View Poll Results: Should the US government provide Pickens with the money and recources they need?
Absolutly -100% 9 47.37%
Thats a good idea but not now... 4 21.05%
Ok, but they're not gettin' my money 3 15.79%
Dont even bother.. 6 31.58%
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Pickens Plan -alternative energy

by taylaron
Tags: alternative, energy, pickens, plan
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OmCheeto
#37
Jul14-08, 06:02 PM
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Quote Quote by taylaron View Post
thats how they power low energy electronics in cold environments. they use the hot energy from the nuclear cell with the cold outside temperature to run a sterling engine. ingenious.
Can you provide a reference for that?
From my sterling engine research, this idea doesn't sound very plausible.
taylaron
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Jul14-08, 06:04 PM
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why not cheeto?
Ivan Seeking
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Jul15-08, 06:34 PM
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Quote Quote by taylaron View Post
im afraid i don't understand your statment on electric gears ivan because you cant generate more energy by uping the gears. you will only lose or gain torque in proportion to your gear ratio. loss of energy from friction. but you know all this.
i suppose i don't understand your concept..
You are thinking of creating more power than we have at the input by increasing the gear ratio, but this isn't the situation. This is a matter of utilizing the power input for a given speed. Power is the product of torque and angular velocity, so for a fixed velocity, the power produced varies as the torque.

But, are we limited to a fixed velocity? I wouldn't think so. That too should be able to vary with wind conditions if we use inverters.
mheslep
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Jul15-08, 07:51 PM
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Quote Quote by OmCheeto View Post
...No, you do not need to store the energy.

If you have 3 electric plants online supplying the grid(coal, nuclear, natural gas), and a wind farm comes online, you reduce the output of the least desirable source of energy, thus extending the life of that fuel source.
Once a highly variable power source like wind becomes more than some small percentage of the the over all power grid then, yes, some method will have to be implemented to store the energy, as has been discussed at length in other threads. Hydro power plants can store excess wind power for instance. Then the wind has to have a transmission connection to the hydro, and unfortunately not much hydro is located in the wind belt Pickens plans to develop. It doesn't make good technical or economic sense to rely heavily on large, centralized coal or nuclear plants for a 1:1 backup as suggested here. Large boilers can not be quickly turned on and off, and the boiler runs less efficiently this way. Gas turbines can be, but then Mr Pickens wants to move all the CNG over to transportation. And for any large plant, the owners want to run it at maximum capacity for economic reasons, selling every possible kWh to pay for that large initial investment.

The Pickens' plan has a goal of 20% (200GW), and that is right at the limit of what is thought feasible.

DoE sponsored web site, introducing their '20% by 2030' plan:
http://www.20percentwind.org/default.aspx
the detailed report here:
http://www.20percentwind.org/20perce...5-11-08_wk.pdf
Edit:
Interesting Details from the report:
-Chapter 4 discusses plans to overcome the variability problem, entitled:
"Transmission and Integration into the U.S. Electric System"
-Modern wind turbine capacity factor has been growing, reaching 36% average for US 2005 farms, with some hitting 45%, Figure 2-4. I've read elsewhere turbine capacity is expected to reach 40% average eventually.
mheslep
#41
Jul15-08, 08:36 PM
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Attached is Figure 4-1 from the '20% ...' report, as it nicely shows the situation. Its simulated but realistic data for two weeks from an area in Minnesota. The conventional power grid there has a peak capacity of 10GWatts, and of 1500 MW nameplate capacity has been installed. The green curve at the bottom shows the wind varying from occasionally zero up to peak, and averaging ~30 some percent.

The authors make the point that since both the demand and the wind generation are independent random variables, combining the two gives a total system variability of only sqrt( 2 * variability(wind) x variability(load) ), and not the raw sum of the two.
Attached Thumbnails
hourly_load.png  
nucleus
#42
Jul16-08, 12:11 AM
P: 171
There was an article in a Toronto newspaper a couple weeks ago regarding the Danish wind system.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servl...ry/TPBusiness/
rolerbe
#43
Jul16-08, 10:21 AM
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[RANT = ON]

