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Cleantech's solar array will be seven times larger than the next closest rival

Portugal announced in April that it was home to one of the world's largest solar arrays. The 150 acre, 11-megawatt (MW) solar plant was built by Catavento and PowerLight Corporation and is capable of powering 8,000 homes in Serpa.

Cleantech America LLC., a San Francisco-based company, plans to build a solar farm that would far eclipse the one built in Portugal. The new 80 MW farm, known as the Kings River Conservation District Community Choice Solar Farm, will be situated on 640 acres of land and is scheduled to be completed by 2011.

"We're pretty confident that solar farms on this scale are going to have an industry-changing impact," said Cleantech CEO Bill Barnes. "We think it's the wave of the future. This scale of project, I think, creates a tipping point for renewable energy."

"We think the impact for it will be similar to the impact of the computer chip," Barnes continued. "So too will economies of scale like the Community Choice farm drive down the cost of solar."

Cleantech estimates that the energy generated by the solar array will be enough to power 20,000 homes.



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640 acres is a lot of land
By drank12quartsstrohsbeer on 7/10/2007 9:31:55 AM , Rating: 5
What is going to happen to the land itself? Will plants and little critters be able to survive underneath these panels or will they destroy the habitat?




RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By mars2k on 7/10/2007 9:45:05 AM , Rating: 1
You're talking about desert here. This is one square mile. This is not a solid panel. What critters? What plants?


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By LogicallyGenius on 7/10/2007 11:58:51 AM , Rating: 5
ya, its better than those bioFuel farms created by chopping the native forests.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By dever on 7/10/2007 3:41:16 PM , Rating: 2
More importantly, how much special-interest money is helping to fund this? I'd be surpised if this is anywhere near feasible without raping individual incomes through taxation and giving the proceeds to a large energy company.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By RogueSpear on 7/10/2007 9:19:44 PM , Rating: 2
Much more of your money is going to support oil and corn farmers. So what exactly do you mean by "special interest money"? Do you even have any idea of what you're talking about?


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By Chernobyl68 on 7/10/2007 6:03:57 PM , Rating: 2
Fresno isn't exactly a desert, is it?


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By MrTeal on 7/10/2007 9:45:16 AM , Rating: 3
One square mile. I wonder how many square miles the 2200 MW Diablo Canyon nuclear plant sits on?


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By kattanna on 7/10/2007 10:03:34 AM , Rating: 2
the actual lot size with all the buildings/parking lots..etc is maybe 40 acres. though the plant also encompases several hundred acres of pristine land used for grazing and wildlife.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By TomZ on 7/10/2007 10:08:32 AM , Rating: 5
OK, so this project will use 16X the amount of land to produce 1/27th the amount of energy. I guess efficient land use is not one of the selling points.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By FITCamaro on 7/10/2007 10:27:12 AM , Rating: 2
/sarcasm

Nuclear power is evil though.

/end sarcasm


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By ZmaxDP on 7/10/2007 11:01:28 AM , Rating: 5
Gee, since it is southern California, why don't they just set up a requirement that any homes use a certain amount of their roof area for solar energy collection and then subsidize it with rebates on solar panels and inverters. Each home gets a grid tied system and lower energy bills with less cost to the state overall. And, you aren't using up an "pristine" land that isn't already built on.

Oh wait, that is a practical idea - it would never go over in any state or federal government, much less California...


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By ZmaxDP on 7/10/2007 11:02:29 AM , Rating: 2
Should be "less cost to the state and consumer overall." Kind of an important point.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By jaybuffet on 7/10/2007 1:12:19 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure about California, but I believe some places already do this. In fact, if you provide energy to the grid, they will credit your account


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By Cygni on 7/10/2007 1:23:19 PM , Rating: 4
the problem with your idea is that you are looking at 20+ years before the solar panels will pay themselves off to the homeowner. forcing an area with already over inflated housing costs (and general cost of living) to add $20,000 to their cost of ownership for some dream of saving the air, when the fact of the matter is that LA's cars create way more polution than its energy production, is a pretty bad idea. especially considering the fact that producing a solar pannel has a pretty significant carbon footprint itself.

forcing people to put the inefficient solar panels we have today on their houses is not the answer, and its not a new or novel solution that nobody has thought of. solar as of today is not world saving, nor is it 'as significant as the computer chip.' the only solution i see is nuclear, but the general public is too timid to embrace Gen3/4 nuclear plants yet.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By blaster5k on 7/10/2007 2:11:17 PM , Rating: 3
I completely agree. Nuclear is the best option we have to fight climate change, but yet so many environmentalists refuse to consider it.

The problem I see with all the renewables is the amount of land area they take to generate a significant amount of power. Sure, there are deserts and such where you could throw this stuff, but if you want to build enough to make a real difference, you're going to ruin habitats and screw with nature in other ways.

Nuclear produces more power for the amount of space than pretty much anything we can do today -- and it's even affordable. Virtually all the pollution is contained and manageable (most of the U.S. nuclear waste stockpiles are from creating high grade plutonium for weapons programs -- not power plants). With each generation of designs, they keep getting safer and safer. The generation IV designs look especially promising.

One of these days, "environmentalists" will wake up and realize that nuclear power is the only way we can realistically put a dent in emissions.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By Tsuwamono on 7/10/2007 2:40:23 PM , Rating: 1
The reason they are against it is because its good now but bad down the road. Although if we dont do something now there wont be a down the road to worry about lol. I think Nuclear is the best option to buy us time to figure out Fission.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By blaster5k on 7/10/2007 2:58:37 PM , Rating: 2
I think you mean fusion. Lots of money has been spent over the years trying to produce a working fusion reactor without much success. It remains to be seen if it will ever be a viable concept. Some people think it might be a hundred years before we overcome a lot of the issues with it. Fission is quite sustainable anyhow -- especially with reprocessing and breeder reactors. Supposedly, the fuel supply will last longer than the sun will.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By Terberculosis on 7/10/2007 4:09:28 PM , Rating: 2
http://www.iter.org/

I think 100 years is a bit of an overestimate


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By Ringold on 7/10/2007 6:32:11 PM , Rating: 2
It's being built in France. Doesn't bode well.
Notice the artists rendering on the home page. It doesn't exist yet.
Even when it's completed, completion doesn't mean successful operation.
Even when it's succesfully operated, that doesn't mean commercial viability.
Commercial viability doesn't mean "Fusion power plants in every back yard!"
I wouldn't count on ITER or fusion in general to save the day any time soon..


