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Posted by N9WOS on April 7, 2005, 9:07 am

A rambling of some thoughts regarding renewable energy, conservation and
energy production.
It will be a long post, I just have that feeling.

Now there is a few things that I may disagree with the vice president on,
but when he stated that "Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue, but
it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy" I
could not agree more. Some people will yell that conservation can reduce
energy consumption by x amount, but they are missing the entire point. There
is times when people are thinking on an entirely different level when they
make a comment, and the people that criticize the comment just don't grasp
what they are saying. If it's from an ingrained myopic view, or just
ignorance, is up for debate, but that is besides the point.

The point of his statement was that conservation, as it is today,  is not a
viable bases for any energy policy. Or basically, conservation, as it's
practiced today, doesn't really help, in regards to energy demand. There is
lots of people that will cuss me out, and say I'm full of bull.$**T, but
they do not grasp the full picture, and the comments are beyond their
comprehension.  It is something I realized years ago, when I seen the
practices used to promote energy efficiency. The way conservation is
practiced in today's world, it often ends up wasting more energy than it
saves. When it finally hit me is when I seen a bunch of electricians
changing out florescent ballast in an office building. I said to them, "Didn't
you just change them out two years ago?" The electrician said, "Yes, but we
have to change them again, to meet current efficiency requirements." Two
years previous, they had changed them to Mark3 energy saver magnetic
ballast. But that year, they removed the almost new ballast, and put in
electronic ballast. I done some figuring and come to the remarkable
conclusion that the forced change out of the ballast two years ago, wasted
vast amounts of energy, and was a very waste full practice. They would of
conserved energy if they would of left the old ballast in for two more
years "wasting energy" until they put in the electronic ballast that year.
The energy that the ballast saved those two years, is less than the energy
that it took to produce that ballast. So all you did was relocate the energy
use, and added a lot of waste. Conserving is the last thing you did.

Relocating energy use, instead of true conservation is the majority of stuff
I see. It is like trying to grab an egg. If you try to hard, then you will
destroy what you are trying to get. If they try to hard to achieve energy
conservation, you will end up wasting more than you save. The concept of
forced change out, and replacing operational equipment before it's useful
life has come to an end, is fundamentally flawed. Unless the savings in
energy is phenomenal, then it is a total waste of energy to change it out
before it had finished it's service life. Once it has finished it's service
life, then you should upgrade to the newest, most efficient system. The
total environmental impact of replacing the system will already be incurred,
so that's the time to do it. If you replace a $0,000 refrigeration system
for a model that is  10% more efficient, the monthly electrical cost is $00
a month, the service life is 10 years, and the system is still within it's
scheduled lifespan. then you have just wasted energy.  The accumulated
energy impact for replacement is $000 a year. The energy saved is $00 a
year. If you change it with 5 years of life left, then you have thrown away
$000 worth of energy, to save $000, The replacement system will have to be
replace 5 years earlier, so you won't make up that $000 in wasted energy
that was wasted by changing it 5 years early.

You may ask, why am I measuring energy in dollars? Well.. Because that is
the most accurate way I can discern energy used to produce a product, and
keep it running. You may say, "Well not all of that money goes to buying
energy to make the product!" but that concept is slightly flawed. Yes, there
is a lot of profit. But profit will be spend on other stuff that requires
energy to make, so it all energy spent to get the product made, and
delivered to you. The delivery man gets a pay check from it, but that pay
check buys electricity for his house, fuel for his car, and gas to keep his
house warm in the winter. If a person makes more profit on an item, then
that means that he don't have to sell as many to stay in business, which
means that every item that he sells has a higher energy tag to it, because
the energy to keep the business running will remain constant. The lights are
still on, the trucks still make their routs, but they just don't haul as
many units. So the per unit energy tag is higher.

