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Messages - Bob Wallace

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Oooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, those scary dark hued people................

Policy and solutions / Re: Nuclear Power
« on: January 17, 2018, 03:55:17 PM »
The ramping problem was interesting.  I wish there was more information.  Was that reactor not designed for ramping?  Was it ramped frequently and deeply than is normally done?  Thermal stress problem?

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: January 17, 2018, 03:49:58 PM »
Then we might also consider how we humans would treat automated vehicles in traffic.

We might have to change the duties of traffic officers from dealing with speeders, texters, and driving under the influence idiots as well as working traffic crashes to enforcing pedestrian misbehavior.

Intentionally interfering with self-driving cars and illegally crossing streets might be where we would have to put efforts.  But wouldn't that be preferable to tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths each year?

Policy and solutions / Re: Schumpeterian Creative Destruction
« on: January 17, 2018, 06:55:14 AM »
In the future we'll all be trustafarians.  Free to do what we wish with our time and our lives.  If we figure out a reasonable way to distribute goods and services.

I'm not sure we'll reach that state during any of our lives but we will move closer and closer to it.  I think what we really want to do is to assure that we don't create a 'slum-dweller' class.  If we do then we are likely to find some of us shoved into that unfortunate group as our services are no longer needed.

Policy and solutions / Re: Nuclear Power
« on: January 17, 2018, 06:48:35 AM »
You might want to have a word with Wiki -

As a direct result of the 1973 oil crisis, on 6 March 1974 Prime Minister Pierre Messmer unexpectedly announced what became known as the 'Messmer Plan', a huge nuclear power program aimed at generating all of France's electricity from nuclear power.[13] At the time of the oil crisis most of France's electricity came from foreign oil. Nuclear power allowed France to compensate for its lack of indigenous energy resources by applying its strengths in heavy engineering.[14][15] The situation was summarized in a slogan: "In France, we do not have oil, but we have ideas."[16]

Whoever wrote the Wiki piece agrees that the democratic process was bypassed.

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: January 16, 2018, 09:08:24 PM »
Also, we have some serious legal issues with self driving cars in terms of liability whenever accidents will happen with humans/human driven cars. Some cases will have to be processed through the court system, maybe to Supreme court until it's clear where responsibilites lie. Those things take time and until the legal issues are cleared I suppose it will be a hurdle on the use of self driving cars, esp. as robotaxis. 2025 seems reasonable.

Companies will have to demonstrate reasonable safety before they are allowed to operate on public roads.  That data is already being collected.

If there is a crash involving a self-driving car as with any crash there will be an onsite determination of fault by the investigating officers.  They will look at the evidence at the scene and assess responsibility.

If either party involved disagrees with the assessment they will be able to seek a hearing in order to present their evidence.  The self-driving cars are going to be able to bring a lot of data to the hearing. 

If the self-driving software was at fault then the company that owned the car will turn to the software company for restitution.  Companies will likely use a combination of self-insurance and other company umbrella insurance to pay for any judgements against them.

If there is a pattern of problems with one flavor of self-driving software then the company will be forced to fix.


Policy and solutions / Re: Nuclear Power
« on: January 16, 2018, 08:58:07 PM »
some decommissioned coal power plant locations are being refitted with solar, to take advantage of the existing power transmission lines.

Additionally, brownfields like those created by coal plants require less cleaning if used for something like solar farms than if brought up to residential standards.

Policy and solutions / Re: Schumpeterian Creative Destruction
« on: January 16, 2018, 07:17:29 PM »
i don't think we are going to see many autonomous driving cars or trucks

Then I think you are not paying attention to what is happening. 

GM is planning on releasing a self-driving car next year.  GM has partial ownership of Lyft.  If nothing unexpected happens look for people to be riding in GM/Lyft robotaxis in selected markets within two years.

Self-driving taxis will be vastly cheaper per mile than driven taxis.  There will be a rush by traditional car manufacturers to get into the robotaxi business or else face extinction.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: January 16, 2018, 05:43:46 PM »
Years and years ago I used to go fishing in Lake Talquin in a canoe among the alligators and water moccasins.  I had no idea that there was a dam on the lake.