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By Chernobyl68 on 7/10/2007 6:07:28 PM , Rating: 2
pretty sure we already have fisson fugured out! :p


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By TomZ on 7/10/2007 2:59:27 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
One of these days, "environmentalists" will wake up and realize that nuclear power is the only way we can realistically put a dent in emissions.

Nuclear power doesn't fit well with the "environmentalists" because it doesn't benefit them in any way. With things like the so-called "global warming crisis" and things like that, they can whip the public into a frenzy, which gives them some degree of control over our culture, lifestyle, politics, personal choices, and checkbooks.

Nuclear power solves far more problems then it creates, and if they were truly objective in considering what is best for the environment and people, and what is also economically sustainable, they'd be behind it.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By RogueSpear on 7/10/2007 9:26:34 PM , Rating: 2
I always find it interesting how the people here who have such a crisis of conscience when it comes to the batteries in hybrid cars going in a landfill (hint - they're largely recycled) have no such qualms regarding the waste produced by a nuclear power plant.

It's also depressing at best that whenever there's news or some article about technology or a project that attempts to be environmentally responsible, the pro nuclear and pro fossil fuel crowd always has a lot to say in the negative. Devil's advocate is one thing, being a shill is quite another.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By TomZ on 7/10/2007 10:38:42 PM , Rating: 2
Let's stick to the debate, and avoid the name calling, ok?

Nobody has mentioned anything about hybrid car batteries going into landfills, or anything even remotely related to spent nuclear fuel going in or anywhere near a landfill. I don't understand the correlation you draw between these ideas.

I am personally reacting to the misguided perception that solar power is an environmental panacea (which it isn't) and to the general dislike of nuclear power by environmentalists (which is illogical).


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By RogueSpear on 7/11/2007 6:18:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Let's stick to the debate, and avoid the name calling, ok?

Name calling? Please point out where I did that.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By PrinceGaz on 7/11/2007 10:37:26 AM , Rating: 2
I don't normally find myself agreeing with you, but I'm fully with you on the nuclear power issue.

If environmental campaigners really want to save the planet, the only viable way of generating the power we need today without burning fossil-fuels is by nuclear-fission. Wind-farms and solar-plants generate relatively small amounts of power and cannot be relied on as a major source of energy (wind-farms don't generate much power on calm days, and solar-plants produce next to nothing at night), yet are disproportionately expensive and use large areas of land.

I want to save the planet (it's the only one we've got) and the only way I can see of doing it is building more nuclear plants.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By 9nails on 7/10/2007 8:14:17 PM , Rating: 2
Nuclear seems like a fair product until you have to deal with radioactive waste. Then I'm not all that wild about it.

I still like the idea of tidal current turbine generators using high and low tidal flows to turn the blades. (Sort of like wind farms, except using the ocean currents for the wind.) But that only works for coastal countries and hasn't been implemented any place that I'm aware of.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By TomZ on 7/10/2007 8:59:33 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Nuclear seems like a fair product until you have to deal with radioactive waste. Then I'm not all that wild about it.

The nuclear power industry and government has done an excellent job managing used nuclear fuel so far. I haven't heard of any problems or accidents relating to nuclear waste through all the years, have you?

That industry's record is much better compared to the other two major forms of electricity generation - coal and natural gas - where the waste byproducts of burning the fuel are simply released into the environment, including the radiation emitted from coal-fired plants.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By oTAL on 7/11/2007 2:22:07 PM , Rating: 2
You forgot about oil spills...
Thousands of animals painfully dying in a single accident.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By tygrus on 7/10/2007 10:40:21 PM , Rating: 2
Photovoltaic Solar Panels are not econonomical in several ways (already mentioned by others). Solar furnaces require glass&metal not silicon, and are a lot more economical. 640acres would recieve about 2900MW peak solar energy. Less than 2.8% (80M) of this will be harnessed by the specified solar array taking up equivalent of ?% of the land (each panel is <100% covered by solar cells, panels are spaced apart). Solar furnace can be >3x more efficient than standard solar panels.
Remember that land in a dessert is cheaper and already is under utilised (low use by nature and humans). What is regarded as desserts frequently have some vegitation but low importance in the scheme of things.

One problem with solar panels on the suburban roof is then being shadowed by taller buildings and trees.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By zombiexl on 7/10/2007 9:47:40 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
What is going to happen to the land itself? Will plants and little critters be able to survive underneath these panels or will they destroy the habitat?

Who cares it will be more than 8x larger than the one in Portugal. So what if we trade one green type thing for another.
</sarcasm>

Anyway, thats a good question. I'd like to know the answer as well. It would be shameful for a company to promote doing something "green", while destroying 640 acres. Somehow I think they will not kill the land, but you never know i guess.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By TomZ on 7/10/2007 9:54:40 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think it will be any more or less destructive than other human uses for land, e.g., agricultural, industrial, commercial, or residential use. Whatever currently lives there will live there no more.

The bigger question in my mind is whether this provides energy that is more cost-effective than other energy production methods. To me, building a big solar array is not any great accomplishment, if it results in energy that costs some number of times more than energy from other sources. Being "green" is a good thing, but "green" is only sustainable if it is combined with economic efficiency. Otherwise, it doesn't scale up to really help solve the problems at hand.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By zombiexl on 7/10/2007 2:48:39 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah I noticed when the deregulated electricity that it was always more expensive to choose a "green" provider. Not sure if that was greed, lack of customers or (more likely) the much higher expense of being green.

it aint easy (or cheap) being green.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By Shintai on 7/10/2007 9:58:30 AM , Rating: 2
It depends on the location. If desert etc.

But atleast in green fertile areas here. There is sheeps and other domestic animals walking around the solar panels and eating grass.

Its easy to mix many interests.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By masher2 (blog) on 7/10/2007 10:10:14 AM , Rating: 4
> "There is sheeps and other domestic animals walking around the solar panels and eating grass."

It doesn't work that way. Solar panels work by occluding sunlight. Grass doesn't grow where there is no sun. Nor can you farm underneath a solar panel either. There is certainly some small amount of land between panels, but the area covered by a panel isn't useful for grazing or anything else.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By Shintai on 7/10/2007 10:31:55 AM , Rating: 2
You do now alot of plants, including grass dont need direct sunlight?

And yes..grass grows.
http://www.fotosearch.com/bigcomp.asp?path=AGE/AGE...


