The Energy Thread

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heard about the artificial leaf thing before, I think that was written up in Discover iirc lol

Roger Barfing (Shakey Mo Collier), Monday, 14 May 2012 20:38 (five years ago) Permalink

it was just written up in the NYer as part of the Innovation issue

Mad God 40/40 (Z S), Monday, 14 May 2012 20:39 (five years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Instead, Saphon’s “Zero Blade” technology uses a stationary circular sail, approximately 4 feet in diameter, attached to the top of a pole. As the wind moves the sail back and forth, a hydraulic system captures the kinetic energy and converts it into mechanical energy. The system can also store the mechanical energy as hydraulic pressure, to be deployed later, when there is no wind.

“The sail boat is still the best system for capturing and creating energy from the wind, and it does so without blades,” Labaied told TPM in a telephone interview.

The system is designed to exceed the currently theoretical and physical maximum of wind turbine efficiency, the Betz law, which finds that the top efficiency attainable by a wind turbine is 59.3 percent.

Saphon believes its technology exceeds that limit and provides the added benefit of being cheaper and less noisy than common wind turbines, as well as less dangerous to birds, who can get trapped in the blades of other wind turbines.

nuts spats (Austerity Ponies), Wednesday, 20 June 2012 15:42 (five years ago) Permalink

Understandable 'believe it when i see it' scepticism in the comments.

Jesu swept (ledge), Wednesday, 20 June 2012 15:48 (five years ago) Permalink

I liked the goofy story I read recently about the dude who invented some technology that generates power from people walking on pavement

a dense custard of infinity (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 20 June 2012 15:55 (five years ago) Permalink

think I saw a different article but yeah that's the tech

a dense custard of infinity (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 20 June 2012 16:31 (five years ago) Permalink

how disco saved us

nuts spats (Austerity Ponies), Wednesday, 20 June 2012 16:36 (five years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

ugh so my wife and I are friends with this family primarily due to our kids' shared activities/friendships and said family is moving to China (Beijing) for a year, dad is a construction contractor etc and is already there and I find out yesterday, what is he doing? building a coal plant.

my wife had to listen to some rationalizations apparently, I didn't know what to say.

Dunn O)))))))) (Shakey Mo Collier), Monday, 30 July 2012 16:26 (five years ago) Permalink

like, my job is to eliminate your job dude, kind of no getting around it

Dunn O)))))))) (Shakey Mo Collier), Monday, 30 July 2012 16:27 (five years ago) Permalink

you're the san francisco mitt romney

iatee, Monday, 30 July 2012 16:32 (five years ago) Permalink

I was just sort of stunned to receive this news, since in all other respects they have seemed pretty typical SF liberals. the nature of the work, on top of the huge dislocation involved (the kids are 3 and 4), I was just like ... really dude, no other jobs around here?

Dunn O)))))))) (Shakey Mo Collier), Monday, 30 July 2012 16:37 (five years ago) Permalink

aren't there some high tech, low emissions (or relatively low) coal plants? cf that new yorker article or something

smells like ok (soda) (dayo), Sunday, 5 August 2012 13:52 (five years ago) Permalink

was it an article by a freakonomics guy or something

Matt Armstrong, Sunday, 5 August 2012 14:46 (five years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

Jeremy Grantham is one of the few "important" (aka rich) willing to state the obvious about the United States' corn ethanol "policy":

Despite corn being almost ludicrously inefficient as an ethanol input compared to sugar cane and scores of other plants, 40% of our corn crop – the most important one for global exports – is diverted away from food uses. If one single tankful of pure ethanol were put into an SUV (yes, I know it’s a mix in the U.S., but humor me) it displaces enough food calories to feed one Indian farmer for one year! To persist in such folly if malnutrition increases, as I think it will, would be, to be polite, ungenerous: it pushes the price of corn away from affordability in poorer countries and, through substitution, it raises all grain prices. (The global corn and wheat prices have jumped over 40% in just two months.)

Our ethanol policy is becoming the moral equivalent of shooting some poor Indian farmers. Death just comes more slowly and painfully.

Once again, why single out Indian farmers? Because it was reported last month in Bloomberg that the caloric intake of the average Indian farmer had dropped from a high of 2,266 a day in 1973 to 2,020 last year according to their National Sample Survey Office. And for city dwellers the average had dropped from approximately 2,100 to 1,900.