And I had no idea that Lake Talquin was part of the Ochlockonee River.  At other times we would go flounder gigging where the Ochlockonee emptied into the Apalachee Bay.

Got to love the place names around there.  Sopchoppy.  Panacea. Two Eggs.  Apalachicola.  Tate's Hell.

Very surprising that the cost of hydro is so high.  Must be a low power producer with relatively high staff costs.  The dam has been there a long time so it has to be paid off.   

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: January 16, 2018, 05:27:37 PM »
250,000 Lyft users sold their cars/second cars in 2017

That is very interesting.  The cost of a robotaxi ride should be considerably lower than a Lyft or Uber ride. 

Policy and solutions / Re: Schumpeterian Creative Destruction
« on: January 16, 2018, 05:22:34 PM »
Bob Wallace
"There's nothing that says that a universal income would need to be borrowed.  Some portion of the tax from some (including corporations) would be used to provide income  for those who earn below the limit.  It's a negative income tax for all."

You then place another burden on the real productive economy, which will be resisted by the near poor who are the backbone of that economy. 40% of current taxes already go to service gov. debt, by extending to everyone credit on the same terms that the .001% enjoy then you could think of paying down that burden, whilst maintaining a sufficient money supply to oil the economic wheels, incidentally completely realigning all economic imperatives by reducing both the debt and tax burden on home produced goods.

We have a very real problem forming.  We will need less and less labor over time.  For example, self-driving vehicles will eliminate taxi and truck drivers.  Robotic order pickers will replace humans in Amazon type warehouses.  Self-checking is eliminating clerk positions is retail stores.  This trend will accelerate.

Our option is to find a way to allow the unneeded people to live decent lives or create cardboard and plastic tarp slums where many of us attempt to scrape by. 

If you've got a better idea than a guaranteed basic income then tell us about it.

If you're happy with millions of Americans living in abject poverty I'd rather hear nothing more from you.

Policy and solutions / Re: Schumpeterian Creative Destruction
« on: January 16, 2018, 05:15:22 PM »
We've got a choice:

1)  Moderate pain
2)  Extreme pain.

It's an inter-generational choice as well.
No pain for us.
Very little pain for our kids.
Extreme pain for grandkids and following generations.

Not so creative destruction of future generations.

We are experiencing pain right now.  It will continue to get worse.

Someone has turned on the burner, froggy.

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: January 16, 2018, 04:07:27 AM »
Even now every seat could have a nice individual screen that could operate off ones smartphone so that, if you want, you could watch a movie or videos as you rode.

If you want to do some work add a dropdown keyboard and trackball.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: January 16, 2018, 04:04:31 AM »
Commercial roofs have limited lifetimes.  They have to be recovered from time to time.

The glass on the panels will last for (I suspect) hundreds of years.  The panels should be producing significant electricity 50 to 100 years from now (except in the most harsh environments).  Why not design the roof so that the panels form a 50+ year skin?


Policy and solutions / Re: Schumpeterian Creative Destruction
« on: January 16, 2018, 04:01:13 AM »
Do humans ever plan for upcoming changes or do we, generally, just react as the change washes over us?

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: January 16, 2018, 02:00:56 AM »
I think that, after some time for the industry to mature, riders will be able to request one of an assortment of vehicles.  Normal work commuting might provide work surfaces.  Going on a scenic drive might mean lots of glass or a convertible.  Going on a vacation might mean some sort of RV, from a small vehicle that sleeps a couple people tent-style, to a large rolling cabin.

I suspect we'll see one or two person options.  And options up to 50 or more passengers.  Cargo vans.  Whatever the market will support.

Policy and solutions / Re: Schumpeterian Creative Destruction
« on: January 16, 2018, 01:55:46 AM »
A universal income would still mean borrowing from the banks to pay for it, since they create the money out of thin air, better to lend the money, created out of thin air, direct to each citizen from the state. Then of course since profits are optional and move as freely as the wind best institute a simple transaction tax suitable for each sovereign state on every transfer of money/credit. Then you'd see some creative destruction.