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By masher2 (blog) on 7/10/2007 10:45:14 AM , Rating: 3
Here's a link to a photo of a real solar array, not a few cells sitting in someone's backyard. See any grass growing under those panels?

http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=6738

And even for smaller panels such as your photo displays, the same issue applies. They block a certain percentage of sunlight. So grass may still grow underneath them...but its less grass, and it grows slower.

The total amount of food energy obtainable from an acre of land is a linear function of the solar energy impinging upon it. Every square foot you cover with solar panels subtracts from that. Thus-- even if you allow grazing on that land-- you need a substantially larger piece of land to service the same number of animals.

As for modern farming, its just not possible under solar cells, even small ones. Irrigation, crop spraying, harvesting equipment, etc...none of it works well in tiny confined spaces like that.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By IckesTheSane on 7/10/2007 2:21:45 PM , Rating: 3
MIT's Technology Review had a photo essay on that solar plant in Portugal.

http://www.technologyreview.com/Energy/18300/

In it, they do list that "The panels are high enough off the ground for sheep to graze underneath, and the Serpa park will double as pasture for livestock."

I'm sure the grass will not grow as well as if nothing was covering it up, but it is certainly better than using the land for a single purpose when it can be used for two.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By ZmaxDP on 7/10/2007 2:27:44 PM , Rating: 2
I really liked the nice backyard solar image. Of course, that would never happen at a commercial plant for maintenance reasons, etc... Also, in commercial plants the solar panels move to track the sun all day - usually animals don't like that.

Masher's image is dead on, and still a little idyllic. What is sad is that California chose to endorse and likely help fund a large percentage of a commercial plant. Unlike a nuclear of coal power plant, you can disperse solar cells over a wide area (think rooftops in a city) and get the same electricity generation without having to develop new land. If you'd just put a three kilowatt array on top of every asphalt shingle roof in California, you'd get a hell of a lot more generation capacity than what they're talking about here, and they could get the owners of most of those houses to finance a bit of it out of pocket rather than out of their taxes. Heck, if you really put that many solar panels out there, you'd not only get their costs down per panel by a large factor, the state would end up generating solar power for the rest of the country during peak load times. That's the most valuable form of energy available. I'm not saying get rid of the nuclear and coal and wind generation, you need something to handle capacity that solar isn't ideal for, but it would quickly make California's energy crisis evaporate if they'd just get some decent rebates, tax incentives, and financial assistance worked out...


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By cheburashka on 7/10/2007 3:21:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If you'd just put a three kilowatt array on top of every asphalt shingle roof in California

Most homes in California do not use asphalt shingles.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By Ringold on 7/10/2007 6:44:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
you'd just put a three kilowatt array on top of every asphalt shingle roof in California, you'd get a hell of a lot more generation capacity than what they're talking about here, and they could get the owners of most of those houses to finance a bit of it out of pocket rather than out of their taxes.


Simple government bonds would probably provide vastly superior returns -- at current prices. Current prices which would skyrocket if such a plan were pushed, like prices already have thanks to Germany's voracious appetite for solar panels that it can barely efficiently use. Most homes probably also consume much more than what a simple 3kw setup could provide even at high noon on a summer day. Especially at high noon on a summer day.. The economics just don't even come close to being rational.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By nah on 7/11/2007 10:47:00 AM , Rating: 2
and here I was about to post masher, where are you ;)


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By DeepBlue1975 on 7/10/2007 4:52:40 PM , Rating: 2
That's completely true...
But if you use rotating solar panels which vary its position according to then sun's position, using a constant angle that is a bit less than optimal but good enough for your purposes, you can cast a shadow that is not the biggest one in any moment, and better yet, is never focused in the same place during the day, so that grass and all that stuff could still grow beneath a solar panel array.

The problem to my idea is that perhaps it'd take, for the panel to move, a bit of the energy it generates, making this yet more inefficient.

The problem with solar energy is not the idea of solar energy as it is, but rather the way that we, by now, know or try to harness that energy.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By JediSmurf on 7/10/2007 10:26:57 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
There is sheeps and other domestic animals walking around the solar panels and eating grass.


Oh come on, "there is sheeps?" subject-verb conflict is acceptable enough. English may not be your language even, but "sheeps"? Sigh.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By blckgrffn on 7/10/2007 10:43:08 AM , Rating: 2
I actually raised sheep growing up, and I know that at least my area, sheep were sometimes called "sheeps" just for kicks... I doubt that happened there though =)

Nat


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By Misty Dingos on 7/10/2007 6:58:57 PM , Rating: 2
Nothing is going to happen to the land. Other than some welcome shade in the desert.

This is the typical response to someone who fancies themselves enlightened and in reality has no concept of what the world is really like.

Would you support a nuclear or coal power plant there instead of the solar array? Not likely. California needs more electricity to meet their growing demands. It has got to come from somewhere. Let me explain.

This is very simple. Try to keep in mind when it comes to power needs. They are going to keep going up. Conserve all you want but the requirements for electricity are going to rise for the foreseeable future. So we are going to have to generate more power. Since we need to generate more power we are going to need more power plants. Wind, solar, tidal, and even ocean currents. We are going to need these power resources. So quit crying about the Gumby desert rat and the purple spotted puke flower. What the rest of us want to hear from you eco-nuts is red is positive and black is negative.

If you can't get these simple facts and are still in denial. Symptoms of this would be wanting the world to turn to an agriran economy or feeling that the world would be better if we just lived in trees again. If this is you then walk or travel to the nearest coast line. Walk into the surf and embrace the mother ocean. Keep walking until the water is over your head. Breathe deeply until no air remains in your lungs. Thank you now the rest of us can go about building the future of mankind and not revert to the past.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By TomZ on 7/10/2007 7:55:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Would you support a nuclear or coal power plant there instead of the solar array?

Yes, I would. We have a number of nuclear power plants here in Michigan, and I would support building more, if that was possible. Building solar farms is an inefficient use of land relative to nuclear power.

I'm not saying I think solar is "bad," I'm only saying it is an inefficient use of land, that's all.

Cheap energy is good for our economy and standard of living, and we should work towards efficient, cost-effective ways to produce more energy.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By Dactyl on 7/10/2007 11:07:12 PM , Rating: 2
Just like Alaskan wildlife enjoys the warmth of the pipeline, I'll bet the critters there will enjoy hanging out in the shade.

