Friday, March 11, 2016

What to Do When The Sun Don't Shine


In developing countries there is a tension between building out electrical networks and installing micro or even nano nets, e.g. small to minuscule electrical systems.  The former are (usually)  in discussion associated with large central generation, especially coal.  The latter are more suited to solar and wind.

There has been a concerted effort by the ignorant trying to guilt everybunny into considering coal heated power plants with a massive net build out.  Net build out is expensive, network distribution is subject to theft and chaos. Then you have to move the coal, worse, if that choice is made the people pay for that choice forever, having to both buy the coal continually, and suffer from the health effects of burning coal.  Coal is not an ethical choice and anybunny who thinks so is a moral degenerate like the Breakthrough Boys, Schellenberger and Nordhaus the Lesser

Eli has had something to say about this issue.  The fall in prices for solar and wind making it competitive and the obvious choices for remote locations without electrical supply.  A major issue, of course is what do you do when the sun don't shine.

Eli has an elegant answer with simple technology.  You dig a lake at the top of a local hill and when the sun does shine, you use excess power to pump water from local sources up to the top.  At night you reverse the pumps and use them as generators and distribute the water into irrigation networks.

Appropriate technology.



90 comments:

Arthur said...

Exactly - pumped hydro is cheap and efficient, all it needs is a local large elevation change.

Barton Paul Levenson said...

What's more, pumped hydro is a well-developed technology that has been around for many decades.

William said...

Distributed pumped hydro? That is silly.

Fernando Leanme said...

The UN projects Africa's URBAN population will be 600 million by mid century or thereabouts. Could you PLEASE focus on that instead of your favorite, the "remote village", which happens to be a fairly meaningless issue?

Bernard J. said...

"That is silly."

If it's stripped to its bones, not so much. It's about converting solar energy to potential energy, and there are a few ways to do that.

Doing so successfully just depends on how much we value our ways of living, and the planet. With a surfeit of obscenely undervalued fossil carbon energy, there's rather a lack of motivation to properly value the two former...

Johnny Vector said...

Fernando: You provide no cite, but let's take your 600 million urban population as true. The UN projects the total population of Africa mid-century to be about 2500 million. So 3/4 of the population will still be exurban. I'm failing to see how that qualifies as "fairly meaningless"

BBD said...

That is silly.

No, it isn't. Eli's final words were:

Appropriate technology.

With this in mind, and moving on to Fernando: in future, big African cities might well get some of their power from Big Hydro (for which potential exists, in Africa) but Eli was not writing about big African cities or Big Hydro. So it's rather a... tangential 'criticism'. And Fernando, just because there will be big African cities doesn't mean that the rural population will simply vanish. Somebody has to plough the fields and scatter so the city bunnies can eat.



Brian said...

This could probably fill a niche in hilly areas without enough rain, or without enough rain during the dry season. If they do have enough rain then they'd probably rely on stored hydropower rather than pumped storage.

The wiki article on pumped storage is good, and has some good links. The smallest system I saw in one of the links is 100Kw in Switzerland - still not economical, but maybe in the future (and it's not clear from the link whether that's pumped or just stored hydro).

Wiki mentions research on pumped storage using seawater, which could make the idea viable in a lot more areas. Also using it in old mines which can provide a large elevation change.

Hank Roberts said...

> using seawater

Sea water is full of itty bitty critters that grow into bigger critters, fouling whatever they anchor themselves on. And the tributyl tin paint used to prevent that are massively toxic.

Donald Strong said...

Hank Roberts is right. The ittybitty creatures make pumping seawater a very expensive proposition. Need two pipes, one of which is being reamed out of dying ittybitties while the other functions. Then switch, forever. In the business, ittybitties are known as fouling organisms. Putting a stake through the heart of tributyl tin has been one of the great successes of international marine policy.

steven said...


Your solution requires engineering.

see section 4.4 for cost estimation

http://hydropower.ornl.gov/docs/publications/ORNL_Hydropower%20Baseline%20Cost%20Development%202015-01-28_OConnor.pdf




8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

A forty year Fukushima cleanup operation sounds very appropriate for BBD's 'appropriate' energy technology alternatives. Compared to say, simple gravity fed energy storing agricultural irrigation technologies.

BBD said...

8c

You are replying to your own imaginary version of the comment I wrote.

Canman said...

If the choice is coal, the people do NOT have to pay for that choice forever! They'll get richer and have an infrastructure in place that can be used with the cheep nukes that are likely to be coming later.