There's nothing that says that a universal income would need to be borrowed.  Some portion of the tax from some (including corporations) would be used to provide income  for those who earn below the limit.  It's a negative income tax for all.

Policy and solutions / Re: Nuclear Power
« on: January 16, 2018, 01:52:52 AM »
Wind and solar are installing faster in China than has nuclear. 

As Sigmetnow points out, this is not a meaningful comparison.  Wind and solar have only recently become cheap which is fueling the acceleration of their growth.

The rate at which France installed nuclear is often held up as an example of how rapidly we could cut coal use.  But what isn't told is that France built a lot of nuclear very rapidly because it was regarded as a necessity for national security.  OPEC had formed and was messing with the world's oil supply.  France used oil for most of their electricity, they had not a lot of hydro and no reasonably accessible coal.  Wind and solar were very expensive back then.  Nuclear was pretty much France's only option and the French government spent whatever it took to build a lot of reactors quickly.

If any country decided that it wanted to quit fossil fuels ASAP the quickest and most affordable route today is now wind and solar.

The graph shows only (selected?) history.  With wind and solar now a small fraction of the cost of nuclear history will not repeat itself.

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: January 15, 2018, 11:54:28 PM »
It’s probably covered up thread, but how long do folks here think before roving fleets of on demand autonomous vehicles reach critical mass so that owning ANY type of vehicle is no longer required for those of us that need to travel on roads?

I’d like to have an EV, but I’d also prefer to avoid the investment and instead hang on to my ICE car if autonomous vehicles are on the (reasonable) horizon.

That will be easier to predict once we see GM, Tesla or some other company putting self-driving vehicles on the road.  That may happen within the year or it might take a little longer.

Once we have truly self-driving EVs I suspect the roll out will be rapid.  A year or two of limited sized fleets in a few cities while the bugs are squashed and while more areas are mapped. 

After that the rate of implementation will probably depend on how rapidly car manufacturers can turn out the needed vehicles.

I'm in the same boat.  I've got the money set aside for a T3 but won't buy until it's clear that the car will be self-driving.  And if the T3 is self-driving then it shouldn't be long before robotaxis are available.  And if I can phone for a ride I see no sense in owning an EV. 

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: January 15, 2018, 11:10:36 PM »

4+ MW solar PV system on the roof of Rhenus Logistics’ new distribution center near Eindhoven-NL. Looks sharp!
Photo: @KiesZonNu

I'd like to think that the job was engineered such that they created a 50 to 100 year leak proof roof.  Water is not going through a panel.  Make the racking system as waterproof and Bob's your uncle.

Policy and solutions / Re: Schumpeterian Creative Destruction
« on: January 15, 2018, 11:07:16 PM »
EVs are not going to destroy our economies. 

Some countries will be badly hurt - those who largely rely on oil for national income. 

Some countries will benefit - those who currently spend significant money importing petroleum.

Some industries will be badly hurt - specifically the oil industry.

Some industries will benefit - solar and wind, in particular.

Some industries and occupations will be damaged by robo-vehicles - the car industry, taxi and truck drivers.

Some people will benefit - everyone who will be able to go where they are going for less money and spend less for what they want to purchase due to cheaper shipping.  Add in a close to total elimination of crash related deaths and injuries.

It's a mixed bag.  Long term a vast improvement for almost all with some losing money or occupation during the transition.

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: January 15, 2018, 09:32:56 PM »
A lot of the hair on fire articles about EV depreciation based their math on the list price of the car, not what buyers paid after subsidies.

$30,000 - $7,500 federal tax credit = $22,500.

A 19% first year depreciation off a $30k EV = $24,500.  It would make no sense to pay $24.5k for a one year old car when you can buy the next year's model for $22.5k.

Policy and solutions / Re: Schumpeterian Creative Destruction
« on: January 15, 2018, 09:26:46 PM »
We've got a choice:

1)  Moderate pain
2)  Extreme pain.

