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Author Topic: Will Renewable Energy "Solve Global Warming"?  (Read 56677 times)

Laurent

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Re: Will Renewable Energy "Solve Global Warming"?
« Reply #50 on: April 30, 2013, 05:54:46 PM »
Hello Jim,

The rocket mass heater is an hypocaust that's the third part called "buts needing warming" on this schematic. There is a video where they heat the house by the floor !? (I can't see your video, not allowed to see it from France)
It will be one of the solutions to energize the houses in autumn-spring-winter if, only if the resources of wood is collected nearby and renewable. What is interesting with this type of stove is that it can use branches so if you maintain a forest or some tree hedge you will have the renewable resources easily.
In summer I am thinking of using a solar oven concentration type (if you insist I'll show you what I am thinking about)
Of course, you have to insulate as much as possible (with renewable materials like straw for example). The rocket stove is an other very good idea, because you do not need your exhaust pipe to be on the roof, therefore you can insulate your roof fully (around 30% of the energy loss).
I did heard about the rocket mass heater last year but did not pay attention, thinking my stove would do the trick in winter. Well, it does consume a lot of wood, I have got plenty of wood but something more efficient is definitely needed!
Making biochar send a lot of energy in the atmosphere for nothing, so it cannot be energy efficient !

Jim Hunt

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Re: Will Renewable Energy "Solve Global Warming"?
« Reply #51 on: April 30, 2013, 06:37:15 PM »
Making biochar send a lot of energy in the atmosphere for nothing, so it cannot be energy efficient !

That was my point really. Do you suppose it's possible to design a "woodcharrer" that "heats butts" instead of just "send[ing] a lot of energy in[to] the atmosphere"?
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

Laurent

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Re: Will Renewable Energy "Solve Global Warming"?
« Reply #52 on: April 30, 2013, 09:11:52 PM »
It may be possible ? I am not sure of what you are thinking of  ?
You mean to design a rocket stove that would produce some coal and then put it in the soil to sequester some carbon ?
The rocket mass heater is normally design to be efficient so nearly all the wood is burnt, that is what we want !? I saw some videos, may be a french one, where they block completely the air entry, the wood does consume more slowly but i don't think it will produce a lot of charcoil and will certainly create more chemicals due to bad combustion.
I won't try that to store the carbon !
What you are looking for is more like terre pretta.
If you ear french :
http://www.franceculture.fr/emission-le-salon-noir-archeologie-et-ecologie-des-savanes-de-guyane-2011-03-02.html
if you don't (after 29 minutes) :

I think personally that if you want to store the carbon you have to plant trees in thick hedges like angelo does on http://www.geofflawton.com/fe/33812-urban-permaculture-the-micro-space?r=y not on 60 m2 but 5000 or 10000/person
The people have to understand we need to grow the life in the soil not in the plants !!!
Laurent
« Last Edit: May 01, 2013, 01:06:50 AM by Laurent »

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Re: Will Renewable Energy "Solve Global Warming"?
« Reply #53 on: April 30, 2013, 10:08:12 PM »
Making biochar send a lot of energy in the atmosphere for nothing, so it cannot be energy efficient !

That was my point really. Do you suppose it's possible to design a "woodcharrer" that "heats butts" instead of just "send[ing] a lot of energy in[to] the atmosphere"?
Using waste heat from biochar processes would certainly seem to make sense...

A bit like the German approach to combined heat and power from power stations. On paper the power station - viewed in isolation - is running less efficiently than bigger British plants. However once you factor in the use of the cooling water for heating local buildings - the German approach is substantially superior.

Laurent

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Re: Will Renewable Energy "Solve Global Warming"?
« Reply #54 on: May 01, 2013, 10:16:51 PM »
!
Now I understand a bit better !
We are still in a technological processs...tstststs (CO2 is looming. Need energy to bring the vegetal material, to produce, to transport...)
A do it yourself like this one :

It won't work on my present heater (max 240°c) but on the top of a rocket stove we may have 450°c i think. If i am doing one this year I'll let you know about that !

