100 Percent Renewable Energy......

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by EppyGA, Dec 4, 2018 at 7:06 AM.

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  1. Crashnburn

    Crashnburn Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Easy-Peasy. When two atoms fuse, the resultant weight is less than the sum of the atoms' weight before fusing. The resultant energy comes from the difference in mass, and is given by the well known equation E= m * C^2, where m is the change in mass, and C is the speed of light.

    The first atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima was a fission bomb. The second bomb was a fusion bomb. That was actually a two stage bomb. The first stage was a fission bomb. It supplied enough pressure to force hydrogen atoms together to fuse them. The resultant energy created the second stage of the explosion.

    It's possible to create so much energy from a hydrogen bomb that it actually blows the atmosphere into space. At that point, there's no reason to make them more powerful.
     
  2. deonb

    deonb Pattern Altitude

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    The second bomb (Nagasaki) was still a fission device. It was two stage as in Uranium-Plutonium, not Uranium-Hydrogen.

    The first fusion device was exploded in 1952, which was long after that.
     
  3. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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  4. Stingray Don

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    Unlimited free energy

    [​IMG]
     
  5. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Really???
    You mean I have been wrong about this all my life? Or might you like to reconsider that statement.
     
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  6. jsstevens

    jsstevens En-Route

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    Sure, but you have to be really, really quick about unplugging it from the wall and into itself or the electricity all leaks out.
     
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  7. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    There IS another force: the strong nuclear force. And the binding energy is so strong (negative) that the mass of a helium nucleus is less than the mass of the 4 protons that go into making it. Even taking into account the mass of the positron and neutrino that come off as by-products, there is a fair amount of "missing" mass. That is where the energy output comes from, courtesy of Einstein's E = mc^2.

    The reason you have to put energy into it is because nuclei are positively charged and repel each other. The strong nuclear force is very short range (~10^-15 meters). So you have to get nuclei VERY close together to get them to fuse, which takes energy.

    As others pointed out, there are ways to do it, they are just hard to control. Implosion (fission bomb), which is used to detonate the fusible stuff in the H-bomb. And having abundant heat energy, as in the Sun's core.

    Controlled, commercial fusion as an energy source is the challenge, not getting net energy out of the reaction per se.
     
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  8. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    There is a lot better way than nuclear, Algae is a constant source of energy, 10% of the government owned land in the south west sun belt could produce 200% of our needs until the sun turns off.

    watch
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018 at 2:33 PM
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  9. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    There are two things that are needed.

    1. The technological infrastructure. This will be highly expensive providing it is even possible.

    2. Kennedyesque leadership committing us to doing so by the end of the decade. This story looks like we might just have it.
     
  10. Dan Thomas

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    I Googled "first fusion bomb" and read that it was tested in 1952. Then I checked the Nagasaki bomb, the Fat Boy, and didn't see any mention of fusion, and the contents of the thing showed no hydrogen or isotopes of it.

    https://www.livescience.com/53280-hydrogen-bomb-vs-atomic-bomb.html
     
  11. Crashnburn

    Crashnburn Pre-takeoff checklist

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    OK, my mistake. It was still a 2 stage bomb
     
  12. Kenny Phillips

    Kenny Phillips Line Up and Wait

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    That's only if you like your fusion controlled.
     
  13. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I knew John Kennedy. John Kennedy (could have been) a friend of mine. She is no John Kennedy.
     
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  14. kyleb

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    The point I was making is that fusion absolutely can output more energy than is required to start the reaction.
     
  15. Stingray Don

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    Too bad Henning is no longer around to weigh in here :)
     
  16. kyleb

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    I'm pretty sure it was a single stage implosion device using a plutonium sphere core, compressed (and detonated) by an array of shaped charges placed around the sphere.
     
  17. 3393RP

    3393RP Pattern Altitude

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    No. It was a plutonium fission bomb with a high explosive trigger. The HE compressed a plutonium sphere to the point of criticality, and around 80 generations of fission took place in millionths of a second before the explosion deconstructed the critical mass.

    The Hiroshima bomb was two Uranium 235 parts that were assembled into a critical mass by a U235 slug being fired down a modified artillery barrel toward two U235 rings encircling the barrel.

