Author Topic: The future of energy  (Read 14896 times)

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Offline Simon

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Re: The future of energy
« Reply #25 on: March 17, 2011, 06:30:07 pm »
I wonder why they don't store the used fuel in a pit below sea level. If they did, it would be trivial to flood the pit with sea water.

wouldn't that make the water radio active ?
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Offline Neilm

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Re: The future of energy
« Reply #26 on: March 17, 2011, 06:56:06 pm »
There are 0 issues with reactor meltdow in fusion.  Depending on the type of fusion reaction, there isn't even a need for radioactive fuel.

Fusion will be widely accepted over fission and fossil fuels.  Anyone who thinks otherwise is probably just not entirely informed on the nature of the concept and simply views all nuclear reactions the same.

The experiments to watch are ITER, NIF, Tokamak reactors, and Polywell.  These are all thermonuclear approaches which are widely accepted within the nuclear and physics communities.  There are also many small scale efforts in the area of cold fusion but this is a pretty debated and controversial subject.

Isn't there a trial of a commercially viable fusion reactor being built in France at the moment?

Neil
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Offline Time

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Re: The future of energy
« Reply #27 on: March 17, 2011, 07:16:08 pm »
http://www.iter.org/mach

Yes, thats ITER.  I wouldn't say commerically viable - its a long way away from the commercial market.  Like all fusion projects, they have their skeptics about its feasibility so its still considered highly experimental.

Its the largest most expensive effort for fusion, by far.
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Offline Simon

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Re: The future of energy
« Reply #28 on: March 17, 2011, 07:24:14 pm »
when I read about fusion as a kid it said that it would get so hot we did not have a material to make the reactor out of. Have we overcome that ?
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Offline jahonen

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Re: The future of energy
« Reply #29 on: March 17, 2011, 07:53:13 pm »
when I read about fusion as a kid it said that it would get so hot we did not have a material to make the reactor out of. Have we overcome that ?

I'm not sure if that is the heat, but the intense neutron flux coming from the fusion process. Plasma is easily contained in magnetic field (at least as easily as making a torus from a jelly using rubberbands).

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Janne
 

Offline ChrisGammell

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Re: The future of energy
« Reply #30 on: March 17, 2011, 08:42:31 pm »
Bill Gates had a talk on an alternative method that was being investigated as an option. Granted, it's still in the simulation phase, so it has no guarantee of working. The Japan disaster will set back getting one install as well, probably.

[youtube][/youtube]

It's called a traveling wave reactor. My favorite part is that it burns off spent fuel. Imagine getting rid of all the already existing nuclear waste ALONG with getting energy out of it!

That Bill Gates fella, he's going somewhere...he's gonna be big, just you wait.
 

Offline Time

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Re: The future of energy
« Reply #31 on: March 17, 2011, 10:31:32 pm »
Yes, there are different ways of confining the plasma.  ITER is an example of magnetic confinement.  The torus type field geometry that Janne mentioned would called a tokamak
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Offline Zero999

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Re: The future of energy
« Reply #32 on: March 17, 2011, 10:46:33 pm »
It's called a traveling wave reactor. My favorite part is that it burns off spent fuel. Imagine getting rid of all the already existing nuclear waste ALONG with getting energy out of it!
It still produces nasty radioactive waste so is not a solution.

 

Offline the_raptor

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Re: The future of energy
« Reply #33 on: March 18, 2011, 05:26:46 am »
The experiments to watch are ITER, NIF, Tokamak reactors, and Polywell. 

Which have all been "ten years away from full production" for my entire life. Given fusion researchers poor record of over coming the massive engineering problems, waiting on fusion is about as sane as waiting for magic nanobots that will gobble up all the C02 for us.
 

Offline apex

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Re: The future of energy
« Reply #34 on: March 18, 2011, 01:05:33 pm »
Some power-things:
- Scientist can reform water and CO² to alkanes, which - when mixed - give you petrol

- If you would plant solar thermal power plants all over Algeria, you could generate enough energy for at least Europe and Africa

- Ten years ago, fusion power was 50 years away

- Now, fusion power is 50 years away

- In ten years, fusion power will be 50 years away

- 50 years is the usual timespan a power company manager is known for having worked at a company

- Technics is cool...       ...if it works!

- Fusion is really cool!

- You could store the solar energy in hydrogen, which then could be deployed all over the earth

- There are two possibilities to get the energy back from the hydrogen: burn it, or use a fuel cell.

- Steam turbines are normally up to 80% efficient

- The fuel cell approach has two possibilities: Cold fuel cells and hot fuel cells

- Cold fuel cells are about 50% efficient, but portable

- Hot fuel cells are about 95% efficient, but as big as a railway carriage

- You could possibly deploy the energy, but no one wants to build there!