Why do some people assume that everything humans do is bad for cuddly widdle forest animals?


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By euclidean on 7/12/2007 1:07:02 PM , Rating: 2
They should put palm tree shapped solar panels on all stree lights/parking lot light poles....imagine how much energy you could get from something like that?


I agree
By zsouthboy on 7/10/2007 9:48:47 AM , Rating: 2
ouch - 640 acres for 80 mw is..

ouch.




RE: I agree
By Shintai on 7/10/2007 10:02:49 AM , Rating: 2
Now tell us how much land is needed to coalplants and coalmines. or the radius around nulcear plants and such. And this is still not 640 acres (1 sq mile) of 100% covered ground.


RE: I agree
By TomZ on 7/10/2007 10:11:06 AM , Rating: 3
The other energy production sources you mention also produce orders of magnitude more energy.


RE: I agree
By Shintai on 7/10/2007 10:18:20 AM , Rating: 2
How much area does a nuclear plant take as safety area? How much for the uranium mining? How much for waste disposal and treatment plants?

Each reactor might give you 10x more power. But the land that it requires for different security, safety and production grows really fast.


RE: I agree
By masher2 (blog) on 7/10/2007 10:39:11 AM , Rating: 5
> "Each reactor might give you 10x more power. "

More like 75-90 times as much power. The max MW rating of a solar plant is roughly 3X higher than its net output, due to cloud cover, the light-dark cycle, etc.

> "How much area does a nuclear plant take as safety area?"

That's already included in the base figure for plant size.

> "how much for the uranium mining?"

Very little. A few pounds of uranium will fuel your average reactor for a couple years. If you assume reprocessing, it'll supply it far longer than that. These aren't coal plants, which require millions of tons of fuel to operate.


RE: I agree
By drank12quartsstrohsbeer on 7/10/2007 11:39:11 AM , Rating: 2
> "how much for the uranium mining?"

I thought decommissioned weapons from the US and former soviet states were the main source of nuclear material now. ?


RE: I agree
By TomZ on 7/10/2007 12:45:46 PM , Rating: 3
Since March 1993, 250 metric tons of uranium from weapons have been transformed into fuel for nuclear power plants. That's the equivalent of 10,000 dismantled nuclear weapons. This is the result of the United States and the Russian Federation signing an agreement on the disposition and purchase of 500 metric tons of highly enriched uranium from dismantled Russian nuclear weapons, the equivalent of 20,000 nuclear warheads.
http://www.nei.org/doc.asp?catnum=2&catid=106

I don't know what fraction of the total fuel demand that represents, however.


RE: I agree
By Ringold on 7/10/2007 6:48:48 PM , Rating: 2
The current low price for uranium is due to the glut of that Soviet-era material having been dumped on the market -- but I hear that excess has been nearly worked off. A good article in Christian Science Monitor recently detailing how all the old uranium mines from the Cold War days are roaring back to life -- often under foreign management.


RE: I agree
By noxipoo on 7/10/2007 2:18:20 PM , Rating: 2
and solar panels aren't made out of hugs and kisses. the mining and waste by products that goes into all that equipment grows really fast.


RE: I agree
By masher2 (blog) on 7/10/2007 10:18:45 AM , Rating: 2
> "tell us how much land is needed to coalplants and coalmines. or the radius around nulcear plants and such"

Radius around a nuclear plant? Zero. Several have residential housing abutting up to the edge of the compound itself.

Solar power is incredibly wasteful of land with current technology. That's why its not a viable solution. To power even our current needs-- much less future growth-- would require papering over an entire state with solar panels. And not a small state, either.


RE: I agree
By FITCamaro on 7/10/2007 10:32:59 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly. My friend works for Washington Group. His apartment is a 10 minute walk from the office. Some of the most toxic chemicals on the planet are stored not 20 minutes from there.

And waste wouldn't be as big a problem if we configured our reactors to use reprocessed fuel instead of throwing it away after its spent because we're afraid of producing weapons grade nuclear material.

Nuclear power is a near limitless supply of energy for centuries to come if we use fuel reprocessing (and we'll have to since the world is quickly running out of uranium).


RE: I agree
By Amiga500 on 7/10/2007 11:31:20 AM , Rating: 2
Even better than that, in 15 or so years time we'll hopefully have accelerated particle reactors which are much more efficient than current reprocessing plants.

They produce more energy, are safer, and the waste out the back is 99% harmless, with the dangerous stuff having half-lifes of around 50/100 years - nothing really.

The nuclear crowd should really be pushing that technology as a means of cleaning up the current waste before fusion arrives.


RE: I agree
By Comdrpopnfresh on 7/10/2007 11:33:09 AM , Rating: 2
There used to be a reprocessing company in the US. then the government changed some regulatory fee, and they were ran out of business. No one domestically has taken their place. As for "configuring" current reactors... Reprocessing is a process done to semi-spent fuel. The remaining useful portions are removed and placed into new fuel rods, and even the spent parts can be put into a different reactor where they can re-absorb neutrons and "breed" the fuel used by most.
Everyone likes the idea of simply switching to different energy sources, but solar is inefficient (and introduces hazardous waste and pollution in large quantities), and our current nuclear technology/usage/habits across the globe amounts to ~100 years of uranium left. Add more plants, no reprocessing, and well, it won't make it that long.

If the US really wanted to save money on energy, we would make a new efficient energy grid based upon 220/240V. Higher voltage means less loss in transmitting the electricity, and a new grid would efficiently route spare energy. We could save billions of dollars a year, and more each year as old 60hz/120v appliances are phased out.
But this won't happen for the same reason the switch to metric won't- the public is too lazy and cares more about sitting on a couch eating artery-clogging food while watching dancing with the stars vs going through a bit of change that benefits everyone, especially their own children...


RE: I agree
By FITCamaro on 7/10/2007 12:05:31 PM , Rating: 1
I'm not against a new power grid. The issue is who's going to pay for it. Because you can be damn sure the power companies won't.

Definitely with you on the whole "Dancing with the Stars" thing. It amazes me that people actually watch crap like that. I mean I love watching TV. But I try to watch something a little more intelligent or meaningful than that crap. Sure South Park doesn't count as either, but at least every episode ends with a good point being made. ;)

All I know is when networks are getting so desperate that they'll come up with shows like playing Bingo, that's a bad sign. Whats next?