EliRabett said...


Somebunnies are missing the point. Nanohydropowerstorage only has to bridge the dark hours and except for the pump generator set it can be built on site.

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

And obviously those imaginary future cheep nukes will produce energy too cheap to meter and will be impervious to terrorist or military operations. What a wonderful future for zombies and terrorists and petty demagogues possessing US, Russian and Chinese advanced weaponry.

Did I miss anything? Oh yeah, and the mischievous kid down the block.

BBD said...

8c

Did I miss anything?

The bit about nano hydropower storage?

Canman said...

You anti-nuke fanatics are just as blind as the peak oilers. You're going up against Adam Smith's invisible hand!

Hank Roberts said...

http://www.thenation.com/article/chronicles-invisible-hand-free-market-man/

But, but, without building clearcut rights-of-way for the transmission towers, pipelines, and coal transport, how are the major investors in African infrastructure supposed to get those big old hardwood trees and elephant ivory to market, not to mention the rhino horn to assure long profitable lives?

The invisible hand is the fifth horseman, you must remember.

Hank Roberts said...

I mean, just think -- if not for the railroads, the middle of North America might still be in ecological balance.

And you can't have an ecological balance and a bank balance simultaneously.

Canman said...

The fifth horseman is not the invisible hand -- it's collectivism (Maoism, Stalinism, Pol Potism, scientific socialism, ... etc.).

BBD said...

Canman

You're going up against Adam Smith's invisible hand!

They are up against time and physics. There are no free markets and the real invisible hands are busy offshoring the loot.

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

The bit about nano hydropower storage?

What exactly is there to say about it. It works. It's a wonderful way to store water, store energy and irrigate crops. It's a done deal.

What is not a done deal is your nutty idea that the free market will suddenly embrace nuclear power, in the face of vastly superior and more profitable alternatives like solar power and wind energy, and breakthroughs in quantum physics with are now arriving a dime a dozen. Especially now that the cleanup costs of their self induced nuclear disasters far exceeds any profits they ever made from it by orders of magnitude. And that not even counting man made nuclear disaster yet to come, to say nothing of ordinary decommissioning costs.

Your free market delusions are boundless, BBD and Canman et al.

BBD said...

Your free market delusions are boundless, BBD

Me, ten minutes ago:

There are no free markets and the real invisible hands are busy offshoring the loot.

Canman said...

Wind and solar are not more profitable, if they require expensive elevated lakes that can't be made everywhere. And I don't see any evidence that breakthroughs in quantum physics are arriving at the price of a dime a dozen. Can anyone name a recent advance in physics that has made PV cheaper? It looks to me like the world wide economic slowdown has created a glut. If some breakthrough makes PV cells free, it is still only a fraction of the cost of solar energy. It looks to me like the prospects for useful breakthroughs are with nuclear. Eventually it will be the invisible hand that sorts it out. The invisible hand is actually the economic, political and sociological manifestation of chaos theory, which is part of physics.

Florifulgurator said...

In India they use good old lead batteries to bridge grid failures...
Me in the outback would need max. 500 mAh to light the hut with LED while it's dark (suppose I can't afford candles or oil lamps). The music I make myself and the high amp things can wait for the light of day.

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

You need to learn how to parse a sentence, Canman. Notice the 'and'. You could try to inform yourself about scientific domains that you criticize for not being effective enough for your tastes. You are a typical teabagger in your reasoning and comprehension capabilities.

Invisible hand or not, it is the free market now that runs the world. Hence your unfounded optimism that a decades old technology that cannot compete on total amortized cost is unfounded and is demonstrably extremely dangerous to operate, and so now you are reduced to claiming that the rhetoric of pseudo anonymous commenters on obscure internet blogs are the primary reason for holding up new nuclear energy development and its implementation. That's tea bagger nuttery. It's insanely stupid and naive. And yet you believe it! That's ok, it's a free world, you can believe whatever stupid shit you want. Reality has a talent for sorting out what works and what doesn't.

Florifulgurator said...

canman is a classical economist. 'Nuff said.