Policy and solutions / Re: Grid data and energy balance.
« on: January 15, 2018, 06:57:35 PM »
That wasn't my insight.  It's well accepted in Democratic circles that one of Trump's drivers is a hatred of Obama stemming from that dinner.  A consistent rumor is that the Russian pee tape is from a time after the dinner when Trump paid hookers to pee on the bed that Barak and Michael slept in when they were in Russia.

Remember that leading up to that event Trump had been a leader of the 'Obama born in Africa' group.  Trump had been attacking Obama fairly strongly for a long time. 

Obama burned Trump a bit in a setting where that sort of behavior is expected and appreciated.

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: January 15, 2018, 06:11:38 PM »
If you buy an EV with at least a 200 mile range and there's a rapid charge system for long trips why would you upgrade your battery?  Even a lower range EV that was purchased for local driving would still do what it was expected to do.

People don't do engine swaps if a more powerful or more efficient engine is developed.  If, for some reason, they really, really want that new engine they trade in their current vehicle. 

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: January 15, 2018, 05:55:13 PM »
If you purchase an ICEV later on in the transition to EVs you may be stuck with it.  Your car, by the end of a five, six year payoff may have almost no resale value.  For many people that will mean that they will drive their car longer than they otherwise would. 

I don't see any forced large financial loss for anyone here.  Just some disappointment because some people won't be driving a more current year car.

Some data:
$31,252 - average selling price US car 2013
$23,523 - value one year later
$16,867 - value three years later
$11,629 - value five years later

If you absolutely have to have a new car after three or five years then you'd have to pay some penalty.  But at five years the car should still have a few more years of reliable service so you wouldn't be forced to lose money.

People who buy a new ICEV and drive it about eight years wouldn't lose much money by sending it to the crusher.

I suspect we'll have a period during the transition where people with limited budgets will be able to drive some fairly nice ICEVs while they wait for adequately depreciated EVs to become available.

Policy and solutions / Re: Solar Roadways
« on: January 15, 2018, 05:37:31 PM »
If you want to calculate the output loss by mounting panels flat rather than at the optimal slope (direction and angle) you could get the irradiance numbers here -

Just select an appropriate city close by and sum the numbers for both mounts.

Policy and solutions / Re: Nuclear Power
« on: January 15, 2018, 02:02:58 AM »
I'm not sure we're looking at enough sea level rise to take out many current reactors in the next 20 or so years.  And, I suspect, well over half of global reactors will be dead of old age 20 years from now.  Take a look at  how old the world's reactors are now....

Some in the nuclear fan club claim that we can use our current reactors for 60 years  but we've never managed to keep one alive for more than 50 years.  Twenty years from now perhaps 2/3rds of today's reactors will have been closed because repair costs have made them noncompetitive or they will  become unsafe to continue to use.

Wind and solar are going to keep falling in price and put more and more economic pressure on existing reactors.  Canada just got a bid for a new wind farm which  will produce electricity at $0.024/kWh.  No subsidies.  (edit $0.025/kWh)

One UK reactor did have to be shut down for a period of time while a seawall was built or raised to protect it from storm surges.  So I guess there may be some reactors which will be impacted by sea level rise over the next 20 years.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: January 14, 2018, 10:01:23 PM »
Under any of those scenarios, oil companies are in deep shit.

If GM really does put self-driving Lyft cars on the road in the next 18 months then we should be able to see the end of oil horizon.

Range and rapid charge outlets will not be as important for urban robotaxi systems as for privately owned cars.  The taxi company will just need the ability to recharge its cars during lower demand times. 

A 100 mile range is probably enough.  NYC taxis average just under 200 miles per day.  A mid-morning and mid-afternoon top up along with an overnight full charge should do the job. 

If we have effective robotaxi service in major cities in a few years then we are likely to see cities start to limit private car use in the central part of the city.  Large parking lots at the edges of cities where people can leave their personal cars and transfer to a robotaxi.  And then we'll see pressure to move the robotaxi service into the suburbs and countryside.

