Electronics > Power & Renewable Energy

Ridiculous 'blue sky' ideas

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DenzilPenberthy:
In the thread about fusion power a week or so ago I rather  (over?)confidently stated that powering most of the globe from renewable power was an easier problem to solve than developing commercial mass-scale fusion power.

It seems to me that this would be an achievable goal with more-or-less current technology but it would require a truly never-before-seen level of investment and international cooperation. I realise that this puts it in the realm of my imagination rather than reality :) But unlike fusion, I think it's only a pipe dream for financial and political reasons. These seem to me to be easier to overcome than fighting the laws of physics.

AAAnyway... I don't want to talk about the relative merits of windmills vs tritium. What are your most out there, bonkers, pie-in-the-sky solutions to distributing and storing energy on a massive international scale?

The thought that always springs to my mind is a 'mega grid' of ultra HVDC power lines spanning the whole of the globe (or at least from Portugal to Kamchatka and all the way to the end of SE Asia). These would smooth out a good deal of the 'what happens when it's not sunny or windy where I am' uncertainty. Plus on top of this some massive scale storage. e.g. build some *huge* channels and use the Dead Sea as pumped hydro storage.

It doesn't have to be practical, what are your crazy ideas?




HAL-42b:
You want crazy? I give you crazy! Matter of fact I was looking into that a few days ago but didn't dare to post it here.

How about a superconductive power line encircling the whole planet? We don't have room temp superconductors yet but we have some which can be cooled by liquid Nitrogen.

So this grid can take energy from one part of the world and transport it to another part which is in peak demand. Since sun is always shining somewhere and there is always somewhere with peak demand. Thus the entire energy demand of the world can be solved with solar and without the need for storage.

Crazy enough yet?

Matter of fact people are already trying to make this happen.





Actually if we listen to these guys we might not need superconductors at all.

More on Elpipes and large scale HVDC grids:
http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2010/ph240/hamerly1/docs/hartley.pdf

http://www.geni.org/globalenergy/library/technical-articles/generation/elpipe/Chinese_Journal_HV_Engineering_004_November+footer.pdf

http://www.ciwg.net/files/70091162.pdf

https://www.google.com/patents/US8796552

Kleinstein:
There is an old (e.g. started in the 19320s or 1930s) crazy idea of building a huge dam at Gibraltar from Africa to europe, thus cutting off the Mediterranean see. As rather little water flows to the Mediterranean see, the level can drop by maybe 1000 m allowing for massive hydro power and possibly storage. Tectonics is on our side, so in a far future this might get very practical as needed dam gets shorter.

There is also a crazy calculation, using tide energy in central america between the pacific and caribian see. The down side is, this would slow down the earths rotation over time, faster than normal. So expect a 25 h day in the future.  The channel planed in Nicaragua might be a fist step.

Tomorokoshi:

--- Quote from: Kleinstein on February 18, 2016, 06:03:06 pm ---So expect a 25 h day in the future.

--- End quote ---

I could sure use that now!

DenzilPenberthy:
These are exactly the sort of things I had in mind :) 

Pacific-Atlantic tidal through central America is an interesting one I'd not thought about before.

I seem to have it in my mind that mixing the two via the Panama canal was not good ecologically?

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