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

I found those wind up and shake up Faraday flashlights to be extremely useful in preventing catastrophe in the night. And those waterproof maglights were pretty useful in there day, even before modern LEDs. I remember once I dropped one and had to swim down to the bottom of the ocean in a storm to retrieve it just to save myself and my boat. I remember thinking, SWIM TOWARDS THE LIGHT! And I suppose nobody has noticed the consumer revolution occurring right this very moment in consumer LED bulbs and tubes. I recently paid $1.50 for 800 lumen bulbs when a year ago a 1600 lumen bulb that ran much hotter (too hot to touch) was twenty bucks. It's well about 100 lumens per Watt now. Asian skyscrapers are replacing their old style fluorescent tubes by the zillions and its making me wonder if these things are being recycled properly. That market alone is driving to technology by leaps and bounds. You would have to be insane to buy an ordinary bulb or CFL nowadays. Do not underestimate the power of condensed matter physics to literally change your life overnight.

Canman said...

I'm not a linguistic whiz, but I thought I'd start my second sentence with "and" to give it more emphasis and whether or not it is incorrect usage, I don't see any significant effect on how my sentences are parsed, especially in a blog comment.

"Invisible hand or not, it is the free market now that runs the world."

Ultimately, that is true. What's the alternative? When government runs everything, the results are not good. History is full of examples. Countries can have governments and private businesses of they can just have government. There's plenty of examples of the later and they are not examples of where human prosperity thrives.

As for nuclear power, we've had Chernobyl, Fukushima, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Bikini Island being blown up and humanity still seems to keep on going. Nuclear power has a pretty safe record, but if we still have a couple more meltdowns, I think it's still worth the benefit.

BTW, your fancy LED lights were not made by government ministries.

Ken Fabian said...

Intermittency is a real issue but it's not nearly the make or break one for renewables it is often portrayed as. But curiously enough it may be make or break for fossil fuels and nuclear. That's because periodically and intermittently cheap energy forces other supplies into intermittency in response. This means pricing needs to go higher outside those periods for (so called) "baseload" plant to remain profitable - in a sunny region that will reliably be evenings and overnights. Some plant will simply be unable to shut down and restart to follow demand, despite a lot of predictability; their obsolescence will become increasingly apparent. Raising prices for evenings to compensate will give greater incentives to storage - it's value is better reflected by those higher peak prices than any average daily electricity price and it doesn't need to be a lot of storage to have a big impact. Other suitable existing plant needs to be shifted, in a planned way, into a role of interim backup whilst storage and other technologies catches up.

I doubt that micro pumped hydro is going to be a viable option in this - I'd like to see some pricing for such systems to be sure - but I suspect batteries will be. The improvements in batteries have been remarkable as well as ongoing and they are at the point where they make financial sense when used in conjunction with rooftop solar at the domestic level. It's likely we'll see grid scaled versions offering serious competition once bigger players accept that distribution and levelling - ie backup and storage - are future core businesses of electricity utilities.

Nuclear is in a deep hole but it wasn't a small but vocal minority of anti-nuclear activists that put it there; if we'd had 3 decades of mainstream and especially Conservative Right politics dedicated to fixing the climate problem with nuclear we'd probably have a maturing nuclear for climate program in place so I blame them. Climate science denial and obstructionism diverted the most influential pro-nuclear voices - those of commerce and industry - into the least cost option of not fixing the problem at all. In case people hadn't noticed, a commitment to not fixing the problem is incompatible with fixing the problem, whether you prefer nuclear or not. Renewables may have been given enough rope with the expectation of failure, but they've used it to haul themselves into viability. And they aren't done with getting better, cheaper and more ubiquitous.

Green politics didn't put nuclear in it's hole - much as the activists may like to claim credit and blinkered nuke spruikers like to blame them - climate science denial and obstructionism did. The end of mainstream climate science denial will help nuclear more than any change of heart by environmentalists, but it will also help renewables, which will be better supported and better implemented as a consequence. For the Conservative Right nuclear's primary function is as a rhetorical tool for criticising 'green' politics for failing to fix the climate problem to the satisfaction of those who don't want to fix it at all; climate and emissions doesn't appear to have any part in it and that's a core problem for nuclear.

Florifulgurator said...

Yet another Al Gore talk, on Energiewende: The Case for Optimism on Climate Change https://johncarlosbaez.wordpress.com/2016/03/07/the-case-for-optimism-on-climate-change/
Alas he can't do without the classical economist's dream of "affordable nuclear". A comment in loc. link suggests as an antidote to read this: Japan very nearly lost Tokyo http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11600771 A risk no serious economist would want to take. (Thus, methinks, Germany's Merkel (a physicist, not an economist, for a change) quit nuclear.)

Bob Loblaw said...

