Urgency

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Jerry Biehler
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Re: Urgency

Post by Jerry Biehler » Sat Oct 10, 2015 7:42 am

I think it has most to do with that battery pack he came up with for your garage. People are almost falling over themselves like it is the second coming.

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Frank Sanns
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Re: Urgency

Post by Frank Sanns » Sat Oct 10, 2015 1:12 pm

Jerry Biehler wrote:I think it has most to do with that battery pack he came up with for your garage. People are almost falling over themselves like it is the second coming.
It is the same battery. Elon Musk has Tesla promoting the Powerwall for both house use and to charge Tesla cars. They are actually the same lithium batteries just repackaged for aesthetics. Nice sleek looking wall units to look posh.

They start at $3,500. Somehow people believe they get free energy from osmosis or something. We all know they are only storage devices so they do not gain anything. In fact they lose the power from inefficiencies and self discharge. They are net energy wasters.

Elon Musk has really danced a gray line with Tesla to the point that people are believing in free and green power coming right out of the Powerwall. They have no idea that batteries cannot produce energy. They simply hold onto the energy that is put into it. Like I said in my previous post, Elon Musk is creating a huge misconception within the public that fools them once again into thinking they have a "green" alternative. It is far from that.

I personally would not hang a huge lithium battery bank on my wall. Unlike most other batteries, LiPo batteries contain not only a power source, but a fuel source too (lithium metal), as well as an ignition source. There will be fires and they will be catastrophic. Maybe not many but this technology carries a far bigger risk than lead acid batteries that have historically been used for fixed operation.

Modern day snake oil, purchased and used by the uniformed.

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Andrew Robinson
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Re: Urgency

Post by Andrew Robinson » Sun Oct 11, 2015 6:15 am

Thought I would throw this in here, not to be a dick, but to instead to simply offer up a professional (not my own) opinion from a PE EE that works in the Solar Industry in Santa Fe New Mexico. This is a long time personal friend of mine who works for Positive Energy Solar (http://www.positiveenergysolar.com), designing everything from single home (or smaller) solar installations, to large multi megawatt utility installations. He personally has designed and built is own solar farm on top of his New Mexico home and has worked with the new Tesla batteries. Frank, I have pasted below your original thoughts with my buddies opinions inline. Just thought it might be interesting to get the perspective from someone who works with this stuff everyday of the week on a massive scale.

##### START REPLY #####
The entire premise is flawed. Solar produces power during the hours of peak usage. It should be utilized during that time as it eases the commercial power grid. Only 3% of the US is solar so daytime utilization is what is needed, not storage. Maybe by the later part of this century when more solar is around the strategy may be different but not today. Definitely not today.
Start with the micro scale. If power at noon costs 10 cents a kwh and your house is using almost nada because you are at work, yet power at 5 pm is 20 cents a kwh and you are sucking up juice because the house is hot, shifting when that power is used/produced can save you money. Peak in new mexico is from 8 am to 8pm monday - friday. Meaning when businesses are in operation. The utility is activly working on changing that to 10am - 10pm. This timeframe is best supported fiscally by PV + Storage.
Suggesting that a battery be used in an off grid arrangement in a area that has grid power is another bad choice. Batteries are lossy and can not be filled or drained beyond a set level. This has the potential to leave excess solar energy out of the grid or require inordinately large batteries to do the job. Both are energy wasters including all of the energy put into the batteries to just waste more energy. Anybody that has solar power is well aware of this deficiency and short of being a dooms day prepper, I have no idea why anybody in a city would want to be off grid.
Being off grid means being really thrifty with power. This goes back to the idea that off grid costs about 10x more per kwh than grid tied. At least that was true back in 2011. These days it is more line 1.5x to 3x. But it suggests that parity with grid tied is not impossible, just a bit out of reach. However compared to transmission losses, batteries are about on par. If anything utilities make more money on solar than the consumer, because for at least part of the day, that solar provider is powering the subdivision without any benefit from the utility and almost no heat losses on their side.
What a bunch of snake oil he sells to line his pockets. He is capitalizing on the hype of environment to loosen people's purse strings. It is being sold to those people with large discretionary income that want to feel good about doing something for the environment.
True, so what makes his method any different than best buy or LED lighting?
I will stop there but I see hype again and again from his company and I have zero respect for the damage that he is putting out onto the general public by confusing the facts with marketing. Even if you stop by and talk to one of the Tesla car representatives, they say it is zero emissions. It needs to fuel, you just plug it into your house and go. Minor technicality here with the fossil fuels being used to produce the electricity. One might argue that a big coal plant or other cleaner energies are more efficient than burning petrol but that is a real tough calculation that brings both to very similar places. So the high horsepower, expensive, "green" vehicle that only operates on average of 2 hours a day or often much less, is not even being close to a solution to the energy dilemma this planet is in. It wastes energy and deceives the public once again so they have no idea what the reality of real conservation and prudent energy policy and choices really are.
Ok, so what is new? Tesla at lease has a car that could be 100% green. It just depends on the source of fuel. We get customers who want a tesla as both a status symbol of wealth and consider it a nice pairing with their PV array. I can see the arguments for every point you make and on some of them, I agree with your perspective. But at the same time, I have to look at where we are as a world regarding climate change. We can agree it is a major issue and take measures to reduce our global footprint while still allowing economic growth, or we can ignore it until it kills us all. If climate change is total crap and we still try to change how we use energy, we just wasted money, but if we do nothing and it turns out climate change is real, we are well and truly f*****.
I can wire anything directly into anything! I'm the professor!