There are 3 basic "energy independence" problems to be solved:
  • 'Alternative' energy sources (including grow your own corn for ethanol, etc.) have their place, but do not have sufficient total energy capacity to meet even current world population needs, let alone the needs generated by growing future demand. Also if alternative sources were utilized to the full, there would be significant ecological ramifications.
  • Petrochemical (including coal) resources are finite. Even fission nuclear does not last that long due to limits on uranium deposits, etc. One can debate the projections, but they are all around 50 to 100 years at best -- even with all the exotic extraction methods not yet in play. I think we can all agree that we'd like to see human civilization continue longer than 100 years.
  • Petrochemical use places us at risk due to ecological impact. One can debate whether global warming is due to the greenhouse effect of petrochemical energy use or not, but one cannot debate that it would be better to hedge our bets on this question by reducing carbon emissions
So what's a poor human race to do? Yes, we can optimize, exploit, and multipath the use of the various current energy sources, but its a short term holding action at best. Where's the promised land after all these efforts? Currently there isn't one. No matter how efficient and clever we get with the current sources we fall off the cliff in about 100 years.

Are we doomed to go dark, or is there an out? Yes -- Fusion. Leads to solutions for all the issues above. But, its too long of a play for the corporate world to take on. We need to push our governments to start doing what governments should be doing -- which is looking long term -- 60+ years, not just the myopia of the 6 year election cycle. We need to fund Fusion research big time, not the piddles it is currently getting. If the US were serious about maintaining the premier superpower position, they would lead this charge, not just tag along as an ITER also ran. Write your congressman!

[/RANT]
OmCheeto
#44
Jul16-08, 02:19 PM
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Quote Quote by FredGarvin View Post
I'd like to see someone divert the obscene amount of energy used for the big lift to get water to southern California. Put some energy into making that area self sufficient in water and the country could save a very large amount of energy.
I'd never heard of the "Big Lift" until you mentioned it. (Proper name: Edmonston Pumping Plant)

Researching the California Aqueduct, the Big Lift only consumes about a third of the energy to run the whole thing; 2.87 gigawatt's. (ref)

hmmm....
12,563,473,215 kwh/yr to run the California aqueduct system(assuming running at 50% capacity 24/7)
0.1 $/kwh
$1,256,347,321.47 annual cost

Powering this set of pumps would require about 2.5 billion dollars worth of the 1.5mw ge wind turbines. (ref)

So wind turbines could potentially pay for themselves in 2 years.

It is interesting to note that the people who designed the aqueduct have installed power generating plants to recoup some of the energy expended in pumping the water over various elevations.

http://www.publicaffairs.water.ca.gov/swp/swptoday.cfm
Water flowing down the East Branch generates power at Alamo Powerplant then is pumped uphill by Pearblossom Pumping Plant. The plant lifts the water 540 feet. From there, it flows downhill through an open aqueduct, linked at its end to four underground pipelines which carry the water into the Mojave Siphon Powerplant, which discharges the water into Lake Silverwood. When water is needed, it is discharged into Devil Canyon Powerplant and its two afterbays.
So the storage problem of overactive wind farms seems to already have been solved.

And the turbines might pay for themselves in less than 2 years.
LowlyPion
#45
Jul16-08, 02:45 PM
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Of course they should fund alternative energy. Not sure that the question about giving it to Pickens is exactly the right choice, but surely with no limits set on population growth world wide, the only choice on the population/energy treadmill is to develop more energy.
OmCheeto
#46
Jul16-08, 04:32 PM
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Quote Quote by LowlyPion View Post
Of course they should fund alternative energy. Not sure that the question about giving it to Pickens is exactly the right choice, but surely with no limits set on population growth world wide, the only choice on the population/energy treadmill is to develop more energy.
Although overpopulation is the primary factor in our running out of energy, it probably deserves a thread all it's own.

But just to tie it in a bit, if the world had discovered oil around the time we had reached a world population level of 300 million, and maintained it there, the oil might have lasted 3000, rather than just 150 years.

