Re: fleet week: just-in-time nuclear electricity?

Date: Wed Jan 24 2001 - 06:07:15 PST

Bill Humphries wrote:
> I don't know transmission well, so not sure if tying the shipboard generators
> output into the grid hits the same constraint as importing power.
> -- whump (a radioactive green)

Strange to hear similiar sentiments on two unrelated lists (pigdog & FoRK).
I wonder what makes a person a nukehead, I don't see too many of these.

A nuke drive is optimized to do one thing: propulsion. You'd have to get the
sub into a drydock, and interface a watertight generator to it, then
dump it back into the sea, so it can frolick in sufficient coolant.
I don't think trying to operate a nuke in a drydock only cooled by
water pumps is a good idea.

Hence the whole plan is a herring of a rather luxuriant rouge.

Moreover, a properly operated coal (or, better, natural gas) plant
is cleaner than a nuke plant, integrated over entire input/output and
lifetime. Due to decentralisation, you have shorter average distances
so that you don't have to transform the voltage up to high stratosphere
and then down, suffering transformation and transportation losses. Also,
you can couple to thermal, using it for heating and cooling. You can't
do that in large installations.

If you think carbon dioxide is a problem, you should look at its
percentile contribution to the greenhouse effect. For maximum ROI,
it makes lots more sense focusing on methane and fluorocarbons,
the biggie stuff.

Nevertheless: methane (natural gas) is especially good here, because
it has a carbon:hydrogen=1:4 ratio,in comparison to e.g. aromates
which become as bad as 1:1. Moreover, you can feed methane directly
into large-scale high-temperature fuel cells (being electrochemical
and not Carnot, currently going as high as 40% without trying
really hard, of course if you utilize thermal you're
close to 90%), and, after reforming, into low-temperature hydrogen
fuel cells in the individual homes. You can consider a natural gas
pipeline to be a transport form of hydrogen, slightly contaminated
with carbon. This decentralized, partly hydrogen using energy
production allows you to slowly mover over from methane
to pure hydrogen, if the pipeline is not very leaky all you have to do
is bypassing the methane reformers.

Hydrogen can be made from fossil, renewables, hydro/aeolian/etc,
photovoltaics and nuke. Unlike electricity, it can be transported
essentially lossless, and can be stored easily. So it's both transport
and storage form of energy (most efficiently, with fuel cells). Of course,
you can also utilize it in a caloric burn, with catalysts you don't emit
anything but traces of nitrogen oxides.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Fri Apr 27 2001 - 23:19:03 PDT