Can Any Country Achieve Net Zero Without Nuclear?

  • #106
bhobba said:
His models show a probability of 90% that it will be between 1.5 degrees and 4.5 degrees celsius by 2100
Crikey, 2023 is currently 1.4° C above preindustrial temps. The global temperature a couple of days in November reached 2.0°. I say he better raise his odds.
 
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  • #107
gleem said:
Crikey, 2023 is currently 1.4° C above preindustrial temps. The global temperature a couple of days in November reached 2.0°. I say he better raise his odds.

He wants a Cern of Climate change to get the best probabilities possible. And yes, it is getting close to the lower end of his predictions. Some Climate scientists believe it is already too late. As I said society has difficult decisions to make.

Thanks
Bill
 
  • #108
russ_watters said:
Or if we use the long-term death projection of about 4,000 people for Chernobyl we can simply say that every coal power plant* is Chernobyl.

And that's just the air pollution deaths - it doesn't include the impact of global warming.
Been thinking about that. Then playing with Gapminder. What I learned:

(1) Lack of energy kills more people than any source of energy. If you plot life expectancy vs. per capita energy use, you see it dropping once you get below about where Western Europe is.

(2) Energy use per capita tracks industrialization, obviously. But it also tracks how spread out a country's population is. Australia is pretty spread out (sorry, Bill, but Alice Springs is no Chicago). As an aside, population density is not a terribly useful number if your population is concentrated along the coast (Australia), the southern border (Canada), a major river (Egypt)

(3) CO2emissions and energy consumption are strongly correlated. France is an outlier, but we also know they want into nuclear in a big way. Lesser outliers are Sweden, Finland, and Belgium, also with a lot of nuclear.
 
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  • #109
Vanadium 50 said:
(1) Lack of energy kills more people than any source of energy. If you plot life expectancy bs. per capita energy use, you see it dropping once you get below about where Western Europe is.
Energy (technology) lets you do things like save lives? OK, that seems reasonable.
 
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  • #110
gleem said:
Energy (technology) lets you do things like save lives?
Sure, it also lets you grow food, transport food, refrigerate food. It helps you maintain a water system that won't kill you. It lets you mine, manufacture and grow things that you can trade for medicine and other necessities.
 
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  • #111
Some facts from Worldometer:

The countries with the highest CO2 per capita are Qatar, Montenegro, Kuwait, UAE, Trinidad and Oman. Four of the six are Gulf states. I don't know why Montenegro is 5x higher than the largely surrounding Serbia. It may be that exporting fuel doesn't "count" but exporting electricity does. Trinidad has an energy-intensive chemicals industry and a small population, so may not be the outlier it first seems. Seventh on the list is Canada.

Auatralia and the US are 12th and 15th. The uncertainty on the US population from illegal immigration is not large enough to change this ranking.

On the bottom we have the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Mali, Burundi and Malawi. You need to go up 20 places to get out of Africa, where you have Nepal, Haiti and Afghanistan.
 
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  • #112
Another representation would be to account for trade.
Are you, or is your country, a net exporter or importer of CO2?
PS - Year 2021

Australia would be a net exporter 12% of domestic emissions.
If Australia eliminated some amount of exports of goods that the world wants, they could become a 'neutral' but not a 'zero' country of CO2 production. How much decrease in GNP this would entail would be another graph.
Quite a few blues seem to be energy producers, exporting the Co2 found in oil to other countries that do not have, but need. Others seem to be exporting finished products to the world of consumption.
https://ourworldindata.org/consumption-based-co2

1704103197468.png
 
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  • #113
256bits said:
Australia would be a net exporter 12% of domestic emissions
How do they calculate this, do you know? The energy.gov.au website shows energy exports amounting to over 2/3rds of total production. And that's mainly coal.

In any case, this is why hearing Aussies talk about net zero is like hearing Walter White talk about getting Jessie off heroin. It's nice and all, but can we talk about your drug coal empire first?
 
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  • #114
Bandersnatch said:
How do they calculate this, do you know?
probably quite complicated to determine the co2 value of a product and where it(co2) came from.
The graph is ( Exports - Imports ) / Domestic in terms of co2.

