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Alternative energy sources... which are best to support?

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posted on Apr, 7 2005 @ 04:49 PM
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Subz...
you boggle me with obvious logic...

that is true... first and foremost... we can use a lot less, by conserving... and utilizing better building materials for homes and businesses.
For instance: New thermopane windows can decrease your electric bill by hundreds per year.
thru expense for greater efficiency, we can reduce the amount of energy needed, without compromising the cost benefit or comfort (over the long haul).

This is already being done slowly though...

but the gist is that every little bit helps... of course...

OTS stated that he was thinking nuclear...
i still think of nuclear as a dangerous stopgap...
if we invest the money into making Biodiesel generators more efficient (and less smelly) then we end up with a better alternative...

clean coal (not a contradictory statement) is another possibility...
science has actually refined the energy production and eliminated many of the emmisions. I am incouraged by the possibilites for coal electricity producing stations in the parts of the country that have coal.

Lets look at oil for a moment... it is used for so many more things than fuel...
plastics for one. Many new synthetics are being developed (some from corn) and the more industry that uses alternatives, the more oil will be around for the "untransferable" industrys.




posted on Apr, 7 2005 @ 06:29 PM
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Here's a few "possible" alternative sources I have read about that may or may not have been mentioned here:



Coal
i. Solid fuel
ii. Synthetic fuel made from coal
iii. Coal gasification

Hydroelectric

Nuclear
i. Fission
ii. Fusion

Tar sands

Shale

Solar
i. Solar cells
ii. Solar mirrors
iii. Dark surface absorption

Windmills

Vegetative
i. Wood from trees
ii. Ethanol from crops
iii. Biomass
iv. Biodiesel

Wastes
i. Burning of garbage

Available but poorly devolped:

Tidal & Wave Energy
i. Gulf Stream Currents
ii. Shore Inlets
iii. Floating Devices Exposed to Wave Action

Hydrogen
i. Recovered from water

Energy Sources Available - But Technology Not Developed:
a. Ocean and Perma-frost Hydrates
b. Volcanic
c. Earth and Ocean Heat Exchangers
d. High Salt Water Cells
e. Sulfur Batteries

Energy Sources - Conceivable but Wild-Assed
a. Very deep gas, i.e., Thomas Gold Gas
b. Cold Fusion
c. Energy Materials from moon, asteroids, etc.
d. Black Hole Development

Improved efficiency and Other Methods to Resolve Energy Crisis
a. Hybrid cars
b. Use of more diesel
c. Improved home designs
d. Increased taxes or penalties on energy use
e. Population Control
www.conservatismvsliberalism.com...


I'm sure there are many people working on this problem right now, all over the world, more than likely some big corporations already have alternative sources on deck, ready to "save" us all after they've sucked the last dollar from oil. On the bright side pretty much any alternative available to us will be cleaner for the environment than oil, maybe the air will clear up a bit.



posted on Apr, 7 2005 @ 08:57 PM
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xl5 says:

"Wind turbines can run with no problems in 5-100kmh winds. For low winds, you want to angle the prop blades to deflect as much wind as posible. For high winds, you point the blades to the wind so it deflects the wind less and does not overspeed."

So you're contemplating a wind-turbine blade that will stand up to a lateral force of as little as 0.1 ft-lb (or 0.445 newtons, if that's your measurement), and not jam its bearings at a 50-newton lateral force? Good luck!

Do you have an idea how much that would cost, when you factor in the increased complexity of the automatically adjusting turbine blades, computer controls, site acquisition, construction and maintenance costs, the cost of the individual generators, and the storage and transmission technology (since you couldn't use the existing infrastructure)?

"You could also put loads like batteries/ultra capacitors on when there are high winds to slow the blades down."

You could put a mechanical load on it to slow it down, but now you're talking about wasted wind energy.

"All of this automation is posible."

Yes, it is all possible but it's not feasible. Remember the engineering mantra:

"Quick, Good, and Cheap: Pick Two."



posted on Apr, 7 2005 @ 08:59 PM
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Lazarus says:

"if we invest the money into making Biodiesel generators more efficient (and less smelly) then we end up with a better alternative... "

Laz, did you read my post about biodiesel production?

