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Perfectionist

Energy Self Sufficiancy ......

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There is some interesting stuff, but all these people are deriving large advantage from being a rich, tiny minority in an economy still well supplied with (comparatively) cheap energy. There is no competition at present for chip shop waste, for instance. There is little demand for firewood. We are a fatted society with few serious wants.

Peak Oil would change that drastically IF the "peak" is followed by sharp decline in production. Then everything will go to hell and there would be mass starvation in the Third World, mass unemployment everywhere else. Do not let yourself be beguiled by ignorant la-la land cures, like biodiesel (we haven't the land to grow remotely enough feedstock to replace mineral oil, nor have we the oil to use to grow the crop in the first place!), hydrogen (is not a source of energy, it's a store of energy, is very tough to handle, and it would take decades to evolve a safe distribution infrastructure), a wind turbine on every roof (gimme a break), nuclear power (we haven't the time to build them), tidal barrages (ditto), wind farms (ditto, plus they aren't reliable power).

Unfortunately oil provides about 40% of our primary energy and almost 100% of primary energy used in transport. There is no substitute that is cheap and available in such immense quantities (not even chip shop waste!). Remember that running out of oil will never happen and is not the danger, it is the sudden lack of abundant, cheap oil that will kill our economies. Whether it will happen that way is another matter. Recession is incipient and when it happens will cause a drop in oil demand, so the actual peak may be more than a decade away and may not be experienced as a shock, but more a gradually intensifying crisis - very much like what is happening now, as a matter of fact.....

What more need I say?

"Learn to ride a bicycle; you will not regret it." - Mark Twain.

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Uranium supply.

...nuclear power (we haven't the time to build them),... [malco]

...or the uranium to supply them?

'Nuclear confusion':

http://afr.com/articles/2005/06/23/1119321845502.html

...nuclear power depends on a supply of uranium ores from scarce, rich deposits, which face a depletion problem every bit as serious as that of oil and gas. That rich ore will soon no longer be available. The poorer grades of ore that would then have to be used take more energy to process than they yield.

[...snip...]

At present, nuclear power is not one of the major producers of energy. It accounts for about 16per cent of the world's electricity supply, which in turn accounts for about 16per cent of all the energy produced, so that its total contribution to the world's final energy needs is about 2.6per cent. Suppose, however, that the industry were to be set up on a scale large enough to make a difference. For how long could it continue to provide the needed energy before, for practical purposes, it had used up all the uranium ores rich enough to produce a positive energy balance? If it supplied the world with all its electricity, then the total quantity of useful ores on the planet would be sufficient to keep the nuclear industry going for just six years. If, in addition, the world's road and rail transport fleet were to be run on hydrogen derived from nuclear power, then the useful life of the industry would be about two years. As provider of a few token reactors to show that governments are trying, it could keep going, rather pointlessly, for another 40 years. But the essential fact is this: as a serious new source of energy, nuclear power is a non-starter.

'Adopting an energy lean lifestyle':

http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=3833

Uranium will be in great demand if all the world's plans for new stations mature. So how secure would supplies of uranium be and which country will be the most aggressive competitor for them?

[...snip...]

If China with its pile of US dollars competes with the US for its supplies of oil, gas and uranium there will be little energy security around. The UK, if it builds replacement nuclear power stations, will exchange insecure gas supplies for insecure supplies of uranium.

Solar power economics.

anyone know what the efficency is of solar panels? [Mr Blek]

'Pioneers look forward to solar future' [February 2006]:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4685150.stm

If there is a grid connection available, it is almost always going to be cheaper to connect; and with few exceptions, such as Iceland with its generous provision of geothermal energy, the cheapest source of electricity going into the grid is likely to come through burning fossil fuels.

But when you go into the isolated communities and individual homesteads which Australians have sprinkled across their giant landmass, the cost equation becomes radically different.

"If you are connected to the grid in Australia you pay 14 cents (10 US cents) per kilowatt hour," says Bruce Hanton, an energy consultant working for the installation company Delta Electrics in Darwin, capital of Australia's most sparsely-populated region, the Northern Territory.

"But you really can't compare it to the grid; it's a completely different story," he says.

"A stand-alone solar system is closer to a dollar (74 US cents) per kW/h. But people in remote areas have to weigh up the costs of having a diesel generator, supplying diesel fuel, maintaining the generator; plus the wet season cuts you off for up to six months of the year."

Some of the large systems Mr Hanton has installed carry a capital cost of A$500,000 (US$375,000); but, he says, against the diesel alternative, they can pay for themselves in 4-6 years.

[...snip...]