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Frank Sanns
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Re: Urgency

Post by Frank Sanns » Sun Oct 11, 2015 2:13 pm

Andrew Robinson wrote:Thought I would throw this in here, not to be a dick, but to instead to simply offer up a professional (not my own) opinion from a PE EE that works in the Solar Industry in Santa Fe New Mexico. This is a long time personal friend of mine who works for Positive Energy Solar (http://www.positiveenergysolar.com), designing everything from single home (or smaller) solar installations, to large multi megawatt utility installations. He personally has designed and built is own solar farm on top of his New Mexico home and has worked with the new Tesla batteries. Frank, I have pasted below your original thoughts with my buddies opinions inline. Just thought it might be interesting to get the perspective from someone who works with this stuff everyday of the week on a massive scale.

##### START REPLY #####
The entire premise is flawed. Solar produces power during the hours of peak usage. It should be utilized during that time as it eases the commercial power grid. Only 3% of the US is solar so daytime utilization is what is needed, not storage. Maybe by the later part of this century when more solar is around the strategy may be different but not today. Definitely not today.
Start with the micro scale. If power at noon costs 10 cents a kwh and your house is using almost nada because you are at work, yet power at 5 pm is 20 cents a kwh and you are sucking up juice because the house is hot, shifting when that power is used/produced can save you money. Peak in new mexico is from 8 am to 8pm monday - friday. Meaning when businesses are in operation. The utility is activly working on changing that to 10am - 10pm. This timeframe is best supported fiscally by PV + Storage.
Suggesting that a battery be used in an off grid arrangement in a area that has grid power is another bad choice. Batteries are lossy and can not be filled or drained beyond a set level. This has the potential to leave excess solar energy out of the grid or require inordinately large batteries to do the job. Both are energy wasters including all of the energy put into the batteries to just waste more energy. Anybody that has solar power is well aware of this deficiency and short of being a dooms day prepper, I have no idea why anybody in a city would want to be off grid.
Being off grid means being really thrifty with power. This goes back to the idea that off grid costs about 10x more per kwh than grid tied. At least that was true back in 2011. These days it is more line 1.5x to 3x. But it suggests that parity with grid tied is not impossible, just a bit out of reach. However compared to transmission losses, batteries are about on par. If anything utilities make more money on solar than the consumer, because for at least part of the day, that solar provider is powering the subdivision without any benefit from the utility and almost no heat losses on their side.
What a bunch of snake oil he sells to line his pockets. He is capitalizing on the hype of environment to loosen people's purse strings. It is being sold to those people with large discretionary income that want to feel good about doing something for the environment.
True, so what makes his method any different than best buy or LED lighting?
I will stop there but I see hype again and again from his company and I have zero respect for the damage that he is putting out onto the general public by confusing the facts with marketing. Even if you stop by and talk to one of the Tesla car representatives, they say it is zero emissions. It needs to fuel, you just plug it into your house and go. Minor technicality here with the fossil fuels being used to produce the electricity. One might argue that a big coal plant or other cleaner energies are more efficient than burning petrol but that is a real tough calculation that brings both to very similar places. So the high horsepower, expensive, "green" vehicle that only operates on average of 2 hours a day or often much less, is not even being close to a solution to the energy dilemma this planet is in. It wastes energy and deceives the public once again so they have no idea what the reality of real conservation and prudent energy policy and choices really are.
Ok, so what is new? Tesla at lease has a car that could be 100% green. It just depends on the source of fuel. We get customers who want a tesla as both a status symbol of wealth and consider it a nice pairing with their PV array. I can see the arguments for every point you make and on some of them, I agree with your perspective. But at the same time, I have to look at where we are as a world regarding climate change. We can agree it is a major issue and take measures to reduce our global footprint while still allowing economic growth, or we can ignore it until it kills us all. If climate change is total crap and we still try to change how we use energy, we just wasted money, but if we do nothing and it turns out climate change is real, we are well and truly f*****.
Andrew, These are the exact kind of arguments that I hear regularly from the solar industry. FWIW, I have been over 100% solar since 1998 so I am not just slinging words. My first variation on the system was battery backup. That changed when it was time to spend money for new batteries. You know that do have a limited life especially when they are cycled.