Bandersnatch said:
The energy.gov.au website shows energy exports amounting to over 2/3rds of total production. And that's mainly coal.
What if exports are to a country that uses all of that coal to make finished products that are imported back. The co2 is exported as fuel and imported back within the finished product.
Bandersnatch said:
this is why hearing Aussies talk about net zero is like hearing Walter White talk about getting Jessie off heroin. It's nice and all, but can we talk about your drug coal empire first
Sure. Cut out all export of coal from Australia.
But, imports still have co2 contents - a content still attributed to another countries usage of oil/coal to make the finished product. With no export of co2 as an offset , Australia becomes a net importer of co2.
The world co2 production has not changed, only redistributed to/from other countries.

Do not read read as bad, blue good, or vice versa, even though it could be that way/
Blue is not downloading co2 emmissions onto other countries, nor is red always being a glutinous nation.
It is trade of co2 emissions.

Net zero - what is that really?
If Australia went all nuclear all electric with no domestic production of co2 ( where's the beef ), could they still not have a coal industry to export to the world who wants and needs the fuel.
 
  • #115
256bits said:
If Australia went all nuclear all electric with no domestic production of co2 ( where's the beef ), could they still not have a coal industry to export to the world who wants and needs the fuel.
I think they shouldn't. It's hypocritical. It undermines the ecological justification for going green.
 
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  • #116
256bits said:
Net zero - what is that really?
It's like "Organic" in the grocery store. It's marketing,

Sadly, gestures seem to count more than solving the actual problem. Look at how much fun actors and other celebrities have giving each other awards for "raising awareness" compared to awards give to engineers for "solving the actual problem." Anyway...

There is definitely an accounting problem. If Florin sells Guilder coal or oil, it counts as Guilder's CO2. If Florin burns it themselves and sells the electricity, who does it count against? If they make something energy intensive, and sell that to Guilder, we know that's counted against Florin. That's how Trinidad makes it to the top of the CO2 list.

The atmosphere, however, does not care.
 
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  • #117
Vanadium 50 said:
There is definitely an accounting problem. If Florin sells Guilder coal or oil, it counts as Guilder's CO2. If Florin burns it themselves and sells the electricity, who does it count against? If they make something energy intensive, and sell that to Guilder, we know that's counted against Florin. That's how Trinidad makes it to the top of the CO2 list.

The atmosphere, however, does not care.
Countries can be rated in a manner of ways to make them look better or worse.

Which is why I put the graph of trade in co2 terms in this thread.
Cap and trade makes use if this from some type of calculation unknownst to average Joe.
Plant a tree - I feel better already.
Shuffing around the CO2 from country to country does not alter the global tally.

PS. As an aside
One thing most people are not aware is the contribution from the health care sector.
A somewhat minimal contribution, but they are working on it,

Anaesthetic gases represent 5% of the carbon footprint for all acute National Health Service (NHS) organisations, or 50% of gas emissions from the heating of acute NHS buildings and water.

Likewise, the use of desflurane or sevoflurane from a modern anaesthetic machine for 1 h is the same as 230 or 30 miles travelled in a modern car, respectively
...
if the land area of the UK represented global carbon dioxide emissions, desflurane would be a town the size of Bedford and nitrous oxide would be the size of the metropolitan area of Bristol.

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanplh/article/PIIS2542-5196(17)30040-2/fulltext
 
  • #118
We could go back to cyclohexane and then burn it to heat our hospitals.
 
  • #119
Thks to all for sharing the facts, insights, opinions, broad scope of topic, pictures and memories, etc. in this thread's posts! Wow! It took me a while to read them all and had to do it twice to try to grok all that info.

Par excellence.

3 Aussie problems. Think I might have very easy solutions for the two problems of toads and rabbits, slightly harebrained, but first topic first.

What about long-term, solar heat collection and storage systems? Those using only reflection and/or refraction. Not solar panels.

I know of the big, reflection collector in France, and the flat plate, hot water, roof collectors (was Japan the first to innovate those?). What other heat collection devices are in use? Online didn't show me anything. Just ordered a too-expensive, new solar technology textbook to see what the state of the art is, but it hasn't arrived yet.

Specifically, what about a daily collection of sunlight into a closed, well-insulated system? For an accumulation of the heat over a longer period than just one day. Water to steam. A long-term collection device in a high T, high P, underground, steam pot. That type of a system. A large-scale, steam storage system. Has that been proven non-feasible?
 
