of 2009, March 26, 2009), H.R. 7250 (Arctic Climate Preservation Act, Oct. 2, 2008), S.R. 110-489 (Black Carbon Research Bill, Sept. 17, 2008), and S.849.IS (Bill to Require the EPA to Study Black Carbon, April 22, 2009), and in part S.3973/H.R. 6482 (The Diesel Emissions Reduction Act of 2010, DERA). His findings that carbon dioxide domes over cities and carbon dioxide buildup since preindustrial times have enhanced air pollution mortality through its feedback to particles and ozone served as a scientific basis for the Environmental Protection Agency’s approval of the first regulation of carbon dioxide from vehicles in the United States (the California waiver). He has also studied the effects of aerosols on ultraviolet radiation, the effects of aerosol mixing state on atmospheric heating, the effects of biomass burning on climate, the effect of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles on air pollution and the ozone layer, the effects of aerosols on winds and precipitation, the effects of ethanol and diesel vehicles on air quality, and the effects of agriculture on air pollution. His group’s development of the world’s first wind map based on data at the height of modern wind turbines has served as a scientific justification for the wind component of the Repower America and Pickens Plan energy proposals. To date, he has published two textbooks and 105 peer-reviewed journal articles. Several hundred researchers have used computer models that he has developed. In 2005, he received the American Meteorological Society Henry G. Houghton Award for "significant contributions to modeling aerosol chemistry and to understanding the role of soot and other carbon particles on climate.” His paper, "Effects of ethanol versus gasoline on cancer and mortality in the United States" was the top-accessed article in Environmental Science and Technology for April-September, 2007. His “Review of energy solutions to global warming, air pollution, and energy security” was the top-accessed paper during March 2009 from Energy and Environmental Sciences, and his paper, “Influence of future anthropogenic emissions on climate, natural emissions, and air quality” was the top-accessed paper during May 2009 among all Journal of Geophysical Research journals.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Jan 31, 2011 12:07 pm 
Offline

Joined: Jul 14, 2008 3:12 pm
Posts: 5109
The key to convincing audiences is to keep it simple, with only one obvious conclusion, using graphical methods. Showing pictures and bars of energy density for example is part of my attempt to sway a broad audience. The Capacity Factor is another good source for images - consider the comparison of German wind power with a US grid nuclear fleet. The stuff I posted upthread.

I'm also making a graph of Lifetime Energy Generated, LEG. We're making a presentation for a Dutch audience. The latest solar craziness here is to build bicycle lanes where the pavement is replaced with solar panels. This means flat panels which have less than half the energy generation of ideally inclined panels, plus the roughened surface for extra traction scatters and blocks the light. Some ideas are just stupid before we even begin testing them. The only worse idea is urban micro wind turbines. They're pathetic.

Anyway here is the graph we made:

Attachment:
Lifetime Energy Generated.jpg
Lifetime Energy Generated.jpg [ 119.95 KiB | Viewed 511 times ]


Wind and solar are just not very productive and don't last as long as a nuclear powerplant.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Jan 31, 2011 1:48 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sep 02, 2009 10:24 am
Posts: 275
FRE wrote:
Not only that, but our existing nuclear and coal plants would not work well as backup. The output of wind generators can change very quickly providing insufficient time to get nuclear and coal systems on-line. The existing nuclear and coal plants are not designed for load following anyway.


That's not the case for a large wind farm, let alone a large area of wind farms. Power will vary slowly, in a manner predictable hours in advance. Variation is certainly slow enough for natural gas based systems to respond, and nothing like a nuclear power station performing an emergency shut down. And gas storage is even more effective than thermal energy storage.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Jan 31, 2011 2:07 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sep 02, 2009 10:24 am
Posts: 275
Cyril R wrote:
The key to convincing audiences is to keep it simple, with only one obvious conclusion, using graphical methods. Showing pictures and bars of energy density for example is part of my attempt to sway a broad audience. The Capacity Factor is another good source for images - consider the comparison of German wind power with a US grid nuclear fleet. The stuff I posted upthread.

I'm also making a graph of Lifetime Energy Generated, LEG. We're making a presentation for a Dutch audience. The latest solar craziness here is to build bicycle lanes where the pavement is replaced with solar panels. This means flat panels which have less than half the energy generation of ideally inclined panels, plus the roughened surface for extra traction scatters and blocks the light. Some ideas are just stupid before we even begin testing them. The only worse idea is urban micro wind turbines. They're pathetic.