This brings us to the first error in your friends comments. There is overhead in owning a battery system. The least expensive Tesla Powerwall is $3500. It is 10kwh and 2kw peak draw. A typical air conditioner alone draws 3kw-5kw. That means one battery is not sufficient to meaningfully shift any sort of power since it cannot produce the peak power and if it could, it would only have capacity to run 30 minutes. This means a minimum of 2 batteries would be needed for just 1 hour of cooling without any other appliances running but more reasonable would be 3 or 4 battery packs. At $3,500 each that is between $10,500 and $14,000. A hefty investment to save at best 0.10/kwh.

Back calculating puts the energy required to break even $10,500 divided by 0.10kwh gives 105 MWh to 140 MWH to just break even on the economics of energy shifting. That is HUGE! Factor in the energy to make the battery and the hopes for a 10 year service life and it is a bleak prospect. This is economic and environmental failure in my book. It is true for time shifting energy and for non grid tied systems. The energy should be fed back into the grid in real time for all to use during the peak demand times.



LED lighting is permanent and replaces high use lighting especially incandescent. It is a wise long term choice for all.



The problem that I have with the Tesla vehicles is that they do not address conservation. As you and your friends have pointed out conservation is a key to solar and is a key to transportation. $100,000 plus automobiles with high horsepower is not really in that direction. I would have supported this if he were selling mass transportation vans and busses but single passenger high performance sports cars is not good long term energy strategy.

I do not have anything personal against Musk and Tesla but I see it taking the eye off of the energy ball. There are clear energy winners out there and battery walls and sports cars are just not it.

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Steven Sesselmann
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Re: Urgency

Post by Steven Sesselmann » Mon Oct 12, 2015 4:01 am

Food for thought..

I attended the Australian Nuclear Association annual conferance last Friday, and one of the speakers, a professor of electrical engineering at UNSW explained how even if energy could be generated completely for free, it would only make a 20% difference to your power bill.

About 20 cents in the dollar is the current energy cost, another 20 cents is the cost of maintaining and running the grid, and the rest is profit and markup added by the reseller, who used to mail you the paper bill, but now wants to send it to you by email or charge you extra for mailing it.

As Frank pointed out above, one one of the big problems for the utility companies is levelling the demand cycle, the big power stations (nuclear and coal) can not easly adjust the output hour by hour to suit demand.

A fusion powered water boiler would have the same problem, but if we could somehow convert half the kinetic energy of fusion directly into electrical current, we would have a dynamic way to generate power.

