Infrastructure - the joy and end of us all.

Reflections on fusion history, current events, and predictions for the 'fusion powered future.
Q
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Re: Infrastructure - the joy and end of us all.

Post by Q » Fri Mar 25, 2005 10:41 pm

hi larry,
wow! quite impressive. but how do you evacuate the chamber on such a small amount of power?

Q

AnGuy
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Re: Infrastructure - the joy and end of us all.

Post by AnGuy » Sun Mar 27, 2005 1:24 am

My concern living in South East would be Hurricanes. As the global temperate rises, the planet will work off excess heat with severe weather. The hotter it gets the more frequent and violent the storms will become, and the hurricane season will grow longer. The prime targets for hurricanes is Florida, Georgia, S.C and N.C. If we have another season like 2004, I would expect insurance to get real pricey in that region. However, It might take a few more decades before the rise in global temperature permanently changes the weather in that region. I am not a climatologist, but it only seems logical that warmer water will increase hurricanes. JMHO.

AnGuy
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Re: Infrastructure - the joy and end of us all.

Post by AnGuy » Sun Mar 27, 2005 11:04 pm

>A wall with four feet of blown insulation would approximate the insulative quallities of an underground house without all the expense and headache of dirt structures. A proper selection of the blown insulation will make it a much safer house by far than even the best wooden house.

What will you use for the supports for the four foot space for the insulation? FWIW, I would be a little concerned using galvanized steel. The Zinc forms "Zinc Whiskers" which are bad for electroncs because the causes shorts on pcbs. I would imagine they aren't much better for lungs.

The other issues I would be concerned with is rust and condensation. Unless your using Aluminum, every hole drilled in the metal is a potential spot for rust. Since Metal is a good heat sink, it will likely cause condensation on any area exposed to air. This could promote rust and mold growth. I think the blown foam insulation holds water. if you get a leak, would end up a four foot sponge that would promote mold growth.

If your using metal studs, I think you need to some sort of rubbers spacers to avoid conduction in the studs. Otherwise your four feet of insulation could be inaffective.

I was thinking of building a wooden house but use larger studs (maybe 2/6s) to permit extra insulation, and use insulation caulking to seal the studs to the exterior plywood. Usually contractors just nail the ply wood to the studs which sometimes doesn't effectively block drafts. Wood is reasonably good as an insulator. Plus you can add sheet foam insulation to the exterior before putting up the siding.

What is your thoughts on Ground loops for heating and cooling? I was thinking about using a ground loop for summer cooling, but I am not sure how much sense it would be for heating. I think it would work well for cooling in the summer.

As far as Rats, if you seal the walls well for insulation, you need not worry about rats and mice. The move trough holes in the studs for electrical and pluming. If all these holes were back filled with calking, they will not be able to to get into the walls in the first place. Second I am a firm believer in using BX cable instead of Romex for electrical cable. Just as easy for a rat to chew a electrical cable, a human can hit the cable with a drill or nail.

As for going 12V for the household electrical, I would be concerned with finding applicances and electronics that run on 12Vs. Pretty much everything sold on the market is geared to 120VAC. The power usage in my home are heating and cooling, with the Air conditioner as the biggest current sink, followed by the furnance (uses water pump, oil pump and blower), Washer/Dryer, and kitchen applicances. I think would be difficult to find these devices that operate at 12V. Perhaps they could be converted over to 12V by replacing the motor and other components, but that seems very time consuming, and forget about getting it serviced if it breaks. Plus you will need to run extra thick cabling to run these devices since you need about 10 times the current at 12v as you do at 120V.

For everything else in the house that use electricity, the power consumption is low. All of the lighting could be replaced with LED bulbs which use next to nothing and the entertainment electronics (TV, Radio, etc) also use very little current.

On the storage side of the issue, battery technology just stinks (literately too!). You need a lot of heavy and expensive batteries that contain hazardous chemicals. They have short live spans and disposal is always an issue. I think the flywheel for energy storage is a better solution. If they use magnetic bearings, they would virtually operate like solid state devices and have virtually unlimited charge/discharge cycles. But no one is mass producting them yet.

Finally, Even if the oil does run out tommorow, there will always be access to electricity (perhaps with current limits per household). Electricity will continue to be produced using coal and nuclear. I suppose coal could also be used for home heating and hot water. If you have a few acres of land getting a few tons of coal delivered should be much of an issue. Unless the gov't restricts the use of coal.

MontyRoberts
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Re: Infrastructure - the joy and end of us all.

Post by MontyRoberts » Tue Mar 29, 2005 6:34 am

Well, IMHO you are all on the right path. My house, which I consider to be an inefficient energy hog, used about $35 worth of wood to provide heat for the entire winter heating season (4-5 months). Compare this to my friends and family whining about $300/month natural gas bills or worse for heating fuel. Incidentally there is enough renewable wood on my property to heat my house indefinitely, but I trust you will understand that for $35/year it is not worth the effort to cut it.

