Posted by MickyJf on May 29, 2010, 11:39 pm
Interesting discussion, although I'm seeing quite a bit of overall
energy loss in piping, shipping, trucking etc. to create hydrogen in
these desert / arid areas.
This is the 'old school' line of thinking that has us in this fine
- Energy is all around us / renewable energy
- Taking photovoltaic cells as an example:
The sum is simple;
 the technology - manufacture, output, transformation / power
regulation must improve.
 the devices (electrical appliances etc.) in the home must improve
in their overall efficiency = an over all lower demand. This coupled
with educating our children and the next gen. on being energy aware
and better control devices - i.e. smart homes that operate certain
devices when the correct quantity of power is available to do so.
 A shift from power companies in buying back energy into the grid -
when your panel is creating power - they credit you with Kwh on your
Ok - so shoot holes in this overall supposition - but if Moore law
holds water - part  and the latter part of  are taken care of.
The monopoly power companies have of course is likened to the oil
companys agendas etc.
(By the way I'm from Ireland - where its a fight to get the power
companies to buy back power into the grid = but this is changing
slowly with privatisation).
However - if engineering and developments can solve problems -
pipelines exist in desert area's already - bringing fluids to shipping
terminals etc. if lateral thinking is applied - and hydrogen becomes a
commodity in demand Im sure solutions can and will be applied.
A laymans approach to this problem (mine) - is desalinization plants
on the coast - pipe fresh water to the interior of the country in
North Africa / or which ever friendly nation wishes to develop
agricultural lands - for food, bio fuels etc.
Now you have your H20 and your solar plant ready to make your
hydrogen. If its to be used as an energy source - then transportation
through existing Hv power methods make sense.
Now you've got a third world country with exports of energy,
electrical power for their own citizens and cities, and exportable
produce from the reclaimed - hydrated lands.
Great for their economy and self sufficiency etc.
Our power requirements must come from within - the sum I mentioned
above is one of many ideas and technology combinations we will end up
using to solve the problem.
Personally I'm with Mr Morris R. Dovey and his DeSoto approach -
passive / thermally balanced homes - existing ideas and tech. improved
and the problems of energy creation begin to fade.
I've set up a solar panel / heat pump retail / marketing company in
Ireland - our climate isn't great but the evacuated tube technology is
at that stage to give a good return - heat pumps a better return again
- and the old question of 'payback period' is improving constantly
with oil price hikes, and energy efficiencies in buildings. I hate
the payback question really though, its a pet peeve - was the question
ever asked when you were shelling out for your oil fired central
heating system - or gas boiler ? Pay back my arse - more like revenge
on your wallet as you try to heat your home every year!
Very informative content within this group / posts - my understanding
of the technology involved in hydrogen / electro-generation is that it
is moving into fuel cells - contained in your vehicle which emit only
H20 as the exhaust by product - and the science / developments are
moving toward vehicular generation capacity powerful enough for you to
plug your car into your home at the end of the day - and your car
could generate enough power to supply your house.
Now that would be something!
Posted by Robert Scott on June 2, 2010, 6:44 pm
Ok, I would be glad to. Moore's law is not a scientific law. It is an
interesting observation of past trends. And it applies to computing power
(number of transistors on a chip), not to efficiency of photovoltaic conversion.
PV has not enjoyed nearly the degree of improvement that we see in computing
power. It is improving, and it may become the best way to harvest renewable
energy. But not today. Let the marketplace decide. Why should we legislate a
preference for PV when there are so many other good renewable candidates?
As for improving consumer device efficiency, yes, we should do that. But they
have already been doing that. There are no free ways to improve efficiency.
When the benefit to improvement becomes comparable to the cost of improvement,
then people will do it. And one of the best ways of making efficiency
attractive is to price energy in a way to reflects all the costs - including
social and environmental - through taxation or the removal of energy subsidies.
As for making power companies buy back power, I have a real problem with that.
Sure, if only a few people do it, then the power company can always sell the
bought-back power to some other customer. But imagine what happens if a very
large fraction of the people start selling back power to the power companies.
Since all the people in a given area are going to enjoy cloudless days at the
same time, everyone will be wanting to sell back power at the same time. The
power company is then faced with the technical problem of finding places to
deliver that power. Now it is fortunate that the peak PV generation times
generally correspond to the peak air conditioning needs. But there could be
times when A/C needs are not enough to suck up all the PV power being generated.