A problem that needs a FICS ;)

Steven
http://www.gammaspectacular.com - Gamma Spectrometry Systems
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Steven_Sesselmann - Various papers and patents on RG

Adrian Hindes
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Re: Urgency

Post by Adrian Hindes » Mon Oct 12, 2015 11:05 pm

Tesla at lease has a car that could be 100% green.
With the Tesla's, I think that's the key idea right there. Regardless of the fact that when you plug a Tesla in to charge it, it's drawing power from fossil fuel sources (most likely), it still has the possibility of being charged by a more reasonable power source (nuclear, any renewable...). Just depends on where you live. As the world (hopefully) transitions to renewables and/or nuclear and away from fossil fuels, electric cars are going to be a necessity if we want to make a complete transition. It wouldn't make sense otherwise to have renewable or nuclear powering your home, and then driving to the shops on a fossil fuel engine.
The problem that I have with the Tesla vehicles is that they do not address conservation. As you and your friends have pointed out conservation is a key to solar and is a key to transportation. $100,000 plus automobiles with high horsepower is not really in that direction. I would have supported this if he were selling mass transportation vans and busses but single passenger high performance sports cars is not good long term energy strategy.
The way I see it with the marketing of Teslas, sure they are pricey sports cars that aren't exactly the heralds of conservation, but they are doing something important, and that is bringing the topic of electric transportation to the table. The popularity of Teslas is showing the rest of the world that electric vehicles are economically feasible. Every major car brand now has their own electric model (although none are very popular as of yet). As the technology becomes more developed I think we're going to see more reasonable price tags on electric vehicles so that a regular family can own an electric car.

Dan Tibbets
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Re: Urgency

Post by Dan Tibbets » Tue Oct 13, 2015 4:38 pm

The closest thing to a "Manhatten Project" is ITER. This self propagating effort is chasing a goal despite formidable theoretical, technical and economic challenges. It is going somewhere, but very slowly, and is very entrenched. The alternatives are real and deserve significant support to reach the jumping off point for a "Manhattin Project". These include the Polywell, serveral versions of the FRC, DPF, Hammer and anvil approach (General Fusion), Stellarators, Spheromaks, Lockheed Skunk Works approach, and some higher Beta Tokamaks. The FRC approaches are receiving useful funding (private), DPF is begging for pennies, Polywell is currently in a holding pattern. All of these have have real challenges, but at least they are projected to produce economic fusion power if they work. This cannot be claimed for ITER, despite some recent marketing what ifs...

Except for those efforts that have links to Tokamak research, there is almost no government support, with General Fusion and a new Stellarater being the exceptions. The rest are dependent on private funding or at best minor government funding through channels that bypass the DOE.



Dan Tibbets

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Dennis P Brown
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Re: Urgency

Post by Dennis P Brown » Fri Oct 16, 2015 2:08 pm

Sorry, need to add my two-cents to this thread. What we need is 1) Build a ultra safe fission generator and 2) accept that in some distant future, level three fusion will be possible and nuclear waste can then be converted into harmless low level waste. The Candu reactor solves (1) and (2) is simply accepting that ultra high level nuclear waste need only be stored for a thousands years at worse and building these 10 k+ or even 100 k life time storage systems is worse than a joke - it is a tragic mistake fostered upon us by short sighted people and frankly, has helped to needlessly kill all nuclear power (including any future fusion system.) The solution for a short term, no carbon producing massive electric grid (ignoring fuel production/plant construction until these units solve that issue), that provides power 24/7 that is utterly safe isn't a dream but is very old technology that is still running today. These Candu reactors are even cheaper than ours (and require fewer personnel to operate); there are zero technological barriers to doing this (uranium fuel required for the world power requirements would quickly exhaust all land based supplies in under fifty years or even less but getting uranium from sea water is, even now, within a factor of six being economical! Then fuel could last, maybe 100 years) - currently, just greed by carbon based companies and the investor cartel (read wall street) is preventing this development. It is so very sad and could cost millions of lives in the future if we continue to live on CO2 producing power and accept the climate change.

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