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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    

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

Robert, Nihous estimates OTEC can produce 14 TW of energy but gets this from 250,000 100MW plants so I believe he has taken into account most of the inefficiencies of the process. For each mole of hydrogen produced by electrolysis of sea water a mole of sodium would be produced that in turn would precipitate a mole of CO2. A 100 MW OTEC plant produces about 35,000 kg of H2 per day or 12,775,000 kg a year which sequesters 562,000 metric tons of CO2. Full capacity OTEC would therefore sequester about 79 billion metric tons/year of CO2 (currently we are putting about 36 billion metric tons of into the atmosphere) in that process by 2100 and would return atmospheric CO2 concentrations to safe levels.

May 16, 2015    View Comment    

On Subsidizing Renewables for the Damage Not Done

Clayton It is estimated that at depths from 500 to 2000 meters, the oceans are warming by about .002 degrees Celsius every year, and in the top 500 meters, they’re gaining .005 degrees C.  (This is all in spite of the fact they are accumulation 93% of the heat of global warming) In contrast the atmosphere has been warming about 3 times faster than the deep ocean and the poles 3 times faster than that. It is apparent therefore that the deep oceans have the greatest capacity to accept the heat of global warming while producing the least temperature increase because of their huge heat capacity. If we were to increase the 500 to 2000 meter heat with OTEC to .005 degrees/yr you would only raise the temperature half a degree in the next hundred years, which I doubt would have much impact on the sparse aquatic life that lives there. The gains during the course of the infrastruce build out on the other hand would be lower atmospheric temperatures, sea level rise and atmospheric and water CO2 concentrations. All and all I think a net environmental plus.

In sequestering CO2 with sodium, the impact on ocean PH is to increase as shown in the diagram because sodium bicarbonate is an antacid. 

Re: hydroelectric the O2 whould be drawn from the air but it is also produced by electrolysis of the sea water and a lot of that would be diffused into the atmosphere. Admittedly a lot of this energy would be distributed so only a fraction of the theorectical potential would ever be realized but the production of water at elevation has other benefits such as allowing it to flow to where it is required even if you do not tap the hydro potential.

As to chlorine, this is a problem, which is discussed here and in the comments. There are anodes that are selective for oxygen howere as discussed here. And Greg Rau's technique for accomplishing the same as I have shown in this diagram is a little different as he discusses in the comments indicated above.

(I have expanded on this approach in a Climate CoLab proposal here.)

May 16, 2015    View Comment    

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

With a hydrogen based energy economy, solar and wind no longer have any issues with intermittency since the energy is stored BUT climate change, which is an issue today, is still locked in for 1000 years because of the heat already stored in the ocean. OTEC, in part, is a direct conversion of that heat to useful power. Solar and wind do not directly draw down CO2 levels, sea level rise, tropical storms or potentially provide access to the vast resources dissolved in the ocean.

The Cost of OTEC is hypothetical and therefore potentially is less than indicated. Why would the experience curve for it be any less than for wind?

Although it would apply to solar and wind as well as OTEC, I have offered here a way to halve the cost of any renewable.

The other thing is wind and solar have a lot of NIMBY issues and usurp a lot of land. OTEC operates in no one's backyard and thus would not be confronted by a lot of the issues that are impediments to other sources of energy.

 

May 16, 2015    View Comment    

On The Case for Interest Free Sustainable Energy Financing

Thanks for weighing in Dominic. You, Paul, I and a few others are sold on these benefits but we don't have the benefit of a Stiglitz, Hansen, Musk, Branson or Gates to back us up: yet.

Hopefully one day that will come if we keep plugging away.

As to cost and benefits I am working on an MIT climatecolab proposal aimed at trying to put a face of them but as economics is not my field, and perhaps in fact I don't have one, it too would benefit from some professional massaging.

Paul's message that OTEC is "a most intriguing answer that can save us from Armageddon" should ring like a bell.

May 15, 2015    View Comment    

On Subsidizing Renewables for the Damage Not Done

Meredith I love the idea of subsidizing for damage not done but why not extend the principal to include benefits provided?

In that scenario OTEC would hands down be the winner.

Currently we derive approximately 14 terawatts of primary energy from fossil fuels and produce about 36 billion metric tons of CO2 in that process. Nihous estimates we could produce about 14 terawatts with OTEC and thus reduce CO2 emissions to zero as we could with nuclear wind or solar.

To get energy produced at sea to market however requires the conversion of the electrical energy to the energy carrrier hydrogn by electrolysis. A Lawrence Livermore team has demonstrated that electrolysis of saline water produces not only hydrogen, chlorine and oxygen gases, the resulting electrolyte solution is significantly elevated in hydroxide concentration, which are strongly absorptive and retentive of atmospheric CO2.

 The formula is:

 

Every mole of hydrogen produces a mole of sodium that in turn precipitates a mole of CO2. A 100 MW OTEC plant produces about 35,000 kg of H2 per day or 12,775,000 kg a year which sequesters 562,000 metric tons of CO2. Full capacity OTEC would therefore sequester about 79 billion metric tons/year by the end of the century, which is about how long it would take to build to full capacity, thus CO2 concentrations could be returning to safe levels throughout the build out.

On land the hydrogen is converted in a fuel cell back to electrical energy and water in a process that is thermodynamically the opposite of electrolysis. The enthalpies and entropies  are equal but with opposite signs so theorectically you get back the same amount of energy from the fuel cell as was used to electrolyze the water.

Fourteen terawatts produces 1.8 trillion kg of hydrogen a year which in turn converts to 16 trillion kg of water which at a height of 840 meters (the average land height) has the potential to generate an additional 4.3 terawatts of hydro or about 4 times what the world is currently producing.)

This 16 trillion kgs of water in turn is 600 gallons per year for each of the 7 billion of us living on the planet enough to services the recommended intake of a half gallon per day per person twice over. 

The UN recommends the cost of water should be US 4 cents/day so this is another potential $100 billion revenue source.

As an added benefit OTEC remedies storm surge and sea level rise and replicates the conditions that have brought about the atmospheric warming hiatus but the topper is it also potentially the cheapest of the renewables and less than nuclear.

May 13, 2015    View Comment    

On The Case for Interest Free Sustainable Energy Financing

Thanks for the clarification Herb and my best wishes for the efforts of COMER.

May 13, 2015    View Comment    

On The Case for Interest Free Sustainable Energy Financing

Bob, what distinguishes gratuitous despoiling of the environment from a subsidy? Worse yet are governments that actively susidize these actions. The point of the article however is, it is the banks that are currently the ones being subsidized; outrageously IMHO and again IMHO they appear to be totally risk averse when it comes to clean energy projects even though they are making money hand over fist on the loans they generate out of thin air. (see Money Creation In The Modern Economy)

Your south of France analogy is a red herring, it would be pretty easy to insure that the loans are going into the production of the kind of infrastructure that is required and the creation of that infrastructure would be producing a tremendous amount of economic activity from which the government would extract taxes.

And as a pure accounting matter, infrastructure is a balance sheet item.  

 

 

 

 

May 12, 2015    View Comment    

On Uber vs. Google: Electric Vehicles Are About To Get Really Interesting

Bob, the whole idea of the autonomous car is set it and forget it. Driving in it for me would be far more stressful than if I am behind the wheel because now I have to anticipate what the Google guys left out as well as what's ahead on the road.

May 1, 2015    View Comment