Thanks WEBSITE!! (Z S), Monday, 20 August 2012 02:58 (five years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...


Matt Armstrong, Wednesday, 12 September 2012 23:01 (five years ago) Permalink

such a sham

stop swearing and start windmilling (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 12 September 2012 23:09 (five years ago) Permalink

Matt Armstrong, Wednesday, 12 September 2012 23:45 (five years ago) Permalink

I like coal

Matt Armstrong, Wednesday, 12 September 2012 23:46 (five years ago) Permalink

coal is good

Matt Armstrong, Wednesday, 12 September 2012 23:46 (five years ago) Permalink

god the whole youtube channel is amazing

Matt Armstrong, Wednesday, 12 September 2012 23:49 (five years ago) Permalink

two months pass...

big surprise, shale gas reserves may be lower than estimated...

meanwhile, India is filing a WTO anti-dumping complaint against the US regarding solar panel financing restrictions. An interesting twist to the whole solar panel trade war saga.

sleeve, Thursday, 6 December 2012 20:57 (four years ago) Permalink

I read an article on oil drum that argued pretty persuasively that the recoverability of shale is something like 5-10%. Tempted to say it's a boondoggle but that's probably a little harsh.

Matt Armstrong, Thursday, 6 December 2012 21:20 (four years ago) Permalink

The debate over how much shale gas is potentially recoverable has gone on for at least five years on forums like The Oil Drum. Ultimately recoverable shale gas reserves really depends on the shape of the hyperbolic decline curves that can be extrapolated from early flows, and so far these have varied very markedly between fields:

Chinchilla! Chinchilla! Chinchilla! (Sanpaku), Thursday, 6 December 2012 22:43 (four years ago) Permalink

Its not a boondoggle, but tight gas needs gas prices above $5 (and higher) to be economic. The drilling and frak jobs on a single well can run into the millions.. Gas firms were in a land rush during 05-08, after the technology and potential were demonstated in the Barnett shale, and the lease contracts typically stipulate initial production within the first X years in order for the gas firms to hold onto the lease. So ssince the collapse of the gas market in 2008 the firms have been "forrced" to drill uneconomic wells in order to hold onto future revenue streams. The smart ones hedged like mad in 08 and are doing okay, the dumb ones, well lets just say you can thank their shareholders for your low gas heating bills for the past few years.

Chinchilla! Chinchilla! Chinchilla! (Sanpaku), Thursday, 6 December 2012 22:53 (four years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Chu submitted his resignation today, he will step down when a replacement is announced.

sleeve, Friday, 1 February 2013 18:35 (four years ago) Permalink

wondering how long it will take to get a replacement. Lisa Jackson is also stepping down from EPA. She announced it a while ago (planning on leaving "soon after" the State of the Union address), but it seems like whoever is nominated will face absolute opposition from republicans, particularly because any meaningful action on climate change is likely to come through EPA rules.

Z S, Friday, 1 February 2013 18:40 (four years ago) Permalink

two months pass...

hydro power: i have read in a couple places that it isn't "actually" renewable due to sediment accumulation. is this true? to what extent?

max, Sunday, 14 April 2013 14:29 (four years ago) Permalink

I think that might be a confusion between renewable and sustainable. Sediment accumulation is more about ecosystem disruption and environmental damage down stream than about wether the source of energy is more or less infinitely replenished. A reservoir behind a dam can silt up reducing it's capacity to store energy, although good management and maintenance practices can minimise it, but the source of energy (the water cycle) continues to be renewed.

American Fear of Pranksterism (Ed), Sunday, 14 April 2013 15:25 (four years ago) Permalink

Even after a dam's reservoir is largely silted up, there's nothing preventing the fall of water through the turbines. What's lost is the ability to store large quantities of energy for use in low flow seasons, as well as ample irrigation & recreational water.

I haven't read anything about the effect of a river carrying its normal sediment load would have on the turbine blades, but it wouldn't be too difficult to continually dredge a small settling pond around the water intakes to minimise that.

Me So Hormetic (Sanpaku), Sunday, 14 April 2013 18:33 (four years ago) Permalink

a new kind of hydro power may be at the horizon

Sébastien, Sunday, 14 April 2013 19:40 (four years ago) Permalink

what he says is interesting but for some reasons it doesn't look like the academic world is rushing to get in on that. maybe it's bunk.