All in all, if you spend $00 on a product that will save $0 in energy over
it's life, compared to a $0 unit, then you have just wasted energy.
Because the $00 product has five times as mush energy overhead than the $0
product. You have, in essence, wasted $0 dollars in energy. Yes, the $0
product has 2 people producing it, and the $00 product still only has two
people producing it, and the actually energy used in making the product, is
the same, and they are producing the same number of unit's a year, but the
two people producing the $00 unit is using the extra profits to pay  8
other people to take care of their privet yachts, so you actually you have
5 times as much energy being used to support the production of the $00
unit. If you take use that frame of mind to look at the modern conservation
concepts, then you realize how much of a fallacy modern conservation is.

It makes the idea of forcing companies to spend large sums of money to save
a handful of power, look almost insane. You have all these big companies pop
up, to provide products to save energy, that the government forces people to
use, but the infrastructure that supports the companies providing energy
efficient products is consuming more energy than the products are saving.

Maybe the reason why we are having these energy shortages is because of
everyone building all this stuff to save energy.

Like governments, and people changing out mercury vapor lights for metal
halide in an application where they don't really need true white light. They
say, "It may cost more over the long run with the more frequent bulb
changes, but the metal halide will only use half the power, so it will be
helping the environment." I say to myself, "you freaking ignorant piece of
#^*W$!!!!!!!!! The extra infrastructure required to change out the metal
halide bulbs more often, consumes more energy than the metal halide bulbs
save over mercury vapor." And thin they come out with a real wacko comment
along the lines of..."And the metal halide bulbs will be more friendly to
the environment, because they don't contain mercury, like the mercury vapor
bulbs do." Just because Metal halide bulbs don't have "mercury" in their
name, doesn't mean that they don't contain mercury, you freaking imbecile!

All in all, government forced conservation, doesn't rank very highly on my
list. I think we have to much of it as is.

Energy conservation has it's place, but right now, most people don't seem to
realize where that place is.

The only real option we have, is to find ways to produce more energy. Be it
via nuclear fission/fusion, solar, geo, wind, hydro, bio, or fossil. And
with all ways of procuring energy, it takes energy to get energy. It takes
energy to build ships, drilling rigs, and equipment to hunt for oil. It
takes equipment to build a reactor. It takes energy to build a solar panel.
Like people saying, we shouldn't worry about the energy shortages, we should
just build PV panels. May I ask them this question.. Where do we get the
energy to build the solar panels. If a drilling rig has no gas to run it's
engine, then it can't drill to get the oil. The easiest way is to use the
fossil fuel, and nuclear industries to produce the power now. The are
already established, and the energy load that will be endured by using them
to meet the demand, will be minimal, compared to the alternatives. And once
you get enough excess energy into the system provided by those methods, then
you can use that extra energy to support the expansion  of the alternative
energy sources.

A crystal growing plant, can't produce silicon crystal for PV panels, if the
coal fired power plant that powers it can't get enough coal to keep the
power on.

On that note, the ideas for a "solar breeder" is borderline stupid.
Oh.Look... The crystal growing plant is using power to run some crystal
growing furnaces.  Whoopty do..  It's like using a solar panel to power an
exhaust fan on a factory, and calling it a solar powered factory. To have a
true "solar breeder" you would require all of the energy used in producing
the panels, to be provide by panels you produce. The crystal growing
operation needs to be powered by PV. All the energy for the homes of the
crystal growing factory workers  needs to be powered by PV. The vehicles
that transport the workers to the factory needs to be powered by PV. All the
industries that support the workers (hospital, food, consumables ..on and
on)  needs to be supported by PV. The infrastructure for mining and
purification of all the elements to supply the crystal growing factory,
their workers and related infrastructures, need to be powered by PV. The
factory that puts the cells into the panels,  and it's related
infrastructures (metal foundries workers.. ec. ) need to be powered by PV.
The people, and companies that distribute, and install the modules, need to
be powered by PV. All the companies that build the inverters, batteries, and
equipment to use the panels, and their related infrastructures, need to be
powered by PV. And all the PV panels that power all of the above, needs to
be replicated by the entire system, within the lifespan of the panels. That
is why it is just easier to figure that when the panel has paid for it's
self in dollar terms, (in reference to energy cost, at the date of it's
production), then it is safe to say that it has yielded a positive energy
payback, and that it's production has made a positive impact on the

