Wasted Energy or Alternative Energy

Solar energy, wind turbines whatever it is then here is your place to talk about it.
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Davy stephenson

Wasted Energy or Alternative Energy

Post: # 152559Post Davy stephenson
Mon May 04, 2009 10:07 am

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Last edited by Davy stephenson on Tue May 26, 2009 1:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Wasted Energy or Alternative Energy

Post: # 152942Post dave45
Thu May 07, 2009 10:03 pm

I am not sure what the point of this posting is. random bits of hearsay.

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Re: Wasted Energy or Alternative Energy

Post: # 152954Post Shutsumon
Thu May 07, 2009 11:44 pm

Davy stephenson wrote:In the black mountains of Wales there is a water powered hydro complex, during the night they pump water back up the mountain using the same electricity.
To be fair Dinorwig is not a *really* power station. I think they call it that to avoid confusion.

It's a capacitor - a very big capacitor. When there is a surplus in the grid they use it to pump the water to the top. Then when there is a sudden surge in demand they release the water and thus the stored energy. It can be activated in seconds where even on hot standby a convention power station takes 45 minutes to turn on and most alternative energy sources - eg wind, sun, tide (though as you rightly point out tide is dodgy with current technology) happen when they happen which may not coincide with demand - and so a capacitor can take up the slack, storing energy produced when it isn't needed and releasing it when it is.

There are other forms of hydro-electric power plant which are genuine generators but they have their own enviromental issues (massive great dams and huge reservoirs being the most obvious).

Becky

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Re: Wasted Energy or Alternative Energy

Post: # 153003Post Shutsumon
Fri May 08, 2009 12:07 pm

Davy stephenson wrote: Burning one fuel to produce another is a waste of resorces, the Dinorwig complex does give
a quick fix for surge demand, but it still needs energy to produce that surplus, which is a waste
nontheless,
Do you think alternators are a waste of energy too? What about the batteries people who live off grid use to store up surplus energy until they need it? You can't make the wind blow or the sun shine when you need it so you use it when it's there and store it until you need it. And even in the current system they don't actually make electric to power Dinorwig. They use Dinorwig to store a surplus that would be made anyway because of the fact that you can't just turn electricity generators off and on like you can the lights. If you've got a glut of anything it's better to store it than waste it. Of course it's not 100% efficient - that's impossible - but a lot less is lost than otherwise would be. Even if we find a way to move to 100% renewable sources we'll still need to store energy sometimes. It's wasteful to produce something and then not use it.
Most dams have one inherant problem, they will all eventuall fail, a guide of around a 100 years shelf life has
been mentioned for dams made in the early 20th century, weather always turns around, rivers flow and the sun
rises every day, this is not a waste,
The sun rises everyday, but it sets every night. It's at night you need the lights last I checked. Equally the wind doesn't blow all the time. Rivers flow but the flow can vary with the weather. Batteries use toxic chemicals. A hydro-electric capacitor (to the best of my knowledge) doesn't.

Just saying.

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Re: Wasted Energy or Alternative Energy

Post: # 153151Post Shutsumon
Sat May 09, 2009 6:47 pm

Actually you want an alternative energy source that really isn't going to fly as things stand it's solar. Well actually it's solar panels - the sun a perfectly great source of energy if you can harness it.

Because we aren't going to be able to make them for much longer unless there's a breakthrough, because it's not just the oil that's going to run out.

We're going to run out of oil sooner rather than later, but probably not in the next ten years unless we're really unlucky (or lucky depending on how you look at it).

We're probably going to run out of (or at least critically short of) 'rare metals' used in everything from solar panels to computer chips sometime very soon.

(Of course we also use rare metals in both traditional and energy saving lightbulbs so the problem of keeping the lights on is more complicated than 'how do we power them?').

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Re: Wasted Energy or Alternative Energy

Post: # 153170Post The Riff-Raff Element
Sat May 09, 2009 8:16 pm

Shutsumon wrote:Actually you want an alternative energy source that really isn't going to fly as things stand it's solar. Well actually it's solar panels - the sun a perfectly great source of energy if you can harness it.

Because we aren't going to be able to make them for much longer unless there's a breakthrough, because it's not just the oil that's going to run out.

We're going to run out of oil sooner rather than later, but probably not in the next ten years unless we're really unlucky (or lucky depending on how you look at it).

We're probably going to run out of (or at least critically short of) 'rare metals' used in everything from solar panels to computer chips sometime very soon.

(Of course we also use rare metals in both traditional and energy saving lightbulbs so the problem of keeping the lights on is more complicated than 'how do we power them?').
Which metals were you thinking of? While some of the metals used in thin-fiilms are uncommon (tellurium is rarer than platinum) the amounts used are tiny compared to availabity, and the prices reflect this: about $100 a kilo for Te. And in any case, the work being done on novel crystaline forms of silicon (which is as common as sand) suggest this might be a more efficient route for PV in the future.

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Re: Wasted Energy or Alternative Energy

Post: # 153179Post Shutsumon
Sat May 09, 2009 8:53 pm

Source would be numerous articles like this and this.

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Re: Wasted Energy or Alternative Energy

Post: # 153191Post frozenthunderbolt
Sat May 09, 2009 10:05 pm

Copper would be a favourite - we are slamming through the reserves and prices are rising accordingly to the point where there are professional copper thieves in th US who scope one of the many empty foreclosed houses and can strip it of the significant copper in less than 15 min.
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Re: Wasted Energy or Alternative Energy

Post: # 153209Post The Riff-Raff Element
Sun May 10, 2009 7:42 am

I don't want to sound trite, but I've been reading doom, gloom & disaster reports about the availabiliy of useful metals for about 25 years. When I was at 6th form it was zinc we were about to run out of, at university it was tin & copper and now it is a range of metals that most people have never heard of.

The key point is this: while oil and gas are indisputably irreplacable once burned, every ounce of gold, platinum, rhenium, indium, tantalum and dyprosium that is mined remains available to us. It can be recovered and recylced. That is matter of planning and of application. The point is made in one of the articles you reference that platium could be recovered from roadside dust. I have a feeling that the concentration given - 3ppm - may be a few orders of magnitude out, but the point is nonetheless sound.

It is right and proper, of course, not to be profligate; rare minerals need to be exploited with a view to maximising their recovery by recylcing, but their rarity is not in itself a reason not to investigate their properties and to use them.

It is also right and proper (in my view) to end our reliance on oil and gas in as short an order as possible and leave the damn stuff in the ground where for several aeons it has lain doing no-one any harm.

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