Energy problems, and solutions

Posted: September 3, 2010 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

The world is going to need a lot more energy production as developing nations urbanise and mechanise their economies. 3/4 of energy produced worldwide comes from fossil fuel sources which are not infinite. Wind and solar combined make less than 2% currently and can never be continuously reliable. Wave power is expensive and maintainance intensive.

Now that we know extra co2 is pretty harmless, it’s time to revisit a technology which I witnessed in operation 20 years ago. Two very bright engineers I met called Stuart and John invented a system which produced a megawatt from 40 scrap car tyres an hour, using a carefully controlled pyrolysis process which first reduced the combustible material in an oxygen free 700C oven, then combusted the gas driven off in a secondary chamber at a very high efficiency. Some of the heat went back to heat the oven, the rest was fed to a steam turbine coupled to a big alternator. The whole thing was the size of two wagon back containers. The emissions were within E.U. limits for So2 and other particulates at the time, but the project was killed by tightening standards as the Co2 scare took hold. Another plant using the technology was built in Scotland, it burns barley straw. Stuart told me the system could also burn household waste, medical waste and a host of other rubbish too.

Speaking personally, I’d sooner put up with a bit of smoke from a local scale generator selling reasonably priced electricity to me than have my landscape blighted and my local avian wildlife killed by windmills which run 25% of the time I need power. Shredding and disposing of scrap tyres is an energy intensive business too. Stuart and John’s tyre disposal system made power instead of consuming it and as by products, produced 93% pure carbon and high grade steel wire for re-use.

As a stop-gap measure until fusion comes onstream it looks good to me. We need to preserve fossil fuels long enough to get us off this rock and mining Mars once we have the tech sorted. 🙂

As the energy crises loom, some creative thinking and some compromise on emissions regs is in order.

Comments
  1. P.G. Sharrow says:

    There are plenty of useful energy solutions that are well known and tried. For some reason highly educated, political connected, people want to hold out for some magical solution that will come out of the “Never, Never” and make all the others un-nessesary.

    Of all the solutions that I know of, Solar and Wind are the most wonderful if you do not need dependable large scale energy supply. And they are the most costly overall. Something only a person educated way beyond their intelligence would demand.

    Maybe after we solve the solar system gravity/EMF interface we can work on real fusion power. 😉 pg

  2. Tenuc says:

    It will be a long time before fossil fuel is exhausted, as better technology allows us to exploit large reserves which a few years ago could not be used. Exploration is also improving and ‘peak fossil fuel’ is still a long way off.

    In the mean time, we do need to look at improving existing technology, especially nuclear, where safer generation 4 and 5 designs need to be developed and capacity installed.

    Micro systems, like the tyre burning generator also need to be deployed to ensure global energy prices are affordable to the burgeoning populations of the third world.

    I don’t think that there is ‘one’ energy solution and each country will have to decide what is best, based on location, ability to manage the technology and local costs/availability of resources.

  3. Leonard Weinstein says:

    Unless fusion can be made practical, or unless the limitations of ground based Solar or wind overcome, the only long term good choices for power are nuclear or space based solar power sats. The only way to make these cost effective is use of in-situ materials. See: http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dnc49xz_44f67brtp&hl=en

  4. johnnythelowery says:

    The recent articles on THORIUM breeder reactors is probably one way to go. This tyre burning process is another, as is Solar, as…..you name it. Why can’t they all be pursued. If you can generate excess electricity, you should be able to sell it back. I don’t think Just one is the winner. They all help, they should all be pursued. I’d like to see a Manhattan project
    scale Thorium reactor network built on every US military base there is. Electrically driven vehicles is the future. I wonder if you can excite an entangled particle, that it’s twin also gets excited. If so, the world of tele-transference of energy would open up? Thats too crazy. Can’t be.

  5. This is a new source, based in the exothermic reaction between an alkali and aluminum where it is recycle part of the hydrogen, which in the end it is a partial reaction:
    http://www.blacklightpower.com/index.shtml

  6. What they say is that they form hydrines of the alkali metal instead of alkali aluminate so, in order to achieve that, they recycle part of the hydrogen to reduce aluminum to its elemental state, so the reaction continues as far as water and hydrogen are added.