AAA study - the cost of driving a medium sized sedan = $8,171 for 15,000 miles per year = $0.54/mile.  If robotaxis can provide service for 80% or less then I think we'll rapid movement from personal vehicles.  And if people are willing to ride share the cost could be half or less that of single use.

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: January 14, 2018, 09:45:43 PM »
Peakers are too inefficient to be used for general generation.  They get used for short term purposes.  US peaker plants run, on average, about 5% of the time.  CCNG plants run 50% to 60% of the time.

I have not seen a coal/NG study that

1) Took into account only the CH4 leaked at well, in the main distribution pipes, and at the CCNG plant.  I've seen calculations which use all NG leaks including very leaky urban distribution systems.

2)  Included CH4 (coal gas) for coal along with the CO2 emitted by coal burning.  Coal mines have to be constantly ventilated to remove coal gas and monitored for pockets of build up.  When coal mines explode it's the coal gas that didn't get ventilated out.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: January 14, 2018, 09:36:52 PM »
A single CF number does not tell one the number of hours  that the wind blows.  You can get the same CF with a relatively small number of very windy days or a large number of moderately windy days.

The critical issue going forward, IMO, is the number of hours we can supply demand with electricity directly from PV solar, onshore wind, and offshore wind.  Those are likely our least expensive sources.  Stored energy or dispatchable generation will cost more per MWh.

We need to build the mix of generation that best fits hourly, or at least daily, demand.  That's our route to the least expensive electricity.  And cheaper means less resistance to transitioning off fossil fuels.

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: January 14, 2018, 09:26:43 PM »
Looks like a large amount of that coal is going to be replaced with natural gas, which simply gives the illusion of emissions reductions because we only count the CO2 and don't/vastly undercount the CH4.

No.  It's unlikely many more gas peakers (simple turbines) will be installed.  Batteries are starting to edge them out. 

Gas plants that are added going forward are likely to be combined cycle plants which will have short startup times due to their turbine stage but won't reach full output for a few hours when their steam stage is hot enough to operate.

The need going forward, as we add wind and solar, is going to be for longer hour fill-in for when both wind and solar output is low for extended periods.  Batteries are likely to provide short term fill-in but are still too expensive to provide more than a few hours of fill-in.

What it likely to happen for a while is that CCNG plants will start to operate a few hours before batteries are due to be depleted.  The grid will be supplied by batteries and turbine stages plus whatever generation is available.  With proper timing the CCNG plants should be at max output before battery power is used up.

Most CH4 leakage seems to be urban distribution systems. 

There is a significant amount of CH4 released when coal is mined and more released when coal is pulverised before  use.

The coal/NG CH4 issue is complicated.  I've not yet seen anyone do a good study comparing CH4 and CO2 emissions for electricity generation.

But most of the gas plants will be peaker plants, rather than base power plants, won’t they?  Which means much of the time they won’t be operating.  And they will run less and less, as we ramp up renewables and storage.

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: January 14, 2018, 09:14:41 PM »
The new solid state lidar systems are rather small and could be mounted inside the car about where rear view mirrors now live.  They would only see 150 degrees to 180 degrees rather than a top-mounted unit which sees 360 degrees, but the area aft of the car's front wheels does not need fine grain resolution and could be done with radar or cameras.

The fact that Tesla is manufacturing their EVs without lidar leads me to believe that lidar is not necessary.  It's hard to imagine that Tesla hasn't tested their sensor system in all sorts of conditions.  They've sold a large number of EV into Norway so they must have snow condition data.  And coastal California has plenty of fog along with some rainy days.  Plus I have to believe that the engineers would have a checklist  of potential problem situations.

Perhaps we'll start out with a couple of solutions, wind and without lidar.  Perhaps over time one system will be shown to work better or to cost significantly less.

Remember, the first Model T didn't have an electric starter, fuel pump, windshield wipers, heater, or roll up windows.  Self-driving cars will most likely evolve.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: January 14, 2018, 07:49:29 PM »
Here's what California onshore hourly wind looks like.  For a six month period from June through November 2017.