And, all that PV breeder stuff is missing the entire point that, it doesn't
mater if the energy is used to power the production process, or not. As long
as the panels are in use, then that is more conventional energy that is free
to go other places, or to be saved for a later date. If the PV production
plant has 100KW of PV to run it, but the homes around it have to run off of
a local power plant, or the homes have a distributed 100KW of PV, and the PV
production plant runs off of the local power station. What's the difference?
It will still take 10 or more years to pay back the energy it took the
produce the panels. And for that 10 or so years, producing PV will actually
cause a net burden on the energy supply. So, if we go crazy with production
right now, we will need extra power from other sources to hold us over for
the 10 or so years until we finally break even on production related energy
burden, compared to the energy the panels are producing in the field.

Take this formula based on an imaginary panel and community.
Existing community takes X watts per year.
Total cumulative energy usage producing a panel, will consume 1MW.
The panel will produce 100KW per year.
Total energy payback time is 10 years.

You start panel production in the community.
Panel production is 1000 unit's a year.
That will increase energy consumption of the community by 1GW per year for
the first year.
Second year, with one year's worth of units in operation, you will have a
net positive load of 900MW from the production.
Third year, 800MW.
Forth year, 700MW.
Eleventh year, with ten years worth of units in the fields.
Or ten times the yearly production, then the units in the field will be
producing the same amount of energy as the PV production infrastructure is
consuming. From that point on, you have a positive energy benefit to the

In 20 years, you will have a net zero energy budget, from the time the
factory started production. If the panel life is twice the energy payback
time, then the total community energy payback of the factory will be 2X the
payback of the panel, or the lifetime of the panel.

If the total life expectancy of the PV panels is 20 years, then you will
have to have a PV production industry with a power consumption that is equal
to the energy usage of the community that is being powered by Pv production
industry. Ten years worth of panels will be powering the PV production
system, while the other 10 years of panels will be powering the community
that is not related to the PV production system.

I guess it is a way to provide extra jobs. You will basically employ half of
the population in the PV industry to supply power to the other half of the

The panels better have a life expectancy three or more times their payback
period, or half the US population is going to be working for something that
relates to the PV industry.  Or we better find other sources of energy like
fusion, or something else with a  quicker payback period. Otherwise, the
majority of the energy produced by the panels will be used in making more

Any way you go about it, if we want to get PV off the ground, we are going
to have to find an existing source of energy to get the PV production system
of the ground, and get it running.  Otherwise, we will be the operator
setting at the controls of an oil drilling rig that has no gas to run it's

My opinion is that solar thermal will be a better choice for large scale
solar energy production. Energy payback is a lot quicker.

On hydrogen.
People say that it's not a useful energy source. I have to agree. No, it is
not a useful energy source, but it is critical as an energy transport
system. For years, the energy transport system, was the energy source it's
self. That being oil. But that will no longer apply. Just like electricity
is not a useful energy source. No, the world hasn't got one ounce of useful
energy from electricity. It is just a transport. It carries the energy from
a chemical reaction in a battery, to the circuitry in a radio. It carries
the energy from a steam turbine in the power plant to the compressor shaft
on your refrigerator. How would you like a drive shaft running clear from
the power plant to your fridge, to power the compressor? Yes, hydrogen is
not a very efficient transport system. The same can be said for electricity,
but it works.

It is also critical as energy storage. With all these non-reliable energy
sources, then you need a storage system that can hold large quantities of
energy to run us for many weeks, if the sun don't shine. And it has to be
loss free storage. Not like batteries that run down over a few month. You
put energy in a storage unit, and it has to be there three years from now. A
30 to 50 percent loss in conversion is acceptable, but once you convert it,
it needs to be in a stable form. The energy has to be movable across long
distances with little to no loss. And the transport system should require
very little energy to operate. The transportation and storage
infrastructure equipment should have an achievable lifespan of many decades.
Movement of the energy to a car or other vehicle should be quick and simple.
With compressed and metallic storage systems, and pipelines, Hydrogen meets
those requirements. Batteries do not.