  7. Common reaction between NaOH and Aluminum:
    sodium aluminate
    Al + NaOH + H2O = NaAlO2 + 3H (1)

    But they obtain Sodium Hydride, that would be like this:
    sodium hydride
    2Al + NaOH + 2H2O= NaH + Al2O3 + 4H (1a)

    and, to keep the reaction going, there must be a reduction reaction:

    Al2O3 + 6H = 2Al + 3H2O (2)

  8. Tim Channon says:

    You are citing a known proponent of cold fusion who has failed over many years to put up.

  9. P.G. Sharrow says:

    I don’t think any of the above has anything to do with Low Energy Nuclear Reactions. While LENR has not yet become the “Final” energy solution, it may point in the right direction. High temperature fusion has been the “final” solution for more then 50 years and after 100’s of billions of dollars and the best brains in the world working on it is still a maybe 50 year in the future thing.

  10. tallbloke says:

    P.G. Maybe that investment is why the solar physicists won’t entertain other ideas about the way the Sun is powered?

    I agree with those who say we need a mixed economy where power generation is concerned. The more local and clean the better, obviously. Big corporate interests are opposed however, and it will take some people power to wrest control of energy policy from the hands of those who see to profit.

  11. Tim Channon says:
    September 7, 2010 at 2:19 am
    You are citing a known proponent of cold fusion who has failed over many years to put up.
    No, it is not, it the usual exothermic chemical reaction between aluminum and sodium, which in usual conditions ends up in sodium aluminate. It seems that the have found how to go just to the intermediate reaction where a sodium hydride is obtained and then:
    NaH + H2O = NaOH + HH (hydrogen hydride=”hydrine”).
    And they do not use aluminum metal but Raney Nickel (aluminum-nickel alloy). They could use also copper bronze instead. The trick is that they use an exothermic reaction but stop it at the intermediate reaction and regenerate reactants and use part of the energy.

  12. Zeke the Sneak says:

    Tim Channon says:
    September 7, 2010 at 2:19 am
    You are citing a known proponent of cold fusion who has failed over many years to put up.

    P.G. Sharrow says:
    September 7, 2010 at 3:24 am
    I don’t think any of the above has anything to do with Low Energy Nuclear Reactions. While LENR has not yet become the “Final” energy solution, it may point in the right direction. High temperature fusion has been the “final” solution for more then 50 years and after 100′s of billions of dollars and the best brains in the world working on it is still a maybe 50 year in the future thing.

    ——–

    Blacklight power is not cold fusion. Read up on it.

    There is an incredible double standard going on here. The amount of time and resources invested in hot fusion is staggering, with no success, and yet cold fusion was swept into the pile of shame by the press and the scientific community after just several years.

    I see a similarity in the insistence on funding the development of quantum computers. They are perfectly comfortable announcing that it’s at least 20 years away from becoming a reality! And yet the funding and the faith keep flowing.

  13. Zeke the Sneak says:
    September 7, 2010 at 4:08 pm
    BTW, talking about “cold fusion”, though I have not made any experiments about it, I guess it proceeds in every water demineralizer if cations are desproportionately increased over anions. In such a case an increase of temperature in product water would reveal it.

  14. Zeke the Sneak says:

    Adolfo Giurfa 5:41 pm

    You let me know; I am about ready to set up something like that in my 3-car garage. 🙂
    I’m not going on any Smart Grid, if that’s what anyone thinks. And the pick up stays.

  15. tallbloke says:

    I just made a small step towards energy independence buy winning a solar coiled copper cylinder on ebay. 0.4m^2 coil surface area, 112 L cylinder. My hot water solar panel is around 1.6m^2.

