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Old June 13 2012, 08:36 PM   #151
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

sojourner wrote: View Post
You could become a rich man if you came up with a cheap/efficient way to crack water into hydrogen and oxygen.
Exactly, the currently catalytic cracking method is extremely ineffecient and very costly to produce a pittance of fuel. Yet similar "news" outlets to the ones RAMA is posting from where banging on about cheap, clean fuel cells within a few years.

Still waiting.
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Old June 14 2012, 02:15 PM   #152
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

Chemahkuu wrote: View Post
sojourner wrote: View Post
You could become a rich man if you came up with a cheap/efficient way to crack water into hydrogen and oxygen.
Exactly, the currently catalytic cracking method is extremely ineffecient and very costly to produce a pittance of fuel. Yet similar "news" outlets to the ones RAMA is posting from where banging on about cheap, clean fuel cells within a few years.

Still waiting.
What's so hard? Just change the laws of thermodynamics.
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Old June 14 2012, 02:24 PM   #153
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

It's difficult to work in groups when you're omnipotent.
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Old June 14 2012, 02:48 PM   #154
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
Chemahkuu wrote: View Post
sojourner wrote: View Post
You could become a rich man if you came up with a cheap/efficient way to crack water into hydrogen and oxygen.
Exactly, the currently catalytic cracking method is extremely ineffecient and very costly to produce a pittance of fuel. Yet similar "news" outlets to the ones RAMA is posting from where banging on about cheap, clean fuel cells within a few years.

Still waiting.
What's so hard? Just change the laws of thermodynamics.
Oh, it is that all? ( )

My Name Is Legion wrote: View Post
It's difficult to work in groups when you're omnipotent.
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Old June 14 2012, 05:49 PM   #155
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

{ Emilia } wrote: View Post
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As for solar power: how do you store it? Don't say "batteries." Existing battery technology doesn't scale. I guess you could say "fuel cells," but those may not go mainstream either.
That's the problem Germany is trying to solve as part of its "Energiewende" policy. Phasing out nuclear energy switching to renewable energies.

Due to the power fluctuation inherent to wind power the maximum capacity of power production needs to be about double as high as it is today. That way you can store the excess energy produced during peak times.

How to store it?

Short-term: Batteries. Only good to counter-balance short power fluctuations. Also expensive.

Medium-term: Pumped-storage hydroelectricity. These are in use already. You basically pump water to higher elevations during power production peak times of wind and solar power plants. When their electricity production decreases (less wind/less sun) you use that water to produce electricity.

Long-term: Power-to-gas technology. You use excess power to produce hydrogen by electrolyzing water. The hydrogen gas is then co-mingled with natural gas in the existing natural gas infrastructure, namely the gas pipeline network and its associated underground storage facilities. The German Fraunhofer Society (a big group of research institutes) has been conducting research here for quite a while. The basic technology is ready for use but the power equivalent of a barrel of oil still costs about $150-200. Fraunhofer info on power-to-gas. I suppose the costs will decrease once the technology gets more mature, while the oil price is probably going to keep rising.
Advantage: You can use the existing gas infrastructure and it only takes about 20 minutes to power up a gas turbine in a gas plant. Pretty flexible tech.



Sidenote: RAMA's ramblings about nanotech are obviously science fiction but I figured I'd bring him up-to-date to actual technology and solutions we're currently working on.

Oh, and this isn't an easy transition process. It's going to be very expensive but if we're lucky the effects of peak oil will take a couple of decades to manifest completely.
But even then: I suppose a country like Germany can make the switch and they're the first to actually work on this. The transition costs will decrease once these first steps are done so it'll be even cheaper for other countries (while Germany could make a profit from selling technology and expertise).

But I'm also sure that some countries will fail at implementing the changes fast enough. These things are long-term but even then there's the possibility of a major crash in economy either in unlucky countries or (more unlikely) world-wide. The technology is there (at least in part) but you need the political will and society needs to be willing to take on the costs. Good luck with that, America.

Ramblings? Nanotech is already a $2 billion a year industry. The solar panel technologies are already facts....some of the technologies don't exist yet, so you could say they are science fiction, but in most cases there are real world examples that exist right now, making them closer to science extrapolation, and in many cases, the predictions of these expanding technologies have been extremely accurate.

It is far braver and much bolder to be the ones saying we'll make this technology happen, as opposed to the crybabies, the whiners, the luddites, the pure idiots who can't see the technological development in front of them, and suggest everything will stay the same, that current predictions will come to pass about Earthly disasters without anything to modify them...the point being...it's just as likely we can "fix" them with current technologies or extrapolate likely technologies that can. It's a lot easier to fix than human behavior.

As for the economy, crashes, etc, I counter that in the link I provided to the science and technology forum thread.