But since we didn't, it didn't, and all we can do now is fix it.
LowlyPion
#47
Jul16-08, 05:27 PM
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Quote Quote by OmCheeto View Post
But since we didn't, it didn't, and all we can do now is fix it.
I agree, that is the only variable that can be addressed today. And energy technology that will last longer than in ground oil supplies surely must be the most useful legacy we can give off to the next generation.
mheslep
#48
Jul16-08, 06:31 PM
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Quote Quote by rolerbe View Post
[RANT = ON]

There are 3 basic "energy independence" problems to be solved:
  • 'Alternative' energy sources (including grow your own corn for ethanol, etc.) have their place, but do not have sufficient total energy capacity to meet even current world population needs, let alone the needs generated by growing future demand. Also if alternative sources were utilized to the full, there would be significant ecological ramifications.
This is entirely incorrect. The wind energy in the atmosphere by itself, or the solar energy incident on the earths surface by itself, both far exceed the current energy demands of the planet. And that is only counting energy realizable with existing technology. The problems lie in issues like matching the energy source to the demand type (electricity vs gasoline/diesel for transportation), location (Arizona sun vs Maine winters), having the energy when you need it (calm days/ cloudy days), and of course the economics - even if the technology exists does the renewable source cost much more than existing fossil or nuclear sources. Regards demand growth, the energy required per $ of GDP has been dropping for some years in the advanced industrial countries. One can expect the third world demands to grow but as those countries mature economically their energy demand growth will also slow. Regards ecological impact, the only issue I'm aware of that might be called ecologically significant is the use of biofuels (like corn) that compete for food crop land; alga oil or cellulosic switch grass are better upcoming alternatives.
Spend some time here:
http://www.eere.energy.gov/
mheslep
#49
Jul16-08, 07:05 PM
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Quote Quote by OmCheeto View Post
I'd never heard of the "Big Lift" until you mentioned it. (Proper name: Edmonston Pumping Plant)

Researching the California Aqueduct, the Big Lift only consumes about a third of the energy to run the whole thing; 2.87 gigawatt's. (ref)

hmmm....
12,563,473,215 kwh/yr to run the California aqueduct system(assuming running at 50% capacity 24/7)
0.1 $/kwh
$1,256,347,321.47 annual cost

Powering this set of pumps would require about 2.5 billion dollars worth of the 1.5mw ge wind turbines. (ref).
Nope, common mistake. You were using the price in the ref given for the turbine nameplate rating. The 1.5MW is nameplate, or maximum turbine power. Those wind turbines need to be derated to an average 37% capacity factor; that's the best average production coming from 2006 turbines installed in good US wind locations. Also, that ref 2005 price of slightly less than $1000/ Nameplate kilowatt is a bit dated now. Wind cost has risen since then given the wind installation spike, and sharply recently due to inflation (steel tower/concrete costs) so that now wind installation is now closer to $1700/kilowatt (nameplate). The cost then to provide 2.87GW average power to those pumps solely from wind is more like 8 to 12 billion dollars. That also does not include any transmission needed, though you might need that regardless of source, and we've neglected any cost required to regulate the wind power via the water flow.
www1.eere.energy.gov/windandhydro/pdfs/41869.pdf
rolerbe
#50
Jul16-08, 07:16 PM
P: 104
Quote Quote by mheslep View Post
This is entirely incorrect.
I stand corrected. Thanks for making me do a little more direct research on this. I will have to amend the first statement, but believe the net conclusion is still correct. It appears true that the total incident energy on the earth from the sun is something on the order of 3,000 times current total human energy consumption.

Of course, even in the best of cases, we can harvest only a very small fraction of this incident energy. How large the fraction can be, either by technological or ecological limitation remains to be debated. I think it is too small, but will be doing more research.
Ivan Seeking
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Jul17-08, 06:14 PM
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Due to the fact that CNG has a higher octane rating than gasoline, CNG engines can use higher compression ratios. So it appears that autos designed to run only on CNG are about as efficient as gasoline powered IC engines. Autos that are converted or designed for multi-fuel options are less efficient.