There is an interesting company doing a storage solution trial in Toronto,using large bladders under the lake. They compress air when electricity is produced, and pump it into the air chambers submerged in the lake, and then generate power when the pressurized air is released. No need for hills - just a reasonably deep water body.

http://www.hydrostor.ca/

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

Given a free ticket to the future, Mr. Canman, I think I'll take the train to the 4 C warmer world and you can take the train to the radioactive glowing nuclear wasteland world, ok? Have a nice trip.

Barton Paul Levenson said...

C: You anti-nuke fanatics are just as blind as the peak oilers. You're going up against Adam Smith's invisible hand!

BPL: May I remind you that Adam Smith relied on the labor theory of value, which we now know to be incorrect? The invisible hand works great when no externalities are involved, but when they are, the results can be randomly perverse.

EliRabett said...


Grunt labor can dig lakes.

Barton Paul Levenson said...

C: "Invisible hand or not, it is the free market now that runs the world."
Ultimately, that is true. What's the alternative? When government runs everything, the results are not good.

BPL: This is known as a fallacy of bifurcation. The alternatives are not either anarcho-capitalism or totalitarian government. There is a whole spectrum of possibilities in between.

Florifulgurator said...

8c77, actually, I'd prefer a trip to Tshernobyl over a trip to 4°C. What you find around Tshernobyl is a paradise of free nature (with only a few odd mutations). Short lived organisms don't care much about cancer. I'm 47, so the cancer thing is no longer troubling me either.

Nuclear power turned out (radio-) active environmental protection. Now we need some more Fukushima radiation to prevent the ocean ecosystems from terminal collapse due to overfishing. (If only radiation could undo acidification, then I would hail the classical economists's nuclear pipe dreams...)

Florifulgurator said...

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=A9ihKq34Ozc (An old relative of Mars Joh. Pictor Florifulgurator explainig stuff...)

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2zMN3dTvrwY (Now serious: Jeremy Jackson explaining the state of the oceans at US Naval War College. Who wouldn't welcome Fukushima after pondering this?)

David B. Benson said...

Forifuligator --- The Japanese are extreme radiophobes. There was never a possibility of loosing Tokyo although with different winds there might have been a mild dose, enough for children to take iodine pills. As it was, Fukushima shouldn't have been evacuated if the Japanese government had followed IAEA guidelines.

Florifulgurator said...

DBB, yeah sure, Japanese neuroses... Fukushima is nothing compared to Tshernobyl. But what if some more (of some half dozen) reactors had blown up a little more? -- I dead seriously wish at least an order of magnitude more radiation released into the ocean. Oh the Lügenpresse panicking! Oh the healthy disgust of contaminated sea food! From squid to dolphins... (OK, then the lack of protein might pose another problem. But this problem will haunt us sooner or later anyway. Except if some solid state quantum physicist could invent some cheap protein producing solar panel based on 2D topological carbon superinsulators...)

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

That's a little too borgish even for me, that's blob physics. Better to use preexisting genomes for that sort of thing. You could just process zombie meat for soylent green. But you can certainly power it with solar energy.

David B. Benson said...

Forifulgurator --- That was the most that BWRs can blow up.

Fernando Leanme said...

Johnny, the bulk of the population isn't in "remote villages". And any solution which fails to address the urban center's population is simply meaningless (those "remote villages" don't consume electricity anyway).

I happen to have experience working in both East and West Africa, and I think these well intentioned posts simply hide the truth: the problem is intractable. There's no solution unless they control population. So what I foresee is increasing wars and unrest, possibly epidemics, serving as the feedback mechanism. And this has nothing to do with global warming. What's coming is much worse as the misgovernance, corruption, religious conflicts and crime rise couple with population pressures and enviromental degradation to cause horrible conditions.

Right now I'm seeing Venezuela fall into "quasi African" misgovernance, crime, corruption, and lack of food and medicine. Venezuela is a slightly different case, because it used to be a rich country which has been destroyed by communists and gangsters, but the process is similar in the sense that people are about to die in large numbers. And nobody really cares.

William said...

Hi, the reasona I said at the top that distributed pumped hydro is silly is not that I oppose renewables; I'm all for them. But it is difficult to build just one of the things, so builing hundreds sounds, well, silly.