- You could get the next Bill Gates by investing in this sector

- Wind power and water power are solar power, too!

- We need to use less energy, but no one wants to!

- So the task is the engineer's: Build gadgets with less energy hunger

- But you gadget needs to be cool to! Look at the CFLs. They aren't accepted at all!

Just my opinions...

apex
 

Offline Zero999

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Re: The future of energy
« Reply #35 on: March 18, 2011, 06:23:29 pm »
- Steam turbines are normally up to 80% efficient
I doubt that.

In theory yes but practical turbines don't give anywhere near that level of efficiency: materials aren't strong enough to withstand the temperatures required.
 

Offline apex

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Re: The future of energy
« Reply #36 on: March 18, 2011, 07:42:38 pm »
OK, wikipedia says about 40%.
My fault.

apex
 

Offline Chasm

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Re: The future of energy
« Reply #37 on: March 18, 2011, 09:07:26 pm »
It's called a traveling wave reactor. My favorite part is that it burns off spent fuel. Imagine getting rid of all the already existing nuclear waste ALONG with getting energy out of it!

The traveling wave reactor has one major problem:
How do you turn it of once you started it?
 

Offline ChrisGammell

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Re: The future of energy
« Reply #38 on: March 18, 2011, 11:00:33 pm »
From my (poor, I'm sure) understanding of the traveling wave, it's buried in the ground...so you...don't. Haha.

Those are just details, right? Let's get these suckers rollin!
 

Offline Time

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Re: The future of energy
« Reply #39 on: March 26, 2011, 02:33:16 am »
The experiments to watch are ITER, NIF, Tokamak reactors, and Polywell. 

Which have all been "ten years away from full production" for my entire life. Given fusion researchers poor record of over coming the massive engineering problems, waiting on fusion is about as sane as waiting for magic nanobots that will gobble up all the C02 for us.

If you want list any of the engineering problems that need to be overcame I'd gladly discuss this with you.  I'll admit that the fusion promises of the early years were pretty hollow but things are quite different now.

No researchers are claiming 10 years away from full scale production that I know of.  Maybe I am wrong.



-Time
 

Offline housey

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Re: The future of energy
« Reply #40 on: March 26, 2011, 06:00:15 pm »
My mother pays $100.00 USD/month on the average for a 1,300 ft^2 house in an average neighborhood in Stockton, California.  We are powered by: imported electricity from coal fired plants in Nevada, Diablo Canyon nuclear, hydroelectricity, wind mills of the Altamont Pass.  We do have a resident with solar photovoltaic panels made by British Petroleum a few blocks from here, the only house.  My mother would never pay into this system, because it is expensive.  I am not working much, a geologist is useless in Stockton, California.  I have been warehoused here for three years.  There is nothing to do here in this agricultural residental community.  We try to save electricity by using less, LED light bulbs, compact fluorescent bulbs and tubes, turn off lights, and less heat at night as we have blankets.  California is not a pro-nuclear state, but we have two stations, each with two reactors similar to one in Fukushima, Japan, but not as large a campus.  Those will run for another 10 to 20 years into the future.  I will be old.  They are along faults and sea side for cooling water.  We used to have Racho Seco, near Sacramento, California, but Sacramento voters with a ballot by SMUD, Sacramento Municipal Utility District voted against it.  Sacramento has to pay a lot for electricity.  Once per year, SMUD allows the public to visit their old nuclear power plant water pond to fish trout and eat it.   Gasoline prices rose to $4.15/gallon here and our DOW collapsed by the disaster of the 3RD largest economy, Japan.  Our electronics industry is eroding away to outsourcing to China and Philippines.  The world is becoming more technical savvy.  

President Obama gave a gift to the state of Georgia, far in the southern part of America four giant water nuclear reactors that will bring in jobs in constructions and jobs in taking care of it for decades.  Nuclear power is coming back in America in some places.  We do not have enough electricity and have scheduled power outtages by block numbers and expensive rates.  

I ride a recumbent bicycle to save my allowance money for my debts from the university era.  That is the only reason why I am not bankrupt, that recumbent bicycle.  I live poorer than my parents and I have three times more education than them, because there is scarcity in work.  Stockton's unemployment is 18.5% and we are listed as a miserable place to live in America.  

