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What is the best alternative energy?

Bannanawamajama
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2/25/2014 9:56:53 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
What in your opinion is the best energy option to supplant oil, and why?

No agenda with this question, just looking for something to talk about thats not Evolution.
GarretKadeDupre
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2/26/2014 1:32:03 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/25/2014 9:56:53 PM, Bannanawamajama wrote:
What in your opinion is the best energy option to supplant oil, and why?

No agenda with this question, just looking for something to talk about thats not Evolution.

Ok I'll try my best to steer clear of that topic.

Hmm.. I'd say the best energy option would be to utilize the untapped bioenergy of the bodies of evolutionists.
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Sswdwm
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2/26/2014 2:44:51 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/25/2014 9:56:53 PM, Bannanawamajama wrote:
What in your opinion is the best energy option to supplant oil, and why?

No agenda with this question, just looking for something to talk about thats not Evolution.

Nuclear - Solid fuel reactors can already potentially meet most our means for the time being. New technologies such as LFTR (China and India have it in development) and fusion (>30 years away, but promising for the next generation) are probably going to be the most important ones.

Solar and wind are already proven technologies unlike LFTR or fusion, however their scalability is questionable and environmental impact per GWh is substantially greater - and that's before you regard their reliability/intermittency. In the near future I expect to see more solid fuel nuclear reactors as the energy demand outstrips supply and the price of coal & gas becomes too prohibitive (unfortunately the economics of fossil fuel extraction takes precedence over environmental impact....)
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Skepticalone
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2/26/2014 10:53:29 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/25/2014 9:56:53 PM, Bannanawamajama wrote:
What in your opinion is the best energy option to supplant oil, and why?

No agenda with this question, just looking for something to talk about thats not Evolution.

I'm for rubberband power...or gerbils. Seriously, I believe nucelar is the most effecient we have available now. I am not sure about the disposal methods of the waste, though. If we were going to get serious about solar and wind power, we should start building new houses with solar panels and miniature wind turbines. Take a load off the current grid.
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Sswdwm
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2/26/2014 11:04:30 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/26/2014 10:53:29 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
At 2/25/2014 9:56:53 PM, Bannanawamajama wrote:
What in your opinion is the best energy option to supplant oil, and why?

No agenda with this question, just looking for something to talk about thats not Evolution.

I'm for rubberband power...or gerbils. Seriously, I believe nucelar is the most effecient we have available now. I am not sure about the disposal methods of the waste, though. If we were going to get serious about solar and wind power, we should start building new houses with solar panels and miniature wind turbines. Take a load off the current grid.

That's what liquid fuel reactors are for, they can 'burn' the transuranic (and hence almost all the long term high level radioactive waste) in their fuel cycles. It's a shame that the states have not pursued it more seriously, and instead China and India are progressing their development programs.

In any case, nuclear as it is today is still many, many times safer, and costs an order of magnitude less health problems/deaths than coal/oil does per GWh, even when you include Chernobyl & Fukashima into the statistics
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Skepticalone
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2/26/2014 11:07:25 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/26/2014 11:04:30 AM, Sswdwm wrote:
At 2/26/2014 10:53:29 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
At 2/25/2014 9:56:53 PM, Bannanawamajama wrote:
What in your opinion is the best energy option to supplant oil, and why?

No agenda with this question, just looking for something to talk about thats not Evolution.

I'm for rubberband power...or gerbils. Seriously, I believe nucelar is the most effecient we have available now. I am not sure about the disposal methods of the waste, though. If we were going to get serious about solar and wind power, we should start building new houses with solar panels and miniature wind turbines. Take a load off the current grid.

That's what liquid fuel reactors are for, they can 'burn' the transuranic (and hence almost all the long term high level radioactive waste) in their fuel cycles. It's a shame that the states have not pursued it more seriously, and instead China and India are progressing their development programs.