Laurent

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Re: Will Renewable Energy "Solve Global Warming"?
« Reply #55 on: May 01, 2013, 11:05:19 PM »
This is an interesting document, an automatic translation from French (terrapreta.txt)
« Last Edit: May 01, 2013, 11:10:23 PM by Laurent »

Jim Hunt

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Re: Will Renewable Energy "Solve Global Warming"?
« Reply #56 on: May 02, 2013, 11:36:17 AM »
Is there a dedicated "Biochar" thread on the forum somewhere? I couldn't find one. Maybe we should start one, and move that part of the conversation over there?

In the meantime, I saw that Horizon programme on the BBC when it was first broadcast, which got me interested in the topic. I much prefer the term "Terra Preta" to the more recent (and IMHO ugly) "Biochar"! Your point is that the char isn't much use without the right sort of "Microorganismes Efficaces"?

Sticking with renewable energy for the moment, I was indeed wondering about some sort of "Combined Heat & Compost" device. The rocket heater struck me as having some similarities with this rather larger local biochar manufacturing plant:

http://www.biocharretort.com/


Maybe there's a better alternative to letting that amount of matter at 450 degrees just heat up the atmosphere?

« Last Edit: May 02, 2013, 02:35:10 PM by Jim Hunt »
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

Laurent

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Re: Will Renewable Energy "Solve Global Warming"?
« Reply #57 on: May 02, 2013, 02:12:04 PM »
We may stay here, no ? Terra Preta is about bio-chemical energy after all !

Quote
Your point is that the char isn't much use with the right sort of "Microorganismes Efficaces"?

I am reading like you ! I wonder how do they sort the good bacterias and the bad ones ?
I am using a toilet with separation so I can speek of it (I am not using saw dust but earth, only earth, I'll try an other system with some worms later on )! Normaly the bacterias from our shit is not so good for us humans !? Certainly for the soil they are ?

The system your showing send a lot of CO2 and energy in the atmosphere for nothing so if we can use a stove in winter to heat the house and prepare a bit of Terra Preta that will be better !
I'll try to mix it with my toilets for around six months before using it !

Jim Hunt

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Re: Will Renewable Energy "Solve Global Warming"?
« Reply #58 on: May 02, 2013, 03:14:15 PM »
We may stay here, no ? Terra Preta is about bio-chemical energy after all !

Ah well. I unilaterally started a dedicated Terra Preta thread!

Maybe it's appropriate to continue discussion of "combined heat and compost" here though?  Biochar India certainly have designs for "combined cooking and compost" devices.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

TerryM

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Re: Will Renewable Energy "Solve Global Warming"?
« Reply #59 on: May 02, 2013, 07:47:45 PM »
When discussing sewage I think septic tank modifications should be part of the discussion:


Extracting methane - free gas for heating and/or cooking.


A coil for either extracting or dissipating heat from a heat pump increases the efficiency by a huge amount over an air/air system and is much simpler than drilling for a geo system.


Everything's greener over the leach field, but stay away from things with well developed root systems. Use of "D" boxes allows the leach field to take whatever shape is most beneficial to your gardening plans - just keep it away from trees.


Modern systems are almost always limited to two chambers but if you're building your own add at least one more chamber to further reduce the solids contaminating the leach field. I'd put the refrigerant coil in the last chamber & elevate it to 50% of the depth where the clearest effluent is.  A three chamber system should last a lifetime without requiring servicing, especially if an enzyme treatment is done while it's new. If you're in a rural area a cow patty a month will keep the enzyme level high, digesting the solids & pumping out lots of methane.


It's a shame to let all that shit go to waste ;>]


Terry
« Last Edit: May 03, 2013, 07:43:27 AM by TerryM »

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Re: Will Renewable Energy "Solve Global Warming"?
« Reply #60 on: May 03, 2013, 06:26:09 AM »
If you're in a rural area a cow patty month will keep the enzyme level high, digesting the solids & pumping out lots of methane.
Hi Terry.
Just trying to keep up on this great thread! What's a 'cow patty month'? Is that a grazing period? How does that work with the reactor?