My guess is that offshore is likely to be a lot smoother but I know of no source for the data. 

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: January 14, 2018, 07:15:14 PM »
Like I suggested, visit the site from time to time.  I do and I have never seen the wind not blowing hard along the 'North Coast'.  The area starting above SF and extending into southern Oregon.

I don't know of a place to get hours of production data for US offshore wind.    I expect it's very different than onshore and as we bring more offshore into the mix our need for storage and dispatchable generation will greatly decrease (assuming a 100% RE grid).

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: January 14, 2018, 05:48:39 PM »
There's stronger winds and too strong wind.  Offshore CA and OR winds are strong but they're not too strong.  And we don't have hurricanes.

A Cat 3 hurricane has sustained winds of 50–58 m/s.

Visit this site from time to time and compare the current wind conditions for US offshore and Midwest (the Saudi Arabia of wind).  (Great site.  You can grab and spin the globe and zoom in/out.),42.11,760

This is what things looked like a few minutes ago.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: January 14, 2018, 05:23:32 PM »
I believe the LAST ICE PASSENGER CAR sold in the US by a large car company will likely take place by the end of 2025.

I think it more likely 2035 or 2040.  Sometime well after 2025.  There are going to be holdouts.  A few people who will resist just like some were very late to give up horses for cars.

There might be no more ICEVs being manufactured by 2035 but car companies may well warehouse several thousand new cars for future sales.  We saw that happen with film SLR cameras.  Sales reached a point where it no longer supported an active manufacturing line but some number of further sales were expected.

Before ICEV sales drop to <5% of new car sales we need

1) long range EVs selling for less than similar featured ICEVs
2) an extensive rapid charging station system
3) charge outlets for those who don't currently have one where they park (either day or night)
4) a switch in owner attitudes, an acceptance of and preference for EVs
5) retooling of assembly lines for EVs and creation of massive battery manufacturing capacity.

I just don't see that happening in seven years.  It feels very possible in seventeen years.

Now, if we change the topic to robo-vehicles then I can see the timeline shortening.  Robotaxi companies will purchase EVs and will install the rapid charging stations they need to operate.  Overall we will need far fewer vehicles and ICEV sales will plummet.

ICEVs might be basically done by 2030 in many parts of the world.  I have no idea how rapidly robotaxi fleets might be established in less developed parts of the world.  Perhaps they will operate with used or inexpensive EVs for some years after the transition has happened in more developed parts.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: January 13, 2018, 11:05:55 PM »
Here's the NREL 100 meter hub height map for offshore wind from the Yale article.

Take a look at the enormous resource along the southern Oregon border down to about Medicino.  To the east, about 50 miles away, is the Pacific Alternating Current Intertie.  A major transmission link that runs from close to LA north well into Washington State.

Put floating farms out there and the entire West Coast could be fed from very strong wind.  I'd love to see some 'output per hour' data to show how consistently the wind blows. 

Policy and solutions / Re: Batteries: Today's Energy Solution
« on: January 13, 2018, 06:23:14 PM »

Some more on cobalt free batteries. 

Vancouver, B.C., January 11, 2018: Dr. Stephen Campbell, Principal Scientist at Nano One, today announced that Nano One has successfully completed an 18 month project developing cobalt free High Voltage Spinel (HVS) cathode material for lithium ion batteries, with the support of the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP). HVS is suited to fast charging and high power applications and is a candidate cathode material in next generation solid state lithium ion batteries for automotive, consumer electronics and energy storage applications.

“We have met our objectives and made a number of significant breakthroughs” said Dr. Elahe Talaie, Senior Scientist and HVS team lead with Nano One. “Battery performance is excellent when our HVS is tested with lithium, graphite and lithium titanium oxide anodes (LTO). As previously communicated, our innovative process can control particle size and output voltage; and it stabilizes HVS for high temperature applications. All of these advances are critical to battery manufacturers. The project has led to two patent applications and HVS production is now ready for demonstration at pilot scale.”