In any case, nuclear as it is today is still many, many times safer, and costs an order of magnitude less health problems/deaths than coal/oil does per GWh, even when you include Chernobyl & Fukashima into the statistics

Interesting about the liquid fuel reactors, I have never heard of this. Also, don't get me wrong, I agree we should be utilizing the nuclear power plants.
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Subutai
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2/26/2014 12:03:58 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/25/2014 9:56:53 PM, Bannanawamajama wrote:
What in your opinion is the best energy option to supplant oil, and why?

No agenda with this question, just looking for something to talk about thats not Evolution.

Definitely nuclear. Nuclear energy is very efficient, and contrary to popular belief, is actually one of the safest ways to get energy because its nuclear. There are greater precautions in the nuclear industry to prevent a meltdown. Fission produces a lot of energy, but the possibilities with fusion are even greater, whenever we get cold fusion up and running. Fusion produces a lot more energy for the same amount of material than fission does.
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Installgentoo
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2/26/2014 2:24:36 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/25/2014 9:56:53 PM, Bannanawamajama wrote:
What in your opinion is the best energy option to supplant oil, and why?

No agenda with this question, just looking for something to talk about thats not Evolution.

Definitely nuclear power. It is the safest energy asides from wind power and natural gas power, both of which are not very good or safe by comparison.
Iredia
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2/26/2014 6:17:05 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Wind and solar power are the best alternatives as far as I know. Now I've seen somewhere on the Web that harnessing energy from water is implausible. How true is this ?
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Sswdwm
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2/26/2014 6:29:32 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/26/2014 6:17:05 PM, Iredia wrote:
Wind and solar power are the best alternatives as far as I know. Now I've seen somewhere on the Web that harnessing energy from water is implausible. How true is this ?

Err... And I thought you were a frequent TED viewer.

We already do this. Hydro, tidal and eventually fusion (deuterium). Unless you were talking about 'water batteries'... Which is how the apollo missions powered their modules.
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Iredia
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2/26/2014 6:41:56 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/26/2014 6:29:32 PM, Sswdwm wrote:
At 2/26/2014 6:17:05 PM, Iredia wrote:
Wind and solar power are the best alternatives as far as I know. Now I've seen somewhere on the Web that harnessing energy from water is implausible. How true is this ?

Err... And I thought you were a frequent TED viewer.

We already do this. Hydro, tidal and eventually fusion (deuterium). Unless you were talking about 'water batteries'... Which is how the apollo missions powered their modules.

No. I'm not that frequent, more of an occassional watcher. I know of hydro, tidal and water batteries. I should have been more specific, fusion is what I had in mind; has this been achieved ?
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Sswdwm
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2/26/2014 7:25:19 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/26/2014 6:41:56 PM, Iredia wrote:
At 2/26/2014 6:29:32 PM, Sswdwm wrote:
At 2/26/2014 6:17:05 PM, Iredia wrote:
Wind and solar power are the best alternatives as far as I know. Now I've seen somewhere on the Web that harnessing energy from water is implausible. How true is this ?

Err... And I thought you were a frequent TED viewer.

We already do this. Hydro, tidal and eventually fusion (deuterium). Unless you were talking about 'water batteries'... Which is how the apollo missions powered their modules.

No. I'm not that frequent, more of an occassional watcher. I know of hydro, tidal and water batteries. I should have been more specific, fusion is what I had in mind; has this been achieved ?

Yes, but make it viable for energy production is still a few decades away. The most promising configuration is a 'Tokamak' which confines the super heated plasma into a doughnut with magnets. The European 'proof of concept' experiment ITER is to be a major step forward on this front. Similarly to how learning that oil burns needs development before you can have an engine that harnesses the power (it's obviously not as simple as that but that's the main idea).
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Iredia
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2/26/2014 7:38:07 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/26/2014 7:25:19 PM, Sswdwm wrote:
At 2/26/2014 6:41:56 PM, Iredia wrote:
At 2/26/2014 6:29:32 PM, Sswdwm wrote:
At 2/26/2014 6:17:05 PM, Iredia wrote:
Wind and solar power are the best alternatives as far as I know. Now I've seen somewhere on the Web that harnessing energy from water is implausible. How true is this ?