I am located in a temperate climate, and the winter is not “warm”. The house is a retrofitted frame house. It does have 2x6in walls and 2x10 in ceilings. The walls are filled with a 6 in layer of sprayed in foam insulation. The ceilings have about 8 in of foam. It is a urethane foam that uses a soy base rather than a crude oil based urethane (not that I care, one was just cheaper and had better characteristics than the other-for instance, it does not produce cyanide gas when combusted with oxygen, something I value for my home). The key to the foam is that it seals all the air leaks, thus preventing condensation. No mold.

Rats?-get some cats.

Or if you do not like cats a Jack Russell or some other rat dog.

Don’t like animals? Traps.

Failing this get a pellet gun-rats are commonly used as a source of food in the orient. I find that a little sesame oil, garlic and red pepper do wonders.

Chickens turn ticks and grass hoppers into omelets and chicken dinners. Transmutation I swear! (note: requires some assembly)

Pigs turn garbage and snakes into pork roast and Crispy Bacon, of which there is at least one connoisseur on this list.

My house is a passive solar design. The sun provides most of the heat for the winter months. Cooling is only needed during about 2-3 months of the year. A small 1.5 ton heat pump is sufficient to dehumidify the air for comfort. If the heat pump were a ground source unit it would be even better.

My total utility bills, minus communications, are $55 per month. This is with an energy hog fridge, a dehumidifier running in the crawl space, a terribly inefficient clothes washer, an electric dryer, an electric water heater (very efficient model on a timer. If I turn it off, I still have warm water a week later), and a computer that runs continuously. At current prices it would take about $15-20K USD in wind and solar to offset my power usage completely. At $55/ month I’ll wait a while. $3K on some better appliances would be better spent.

I collect rain water in cisterns and use an inefficient jet pump and pressure tank.

Plus there is a sump pump that keeps the basement dry-terrible.

I DO NOT SUFFER ANY INCONVIENIENCE. I have a dish washer, a flush toilet, a clothes washer, a hot shower, a microwave, a computer, and a TV which I use to watch movies and DVD’s on occasion-no time for the brain rot on the boob toob. MY HOUSE IS AN ENERGY HOG. I could easily cut my consumption to 1/10th my current rate. If I were to start from scratch like Larry, I could do even better.

I read a lot of pessimism on this board and elsewhere regarding the energy situation and I feel a lot of it is unfounded. There is a great deal of waste in our society. We produce about 40% of our oil domestically. With a small conservation effort we could be independent of foreign oil.

We have many ready sources of energy available. The real problem is an energy carrier. The Germans manufactured synthetic hydrocarbons in WWII from coal. It is possible to do the same today. We have lots of coal. Simple catalytic processes from the gaslight era will save our bacon. We have lots of very diffuse intermittent energy sources. The problem is storage in a concentrated transport medium. If you are on a global warming kick and wish to close the carbon cycle-fine; electrolysis to form H2 from water, use an amine solution to collect CO2 from the atmosphere, a RWGS reaction to form CO, mix to form syngas, add a few mostly exothermic catalytic reactions and POW! You got synthetic diesel fuel, gasoline, and CH4; Instant energy carriers and an existing infrastructure to boot. The hydrogen economy is pure fiction, but the hydrocarbon economy is fact. Just close the loop. You can forget $20/barrel oil however.

If you think the exploration/extraction/transport/defense and refining of crude oil are free of cost go watch Jerry Springer.

On a recent trip, I flew over the south western US. Nothing but desert as far as I could see from 30K feet. Nothing out there but salt flats, soap bush, sage brush, and lots of abandoned oil wells. I did see quite a few wind mills, and I thought, put a wind mill, solar thermal hydrogen plant/CO2 capture and catalytic hydrocarbon plant on each one of those well sites, depending on local conditions-no problem; just a matter of economics.

Cheer up guys we are only one bad bird flu away from resolution .

Monty

AnGuy
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Re: Infrastructure - the joy and end of us all.

Post by AnGuy » Sat Apr 02, 2005 5:03 am

Hi Monty,

Thanks for the comments. see below:

>I read a lot of pessimism on this board and elsewhere regarding the energy situation and I feel a lot of it is unfounded. There is a great deal of waste in our society. We produce about 40% of our oil domestically. With a small conservation effort we could be independent of foreign oil.

Unfortunately 40% is unsustainable. About 20% comes from Alaska which is nearing depletion. The US can never meet its oil demand, no matter how efficent we can become. Every year the domestic production will decline.

>Simple catalytic processes from the gaslight era will save our bacon. We have lots of very diffuse intermittent energy sources. The problem is storage in a concentrated transport medium.

Those processes are hugely inefficient, At best we are talking maybe about one million bbl per day, and it would take an awful lot of infrastructure to make that figure. I suspect that most of the investment in this infrastructure will be used to support military anyway.

>If you are on a global warming kick and wish to close the carbon cycle-fine; electrolysis to form H2 from water, use an amine solution to collect CO2 from the atmosphere, a RWGS reaction to form CO, mix to form syngas, add a few mostly exothermic catalytic reactions and POW!