"Technically you could supply all of the world's energy needs by covering 4% of the world's desert area with photo-voltaic panels," says Martin Green from the Advanced Silicon Photo-voltaics and Photonics research centre at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.

"So there's plenty of land available, and plenty of sunlight available."

Yet according to International Energy Agency forecasts, renewables (once again excluding large-scale hydro) will make up only 6% of the world's energy economy in 2030, with solar cells contributing a small fraction.

It is an improvement on today's 2%, but hardly a ringing endorsement of their potential.

The problem is that solar cells convert only about 15% of the sunlight they receive into electricity; at these rates, it's not generally an economic technology.

Martin Green's research unit is in the vanguard of those trying to improve performance and bring down prices.

In the lab, his team can achieve sunlight-to-electricity efficiencies of 25% and intends to go higher, through using materials other than the conventional silicon wafer, or by stacking cells in layers which each absorb different components of the Sun's radiation.

Costs are tackled through investigating cheaper forms of silicon or cheaper ways of processing it; while on the horizon are organic cells, not very efficient, but cheap and easy to make.

'CIS Solar Tower -- the largest solar project in the UK':

http://www.smile.co.uk/servlet/Satellite?c...tplBlank&c=Page

CIS tower is set become Europe's largest vertical solar array, when all three sides of the 25 storey building's service tower are clad in energy generating solar panels.

7,244 solar photovoltaic panels, designed to convert daylight into electricity, will create 180,000 units of renewable electricity each year -- enough energy to make 9,000,000 cups of tea.

The ambitious £5.5m solar project, on what is currently the tallest office building in the UK outside London, is being supported by a £885,000 grant from the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) and a £175,000 grant from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

If we assume 10p a unit then that's £5.5 million invested to produce £18,000 of electricity each year -- an initial return of just 0.33%.

Edited by Jeff Ross

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7,244 solar photovoltaic panels, designed to convert daylight into electricity, will create 180,000 units of renewable electricity each year -- enough energy to make 9,000,000 cups of tea.

That's retarded. PV panels are great if you want to run a computer in the middle of the Amazon, but if you want serious solar power then thermal is almost certainly going to be far more efficient at a far lower cost.

As for uranium, the only real limit on supply is how much you're willing to pay for it. There are vast amounts of uranium on Earth, it just gets increasingly expensive to extract as demand grows and easily accessible reserves are depleted. The realistic predictions I've seen are hundreds of years supply, and if we're still using uranium fission by 2100 then there'll be something seriously wrong with the global economy.

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Correct me if I am wrong, but can't you use nuclear reactors to make plutonium, which can then be used as fuel in other reactors? I mean, the implications of a plutonium economy are not very appealing, I was just raising a technical point.

Also, Ken Deffeyes does an analysis in his "Beyond Oil" showing that we will never reach "peak uranium" because there's too much of the stuff. The problem is that most of it is in low concentration deposits, as another poster pointed out. Talk of uranium supply shortages are probably anti-nuclear propaganda. This is not quite the same as the Peak Oil issue, where the problem is the stuff just is not there to be found at any concentration.

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Not so, electric railways (ie the entire London system and most routes elsewhere in the country) can use any primary source.

I said "almost" 100%. Electric trains are currently small fry in the energy consumed by all transportation. But you are quite right in principle; the current transport fuel mix is about to change.

Ken Deffeyes has announced that we are now "officially" post-peak:

http://www.princeton.edu/hubbert/current-events.html

It is a fact that global production (including Saudi production) fell in January. We shall have to watch this closely over the next few months and see what happens. If he is right, and we enter decline rates of 3-5% per year, and you put that on top of the asset bubble/debt economy, we are looking at the Mother of All Financial Crises. Three years from now it could be humdrum news when another high street bank goes bust. It does not look good.

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Just been doing some research on the web tonight for wind generators and solar panels - found somewhere local that sells the panels as I'm interested in having a permanent lighting system for my push bike that utilises some NiMH batteries concealed in the frame!

If you want permanent lighting on a bike, just get a SON dynamo hub build into the front wheel and a set of lights. All the battery solutions are have less than 3 hours burn time. A SON + HID/new LED stuff is much better.

I don't like the idea of being 'off-grid' and using batteries - better IMO to still be connected to the grid where you are effectively selling the power your house makes at night or when on holiday and then buying power-in at high demand and/or calm/cloudy days. I really like the idea of being able to generate MORE than I would use, so that I am perhaps making-up for the electricity I use when at work etc.

I was looking at this site just after lunch today - gives prices/grants for different size generators:

http://www.provenenergy.com/index.php?opti...ntpage&Itemid=1

This also interested me:

http://www.provenenergy.com/index.php?opti...ntpage&Itemid=1

Maybe a first step for everyone interested in having their electricity generated from renewable sources until you can afford to go down the self-generated route.