Err... And I thought you were a frequent TED viewer.

We already do this. Hydro, tidal and eventually fusion (deuterium). Unless you were talking about 'water batteries'... Which is how the apollo missions powered their modules.

No. I'm not that frequent, more of an occassional watcher. I know of hydro, tidal and water batteries. I should have been more specific, fusion is what I had in mind; has this been achieved ?

Yes, but make it viable for energy production is still a few decades away. The most promising configuration is a 'Tokamak' which confines the super heated plasma into a doughnut with magnets. The European 'proof of concept' experiment ITER is to be a major step forward on this front. Similarly to how learning that oil burns needs development before you can have an engine that harnesses the power (it's obviously not as simple as that but that's the main idea).

Nice. I hope they check for adverse environmental effects (actual or potential). We have too many historical precedents were this has been taken carelessly.
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obrienkr
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2/26/2014 7:43:43 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I'm not sure there is a "best" alternative to fossil fuels. The best technology may vary from region to region based upon available resources. Hydroelectric is hard to beat in some areas, while solar or wind may be more cost-effective in other areas. One possible, and interesting, process is the gasification of biomass and trash. It's an old technology that is seeing renewed interest. To some degree it also depend upon whether you are looking at industrial vs. consumer use. I think we may see regional strategies develop rather that a focus on a particular technology.
Sswdwm
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2/26/2014 7:47:08 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/26/2014 7:38:07 PM, Iredia wrote:
At 2/26/2014 7:25:19 PM, Sswdwm wrote:
At 2/26/2014 6:41:56 PM, Iredia wrote:
At 2/26/2014 6:29:32 PM, Sswdwm wrote:
At 2/26/2014 6:17:05 PM, Iredia wrote:
Wind and solar power are the best alternatives as far as I know. Now I've seen somewhere on the Web that harnessing energy from water is implausible. How true is this ?

Err... And I thought you were a frequent TED viewer.

We already do this. Hydro, tidal and eventually fusion (deuterium). Unless you were talking about 'water batteries'... Which is how the apollo missions powered their modules.

No. I'm not that frequent, more of an occassional watcher. I know of hydro, tidal and water batteries. I should have been more specific, fusion is what I had in mind; has this been achieved ?

Yes, but make it viable for energy production is still a few decades away. The most promising configuration is a 'Tokamak' which confines the super heated plasma into a doughnut with magnets. The European 'proof of concept' experiment ITER is to be a major step forward on this front. Similarly to how learning that oil burns needs development before you can have an engine that harnesses the power (it's obviously not as simple as that but that's the main idea).

Nice. I hope they check for adverse environmental effects (actual or potential). We have too many historical precedents were this has been taken carelessly.

It's one of the main selling points of fusion... The negligible environmental impact compared with all other forms of energy production.
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Bannanawamajama
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2/27/2014 3:57:54 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I think for wind or solar power, a big hurdle is developing more efficient energy storage systems. That would help overcome the intermittency issues if we could store excess generated power without losing too much in conversion.

In nuclear, I've never heard of liquid fuel fission, that sounds interesting. In addition to the Tokamak fusion reactor mentioned above, theres another method that has been having some good results called Inertial Confinement fusion. Basically an array of lasers all shoot at a smal pellet of fuel wrapped in a metallic shell to superheat it, making it explode, while the metallic shell traps the explosion in a small area. The high pressure that results is supposed to be much better than what you can do with Tokamaks.

It still isn't quite good enough for energy generation but I think its gotten the most efficient results to date. There are people trying to combine both approaches together to make a better method.
Sswdwm
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2/27/2014 6:13:52 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/27/2014 3:57:54 PM, Bannanawamajama wrote:
I think for wind or solar power, a big hurdle is developing more efficient energy storage systems. That would help overcome the intermittency issues if we could store excess generated power without losing too much in conversion.