It's a shame to let all that shit go to waste ;>]
<Insert your own Denier Meme here>  ;)
Cheers!
Lodger

TerryM

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Re: Will Renewable Energy "Solve Global Warming"?
« Reply #61 on: May 03, 2013, 07:51:08 AM »

Lodger


I keep forgetting that it's think, type, post
not
Type, post, think, edit, re-post


The new forum's editing features are wonderful


Terry

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Re: Will Renewable Energy "Solve Global Warming"?
« Reply #62 on: May 03, 2013, 08:05:10 AM »
I keep forgetting that it's think, type, post
not
Type, post, think, edit, re-post
Hi Terry,

lol, just like the Drivers in my city:
  • Brake
  • Turn
  • Signal

 ;D
Cheers!
Lodger

Laurent

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Re: Will Renewable Energy "Solve Global Warming"?
« Reply #63 on: May 05, 2013, 09:47:00 AM »
TerryM,

The toilet I am using separate urine and poo ! I like it that way because the urine is perfect as fertilizer and the poo mixed with earth build some earth after 6 months !

But I reckonize that making gaz with our toilets seems to be a good system. I would still recommend to separate the urine and use the poo, would it work only with poo ? I guess you still need to add some water with the poo ? drinking water ? There is also the problem of the tank, if the tank break below, you will never see it and a very  high pollution will enter the environment ! If we separate the urine and poo, the tank would be smaller so we can lift it to see what is going on, it would be possible to insulate it, then the temperature of methanisation will be on a ideal 30°c ? What do you think ?

Lewis C

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Re: Will Renewable Energy "Solve Global Warming"?
« Reply #64 on: May 05, 2013, 07:16:10 PM »
Jim - in response to the thread's title I'd have to say no, renewable energy hasn't the slightest chance of solving GW.

This is not because much of what passes  for renewable is grossly unsustainable (Blair tried claiming that the UK had world leadership in 'Battery-Chicken Dung-Power' . . .)
nor that the carbon accounting, particularly of agribiofuels, is pretty farcical due not least to the diversion of farmland which in aggregate increases pressure to clear more native forests,
nor to the real difficulty of scaling up renewables' deployments to a significant degree.

The core problem lies in the fact that, in the absence of a global climate treaty setting a declining annual carbon budget and allocating converging national emission rights within it, any fossil fuels locally displaced by renewables will continue to be bought and burned elsewhere. Moreover there is little recognition that fossil prices will decline as non-fossil energy supply rises, thereby making price-competition increasingly difficult. Add to that the prospect of trying to get renewables' capital costs low enough to incentivize the closure of extant fossil plant, and it is obvious that an effective goal - of say near-zero CO2 output by 2050 - cannot and will not be achieved without the requisite global regulation that only a comprehensive climate treaty can provide.

The propaganda for a 'free-market' solution via renewables seems particularly strong in the US, where it is boosted by sites such as Grist and Climate Progress, whose govt currently has its people in Bonn at the UNFCCC meeting maintaining Cheyney's obstruction of the treaty - by urging that all nations should choose their own targets - that is, by perniciously rejecting the need for an allocations framework that is commensurate with the GW problem.

The further reason why renewables are a secondary issue with regard to solving GW is that a commensurate treaty has to agree much more than Emissions Control. With the inevitable loss of the cooling sulphate parasol (by ending our fossil sulphate outputs) Hansen & Sato report that we face an additional 110% (+/-30%) of realized warming, which if I understand them correctly would give about 4.4C in the 2080s (after a 30yr timelag from 2050) as the result of a very successful Emissions Control effort.

In addition, at least six out of seven major interactive feedbacks are already accelerating, and several each have the capacity to dwarf anthro-emissions. Perhaps the most advanced, Albedo Loss due to cryosphere decline, was reported in GRL in 2010 to be providing a forcing equivalent to "about 30%" of anthro-CO2 outputs. The urgency of developing the requisite UN supervision of the RD&D of Albedo Restoration options - to restore the pre-industrial temperature and thus halt both climate destabilization and the feedbacks - cannot be overstated, as senior scientists such as Stephen Salter have pointed out that beyond a certain point geo-engineering would be simply ineffective in their control.

Furthermore, one of those feedbacks - the accelerating microbial decay of peatbogs worldwide - is not driven by warming but by elevated CO2, and is thus not amenable to control by Albedo Restoration techniques. Its control demands a global program of Carbon Recovery to gradually cleanse the atmosphere, with the ancillary benefit of avoiding the terminal acidification of the oceans and the destruction of their ecology on which our terrestrial ecology depends.