    When the two were assembled in this manner, it produced a critical mass and triggered the fission explosion.
     
  18. 3393RP

    3393RP Pattern Altitude

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    The value m in the equation refers to the mass of an object, not the change in mass due to an atomic event. The formula E=mc^2 represents the equivalency of mass and energy through the constant c.
     
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  19. Ghery

    Ghery Final Approach

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    Over 35 years ago we put solar water heating on our house outside Denver. A pair of 4x8 flat plate collectors heating a water/glycol mix that went to a heat exchanger in the basement. The other fluid in the heat exchanger was water being heated for an 80 gallon tank plumbed as a pre-heater to the gas fired water heater. 6 months out of the year I turned the gas off. Even in the middle of winter I got 100 degree water out of the pre-heater tank. To make the arithmetic simple, assume you are heating water from 40 degrees F to 140 degrees F. In the middle of winter I was still getting 60% of my energy needs for hot water from the sun. And with 120 gallons of hot water on tap we never ran out of hot water in that house.

    Why was this installed from a financial point of view? Because at the time I had it installed there was a 40% tax credit from the IRS and another 30% tax credit from the state of Colorado. Only 30% of the installation cost wound up coming out of my pocket. Payback time was reasonable for that. If I had 100% coming out of pocket I would never have installed that system. It was about $3500 total back then, IIRC. I have no idea if it is still working, or when it died if it isn't still on-line. We left in October 1983. :D
     
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  20. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    From my high school physics, I think you are both wrong.

    m is indeed the "change" in mass,
    and
    E is the "change" in energy The more correct formula is actually:

    e2 - e1 = (m2 - m1) * c^2
    or
    Delta E = Delta m * c^2
     
  21. Bill Jennings

    Bill Jennings Final Approach

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    And I firmly believe the government has no business picking (or trying to pick, Solyndra, etc.) marketplace winners and losers. Electric cars, alternative energy strategies, etc., should not be subsidized with our tax dollars. If they're good and relevant products, they'll stand on their own in the marketplace.

    I've often thought of this. There is no free lunch. The energy that is taken from the wind, from the ocean currents, etc., what long term issues does this cause? And would it not possibly cause climate change? It would be hard to study, but not hard to imagine negative consequences.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018 at 8:10 AM
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  22. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    I've been told by others that the water heat is the best use of solar heat. Given what I found on my pool in Ohio, I'd tend to agree that probably makes sense. I think we're going to live here long enough that the investment could actually make sense and have a payback, but there's other things that I'd rather use the money for, like various home improvements, building the Cobra, etc.
     
  23. deonb

    deonb Pattern Altitude

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    They can stand on their own if you don’t subsidize their competitors. When Bush signed the EV subsidy it wasn’t to give EVs a leg up, but to level the playing field. The subsidy amount was chosen as the average benefit that a gasoline car enjoys over it’s lifetime as a result of various subsidies and concessions to the petroleum industry - which at that point was calculated as $7500 over a vehicle’s lifetime.

    There are not many EV advocates I know off whose position isn’t “please get rid of the EV subsidy but get rid of the petroleum subsidies at the same time”.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018 at 1:04 PM
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  24. Bill Jennings

    Bill Jennings Final Approach

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    I'll give you that point, neither should be getting subsidies.
     
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  25. EppyGA

    EppyGA Touchdown! Greaser!

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  26. bflynn

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    Yes, but can it do it without destroying matter?
     
  27. deonb

    deonb Pattern Altitude

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    Doesn't destroy it. Put the energy back, and the matter goes back to its original state.

    But even if we never recover it - the ocean has enough Deuterium to last us for 26 billion years. The planet will become unlivable in 1.75 billion, so in that time it would cost us 6% of the Deuterium in the ocean (which would make up 0.002% of the volume of the ocean) - so we can probably live with that.

    And that's just Deuterium, since we always know (kind'a) how to make a Fusion reactor out of that.

    If during the next billion years we can also figure out how to fuse pure Hydrogen like the sun does, then the ocean has enough hydrogen to last 78 trillion years (at current consumption levels).

    Button line, it doesn't matter.
     
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  28. bflynn

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    It sounds to me that you're claiming we can create matter and energy at the same time?
     
  29. kyleb

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    Do you have a point to make, or are you just being argumentative?
     
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  30. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Getting back to the original question, does anyone think we could launch an initiative that could switch all U.S. energy consumption to renewable sources within a decade?

    It seemed impossible at the time Kennedy proposed it, but we put a man on the moon, and returned him safely to earth in 10 years. So could we do this and what would it take? And what could some of the possible repercussions (good or bad) be?
     
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  31. Gerhardt

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    John is right. If we really wanted it to happen, we could make it happen. But here are too many people/companies with too much $ and influence that don't want it to happen.

    1. I'm in favor of the government throwing money at viable energy solutions. The problem is that there are so many companies trying to get their share of free money who couldn't care less about the problem or finding a solution. Even on this forum there are many who don't think a problem even exists.

    2. I equate it to computers in the 80s and early 90s. Incredibly expensive and junk compared to what we have now. The thing is, that's where we have to start. I don't think electric vehicles with mammoth batteries that don't last will even be a thing 15 years from now. But it's where we have to start to get to where we want to be. So yeah, solar, wind, etc. is a good place to start.

    3. I'm a fan of nuclear power. We have a nuclear plant 20 miles from here. It wasn't supposed to be used as long as it has - I think the original decommissioning was supposed to be 15 years ago or so, but it's still in great shape. I don't think I'd want them dotting the landscape though because another Chernobyl disaster is easy to envision.

    4. The biggest flaw in our plan is thinking that the world has to join us in the solution. Yes, other nations really should be contributing to the effort, and we could expedite this by combining resources, but just because China, Japan, etc. don't want to be a part of it doesn't mean that we shouldn't lead the way.

    5. A perfect solution doesn't exist. Yet. No matter which direction we go it won't be without pain.
     
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  32. kyleb

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    What do I do with my car, my other car, my other car, and my other car? How about the 3 airplanes (or airplane projects)? My mowers and other lawn equipment? How about all of the fossil fuel infrastructure (power plants, home HVAC, industrial consumption of fossil fuels, etc.), ships, and gazillions of other very expensive items that are worthless if fossil fuels go away?

    To me, that's the big challenge. Nobody wants to throw away that much valuable equipment and start over.

    What's Al Gore flying and driving these days?
     
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  33. deonb

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    We make new matter by adding energy all the time. That's actually our only source on this planet for the bigger atoms like Livermorium - you fuse Curium and Calcium ions with a bunch of energy, and voila - Livermorium.

    Fusion of large atoms do not release energy, they consume it. Similar to how fission of small atoms do not release energy, they consume it.

    For that matter, we can even make anti-matter including anti-helium these days (not anti-lithium yet though). It's not hard, just expensive. Ok, it's hard. But possible and being done every day.
     
  34. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Good points.
    Even if all we attempted to do was convert the power grid to being renewable driven, we would still face disposing of enormous amounts of currently functioning equipment, not to mention putting all those people out of work.
    My guess is a broom.
     
  35. kyleb

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    I'm guessing he travels in a GIV or better and a monster SUV. And buys carbon credits, which are apparently able to make his extravagant (by his public stance) energy consumption go away by some miracle I don't understand.
     
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  36. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    "Hydrogen economy"

    There, is that better? :rofl:

    Not necessarily. As @Gerhardt pointed out, the development of technology takes time (and a lot of money)... Right now, we are burning fossil fuels FAR faster than they're being replenished. Nobody really knows how much we have left. But right now, we still haven't quite reached the tipping point where electric cars are going to take the market on their own by being cheaper than the equivalent gas car. Letting the market take care of things means nothing would get done.

    Fast forward x number of years, and we get to the point where the oil supply is at or close to its end. Can you imagine the chaos? Governments declare no more sales of petroleum products to the public to save what little oil they have left for military purposes. War likely breaks out as the most powerful countries attack the most oil-rich countries to get the few drops that are left. Europe would likely fare OK, as they're much less dependent on cars than we are, but in the USA? Holy crap, we'd be screwed. At first, people would converge on the grocery stores, but those stores would quickly run out of food with no way to replenish it (because it gets there on a truck). We would quickly be back into the 1800s, but with a lot more conflict because it's not like there's enough farm animals in every town to supply food needs, and frankly we don't remember how do distribute things without trucks any more. Cities would collapse, and countries too.

    The market would certainly support electric vehicles and solar/wind energy at that point, but it would be far too late.

    Or, you create some incentives for EV development now, which changes the economics enough that some R&D happens. As EVs begin to permeate the market from the easy missions (commuter cars, lawnmowers), through the moderately difficult ones (road trippers, SUVs, pickups), economies of scale make batteries cheaper and the number of EVs spurs further R&D to be the next step beyond batteries, and the subsidies are no longer necessary. The most difficult common ground mission (semis) goes electric, infrastructure is expanded, and now we've cut our oil usage in half.

    Importantly, this doubles the length of time that the remaining oil will last, giving us time to develop technology that can replace the really hard things, like airplanes. And in the meantime, public health is improved (via breathing cleaner air) along with a bunch of other benefits.

    "The market" is stupid. The market will always go for the cheapest, easiest solution and will continue with that solution until it dies a pretty sudden death. Occasionally, someone with both enough brains and enough money can take a risk and make something happen. But, there are things that will NEVER happen via market forces. If NASA hadn't gone to the moon in the 60s, do you think SpaceX would be around today? Hell, if NASA didn't exist TODAY, SpaceX wouldn't exist.

    I've thought about this too, but I have a hard time coming up with negative consequences. Tidal power is probably one of the easier ones to conceptualize the differences, but I bet even if the Earth was 100% tidal-hydro-powered, we wouldn't notice a thing. Yes, we would be slowing the tides coming in and out somewhat, but we couldn't possibly stop them... The earth and the moon are too big. We might just change the phase of the tides by a couple of minutes.

    Very true... But the cars will be replaced in a relatively short time frame anyway, unless you have a collector. Home HVAC is pretty easy to convert in the grand scheme of things. The big stuff (power plants and industrial uses) is the hardest to take care of, and will take the longest - But all power plants eventually become aged and go offline, and if you merely replace them with renewables, in 50 years they'll all be gone. Accelerating that to a 10-year time scale is one of the most difficult parts of this whole exercise, but it *could* be done. This is a political problem, not a technical one.
     
  37. kyleb

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    I think of it as more of an economic problem. Unless you're fabulously wealthy, you can't afford to watch your fossil fueled assets go to zero value and zero utility unexpectedly and then find the money to replace those assets with new ones that run on renewable energy. Most people in the US would be put in a terrible financial strain if that happened.
     
  38. tspear

    tspear Pattern Altitude

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    Planes and US military are actually one of the easier ones technically.
    Almost a decade ago, DoD had each branch start looking into using biofuel. Basically, almost everything can run on biodiesel or bio-jet. Those mostly lose some range because the volume is greater, but stuff works. From what i recall of the testing that was made public the Army had the most issues since so many vehicles used gas (e.g. Hummers) and road diesel. Since then, I thought DoD had moved in the direction of single fuel systems which are compatible with bio-derivatives. The logic was to preserve energy independence, however this would consume massive amounts of agriculture.
    For aircraft, both Boeing and Airbus have demonstrated burning on bio-fuel. Problem has been price, jet fuel is cheaper.

    It really is the civilian sector that will have the hardest problem. The more diesel vehicles we have the easier it would be to switch to a bio-fuel.

    Tim
     
  39. tspear

    tspear Pattern Altitude

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    For total conversion in ten years, yes, that is an issue. If you instead state the problem as EV or bio-fuel for all new sales within ten years it becomes solvable without the economic dislocation. You can leave it to the market to determine if you want ethanol or biodiesel. With the average vehicle age around 12 years, you would phase it out without much economic dislocation. Further, a few more adventurous individuals have converted gas vehicles to ethanol (requires much higher compression).

    Tim
     
  40. kyleb

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    Consumer Reports says the average life expectancy of a new vehicle is 8 years. I'm not gonna argue with CR, but that seems a bit short to me.

    Anyway, if the replacement cycle on cars is 8 years, the stated problem is easier to solve.
     
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