Which of my numbers do you disagree with?



posted on Apr, 7 2005 @ 09:35 PM
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Libra, very informative and thanks. I don't claim to know enough about it just what the professor who is working with the company I mentioned told me. While it may not be a cure all, at least it is a step in the right direction using current off the shelf technologies that will be improved on in the future. They also use the wind turbines for compressed air storage in below ground caverns like empty natural gas fields. I don't remember exactly how it worked but the overall idea was the compressed air could be used to run turbines and/or produce heat in addition to the power the wind turbines produced. Like I said I only know what was explained to me in about an hour but it sounded like an way for a smaller community or a private individual to be an energy producer rather than a consumer, while meeting their energy needs as well.
I don't think one "alternative energy source" will ever replace oil, however a combination of various sources will become feasible once cheap oil is gone. Having viable economic models in place when this happens will be a major determiner in what "source-'s" become the dominant players in the future.

The average residential rate is 8.3 cents per kWh. A typical U.S. household consumes about 10,000 kWh per year, costing an average of $830 annually.

Just using the wind turbine as an example it looks like one could produce enough energy to power about 146 homes or 4.6 city blocks. I could put up with another eyesore and earsore( there are enough of them to go around) if it meant that my electrical bill went away. I only use wind since that is the one that interests me at the moment. For example in my City of Roseville MI, a suburb of Detroit we have 10 sq. miles and about 20,000 households. Using the numbers Libra came up with it would need about 136 turbines to meet the needs of all the households. The sq. miles would only allow for 120 and you could never get that many in a city. Still it would be possible to meet almost all the household electrical needs of my city's households if a community were planned out properly. I know this isn't feasible large scale as you have shown Libra but it gives an idea of what could be done now with existing technology.

What technology or combinations at the home level has the best possiblity for at least making your home energy independent, at least for electrical purposes? I'm sure it would be a combination of things, lets hear some ideas that are practical at a homeowner level.


XL5

posted on Apr, 7 2005 @ 09:42 PM
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The cost is something that can be worked around, for a strong heavy prop, you would use "normal" bearings and thrust bearings. However, if you vary the angle of the blades, you can make the blades turn at slow RPMs in high winds.

A wind generator could be made out of an old helicopters blades and controls if cost was an issue. I'm sure we spent more on bombs OR bullets compared to wind OR solar power, so I don't think cost should be an issue.



posted on Apr, 7 2005 @ 10:39 PM
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A time ago i did found a site with plans to build giant mirror's in space , the plan was to consentrate a solar beam and send it back to a spot on earth , so heat created that way whoud heat a quantety off water creating steam with on its turn coud be used to run turbines to generate electricitie
Its like whe where kids playing with a magnefying glass , using the sun to burn holes in paper .
You can get a lot off energy consentration the solar energy from space , the cost whoud be high but ones in place it whoud not have any negative influence on nature , you coud even create a beam from one mirror ro an other mirror to send concentrated solar heat to a place wher it is night at that moment so solar enery coud be used night and day evry where on earth



posted on Apr, 7 2005 @ 11:18 PM
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Mirrors in space.

Theoretical insolation in space is higher than the maximum here on Earth, but not by much:1.3 kW/m^2 as opposed to about 1 kW/m^2. If you wanted to send a concentrated beam to the Earth equal to, say, the output of Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Plant (38MW) , you would need a mirror 6,100 feet in diameter and a system where there was no efficiency loss at all.

And, of course the beam of concentrated heat would vaporize anything it touched on Earth, so you'd probably want to convert it into microwaves, which would still be a deadly weapon if it got the teensiest bit out of alignment.

If you figure the amount of mass involved for the mirror and support structures (even assuming aluminized mylar over an aerogel or buckytube frame), as well as the computers and thrusters to keep that big honker pointed right, and the present cost of using something like the space shuttle fleet to haul up the pieces and put it together, you could probably get a half-way decent 38 MW power plant in space....

...for about a trillion dollars.

And that would provide you with about one percent of the electrical requirements in the United States.



posted on Apr, 7 2005 @ 11:33 PM
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Libra, you weenie, it is totally unfair that you get one of those "Above Top Secret" medals and I don't, when I am much handsomer and more modest than you are and don't have much time left to get mine, being old and all.

So I am probably making a big mistake by doing this and ruining my chances for a medal, but, anyway:



You have voted thelibra for the Way Above Top Secret award. You have one more vote left for this month.


