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On Watering Down the Energy Debate

"Water is essential for the production of energy."

Offered here is energy production that delivers 600 gallons of water per year for every person on the planet and as much energy as is currently derived from fossil fuels. This is close to twice the recommended daily consumption.

June 29, 2015    View Comment    

On A New Look for Nuclear Power

Hops, see the table in the following post. It shows that the capacity of OTEC is higher and the levelized cost lower than advanced nuclear for a 400MW plant than advanced nuclear. The thesis also points out the heat pipe or deep water condenser design, which is what I support, is about 30% cheaper than the conventional design shown in the table and also that for each doubling of plant size the cost is reduced by 22%.

June 27, 2015    View Comment    

On A New Look for Nuclear Power

This study is an excellent opportunity to compare offshore nuclear with OTEC. Everything it says about construction techniques and promising economics, abundant potential markets are equally applicable to both. The size of gigawatt sizes platforms would also be comparable.

One main difference lies in the fact OTEC has no fuel costs, no waste considerations and an accident with a plant using CO2 or ammonia as a working fluid would have limited consequence compared to the nuclear plant.

The greatest difference however is in the way each produces and utilizes heat.

The recent study by the Carnegie institutions Zhang and Caldiera shows that the energy released from the combustion of fossil fuels is now about 1.71% of the radiative forcing from CO2 that has accumulated in the atmosphere as a consequence of historical fossil fuel combustion. Nuclear plants are equally as inefficient as fossil fuel power generators and engines and thus release the same amount of waste heat most of which ends up in the ocean and since heat rises it remains on the surface where it contributes to most of the problems we are currently experiencing with global warming. We are currently using about 16TW of energy annually but Martin Hoffert and Richard Smalley say we will need between 30 to 60TW respectively by 2050.

At these rates the waste heat from nuclear starts to become a real issue.

OTEC on the other hand can convert as much as 14TW of surface heat to productive use and move about 280 more of the 330 TW of heat the oceans are said to be accumulating to the safety of the ocean abyss. This would remedy virtually every problem, including CO2 emissions, mankind is confronted by with respect to global warming.

With nuclear all you get is carbon free power, which leaves our offspring with another 1000 years worth of the problems we are currently experiencing.




June 26, 2015    View Comment    

On BP Data Suggests We Are Reaching Peak Energy Demand

Gail: wealth is created either from the sale of extracted resources or manufactured products.

Renewable energies require manufactured products to produce power from resources that are constantly replenished by Nature.

Economies of scale and technological change drive down the cost of renewable infrastructure as production volumes increase whereas with extractive resources the situation is reversed.

The world can generate an awful lot of economic activity and wealth producing the kind of infrastructure that can replace fossil fuels. Since renewables never run out you can generate this wealth from both the energy and manufacturing steams ad infinitum.

June 24, 2015    View Comment    

On How Much Land Does Solar, Wind and Nuclear Energy Require?

This is but one argument for ocean thermal energy conversion. Another it is created in no one's backyard whereas NIMBY is a concern with virtually every other source of power. The biggest one however, by far, is that it converts and relocates the heat that is accumulating in the ocean due to climate change, which in turn is the greatest repository of stored energy on the planet. It is a storehouse that is overflowing resulting in the release of energy in the form of tropical storms that kill thousands and do billions in damage annually. Far better we put that energy to productive use.

To get ocean created electricity to market it would have to be converted to the energy and water carrier hydrogen, which has the greatest specific energy of all non fissionable materials.

June 24, 2015    View Comment    

On Enhancing the Role of Fuel Cells for Northeast Grid Resiliency

Bruce, John A. “Skip” Laitner points out in his paper Linking Energy Efficiency to Economic Productivity: Recommendations for Improving the Robustness of the U.S. Economy "It turns out that the U.S. economy is not especially energy efficient. Of the total high-quality energy consumed to support economic activity in 2010, only 14 percent was converted into useful work. In other words, the American economy wasted 86 percent of all the energy used that year in the production of goods and services.

In that light 50% fuel cell efficiency and 80% methane to hydrogen conversion efficiency looks pretty good?


June 23, 2015    View Comment    

On Rather than Divest, Advocate for Carbon Balancing

Bob, I don't know the specifics of pteropods. Cold (deeper) water dissolves more CO2 than warm water. Upwelling of this more acidic water therefore increases the acidity of surface waters and this is believed to be the cause of mortality of oyster larvae in the Pacific North West.

The following is a NOAA diagram that shows how rapidly pH drops in relatively shallow waters.

The University of Hawaii however has another article that shows that although surface waters normally have a CO2 concentration of about 390 ppm, deeper water can be as high as 900 ppm thus should this water come to the surface it would be a real problem. Since the atmosphere has a concentration of about 400 ppm most of the CO2 would vent back to the atmosphere.

May 26, 2015    View Comment    

On Rather than Divest, Advocate for Carbon Balancing

Bob, there is another thing known as the calcite compensation depth below which the rate of supply of calcium carbonate lags behind its rate of solvation. In the Pacific it is about 4500 meters. Below that the natural concentration of CO2 is so high, thus the ph is so low, calcium carbonate simply dissolves and is not found in nature.

May 26, 2015    View Comment    

On Rather than Divest, Advocate for Carbon Balancing

The key thing about fossil fuels is that they are FUEL, which powers industry, transportation and supplies heat. We can get all of the above from another source that could ultimately sequester about 79 billion metric tons of CO2 a year rather than by making existing systems less efficient and more costly.

May 22, 2015    View Comment    

On The Case for Interest Free Sustainable Energy Financing

Grace my thoughts about the OTEC-water nexus are outlined here.

May 19, 2015    View Comment    

On The Lowest Cost Renewable Energy Comes With a 2000 Percent Environmental Dividend

It precipitates out as a carbonate or bicarbonate. I believe the weathering of the rock, like Robert is talking about, is to take care of the acid stream produced by the electrolysis of sea water. If you didn't neutralize this it would simply dissolve the carbonates produced from the other stream and release the CO2.

May 16, 2015    View Comment    

On The Lowest Cost Renewable Energy Comes With a 2000 Percent Environmental Dividend

Robert there is an equilibrium between atomospheric and dissolved CO2 in the ocean. Draw down the ocean concentration and the atmospheric draw down would follow.

May 16, 2015    View Comment