Without hydrogen, then nuclear power plants will be required indefinitely as
a power source during the nighttime, and any other time that the sun doesn't
shine. Without a system that we can stockpile massive quantities of energy
for a rainy day, month, year, then renewable energy will never be able to
exist as a stand alone power source. And it's most likely partner will be
nuclear power of some type.

And as far as conservation, yes, it will probably have it's place in there,
someplace. But, hopefully, it won't be the same concept of conservation that
they are pushing now. Hopefully, by that time, energy conservation will
actually achieve real reduction in  energy required by the world to operate.


Posted by Tim Keating on April 7, 2005, 12:47 pm

snippy .... yawn.....

     Depending on wide scale H2 usage as a energy source will quickly
wipe out the O3 layer in the upper atmosphere.   Thus wiping out most
life on earth.. Is that a viable choice?   If you answer yes.. then
you're a lost cause.

   No it's is not..   B.T.W. The H2 energy conversion loss cycle is
far  greater than 50%.    

  I'll repeat my analysis on H2 environmental impact..
      So you just might get a clue.. that H2 is NOT the solution.

   Besides the relative energy inefficiency of separating H2 from
other compounds and then reconverting it back to useful energy.  Note:
It's much simpler and more efficient  to distribute energy in the form
of electrical energy.

   Running H2 thru pipelines used for natural gas(90% CH4 ,5% C2H6)
increases leakage by a factor three fold (3X) .. (I.E. H2 is a much
smaller molecule, and that property also takes it on a straight line
towards the upper atmosphere).


   Furthermore large scale usage of Hydrogen gas and the resultant H2
leaks could wipe out what remains of the ozone layer (O3 + H2 == H20
+O2) and collaspe/wipeout the food chain..

Est H2 leakage/yr.. we will choose the low end of the estimate or
60Tg/yr  or 6x10^13g/yr see..

"Atmospheric Effects of a Hydrogen Economy"

Global ozone mass  3x10^12 kg  or 3x10^15g  see..
"A New Zealand perspective on global ozone"

----  Chemical reaction calcs ----.

Ok.. adjusting for atomic weight... Total atmospheric Ozone world
wide.    3 x10^15g *  mole(Ozone) /48g == 6.25x10^13 moles of Ozone.

Estimated release of H2 from Hydrogen economy..
  6 x10^13g *mole(H2)/2g ==  3x10^13 moles of H2 released per year.

Adjusting for chemical reaction quoted above.
  min(3x10^13, 6.25x10^13) == 3x10^13 moles.. or ~48% of  ozone layer
converted to water vapor in a single year.  

---- summary ------

   Now. 48% per year is a very scary number.   Notes: That was using
the low end of H2 leakage rate estimate.  High end leakage rate is
double that.  Caveats ..the actual reaction rate will be a little
lower since not all H2 gas will make it into the stratosphere, and not
all H2 will react with 03..  but..  

  Even a small fraction (5 - 10%) of H2 leakage reacting with O3
annually would probably be enough to eliminate most  life on our
planet.   ... have a nice day ...

Posted by N9WOS on April 7, 2005, 5:30 pm

More fear mongering.
Did you even read the article you linked to?
That article also took a good stab at fear mongering on it's own.
It left out a very important piece of information.
H2 will react with hydroxyl radicals to the total effect of increasing water
content in the upper atmosphere.
It will slow the repair of an ozone hole/ozone formation. With all things
being equal, the ozone hole would increase. That is if all other energy use
stayed the same, and you started dumping hydrogen into the air.

But all things are not equal.
If you go to a hydrogen economy, with renewable energy sources, the amount
of ozone destroying products entering the stratosphere, that means that the
hole won't need to repair it's self as quickly, because there is less stuff
actively making a hole. And there will be lower amounts of other substances
that enter the stratosphere, that inhibit ozone repair, and those substances
are far more damaging than the hydrogen that people are complaining about.