Having been disappointed several times by promising batteries that did not pan out I'm not getting excited by this.  Holding it at the 'very interesting' level for now.

Policy and solutions / Re: Batteries: Today's Energy Solution
« on: January 13, 2018, 05:17:34 PM »
We may already have a solution for a strained cobalt supply - EV batteries that use no cobalt.

A new process for lithium-ion battery cathode material containing zero cobalt has demonstrated high density, high power, and good cycle life.

This new process, patented by a recent startup, avoids cobalt, lowers other material costs, and has advanced to pilot battery production by industry players.

With cost and cobalt supply issues solved, expect big changes to cars, trucks, grid storage, supply chain.

Nothing proven yet by real world application but Randy does a pretty good job of not getting too far out over his skis.

Policy and solutions / Re: Nuclear Power
« on: January 13, 2018, 07:09:30 AM »
Let's see how scaling is going in the US and China. 

In the US nuclear got off to a good start that lasted until utilities started to understand that costs were higher than what the nuclear industry said they would be and that prices rose over time.  Nuclear fizzled out.

The price of wind and solar has only recently become cheap so we should expect their curves to rise and move quickly above that of nuclear.

In China both wind and solar are zooming up much faster than has nuclear.

I don't see how anyone could argue that nuclear could scale faster than wind and solar.  Wind and solar don't require highly trained and experienced engineers and construction workers as does nuclear.  Wind and solar farms can be built by pretty much any commercial construction company.  We can start many more new wind and solar farms in a year than start reactor construction and bring them online in less than two years.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: January 13, 2018, 03:52:05 AM »
Alexander -

Give this video a look.

Worry not about oil supply. 

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: January 13, 2018, 03:48:28 AM »
No more ICE cars sold by 2040, impossible? Erik Fairbairn says, "Easy!". Details in this excellent Fully Charged video:

Great video!

Absolutely.  Everything he says rings true, except perhaps EVs being as cheap to purchase as ICEVs by 2020.  They may be as cheap to manufacturer but I suspect manufacturers will price them higher as long as they can.

But if GM can get their robotaxis on the road before 2020 then there's going to be a massive shakeout.

Policy and solutions / Re: Nuclear Power
« on: January 13, 2018, 12:08:41 AM »
Nuclear is simply too expensive.
And IMHO too risky to assume a functioning government and infrastructure sufficient to maintain these plants and deal with the radioactive waste in the next 100 years in the face of climate change, SLR, and potential collapse.

Nuclear is too expensive just in terms of cost of electricity produced.  Add in the external costs of possible disasters and dealing with radioactive waste over tens of thousands of years and the cost becomes enormous.

Policy and solutions / Re: Nuclear Power
« on: January 12, 2018, 10:48:08 PM »
Nuclear is simply too expensive. 

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: January 12, 2018, 10:47:22 PM »
Floating wind towers can be built in drydock and towed to where they will live.  Construction can be done on 'dry land' with fixed cranes and supplies only feet away.  No travel time to get workers out to the site.

If major repairs or refurbishing is needed the turbine can be returned to the dock, fixed, and repositioned.

Towing can be done with generic tugboats. 

I suspect floating turbines are going to dominate.

Policy and solutions / Re: Boring, boring ol' Elon Musk...
« on: January 12, 2018, 10:42:25 PM »
If Boring can greatly reduce the cost of tunneling as Musk think's possible then we're looking at a brand new world of public transportation.  Robo-vehicles for short hops and very fast underground travel for the longer trips.

Standard tunnel boring speed 60 feet per day (average).  Musk says that Boring can operate at 14x standard.

NYC to Washington DC 200 miles - straight line.  200 miles = 1,056,000 feet.

60 feet per day = 17,600 days.

600 feet per day (10x improvement - dialing back a bit from Musk's 14x) = 1,760 days 

Ten boring machines = 176 days.  Six months.

3,000 miles coast to coast.  200 10x-tunneling machines could complete a coast to coast tunnel in half a year. 