  16. Zeke the Sneak says:
    September 8, 2010 at 5:37 am
    I let you know: Get a water demineralizer, then as you get demineralized water, recycle it several times only through the anion column, in order to remove first the rest of acid anions (as chlorine,etc) and then OH- from water, as to deproportionate it by increasing H+ ions. Check the temperature after each recycling and let us know.

  17. “LIFE forms are able to control the ionic and covalent bounds broken, changed, and formed in the process of photosynthesis that binds energy into the making of compounds to build plant structure, that all other life forms digest to extract that energy of these covalent bonds to control all cellular functions.

    In all cases where active building of compounds, from the basic constituents, are carried out in volume, there is a residual ionic charge carried out of the reaction area by electromagnetic conduction. In small single cell animals, their shapes are designed to most efficiently interface the internal EMF in a controlled way, to the external EMF that would modify or prevent the metabolism process, being conducted as needed by the animal to survive.

    In large mammals and people there develops whole tuned structures that interface between organs like the liver that builds and disassembles glycogen for the storage of sugars.

    The whole study of acupuncture, and the median lines of conduction woven through out the body is the result the study by those physically able to sense the EMF and coupling points on the skin surface, and at the same time understand the process of maintenance of the balance, phase, and polarity of total flux due to the whole continuum of life.

    So that the median lines are the shared pathway of the EMF that is controllably shunted out of the chemical reaction to allow the flexible shifts in efficiency needed to prevent uncontrolled runaway feedback or disease processes that cause death.

    Complex cells use semipermeable membranes, pores, vacuoles, and wall structure to do the bulk of the ion transfer related exchanges of the bulk materials. Homeostasis is an ever shifting balance between changing activity levels and internally regulated metabolic processes, and the outside chaos.

    Rapid swings in temperature, humidity, Ph balance, gas content of the air, radiation levels that can, through the processes of ionization, inhibit or destroy the covalent bonds needed to maintain optimum health. Maintaining an enclosed dwelling with more environmental balance, so heat / cold related stress, oxidants external and internal and the virus and bacteria that are always trying for optimum cohabitation, are defended against.

    All of these relationships are EMF in nature, and one should strive to be aware of their own inner balance and its relationship to the surrounding environment to maintain life energy levels close to optimum health.

    Most plants and animals are aware of that and stay in tune with “the balance of nature” stress and other socially generated distractions prevent humans from moving with ease with in this sea of EMF we are constantly awash in. To ignore that this sea exists, and we are able to swim through it at will more easily by going with the shifts in the flows as they happen, only increases the level of disease one encounters.

    To as a composite plant / animal biomass striving to maximum our total volume, it behooves us to be aware of how we can regulate our external environment, not just by avoidance of the problem areas, but by making changes in the background parameters that are outside of the optimum ranges for the whole biomass, not just in our dwellings.

    If we do not understand how the weather is driven by ions, EMF, tidal effects, solar output, and the relationships between them, we will never learn the difference between what needs to be done, from what can be done to better optimize the global environment to maximize the health of the whole biomass.

    (Tallbloke; I composed this over on the sunspot tread, after reading all new posts and lost track of which page I was on, I meant to just post it here, delete whichever to effect the best location in your opinion.)

  18. Richard Holle says:
    September 9, 2010 at 9:18 am
    “As above, so below” : All you said it is true. You cite acupuncture on that “double layer” which is the skin. You do the right correlation when you refer that your post was intended for the sunspot tread:Those packets of energy in compounds, made me remember of Dr.S EM “reconnections”, those Sun’s covalents bonds!
    Remarkable!

  19. Zeke the Sneak says:

    Richard Holle writes:

    Homeostasis is an ever shifting balance between changing activity levels and internally regulated metabolic processes, and the outside chaos.

    Rapid swings in temperature, humidity, Ph balance, gas content of the air, radiation levels that can, through the processes of ionization, inhibit or destroy the covalent bonds needed to maintain optimum health. Maintaining an enclosed dwelling with more environmental balance, so heat / cold related stress, oxidants external and internal and the virus and bacteria that are always trying for optimum cohabitation, are defended against.