The amount of water needed is big. In hilly regions this isn't such a problem (bigger head available), but if you have no hills and create say a 10m head, you need about 40 cubic meters of water to generate 1KWh. Assuming we want say 10KWh, we would need two 400m^3 tanks (top and bottom) that have to be built (dug, lined and covered) on someone's land. And we need a lot of water and to make sure it is not stolen next time there is drought. We'd also need pipes connecting the tanks, pump/generators and then to wire up the community (which in itself is more complicated than individual DC panels supplying individual houses). We also now need regulators (and regulations) etc and trained personnel to fix it when it fails or the pipes get blocked or the wires break or are stolen etc. I'm sure it is do-able, and it would be a great project to try. But it is expensive.

Canman said...

Here's a recent debate with the Breakthrough Institute's Michael Shellenburger, Ken Caldeira, Mark Jacobson and some airhead from the National Resources Defense Council. Shellenburger is trying to keep the Diablo Canyon Nuclear plant open. Jacobson, in his typical fashion, ducks any question about it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kh7aaW8Leco

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

You realize Canman, that you are posting Breakthrough istitute CRAP on a science blog whose authors not hold their corporate propaganda in particularly high regard, no? Your dogma is tedious and boring and quite honestly bullshit.

Hank Roberts said...

hm, looks like an attempted post got lost.

Well, people should see that Shellenberger video. It'll separate the true believers from anyone who pays attention. The guy is a scary advocate, not even trying to have a conversation, just pumping the hype. Do check out the video, and try to imagine what kind of viewer thinks the guy sounds smart or honest. I think it says a lot that anyone recommends that video.

In other news, Fukushima isn't over yet -- because they don't know where the core fuel went or what's mixed with it now, and they have to keep pumping water through whatever is left of the containment because it leaks right out again -- basically they're extracting all the dissolvable material from the corium with a continuous flow of water, because they have to keep the site cooled down, and they don't know what's where. The three reactors were at different points in their fuel cycles --two using uranium, one using MOX -- so have different inventories of different fission daughters:
http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/nuclear/harnessing-cosmic-rays-to-peer-into-fukushimas-deadly-reactors

It's not over til it's over.

Methane's a problem because the cost-benefit analysis for finding and fixing leaks has been done counting only the lost value of the cheap gas versus the high cost of closing the leaky system -- ignoring the externalized cost of adding the greenhouse gas to the atmosphere. It would be very expensive to build a gas-tight distribution system, and more expensive to maintain it. If they add the cost of keeping it a tight system, gas is no longer a cheap fuel. If they add the cost being externalized, it's no longer a cheap fuel.

It's not that there are a few leaks to be plugged. It's that the whole system is built on the assumption that gas is cheap and keeping it in the system costs a lot more than they want to spend.

" ... all of them–solar, nuclear, hydrocarbon–need to be held to a longer term standard. That’s the real problem, we’re not yet ready to admit that Earth is a bedroom planet. You wouldn’t run a home generator in the bedroom. No matter what the source, it’s got to be outside." -- http://ultraphyte.com/2016/01/12/clean-gas-not/

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

In our case, Hank, 'outside' is the Earth Moon Lagrange system.

EliRabett said...


A nanohydro system does not have to be particularly efficient, it just needs to be able to keep a few things running, and people have been digging ponds for millenia.

As to level ground, well look at the water tanks in the US midwest.

Russell Seitz said...

It would have worked for Sisyphus too, but the Hadean EPA demanded an impact statement

Canman said...

8c, that video is almost exclusively about energy policy. Shellenburger made his points and defended them very well. Did you see Jacobson completely dodge the moderator's question about Diablo Canyon? I probably shouldn't have called the woman from the NRDC an airhead, but I do think her arguments were vapid. I find Jacobson's schemes to be halfbaked!

Canman said...

Hank, you may disagree with Shellenburger about nuclear, but what indication do you see that he is anything other than honest? Unlike Jacobson, he answers every question put to him.

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

Follow the money, Canman.

"Shellenberger was raised in a Mennonite household in Colorado and attended college at Earlham College, a Quaker school in Richmond, Indiana.[64][65] He went on to receive a master's degree in Cultural Anthropology"

Yeah, ne's a real expert.

Canman said...

That Shellenberger has a masters in anthropology gives him a background similar to Greg Laden. That he was raised a Mennonite probably means he has more of a conscience and more self-discipline. He certainly seems a lot more coherent.

EliRabett said...

Shellenberger is, what a fool thinks a smart person is. His arguments are about an inch deep and his lack of background is about what you expect from the best student at an ok college who never went on. Eli used to point this out to him, nicely of course, on twitter, until banned.