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: January 12, 2018, 10:31:15 PM »

Today, GM unveiled the first image of its upcoming autonomous fourth-generation Bolt EV-based vehicle – the “first without a steering wheel or pedal.”

The automaker also says that it filed a petition asking the DOT permission to deploy the vehicle as soon as next year.

This is the turning point.

GM seems to be moving forward with autonomous driving by limiting the roads the car will drive on, e.g. “Anywhere in San Francisco.”  The SuperCruise driver-assist software in their Cadillac only works on (some) highways, so I bet the ride-share app works by geo-fencing tricky spots in SF the car simply won’t go.

This can certainly work for many AV applications!  Tesla is taking a different approach, using AI to train their cars (via a central brain and a super-computer in each car) to deal with thousands of situations experienced every day by its fleet — and by incorporating an ultra-precise navigation system that should be pushed out to the fleet soon.  But it’s taking longer than expected.

Good to see different approaches being tried, with differing equipment and different timelines.

GM doesn't have the mapping ability that Tesla has with all its recent and future EVs being data collection machines.  But GM has a very valid approach.  Start by "manually" mapping a few cities and start a robotaxi service in areas where mapping has occurred.

GM has an ownership stake in Lyft so they should be able to find out where the highest use areas are and concentrate on those areas at first.  In the meantime they can map other areas.

Looks like we're off and running. 

I'm hoping that I can use a robotaxi in SF soon.  I've quit trying to go to interesting restaurants because parking is next to impossible in much of the City.  If I could use a 'cheap per mile' robo to get from my hotel to a restaurant that would be great.

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: January 12, 2018, 07:56:36 PM »

Today, GM unveiled the first image of its upcoming autonomous fourth-generation Bolt EV-based vehicle – the “first without a steering wheel or pedal.”

The automaker also says that it filed a petition asking the DOT permission to deploy the vehicle as soon as next year.

This is the turning point. 

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Agreement - Paris 2015 and beyond
« on: January 12, 2018, 07:28:19 PM »
we can be optimistic in the longer run about dramatic technology shifts that will phase out more CO2 intense legacy technology. However, I'm not at all optimistic about short- and medium-term developments

Suppose we find ourselves stuck on a remote island that can't support us long term and with no way back to our homes.  But we realize that if we could build a raft and rig a sail we could go with the prevailing winds and reach someplace populated.

Over time we figure out how to make a raft with driftwood and plastic bottles.  We devise a sail out of part of a cast ashore fish net and palm fronds.  We test out the raft and it works.

That's where we are now, IMO.  We've put together the technology we need to save our butts.  Now we've got the long sail home to make.

new technology requires new infrastructure, this means a lot of growth, and a lot of CO2.

Let's break apart the developed and less developed parts of the world.

The developed parts already have energy systems, electricity generation and grid as well as liquid fuel infrastructure.  Almost all of that stuff will age out over the next 30 to 40 years and will have to be replaced with something.  That is money that we will have to spend and energy we will have to use.

If we replace FF with RE we reduce CO2 emissions and we spend less.

The less developed world will need to build energy infrastructure.  It's going to be less expensive to build RE.  And that does not bring more CO2 emission.

The trick is to use more and more RE every year and less and less FF so that a couple of decades from now the things we make result in much less CO2 emissions.  And 30(?) years from now pretty much everything we do emits no CO2.

considering that the overall cost of energy is dropping so fast, means that more energy will be used. People will buy more cars (EV), they will buy those AC systems, they will consume more.

I doubt that is true in the developed world.  Energy simply doesn't cost very much, few people 'do without' because of the cost of electricity and fuel. 

In the developing world energy use per capita will rise.  If it's RE generated electricity that's not a problem.

Combined with terrible population growth, what's there to stop this?

Population growth is slowing.  It's no longer "terrible", IMO.  It's now a problem but one we can deal with. 

What we have to do is to transition from a fossil fuel based life to a mostly wind, solar and hydro based life.  And we have to switch to using only sustainable materials.  Getting there will not be easy but it can be done. 

It's not like we've got another option.

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