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Author Topic: Cooling the Arctic - Energy Export  (Read 1668 times)

jonthed

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Cooling the Arctic - Energy Export
« on: July 07, 2013, 11:24:42 AM »
Here is an idea I was toying with as a means of cooling the arctic. The scale for it to have an effect might be preposterous, but all things might be considered when the Earth System is breaking...

Premise:

  • The Arctic ice absorbs a lot of energy each melt season. This was previously balanced with the refreeze, giving a stable arctic.
  • The Arctic is now getting more energy and the melt/freeze equilibrium has been lost (see decline in ice volume)
  • Geo-engineering efforts mean to reduce the amount of energy the arctic receives, restoring the balance to some degree.
  • Mankind's energy demands are working to increase the imbalance by adding to the Greenhouse effect and global temperatures.
  • Efforts need to be made to supply Mankind's energy demands in a way that helps restore the energy balance.
  • The arctic needs to be saved and restored to its prior stable state otherwise we will lose a major heatsink of the climate system, as well as other positive feedbacks due to albedo change, permafrost thaw, clathrates etc. leading to a huge potential shift in global temperatures and climate.

We need to reduce the energy in the arctic and provide energy to the people in a way that helps the arctic and climate.

How about taking the energy from the arctic, and using that energy to meet man's energy needs?

What I'm considering is setting up what are essentially power stations, around the arctic. Their primary purpose is to remove energy, in the form of heat, from the Arctic, and convert it to another form of energy that can be transported away from the arctic for use by people, without making more heat in the arctic by its operation.

Large sprawling complexes with heat pumps pumping heat out of the arctic air or waters. The heat is then accumulated until it can be converted to another form of energy. The complex will be powered by wind power.

The energy conversion process must not release the energy back into the arctic environment.

It could be converted to electricity (perhaps using a normal thermal steam turbine - waste heat would have to be captured and reused) and transmitted south.

It could be used to grow algae in large insulated warehouses, and biofuel produced as a result, which can then be piped or shipped south.

Perhaps there are other better ways of converting heat energy into something exportable?

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If there was a huge sprawl of such complexes along the arctic coast, with pipelines in place to transport the biofuel to a port for shipping. Then not only would this remove heat from the arctic, but it would susbstitute a portion of our fossil fuel usage and so reduce GHG emissions at the same time.

It would not be the most efficient way to produce and ship biofuels, but one of the key aims is to cool the arctic, which means the heat energy has to be exported in some way. Perhaps exporting it as electricity is better.

Please let me know if you have any other suggestions for energy export from the Arctic.

Summary:

We set up huge air conditioning/water cooling facilities in the Arctic to remove thermal energy from the air and water that would run 24/7/365. The Thermal energy is then converted and exported south for use by people as a substitute for power from fossil fuels.

This cools the Arctic and provides some of our energy supply, displacing some fossil fuel power stations.

Other geo-engineering techniques may still be used to further reduce the energy in the Arctic if desired.

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Does anyone know of any such projects or calculations that were done before dismissing the idea?

Anybody got any thoughts?

pikaia

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Re: Cooling the Arctic - Energy Export
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2013, 12:42:49 PM »
The problem with your scheme is that extracting heat from a cold source and pumping it to a warmer place requires energy. Think about a fridge, which does exactly that. But the heat that your fridge puts out cannot be used to power the fridge with energy to spare, it is thermodynamically impossible (you would have a perpetual motion machine!), which is why it needs an external energy source.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2013, 12:48:50 PM by pikaia »

jonthed

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Re: Cooling the Arctic - Energy Export
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2013, 01:20:20 PM »
@pikaia

It has an external energy source. As stated, it is powered by wind power (or solar) in the arctic at the facility.

It is not a perpetual motion machine. It may be inefficient, but it is not perpetual motion.

Remember the primary purpose is to cool, but obviously cooling produces heat, we then try to export this heat down south. The purpose is not to produce electricity or fuel, rather  that is a means of exporting the heat energy, and hopefully a useful byproduct that can replace some fossil fuel usage.

EDIT:

I can see that the way I phrased it as "taking the energy from the arctic" may have given a wrong impression of what was happening in the set-up. Sorry for that.