And Lazarus, even though you have committed the unpardonable sin of disagreeing with me .. what can I say?



You have voted LazarusTheLong for the Way Above Top Secret award. You have used all of your votes for this month.



posted on Apr, 7 2005 @ 11:45 PM
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It may be Solar I have heard MANY ideas....Solar may not take up as much energy as once thought.It has been reported by other outlets that with the help of Nanotecnology that Solar collectors have been reduced so small that it can actually be turned into a PAINT....Other Ideas I have herd are putting a Solar collecting Space platform into Orbit and have it **Shoot** its energy beam back down to a Solar collection station...another thing that might help would be switching all Current Light to LED a bright light that Consumes quite a bit less energy than current bulbs...According to the CC Crane company if everyone in America switched to one of these bulbs we would not need the United States Largest Power plant...Just a few Idea I have heard.



posted on Apr, 8 2005 @ 02:13 AM
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Interesting article on the conversion of heat to electricity. As we all know 70% of the energy in a Combustion Engine is wasted in heat.

www.eurekalert.org...




HOUSTON -- Your car's engine loses 70 percent of its energy as waste heat -- but Australian and Oregon scientists may have figured out an efficient way not only to recover that lost energy, but to at long last capture the power-producing potential of geothermal heat.

The trick is to convert it to electricity -- and a promising way to accomplish this, the researchers have discovered, involves using extremely thin nanowires to potentially more than double the efficiency of thermoelectric materials.

"If all goes well, nanostructured thermoelectric devices may be practical for applications such as recycling of waste heat in car engines, on-chip cooling of computer microprocessors and silent, more compact domestic refrigerators," says Heiner Linke, a University of Oregon assistant professor of physics associated with ONAMI, the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute.



posted on Apr, 8 2005 @ 02:47 AM
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Click picture for the latest news... (who ordered one million windmills just now), etc.

And this... (related to picture above...)
"the establishment of the largest offshore wind farm in the world to date"...


What about waves? Wave-technology needs more research. There are already experiments in process. I'm sure it could be done using the right materials. Wear and tear from the sea is a problem. Sunlight can be blocked, winds can be too strong or too weak, but there will always be tides as long as we have our moon. The next big invention will be a wave-powerplant...

[edit on 2006/4/30 by Hellmutt]



posted on Apr, 8 2005 @ 03:25 AM
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The Worlds First Wave Power Station

So, this is also more than just feasible. And since we already have all this water, why not


Here's a link to a cool saltwater generator-gadget!
With this one, hook up yor computer in the middle of nowhere, just to remember to bring some salty tablets to mix into your watercanteen!


Saltwater Generator

Edited in some more info

[edit on 8-4-2005 by Ulvetann]



posted on Apr, 8 2005 @ 09:00 AM
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You have voted Off_The_Street for the Way Above Top Secret award. You have one more vote left for this month.


Hey, Street! This is actually for all your posts in this thread so far. Having an engineer on here is bringing a serious reality check to these issues. Though I think I may have come up with an alternate ending to the math, your post made me have to prove it point by very important point, and as a result, I'm now completely convinced Biodiesel WILL work.


Originally posted by Off_The_Street
Assuming one growing season per year, you would need 74,589 acres to provide one fourth of the daily petroleum needs of the United States, or 27,243,632 acres to provide a year’s supply!


Street, with your Biodiesel assessment, so far I have to respectfully disagree.

(pulls out calculator... 640 acres per square mile... 3,537,441 square miles...)

Okay, total landmass of the U.S. = 2,263,962,240 acres.

Let's assume, for the sake of arguement that 9/10 of the U.S. landmass is not available for farming biomass, because of cities, infrastructure, nature preserves, desert, etc...

That still leaves us over 200 million acres to work with, which would allow for twice your allotted required biomass to be farmed, with 4 land-plot rotations, each to be harvested once every 4 years, leaving the other 3 years for it to replentish, the soil to be refertilized, etc. Just using your ethanol analogy, that would provide for roughly 50% of the fuel needs, with a steady crop rotation.

However, your Yield per Acre is inaccurate, I'm afraid. At it's heart, biomass is solar energy converted to chemical energy. Something as inefficient as beets would not be used. Most likely what would be used would be various types of algae. And since bioscience has come so far with simple plants like algae, I'd expect some genetic tweaks could result in even more efficient algae.