"This fall on NBC. An amazing series like nothing ever before seen on television. It will blow you away. 'On Time'. A show about people trying to get to work on time. See the action. Enjoy the drama. Revel in the success. Why should you watch it? Because you've got nothing else to fucking do. On Time. Watch it this fall on NBC. Or we'll develop even more retarded shows."


RE: I agree
By TomZ on 7/10/2007 1:13:03 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
If the US really wanted to save money on energy, we would make a new efficient energy grid based upon 220/240V. Higher voltage means less loss in transmitting the electricity, and a new grid would efficiently route spare energy. We could save billions of dollars a year, and more each year as old 60hz/120v appliances are phased out.

You sure about that?

Transmission and distribution losses in the USA were estimated at 7.2% in 1995 [2], and in the UK at 7.4% in 1998. [3]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_power_transm...

120VAC only appears at the point of use (customer end) of the power grid. The energy already gets there using high-voltage lines (e.g., 110KV and higher).


RE: I agree
By darkpaw on 7/10/2007 2:48:51 PM , Rating: 2
Yah, transmission is done at the 100Ks of volts level not at 220 or 120 so it really doesn't matter.

It isn't stepped down to 120 until its right outside your house or worse just up the street. The transmission loss over that short of distance is negligible.


RE: I agree
By Comdrpopnfresh on 7/10/2007 9:16:43 PM , Rating: 2
sorry if you misunderstood. I didn't mean transmission- yeh, that is super-high voltage. I meant upon household use. which is more efficient- just look at the psu ratings. the 220v achieves higher efficiencies...


RE: I agree
By TomZ on 7/10/2007 10:54:11 PM , Rating: 2
OK, sounds like you're changing your tune. I'm going to have to ask you for links for that statement now. I do see that some dual-voltage PSUs are 1-3% more efficient running at 240VAC instead of 120VAC, but what about the types of loads that make up the majority of electric use? By that I'm talking about motors and lights (incandescent and fluorescent)? I would be surprised to learn they are more efficient at 240VAC.


RE: I agree
By Comdrpopnfresh on 7/10/2007 11:37:41 PM , Rating: 2
Ohm's law- V=IxR
R must remain constant by this law (for all intents and purposes let's say a light bulb is), therefore V is doubled, and I is halved. I would be current draw. I forgot that man large appliances run on 220 for the efficiency, but extending it to lower appliances would not be bad....


RE: I agree
By TomZ on 7/10/2007 11:45:03 PM , Rating: 2
LOL, nice try. Have a nice day!


RE: I agree
By Chernobyl68 on 7/10/2007 6:32:50 PM , Rating: 2
the electric "grid" is actually hundreds of thousands of volts (KV). regional substations usually step that down to about 12KV, Its not until it gets to your local neighborhood that the voltages is stepped down to 240/120. You're not losing that much.


RE: I agree
By derdon on 7/10/2007 10:40:38 AM , Rating: 2
There's a lot more that you need to factor in for nuclear/coal plants. They need mines, then the raw materials must be transported requiring streets/oil/... Preprocession, storage, retransportation...
If you sum that all up there's a lot more space wasted than appears.


RE: I agree
By masher2 (blog) on 7/10/2007 10:50:39 AM , Rating: 3
> "There's a lot more that you need to factor in for nuclear/coal plants..."

For coal plants, sure. Not nuclear. A CANDU fuel rods bundle is small enough you can easily hold it in one hand...and it'll generate over 1M kW-h of electricity. One single truckload of those can supply an entire nation with power for a year.

Furthermore, some modern nuclear reactors can use raw uranium, not enriched, meaning there's need for a preprocessing plant.


RE: I agree
By ttowntom on 7/10/2007 11:03:13 AM , Rating: 2
The Portugal solar plant requires two truckloads a week. Not of fuel but rather cleaning solution, brought in to clean those huge arrays.


RE: I agree
By Comdrpopnfresh on 7/10/2007 11:41:15 AM , Rating: 3
off-site land is an issue with fossil fuels more so than nuclear- just as the DT staff has pointed out about three times so far.
But you cry foul about it with current technologies, but not offside pollution for solar arrays! The solvents needed to create the silicon crystals in their formations are highly toxic and carcinogenic. The doping agents used for the cells are also dangerous. Mining is done for arsenic which is also a doping agent, and it is released during processing, and is shipped from mine to manufacturing site too. The cells also lose efficiency over time. They produce less and less power each year, need replacements and repairs, and do you really think they will be disposed of properly?
In conclusion:
there are NO FAIRIES that poop out solar panels, hydrogen, ethanol, or uranium fuel rods. People need to form whole opinions when hearing about "green" alternatives, because industries make a habit of only including charts, graphs, and info that reveals a portion of information that makes things look attractive.


"Clean" tech?
By masher2 (blog) on 7/10/2007 10:01:01 AM , Rating: 2
This company's name is a wonder of gonzo marketing propaganda. With current technology, solar power is dirtier than nuclear, hydro, and even clean coal technology. The pollution is simply generated on the front end rather than the back-- during the manufacture and maintenance of the panels themselves.




RE: "Clean" tech?
By TomZ on 7/10/2007 10:04:43 AM , Rating: 2
Just goes to prove that, when it comes to marketing, perception is more important than reality.


RE: "Clean" tech?
By Shintai on 7/10/2007 10:14:46 AM , Rating: 2
You gotta be joking....

Maybe if you used 1980s tech.

And "clean coal" is the marketing propaganda.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4468076....

But I guess the waste issue for the future generations with nuclear and "clean coal" doesnt matter.


RE: "Clean" tech?
By hlper on 7/10/2007 10:36:00 AM , Rating: 2
So, I looked at the link and I am confused about its support of your post. It looks like a general description of clean coal technologies, but makes no claims about marketing propaganda. In fact the article offers no criticism of the technology whatsoever, and seems fairly positive on the subject. Is it your assertion that this is the propaganda?


RE: "Clean" tech?
By Ringold on 7/10/2007 6:56:14 PM , Rating: 2
Because a link automatically makes him look correct. :)

Clean coal, if it can be made just slightly more affordable, solves to a huge degree both energy security and scarcity. Oh, and could be used to defuse the global warming propaganda as an extra aside. Better for their purposes to make it look bad for as long as possible.


RE: "Clean" tech?
By RogueSpear on 7/10/2007 9:33:08 PM , Rating: 2
"Clean Coal" yea right. Well they may have cleaned up the burning process, but they still haven't found a way to replace entire mountain tops that are literally removed during mining. They're still using diesel powered machinery and trucks to move the stuff to the plants.