Though if you're overly selective the audience will object. If you show fuel costs per MWhr, nuclear will come out in the middle with gas at one end and renewables at the other. The main one which really counts of course is cost per KWhr, now, and in the future, and that is highly debatable. Of course, with risk-adverse investors, the reaction is limit Capital Expenditure now, which favours natural gas (with the prospect of shale gas pushing down gas prices, why would a private sector investor commit billions to nuclear with its uncertain build costs, or to renewables with its uncertain yields).

I agree about the stupidity of putting solar under a bike lane*. In the Netherlands it would be much better to put it above the cycle lane where it would keep you dry.

*Possible exception is solar thermal inter-seasonal heat transfer (see http://www.icax.co.uk/). Summer heat on asphalt is pumped underground, and pumped back up in the winter to prevent freezing. I think this will be must-have technology for runways and main roads in future.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Jan 31, 2011 3:00 pm 
Offline

Joined: Jul 14, 2008 3:12 pm
Posts: 5109
The question of "who pays" is political and thus hard to argue convincingly in a presentation. However before we get into politics we must educate others and ourselves about the facts and numbers first. Its physics and engineering first, then if there are no red flags we can debate politics. The big problem we have right now is people don't understand basic energy analysis nor nuclear power basics. They don't know the difference between fission products and actinides, or what those are, what neutrons are, how the chain reaction is balanced, why water in LWRs give negative reactivity that inherently prevents Chernobyl, and how extremely energy dense nuclear power is.

Seriously. Most people I talk to in person know nuclear power has something to do with radiation and uranium, some kind of waste that 'radiates' somehow, this radiation is contagious, and is inherently evil and dangerous. That's the basic knowledge pool! Often people say to me, they worry about 'the waste'. But when I ask them about what kind of waste they mean they pull a blank! Most don't know about isotopes, none I talked to knew what elements the waste was. They certainly don't know alphas from betas or gammas.

This paradox comes from the succesful anti-nuclear campaigns of interest groups like GreenPeace, Sierra Club, etc. But it is only succesful because people do not know energy analysis or nuclear basics, at all! The ignorant are easy to scare. Our education system has failed. Failure on our side to realise that means we're playing a game we're destined to lose.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Jan 31, 2011 3:15 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Dec 08, 2009 6:07 pm
Posts: 389
Location: Albuquerque NM USA
Cyril R wrote:
FRE wrote:
NNadir wrote:
I can't imagine why anyone would take Jacobson seriously.

He's been a joke, for like, forever.


I can tell you why.

He is a professor at Stanford which is generally considered to be a respected university. From reading papers he's written, there is no hint of bias or incompetence. The material that Stanford has on him on the Internet contains nothing to indicate that his reputation is questionable.

He may be a joke, but exactly how could most people be expected to know that?


Uh, you can tell by actually *reading* his papers and see what he writes about nuclear power. Same old fear mongering and half-truths. The way he talkes about nuclear it is clear And google critiques. And read the links I posted upthread.

Jacobson has suggested that the CO2 emissions from nuclear war should be added to nuclear power’s CO2 emissions. How is that supposed to be NOT a joke? Jacobson is a nutcase.

Anyone with this rare thing called “common sense” and armed with ‘google’ and being able to do an even rarer thing called ‘mathematics’ using a little used tool called a ‘calculator’ can see his work on variability is not grounded in reality or anything realistic like effective load carrying capacity using real wind and solar system outputs and then comparing that to real grid load demands. All this data is available from a variety of systems in different places in the world, and load data on various grids is also publicly available.

Wind and solar are very unproductive and non-dispatchable sources with poor match to total grid loads. They don’t make a lot of power and cannot be turned on when there is electricity demand but no wind/sun. If you actually look at anything real you’ll be dismayed by the poor performance of wind and solar.

First you will be in denial. Then after some time and thinking you’ll start to worry about the poor performance of wind and solar as a true alternative. Then you look at the facts of nuclear energy and realise that nuclear is a real alternative, unlike wind and solar which are, due to unproductiveness and variability, mostly fossil fuelled systems.


To a certain extent, you are right. But one has to consider the state of knowledge and critical thinking ability of people reading his material. Even knowledgeable people can fooled unless they read the material carefully, after which the problems will become obvious.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 36 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group