    It is remarkable to stop and think that the human brain is actually running hundreds of organs and chemical processes at all times, continuously and precisely. Not only understanding external forces listed here are important, but also the optimal flow of energy in the brain is vital to our health and well-being.

    If the unconscious part of the brain can run at these levels of efficiency, what untapped potentials exist the conscious part of the brain?

  20. Zeke the Sneak says:

    Adolfo Giurfa,
    September 8, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Adolfo, thank you. The question is, would it provide enough energy for the whole neighborhood, so I could sell it and and make an evil profit 😀

    Well we do know, from the process of biomineralization, that even simple one-celled organisms are able to manipulate molecules in ways far beyond modern technological understanding. And there is evidence also that biologic systems may be in the business of simple transmutations of elements. A cow for example takes in far less calcium in its diet than it excretes.

  21. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Zeke; I think you have an error in facts on cow calcium balance. While a lactating cow will drop a great deal of calcium, it is stored during the non-lactation period. Trust me. I have created many rations for dry and milking cows as well as for many other animals. That was in the era before computers and the calculations had to be done in longhand on real spread sheets. YUK! while keeping track of the pennies of the cost and the animal healthy. pg

  22. Zeke the Sneak says:

    P.G. Sharrow says:
    September 9, 2010 at 5:58 pm
    Zeke; I think you have an error in facts on cow calcium balance. While a lactating cow will drop a great deal of calcium, it is stored during the non-lactation period. Trust me. I have created many rations for dry and milking cows as well as for many other animals.

    Ah, excellent. The right man at the right time. Admittedly my source is a publication from 1972.
    In your rations, did you include Mg? Do you find that Mg deficiencies are linked in any way to milk production?

  23. Zeke the Sneak says:
    September 9, 2010 at 6:15 pm
    This relates with the brain and with those milking cows and magnesium:
    Many years ago it appeared an article in Reader’s Digest explaining that the Alzheimer disease was caused by aluminum, as we do not use this metal in our body. That article and several others were followed by a ferocious campaign against this finding, of course by the producers of aluminum (aluminum pots for cooking,deodorants, etc.). It happens that aluminum has a high negative potential and displaces all the rest of metals.
    Knowing this, the only possibility to displace that aluminum off the brain of poor users of aluminum cooking pots or aluminum deodorants would be the ingestion of those with a more negative potential as: Lithium (as carbonate), Sodium (as common salt!!), Magnesium (as chloride or better as citrate).
    Li+ + e- Li(s) -3,045
    Na+ + e- Na(s) -2,714
    Mg2+ + 2e- Mg(s) -2,363
    Al3+ + 3e- Al(s) -1,662
    And as the mother of a friend of mine was suffering from this illness, laying in bed and already almost unconscious, I prepared magnesium citrate, by making react a heavy elements free Magnesite ore with USP citric acid to a concentration of 16 g of Mg per liter, which my friend gave to her mother at a doses of 50 ml twice a day. One week later the lady woke up and her first words were: Son, please give me a cigarette!!!

  24. Zeke the Sneak says:

    That is incredible! Did they give her a cigarette? (-:

    Those elements are certainly familiar suspects for brain activity. Lithium in happy pills, etc.

    Neuronal firing does come down to a small ring of positively charged amino acids, which move in an efield. So that is interesting about the high negative potential of aluminum.

  25. Ulric Lyons says:

    Tidal generators, river estuaries and man made lagoons.

  26. Zeke the Sneak says:
    September 9, 2010 at 7:13 pm
    The real trouble is that our bodies do not need or use aluminum, instead we currently have 20 grams of Magnesium.

  27. Zeke the Sneak says:
    September 9, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    That is incredible! Did they give her a cigarette?
    Yes, why shouldn’t they?
    “Good arable land those of Virginia….those guys have too much power” (this dialog happened many years ago)
    Ah, BTW, if you want to avoid/cure cancer just drink a “cat’s claw” tea.
    Cancer: “An illness which lab mice acquire after being injected anything”

  28. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Yes, magnesium is a necessary micro nutrient that can be limited in some feed stocks. Although the brain activity in a cow was not high in my concerns ;-). Feeding pigs is much like feeding people, very simular nutrient needs.