  • #120
I lived in south Florida many years ago and rooftop solar hot water heaters were common, on individual houses. The tanks had relief valves and I sometimes saw them relieving steam. I think in the right locations solar domestic hot water is an excellent idea. It bypasses the heat to electric to heat losses.
 
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  • #121
How interesting. You were a witness to a "steam pot". Japan uses them everywhere too, I think. Don't get as much sun, maybe only get lukewarm, daily showers. :smile: Saves on your electric bill, though. SF Bay Area has the highest rates in the country, I think, and continually rising. Alarmingly. Evermore. If they were easier to install, DIY, from the hardware store, it would be wanted by many more, surely. Because everyone is upset over their energy bill going way up. So, rooftop, hot water heaters should increase in usage, probably, in any case, in the future, I would think. Everywhere possible.

How much average, daily insolation is available in Australia? Rough estimate. Looks always sunny and hot in most areas to me. Does it average 1,000 Watts / sq. meter, constant for a 12-hour, daily period? Is that possible for most of the year? Too much?
 
  • #122
Looked it up.
https://www.hotspotenergy.com/DC-air-conditioner/australia-solar-map.php . and
https://climatebiz.com/average-peak-sun-hours-australia/#:~:text=Australia experiences an immense amount of solar irradiation,,sees between 1387 – 2264 kWh/m2 a year.

Shows about 3.8-6.2 kWhr per day, depending on the area. Not sure how they measured this insolation. To a flat, receiver plate on the ground? To a horizontal solar panel? Values seem way too low.

It's my understanding that if, on a clear day, the sun comes up at 6am and sets at 6pm, and a square meter receiver always faces that light, perpendicular to it, then the incoming energy is a solar constant. Constant value. Any time of day. Am I way off on this?
 
  • #123
Well, I guess if I was way off above, you'd have let me know by now. I'll finish my thought then on long-term heat storage. Show you what I worked up for a simple reflection/refraction, geometric model. See what you think. The first picture is sideways (sorry, I don't know how to rotate the file here).

A model of a flat plate, transparent lens on the ground with the addition of a movable or pivoted mirror to follow the sun.
Time period of 6am to 6pm, 12 hours total.
Average of 1,000 Watts / sq. meter input to a square meter mirror and to a square meter, flat lens.

Calling the input angle the sun angle. Degrees are shown under the lens for each hour.
Also, using a mirror angle. Degrees are shown under the lens for each hour.

Only angles of 30 degrees or less were considered valid as incident to the flat lens. 30 degree cutoff to keep an E loss to about 5% at that surface. The reflection losses also may be more than shown in the 10am - 2pm period.

First shaded row shows 5 hours of 100% insolation. 10am - 2pm. That's what I think the lower online useful sunlight hours numbers refer to for Australia.
Second shaded row shows the above shaded areas, plus the addition of insolation received from the mirror reflections. That extra insolation from the reflection is shown as a fraction of the whole, calculated for each hour.

Total insolation adds up to over 12 full hours worth, about 7% more even. If that's about the E loss from the mirror, then it's a simple model of 1000W onto a square meter over the course of a day. Add up the shaded areas to check.

I think this may be enough daily energy to heat water to steam over a period of time in a closed system.

Well, these diagrams don't look great here now, but I hope they can show the geometry and simple calculations of angles and insolation additions. I also hope that this doesn't make me look like the Democrat's mascot.
I would have put this in the 'YOU: give energy solution' thread, but it's closed for now.
sunlight1.jpg


6am 7am 8am 9am

calculations.jpg
a
 
  • #124
Think this is needed for clarification/addition to above geometry and equation (tried to edit but my edit time must have expired):

insolation zone width (double line) = mirror height (1 meter) X sine (mirror angle - sun angle).

A mirror height increase of 41.42% , the length of the hypotenuse, will give even more additional insolation. As might side mirrors, I think, in the early morning and late afternoon hours.

Valid in theory?
 
  • #125
256bits said:
What if exports are to a country that uses all of that coal to make finished products that are imported back. The co2 is exported as fuel and imported back within the finished product.

As far as I know, Japan, China and India are top three importers of Australian coal. The ranking may vary from year to year.

