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Review of solutions to energy problems

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by malcolm, Dec 19, 2008.

  1. malcolm

    malcolm Active Member

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    #1 malcolm, Dec 19, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2008
    This:

    Ethanol turns out to be the worst type of renewable energy - AutoblogGreen

    Got me reading this:

    Review of solutions to global warming, air pollution, and energy security (DOI: 10.1039/b809990c)

    Top of the list of preferences is BEVs + Wind Generation of electricity.

    Hydrogen + Wind gets second place because efficiency is not a heavily weighted criteria in this particular study.

    Also slide 8 in this presentation is worth a look: http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/0810EnergySeminar.pdf
     
  2. dpeilow

    dpeilow Moderator

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  3. malcolm

    malcolm Active Member

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    I missed that. Priceless.
     
  4. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

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    What's seriously missing from the analysis in this review article is a discussion about cost.
     
  5. graham

    graham Active Member

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    I think you are both saying the same thing! :biggrin:
     
  6. malcolm

    malcolm Active Member

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    I would expect the largest capital-intensive areas to be nuclear, large-scale hydro and hydrogen.

    The first two as more easily quantifiable than the last; we have no idea how expensive hydrogen may turn out to be.

    I'm hoping for "prohibitively" :biggrin:
     
  7. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

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    #7 doug, Dec 20, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2008
    Well, my point is that to make policy decisions, you need the whole story. It's of interest to me, as a scientifically literate concerned citizen, how small review articles like this can gain traction, get "summarized" by the media, and then shape what people think. While I appreciate the conclusions of the study, they need to be taken in the proper context. The author admits that he omits several different technologies in his review (some that I think could be important), and as I already said the economic viability of the solutions he ranks is missing, yet critically important.





    .
     
  8. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

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    #8 doug, Dec 20, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2008
    Well it's already prohibitively expensive, but I wouldn't hope that. If hydrogen fuel cells were cheap and reliable, they could have a good position in the marketplace. A technology the article didn't cover is methanol fuel cells. Methanol solves much of the transport and storage problems of hydrogen. Of course it has it's own issues as well.

    I really liked this graphic, btw. I know Martin had a similar one in his presentations.

    "Area to Power 100% of U.S. Onroad Vehicles"
    attachment.php?attachmentid=103&d=1229820144.gif
     

    Attached Files:

  9. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    #9 vfx, Dec 21, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2008
    What's sorely missing on this graphic is a depiction of time. Those crops have to be harvested, the land cleared, fertilized, planted, grown with all the weather and pest problems, and reharvested every year. After year after year...


    Is there a term that says pseudo-renewable?
     
  10. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

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    #10 doug, Dec 21, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2008
    If you think about it, the time is included in the area.
    Unless you're talking about maintenance. In which case, wind and solar also need staff and maintenance. Yeah, I agree that seems likely to be far fewer man hours per year than farming. (I'm not certain, though. Large agribusiness has been around for a while.) But that doesn't mean it takes more time, just that it takes more people.

    That's probably as good as any.
     
  11. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    Despite being a pretty big hydrogen critic, I have to agree also. I don't really wish them to be prohibitively expensive, since they can provide a pretty decent alternative if the BEVs don't pan out (after all they are still EVs, just less efficient in most cases).

    It's just they don't make sense with the current cost.
     
  12. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    I don't get you Doug. The effort and resources to grow all that land is a major reoccuring cost. That's nothing compared the annual minor maintenance to Wind Turbines and Solar panels.
     
  13. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

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    #13 doug, Dec 21, 2008
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2009
    I used the word "maintenance" in a general sense that applied to all the technologies. In this context planting more crops each year is maintenance just as is keeping the wind turbines running (if that was the source of confusion). So I think we're agreeing that E85 technologies probably require more maintenance (in terms of man hours per year for a given number of transportation miles powered). Actual monetary cost, not just labor cost, is what counts, though. Solar panels and wind turbines aren't exactly cheap, and have large up front costs. So again, it would be nice to have a proper cost comparison here as well.

    But your original statement was that the graphic should depict "time". As if it takes a lot more time to plant and harvest biofuels from the field than it does to wait for photons to accumulate on a set of solar panels to provide an equivalent number of transportation miles. Well it does, for the same size area of land. But this is why the area of the Corn E85 square is so much larger than the Solar PV-BEV square for the same rate of output. It might help to think of the average rate (say over a year) rather than an instantaneous rate.
     
  14. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    These meant the same to me. Maintenance over time. Also the degradation of the land over time. Add in a request on how the weather affects each of these since crops seem more vulnerable than wind or solar over time.
     
  15. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    Moonlighting?
    Tom-Cruise13.jpg
     
  16. dpeilow

    dpeilow Moderator

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    BBC NEWS | UK | Planes 'should fly on biofuels'

     
  17. Brent

    Brent Member

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    I wonder if that USA-sized crop area statistic factors in the theoretical efficiencies of algae-based biofuel production, which is said to generate as much as thirty times per acre as other sources ( Algae fuel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ).
     

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