The renewables will certainly help with energy supply once the treaty is in operation, but there can be no doubt that the agreement of the global treaty legislating Emissions Control + Albedo Restoration + Carbon Recovery is the principle factor in solving global warming.

Regards,

Lewis




Bob Wallace

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Re: Will Renewable Energy "Solve Global Warming"?
« Reply #65 on: May 05, 2013, 08:43:00 PM »
Quote
Jim - in response to the thread's title I'd have to say no, renewable energy hasn't the slightest chance of solving GW.

This is not because much of what passes  for renewable is grossly unsustainable

That's an interesting claim.  Could you tell us why wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, tidal, and biomass/biogas generation are unsustainable?

(I'm limiting the time frame to the next few billion years.  When the Sun goes all whanky on us sustainability will be a problem.)



Lewis C

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Re: Will Renewable Energy "Solve Global Warming"?
« Reply #66 on: May 06, 2013, 01:09:30 AM »
Quote
Could you tell us why wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, tidal, and biomass/biogas generation are unsustainable?

No, there's no rationale for so general a claim. Quite why you should assume that my observation:
"This is not because much of what passes  for renewable is grossly unsustainable"
would imply any such thing is for you to answer.

There are clearly many examples of grossly unsustainale technologies within the classes you name, of which biomass currently seems to hold most. The egregious example I gave was of Battery Chicken Dung Power, with its 12Bn fowls globally under maximized density and its central dependence on routine antibiotic sprays making it an ideal accelerator of the evolution of novel more virulent pathogens, with sufficient human interaction to put the species barrier at risk.

The mining of topsoil by agribusiness to produce maize for ethanol and the growing of biocide-dependent GMO 'short-rotation-coppice' for wood-fuel pellets on farmland are two further biomass examples that need termination ASAP.

Perhaps the classic example of some 'renewables' unsustainability is that of the massive dams that form the huge majority of installed hydro. Alongside the eviction of people from their land and livelihoods, and the total loss of the land's ecology, it should be obvious that these structures are one-use only and that once silted up they're useless. I'm told that the average lifespan of UK dams is just 60 years. Given that there are very limited sites suitable for dams, there will be no 'second generation' ones on anything like the scale of the first.

In addition, it was reported in New Scientist - around 2002 - that by trapping biomass transported by inflow rivers and holding it in deep anoxic waters (rather than well-oxygenated rivers) they raise the fraction that rots anaerobically and releases its carbon as methane, which as you may know has a CO2E GWP over 100 times that of CO2 on the critical 20yr time horizon. The report remarked that some tropical hydro-power sites were shown to have worse CO2E emissions than normal coal-power, even on the 23 times GWP value of a 100yr time horizon.

One final example worth noting is that of the massive tidal-power lagoon scheme for the Severn estuary - which was shown by people far more expert than I to be so grossly unsustainable in its biodiversity impacts that not even the highly potent lobbying of the concrete and engineering industries could persuade the govt to back it.

Perhaps you are old enough to remember when the first Blair govt first started pushing the term 'renewable' - to mean whatever they chose it to mean - as the means to avoid having to set any test of sustainability on energy options. To my mind it is that negligent attitude that has got us into the mess with the fossil fuels - and to get out of it we plainly shouldn't be wasting resources on those unsustainable non-fossil options that are only accumulating trouble down the road.

Regards,

Lewis




Bob Wallace

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Re: Will Renewable Energy "Solve Global Warming"?
« Reply #67 on: May 06, 2013, 01:51:39 AM »
Here's what you said...

Quote
I'd have to say no, renewable energy hasn't the slightest chance of solving GW

Hasn't the slightest chance.  Not even the slightest chance.

What is unsustainable about wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, tidal, and biomass/biogas generation?
--


Yes, there are some specific biomass approaches which are unsustainable, but not all are.  Hooking methane digestors to the waste stream is certainly a sustainable biomass source.   