RE: "Clean" tech?
By ttowntom on 7/11/2007 12:18:37 AM , Rating: 2
> "but they still haven't found a way to replace entire mountain tops that are literally removed during mining."

Sure they have. Its called 'putting all the dirt back where you got it'.


RE: "Clean" tech?
By RogueSpear on 7/11/2007 6:23:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Sure they have. Its called 'putting all the dirt back where you got it'.

Well to date I have not seen this done and even if it had I doubt you could argue a pile of dirt is even remotely similar to the mountain tops that have been removed.

I know I'm wasting my keystrokes here. Anything can be rationalized somehow.


RE: "Clean" tech?
By drank12quartsstrohsbeer on 7/11/2007 10:00:44 AM , Rating: 2
In an area with little to no flat ground, reclaimed strip mines are actually valuable pieces of property!

Your perceptions of coal mining are outdated. The days of 'get what you and leave' are over.


RE: "Clean" tech?
By Comdrpopnfresh on 7/10/2007 11:55:26 AM , Rating: 2
there was a case (in washington I believe?) where a research reactor, or a nuclear plant... something nuclear... was operating, and needed outside power to expand. The cheapest thing was to add a coal power generator to the facility, but because it was a nuclear facility, there are radiation release limits. In short, the coal plant had to be outside the bounds of the nuclear facility, because burning coal releases more radiation into the environment than a whole nuclear facility does....

Almost all clean coal initiatives were killed when president Bush let the industry expand without regards to clean-coal measures that were passed. It was supposed to be that if a coal-fired power plant wanted to expand,they had to reduce emissions, and the only real way to do it on a large scale was clean-coal technology.

Much the same was allowed for the oil refineries by president Bush. Money given to expand, and then environmental measures pulled back when the industry whines.

Same thing happened with the auto industry between clinton and bush. For every model that can run on ethanol or a hybrid- they can release more gas-guzzling, polluting models.
Funny thing- there isn't ethanol to be had; so we import corn to supplement our cattle feed (which is going to ethanol), burn coal to make ethanol (which is technically an "energy carrier" as we produce it rather than draw [or refine] it from another substance). Thats why the price for dairy is going up.
Ethanol also had less equivalent energy per gallon compared to gasoline, makes blends burn faster. So everyone is paying more for up to 10% blends at the pump for less mileage (due to less energy and faster burning rates) and less efficiency. But those are the "reasons" why the ignorant public won't adopt electric cars.... or pursue bio-diesel (esp the kind made from algae, not soybeans)


RE: "Clean" tech?
By geddarkstorm on 7/10/2007 1:19:30 PM , Rating: 3
You're talking about the Hanford Reactors near the Tri-cities in eastern Washington State. They are currently the only breeder reactors online in the US last I heard, and also it is the only place were glassification of spent atomic fuel can be done, which turns dangerous radioactive waste into harmless material, but for a huge energy cost. And yeah, I know what you are talking about. It is ironic, but all coal plants, even the "clean" ones, produce more radioactives (in the form of radium) than nuclear, yet everyone freaks out if you talk about nuclear power plants. It's like that initiative they had awhile ago about nuking food products (using gamma rays) like meat before sending them out from processing plants so as to stop E. coli and other diseases. People heard the word "radiation" and freaked, yet they don't understand at all that radiation only lasts as long as the emitter is on. Radiation and radioactive are completely different concepts, and radiation can't make something radioactive. So, then we get horrible bacterial outbreaks every other year that kill a handful of people and all of it could be avoided if people had not been so conditioned to fear and hate anything with the word radiation or nuclear in it. Of course, we know who to thank for that conditioning as well.

Bush was the first person in power I ever saw who really started to push for clean energy and to throw us away from fossil fuels. In fact, I don't know of any other country even trying as hard as the US under Bush is--although information is changing all the time, so who knows. And I mean try, not simply talk about it. All the grants and subsidies to researchers working on clean fuel like hydrogen, and diesel and so forth, not to mention forcing the car companies to start upping gas mileage. There is a balance of course, things cannot be pushed too fast, or they will collapse, companies will go out of business, and technology will not have a chance to advance fast enough to meet demand leaving everyone hanging. The country has been in serious energy troubles ever seen so many nuclear reactors were shut down that we've had to expand coal power plants to meet the needs of the country, which has required going back on, though only a little, the clean coal initiatives. Everyone remember the horrible blackouts and rolling brownouts California faced not too long ago? Cali leaches loads of energy off of Washington State's hydroelectric system, but it isn't enough. What about the complete failure of the power grid a few years ago up in the North East? Heck, let's not even get into the incredible oil refinery problems and deficits we have right now. Why is gas so high when oil is falling in price? Because we have too few refineries to make gasoline for us. That is why Bush has had to push for initiatives to expand those areas of our economy--it is done out of necessity, all the while we're being pushed to finally give up coal and fossil fuels. Though, that isn't even to mention the initiatives Bush did put in to push all outdated coal plants to "clean coal". Gotta remember all those state of the union addresses. However, one man doesn't dictate everything. The government is vast and it's still up to people to actually execute ideas and suggestions.

It isn't easy being in "power". The needs of the people, their future, the needs of the environment, its future, the economy, defense, everything has to be balanced, and I'd be crazy to envy a job like the presidency. Personally, hydrogen fuel cells seem the only "good" solution out of all of those out there to head to at the moment. You're completely right about ethanol, and it's totally silly to switch to ethanol. I don't know why people want to, other than it comes from some other source than the ground... plant this time, but it is so incredibly ineffective. Diesel would be way better than gasoline, which is light years superior to ethanol, and I have no idea why it isn't pushed for as much as ethanol.

Ultimately though, I think we need to master atomic energy better, as chemistry has met its limits. Solar is totally a waste other than for back up systems unless we were to make more efficient solar cells, but we seem to be at the wall with that. Atomics and plasma are really the only higher energy sources we don't have a grasp on. But burning and photoelectric just aren't cutting it.