  • Coal is Australia’s largest energy resource. At the end of 2021, Australia’s recoverable Economic Demonstrated Resources were 75,433 million tonnes (Mt) of black coal and 74,039 Mt of brown coal.
  • Australia is the fifth largest producer, the second largest exporter and has the third largest reserves of coal in the world.
Ref: https://www.ga.gov.au/digital-publication/aecr2023/coal

Australia is apparently the lead coal exporter.
https://www.statista.com/statistics...f-thermal-coal-exporting-countries-worldwide/

The demand for coal is somewhat volatile.
https://www.movebeyondcoal.com/which_countries_buy_australia_s_coal
 
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  • #126
bhobba said:
If you are lucky enough to have copious amounts of hydropower, you may be able to.
Apparently, Iceland is the example of net-zero without nuclear, and without fossil, at least as far as electricity and heating is concerned. There are import of fuel for cars/buses, aircraft, and ships/boats, and they have to import finished products, e.g., cars, aircraft, . . .

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_in_Iceland

The numbers vary from year to year, or season to season. Iceland is fortunate to have abundant hydropower and geothermal, unlike most other nations, and they have the benefit of a relatively small population (est 375,318 people for 2023; Worldometer*). I saw a graph that indicated Iceland generated electrical power 70% from hydro and 30% from geothermal, but other articles state 80% and 20% respectively, so it could be anywhere in between at any given time. Perhaps less hydro in winter.

*from Iceland statistics - The population of Iceland was 387,758 on 1 January 2023
https://www.statice.is/publications/news-archive/inhabitants/the-population-on-1-january-2023/

Iceland has other issues - like an ongoing volcanic eruption in the Reykjanes Peninsula near the town of Grindavik.
 
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  • #127
To return to the original question: I think that it depends on a number of factors. If you have reliable rain/snowfall and enough vertical drop to make hydroelectric plants viable year round, or sufficient geothermal potential, then yeah, you can probably achieve net zero without nuclear. As mentioned above, Iceland is a good example for both cases. But for some places, where neither of those options are practical, then the answer is probably “not at present”. Maybe some breakthrough in energy storage that reaches large-scale production and economical deployment will change that, but for now, I don’t see any way to store enough energy from fluctuating sources like wind and solar to be practical replacement for nuclear. All it takes is a couple days of calm weather and overcast skies to drain your reserves if you’re only using wind and solar with energy storage. Granted, it’s not going to be like that everywhere at once, especially if you partner with your neighbors on a larger continent, but for smaller communities on islands, like, say, Tonga or Hawaii? It’s a serious problem.
 
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  • #128
Astronuc said:
Iceland has other issues - like an ongoing volcanic eruption in the Reykjanes Peninsula near the town of Grindavik.
This is coupled. The same geological activity that they use for electricity sometimes erupts.

The population of Iceland is 0.1% of the US's and about the same as the Pasco-Richland-Kennewick WA area. It's not quite the smallest country in the world but is not exactly big.
 
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  • #129
Vanadium 50 said:
This is coupled. The same geological activity that they use for electricity sometimes erupts.

The population of Iceland is 0.1% of the US's and about the same as the Pasco-Richland-Kennewick WA area. It's not quite the smallest country in the world but is not exactly big.
Certainly, it's situational. There's a comparison of various nuclear nations and their distributions of thermal sources for electrical generation. Sweden has lots of hydro, but that's not necessarily available during the winter months, so they have nuclear, which is more of the balance during winter, along with biomass and fossil.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/1013726/share-of-electricity-production-in-sweden-by-source/

This is perhaps more useful.
https://www.iea.org/countries/sweden

I'll have to dig in my notes to find the comparison.
 
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  • #130
Temporarily ignoring 'commercial' nuclear fusion, currently still several decades 'down the road', I'd suggest that Australian solar power and bio-mass could be synergic. Part-sheltered by solar panels, bio-mass would have much lower water requirements...
Also, rather than mega wind-turbines, 'economies of scale' suggest that less efficient but much less expensive 'vertical rotor' designs may suit...

Similar synergies between solar and bio-mass would seem to suit eg North African coast, too. Some of the generated power may allow 'crop-grade' desalination, with concentrated brine waste fed to salt-pan evaporation and local commerce...
--
OT: Baffles me why 'hot country' desalination plants often discharge their 'toxic' brine waste into sea or underground when it is a useful chemical resource...
 
