The Myth Of An Imminent Energy Transition

Discussion in 'Fuel' started by Carcus, May 18, 2018.

  1. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

    "Meaningful “transitions” occur when new offerings handily clobber the installed user base. When calculators came to market the use of slide rules went into rapid demise. In the world of energy, where renewables and electric vehicles are the new entrants, it is as if calculators are coming to market, but slide rule sales are increasing their presence too.

    For now, we’re in an era of “energy diversification,” where alternative sources to fossil fuels, notably renewables, are growing alongside—not at the expense of—the incumbents."

    /imo --- the figure 3 'small coal dip' was due to US fracked natural gas, but is now back on the rise
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  2. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Yeah-fossil fuels are cheap convenient
    they will be with us for waaaay past our life times
    Now I do think man produced CO2 is warming the planet-
    and in general I think it will cause plenty of problems
    perhaps it will be a plus in some places
    but probably not in S Louisiana-NOLA etc
    Eventually we will transition to not much CO2-but..
    we have already more or less dumped the most obvious option
    Fission Nukes and Fusion Nuke reactors-
    well no one every says "they are just around the corner" anymore
    wind-most obvious substitute-and good option for USA
    is pricy-maybe Wayne could take a guess-he worked in the "electricity business"
    but I think wind is maybe 4x coal oil NG-if we ignore costs like Hurricanes moving inland etc(which are HARD to measure-at least how much climate change effects hurricane damage-tough to measure)
    anyway yeah fossil fuels are king-and "burning stuff" has been the way to produce energy for 250,000 years.
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  3. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    And before that ,we just shivered and huddled together..
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  4. Jay

    Jay Well-Known Member

    This is a good subject but also controversial. I strongly believe that viable technologies need no subsidies. They make their way into the marketplace organically and displace less viable technologies--like the calculator replaced the slide rule. Solar and wind power are not truly viable technologies. They have a legitimate place in off-grid installations but they are not compatible with the grid because of their intermittent and widely variable power. It's a misuse of the technology to put them on the grid where they destabilize it. They are also a poor energy source because the energy is very dilute and great swaths of land must be covered to collect the energy. Consequently, they are a very expensive energy source and their true costs are often hidden by subsidies.

    In contrast, nuclear power is most energy-dense source of power man has today. Massive amounts of power can be generated using very little land. Nuclear power is a true baseload energy source meaning that it is compatible with the grid. The fuel is very cheap in relation to the power produced. The spent fuel is so fully recyclable, and the byproducts so valuable, that t's practically free. Nuclear power, in sharp contrast to solar and wind power, is made artificially expensive by government restrictions and lawsuits.
  5. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

    I think the whole grid-energy sector needs a reality check.

    China, India, and the rest of asia are headed full-steam ahead toward coal to bring them out of poverty.

    Japan tried and failed with nuclear, and is now returning to coal.
    Niger is a uranium mess, due to French nuclear.
    My understanding -- Most all nuclear waste is still in storage, mostly on-site, waiting for the "recycle solution".

    /I don't know that I'm necessarily against clean coal, I DO know that I'm tired of hearing about "carbon-credits"
    Last edited: May 21, 2018
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  6. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

    Last edited: May 21, 2018
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  7. Jay

    Jay Well-Known Member

    De Gaulle made the decision that France would be a nuclear nation many decades ago. The result was/is clean, abundant energy. France's nuclear reactors not only generated all the electric power France needed; electric power was France's #1 export. They power many other nations. Carter made the decision to help sabotage the US's nuclear energy program by banning the processing of nuclear "waste" thereby creating a completely unnecessary nuclear "waste" problem. The thinking was that the ban would prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The result was nuclear weapon proliferation anyway. The French choose not to sabotage their nuclear energy program and the result is that the French are world leaders in recycling the byproducts of nuclear fission. And they have no nuclear "waste" problem.