Isn't the major problem feeding power back to the system, and having the infastructure to cope? PV solar cells are great for hot water, but not so good for generating power.

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anyone know what the efficency is of solar panels?

10-15 % in ideal conditions,

to give you an idea a 1kwp system will produce about 900kwh per year,

I have started down this route, first step is energy saving and insulation

Cut my daily average down to 5kwh

With grants solar costs about 20p per kwh (spread over 20 years)

but then you'll need either batteries or a grid sync inverter (£1000+)

Wind turbines are good in uk however they need to have good windy site to work 5mph+,

idea to stick one on roof my be a seem good but, turbalence can cause excessive waer and tear.

sticking turbine on chimmey is also a no-no, may be high up but stress on chimmney is to much and not easy to access for annual repairs.

Thermal solar panels are good tho, can be DIY built too using old radiator, loft insulation wooden box and some glass. Help from a plumber would be good.

I plan too run with one solar panel and one turbine (if I find somewhere to attatch it) just to see how power production goes. running off batteries and inverter. going off-grid one circuit at a time, (ie lights first sockets later),

if money was no option I'd go for a grid-tied system, trouble is if grid power goes so does yours still.

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Kinesin wrote:

"If you want permanent lighting on a bike, just get a SON dynamo hub build into the front wheel and a set of lights. All the battery solutions are have less than 3 hours burn time. A SON + HID/new LED stuff is much better."

Absolutely. I have a SON on my Mercian. I have set it up to run two front halogens and a single, hi-vis LED at the back (send me a personal message if you want more info on this). For serious commuting and night riding the SON is really the only durable, reliable, efficient solution. The twin halogens give pretty good light even out on unlit country roads. I am amazed more people don't fit dynamo lights. Even a decent bottle generator is much better than rechargeables, simply because it is bolted on and integral to the bike, not an add-on that you'll forget to recharge sooner or later. In all the years I have been using dynamos, I have never had any kind of failure, not even a blown bulb, despite the Scottish climate!

There might be merit in starting a cycling thread somewhere on HPC to help folk get into cycling and give advice on equipment. This is especially pertinent in that practical, adequately equipped road bikes are rarely stocked by bike shops in this country. You need to go to Belgium to get a practical road bike, with dynamo standing lights, carrier frames etc.

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It is a fact that global production (including Saudi production) fell in January. We shall have to watch this closely over the next few months and see what happens. If he is right, and we enter decline rates of 3-5% per year, and you put that on top of the asset bubble/debt economy, we are looking at the Mother of All Financial Crises. Three years from now it could be humdrum news when another high street bank goes bust. It does not look good.

The best I can work out is that Saudi production is down about 200,000 barrels per day from their recent peak. 9.6 million down to 9.4 million over the past few months. Given that it's no secret how desperate they were to get drilling rigs (paying 3 times the market rate) this is alarming to say the least. It looks like they've got problems maintaining production and given the rate of decline, which is well over any 3 to 5% per annum, I suspect that they've got problems with water reaching the horizontal wells at Ghawar (their biggest field). I can't confirm that as the cause though but the rate of decline is alarming to say the least.

The only other explanations which come to mind are that they weren't producing at their claimed level in the first place but were drawing down above ground stocks or that they are diverting production into building such stocks. Unless it's just dodgy data which is possible. If their production falls to 9.2 million barrels per day in the absence of some explanation such as a price slump then that's good enough confirmation of serious problems for me. At recent decline rates that could be as early as July this year. I'm not convinced until I see that though.

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Well, in my view, that article is a load of dangerous tosh. It is dangerous, because people who should know better might get hypnotised into thinking that it could be a way of avoiding mass economic breakdown, mass starvation, and massive changes in the way that everyone in the western world lives. It will not avoid these! What might avoid it would be a very, very serious programme of energy station building, focused on nuclear fission, and nuclear fusion, and possibly industrial strength solar conversion with hydrogen manufacture as storage.

The sort of thing described in that article is nothing more than a list of ways for rich people who have a house with a lot of land around it to amuse themselves at the weekend, by playing at being self sufficient. Piffle!

I beg people; please don't be hypnotised by these sort of articles! Do the calculations yourself. Read up on present day energy production. Read into the reports on oil and gas supplies. Think about it. This is basically a numerical problem, of number of barrels of oil, joules of energy and kilowatts of power that we need to keep society going as it is currently run in the west. It is NOT an opportunity for hand waving idiotic schemes to come to the rescue. UNLESS YOU'VE DONE THE MATH, DON'T BELIEVE ARTICLES LIKE THIS.

Edited by Levy process

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  • 301 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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