According to this site, with current algae farm technology, 500,000 acres of land is enough to produce 7.5 billion gallons of biodiesel. As the estimate of required biodiesel required to fill our entire petrol demand for gas is about 140.8 billion gallons, that means we could meet all the current needs of our petrol gas with a paltry 9,386,667 acres of U.S. land (or 0.41%).

That means we could provide, with less than half a percent of our land, the entire gasoline demands of the United States.


Originally posted by Off_The_Street
Plus, I haven’t even addressed how much water would be required to “grow” that biodiesel, and how much more insecticides we’d have to spray daily, and finally, even if this were to come about …


Another beautiful thing about the algae is that it can be fed with runoff from farms, and sewage from homes, cleaning a large part of the chemicals from it. The water is already there, it would just need to be diverted to an area just before the water treatment plants. The resultant water would be a lot cleaner, before it ever hits the treatment plants, making them more efficient. Since every city larger than a small rural community has a treatment plant, usually surrounded by uninhabited land (because of the smell), this area could be used for the algae farms. Communities too small for a water treatment plant usually have farms, and channels for the fertilizer-infested runoff. This water can be channeled, collected, and used for the algae.

More benefit yet!

Since most every community would have it's own source of biomass nearby, transportation costs could be significantly lowered, meaning less traffic, and less consumption of fuel.


Originally posted by Off_The_Street
…It would still be only 25 percent of our daily needs, and it would still be burning hydrocarbons with the pollutions inherent in that burning.!


Try 100% of our daily needs, with 75-85% decrease in polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), a reduction of bezoanthracene by 50%, and a reduction of nitrated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (nPAH) by 90-99%. (Source article)

So, yes, there would still be a bit of the pollutates left, but I'll settle for an overall 75% reduction in them.


Additionally, per your concerns about the modifications to engines, there really aren't a lot of modifications that would be needed. Most diesel engines, as I understand it, can make the transitions with no modifications. So really, companies already have the existing technology to make the engines, as well as the casting blocks, etc... Basically all you'd have to do is put a diesel engine in every car, and in some of those engines, you'd need to do some very minor modifications. (which have been determined the least-expensive compared to all the other alternative fuel sources so far).

So... I took out a calculator and did the math... and it actually does work.
This may not be the end-all, be-all of solutions, but I expect it could easily get us by for another 20-50 years (long enough to develop even more plentiful and cleaner fuel sources).

[edit on 4/8/2005 by thelibra]



posted on Apr, 8 2005 @ 09:59 AM
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Originally posted by Off_The_Street
Lazarus says:

"if we invest the money into making Biodiesel generators more efficient (and less smelly) then we end up with a better alternative... "

Laz, did you read my post about biodiesel production?

Which of my numbers do you disagree with?


Yep, read it... I dont disagree with them... only that biodiesel can be made from many different sources..., (perhaps a better word is biofuel)

and it doesn't have to provide all the electricity... just where other options aren't feasable... (such as cars)

basically biofuel solves two problems... need for fuel, and need to stop subsidizing the farmers to NOT grow corn...
might as well make them work for there money and provide fuel for America at the same time. (this is a two birds solution that politicians love, so feasability is better).
UPDATE: thanks for doing the math Libra...

That helps the situation greatly.
I actually agree with you most of the time OTS... I mean afterall... you did the time in school to prove you know your stuff...

One comment on the variable pitch turbines... bearings are a field i know more about... a hardended taper bearing can take quite a thrust load... and actually if matched with metal hardness of thrust area, then there is no reason to think that it can't take an enormous load... particularly if a carrier bearing is used to take the vertical stress of the area. I have seen many composite bearings that could do that easily.
I admit, I am not up on the math, but know that these bearings can handle thrust pressures of rocking a 4 ton truck out of a ditch without showing wear.
Also, another engineer friend patented a variable pitch house fan several years back, that was promptly bought by an oil company (can't remember which one) so I am speculating here, but I think he was onto something.

as to which of the two engineering choices I favor...
cheap and good...
we don't need quick, that is why we are doing this now... sewing the seeds for our next generation...
I am a long range thinker... I plan on living a LOOOOOONG time... as per my namesake...

so many good posts, thanks for the outline 27jp (hope i remembered that name right)

thanks to all the other posts also... I like the results so far...

as of now... It is obvious that there will not be a one source fits all solution...
maybe we need to start breaking this down by geographical area...