    Coal is an unmitigated environmental disaster. Just the mining of coal kills 30,000 people per year worldwide. This is before it's even burned. Take a look at all the flat-topped mountains on Google Earth of West Virginia and other coal mining regions in the US. The acid run-off from the mining kills all the fish in rivers and streams and lakes. The Chinese love cheap, abundant coal but the pollution is devastating:

    To say Japan "tried and failed" with nuclear is like saying they tried and failed with electric trains or any other technology that was crippled by the tsunami. The reactors that were damaged by the tsunami were first generation technology more than 50 yrs old. Newer generation reactors are much much safer. Next generation liquid flouride thorium reactors are the safest of all. Lots of advantages to the LFTR design including "waste" management, safety, and economy compared to the pressurized water reactors found today. Google LFTR for more info.
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  8. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

    So what's the deal with Bure? (500m underground 15km2)\

    ...and even the "official" site (?) talks about crap that's gonna have to be stored for tens of thousands of years

    and affordable thorium, .. that's still in the R&D stage, right? Just like all the hydrogen dreams. Might pan out, might not, but it's going to take a whole lotta money to find out.

    /if you want to see a disaster, start you tubing uranium mining in Niger.
    Last edited: May 22, 2018
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  9. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    Despite the back and forth, Nuclear is still the lowest cost large base load with minuscule emissions and the European Nuclear spent fuel recycling works with a thousandth the mass vs storing spent fuel rods in their entirety as we do here in the U.S.

    Coal is a GHG emitting nightmare let alone the environmental disaster. There are no costs associated with that mess in many cases.

    Moving beyond, it is what the individual home owner will decide either on his or her own or via regulation in the near future. When it costs $0.025/kWh to produce and it costs $0.425/kWh to consume, that arbitrage will eventually bring a turnkey solar with battery storage solution to the avg. home owner in Southern Calif. With it, low cost personal transportation charging is a given. How to pay for roads and other things that gasoline/diesel taxes do today will be another question to answer when the wholesale crossover occurs at some time in the future.

    With the avg. home consuming 700+ kWh/month or 23 kWh/day, an 8 kWh solar system in an average Northern State could produce enough to cover a homes entire consumption plus some BEV/PHEV charging. It is the back up and/or storage of the 20 to 30 kWh/day to consume over a 24-hour period or on the days the sun is not out that is the expensive proposition.

    If the reliability of a personal Solar and storage solution can match the reliability of the current centralized grid with base load plants, the de-centralized home production solution will in short order put the Public Utilities out of business. We are not there yet given the lack of an in-expensive storage solution but just a few more years...

    Moving to Texas wind, there are periods of wind lulls and without a coal/gas or Nuke backup, the state transitions to Emergency Interruptions. It is great to see Texas wind at almost 20 percent of the states total and now surpassing coal but wind can be variable and at the wrong time, the lack of output can be devastating without backup. GWh of Gas fired backup standing silent for 90 percent of the time is also prohibitively expensive.

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  10. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

    Just checked my monthly usage history for my energy efficient home located in a non-northern state.

    Ranges from 362 kwh to 1525 kwh.

    What size solar system and power wall should I install?
    /or, maybe everybody ends up driving a battery oriented PHEV (like the i3 Rex), that's connected to the super smart grid at home AND at work, and it's just a big jackpot every time you get in the car -- no telling how much charge there's going to be in the battery. ... a "group funded" (or is that mandated) grid backup system.
    Last edited: May 22, 2018
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  11. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    I remember when we had "nucular" power here. Them was the good old days.

    Now we have coal.
  12. Jay

    Jay Well-Known Member

    Carcus, most conventional news sources lie to us about nuclear power. They spew half truths and facts out of context to slander nuclear power and keep us in fear of it. You have to read outside the mainstream press if you're interested in getting the other side of the story. If you're interested in wind, solar, nuclear, coal, natural gas and advantages and disadvantages of each, read William Tucker"s Terrestrial Energy. It's a magnum opus of energy. An excerpt:
    Tucker wrote an excellent Op Ed for the Wall Street Journal about nuclear "waste" arguing that there is no such thing as nuclear waste. It's behind a pay wall, unfortunately, but if you have a subscription it's well worth reading: An excerpt:

    Some of the byproducts of nuclear "waste" are extremely valuable costing tens of thousands of dollars a gram! At Bure, some of the "waste" components are stored not because they are dangerous but because they are valuable. Science is continually finding new uses for isotopes that were "worthless" but now extremely valuable. Isotopes with short half-lives, as I'm sure you know, are the dangerous ones. Radioactive iodine is very dangerous, but it's half life is only 8 days. 10,000 year half-life isotopes are only weakly radioactive.