If you want to get a taste of his lack of nous, try Chris Smaje
http://dark-mountain.net/blog/dark-thoughts-on-ecomodernism-2/
http://smallfarmfuture.org.uk/?p=854

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

"That Shellenberger has a masters in anthropology"

And some minor 'credentials' in cultural anthropology gives him exactly what kind of 'credibility' in the hard sciences? Again? I missed it. Credibility in the hard sciences is something that you earn, the hard way, by the consensus of your peers. That's not him.

BBD said...

Yeah, ne's a real expert.

Never mind Shellenburger.

There are bigger problems than that.

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

Never mind Shellenburger.

Spoken like a true authoritarian. No wait, that's one of the problems!

Jeffrey Davis said...

If nuclear hasn't already filled the niche, it isn't going to. And (ironically) it's the Free Marketers/No Gov't types that killed it. What private investor is going to want to tie up his capital for 10-15 years with no return? Particularly with the uncertainty of the amount of return increasing with every advance in other energy producing technologies.

If government (we the people) can't step in and make the reactors, the reactors are not going to be made.

David B. Benson said...

Jeffrey Davis --- That is not the way the financing works. Bonds pay interest at regular intervals for the life of the loan and then the principal is due to be returned. It's like a balloon loan for a house.

So the utility has to arrange to service the loan during construction by some means other than the electricity payments for power produced by the unit under construction.

This holds irrespective of whether the utility is public or private.

David B. Benson said...

Since Shellenburger went to Earlham I will pay more attention to what he writes as that is a fine college which stresses ethics.

Everett F Sargent said...

This video ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kh7aaW8Leco

.. is just like this thread!

How do we chance this narrative for the general public?

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

a fine college which stresses ethics.

I guess that's why he shills for corporations for money.

A guy's gotta do what a guy's gotta do.

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

Of course you're right, Everett, everyone should remain civil while corporations use the land, the sea and the air, and even underground now, for your sewers. Why should one confront Breakthrough Institute and Michael Shellenberger defense of corporate pollution of the only planet we have for profit and pay? That would be ... unethical!

It's people like Ken Rice that really give science a bad name, calling for civility in discussion when science is unequivocal about really bad people corporations and the really bad things they are doing to other people, and the best planet around.

Tepco, just to name one.

BBD said...

8c

It's people like Ken Rice that really give science a bad name, calling for civility in discussion

I didn't think it possible, but your commentary is becoming even more offensive and unhinged.

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

That's great, BBD, that means I'm doing my job. I INTEND to offend you, since I find the civilization that you are promoting and shilling for to be offensive. We do not live in an ethical world, we live in a corrupt world filled with liars, greedy bastards, corrupt people and polluting corporation, and don't forget nutty churches pushing their tax exempt delusional dogma onto naive and impressionable children who then grow up and breed profusely.

If you think broaching those offensive realities in an offensive manner then that's your problem, not mine. Until you fascists and authoritarians seize total control, I'm going to say what I want.

Aaron said...

Using high efficiency electronics (LEDs for light), very little energy must be stored. This can be done with tanks on the roof. Energy storage can be combined with local water treatment so energy storage is also water treatment.

Better water results in better health, and better health results in much greater human productivity.

Thus, increased human productivity pays for the whole system.

Mal Adapted said...

Canman: "You're going up against Adam Smith's invisible hand!"

Well, since AGW is a cost of using fossil carbon for energy that's been externalized by the fossil-fuel market, we're all going up against the invisible hand. The invisible hand never picks up the check if it doesn't have to. In a market-based economy, governments intervene to either re-internalize market externalities, or else pay their costs with public funds.

Using public funds to subsidize carbon-neutral energy sources and infrastructure might help the market transition away from FFs, but that keeps the cost of climate change socialized. Your average market economist agrees carbon taxes would achieve the same goal more efficiently, and free-market libertarians should agree that making FF consumers pay the full cost of using them is more fair. What do you think of carbon taxes, Canman?

Canman said...

E. Wabbett @11/3/16 8:29 PM:

"Grunt labor can dig lakes."

Great! That sounds like a big step forward for humanity. Just because bunnies like to dig holes doesn't mean the rest of us do.

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

Who is the rest of 'you', Canman, you?

Canman said...

Mal Adapted (I believe quoting Naomi Oreskes):

"The invisible hand never picks up the check".