    Aluminum cook ware should not be used with acidic foods. Better yet, use iron, stain less steel etc. and leave aluminum for airplanes. pg

    ps Coke Cola is a very good chelating agent to reduce metal poisoning.

  29. Zeke the Sneak says:

    P.G. Sharrow says:
    September 10, 2010 at 3:15 am
    Yes, magnesium is a necessary micro nutrient that can be limited in some feed stocks. Although the brain activity in a cow was not high in my concerns 😉

    Thanks PG, I was not thinking of Bessie’s brain function with my question. Ill just drop it.
    Except to say
    Nutrient requirements of dairy cattle
    is truly engrossing reading from page 9 for Calcium requirements to page 12 for Magnesium requirements. 😀 😀 😀

  30. tallbloke says:

    Ulric: Nice idea, but have you any conception of the energy invested in creating and maintaining a man made lagoon compared to the tidal energy you can harvest from it? Very few estuaries have a high enough flow rates in small enough areas to generate worthwhile amounts of electricity.

    The exceptions are few and far between. There is the lough in Ireland (Strangford?) where an experimantal turbine has been installed.

    Adolfo and Zeke: OK, biomechanics thread coming up!

  31. Tenuc says:

    Thanks for some great comment on how the electrical balance needs to be retained. Modern food processing often reduces the amount of important trace elements in our diet and causes problems, especially in later life. By including plenty of legumes and nuts in diet, it’s easy to top up the bodies mineral reserves. This is a better way of getting necessary minerals in a bio-friendly form, without the risk of taking too much.

    A handful of lentils thrown into any stew, casserole or curry is beneficial, and improves the texture and flavour of the dish too. Real beer, with plenty of malt and hops is a great source of silica, which is good for healthy joints, skin and connective tissue.

    Congratulations Roger and all best wishes for your coming nuptials. After 45y of being married to the same girl, I will share some philosophy of life:-

    “If you want to be happy for a short time, drink lots of beer; happy for a long time, fall in love; happy for ever, take up gardening (and keep drinking the beer).” 🙂

  32. P.G. Sharrow says:
    September 10, 2010 at 3:15 am
    …..and worse with alkali foods as alkalies attack faster aluminum forming aluminates as NaAlO2 in an very exothermic reaction. Aluminum if cleansed of surface oxides (removing them with quicksilver) vividly reacts with air forming white oxide wich grow rapidly on its surface, as white “hairs”.

  33. tallbloke says:

    This new PV technology looks quite interesting:
    http://www.abc.net.au/tv/newinventors/txt/s3008638.htm

    “The invention involves the development of a completely printable organic solar cell based on semiconducting polymer nanoparticles dispersed in water. Essentially these tiny particles in suspension are a water-based paint, which can be printed or coated over large areas. Light shining on an organic solar cell produces positive and negative charges that can only be separated at interfaces between the polymer components in the cell. In an organic solar cell, the positive and negative charges can only travel a very short distance (around 10 nanometres or a millionth of a centimetre) before they recombine to give off light or heat, which is not very useful! So, in order obtain useful energy from an organic solar cell, these light-generated charges must be separated and collected within a few nanometres. Fortunately, this separation readily occurs at interfaces, or junctions, to produce two separated positive and negative charges, which then travel to the electrodes (or contacts) and then out of the solar cell to produce an electrical current. The most efficient devices consist of a mixture (or blend) of a p-type semi-conducting polymer, which readily accepts and transfers positive charges, and a n-type material that readily accepts and transfers negative charges. By creating tiny nanoparticles, we have both controlled the maximum distances that the charges have to travel before coming to an interface and allowed the coatings to be made out of water – a non-hazardous solvent!

    The key advantage of these organic solar cells is that they can be printed at high speeds across large areas using roll-to-roll processing techniques thus creating the tantalising vision of coating every roof and other suitable building surface with photovoltaic materials at extremely low cost.”