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Thread: Safe power generation

  1. #1 Safe power generation 
    sak
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    What could be tomorrows’ (perhaps even today’s) power solution
    Sun?
    Wind?
    Geothermal?
    Tide?
    Fission?
    Fusion?


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  3. #2  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    No method of generating power is inherently safe. Here are a few random examples of the dangers.

    Solar Energy:
    Maximum value in very sunny locations. Service engineers run increased risk of skin cancer.

    Wind Energy:
    Wind turbines kill substantial numbers of birds.
    The concrete for their foundations adds significant amount of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

    Geothermal:
    Drilling holes in the ground is a risky business with an associated death rate.

    Tide:
    Apart from disrupting the ecology of estuaries, maintenance engineers are put at risk when constructing or servicing the equipment.

    Fission:
    Chernobyl, Windscale, Three Mile Island. Should I continue?

    Fusion:
    I'll leave this one as 'an exercise for the student'.


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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Fusion:
    I'll leave this one as 'an exercise for the student'.
    The only fusion power we have is the same as solar energy.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

    I now have a blog too: http://astahost.blogspot.com/
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    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    At the moment.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Fusion:
    I'll leave this one as 'an exercise for the student'.
    The only fusion power we have is the same as solar energy.
    We have perpetual motion, however you need to monitor it constantly. It is really not the ideal thing to power your home. Unless we created a safe standard system, with some kind of remote monitoring.

    And perhaps a common grid/ground, neutral, to absorb high voltage spikes created with ARC accidents. These ARC accidents without a common grid or ground, could create some serious damage to household equipment.

    Sincerely,


    William McCormick
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    Of all the wonders in the universe, none is likely more fascinating and complicated than human nature.

    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."

    "Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence"

    -Einstein

    http://boinc.berkeley.edu/download.php

    Use your computing strength for science!
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    Forum Masters Degree bit4bit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Fusion:
    I'll leave this one as 'an exercise for the student'.
    Fusion actuially has very little dangers compared to other sources. For example, a fusion reactor unlike a fission reactor cannot go into meltdown, since you only need a little fuel reacting at any given time. Also the problem of radiation is much less than a fission reactor, so long term waste storage isnt an issue. The only disadvantage really, is that the cost of the materials makes it extremely expensive, so it doesn't work out economically. Probably solar/tidal/hydro energy will be used more, until fusion becomes cheap enough. (alot of sources I've read give estimates of about 20-30 years)


    The only fusion power we have is the same as solar energy.
    Well JET has already seen good results from containing, maintaining, and extracting energy from fusion power, and now the worldwide project of ITER is slowly moving forward. They not long ago announced the location in the south of France. The engineers involved estimate its output to be about 400MW for 40MW of input energy, and its going to be the biggest built so far.

    We have perpetual motion, however you need to monitor it constantly. It is really not the ideal thing to power your home. Unless we created a safe standard system, with some kind of remote monitoring.
    So why do we have an energy crisis, if we have perpetual motion??
    Chance favours the prepared mind.
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  9. #8 Re: Safe power generation 
    Time Lord
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    Quote Originally Posted by sak
    Sun?
    Wind?
    Geothermal?
    Tide?
    Fission?
    Fusion?
    You forgot my favorite: hydro. The hydro vs. solar argument I like to give, is that hydro is the end product of natural solar panels covering most of the globe - oceans! - and energy collectors ready-made for us - rivers! All that power channeled through a point, it's too good. How can photovoltaic toys compete with seas and mountains?
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    Perpetual motion? Huh? What's that? Perpetuum mobile?

    You forgot mention "increased efficiency" as another important contributer. If you increase the efficiency of generating electricity and heat, you can gain already a lot. Also improving insulation helps quite a bit for heating. I think that a decentralised production of electricity and heat is very promising, because lots is wasted by transporting it from the large production centres to the consumers.

    Solar power can be used in many different ways. Not only the solar collectors (for generating electricity or heating water) are constantly being improved, but also solar turbines are very efficient and can even be used in not so sunny regions. Here, the sun is reflected and focused via a number of mirrors to a reaction chamber, where water is heated up and evaporated. These mirrors even track the motion of the sun. Here is an example: http://www-stud.fht-esslingen.de/pro...owertower.html
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dishmaster
    You forgot mention "increased efficiency" as another important contributer.
    Excellent point.
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  12. #11 Re: Safe power generation 
    sak
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    Quote Originally Posted by "Pong
    You forgot my favorite: hydro. ... ...
    Reservoir eat into square kilometers of forest. May be H2 would!
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  13. #12  
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    It's true. But another alpine lake hardly seems an imposition on nature. :? Where I live (Rocky Mountains) there are lakes galore, and waterfalls... then we build the dam and fish ladder, so everybody wins.

    There are activists who work to stop these projects. They protest the destruction of ecosystems. Chained to trees and "STOP DROWNING BEAR CUBS" and so forth. So to meet power demand the government sneaks in gas fired plants amid agricultural sprawl, and there are no protests. Crazy huh?

    At this rate we'll be buying power off the American grid, blissfully oblivious to the source of power, so long as it's cheap and doesn't sully our pristine wilderness.
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    I vote for more of these awsome looking solar power stations:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6616651.stm

    Be interesting to see what would happen to the global economy and politics if a bunch of the worlds poorest, yet sunniest, countries produced power for export...
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    Quote Originally Posted by UKDutyPaid
    I vote for more of these awsome looking solar power stations:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6616651.stm

    Be interesting to see what would happen to the global economy and politics if a bunch of the worlds poorest, yet sunniest, countries produced power for export...
    Eleven megawatts. I am underwhelmed.
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    Agreed, 11 megawatts is piddle.

    But let's not forget that:-
    -the one in Seville is effectively prototype technology. So efficiency will improve.
    -it is becoming cheaper all the time and therefore more viable.
    -it has no harmful emissions.
    -it has no risk of dangerous failure.
    -there are huge tracks of very sunny, very empty terrain in various parts of the world doing nothing.

    All that considered, I think such projects/solutions will become increasingly viable over the next decade or two.

    Although, if we really want to do solar, perhaps we should be in orbit with huge banks of arrays beaming power to earth via microwaves...
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    you also forgot the most important part: the one in seville is not completed yet. when it is complete, it will generate 100 times more energy, or 1100 megawatts.
    when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth
    A.C Doyle
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    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    you also forgot the most important part: the one in seville is not completed yet. when it is complete, it will generate 100 times more energy, or 1100 megawatts.
    Now that would be some serious power, but according to this article they hope to build a series of plant with a total of 300 mw by 2013.
    http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/mar2...7-03-30-02.asp
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