[FoRK] Open Question: Earth vs. ______?

Aaron Burt <aaron at bavariati.org> on Wed Jun 27 13:34:51 PDT 2007

On Mon, Jun 25, 2007 at 11:03:25PM -0400, Stephen D. Williams wrote:
> PV could cost any amount to manufacture if it lasts long enough.  I've 
> heard nothing about PV failing or having short lifetimes, other than 
> needing to clean dust off once in a while (here and on Mars), so it 
> should be a simple capital costs matter.  If their half-life is less 
> than when they break even for overall costs / energy compared to 
> alternatives, then yea, that's not viable.

Breakeven is down around 5 yrs, maybe less for thin-film.  Lifetime is
mainly limited by sand abrasion fogging the glass after a few decades.

> Storing energy isn't as much of a pain as generating it, although it is 
> not a completely solved problem either.

I beg to differ.  Storage is a bear.  If it were as easy as generation,
BPA wouldn't have the problems they do with wind plants here in the PNW.
(Plant output ramps UP, BPA tries to find somewhere to dump it before
the control area goes unstable and the lines overheat, plant output goes
DOWN, BPA struggles to find some power so voltage doesn't sag.  Did I
mention that the wind plants are private ventures who know that BPA has
to pay them for every watt, and they don't want to provide any sort of
warning because it'd cost money and isn't required by the regs?)

[transport]
> Given more or less unlimited cheap energy, we can fix that.  Besides 
> hydrogen, there are all kinds of chemical processes that can be used to 
> concentrate energy.  We could make sugar if we had to.

Huh.  Nature just had an article on a new hybrid process for making
biofuel from fructose, which can be made from cellulose and other starches.  

I still like the idea of solar ammonia.  Use it on your crops, use it
to blow stuff up, use it in a fuel cell.

> Not to mention better batteries on the actual transportation vehicles.

Well, yeah.  Lots of smoke there but very little fire (unless you crash.)
China's the world leader in rechargable lithium batteries, BTW.

> >I got my BSEE so I could work on this stuff,
> 
> And??  ;-)
> 
> That's great.  I hope you are inspired and find someone putting money 
> into it.

MEEE TOOO!  (and thanks!)

Doing computer work 'til I can find an engineering job,
  Aaron

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