OTS, are you up to a challenge? I think this world needs a way to collect all that wasted energy (wasn't it 70% thru heat loss)
If you come up with something, I will work my tail off helping you get the process/invention patented/marketed




[edit on 8-4-2005 by LazarusTheLong]



posted on Apr, 8 2005 @ 10:09 AM
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Thanks for that Lazarus


Ive already taken it upon myself to reduce my homes usage of electricity and im telling others too. Its a major component of the dilema we've found ourselves in and is the easiest thing to solve.



posted on Apr, 8 2005 @ 11:36 AM
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Oh and OTS...
just to show you that i appreciate your views more than you think...

You have voted Off_The_Street for the Way Above Top Secret award. You have two more votes this month.

I enjoy intellegent debate, and discussion...
you da man



posted on Apr, 8 2005 @ 12:30 PM
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I'll give you an alternative... i used to work at a pulp mill that did 700 tons a day. that's not much considering what some mills do. after you remove the pulp fibers from the process you are left with two things.

1: lignin

2: sugar

plus liquid that can be recycled

most pulp mills reduce the byproducts to a point where they can be burned to produce steam used in the plant

the pulp mill where i worked did not do that, what they did was process the spent pulp liquer to get the lignin and the sugar out.

the lignin was sold for many things one of which was imitation vanilla

the sugar was fermented, using yeast that you can by from a store, and produced 20,000 gal. of 200 proof and 20,000 gal. of 190 proof alcohol each day.

the alcohol plant there was put in by the government during wwii and then purchased by the company. now just imagine how many millions of gallons of alcohol could be produced if every pulp mill in america had an alcohol plant

they could still burn the lignin in their boilers to produce steam but right now the sugar that comes from wood is being wasted as a fuel to create steam



posted on Apr, 8 2005 @ 01:35 PM
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Originally posted by LazarusTheLong
Libra, while i respect your opinions and data, they don't address the simple fact that we are living in a honeymoon time right now... as oil becomes more expensive (with more scarcity), other options will need to become available.


Oh, to be sure! I couldn't agree more. However, oil only accounts around 2% of the electricity produced in the US. The rest goes to either petrol gas or industrial uses. So finding a replacement for the oil, like biodiesel, doesn't solve the energy crunch for electricity.

According to this site, the US Electricity Production By Source breaks down as follows:

Coal 53%
Gas 16%
Nuclear 21%
Hydro 7%
Oil 2%
Other 1%

Other sites list oil as 1% of the total electrical suppliers, so give the whole chart a 1% margin of error.

Anyway, we don't need to worry about the Oil Peak to resolve the problem of electricity. We need to worry about the pollution levels.

We don't have a supply problem with supplying electricity, and we sure as hell don't have an oil problem with it. The problem is the pollution levels from coal are extremely high and extremely dangerous, and natural gas, while relatively cleaner, isn't a lot better of an option for the long run, as it's still moderate pollution, yet they both account for 69% of our sources of electricity.

28,421,000,000,000 kWatts is what we use per year.
19,610,490,000,000 of those kWatts produce more pollutants than most any other source used.

I'm fine with the current nuclear power usage. It's proven to be safe, and though the waste is toxic and radioactive, it's not nearly as bad as the public makes it out to be. To be honest, you've actually got a lot more to worry about from a coal power plant than you do a nuclear one. Nuclear plants burn VERY clean, and their waste can be stored way below ground where no one will ever notice it until the three-headed trolls emerge to wage war on humanity... or it can be fired into the sun, or something...

However, I'm not real keen on building a whole lot more of them, either. I'd be comfortable with about 25% of our needs being supplied by nuclear. That would alleviate 4% of the demand currently being met by coal, or 1,136,840,000,000 kWatts.

18,473,650,000,000 to go...

How do you propose we fill it? A bit at a time. That's cool. We can do some wind power here, some solar power there, and maybe account for another 5% (1% with wind, and 4% with solar) if we made maximum use of these resources. This accounts for 1,421,050,000,000 kWatts.

17,052,600,000,000 to go...