RAMA
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Old June 14 2012, 05:51 PM   #156
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

Chemahkuu wrote: View Post
sojourner wrote: View Post
You could become a rich man if you came up with a cheap/efficient way to crack water into hydrogen and oxygen.
Exactly, the currently catalytic cracking method is extremely ineffecient and very costly to produce a pittance of fuel. Yet similar "news" outlets to the ones RAMA is posting from where banging on about cheap, clean fuel cells within a few years.

Still waiting.

Solar is already demonstrably getting cheaper. It's also no mystery...it CAN provide the power needed if harnessed.
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Old June 14 2012, 06:18 PM   #157
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
You're still talking about nascent technologies that may not pan out.

We used to think nanotech would do all sorts of things for us. We've had to check our expectations numerous times in that area.

As for solar power: how do you store it? Don't say "batteries." Existing battery technology doesn't scale. I guess you could say "fuel cells," but those may not go mainstream either.

The bottom line is, you can't predict the trajectory technology will take. Technologies that look promising today may be dead in 5 years, or they may get stuck in R&D hell for decades, like fusion power. So many technological breakthroughs have been "right around the corner" for decades, and they still aren't here. Why do you think any of the stuff you post about will be any different? You don't know; I don't know. There are too many variables. You are certain we'll find a solution in time, based on extrapolations of current trends--and such extrapolations are so simplistic as to be meaningless. I recognize that nobody can know that for sure--either we will, or we won't.
Part of it is the exponential nature of these technologies, some have only taken off in recent years, and we can expect them to increase doing so. These include both the creation and adoption of clean technologies. Fusion technology (as mentioned at length in the sci-tech forum thread) as a brute force energy tech will take some time, but that is also an option. Fusion is not a fantasy, there have been recent breakthroughs, and the test reactor will be online a few years from now, with a working production reactor sometime after 2030.

Other technologies that have hit roadblocks before that are now experiencing both funding and technological gains, these include, AI, robotics, biogenetics, nanotech(in most cases, there seem to be advances almost every day if not every week in this field) , et al. In some cases, its the information tehnologies themselves that make the advancements possible.

Such roadblocks even in expanding technologies isn't unknown: The seven stages in the life cycle of a technology(listen to all of it):

http://www.slideshare.net/pcesari/30...rzweil-8273923

Solar power storage: There's a lot of experimentation going on with this, but this looks very promising because it's inexpensive! From MIT:

http://www.gizmag.com/chemical-nanot...storage/19228/

Salt?

http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2012/04...ar-viable.html

. GTM Research estimates solar energy storage will be a $3.7 billion market by 2015.
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Old June 14 2012, 07:31 PM   #158
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

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Old June 15 2012, 02:27 AM   #159
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

RAMA wrote: View Post
{ Emilia } wrote: View Post
That's the problem Germany is trying to solve as part of its "Energiewende" policy. Phasing out nuclear energy switching to renewable energies.

Due to the power fluctuation inherent to wind power the maximum capacity of power production needs to be about double as high as it is today. That way you can store the excess energy produced during peak times.

How to store it?

Short-term: Batteries. Only good to counter-balance short power fluctuations. Also expensive.

Medium-term: Pumped-storage hydroelectricity. These are in use already. You basically pump water to higher elevations during power production peak times of wind and solar power plants. When their electricity production decreases (less wind/less sun) you use that water to produce electricity.

Long-term: Power-to-gas technology. You use excess power to produce hydrogen by electrolyzing water. The hydrogen gas is then co-mingled with natural gas in the existing natural gas infrastructure, namely the gas pipeline network and its associated underground storage facilities. The German Fraunhofer Society (a big group of research institutes) has been conducting research here for quite a while. The basic technology is ready for use but the power equivalent of a barrel of oil still costs about $150-200. Fraunhofer info on power-to-gas. I suppose the costs will decrease once the technology gets more mature, while the oil price is probably going to keep rising.
Advantage: You can use the existing gas infrastructure and it only takes about 20 minutes to power up a gas turbine in a gas plant. Pretty flexible tech.



Sidenote: RAMA's ramblings about nanotech are obviously science fiction but I figured I'd bring him up-to-date to actual technology and solutions we're currently working on.

Oh, and this isn't an easy transition process. It's going to be very expensive but if we're lucky the effects of peak oil will take a couple of decades to manifest completely.
But even then: I suppose a country like Germany can make the switch and they're the first to actually work on this. The transition costs will decrease once these first steps are done so it'll be even cheaper for other countries (while Germany could make a profit from selling technology and expertise).

