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Tech Tackles Climate Change: From Batteries to Mini-Grids

12/5/2015 10:14 AM EST
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Bert22306
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Re: Only a problem for solar and wind
Bert22306   12/10/2015 5:06:56 PM
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True enough about the still-decaying isotopes, although that is far less powerful a heat source now than it was initially. As to heat caused by friction, which was also a lot more pwerful initially, the cause for that is gravity. The earth was a lot less dense initially than it is now, but that too is one of those e^-t types of decay.

http://www.geology.sdsu.edu/how_volcanoes_work/Heat.html

DK8PP/M
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Re: Only a problem for solar and wind
DK8PP/M   12/10/2015 10:32:14 AM
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Oh yes, I agree that there are other sources of heat, but their contribution is low. It is obviously difficult to measure precisely, but at least one source mentions: "...the vast majority of the heat in Earth's interior—up to 90 percent—is fueled by the decaying of radioactive isotopes" (http://phys.org/news/2006-03-probing-earth-core.html).

I would also challenge the second source, which SciAm mentions: Friction clearly causes heat, but which force keeps the friction going? In other words, someone would have to generate motional energy, so that friction can occur. That motion itself is generated by convection inside earth, but heat is the source of that convection, not its product.

dt_hayden
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Re: Only a problem for solar and wind
dt_hayden   12/10/2015 9:42:12 AM
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"There are three main sources of heat in the deep earth: (1) heat from when the planet formed and accreted, which has not yet been lost; (2) frictional heating, caused by denser core material sinking to the center of the planet; and (3) heat from the decay of radioactive elements."

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-is-the-earths-core-so/

DK8PP/M
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Re: Only a problem for solar and wind
DK8PP/M   12/10/2015 3:57:42 AM
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While I agree with most what you say, this one is not correct:

>> I mean, it's not like the earth is generating heat in its core.

It does. Earth is a gigantic nuclear reactor. The core is molten due to the heat generated by radioactive decay. If there were no heat generation, earth would have cooled down after billions of years.

R_Colin_Johnson
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Re: Good article overall
R_Colin_Johnson   12/8/2015 11:47:30 AM
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You are right, howeverr its phrased. The utility company based you rates on you peak usage, because as you say, they have to build a big enough "pipe" to satisfy that need, whereas by levelin out your load behind the meter gets you into a lower rate category. Good careful reading. Thanks.

dt_hayden
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Good article overall
dt_hayden   12/8/2015 10:06:43 AM
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Good article overall but there are a couple of obviously biased opinions.

Such as: "to notch down your energy bill from the "peak demand" calculations the utility company uses to maximize its charges to you."

Stated in an unbiased way:  "to levelize your energy demand from the grid and avoid the higher charges to support the fixed cost of the infrastructure required to meet high demand intermittent peaks reliably."

Large companies get relatively good deals on power anyway, supposedly based on "bulk buying principles" but more realistically due to politics/business. (5,52c/kWHr versis 9.96c/kWHr for residential locally).  Presenting level loads to the grid benefits the energy supplier and should be viewed as a win-win.

dt_hayden
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Re: Elephant in the room
dt_hayden   12/8/2015 9:29:41 AM
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Another possibility is fusion, which several companies are working on.


http://www.gizmag.com/dynomak-fusion-reactor-university-washington/34174/


http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/products/compact-fusion.html

It would be nice if we focused more of the intellect and creativity currently employed in the death and destruction industries into the renewal and storage energy areas.

dt_hayden
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Re: Only a problem for solar and wind
dt_hayden   12/8/2015 9:21:09 AM
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It should hit $5 from fuel taxes which are then used to rebuild our crumbling transporation infrastructure.  But few politicians have the courage.

Jayna Sheats
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Re: Elephant in the room
Jayna Sheats   12/8/2015 2:34:28 AM
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I think nuclear energy is more like a ghost in the room than an elephant.  It is not a matter of pseudo-religion; it is just isn't economical.  The cost of nuclear electricity has never included either waste management, decommissioning, or insurance, yet it is a long ways from "too cheap to meter".  The cost estimates of the recent crop of small-scale plants, allegedly having greater efficiency in many ways, are barely on a par with photovoltaics in a sunny climate.

To be sure, they can run all the time.  But I'd put my money on innovation in storage (not just batteries) before I would put it in the mega-scale investments required to make even a small nuclear plant.  Amory Lovins has been subjecting these arguments to his sharp-edged calculator for some time, and it just doesn't come out well.

R_Colin_Johnson
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Re: Only a problem for solar and wind
R_Colin_Johnson   12/7/2015 5:52:56 PM
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Yes, you are right. Even though the EV guys say you only spend cents to rechage a battery that could replace a gas tank that takes dollars to refill, people just are not willing to pay more for an EV. In Europe its different, because gas prices are so high, but until gas hit $5 a gallon here (which I doubt it will since the Saudi's are terridied of EVs) we are not lightly to see a mass exodus. Thanks for the comment.

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