# 8-Years of Civilization Remaining

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by Success_Machine, Jun 7, 2002.

1. ### EduferTired warriorRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
791
Cheap solar power?

If you feel solar power is not expensive... Back in the late 70s Southern Calfornia Edison at Barstow, built a solar power station called <b>Solar One</b>. It covered 75 acres with one million square feet of computer-driven highly polished mirrors --11,818 mirrors in all-- reflecting sunlight onto a water tower 300 feet high. With some storage devices Solar One generated about <b>10 MegaWatts</b> of electricity at a cost of <b>$14,000 per installed kilowatt</b>. This was about <b>FIVE times more costly</b> than the most expensive nuclear plant. Solar One worked for eight hours a day on summer, four hours in winter. Assuming nothing went wrong and the 11,818 mirrors remained clean (what a task!) it means Solar One was available for power production between <b>17 and 33% of the time</b>. Nuclear plants have an availability of 65 to 90% (as our Nuke station at Embalse, in Córdoba, Argentina), In other words, Solar One produced about <b>ONE percent</b> of the electricity of a nuclear or coal-fired plant, on five times more space and is available only a quarter of the day. The total cost? About <b>EIGHT times more expensive</b>. Solar power is no bargain. Just for the record: to construct a solar plant, the following amounts of material are needed: 35,000 tons of aluminum, two million tons of concrete (500 times more than for a nuclear plant), 7,500 tons of copper, 600,000 tons of steel, 75,000 tons of glass, and 1,500 tons of chromium and titanium. Really, easily affordable for any Bolivian city... <b>End of the story:</b> Solar One was seriously damaged by an explosion and fire on August 31, 1986, becuase the transformers were not insulated by PCBs (the EPA had banned them). The remains were auctioned for scrap salvage at about <b>$75,000</b>. The original cost = $14,000 per installed kilowatt multiplied gives a final price of <B>$14,000,000,000</B> (14 billion dolars), net loss= <B>$13, 999,925.000</B>. Taxpayers money, of course. Want to give it another try? ------------------ Zoidberg, you said it, old chap. Global Warming... What, me worry? (Alfred Neuman) 2. ### Google AdSenseGuest Advertisement to hide all adverts. 3. ### GiftedWorld WandererRegistered Senior Member Messages: 2,113 Fission development has been stalled by people who don't want it(gee, I wonder who). The propaganda says that breeding fuel, which is actually quite safe, is not. The publicity by greenpeace and other radical green groups as well as NIMBY have stalled the development of this resource. People don't know enough, so they turn to people who do. Unfortunately, many of these people twist the facts for thier own benefit(look at the ozone scare, global warming, there is a crapload of stuff). 4. ### Google AdSenseGuest Advertisement to hide all adverts. 5. ### Success_MachineImpossible? I can do thatRegistered Senior Member Messages: 365 blah blah blah I'm not saying we should go solar, but solar concentrators are less expensive than photovoltaics. I DO NOT believe that Solar One cost$14 billion. That's the entire annual budget of NASA.

http://www.eren.doe.gov/troughnet/

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The abiogenic theory of oil, or even the biogenic theory of oil, are irrelevant because we are using the stuff faster than it is being replenished. As time goes on it gets harder to get oil out of the wells. As such, reported reserves will last forever, but annual yields will eventually start declining, no matter how hard we try to pump more oil out. This phenomenon is called the Hubbert Peak, and has already occurred in about 50 countries around the world, including the United States and United Kingdom. Oil production in the US is down 34 percent since 1970, and continues to decline, forcing Americans to import more oil. The UK's North Sea oilfields are dropping much faster, with production peaking in 1998, and yields declining by 11 percent annually since then. By 2015 there will be no oil to speak of anywhere in the world except the Middle East. When their oilfields start to decline we're all in big trouble, if we aren't already. Many people predict, based on the estimated reserves remaining worldwide, and the behavior demonstrated by already-declining oilfields, that the world's oil supply will reach global Hubbert Peak around 2010, and drop steadily for decades after that. The oil will never run out, but supply (our ability to get oil out) will be harder, and harder, and harder to maintain. Even while supply lines are failing oil companies will still be reporting hundreds of billions of barrels of reserves, and people will be screaming for an explanation for massive increases in fuel prices. After a year or two, it will finally sink in, and I think SUVs will vanish off the streets, to be replaced initially by diesel Jettas, until people realize that they are gas hogs too, and that personal conveyances really need upwards of 200+ mpg to use renewable fuels effectively.

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7. ### kmguruStaff Member

Messages:
11,757
What are you going to do at night and in UK where it is almost always cloudy?

8. ### EduferTired warriorRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
791
Re: blah blah blah

The figure $14 billion comes from the data given by Southern California Edison Co. that Solar one had 10 Megawatts and it installed cost per <b>kilowatt</B> was$ 14.000. Just make your own maths.

21. ### wet1WandererRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
8,616
Something else needs to be mentioned in this about solar cells that I have not seen mentioned. The output of these cells is in DC (direct current). To store this electricity you must use batteries. Wet cells. Now you can use the standard car battery but it is not very effecient. Futher the deep charging that is required for the batteries means that the normal wet battery will not last very long before needing replacement. Most sites that use solar cells store in cadium cells. This because the cadium cells last longer with the deep charge/discharge requirement. They are considerably larger and more expensive than the standard battery. I won't go into the disposal methods for hazardous substances within.

22. ### kmguruStaff Member

Messages:
11,757
Nickel metalhydride is a better alternative. While cycle life is said to be similar, in practice, Ni-MH lasts longer than Ni-Cd

Advantages of the Nickel-Metal Hydride Cell

The three major benefits of the nickel-metal hydride cells to designers of portable electrical and electronic products are:

1. Improved energy density (up to 40 percent greater than nickel-cadmium cells) which can be translated into either longer run times from existing batteries or reductions in the space necessary for the battery.

2. Elimination of the constraints on cell manufacture, usage, and disposal imposed because of concerns over cadmium toxicity.

3. Simplified incorporation into products currently using nickel cadmium cells because of the many design similarities between the two chemistries.

More...

23. ### kmguruStaff Member

Messages:
11,757
Re: Some forgotten facts

That is perhaps because, 99.9% people do not understand what is nuclear powerplant. They all equate nuclear with Hirosima or nuclear bomb in their mind. So even educated people and people who have taken physics still say - "ya, but..." to anything one says on nuclear.

That is human nature for you. Our earth is powered by a nuclear generator to create the magnetic field that protects us all.

Anyway, Nuclear to electricity is the way to go. If I have the time and can get a permit, I am sure I can design a major power system that does not use steam turbines to generate power.

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