And, yes, some dams may silt in and will have to be abandoned or dredged, but not all will suffer that fate.  As well, run of the river hydro should never quit producing.


icebgone

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Re: Will Renewable Energy "Solve Global Warming"?
« Reply #68 on: May 06, 2013, 03:18:06 AM »
Hydroelectricity generation has the highest Energy Return on Investment (EROI) according to an April 2013 Scientific American article.  Ranked according to EROI, hydroelectricity and easily extracted oil and natural gas top the list.  The author's list is based on mankind's current need to sustain an energy EROI of 5-9 to maintain current lifestyle and provide growth.  Wind, biomass from sugarcane and switchgrass and solar all supply the necessary EROI.  Tar sands, ethanol from maize and fracturing of oil and natural gas fields failed to meet the minimum.  Sounds like BAU with a twist.  Without a Hansen style global carbon tax the future looks bleak indeed.     

Bob Wallace

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Re: Will Renewable Energy "Solve Global Warming"?
« Reply #69 on: May 06, 2013, 07:42:29 AM »
How important is EROEI when you're talking about solar panels?

Solar panels return the energy it takes to manufacture them in less than two years.  Then they output electricity for another 30, 40, more years.

If we were using up some sort of energy that couldn't be replaced then we'd have somewhere around a 15x to 20x return on invested energy.  But in the case of solar the energy input comes at no cost after you've built the first set of panels.

TerryM

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Re: Will Renewable Energy "Solve Global Warming"?
« Reply #70 on: May 07, 2013, 05:31:33 AM »
Laurent


Higher temps (to a point) speed up the anaerobic process. I'm not sure that the treated effluent is less efficient for growing plants than simply burying the poo. Urine isn't needed for the process & drinking water isn't required. Brine or waste water heavily contaminated with detergents will slow down the process, otherwise most impurities produce increased methane production.


A triple chamber tank incorporating a freon coil will cut energy consumption through the year Heat with the methane & cool using the coil for the condensing cycle for refrigeration.


I don't think scaling up the system much above a two family duplex would be practical. The system as described could be built very cheaply by anyone with access to a rental backhoe and a cement mixer who can befriend an HVAC tech & keep the building code folk at bay.


Terry

Laurent

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Re: Will Renewable Energy "Solve Global Warming"?
« Reply #71 on: May 07, 2013, 10:03:13 AM »
TerryM,

Thanks for your response ! I do not catch how we can get cold (with condensation i hear that, but what, the methane condensate?) !? Do you have some webpage to read ?
I still do not like the idea of methanisation of my waste but may be it would be interesting to make some biogaz with a tank filled with weeds (damned weeds). Say I am cutting some weeds and put them in a 1 m3 tank, fill it with water, close the lid,  do you think we can have some methanisation there, should i had some bacterias ? What is the ideal temperature ? The range of temperatures for the methanisation to occur ?  If yes, what will be the quantity of methane ? For how long ?
« Last Edit: May 07, 2013, 10:13:30 AM by Laurent »

TerryM

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Re: Will Renewable Energy "Solve Global Warming"?
« Reply #72 on: May 07, 2013, 07:33:42 PM »
Laurent


I don't have a web page but would recommend wiki on enzymes and the Mother Jones articles on biogas generation.


The end product that I had been producing many years ago was broad spectrum enzymes for use as both drain cleaners and septic tank treatments. What we ended up with would cut a newspaper as if a laser had sliced it within minutes or cause a paper cup to leak within seconds. The methane given off would blow up a gallon jug within an hour which made shipping tricky & back then plastic jugs were far more rigid than today.


The Mother Jones site and others building methane generators are unnecessarily complicated, require periodic cleaning (which entails throwing out digestible material) & need to be fed manually. Septic systems are covered very poorly by wiki. A double chamber design should be available from a local building supply & what's required is an additional chamber, or pair of chambers past these. The easy way would be to purchase two septic tanks and run them in series. Pouring your own concrete tank is a weekend job if a backhoe & cement mixer are available. The 3d (or 4th) chamber(s) are to extend the digestion and act to filter the effluent going out to the leach field - they also ensure that your refrigerant coil is in the cleanest water (placed half way up in the last chamber). If you want to add grass clipping or kitchen waste it's simple to add a chute in the 1st chamber that extends below water level, but if adding grass I'd be damn sure I remembered to feed in the cow chips.


Your tanks will produce the methane as the solids are broken down, all that's required is that you capture it and pipe it to where you'll use it. Adding some cow chips introduces bacteria producing broad spectrum enzymes that are what make the whole thing work. Enzymes from human waste are fine, but a cow's offal will digest things that humans have trouble with.


