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This experimental power plant is called Solar II. It was re-built in California's desert using newer technologies than when it was first built in the early 1980s. Solar II will use the sunlight to change heat into mechanical energy in the turbine.
The problem with solar energy has always been that it only worked when the sun was shining. But several recent developments have addressed the issue of storing solar energy for use at a later time, such as at night or on a cloudy day. (More about energy storage in a bit.)
A joint study conducted by the Departments of Energy and Agriculture, the
Billion Ton Study (PDF 5.5 MB), estimates that 1.3 billion tons of biomass feedstock is potentially available in the U.S. for the production of biofuels. This is enough biomass feedstock to displace approximately 30 percent of current gasoline consumption on a sustainable basis.
Most of this wind energy can be found at high altitudes where continuous wind speeds of over 160 km/h (100 mph) occur.
When the tensile strength of a flywheel is exceeded the flywheel will shatter, releasing all of its stored energy at once; this is commonly referred to as "flywheel explosion" since wheel fragments can reach kinetic energy comparable to that of a bullet. Consequently, traditional flywheel systems require strong containment vessels as a safety precaution, which increases the total mass of the device.
Tuning Spork...has argued that all of them combined might make up a whole, ie COMPLETELY eliminating the use of fossil fuels.
The fact is that this amount of sunlight, enough to absorb, store and still have enough left for tomorrow is only available in the desert. What would the people in Seattle do?
Remember, we are working with the resolution that all of these alternatives can equal the energy supplied by fossil fuels ENTIRELY, thus eliminating fossil fuels completely.
So where do we get the other 70% from today? Will the US develop a dependency of destroying plants and livestock in our own country to fuel our energy needs and then ultimately start wars in other countries to obtain enough "biomass" to fuel our cars and other energy needs? Or will we seek to turn the rest of the country in a desert so that we can hope to harness the sun's potential?
Originally posted by Tuning Spork
Au contraire. In fact, I noted that these were supplemental energy sources and that, taken together, would go a long way toward eliminating the need for fossil fuels. The bulk of the required energy production would not be via these supplemental resources.
It's true, though that Seattle could harness less energy from the sun than, say, San Diego could. This is mainly due to Seattle's northern latitude and, thus, it's receiving less direct solar rays. Seattle would rely more heavily on other resources.
You and I are infering that it means that alternative resources must equal the current output of fossil fuels. We, of course, have the technology to live like the Amish live. We'd just prefer not to.
And electric powered vehicles today may not be suitable for towing so much as a hitched trailer carrying a large biomass-powered lawnmower. Hybrids are the way to go, at least until we develop a way to get significant and sustained horse power from a flywheel and/or battery.
As I said, these are largely supplemental resources. While an individual home can run exclusively on solar and/or wind power, having every home in the country so equipped may not be feasable. But that's where the most efficient resource comes in.
When spent fuel assemblies are removed from nuclear reactors, they are transported to "swimming pool" storage facilities to dissipate the heat of decay of short-lived isotopes as well as for isolation from the environment. The long term disposal of these wastes remains a major problem. It was assumed that these wastes would be encased in glass and placed in geologic disposal sites in underground salt domes. The site at Yucca Mountain was chosen as a first site, but both technical and political problems have thus far blocked its implementation.
Originally posted by Tuning Spork
While their production can be greatly expanded alongside existing hydro-electiric power, the major power source of the future will be nuclear power.
From TruthWithin's link:
The site at Yucca Mountain was chosen as a first site, but both technical and political problems have thus far blocked its implementation.
Emphasis on political.
2. There is a significant lack of political and social will around the globe to completely convert away from fossil fuels. Fossil fuels mean convenience and big money to those that cultivate them.
That's a frightening thought. But, as my uncle once said as he held up a bottle of concentrated motorcycle detergent: "Hogwash!".
Truth Within did a great job at his debate, he tried to prove that we don't have the infrastructure currently to move to smart fuels, yet he could not disprove the fact that we currently possess the ability to live without fossil fuels.
Hmm a tough one to judge again. Both sides made there point well, however I feel Tuning Spork stuck more to the question at hand (Technology V infrastructure) and overall made the better argument.
TruthWithin takes it in my opinion.
Stayed on point and refuted what his opponent had to say. His opponent seemed to manipulate the theme of the debate ever so slightly to further his own agenda, and TruthWithin nailed him every time he tried to do so.