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  • #131
A couple of thoughts:
Pumped storage hydro (PSH) often suffers from upper 'ponds' having large, rapid changes in waterline, which can be *bad* for wildlife and prohibit 'recreational' use. IIRC, may be mitigated by having weir-controlled marginal marshes and 'nesting' areas: Just needs some 'Common Sense' and lateral thinking...
PSH has disadvantage of considerable capital costs, big machinery and need for reliable water availability.
FWIW, you could also float solar panels atop the upper 'pond', mitigating evaporation losses...

Grid links of certain capacities and distances suit even current superconductive DC links when AC conversion and cryo-system costs become less than resistance losses and buried-cable cooling systems' costs....
 
  • #132
Nik_2213 said:
Pumped storage hydro (PSH) often suffers from ...
What it suffers from the most is, that arbitrating between high- and low electricity prices is actually an economically quite tricky endeavour, not worth all the trouble around the attached 'green' and NIMBY opposition.

And, contrary to intuition in an environment where the recently introduced 'negative prices' are possible it's even worse.

Just as a reference: List_of_pumped-storage_hydroelectric_power_stations#Under_construction
Surprise! Most active projects are in a country with quite notorious fame about economical matters...

In short: won't happen without further serious subsidies.
 
  • #133
erobz said:
How much energy can you take out of the wind, before it starts having noticeable consequences on global weather and ecosystems. Last I checked the wind does important things. When it’s not enough they will be sucking the energy from the ocean currents? Surely nothing can go wrong there either…Who needs ocean currents? I say we just blot out the sun with solar panels and call it day.
Denmark was up to 55% wind power in 2022 and that figure is still rising. Everyone agrees it's a good idea but noone want the things in their backgarden. Apart from the ecological impact everything from houseprices and public health is affected. It's as if now we have the industry they're not going to stop.

Also Denmark is supposedly a nuclear free zone (although here the discussion has started on whether the hippie-ban from the cold war wasn't more a gut reaction than an intelligent exchange) but we share power with other countries through the electrical grid - notably Germany and probably France too - both countries with copious amounts of nuclear power plants. The whole discussion is hyprocritical IMHO.


EDIT: Ooops, wrong link, here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power_in_Denmark
 
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  • #134
"Superconducting electricity transport lines, even if they could be built,..."

Sorry, such exist and are in use...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_power_transmission
Scroll down to Superconducting cables
They are also proposed as part of energy super-grids, combining liquid hydrogen pipeline with cryo-cable...
 
  • #135
Not the newest news but quite impressive. Of course China can play along.

What caught my eye was:

[...]more than twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty[...]

But the Danish company Vestas is right behind them. :)
 
  • #136
sbrothy said:
[...]more than twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty[...]
as mentioned in every "US-metric" thread ever, we Americans will use anything but meters as a standard :-p
 
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  • #137
gmax137 said:
as mentioned in every "US-metric" thread ever, we Americans will use anything but meters as a standard :-p
And one wonders why you stick to those. Fahrenheit I can understand, but your measuring units sometimes look pretty dumb from over here. :)

In Sweden one Mile is 10 Km. You'll hear things like "Oh, its right over here, just 120 Miles.". I've even seen a sign that said "Stockholm 100 M". :)

I went riverrafting up there but the real horror was the trip. It was "only" a 40 M drive but on a thin road with a cliff face up to the the right and 200 meters down to the left. I was frozen in the seat as the driver let go of the wheel to search for a coke in the back seat driving 140 Km/h.
 
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  • #138
sbrothy said:
140 Km/h
I think that should be stated as 40 m/s, if you don't want to sound dumb. Lol.
 
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  • #139
gmax137 said:
I think that should be stated as 40 m/s, if you don't want to sound dumb. Lol.
I guess I asked for that on this forum. But when you say how fast you're driving you say miles/hour right? You don't say say yards/s or whatever you measure in over there?
 
  • #140
sbrothy said:
but your measuring units sometimes look pretty dumb from over here. :)
Americans do this for Europeanns, who are never so happy as when telling other people how much smarter they are. :smile:

sbrothy said:
Sweden
Ah yes. Where when they make unit errors, they put them in museums and charge 17 EUR (well, 190 kr) admission to see them: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasa_(ship)

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
 
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