The refrigerant coil - that I earlier referred to as a freon coil -  is where the heat in your home (or refrigerator) is distributed to the effluent, speeding the digestion before being dissipated (30C to 35C is optimum). An absorption system can use the heat generated by a small portion of the methane produced and keep your home or refrigerator as cool as you require with no electrical requirement. (Check ads for motor home refrigerators) - to cool the house you'll need the help of an HVAC tech with an understanding of absorption cooling systems - if he explains that they aren't as efficient as compressor systems, remind him that your gas is free. BTW the wiki on absorption cooling is excellent.


Your children will be old before the system requires maintenance as long as you use at least 3 chambers and run a leach field 50% larger than minimum requirements. (Leach field size varies with soil percolation).


Terry

Bob Wallace

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Re: Will Renewable Energy "Solve Global Warming"?
« Reply #73 on: May 07, 2013, 08:18:45 PM »
There are now plastic septic tanks which can be easily hauled in the back of a small pickup and unloaded by one person.  (Been there, done that.)

If you want a three chamber concrete one then your local casting operation should be able to make you one.  I talked to mine about building me a septic tank without a divider and a doorway.  (I was thinking about using it as a root cellar.)'

They said it would be no problem as their forms were adjustable.

 

TerryM

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Re: Will Renewable Energy "Solve Global Warming"?
« Reply #74 on: May 08, 2013, 07:19:13 PM »
There are now plastic septic tanks which can be easily hauled in the back of a small pickup and unloaded by one person.  (Been there, done that.)

If you want a three chamber concrete one then your local casting operation should be able to make you one.  I talked to mine about building me a septic tank without a divider and a doorway.  (I was thinking about using it as a root cellar.)'

They said it would be no problem as their forms were adjustable.

 


Yea, the plastic ones are adequate - especially if two are used in series & I've poured a concrete one building my own forms over the weekend (with two helpers). A backhoe saves time and strained backs while a powered concrete mixer does bunches to improve morale.


Terry

Gonzo

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Re: Will Renewable Energy "Solve Global Warming"?
« Reply #75 on: August 08, 2015, 06:53:57 AM »
Quote
Will Renewable Energy "Solve Global Warming"?

No way.
Livestock farming is one of, if not, THE biggest greenhouse gas.
For decades Westerners were the cow, sheep, and pig eaters.
Now everyone is getting on the bandwagon.
America and Europe has BY FAR the biggest factory farm methane production in the world, but now ... a billion people in China, and elsewhere ... are trying to catch up.
The methane coming from livestock farming alone is FAR FAR more than you humans will EVER be able to offset.

If you want to help the world, you literally have no choice, but to stop taking about CO2 ... and to  stop eating meat.

Methane (from livestock) is 25 times the warming power of CO2 in the atmosphere. So if you see a chart showing 50ppm of methane, and 500 ppm of CO2, the methane looks marginal by weight/mass/volume. However, the heating power of methane molecules to the atmosphere is 25 times MORE than CO2. It lasts only 7 years, before it degrades into CO2, but then it is CO2, and 7 years of heating have occurred, releasing more methane from the permafrost.
Meat eaters are destroying the world, and you will never, ever, get around this argument.
i have heard it all before. You are the cause of global warming, but meat eaters are too cowardly to admit it.
If everyone stopped eating big animals (eat your chickens and sardines if you must), there would not be a single problem in climate change or water shortages coming to you all soon.

(Gonzo -- 35 years as a vegetarian, near-vegan ... stronger, fitter, faster, smarter)
« Last Edit: August 08, 2015, 07:35:50 AM by Gonzo »

cesium62

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Re: Will Renewable Energy "Solve Global Warming"?
« Reply #76 on: August 13, 2015, 05:10:39 AM »
A stagnant economy can mean that we have no money to install the clean generation we need.  it can mean that we don't have adequate governmental resources to fund the research we need.

A stagnant economy means that borrowing costs are low, labor costs are low (high unemployment), capital has low utilization, etc.  It's relatively easy to bring together idle workers and idle capital to produce economic growth given political will, and you can use those idle forces to install clean generation if you want to.  Money is cheap and readily available during the current economic stagnation.