Don't be so sure. No one saw the fracked gas revolution coming and it's cut a lot of CO2 emissions. If Lockheed Martin's fusion pans out, it may pick up the whole tab! It may even have a surprise up its sleeve like a practical version of the zinc air battery.

As for a carbon tax, I think it might help the country from having the opposite problem with it's currency as Venezuela has with toilet paper. But I think too high of one might create some perverse problems. It may limit the country's ability to afford enough of Russell Seitz's shiny bubbles.

Canman said...

8c:

"Who is the rest of 'you', Canman, you?"

That'd be fans of Alex Epstein and others who would like to someday fly around the world.

BBD said...

8c

That's great, BBD, that means I'm doing my job. I INTEND to offend you, since I find the civilization that you are promoting and shilling for to be offensive.

I'm not shilling for anybody. I'm *trying* to have a sensible discussion about the practical constraints on decarbonisation and the compromises that are necessary to achieve the fastest route.

We do not live in an ethical world, we live in a corrupt world filled with liars, greedy bastards, corrupt people and polluting corporation, and don't forget nutty churches pushing their tax exempt delusional dogma onto naive and impressionable children who then grow up and breed profusely.

If you think broaching those offensive realities in an offensive manner then that's your problem, not mine. Until you fascists and authoritarians seize total control, I'm going to say what I want.


I am neither a fascist nor an authoritarian. If you want to have an argument with an imaginary version of me, I can't stop you, but it won't make for a productive exchange of views. This is supposed to be a space for discussion.

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

I'm not shilling for anybody. I'm *trying* to have a sensible discussion about the practical constraints on decarbonisation and the compromises that are necessary to achieve the fastest route.

Well here's the deal, BBD, nobody is listing to your practical discussion and nobody cares. So vote for nobody, he cares.

Practicing scientists will solve your problems for you, and entrepreneurs and industrialists will implement those solutions.

Not a bunch of woo woo cultural anthropologists or political hacks.

David B. Benson said...

I stopped paying any attention to 8c some time ago. Just another troll.

Barton Paul Levenson said...

I have to agree with DBB. Symbol salad is aggressive beyond reason. The man needs some kind of help, and he won't get it as long as we keep responding to him.

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

So you don't think an aggressive approach to solving the problems is required. So in your view the problems are just not that serious and can be solved by polite conversation among cultural anthropologists. I get that. And what makes you think I won't stop commenting here even if you don't reply to me? Here's an idea for you. Contact management and get me banned for life. That will solve your serious problem of not wanting to hear what you don't want to hear. What I am doing is writing an essay directly confronting your esteemed mentor's nutty hypothesis that life on this planet is a one time absolutely singular occurrence in the entire universe. In other words, I don't believe a single word you say about anything, let alone life on this planet. So thanks for the tip, I just can't track down every bit of nuttiness on the internet, so that helps me a lot.

Canman said...

E Wabbett: "As to level ground, well look at the water tanks in the US midwest."

You're not seriously talking about using water towers for electricity storage, are you? I think everybunny here is talking about more than recharging cel phones.

Johnny Vector said...

Just to be clear about the numbers... It's convenient that the gravitational acceleration at the Earth's surface is about 10 in MKS units. (If you can't remember, just think of Ed Robertson's song "When I Fall": "It's 9 point 8 straight down; I can't stop my knees". Everyone knows that song, right?)

So if you have a 30 meter tower with 30 tonnes of water, mgh = 30k * 30 * 10 = 10000 kJ, or about 2.7 kWh. Times the efficiency gives you maybe 2 kWh. That's the biggest steel tank in the farm catalog I checked, and a very tall tower. That might be enough to get you through the night at your summer house in the Berkshires, but if you want to run your refrigerator, TV, and all the other amenities of a house in a developed country, it's marginal at best. If you're trying to heat and cool the house as well, forget it.

Mal Adapted said...

Canman:

"(I believe quoting Naomi Oreskes):

'The invisible hand never picks up the check.'"

Kim Stanley Robinson, actually.

"Don't be so sure. No one saw the fracked gas revolution coming and it's cut a lot of CO2 emissions. If Lockheed Martin's fusion pans out, it may pick up the whole tab!"

So who's going to pick up the check for the warming from fracked gas? It's true the market isn't ignoring alternatives completely, but the need for rapid cessation of GHG emissions is urgent, and as long as the climate cost of fossil energy is socialized, the market doesn't feel the urgency. Meanwhile, people who enjoy little benefit of economic development driven by "cheap" FFs are paying more than their share of the costs of climate change.