RE: "Clean" tech?
By Comdrpopnfresh on 7/10/2007 9:42:48 PM , Rating: 2
"Bush was the first person in power I ever saw who really started to push for clean energy and to throw us away from fossil fuels. In fact, I don't know of any other country even trying as hard as the US under Bush is--although information is changing all the time, so who knows. And I mean try, not simply talk about it. All the grants and subsidies to researchers working on clean fuel like hydrogen, and diesel and so forth, not to mention forcing the car companies to start upping gas mileage. "

I don't care what your political views are, but misconstruing the facts is just...
This administration has made it easier for refineries and coal power plants to expand without meeting current emissions controls, let along proposed limitations.
AND WHEN ARE WE ALL GOING TO REALIZE HYDROGEN IS NOT A FUEL.
It is an energy carrier. and it is horrible! There is not a hydrogen fairy that farts out the gas. It takes much more electricity to break water into hydrogen and oxygen. This energy would come from the coal plants we have! How is that a reduction in dirty sources? Then the hydrogen has to be shipped... Which takes tonnes of space and money. Plus- there is no material or technique known to man to hold enough hydrogen to run a car the distance of a gasoline counterpart. Fuel cells? ARE A BAIT AND SWITCH. They manufacturing returns are horrible, and they involve precious and rare materials such as platinum to work. and what do they do? Produce electricity! Batteries have a strong future, with li-poly batteries a very good source of storage. Also, capacitors are coming along. It was the federal government that came in and told California that it could not demand auto companies to sell electric vehicles, which killed the electric cars (watch "who killed the electric car"). as for gas mileage- cars in the 80's had better mileage. The fact that companies can offer a hybrid or ethanol capable vehicle and then have another that consumes more gas and pollutes more is not a step in the direction. and both bush and clinton are to blame. Diesel is a mucher better fuel than gasoline, but has more smog-forming emissions. where are the grants for bluetec technology? and why isn't algae-based diesel being looked into more? instead why divert cattle feed to ethanol, which has less energy than gasoline, and burns faster. We then ship corn from outside the country, diary prices rise, and we still burn tonnes of coal a day to produce ethanol. So how is this not wasteful: coal is mined, shipped to plant along with corn being shipped, then the coal is burned, and the ethanol produced, then the ethanol is shipped to refineries.... it is stupid to transfer one energy to another like that....


RE: "Clean" tech?
By hlper on 7/10/2007 10:30:39 AM , Rating: 2
I am not sure why he got rated down; the post is relevant.

I like the idea of solar as much as anyone, but there are still environmental issues with the manufacture of the panels. Also, the panels are very susceptible to wind and storm damage, making them significantly more fragile than other existing technologies, and eventually the panels and their components will have to be thrown away (or hopefully recycled). So, there are still issues with waste from manufacture and disposal.

We need to continue to think about solar, but its cost:benefit ratio is still lower than competing technologies.


RE: "Clean" tech?
By TomZ on 7/10/2007 10:58:54 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
I am not sure why he got rated down

Probably because it is not popular to speak out against the current so-called "green" political movement. Many of these people have a "please don't confuse me with the facts" type of mentality. They decide right and wrong based on romantic notions of environmentalism that are sometimes disconnected from the real facts of the situation.


RE: "Clean" tech?
By jarman on 7/10/2007 1:02:41 PM , Rating: 2
Couldn't have said it better myself!


RE: "Clean" tech?
By blaster5k on 7/10/2007 2:28:02 PM , Rating: 2
Very well said. Emotion over reason...


RE: "Clean" tech?
By Carl B on 7/10/2007 5:22:15 PM , Rating: 2
I don't understand... *who* are these supposed nuke-phobic people supposedly lurking around every corner? This isn't the 80s anymore, and most environmentally-conscious people I know are pro-nuclear.

Has there even been one fervently anti-nuclear post this entire time here? People toss around the word 'environmentalist' the same as they do the word 'liberal,' as if its indicative of some sort of reasoning that comes with massive baggage.

People - deal with it, plenty of environmentally conscious folk are pro-nuclear. Going beyond that though, it would be naive to say that nuclear does not have a lot of costs associated with disposal. Bt above everything, there needs to be a comprehensive review of this nations energy policies.


RE: "Clean" tech?
By Ringold on 7/10/2007 7:04:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
People - deal with it, plenty of environmentally conscious folk are pro-nuclear.


Disregarding the part of your post regarding people on this board and instead at the environmental movement at large.. Sadly, you don't know your hippies very well. The core of the environmental/'green' movement is vehemently opposed to nuclear power; they hide under the excuse of safety, generally, and occasionally with concerns about nuclear proliferation, neither of which carry the weight of fact. As a prime example, Bill Maher had one more than one liberal guest on his talk show who plugged for their various green project but when asked by Maher (who, like the libs you happen to know, is honest about nuclear power and is a strong supporter) what they thought of nuclear power, they stammered that it just wouldn't work. I particularly remember two musicians-turned-environmental experts. Nuclear power represents a way to avoid an energy crisis, and social revolution will never happen unless the capitalist system comes under extreme duress. Hard to stress the system when its powered by cheap nuclear energy.

Don't take my word for it. A little time with our friend Google and you'll find more anti-nuclear propaganda than you could read all day. There's also a protest any time NASA even thinks of powering a probe with nuclear material to boot.


RE: "Clean" tech?
By TomZ on 7/10/2007 7:47:52 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
I don't understand... *who* are these supposed nuke-phobic people supposedly lurking around every corner? This isn't the 80s anymore, and most environmentally-conscious people I know are pro-nuclear.


Well, how about Greenpeace for one. They are strongly anti-nuclear:

Greenpeace has always fought - and will continue to fight - vigorously against nuclear power because it is an unacceptable risk to the environment and to humanity. The only solution is to halt the expansion of all nuclear power, and for the shutdown of existing plants.
http://www.greenpeace.org/international/campaigns/...

(It pains me to quote such complete stupidity as that, but I guess it is necessary to get the point across.)

Google can find you lots more examples of so-called environmentals that are against nuclear power.


Huh?
By Spivonious on 7/10/2007 9:51:22 AM , Rating: 2
If 11MW can power 8000 homes, then shouldn't 80MW power 58000 homes? Where did they get this 25000 home estimate?




RE: Huh?
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 7/10/2007 9:55:56 AM , Rating: 2
Aren't Americans typically more power-hungry than the rest of the world?

Just a guess (pulling it out of my buttox). That could factor into the equation...


RE: Huh?
By Spivonious on 7/10/2007 9:59:08 AM , Rating: 2
That is a good point. Although, it's not like Portugal is an undeveloped country. They seem to be the new beach destination in Europe.