Government isn't needed to fund research in wind, PV, or EV.  Businesses that are growing rapidly naturally increase the funds they spend on research.  Musk's billion dollar battery factory is going to do a lot more to improve the price/performance of batteries than any amount of government research.

cesium62

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Re: Will Renewable Energy "Solve Global Warming"?
« Reply #77 on: August 13, 2015, 05:30:45 AM »
I also don't really feel good about the government taxing people so they can give me a break on the cost.

Then don't look at it that way.  It's well known that PV is cost effective if you are more than about a mile from the grid.  If you live in pretty much any fast-growing urban neighborhood, you are basically off the grid.  The developers are planning on growing the region by 20% over a relatively short time frame.  They have to build new infrastructure for that 20%.  It's really hard to build a transmission line from Canada to Los Angeles that is just 1/5th as big as the existing transmission line.  Solar reduces peak summer electricity demand when demand is highest and transmission line capacity is lowest.  Transmission lines sag when it is hot and when lots of electricity is flowing through them making them hotter.

The government isn't taxing people to give you a break, the government is trying to build a cheaper, incrementally built transmission line equivalent.  The market tools don't exist for them to do this in a transparent fashion, so they are using this odd kludge.

That's the way to look at it.  Take the money.  Enjoy it.  Do good with it.  Most of the money is coming from people who can afford it.

cesium62

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Re: Will Renewable Energy "Solve Global Warming"?
« Reply #78 on: August 13, 2015, 05:44:22 AM »
I would love to see a projection which both had higher expected effects from AGW and took the expected economic and resource extraction problems from followups of Hubbert's work into account.

Hubbert looked at the effects on the US Oil industry.  As much as Texas would like to think otherwise, the US Oil industry is an open economy.  It interacts with the world oil industry.  What Hubbert showed was that if you keep prices and global supply (relative to demand) fixed, production  in a mature region will fall over time.

If you expect resource extraction problems, then you should expect lower supply relative to demand and hence increased prices.  Increased prices will drive higher supply and lower demand and the system will settle in a state where there are no resource extraction problems.  It will be a *very* long time before we exhaust available oil or prices are high enough that we start using bacteria and algae to produce renewable oil.

[Here's a vaguely related reference to an abstract so I can pretend that I'm not just making stuff up.  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544211003975]

cesium62

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Re: Will Renewable Energy "Solve Global Warming"?
« Reply #79 on: August 13, 2015, 05:48:36 AM »
The government should tax GHG emissions with a best-estimate of the (currently) externalized costs of those emissions.

I don't trust the government to administer another tax. What do you feel is the problem with my taxless proposal?

I don't trust corporations to pay me a fair wage.  (I'm an computer programmer in silicon valley.  I have proof that corporations don't pay a fair wage.)   Just because we don't trust ourselves to cooperate doesn't mean we shouldn't cooperate.

cesium62

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Re: Will Renewable Energy "Solve Global Warming"?
« Reply #80 on: August 13, 2015, 05:58:48 AM »
Far too much is made of the variability of wind and solar.  Yes, the time of production is not controllable, but the grid deals with all sorts of non-controllables.  Demand comes and goes.  Coal and nuclear plants go off line for both scheduled maintenance and unexpectedly.  In 2011 the US had a cluster of coal plants suddenly go off line.  In 2011 two East Coast reactors suddenly shut down in an earthquake and didn't come back up for months.

We build in extra capacity to allow for those problems.  We might have to build a lot of NG capacity or even keep some coal plants mothballed, "just in case".

As we build the future grid we will have to design around the nature of our least expensive sources of energy and fill in with storage, dispatchable generation and load-shifting.

The only thing that might make things different is if enhanced (hot dry rock) geothermal is perfected which could give us large amounts of "always on" generation just about everywhere in the world.  But we can't count on that, so best we get busy engineering our grid with what we do have that is clean, cheap and abundant.

Actually...  time of production is controllable.  I'm mostly assured that if I had an air conditioner, the sun would be shining when I wanted to turn it on.  And when I most want to go swimming, the sun is/was shining to heat up the pool.

