Energy Secretary Steven Chu Not to Serve a Second Term

  • #51
russ_watters
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I too like solar, but on a smaller scale like residential water heating.
Each solar BTU collected saves a fossil fuel BTU . Whatever you collect you don't have to buy from electric company.


Here's a plant built by an outfit in Florida. It preheats water for a steam power plant.
There's some uncomfortable chemistry involved and as the NYT article below mentions it's really not good economics.
But , every solar BTU they collect is one they don't have to buy from the natural gas company.
The problem is that a BTU of natural gas currently costs about 1/5 what a BTU of electricity costs (depending on the efficiency of the gas water heater). That's down from about 1/3 a few years ago. So replacing an electric water heater with a solar one pays back 5x sooner than replacing a natural gas water heater with a solar one.
 
  • #52
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I wonder whether Mr Chu is enough of a home handyman to appreciate this.
I would like to see some practical engineering talent in the cabinet.
We need politicians who change their own motor oil.

old jim
Exactly! It's better to have practical people than Noble prize winners.
 
  • #53
OmCheeto
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Exactly! It's better to have practical people than Noble prize winners.
I read an article in Nature today: "Scientific genius is extinct", by Dean Keith Simonton

I was quite offended.

I am not dead... I just haven't gotten started yet..... :grumpy:

----------------------------------
ps. The ability to change your own oil simply means:
A: You are poor
B: You are cheap
C: You have lots of spare time
D: You are still trying to figure out what 3/4 of a turn from seated means (<-- true scientist)
 
  • #54
mheslep
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...

I guess the main concern is that renewables while nice to have, are not sufficient. An example of a calculation and discussion for the UK is David McKay's http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/withouthotair/c18/page_103.shtml .

"I am worried that we won’t actually get off fossil fuels when we need to. Instead, we’ll settle for half-measures: slightly-more-efficient fossil-fuel power stations, cars, and home heating systems; a fig-leaf of a carbon trading system; a sprinkling of wind turbines; an inadequate number of nuclear power stations.
...
Which is *not* to say that renewables "are not sufficient", period. McKay's diagram shows that a great deal of energy production from renewables would just shy of consumption, as it is. The point is that a great deal of renewables are required, and possible, if expensive, and there is a great deal of room for improvement in efficiency, also expensive.
 
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  • #55
AlephZero
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And too much "long term strategic planning" works like this:

miracle2.jpg
 
  • #56
OmCheeto
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Thanks Locrian - i see the ambiguity now.

What i had in mind was solar water heating , not solar electricity.
Bingo!
Solar electric panels are maybe 20% (more likely ~10%) so it doesn't make sense to heat water with solar generated electricity. Use that precious electricity for worthwhile stuff like refrigerating your food and playing classical music on your stereo, and enjoying PF...
Bingo!
That FPL plant in the picture uses solar to preheat water that is on its way to a fossil boiler.
It isn't a photoelectric plant. The boiler feeds steam to a turbogenerator.
The mirrors heat a thermal oil to around 400 degrees, and that hot oil preheats the feedwater that's headed for the boiler.
So, in that plant every BTU from solar is a BTU that doesn't have to be made in the boiler by burning gas or oil.

Same would be true of a rooftop solar water heater.
Every BTU you collect is one BTU that didn't come in through your KWH meter.
In fact a residential heater probably does better than 1::1, big picture.
Since a typical fossil plant is ~40% efficient, every BTU collected on a rooftop water heater is 2.5 BTU's that don't have to be made in electric company's boiler. So your rooftop heater saves 2.5 BTU of fossil fuel for every BTU it collects.

In my opinion that's what we should be doing.
Bingo!
Sorry for the lack of clarity.
Thanks for the observation.
I was with you all the way. What lack of clarity are you talking about?
I wonder whether Mr Chu is enough of a home handyman to appreciate this.
He was handed many many billions of dollars, to do with as he pleased. As a scientist, he experimented.
I would like to see some practical engineering talent in the cabinet.
We need politicians who change their own motor oil.
Doh! I missed that the first time. Chu is not a politician. He is a scientist. Totally different beast.
old jim
I like you old jim. You are not stupid.

old gair

ps. I'm subscribed to the list-serv for the Oregon Electric Vehicle Association. I haven't sought out Chu, via Google, but keep seeing his name associated with projects, which are posted by OEVA members:


Texas switches on the world's biggest battery
U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu recently said that "without technological breakthroughs in efficient, large-scale energy storage, it will be difficult to rely on intermittent renewables for much more than 20 to 30 per cent of our electricity." I guess what surprises me is that it's a bunch of former Texas oilmen who are leading the way.
Largest Battery in the largest state? Makes sense.
Oilmen involved? Pops Om's bubble.

-------------------------
pps. My apologies to anyone who may have seen, and been offended by, my dropping of the FT-bomb on Facebook regarding this thread. But everything I've read of Chu, indicates that he is my kindred spirit. A twin thinker. If you insult him, you insult me. End of apology.

ok to delete.
 
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  • #57
OmCheeto
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QweNsLesMrM​

Thomas Alva Edison said:
We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using Nature's inexhaustible sources of energy — sun, wind and tide. ... I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don't have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.
People should listen to oldsters, once in awhile.....

Hey! He died two years after my father was born. That's like mega-old.

And as an oldster, "chopping down the fence around our house for fuel" brings memories flooding back:

Gen. Yevgraf Zhivago said:
I told myself it was beneath my dignity to arrest a man for pilfering firewood. But nothing ordered by the party is beneath the dignity of any man, and the party was right: One man desperate for a bit of fuel is pathetic. Five million people desperate for fuel will destroy a city. That was the first time I ever saw my brother. But I knew him. And I knew that I would disobey the party. Perhaps it was the tie of blood between us, but I doubt it. We were only half tied anyway, and bothers will betray a brother. Indeed, as a policeman, I would say, get hold of a man's brother and you're halfway home. Nor was it admiration for a better man than me. I did admire him, but I didn't think he was a better man. Besides, I've executed better men than me with a small pistol
^---- aka, Obi-Wan Kenobi, for you youngsters out there. o:)

--------------------
ps. I am not invested in Tesla.
ok to delete anyways....
 
  • #58
OmCheeto
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This morning I was listening to Coast to Coast on the radio, and some brilliant person was speaking. Brilliant, because everything he said, I agreed with. He talked about space exploration, the rolls of government and private industry, and a bunch of other stuff. I couldn't identify the speaker, as my clock radio is at least 40 years old, and the guests usually call in from cell phones. The host only referred to him as "Neal". I thought it might be Neal Armstrong, as the show focused mainly on space exploration. Eventually though, I discovered that it was none other than Neil deGrasse Tyson.

I sent a message to President Obama two days ago, requesting the he offer Tyson, Chu's job.

I thought it was a weird coincidence, as I've never sent the president a message before, nor heard Tyson on Coast to Coast.


--------------------
ps. I also told him; "Please have Michelle paint your house, it's been white for way too long".
 
  • #59
Astronuc
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This morning I was listening to Coast to Coast on the radio, and some brilliant person was speaking. Brilliant, because everything he said, I agreed with. He talked about space exploration, the rolls of government and private industry, and a bunch of other stuff. I couldn't identify the speaker, as my clock radio is at least 40 years old, and the guests usually call in from cell phones. The host only referred to him as "Neal". I thought it might be Neal Armstrong, as the show focused mainly on space exploration. Eventually though, I discovered that it was none other than Neil deGrasse Tyson.

I sent a message to President Obama two days ago, requesting the he offer Tyson, Chu's job.

I thought it was a weird coincidence, as I've never sent the president a message before, nor heard Tyson on Coast to Coast.


--------------------
ps. I also told him; "Please have Michelle paint your house, it's been white for way too long".
Ernest Moniz has been offered the job.

http://esd.mit.edu/Faculty_Pages/moniz/moniz.htm
http://web.mit.edu/physics/people/faculty/moniz_ernest.html

http://www.nationaljournal.com/energy/who-is-ernest-moniz-obama-s-choice-for-energy-secretary-20130304 [Broken]

http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/2013/mar/05/ernest-moniz-nominated-as-us-energy-secretary

http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NP_Moniz_is_Obamas_new_man_for_energy_0503131.html

http://articles.washingtonpost.com/...-initiative-renewable-energy-energy-secretary

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/04/us-usa-cabinet-idUSBRE9230P320130304
 
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  • #60
Mute
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This morning I was listening to Coast to Coast on the radio, and some brilliant person was speaking. Brilliant, because everything he said, I agreed with. He talked about space exploration, the rolls of government and private industry, and a bunch of other stuff. I couldn't identify the speaker, as my clock radio is at least 40 years old, and the guests usually call in from cell phones. The host only referred to him as "Neal". I thought it might be Neal Armstrong, as the show focused mainly on space exploration. Eventually though, I discovered that it was none other than Neil deGrasse Tyson.

I sent a message to President Obama two days ago, requesting the he offer Tyson, Chu's job.

I thought it was a weird coincidence, as I've never sent the president a message before, nor heard Tyson on Coast to Coast.


--------------------
ps. I also told him; "Please have Michelle paint your house, it's been white for way too long".
Was it an old episode of the radio show, or were they airing an old interview? If not, then I have some bad news about Neil Armstrong which you may not have heard yet...
 
  • #61
OmCheeto
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Was it an old episode of the radio show, or were they airing an old interview? If not, then I have some bad news about Neil Armstrong which you may not have heard yet...
I believe they mentioned that also. Neil, the live one, mentioned that it will be a really sad day when the last human who had walked on the moon had died. We've done some interesting things since, but we are a species entranced with exploring. We cannot just sit here, on this semi-full planet, and whine about taxes.
 
  • #62
OmCheeto
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I have decided that Mr. Moniz is more than acceptable for the position:

Moniz, 68, received a BSc in physics from Boston College in 1966 before being awarded a PhD in theoretical physics from Stanford University in 1972. He then joined MIT a year later, serving as head of the department from 1991 to 1995.

Unlike Chu when he took over the role of US energy secretary four years ago, Moniz has direct experience of Washington. Under the administration of Bill Clinton, he served as associate director for science in the Office of Science and Technology Policy from 1995 to 1997 and spent the next four years as under-secretary of energy in the DOE. "Physics sometimes looked easy compared to doing the people's business," he noted about his role in office in an interview in 2009 with Boston College. Moniz then returned to MIT and in 2006 became the first director of the MIT Energy Initiative.
06/05/2004 2:30 PM KresgeErnest Moniz, Director, MIT Energy Initiative; Dean Kamen, Founder, DEKA ResearchDescription: As an energy source, oil is hard to beat. In spite of reports to the contrary, there's still lots of it available 1 trillion barrels and the cost of extracting and harnessing it for use in transportation and industry is cheap. But, Ernest Moniz reminds us, the energy equation needs to include some important new factors: insecurity of supply and environmental stewardship. The price and convenience of fossil fuels decreases quickly when you take into account the costs of global warming and ensuring stability in the Middle East. If the U.S. ever develops a serious energy policy, says Moniz, here are some key objectives: .....
And he has great hair.
Great scientists need great hair.
He also has a nice smile.
I like him 100%

PW-2013-03-05-Moniz.jpg
 
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  • #63
Evo
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Oh yeah, the hair does it for me. He's in.
 
  • #64
lisab
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Oh yeah, the hair does it for me. He's in.
:rofl:
 
  • #65
OmCheeto
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Yay!

Apparently Prof. Chu has some spare time on his hands.
He's coming to where I work to give a lecture this month.
Only employees can go.

Ha ha! Sucks to be you!

I'm going.

:smile:9
 
  • #66
OmCheeto
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Professor Chu has entered the room. :smile:
 
  • #67
OmCheeto
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Professor Chu has entered the room. :smile:
Kind of boring. I knew nearly everything he talked about.

The fun though started about 20 minutes ago when I brought out Linus Pauling's 1935 book; "Introduction to Quantum Physics", which I'd intended him to sign, but my bartender went off on De Broglie, and then the bar erupted in a total nerdiness.

(They are now discussing computer programming.)

Life is good.

ps. De Broglie would have made a great Energy Secretary also, based on:
1. Crazy Hair
2. Huge Brain!

180px-Broglie_Big.jpg

I do believe my bartender was the one who told me quite a while ago that Einstein looked at Louis's paper, and said; "Give this kid a PhD!"
 

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