RE: Huh?
By masher2 (blog) on 7/10/2007 10:04:57 AM , Rating: 2
> "Aren't Americans typically more power-hungry than the rest of the world?"

No. Our per capita energy consumption is ~7790 kgoe (2003 data). Nations such as Canada, Iceland, Bahrain, Kuwait, the U.A.E., and even Trinidad and Tobago are higher than this. Qatar's per-capita consumption is nearly three TIMES higher than ours.


RE: Huh?
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 7/10/2007 10:10:42 AM , Rating: 2
United States: 7,794.8 kgoe
Portugal: 2,482.0 kgoe

http://tinyurl.com/n3q4g

That's where the difference comes


RE: Huh?
By Ringold on 7/10/2007 7:22:20 PM , Rating: 2
I knew Portugal was pretty bad even by European standards, but thinking those numbers looked strange I checked. Comparing GDP PPP, and accounting for unemployment and nearly non-existant growth, yeah, those energy consumption numbers make sense. A "developing country" right on the tail end of Europe.

I'd mention which party is in control in Portugal, but nah.


RE: Huh?
By Shintai on 7/10/2007 9:56:22 AM , Rating: 2
Because they dont waste as much energy in Portugal per home as in the USA?


RE: Huh?
By TomZ on 7/10/2007 9:56:35 AM , Rating: 2
The problem is that you are assuming that the homes in that region of Portugal use the same amount of energy on average as homes in that part of California.


alternative?
By Screwballl on 7/10/2007 1:11:48 PM , Rating: 2
Rather than put the money into something like this, why not pay to put it on the people's houses and have them pay the company for maintenance and upkeep?
I would go for something like that as it would reduce my monthly payment on the power coming from Natural gas, coal and wherever else it comes from.
Half my roof with panels, batteries in the crawlspace and sunny here 90% of the time in FL. I just don't want to foot a major bill up front to get this installed.




RE: alternative?
By DeepBlue1975 on 7/10/2007 1:37:13 PM , Rating: 2
That's a nice one.
But I guess the power you could generate from an installation covering just your own roof will be less than enough.

[Delirious mode]
Isn't possible something like a big magnifying glass over the solar panels to achieve better power density and use less cells?
I think houses could look funny cool with giant magnifying glasses hovering over their roofs.
At least I could just get LOL-ing just from walking around and seeing some houses. The world is too serious to be bearable just the way it is. We need more stupid technologies that can make as laugh at them while providing some other benefit...
And then, with a continuously LOL-ing population, we could harness laugh power by using a mask with a generator inside which can create energy from laughing, and then, why not, to harness eolyc energy, make people wear a sherlock-holmes like hat with a helix on top that would be spinning and generating power every time there's some wind around.

With all that, we could probably power our cellphones and ipods on the walk... That or at least, just the wrist-watches.
[/delirious mode]


RE: alternative?
By IckesTheSane on 7/10/2007 2:36:42 PM , Rating: 2
Ok, I know you're kidding, but focusing the sunshine is one of the technologies they are looking into:

http://www.technologyreview.com/Energy/18718/
"Solar Power at Half the Cost: A new roof-mounted system that concentrates sunlight could cut the price of photovoltaics."


RE: alternative?
By drank12quartsstrohsbeer on 7/10/2007 3:46:40 PM , Rating: 2
It would be more efficent to put giant reflectors in space that concentrate the sunlight. A nice side effect would be that the reflectors could be used as a death ray, if needed.


RE: alternative?
By TomZ on 7/10/2007 3:52:03 PM , Rating: 2
Well, we've seen the possible outcome of that sort of technology in various movies, e.g., James Bond, Pink Panther, etc. It always ends ugly!


RE: alternative?
By drank12quartsstrohsbeer on 7/10/2007 4:24:13 PM , Rating: 2
yeah, except Bond always gets the girls.

One thing I have often wondered:
Your basic hydrocarbon + oxygen => heat + co2 and h20.
With enough heat (from solar concentrators for example) couldn't the reaction be run in reverse?


RE: alternative?
By glitchc on 7/10/2007 6:11:49 PM , Rating: 2
Correct, except the resulting hydrocarbon is unstable. By unstable, I mean much more unstable than current hydrocarbons....


RE: alternative?
By drank12quartsstrohsbeer on 7/11/2007 10:04:13 AM , Rating: 2
So if the right catalyst could be found we could be cranking out big fat carbon chains, right? Plants do it so it has to be possible somehow.


Maybe this is just necessary
By DeepBlue1975 on 7/10/2007 1:04:54 PM , Rating: 2
While not economically or even energy wise efficient, I think steps like this are necessary if we want this technology to get out of its "cool but yet almost experimental" status.
For a poorly used technology that's "expensive" like this one to become mainstream, you need to attract large investments which enable you to get into faster R&D cycles which will allow the technology itself to be perfected and get more efficient quicker.
If solar power technology is constantly ranted at because of its bad efficiency, large investments won't come and no deep R&D will be done, so that it won't improve fast enough and will die, but die not because it's a bad technology bat rather because no one wants it to give it a chance of realizing at least a part of its potential.

Just a thought.




RE: Maybe this is just necessary
By TomZ on 7/10/2007 1:44:20 PM , Rating: 2
An interesting idea, but it presupposes that further R&D will result in an economically viable outcome. The very fact that it is so uncertain is the reason the R&D is "only" at the level it is today and not any higher.


By DeepBlue1975 on 7/10/2007 2:13:53 PM , Rating: 2
I was talking in the line of something like this:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/01/01...

Specifically this part:

[quote]
With further advances, the new plastic "could allow up to 30 percent of the sun's radiant energy to be harnessed, compared to 6 percent in today's best plastic solar cells," said Peter Peumans, a Stanford University electrical engineering professor, who studied the work.
[/quote]

This article was from 2005, I don't know what became of this, but I guess new advances in nanotech (which obviously has a very good budget support by now, as novelties in this field come almost every week) can help technologies like this to get vastly improved.

I don't say "go full speed now with solar power" but rather something like "don't ditch it just yet and allow some margin of trial and error and R&D, as new advances in other fields could help this in particular to become so much more promising".
Solar power is a very nice idea, I think the only problem lies in the way we're processing it right now.


CLeantech's NOT the biggest
By deejne on 7/10/2007 11:10:37 AM , Rating: 2
Wouldn't this be the largest at 150 MW?
http://ludb.clui.org/ex/i/CA9679/

Deej
http://www.ministryoftech.com




"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein

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