The other point I like to make, in addition to your excellent points, is that solar and wind are little itty-bitty players in the power grid throughout most of the world.  They're currently doing fine in their little itty-bitty market niches without needing to worry about dispatchability.  We have plenty of time to worry about dispatchability while they grow up and expand into new market niches and prepare to assault market niches that demand dispatchability.  And, who knows, maybe in the meantime we'll start using a technology that allows for easy load-shifting.  Electric cars anyone?

cesium62

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Re: Will Renewable Energy "Solve Global Warming"?
« Reply #81 on: August 13, 2015, 06:27:28 AM »
Hi Bob,

Further to our previous conversations on this topic I guess you are firmly of the opinion that engineers could solve the problem if only the politicians would fund them to get on with it? Maybe "market forces" will do the job, despite the politicians?

However that's where I start to get pessimistic (or should that be realistic?). By way of example, and from a European perspective, here's the latest news, hot off the presses from Brussels:

http://www.euractiv.com/climate-environment/meps-vote-carbon-market-future-b-news-517898

Quote
Lawmakers on the European Parliament’s environment committee voted by 38-25 in favour of an amendment in support of the EU’s ‘backloading’ plans for the Emissions Trading System (ETS), throwing a lifeline to the crisis-hit carbon market.

Within Europe, carbon price have sunk to around €4-€5 per tonne, due to an over-allocation of carbon allowances before recession decimated demand for them. Rejection of backloading by Parliament’s industry committee in January sparked a record fall in carbon prices to just €2.81 a tonne.

Shell commented that:

Quote
It’s encouraging to see the Committee has reached a positive outcome, despite coming under considerable pressure from those who oppose ETS reform.

whereas Friends of the Earth said:

Quote
There is no getting round the fact that no amount of fiddling with the ETS will make the system fit for the challenge of tackling the climate crisis. The real priority must be for the EU to set a tougher greenhouse gas emissions reduction target for 2020 in line with what science and justice tells us is needed to address climate change.


Sure, there are conflicting market forces.  And, sure, market forces are going to have a hard time if they must depend on funding from the government.

But...  I think we must expect that rich people (or at least the newly rich) are, on average, smart.  The Koch Brothers excepted, of course.  If you want to get richer, the way you do that is by figuring out how to bring human labor and capital together to produce something useful.  There's a lot of fairly idle human labor out there.  And, for smart people, common things like sand start looking an awful lot like idle capital.

Market forces want a high return on investment, and the highest returns on investment will be obtained as a by product of solving the hard issues of today:  Malaria.  Water.  Energy.  Education for girls.  Reforestation.  Creating more productive human labor is a high return on capital.  And there's a positive feedback loop.  As you solve the hard problems, they become easier to solve.  The more returns you get on your investments, the more you can invest, and the more you can diversify your investments.


Interesting specific example:  Some complain about the longevity of the global car fleet.  But you may remember in the recent downturn around 2008 or 2009 when we decided to pay to get old cars off the road and reduce the average age of the fleet.  Car makers always have that incentive lying around whenever supply exceeds demand.  And car makers have a general incentive to decrease the average age of the fleet.  Somewhere along the line they are very likely to have the right technology to be able to easily convince consumers to make the change:  "Here's an EV that drives itself; gives you two hours of new free time every day.  Get rid of your old gas guzzler, and get more sleep!"

LCD and LED TVs should always be kept in mind as an example.  As you ramp up production, costs fall, revenues increase, the amount you can spend on research increases.  Positive feedback loops abound.

If you ever saw Larry Page and Sergey Brin wildly looking around trying to figure out what Google can invest in next that might become a billion dollar company that someone else hasn't already exploited, you'ld have a lot more faith in market forces.

AbruptSLR

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Re: Will Renewable Energy "Solve Global Warming"?
« Reply #82 on: October 09, 2015, 07:21:20 PM »
The linked article indicates that the US Federal Government is currently cutting back on its financial support for solar energy:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/10/08/the-u-s-needs-a-solar-energy-revolution-so-why-did-federal-solar-researchers-just-lose-their-jobs/
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AbruptSLR

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Re: Will Renewable Energy "Solve Global Warming"?
« Reply #83 on: October 09, 2015, 07:24:29 PM »
The linked article indicates that the UK is cutting back on its financial support for solar energy:

http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2015/10/daily-briefing-uk-energy-policy-slammed-as-solar-company-collapses/
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson