Sunday, November 9, 2008

Energy Geek Strikes Again

The Beer: The Belgian Wit went very well with home made pizza.

The Bicycle: Guess it's time to show the bikes a little love and get them cleaned up for the winter. To be physically ready for next year (at my age, I can't just jump back into it at the end of March), I'l need to start a new regimen.

The VRWC: I think I've shown here that solar and wind energy can only be a niche. Neither is reliable enough to meet all needs. Also, the sun's irradiance at the Earths' surface is not adequate for 24/7 energy. So what's the plan?

Here are some plentiful, reliable and "clean" solutions.

  1. Nuclear. This is my favorite, but I admit to being biased. Opponents love to bring up the waste issue, but if we recycled the fuel, the waste issue would largely go away. Yes, I can prove it. How much time ya got?
  2. Geothermal. While it can be "capital intensive", the application is sound and directly available to everyone from the homeowner to the large utility. The theory is simple. A few feet below the Earths' surface, temperature is fairly constant. It can make a good heat source in the winter and heat sink in the summer for the average homeowner or business. Deeper, sometimes much deeper, temperatures are much higher (see "volcanos"). High enough to generate steam in a boiler or directly. The steam can be used to drive a turbine-generator set to provide electricity. Now, use that to generate hydrogen to power cars. Or use the heat to make clean drinking water from seawater. Almost inexhaustable energy. Downside? I suppose someone will come up with a doomsday scenario based on taking heat from the planet and slowing rotation or something, but I doubt it.
  3. Fusion. Possible, but 50 years of research has yielded little. I'm doubtful that it will be viable in my lifetime. Theory is sound, but practice is riddled with problems to go with the promise.

That's about all I got. Everything else I've seen has severe limitations.

1 comment:

intermodal said...

They've gone after nuclear the same way they've gone after guns. Find the rare instances and run a whole campaign based on them, ignoring all the good.

Nuclear is an awesome (in the literal "awe-inspiring" definition) source of energy that we've really neglected to capitalize on.