In nuclear, I've never heard of liquid fuel fission, that sounds interesting. In addition to the Tokamak fusion reactor mentioned above, theres another method that has been having some good results called Inertial Confinement fusion. Basically an array of lasers all shoot at a smal pellet of fuel wrapped in a metallic shell to superheat it, making it explode, while the metallic shell traps the explosion in a small area. The high pressure that results is supposed to be much better than what you can do with Tokamaks.

It still isn't quite good enough for energy generation but I think its gotten the most efficient results to date. There are people trying to combine both approaches together to make a better method.

Ah you are right:
http://arstechnica.com...

I remember there being a breakthrough in 2013 on the same technology.. It's the only method that has generated more energy than is put in. I am still hedging my bets on the Tokomak configuration, only time will tell.
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RoyLatham
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2/27/2014 6:47:04 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Add my vote to nuclear. Using breeder reactors, there is at the very least a 5000 year fuel supply.

A recent experiment in Japan showed a method for extracting uranium from sea water for $380/kg. Present mining costs are about $100/kg -- but fuel costs are not a significant part of nuclear power. The cost of nuclear would barely increase with the more expensive fuel.

A plant for converting long-lived isotopes in nuclear waste to short term isotopes has already been designed, but no government has yet seen fit to fund it's construction. That would solve the waste storage problem. Burying the waste in mountain is actually an acceptable solution as well.

Wind and solar are economically not viable. Windmills has environmental problems with noise and bird strikes. The flexing on the blades from the wind being stronger at the top than the bottom makes the blade life too short. The unpredictable nature of wind requires a 100% backup with a conventional power plant, and it's too expensive to keep a power plant idle waiting for its need as a backup.

Solar takes up too much land and it's way too expensive. There may be some practical applications for powering air conditioning in desert cities. There is reliable sun when the peak load occurs.

Germany is in the process of abandoning subsidies for wind and solar. Their energy costs are so high their industry is becoming non-competitive.

Fifty years out, I think solar power satellites will come into play. The power is beamed down on microwaves. The satellites run 24/7 and the sun is uniformly bright. The power can be beamed down anywhere it's needed. The Japanese are now building a prototype.
GarretKadeDupre
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2/27/2014 7:53:57 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/27/2014 6:47:04 PM, RoyLatham wrote:
Solar takes up too much land and it's way too expensive. There may be some practical applications for powering air conditioning in desert cities. There is reliable sun when the peak load occurs.

Wouldn't it pay for itself eventually?
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Enji
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2/27/2014 8:08:14 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/27/2014 7:53:57 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
At 2/27/2014 6:47:04 PM, RoyLatham wrote:
Solar takes up too much land and it's way too expensive. There may be some practical applications for powering air conditioning in desert cities. There is reliable sun when the peak load occurs.

Wouldn't it pay for itself eventually?

Solar power for individual households generally are cheaper in the long run, but solar power plants aren't due to high up-front costs of solar infrastructure, the land for solar farms, and transmission infrastructure, plus long term maintenance and repair costs; solar power from solar farms is actually more expensive to produce than coal.
Sswdwm
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2/27/2014 8:10:22 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Fifty years out, I think solar power satellites will come into play. The power is beamed down on microwaves. The satellites run 24/7 and the sun is uniformly bright. The power can be beamed down anywhere it's needed. The Japanese are now building a prototype.

Got a good reference for this? I'm skeptical that this is sensible, let alone viable to say the least
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GarretKadeDupre
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2/27/2014 8:12:46 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/27/2014 8:10:22 PM, Sswdwm wrote:
Fifty years out, I think solar power satellites will come into play. The power is beamed down on microwaves. The satellites run 24/7 and the sun is uniformly bright. The power can be beamed down anywhere it's needed. The Japanese are now building a prototype.