    Regarding thorium reactors, they are very new and very old. A fully functioning, working prototype was built decades ago. Lots of info out there on them and their considerable advantages over uranium:

    Kirk Sorensen has several youtube videos that explain some of the advantages. Highly recommended if you want to learn more:

  13. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

    then why would I find this?

    "India’s Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) currently projects large scale thorium use as being some decades away."

    India, by far, would be the country most interested .....
    but it's the same old story, -- lots more research, lots more money.

    /wiki page says the first thorium reactor operated "successfully" back in 1968 (pretty positive that didn't mean economically) ... so, 50 years on .....

    // kind of a recurring theme isn't it? IF oil was $200/bbl, we'd have bio-fuels. IF electricity was $.1.50/kwh .....

    --- meanwhile, China says: "I'll take your carbon tax deal, ... and raise you 1,600 coal plants.", "Oh, and thanks for paying for our shiny new aircraft carriers. We're going to need those."

    Last edited: May 22, 2018
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  14. Jay

    Jay Well-Known Member

    In the early days of nuclear energy there were two camps fighting for control over the future development of reactors. One was the molten salt thorium reactor camp headed by Alvin Weinberg. The other camp was the fast breeder reactor camp. In the end it was the fast breeder reactor camp that won because it was much easier to harvest weapons grade plutonium from it. It was Nixon that pulled the plug on thorium development despite it's many advantages (more complete burning fuel and overall safety). The fast breeder camp promised to build their reactor in CA, Nixon's home state, and Nixon was able to step in front of the microphone and promise jobs there. Kirk Sorensen gave an excellent talk that goes into great detail of the politics behind the early development of nuclear power and why thorium lost out.

    The next generation thorium reactors utilize some new technologies that haven't been tried in commercial reactors such as using CO2 to transfer heat energy to the load. Are LFTRs "decades" away? It depends on how much money is available to finish the development work already begun.
    Last edited: May 23, 2018
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  15. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

    Looks like the UK is going to go after it with batteries at EV charging stations, .. which would make sense. And with an appropriate swinging price at "the pump" (my guess) -- you entice the EV driving crowd to fill up at the appropriate time,.. thus expanding the "grid absorber".

    World First 2GW Network of Batteries and Rapid Charging Stations Planned in UK

    The core of Pivot Power’s strategy is connecting batteries and rapid charging stations directly to the extra-high-voltage transmission system. This will give it a competitive advantage over existing batteries and charging stations linked to the lower voltage regional distribution system.

    Combining batteries with EV charging maximizes the value from each grid connection, and economies of scale should drive down building and operating costs.

    Each site offers a range of revenue streams. The batteries will earn money from providing a range of services to National Grid, from sales of electricity to chargers, and from energy trading. They could also potentially provide services to energy-intensive industries. Rapid charging stations will earn income from EV drivers."
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  16. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

    UK only for now, on the one hand I like the idea, on the other, ... I'm not sure how many people really want their home ownership to include the cost/responsibility of a micro power plant

    Last edited: May 26, 2018
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  17. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    Honda also sells a pretty nice system that runs on NG , which ( at the moment ) is plentiful and cheap. For those of us
    who don't have enough sun for effective solar.
  18. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

    "Developing world" prosperity has its costs-----

    The world is 7.6 billion people. If 2/3 of them drove cars like we do in the US, and used about 450 gallons/year (like we do in the US) then it would take 150 mbpd oil, ... just for personal transportation -- which accounts for only about 40% of oil used.

    So (in total use) 200 to 300 mbpd, maybe more vs. our current 100 mbpd to bring the 2nd and 3rd world up to 1st world standards.

    Put another way -- if efficiency advancements/alternative fuels cut petroleum use in 1/2, ... oil production would still have to be increased, perhaps substantially -- just to tread water in an "all in" first world.

    /feel free to check my math
    //quarter on quarter (NOT yoy), may show a 1.1 mbpd increase q3 this year!
    Game Over - Oil Prices Are Going Higher
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2018
  19. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

  20. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

    Rooftop solar -- not looking too good these days. Sounds like the power companies would just rather you didn't ...

    "They" have rules in place (UL 1741), .. turning the table on grid tie home solar.
    Old way -- individual uses the grid as a battery to back up their home solar.
    New way -- power company turns your home solar down to almost no output, only to use it as a 'peaker plant' under high grid demand. (or just discourage you from installing it in the first place)

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