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Japan Earthquake & Pacific Tsunami

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  1. #311

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    Quote Originally Posted by TigerSun:
    The real solutions are solar, wind etc
    I am not sure about the "etc", but what I would like to know is if it would actually be possible to replace the entire planet's energy supply chain with windfarms and solar panels. How many quadrillion gigawatts (or whatever) do we consume every day, and how many could "green" energy deliver?

    The power output of solar panels and wind turbines is not very high as far as I know, so how much space would we need? And wouldn't that cool down our planet if suddenly our deserts etc have solar panels that absorb the sun's energy, and our seas and mountains have wind farms that absorb the wind's energy?

    I apologize for the off topic post, but I am serious with this question, how much of that stuff do we really need and is that even possible if not used as gimmick to help here and there? I wouldn't be surprised if the wind turbine in Lamma wouldn't even be enough to power all three air conditions at my flat or a couple of servers.

    I have always thought nuclear is somehow the only "clean" thing we have to work on a large scale with our huge global power consumption. How many solar panels or wind turbines would we need to replace a single coal-burning power plant or even nuclear plant? HK is a small place, but how many times the space of HK would we need (in theory)? The Lamma Power station says it's 800kW max, but I just don't know how much that is in real life (winds are not always at the max) and we also don't have a solution to store unused energy (on large scale) if I am not wrong.
    Last edited by 100LL; 19-03-2011 at 05:16 PM.
    PDLM likes this.

  2. #312

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    Original Post Deleted
    There are two problems on this:-

    1. Storage. Electricity is difficult to store in vast quantities efficiently and moreover at all times, generators need to have an output equal to the electricity being consumed at any given time on the grid. Solar and wind are intermittent sources of energy.

    2. Simple geography, Hong Kong for example doesn't have the wind and solar resource needed to make a significant dent into our electricity consumption.

  3. #313

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    Original Post Deleted
    I've never seen any analysis based on even slightly plausible assumptions that shows that solar and wind power could come close to being sufficient. At the moment it seems clear to me that nuclear power is the least bad option.

  4. #314

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    Quote Originally Posted by PDLM:
    I've never seen any analysis based on even slightly plausible assumptions that shows that solar and wind power could come close to being sufficient. At the moment it seems clear to me that nuclear power is the least bad option.
    Ditto. There is no alternative as yet.

  5. #315

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    As someone who actually works in this industry - PDLM's simple statement is pretty much on the money.

    The reality is actually more complex, as always, and in some countries it may be possible to use wind in conjunction with (normally hydro) to power a significant portion of the grid. This is because you can store water in dams and run the hydro when the wind drops (as it does, with little notice) so the two compliment each other. However, this solution only works in a few specific places that have both good hydro conditions and are very windy (New Zealand is the best place I know).

    The other big problem with both wind and solar (other than intermittancy) is the space and connections you need. Both of these need acres and acres of space to generate (relative to a thermal or nuclear power station) a tiny amount of electricity. And in order to collect the electricity from the wind or solar farms and actually send it to the towns where it is needed, you need heaps of extra cables which are also very expensive (and unsightly).

    So yes, on balance, nuclear is the only non carbon emitting solution that works now.

    Many people are working on other solutions and technology is changing all the time, so in the future there will probably be other options. A "large scale" alternative solution is carbon capture and storage - which involves taking the co2 from a power station exhaust and pumping it into a storage area (often an old gas reservoir or salt cavern). However this is not commercially proven yet. There is a heck of alot of smart people and money chasing less polluting alternatives.

    PDLM, virago, fth and 1 others like this.

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  7. #317

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    In the SCMP today there was an article about HK's energy future and outlined that 2/3 of energy will come from the 5 nuclear power stations in Guangdong by 2020. Though, it did say HK hadn't agreed to this but we know where these big decisions are being made. Anyway I am sure China is second guessing it's nuclear future.


  8. #318

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    Now this blog post is interesting if not a hoax. I found it on a friend from Canada's Facebook just now. It is apparently written by a worker from the plant. Could be fake of course.

    尚子の独り言: Voice from the nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan


  9. #319

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    Good explanatory video from the blog football linked. Should be understandable for most.

    YouTube - (Subbed) Nuclear Boy うんち・おならで例える原発解説


  10. #320

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    Currently seeking venture capitalists for a new project I am researching on how to convent energy from all the bovine excrement spouted on Internet forums. If a method can be found, initial investors are guaranteed a return of billions.

    PM me your bank accounts' details, including all passwords.


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