But I'm also sure that some countries will fail at implementing the changes fast enough. These things are long-term but even then there's the possibility of a major crash in economy either in unlucky countries or (more unlikely) world-wide. The technology is there (at least in part) but you need the political will and society needs to be willing to take on the costs. Good luck with that, America.
It is far braver and much bolder to be the ones saying we'll make this technology happen, as opposed to the crybabies, the whiners, the luddites, the pure idiots who can't see the technological development in front of them
You seriously felt writing this was appropriate after I spent a whole post on educating you regarding technology we're working on?

Bizarre.

As you can see I believe we can manage to solve our energy problems in the long term but your naive opinion is just hoping for magic to happen. I'm fine with researching technology that might or might not end up working (like nanotech and fusion power). We need that research. But we definitely need to focus on stuff we know is working and improve that to manage the big transition away from oil.
We can't just hope for our problems to be magically fixed by new technology in 20 years. Cause if that hope doesn't materialize we're screwed.
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Old June 15 2012, 01:50 PM   #160
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

Fusion does have merits and a large fuel supply from the oceans should we ever get it sustainable, I feel we should at least keep reseaching it.

But yes, practical methods using technology we have now should get the priority, hydroelectric has quite a good yield and a good track record.

I still think windfarms are a dead end, the vastness of the farms and the resources/energy/man hours just are not repaid from what little energy they produce so far.
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Old June 15 2012, 03:14 PM   #161
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

RAMA wrote: View Post
It is far braver and much bolder to be the ones saying we'll make this technology happen...
Not, however, more truthful. Standing up for what's real is to be preferred to wishful thinking based on magic words and failure to learn and weigh the facts, which is what the evangelists for the coming of the Singularity have chosen. "Brave and bold" are hollow words when used to support such nonsense, and I am unimpressed by that rhetorical gibberish.
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Old June 16 2012, 12:07 PM   #162
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

Chemahkuu wrote: View Post
Fusion does have merits and a large fuel supply from the oceans should we ever get it sustainable, I feel we should at least keep reseaching it.
We are. ITER is probably going to be the first experimental fusion power plant able to produce more energy than is needed to keep the process going.

But yes, practical methods using technology we have now should get the priority, hydroelectric has quite a good yield and a good track record.
Hydroelectricity isn't an option for every country. Geology and stuff, you know? You need rivers and ideally mountain ranges.

I still think windfarms are a dead end, the vastness of the farms and the resources/energy/man hours just are not repaid from what little energy they produce so far.
For most countries windfarms are more viable than hydroelectricity.

Some states have started creating "wind maps" giving detailed information on average wind speeds for every square kilometre of the country. For most areas the percentage of unused land that's viable to use for wind power is around 1-3% of the total land area. That doesn't sound like a lot but it is enough to cover a huge percentage of power production.

And there's still a lot of untapped potential in off-shore wind farms. Wind power will probably not be able to replace fossil fuels completely but it's going to be the backbone of any sustainable renewable energy structure.
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Old June 17 2012, 03:34 AM   #163
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

The truth about runaway population growth...

http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_roslin...nd_babies.html

..and, more on batteries for renewable energy:

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/don...le_energy.html

I would watch these from start to finish.
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Old June 17 2012, 03:36 AM   #164
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

Chemahkuu wrote: View Post
sojourner wrote: View Post
You could become a rich man if you came up with a cheap/efficient way to crack water into hydrogen and oxygen.
Exactly, the currently catalytic cracking method is extremely ineffecient and very costly to produce a pittance of fuel. Yet similar "news" outlets to the ones RAMA is posting from where banging on about cheap, clean fuel cells within a few years.

Still waiting.
Chemahkuu wrote: View Post
Fusion does have merits and a large fuel supply from the oceans should we ever get it sustainable, I feel we should at least keep reseaching it.

But yes, practical methods using technology we have now should get the priority, hydroelectric has quite a good yield and a good track record.

I still think windfarms are a dead end, the vastness of the farms and the resources/energy/man hours just are not repaid from what little energy they produce so far.
In fact, there are countries heading towards eliminating nuclear power for wind power altogether.

http://japandailypress.com/japanese-...company-212429

Obviously, some teething problems:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/31/wo...ergy-lags.html

Fusion: Again, third time I've posted this: ITER and DEMO

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITER
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Old June 17 2012, 03:37 AM   #165
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

My Name Is Legion wrote: View Post
RAMA wrote: View Post
It is far braver and much bolder to be the ones saying we'll make this technology happen...
Not, however, more truthful. Standing up for what's real is to be preferred to wishful thinking based on magic words and failure to learn and weigh the facts, which is what the evangelists for the coming of the Singularity have chosen. "Brave and bold" are hollow words when used to support such nonsense, and I am unimpressed by that rhetorical gibberish.

As demonstrated by my link footnotes, not even remotely wishful thinking
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