There's a strain of Libertarian thought that believes "the moral argument for liberty and free-market capitalism implies that we're required to act" on climate change.

If nothing else, it's clear that Libertarianism doesn't require AGW-denial. Not that I've seen you take a hard AGW-denialist line here, though.

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

if you want to run your refrigerator, TV, and all the other amenities of a house in a developed country, it's marginal at best. If you're trying to heat and cool the house as well, forget it.

I do believe scientists have clearly identified that behavior as the core of the global warming problem, no? What do you not understand about no? The meaning of no, the spelling of no, or the pronunciation of no?

Nigel Franks said...

As for a carbon tax, I think it might help the country from having the opposite problem with it's currency as Venezuela has with toilet paper. But I think too high of one might create some perverse problems. It may limit the country's ability to afford enough of Russell Seitz's shiny bubbles.

Why should a Carbon Tax have any negative effect on the economy as long as there is no net increase in taxation?

Russell Seitz said...

" No one saw the fracked gas revolution coming"

Canman should look through the other end of his infrared viewer.

Last time I looked, microbubbles cost about 100 millijoules per trillion

Canman said...

"So who's going to pick up the check for the warming from fracked gas?"

I hope there's a credit deducted for preventing another mini ice age.

Canman said...

RS: "Last time I looked, microbubbles cost about 100 millijoules per trillion".

It's still not clear if they are expensive or cheap.

Hank Roberts said...

> fracking

It's toxic waste disposal, made into a profit rather than a loss item.
The chemical industry excels at this spin

They did the same with MTBE (a toxic waste, then a gasoline oxygenator, then an aquifer pollutant, and now a toxic waste again).

They did the same with 1,2,3-trichloropropane

----excerpt follows-----
"“Shell saw a huge opportunity to take a hazardous waste stream from their chemical plants … and start putting it in barrels, and selling it to farmers,” says Robins. “Then Dow soon followed suit.”

The companies sold the product to farmers as a fumigant, which is injected into the soil.

Robins has compiled a huge stack of documents that show neither Dow Chemical nor Shell listed 1,2,3-TCP on their product labels, even though it was one of several ingredients. One of Dow’s own scientists admitted that the compound had served no function killing nematodes.

Robins shows me a 1974 memo where Dow describes some of the fumigant components as “garbage.”
----end excerpt----

There's no end of the crap you can repackage as a product and sell to someone. The chemical industry pioneered the approach the mortgage bankers emulated.


> <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10584-010-9965-8>Microbubbles</a>
are an interesting idea -- although we only recently discovered that there's a microscopically thin bacterial membrane interface between oceans and atmosphere.

Microbubbles would fiddle with that interface, there could be unanticipated consequences.

You don't want to poke the coccolithophores with a sharp stick either.

Some experimentation would be wonderful to see. Is anyone doing that?

I'm sure the chemical industry would eagerly offer large quantities of proprietary crap to enhance the bubble effect.

Hank Roberts said...

Sea surface interface:
https://scholar.google.com/scholar?as_ylo=2012&q=ocean+air+bacterial+film+interface&hl=en&num=20&as_sdt=1,5&as_vis=1

Hank Roberts said...

P.S.:
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acscentsci.5b00210

Ocean Sea Spray, Clouds, and Climate

How do phytoplankton influence the makeup of sea spray aerosol? How does that affect cloud formation? Two papers this month begin to answer these questions.

Veronica Vaida
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80309, United States
ACS Cent. Sci., 2015, 1 (3), pp 112–114
DOI: 10.1021/acscentsci.5b00210
Publication Date (Web): June 09, 2015

"Key to these studies is the oceanic water enclosure developed at Scripps Institute of Oceanography ...."


Just think -- with a little gene fiddling, someone could tweak some species to _thrive_ in microbubbles and perhaps engineer them to favor itself, producing a self-sustaining layer all across the surface as the ocean.

Instead of tossing waves, we could have oceans covered in bacterial shaving foam, self-sustaining.

And Earth would shine as brightly as Venus.
Til the ice came back ....


I'm all in favor of unanticipated consequences.
Everybody likes surprises.

Russell Seitz said...

Last time I looked, oil sold for about one cent per megajoule of contained energy.

At which rate of exchange , 1-micron air bubbles would go for ~ ten to the minus 21 dollars each, or a million trillion for a penny.

If Canadaman knows of anything with a smaller price tag, he should call Walmart, pronto.