Sébastien, Sunday, 14 April 2013 20:44 (four years ago) Permalink

doesn't seem scalable

well if it isn't old 11 cameras simon (gbx), Sunday, 14 April 2013 21:14 (four years ago) Permalink

ugh fuck these people

developing "model legislation" to repeal renewable energy portfolio standards and then passing it around to various state legislatures to try and get them passed

four Marxes plus four Obamas plus four Bin Ladens (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 17 April 2013 16:50 (four years ago) Permalink

that's their thing, and they are wildly successful. i'm surprised they didn't try it earlier on. republican controlled state legislatures are DYING to shit all over renewable energy, this is like one of their main causes.

your holiness, we have an official energy drink (Z S), Wednesday, 17 April 2013 16:54 (four years ago) Permalink

yeah they are sponsoring crazy insane legislation in NC and Kansas among other states, pure evil.

in other depressing news,

As IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven points out in the introduction to the report, we are way behind in pretty much every area needed to address the global warming challenge.

my mental killfile seems to be working (sleeve), Thursday, 18 April 2013 20:17 (four years ago) Permalink

whenever I feel down about the true viability renewable energy, I am always encouraged by how hard the fossil fuel industry and their pocketed legislators are fighting to kill it.

charlie 4chan, internet detective (Hurting 2), Thursday, 18 April 2013 20:27 (four years ago) Permalink

well mixed-source renewables have reached grid parity in Australia and Hawaii (i.e. same price as fossil fuel), so there is hope.

my mental killfile seems to be working (sleeve), Thursday, 18 April 2013 20:35 (four years ago) Permalink

I mean if they weren't potentially viable, there'd be nothing to lobby against.

charlie 4chan, internet detective (Hurting 2), Thursday, 18 April 2013 20:36 (four years ago) Permalink

efficiency is more ... well efficient in reducing reliance on fossil fuels. unfortunately it's not as simple to sell as a solar panel.

four Marxes plus four Obamas plus four Bin Ladens (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 18 April 2013 20:36 (four years ago) Permalink

Germany was getting 70% of it's electricity from solar power during periods of Summer 2012. And Germany isn't exactly the sunniest region! and like sleeve mentioned, renewables are at or approaching price parity with coal in many places. with even a small price on carbon (one not even approaching the true costs of using fossil fuels), the whole process would accelerate dramatically. it totally is possible. but if the u.s. congress can't even stand up to the NRA in the wake of a series of tragedies that are immediate, tangible, and provoking of widespread public mourning, they're going to have an even tougher time standing up to fossil fuel interests with even more money/influence, and with consequences of climate change that aren't as tangible and immediate as school massacres.

your holiness, we have an official energy drink (Z S), Thursday, 18 April 2013 20:45 (four years ago) Permalink

also, Shakey otm about efficiency. I do solar quotes as part of my day job, and I am continually amazed/horrified at Americans and their excessive energy usage. single family homes using 3,000 kWh a month - almost triple what we use with five people in our house. and almost all of them are weirdly fixated on covering 100% of their usage with solar, as opposed to trying to reduce their usage first. then, when you give them the inevitable answer - that there isn't enough room on their roof to cover more than 20% - the response is usually "well, can't you make better panels?" fucking America, RIP.

my mental killfile seems to be working (sleeve), Thursday, 18 April 2013 20:58 (four years ago) Permalink


four Marxes plus four Obamas plus four Bin Ladens (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 18 April 2013 21:04 (four years ago) Permalink

I left that light on in an empty room FOR A REASON

four Marxes plus four Obamas plus four Bin Ladens (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 18 April 2013 21:05 (four years ago) Permalink

in ALEC news, the North Carolina bill to repeal their state's RPS has died in committee, with six Republicans voting AGAINST it. This is good news!

Flat Of NAGLs (sleeve), Monday, 29 April 2013 16:36 (four years ago) Permalink


four Marxes plus four Obamas plus four Bin Ladens (Shakey Mo Collier), Monday, 29 April 2013 16:40 (four years ago) Permalink

the republicans must have been confused or something?? i don't understand! still, great news, hopefully a harbinger for similar efforts!

your holiness, we have an official energy drink (Z S), Monday, 29 April 2013 16:53 (four years ago) Permalink

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