Where do we go from here, in a cost effective manner.

Trust me, of all the people here, I probably have the most vested interest in this working, but the math has to be done before action can be taken. Like OTS said, "quick, cheap, good" pick two.


Originally posted by LazarusTheLong
We can not hide our head in the sand and say "nothing is as good as oil, so give up"


Nor can we hide our head in the sand and refuse to look at facts before assumptions, and consequences before implementation. See the above. We don't depend on oil for our electricity.

I'm 100% on board with biodiesel. As far as I'm concerned, it's the wave of the future. Hooray Biodiesel!

That's great for our cars... what about our HOUSES? Our JOBS? At least 98% don't use oil for electricity.

We can't depend on biodiesel for electric use. We have to keep enough landmass available to account for future growth, have room to live, grow food, and work. That and biodiesel still isn't exactly clean, it's just a lot cleaner than burning petrol gasoline, meaning it still emits some poisons, and the more we need, the more it will pollute...

Power Plants are not built on the fly, they are EXTREMELY expensive, perhaps the most expensive item a city can "buy". They are not designed with 5-20 years in mind, they have to be designed for 25-75 years in mind. City planning is critical in this. And this is why, while I'm all for trying to find a better way, I'm trying to keep a foot in the reality of the situation.


Originally posted by pavil
Libra, very informative and thanks. I don't claim to know enough about it just what the professor who is working with the company I mentioned told me. While it may not be a cure all, at least it is a step in the right direction using current off the shelf technologies that will be improved on in the future.


Hmmm... Well, as Lazarus pointed out, the right tech for the right place is a good start as well. In Illanois, a wind-turbine on top of each of the skyscrapers, and perhaps even between buildings, would alleviate some of the power needs. In California, solar-cell roofs on each home would do the same... but these methods cannot replace the current need, only lend a very small shoulder the burden.


Originally posted by pavil
I don't think one "alternative energy source" will ever replace oil, however a combination of various sources will become feasible once cheap oil is gone. Having viable economic models in place when this happens will be a major determiner in what "source-'s" become the dominant players in the future.


Agreed. However, as mentioned earlier in this same post, oil for electricity really isn't a problem anywhere in the near future. It's oil for gas that could be a problem, but one easily solvable by biodiesel. But Biodiesel is more expensive than gas... However, like you said, when cheap oil runs out, the biodiesel prices will look appealing by comparison.


Originally posted by pavil
Just using the wind turbine as an example it looks like one could produce enough energy to power about 146 homes or 4.6 city blocks. I could put up with another eyesore and earsore( there are enough of them to go around) if it meant that my electrical bill went away.


Rest assured, my friend, it would not go away. Power never comes free.

There will be battery replacements, fan replacements, setup, infrastructure, grid revamps, and so froth. However, it might be might keep your bill from rising to astronomical levels.


Originally posted by pavil
I only use wind since that is the one that interests me at the moment. For example in my City of Roseville MI, a suburb of Detroit we have 10 sq. miles and about 20,000 households. Using the numbers Libra came up with it would need about 136 turbines to meet the needs of all the households. The sq. miles would only allow for 120 and you could never get that many in a city. Still it would be possible to meet almost all the household electrical needs of my city's households if a community were planned out properly. I know this isn't feasible large scale as you have shown Libra but it gives an idea of what could be done now with existing technology.


Well, the largest users of electricity aren't households, they're high-density manufacturing and commercial buildings. It varies from city to city, but you can pretty much take the household consumption and quadruple it to get a very conservative estimate on the total energy needs of a city. After all, people need jobs, jobs need infrastructure, infrastructure requires education, etc...


Originally posted by pavil
What technology or combinations at the home level has the best possiblity for at least making your home energy independent, at least for electrical purposes? I'm sure it would be a combination of things, lets hear some ideas that are practical at a homeowner level.


Well, as subz pointed out, one of the most effective methods of alleviating power consumption is in using less power

Some examples of energy saving are as follows:

  • REPLACE YOUR WINDOWS - People buy cheap windows to save a buck, then quietly accept a three-figure electric or heating bill in hot or cold weather. Your windows are the single-greatest energy sink in the house. They let heat in in the summer, let it out in the winter, and are responsible for upwards of 25-75% of the energy you spend on A/C or heat. And if you live in Texas, like I do, that's about 75% of your bill, right there. So what can you do?