And it is hardly the only source of stratospheric water.
CH4 counts in there highly.

Even the article reluctantly admits that the effects will be a net positive,
at the bottom!!

It is just the environmentalist playing politics.



Read the articles you link to, will ya!
Where in heck do they talk about H2 reacting with O3?
H2 reacts with OH.


Look at this article, notice what is required for hydrogen to react with O3.
The oxygen in O3 can react with H2 after the oxygen is no longer in the 03
molecule. By that time, there the O3 molecule is already destroyed.


Posted by Tim Keating on April 7, 2005, 11:48 pm

    I've seen them.. Except many of the studies depend on OH in the
troposphere to neutralize a substantial percentage of the H2 releases.

Except with the new Hydrogen economy .... Humanity will be doubling
the amount of H2 released annually..    Care to guess how much will
make it into the stratosphere??  

    Oh,  I don't think you can rely on the earth sink theory either.
Since most of our  H2 releases will be above ground or will staurate
the soil around the leaks and then release the excess to the

    Do the calc's  you'll find the quite a few intermediate reactions
and final end product greatly favor the conversion of O3 +H2 into
water vapor and O2.  

    Note: More water vapor shifts the equilibrium even further to the
right. and further reduces Oxygen radicals needed to form O3.


"However, the authors of the report say uncertainty remains about the
effects of hydrogen on the atmosphere because scientists still have a
limited understanding of the hydrogen cycle."


"The estimates of potential damage to stratospheric ozone levels are
based on an atmospheric modeling program that tests the various
scenarios that might result, depending on how much hydrogen ends up in
the stratosphere from all sources, both natural and anthropogenic."

"The question of whether or not hydrogen is bad for the environment
hinges on whether the planet has the ability to consume excess
anthropogenic hydrogen, explains Eiler. "This man-made hydrogen will
either be absorbed in the soil -- a process that is still poorly
understood but likely free of environmental consequences -- or react
with other compounds in the atmosphere."

Are you ready to make the big bet???   If you loose, most of humanity
dies off.

Posted by N9WOS on April 8, 2005, 12:29 am

 >    Do the calc's  you'll find the quite a few intermediate reactions

Uuuuu......... aren't you missing something?

There is usually two parts to water.

Hydrogen, and oxygen.

You are so obsessed with the hydrogen, that you are missing the oxygen part.
The extra oxygen introduced into the atmosphere will neutralize additional
natural, and man made hydrogen. So in the end, additional existing hydrogen
will be neutralized, and directly replaced with man made hydrogen if it's

The hydrogen side is a closed system, but the oxygen doesn't just disappear.
The atmosphere forms a closed system in it's self. If you pump hydrogen and
oxygen out from splitting water, they will naturally have a tendency to
cancel each other out, in the environment. So you will end up back where you
started. Water.

If the hydrogen consumes some oxygen atoms from the ozone layer, that means
there is additional oxygen atoms from the splitting process that no longer
have a pair. (ie) Oxygen enrichment.

There is two supply chains in the hydrogen economy system. The hydrogen
side, which is via pipes and storage, and the oxygen side, which is via the
normal atmosphere. The hydrogen production plant is venting pure oxygen to
the atmosphere, and capturing the hydrogen to be used a fuel. When you burn
hydrogen, you need air, which contains oxygen, and you end up with water.
Both supply loops are completed, and you end up with what you started.

Actually, now that I think about it, hydrogen enrichment of the atmosphere
is the last thing I would be worried about. I would worry about oxygen
enrichment. If you build up massive amounts of hydrogen in an energy reserve
system, then that means that you would have an unimaginable number of metric
tons worth of oxygen that has been freed into the atmosphere. And it will
remain there, until they hydrogen is burnt, or till it's vented which will
allow it to neutralize the excess oxygen, there by, creating water.

If you increase the free oxygen content of the atmosphere, what will that do
to the ozone layer? (smiles)

It seems the people doing the atmospheric modeling has also overlooked half
of the equation. That being the oxygen side. Such a pity. :-)

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