Natural Gas Vehicles

A Metrobus using natural gasCompressed natural gas (methane) is a cleaner alternative to other automobile fuels such as gasoline (petrol) and diesel. As of 2005, the countries with the largest number of natural gas vehicles were Argentina, Brazil, Pakistan, Italy, Iran, and the USA. [16] The energy efficiency is generally equal to that of gasoline engines, but lower compared with modern diesel engines. Gasoline/petrol vehicles converted to run on Natural Gas suffer because of the low compression ratio of their engines, resulting in a cropping of delivered power while running on natural gas (10%-15%). CNG-specific engines, however, use a higher compression ratio due to this fuel's higher octane number of 120-130.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_gas

If you're thinking of joining the league of CNG drivers in the U.S., your choice of new vehicles is limited this year to one: The Honda Civic GX, a natural gas-powered version of the Civic. Compared with a Civic Hybrid, you'll pay $2,290 more for the Civic GX, although you'll be eligible for a $4,000 tax incentive instead of the Civic Hybrid's current credit of $2,100. In addition, CNG vehicles such as the Civic GX are eligible for most of the same parking and carpool lane privileges as hybrids; in many states, CNG vehicles were using HOV lanes long before hybrids.

Is it possible for individuals to pump CNG into their vehicle from home? Yes. FuelMaker developed Phill, the world's first home-based fueling appliance, which can be mounted to a garage wall, indoors or outdoors, to allow natural gas-powered vehicles to be refueled overnight directly from a homeowner's existing natural gas supply line.

...Early in 2006, the average price of CNG in the United States was $1.99 per GGE, while gasoline was $2.23 per gallon. While a 24 cent-per-gallon price advantage sounds attractive, CNG vehicles have lower fuel efficiency than hybrid vehicles. A Civic GX, for example, averages 32 mpg, while a Civic Hybrid is rated at 50 mpg. So while a GGE of CNG is cheaper, the Civic GX needs more fuel to operate, and therefore costs per mile are actually higher. [continued]
http://autos.yahoo.com/green_center-article_114/

... Dynamometer testing of the natural gas hybrid prototype on the certification FTP-72 duty cycle revealed very low emissions and mileage greater than 33 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent. This hybrid option utilizes a domestic, cost-effective fuel with renewable sources. With multi-fuel capability (methane, hythane and gasoline) it is also designed for use within the emerging hydrogen market. This hybrid option offers reliability and cost-effective technology with immediate wide spread market availability...
http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/j...25157/abstract
taylaron
#52
Jul17-08, 09:09 PM
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Quote Quote by rolerbe View Post
[RANT = ON]
....
Are we doomed to go dark, or is there an out? Yes -- Fusion. Leads to solutions for all the issues above. But, its too long of a play for the corporate world to take on. We need to push our governments to start doing what governments should be doing -- which is looking long term -- 60+ years, not just the myopia of the 6 year election cycle. We need to fund Fusion research big time, not the piddles it is currently getting. If the US were serious about maintaining the premier superpower position, they would lead this charge, not just tag along as an ITER also ran. Write your congressman!
[/RANT]
I completely agree with you Cheeto. from my perspective, the world knows that using fusion to generate the electricity to power the world is possible. Of course there are speed bumps and mountains that must be traversed as usual. But this was also the case during WWII. They knew a massive uncontrolled fusion reaction capable of leveling a city was possible; given the money and resources, they succeeded. I think this is just as important if not more than this case.
After all, its about saving the planet; not just the USA... (there's some perspective for ya)

With these spirits in mind, could someone give me a rough estimate of how much $ would have to be spent to just get this research going steady? Excluding the funding money for the following years; who knows how long and how much money would go into it. but Fusion is a topic for another thread.

Should our next President carry such ambition? I think so. Because it's up to the people in power to see past their desk and succumb to reality and do the right thing.

I too encourage everyone to write a letter to your respected governor or congressman about this crisis. Help them see past their desk...
taylaron
#53
Jul17-08, 09:11 PM
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I think Pickens Plan is a good start; capable of giving the 'green' trend some momentum around the world. They've got some good forums and updates about all this stuff on the Pickens website.
Ivan Seeking
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Jul18-08, 07:12 PM
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Pickens will be on Lou Dobbs, next Monday.
http://loudobbs.tv.cnn.com/

As for the potential for fusion discussed earlier: No time. Just like McCain's battery, fusion is a forty year old promise.

The day for each may come, but we can't wait for all of these already dated, pie-in-the-sky promises. Also, I doubt that fusion would prove to be the ideal source of energy that many people expect. IMO, if there is one lesson to be learned from the pursuit of the ideal energy source, it is that there is no perfect option.

Many people were inappropriately led to believe that nuclear fission power would be "too cheap to meter". In fact, it has never been able to compete [pricewise] with coal.


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