All these process required vast amounts of energy. They are all energy losers, meaning it takes more energy to create these fuels then than produced when consumed. The H2 economy is a pipe dream. www.energybulletin.net had a good article that debunks the H2 economy
.
I am not big worrier about global warming. Even if the US was to cap its carbon emissions, it wouldn't stop 1.4 Billion Chinese or 1 billion in India from doing what ever they please.

I don't drive an SUV, but nor do I drive a hybrid. Whats the point of conserving when the majority its going to just consume everything anyway? Conservation at the individual level or even national level is pointless. The entire world needs to be part of the plan, which of course will never happen. The day the world conserves, is the day when they are forced to by lack of supply.

>If you think the exploration/extraction/transport/defense and refining of crude oil are free

No, but the global has 150 years invested in infrastructure that is dependant on Oil. We can not simple replace 150 years of infrastructure in a decade, nor can the planet sustain 6+ billion on just coal, nuclear, and renewable energy. Plus a lot of the world doesn't have abundant supplies of coal and nuclear power.

When the oil wells in the Middle East go bust, there will be half a billion Muslims fleeing the desert called the Middle East for better places to live. At least they can't walk here to America, but they can go to Asia, and Europe. I doubt they'll head for Africa.

>Cheer up guys we are only one bad bird flu away from resolution

Doesn't sound like a very pleasant way to exit the planet, but it probably the solution that will prevail.

Roberto Ferrari
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Re: Infrastructure - the joy and end of us all.

Post by Roberto Ferrari » Sat Apr 02, 2005 11:36 am

What about vegetable oils burning in Diesel engines?
I read somewhere about it.
That oil would be a renewable source.
Roberto

AnGuy
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Re: Infrastructure - the joy and end of us all.

Post by AnGuy » Mon Apr 04, 2005 2:04 am

>What about vegetable oils burning in Diesel engines?

It takes tons of produce to make a single barrel of vegetable oil, and it takes far more energy to produce it, then the oil produces when consumed. Also consider all of the oil based fertializers used to grow those crops. Any thought of replacing oil with agraculture is an impossible pipe dream.

You have to consider a lot of the talk about renewable energy as just talk. Its just a way for a few entrepreneur to enrich them selfs using gov't subsidies. The gov't in turn supports them because its a way for politicians to get votes from the greens. Everyone is in on it, except the american public.

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Adam Szendrey
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Re: Infrastructure - the joy and end of us all.

Post by Adam Szendrey » Mon Apr 04, 2005 10:04 am

http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net

It's long , but a good read.
I think it's a bit too pessimistic, and paints a darker future than what will be, but that's just my still faintly sparkling optimism. There are some small errors in it i think (inflating some problems too much).
Oil is not our only problem...we have abused our planet for too long, now it's going to bite back.

Adam

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Richard Hull
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Re: Infrastructure - the joy and end of us all.

Post by Richard Hull » Mon Apr 04, 2005 3:26 pm

All will be OK with only moderate culture shock if and only if the electricity never, ever disapears or is in any significant way interupted from the outlets in our homes. Every thing is electrical that matters to us currently.

I really believe that all the doom and gloom is effectively upon us now in the form of a slight darkness that preceeds the very dark shadow cast by an approaching giant. We will be dealing with it sooner than we think. There is but little wiggle room left.

Currently salaries in the US are such that $2.50/gallon gas is not impacting most folks by more than a grumble factor. It is the economic collapse that will effectively end the hop in the SUV and bomb down to the corner store mentality. When you don't have work, it is food and shelter and warmth you are worried about, not taking that vactaion trip or even driving at all.

The massive overburden of infrastucture, as mentioned in the first post of this thread, is what makes day to day life smooth. Cripple the infrastructure and you cripple the economy and all the public debt gets called as infrastructure giants scramble to cover their debts. They cut back on employees and overhead and the domino stack is put in motion. It won't be a matter of trimming the fat, it will be a matter of not letting billions become too lean and take to the streets.

The modern solution to not enough purchasing power due to no raises, limited funds or too many debts is to get another credit card. This is viewed as a shot in the arm for any personal or family economic shortfall. It will all come home to roost soon enough.

It will all relate to the collapse and or instability of the overarching infrastructure. This is the weak link in the debt chain scheduled to reduce our current lifestyle to a mere shadow of its former self.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

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Adam Szendrey
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Re: Infrastructure - the joy and end of us all.

Post by Adam Szendrey » Mon Apr 04, 2005 7:06 pm

Well it is a fact , that our economy is fossil based. Problem is that all those trucks, and freight ships are mostly diesel fired. Also many freight trains are pulled by diesel powered locomotives. Airplanes use kerosene. And so on. A nuclear plant needs it's supply of fuel, and generally goods need to be distributed. Also a lot of generally used materials are derived from oil. These points bother me a lot. Even if our economy would be healthy, wirthout oil it would collapse, given that no steps are taken a good time before oil prices itself into the skies. But it's already too late..and that's the other problem that bothers me a lot...
It's not just about the US it's about the whole world, it's a global crisis. Europe has a relatively stable economy, but it's mostly dependent on foreign oil, just like the US. Many say (just like you Richard), that we are at the beggining of an exponential curve.
This article speculates, that this year might be the last year of cheap oil. I wonder how will things really turn out.

Adam

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