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Choice of energy

  1. Mar 17, 2009 #1
    we all know that coal fired plants are becoming more and more unpopular with people and know we are looking towards renewable sources of energy like solar and wind and also nuclear energy. but in the near/distant future when the changes do occur,
    how will these changes affect our lives??
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 17, 2009 #2

    russ_watters

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    Staff: Mentor

    I'm not sure what you mean. Are you asking how our lives would change if we replaced our coal plants with nuclear plants or other types of non-polluting power plants? Other than the power costing slightly more and the air being somwehat cleaner, there wouldn't be much change. You wouldn't notice the difference in your everyday life.
     
  4. Mar 18, 2009 #3

    mathman

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    The biggest change I can see is to the economy. There will be a lot of construction as well as R&D for a long time, which will be quite stimulating.
     
  5. Mar 19, 2009 #4
    And while all of that R&D is happening, expect the price of that particurlar alternative energy source to be more expensive than its non-alternative counterparts (coal, nat. gas, etc.)
     
  6. Mar 19, 2009 #5

    Xnn

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    It's not clear if solar PV power will result in cleaner air or are a viable energy source.

    It takes a lot of electricity to produce the silicon that is used in photo voltiac panels.
    Most silicon is produced in China where pollution laws are lax and a large coal fired plants without controls are being constructed every week.

    Maybe someday there will be a break through and the amount of electricity used to build a panel will be substiantlly less than that obtained from their use, but so far PV do not appear to be a long term solution.
     
  7. Mar 19, 2009 #6
    The price at which a panel is sold is more than the price of the energy used to produce and assemble the components of the panel (otherwise the company could not continue manufacturing), and ordinary people would not invest in purchasing the panel unless its final price is less than that of the electricity it will create (over the expected average lifetime of the panel). This is the disproof by economics of your argument.

    I take it you haven't actually done your research, and the honest reason for your a priori bias against solar PV is your stated profession as a nuclear engineer? (So the bias also extends to solar thermal and solar hot water heaters, which are obviously comparatively trivial to construct, as well as other "renewables" such as wind? Doesn't it occur to you that solar and fission are both part of the solution and not mutually exclusive, for example that one is well matched with peak load whilst the other so suited to base load?)
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2009
  8. Mar 19, 2009 #7
    I'm not sure I understand where you're going cesiumfrog; I took Xnn's quote to mean that since a great amount of electricity is required to produce the silicon, then that electricity has to come from somewhere. Xnn then stated that electricity in China is produced in a way that also produces a large amount of pollution. I took Xnn's statement to mean that when considering the overall pollution impact of something, you have to also consider the pollution from manufacturing. Similar to the argument against electric cars (so you move the pollution from the tailpipe to the coal factory, which is truly cleaner??)
    Did I get that right, Xnn?
     
  9. Mar 19, 2009 #8
    If we move the tailpipe to the coal factory, then the transportation sector will automatically share in the improvements of the regulations that are coming to be imposed on the electricity sector. It's not like putting an individual fission reactor in each car would be an efficient option. Also, a large number of electric car batteries would allow better utilisation of solar and wind power (since those are not on-demand sources). This isn't the place to repeat anti-progressive FUD.
     
  10. Mar 19, 2009 #9
    I dont consider asking a question to be FUD, 'anti-progressive' or not.
     
  11. Mar 20, 2009 #10
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