Got a good reference for this? I'm skeptical that this is sensible, let alone viable to say the least

I think it's a bad idea. If they use all the sun's energy where will earth's heat and light come from? I mean the moon is reflecting light from the sun so with the sun gone we won't even have moonlight either.
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GarretKadeDupre
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2/27/2014 8:13:15 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/27/2014 8:08:14 PM, Enji wrote:
At 2/27/2014 7:53:57 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
At 2/27/2014 6:47:04 PM, RoyLatham wrote:
Solar takes up too much land and it's way too expensive. There may be some practical applications for powering air conditioning in desert cities. There is reliable sun when the peak load occurs.

Wouldn't it pay for itself eventually?

Solar power for individual households generally are cheaper in the long run, but solar power plants aren't due to high up-front costs of solar infrastructure, the land for solar farms, and transmission infrastructure, plus long term maintenance and repair costs; solar power from solar farms is actually more expensive to produce than coal.

Oh ok that makes sense!
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Sswdwm
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2/27/2014 8:17:11 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/27/2014 8:12:46 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
At 2/27/2014 8:10:22 PM, Sswdwm wrote:
Fifty years out, I think solar power satellites will come into play. The power is beamed down on microwaves. The satellites run 24/7 and the sun is uniformly bright. The power can be beamed down anywhere it's needed. The Japanese are now building a prototype.

Got a good reference for this? I'm skeptical that this is sensible, let alone viable to say the least

I think it's a bad idea. If they use all the sun's energy where will earth's heat and light come from? I mean the moon is reflecting light from the sun so with the sun gone we won't even have moonlight either.

Uhh, is this a genuine question?
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Enji
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2/27/2014 8:25:10 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/27/2014 8:10:22 PM, Sswdwm wrote:
Fifty years out, I think solar power satellites will come into play. The power is beamed down on microwaves. The satellites run 24/7 and the sun is uniformly bright. The power can be beamed down anywhere it's needed. The Japanese are now building a prototype.

Got a good reference for this? I'm skeptical that this is sensible, let alone viable to say the least

Wikipedia has an article on it. [http://en.wikipedia.org...]

There are some benefits to a space-based approach to solar power, but I don't think they outweigh the high costs and safety considerations.
Sswdwm
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2/27/2014 8:38:24 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/27/2014 8:25:10 PM, Enji wrote:
At 2/27/2014 8:10:22 PM, Sswdwm wrote:
Fifty years out, I think solar power satellites will come into play. The power is beamed down on microwaves. The satellites run 24/7 and the sun is uniformly bright. The power can be beamed down anywhere it's needed. The Japanese are now building a prototype.

Got a good reference for this? I'm skeptical that this is sensible, let alone viable to say the least

Wikipedia has an article on it. [http://en.wikipedia.org...]

There are some benefits to a space-based approach to solar power, but I don't think they outweigh the high costs and safety considerations.

Not to mention the amount of energy needed to get said solars into orbit... unless they were manufactured in space.
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RoyLatham
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2/27/2014 11:26:14 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/27/2014 8:10:22 PM, Sswdwm wrote:
Fifty years out, I think solar power satellites will come into play. The power is beamed down on microwaves. The satellites run 24/7 and the sun is uniformly bright. The power can be beamed down anywhere it's needed. The Japanese are now building a prototype.

Got a good reference for this? I'm skeptical that this is sensible, let alone viable to say the least

Here's a web site: http://www.nss.org... They point to a new book, The Case for Space Solar Power. They have many references. Also see http://inhabitat.com... My impression is that Japan is furthest along in the technology.

The idea for space solar power originated back in the 60s. It has been studied ever since, so there is a lot of material on the subject. Getting the power down to earth with microwaves now appears to be a solved problem. The receiving antenna on the ground is about 2 sq km. the energy density is then low enough not to fry passing birds.