(old found draft post) Energy News

Dec 16, 2008 @ 8:35

This was just going to an energy links roundup.

Wireless Power Transmission test have been successful. Yeah for Tesla!

Suck it Al Gore: “Greenhouse Gas Comes from Solar Panels

Bjorn Lomborg Says Cool It!: Getting our priorities right on climate change and the world’s top problems


West Allis (Milwaukee news)
: “Mini wind turbine proposal blows into council chambers”

“Another potential big deal is the thorium breeder reactor.”

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The US case for radical energy use efficiency and for switching to alternative energy sources

I have been looking to blog on this for sometime, but it came out in a comment at TDAXP:

The best case for the US to move to radical energy use efficiency and to switch a lot more to alternative energy (while sharing or selling the techniques and technology to the rest of the world to use as well) is that it will reduce the economic power and freedom of action of lots of bad actors in the world who tend to work against the interest of the US and other democratically inclined actors.

To be clear: I am not a green, I am not a watermelon. I have not been sucked into the faux-science quasi-religion of Global Warming. I don’t secretly want to de-industrialize the west. I do not advocate lower growth or less industry.

I want to drive an affordable electric or gas/electric or some sort of flex-fuel vehicle as a mobility device. I want to take a train once a month to Madison or the Fox River Valley. I want to see a new nationwide network of smart electrical grids powered by small scale nuclear plants, municipal plasma furnaces, wind and solar (where the make sense) or whatever else entrepreneurs can dream up and successively execute. I long for the day of orbital solar power.

I love the idea of (and the change it will make) of Russia and Saudi Arabia and the others of their ilk being deprived of their ability to make mischief  and misery for the rest of the world. I welcome their fall. This will be a good thing for the world.

I want the science fiction future promised to me as a kid, and I want it shared with the world.


One day…

Energy Entrepreneurship: Plasma Gasification of Trash

I found this (with photos) via Slashdot:

Recently St. Lucie County in Florida announced that it has teamed up with Geoplasma to develop the United States’ first plasma gasification plant. The plant will use super-hot 10,000 degree fahrenheit plasma to effectively vaporize 1,500 tons of trash each day, which in turn spins turbines to generate 60MW of electricity – enough to power 50,000 homes! Cutting down on landfill waste while generating energy is a pretty win-win proposition, and the plant will also be able to melt down inorganic materials to be reused for other applications, such as in roadbed and heavy construction.
[…]
Plasma Gasification plants generate much less emissions than standard waste incineration plants, and also cuts down on landfills, which are the US’s largest human caused producer of methane gas. No word yet on the cost-effectiveness of maintaining such plants (all that plasma gas and filtration must be expensive), but if Geoplasma is able to make the process more efficient they could simultaneously solve our landfill problems while generating a significant amount of energy.

I like this: less landfills and non-petro based energy!

Prev: A Tech-based Energy Idea That I Like – Municipal Plasma Furnaces

More on the Hyperion Mini-nuke reactors

From The Guardian (via Instapundit):

Nuclear power plants smaller than a garden shed and able to power 20,000 homes will be on sale within five years, say scientists at Los Alamos, the US government laboratory which developed the first atomic bomb.

The miniature reactors will be factory-sealed, contain no weapons-grade material, have no moving parts and will be nearly impossible to steal because they will be encased in concrete and buried underground.

The US government has licensed the technology to Hyperion, a New Mexico-based company which said last week that it has taken its first firm orders and plans to start mass production within five years. ‘Our goal is to generate electricity for 10 cents a watt anywhere in the world,’ said John Deal, chief executive of Hyperion. ‘They will cost approximately $25m [£13m] each. For a community with 10,000 households, that is a very affordable $250 per home.’
[…]
The reactors, only a few metres in diameter, will be delivered on the back of a lorry to be buried underground. They must be refuelled every 7 to 10 years. Because the reactor is based on a 50-year-old design that has proved safe for students to use, few countries are expected to object to plants on their territory
[…]
‘You could never have a Chernobyl-type event – there are no moving parts,’ said Deal. ‘You would need nation-state resources in order to enrich our uranium. Temperature-wise it’s too hot to handle. It would be like stealing a barbecue with your bare hands.’

Other companies are known to be designing micro-reactors. Toshiba has been testing 200KW reactors measuring roughly six metres by two metres. Designed to fuel smaller numbers of homes for longer, they could power a single building for up to 40 years.

Cool!

“Hyperion Nuclear Power Generator”

I got the scoop from a post at NextBigFuture.com. This looks very cool:

Hyperion Power Generation, Inc., (HPG) with the assistance of Los Alamos National Laboratory, is developing and commercializing a small, factory-sealed, mass-produced, transportable nuclear power module that is uniquely safe and proliferation-resistant. The technology utilizes and builds upon similar features of the 60+ TRIGA training reactors that have been safely operated for years in universities and laboratories around the globe.
[…]
Three factories, spread across the globe are planned by the company to produce and ship the approximately 4,000 units of the first design.
[…]
Each unit produces 70 megawatts of thermal energy, or 27 megawatts of electricity when connected to a steam turbine. That amount is enough to provide electricity for 20,000 average-size American-style homes or the industrial equivalent.

I would like to see safe distributed nuclear power around the globe to power the grids.

Attention Entrepreneurs: More of this, and faster please!

Future Closer: Space Solar Power

Solar Power generated from orbital satelites and then beamed down to earth is one of the 2 great future energy sources (the other being fusion) – and the most likely.

It is one step closer:

A former NASA scientist has used radio waves to transmit solar power a distance of 92 miles (148 km) between two Hawaiian islands, an achievement that he says proves the technology exists to beam solar power from satellites back to Earth. [Link]

The test was a proof-of-concept, but all great things have to start somewhere.

(The future to be: Space Elevators and Orbital Solar Power)

Energy/Incentives Idea That I Like

I can’t find where I heard this, but it was a neat application of incentives (economic thinking) to energy policy.

The suggestion was something like:

1) States That don’t allow drilling for oil and natural gas off-shore shall have their federal gasoline tax increased $1 (or $2 or $X) per gallon.

2) The collected money shall be redistributed on a per capita basis to people living within 50 miles (or 100 miles or X miles) of working coal mines.

If I can find the reference I will post that.