The power companies must have some flexibility in their generation system to
accommodate varying loads, but a coordinanted flood of power coming into their
grid could easily overwhelm their ability to throttle back generators to match
it. They could use a storage system, such as the reservoir in Ludington,
Michigan that gets pumped up during the night and turned into hydro power during
the day. But there is quite a loss of power in all that conversion. Then there
is the capital investment and maintenance for the grid delivery system. That is
currently paid for by selling power. If the power companies have to buy back
power in large quantities, then there is less money for them to maintain the
infrastructure. It is only fair that there be a price differential to pay for
the infrastructure. But that would make selling back power even less
Posted by MickyJf on June 11, 2010, 4:00 am
Your an excellent marksman Robert, and thanks for breaking down the
supposition I've made, I'm aware of Moores law's application / past
trend - cpu relevance.
To add to the discussion - computing plays a large role in the control
and use of the available power - / yes the law doesn't apply to the
PV. Improvement rate in
a direct sense, but In transformation and regulation of generated
energy its a key factor. Only the most up to date expensive homes are
wired for all the 'bells & whistles' that allow the home owner to auto
pilot the consumer devices - or remotely control from the iphone for
instance. Switch off the light or oven you left on etc.
But In my main (personal company) as a property inspector / new homes
in the starter bracket "Middle income, working class" - type of
units / both houses & apartments are coming with multi room data
connections - back to what used to be the sole area of commercial /
business - a patch panel, now its becoming the standard fit out in
all property in all classes/ price brackets.
This allows for the interface able device to be controlled from a
remote / or central / or every data point. Automatic control would
tell the devices to start up at cheap energy time (night time - 12am -
6am we call it Economy 7 cheap rate power times)
I'm probably telling you stuff you're well aware of I'm sure - but
its the self sufficiency and how your home uses it plays a large part
in the journey. Imagined if you will as two people meeting at a spot
in the middle - the sweet spot, were the energy created matches the
need, the devices are clever enough to know when to when to engage,
and obviously can be overridden if needed.
A bit like a business you'd have - fixed energy use, and a variable
energy use figure - as in costs in business. Try always to lower your
fixed costs / energy use, and the manufacturers that bring the
variable devices that are most efficient to market soonest will win.
But you're dead right when there are better renewable for the
purpose: / mixing and matching is what I sell to my customers
depending on their estimated uses and future needs.
Why should we legislate a
I'd go for solar evacuated / thermal combined with an air con / heat
pump combo in that situation, leaving the power companies to push
their own energy - capacity available to them around the grid as they
Solar cooling / and heat pumping in the winter / with air source on
the heat pump can give a COP of 3 to 4.5, 6.5 - 7 COP, is achievable
when combined energy - cooling / and heating are used simutaniously in
different parts of say a store.
Thats a 700% efficiency rate Robert - good renewable candidates - is
Cost is as you say the ultimate controlling factor, legislation in
with a close second, and as per usual the environment comes in last.
I'm willing to go to a multi 'green' spectrum - to bring the 3rd
horse in 2nd, and one day we know It (the environment) will turn
around and bite us in the ass - when It tells us Its coming first, and
human kind comes in last - last like 10th in a 9 horse race last!, -
(leaving the debate about global warming figures / and falsifications
for another day) - And don't take me for the long haired - hippy
type of environmentalist please - but I intend to contribute in as
much as I can to the solutions, And I welcome contribution, comment,
assistance, cooperation when we launch ' proper ' .
My ethos for business and I'll show you the lengths I'll go to in
detail, (you read them for yourself in my blog " I'll post" the link
to the blog up here, once I've posted some more info. detail, and
tweaked it a bit more to coincide with the final touches to the start
of this new enterprise In renewable / environmental.)
And the www. is where I know a viral approach to the issues and
solutions will bring us further to the centre point or 'sweet spot' I
mentioned earlier. Community / co invested wind turbines are a model
I'm going to research, and keeping an eye in this discussion group, as
you've a different set of variables to the 'energy' problem.
I've a goal of 3 'P's in my green business approach - while still
obviously making a respectable operating profit.
Green for me is in : Product - Process - Promotion I'm seeking to
achieve that goal - And I'll write a bit about how hard or easy it is
for everyone involved from the supplier, staff(admin), installers, the
Government, the customer and my own work load to achieve what we're
setting out to do.
Speaking of work load, I'll have to switch off now - another 26 hour
day awaits me tomorrow!
Thanks for the comment again.