    • Multi-paned windows - Windows' insulating efficiency is measured by it's U-value. The lower the U-value, the better. The U-value represents heat conductivity (or rather, loss). Metal, a great heat conductor, is a terribly inefficient frame for windows. For a single-paned window, you're looking at a U-value of 1.1 For a double-paned window, 0.55 and for a triple-pained window, you can approach 0.333 or lower.
    • Gas chambers - For yet more efficiency (about 20% more) you can get windows with an inert gas (like argon) between the panes.
    • Low-E Windows - Low-E, short for Low-Emissivity, is an advance that adds a clear coating on double-paned windows which reflects and absorbs heat, depending on the way it's used. If done properly, you can reflect 70-75% of your heat back into the house during the winter, and reflect 25% more head back outside during the summer.

    To get the best results, get triple-paned, inert-gas-filled, low-E treated windows with non-metal frames. (about $1300 ea.)

  • Proper Insulation Requires ALL sides insulated - Other energy-sinks you may or may not be aware of are walls, ceilings, and foundation/floors. A house's insulation is measured by it's R-value. The higher the value, the better the insulation. Most homes have about a R-11 value in the exterior walls, an R-19 in the ceiling, while the interior walls and floor may not be insulated at all. The same house, properly insulated can range from R-20 to R-30 in the walls, and R-50 to R-70 in the ceilings.

  • Weatherstripping and Caulking - Every inch of your home's thermal envelope should be sealed. Use Caulk for holes and leaks, use weather-stripping for windows and doors. This will reduce your utility costs by as much as 50%.

  • Properly sized Heating and Cooling Systems - The price of the extra insulation, windows, and suchlike for your house can easily be recaptured here. A superbly insulated home does not need a large air-conditioning system, or a large heating system, because you don't have to fight against remotely as much energy loss. As such, a humble floor unit, or fan will more than likely take care of any temperature discomfort, saving thousands of dollars on central air. However, if you absolutely have to have central air, you can take comfort in that you can get by on the smallest model with plenty to spare.

  • Buy strictly Energy-Star appliances - Energy Star-labled appliances exceed the required minimum efficiency standards by a large percentage. Then compare the "EnergyGuide label" of each Energy-Star labeled appliance of the type you want to buy. Some of them exceed the standards by as much as 75%.

If these methods of energy-conservation in buildings were the standard, and not the exception, we would probably lower the overall power consumption of cities by as much as 10-25% (that includes things that insulation has no control over). As far as private homes are concerned, it would be more like 50-80% less energy used. That kind of savings alone is worth billions upon billions in electricity each year.

9,947,350,000,000 to go...



Originally posted by Off_The_Street
Libra, you weenie, it is totally unfair that you get one of those "Above Top Secret" medals and I don't, when I am much handsomer and more modest than you are and don't have much time left to get mine, being old and all.

So I am probably making a big mistake by doing this and ruining my chances for a medal, but, anyway:



You have voted thelibra for the Way Above Top Secret award. You have one more vote left for this month.


Aw shucks, that's mighty cool of you, daddy-o. And amusing as well, since I just voted you for Way Above just before my previous post.


Originally posted by Hellmutt
What about waves? Wave-technology needs more research. There are already experiments in process. I´m sure it could be done using the right materials. Wear and tear from the sea is a problem. Sunlight can be blocked, winds can be too strong or too weak, but there will always be tides as long as we have our moon. The next big invention will be a wave-powerplant...


I'll have to look into wave-plants, but from what I understand, their damage to the underwater ecosystem is as bad as hydro-dams are to ecosystem on land.



posted on Apr, 8 2005 @ 02:54 PM
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Libra: I can see why you got the WATS award...


great work and great points to consider.

So transportation is the main gulper of oil:
a local source for fuel helps much. less trucks/trains needed, means less fuel usage and less emmisions.

how about the paintable solar cells on a hybrid biofuel car in the future?
(where the biofuel generator isn't used as a motor, but an alternator to charge the batteries). Maybe even put a little wind turbine in the air ram area (watch out squirrels) to add to the mix. the total emmisions would be from a small biofuel generator/alternator, instead of a huge gas motor.

I realize this is getting into realms of the untested... what say you OTS? is possible? yes?





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