There is not enough water in Australia for hydroelectricity.  New Zealand has a lot of water falls and hydroelectricity.  Ayers rock is bone dry.  Australia can have solar farms in the center.  Fukushima actually is doing well given the amount of damage around it, 9.0 earthquake and huge tsunami afterwards.  The reactors are intact, but not the cooling and machine shops are ruined by the tsunami.  The fire is at a spent fuel storage pond.  The radiation is coming from the spend fuel storage pond.  One worker died at the hospital from the hydrogen gas blast.  Two workers are missing from the tsunami.  One worker might have died at the tower, not sure.  I am reading this from the news.  There is a lot of non sense fear in the West Coast about Fukushima reactor leaks.  Pocket Geiger counters have sold out in many on line stores in the U.S.A., that is insanity to pay for $250. USD for an instrument that one would not need, because we are in the U.S.A., not Fukushima, Japan!!  There is the need for a little amount of science education to use it properly and interpret the numbers coming from the instrument?  

Poverty is going to bring down my country, before we run out of gasoline and electricity.  My mother wanted supreme unleaded gasoline and my neighborhood gasoline station ran out of supreme and mid grade isooctane, non triethlylead gasoline.  We have to buy regular.  The gasoline station ran out of money to buy the more expensive supreme unleaded.   I have not worked much for three years.  Your blog has sort of been a social link to the outside world.   A church gave out free pancakes in Lodi, California and fight ensued, when the pancakes ran out, that I called it the pancake riot, 20 miles (32 km) from here that I read in the newspaper awhile ago.  The food bank use is increasing here.  

America's future in energy is trying to keep it the same way.  That is not my decision.  I can chose to ride a recumbent.  My mother and brother do not ride bicycles.  I am the only one with that environmentalist univerisity experience.  

I do see more wind mills of various designs on the Altamont Pass, between Stockton and San Francisco.  There was an egg whisks beater wind mill, not the propeller design, neat.  I did a paper in my oceanography class about using radar to map ocean currents.  That might be useful for another form of sea side coast energy, tidal power.  All of these alternative energy could not seem to replace fossil and nuclear fuels.  The demand keeps increasing, not going lower.

I did applied for a firm called, Nano Solar in San Jose that prints solar photovoltaic indium, gallium ink onto plastic films as a photovoltaic cell than silicon based ones.  They would have hired me as a solar cell sorter, where not every printed cell would collect electricity the same amount.  The less efficient ones would be sorted away from the more efficient ones in different bins.  These cells would be made into a mosaic for a target efficiency level for uniformity.  I was not hired, because of the budgets and NASDAQ plummet on worsen economy, for now.

Lawsen

Wow that is just sad, and one of the reasons I'm truely greatful I didn't stick with uni like most people I know have done. I walked straight out of uni shortly after entering, to the initial outcry of my parents and into a boring deadbeat job earning $45,000 a year. I have since got an apprenticeship so I earn slightly less but once I am qualified in 3 years I will be on $100,000 per year. I am living at home still but I'm only 19 and have a $400,000 house that I am paying off with some of my wages + the rent I recieve.

So many people around my age and a bit older have nothing. They have their uni degree, and unpaid uni fee's and the only work they can find is completely unqualified work in the retail/food industry, earning just enough to live comfortably with mum and dad and enough to go out and get drunk on the weekend. One day they will wake up, close to 30 years old and realise they have gone nowhere, and everything that they expected would just come to them like a great job everyones parents and teachers always told them they would "achieve if they believe in themselves". I honestly believe all that crap that was fed to us as children, that we were all special and all our dreams would come true has been the biggest bane for Gen Y and is going to be a massive problem for years to come.

I honestly always thought I would just end up a chemical engineer or something earning $200,000 per year, working 9-5 5 days a week and driving a flash car, and if you asked anyone else what they were going to be it was some high paid financial planner or marketing genius. No one wanted to do a fair days work for a fair days wage, thats not very exciting is it? It didn't ever hit me until I ended up 2 weeks into my uni course, and realised that it wasn't for me and contrary to what everyone had told me throughout my life up until that point, I was just a mediocre human being, slightly above mediocre at best. This really depressed me and hit me hard

The funny thing is that I have somehow ended up in a job that I genuinely like doing, all those niggling worries like where will you be working in 5-10 years are completely gone, my family is supportive of me again, I have a gf that loves me and in all honesty my future is looking brighter than 90% of my friends futures are, which some of them are just starting to realise now after giving me crap for dropping out of uni.
 

Offline Simon

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Re: The future of energy
« Reply #41 on: March 26, 2011, 06:07:30 pm »
yes i know someone that got a chemistry degree and is now working as an analyst for a bank - wow yes apparantly her analytical skills in chemistry help her in this financial job: BULLSHIT

there are plenty of fold running around with degrees in the UK and nothing to do with them
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