2007/10/14

How to achieve energy independence

Whenever the subject of excessive dependence on oil imports comes up, someone always calls for achieving energy independence, but then the discussion gets diverted into such remedies as energy conservation, wind farms, geothermal and ocean thermal sources, ground-based photovoltaic arrays, biofuels, coal, ocean deposits of methyl hydrate, and, of course, the big ones -- nuclear or fusion reactors.

However, there are problems will all of those. No reasonable amount of conservation is going to keep our economy going if energy supplies are cut off. Wind farms, and geothermal and ocean thermal sources, can help in some places, but one can't depend on them as a replacement for fossil fuels. Ground-based photovoltaic systems are still somewhat expensive, although the cost is coming down. Biofuels turn out to cost more energy and other resources than they save, at least if corn is used instead of sugar cane or switchgrass. Coal and methyl hydrate will just accelerate the global warming problem. Nuclear presents the problems of waste disposal and proliferation, and fusion reactors don't work yet.

The one alternative that is seldom mentioned is space solar power: putting photovoltaic arrays in orbit and beaming the power to receiving antennas on the Earth. It is not a new idea. It is estimated that about 40 satellites in geosynchronous orbit could meet the needs for energy of the entire world, and it it was the United States who puts them up and operates them, we would be the energy exporters to the world instead of importers. Once in operation, it is estimated the cost of energy from them would be less than half the cost from other sources, and that it could pay off the investment to put up the system in less than a decade. It requires little new technology, other than ways to bring down the costs for vary large systems. It has much support from leading engineers and scientists, including a team within NASA. And nations like Japan are moving ahead to do it without waiting for us.

So why aren't we doing it? The answer, as usual, is politics. The alternative is opposed by the proponents of nuclear power, who keep making the argument that Earth-to-orbit lift costs are too high, when the proposal has long been to use materials mined from the Moon or an asteroid rather than lifted from Earth. The real problem for them is that such a proposal doesn't make them a lot of money. It would be creating an industrial system in space that they would not control and from which they could not profit.

And of course, they don't hesitate to raise other objections:
1. It is too "Buck Rogers". Silly argument, considering what we have done in the last 50 years, but they make it.
2. It would be vulnerable to attack by space weapons. And oil tankers, refineries, pipelines, and nuclear power plants aren't?
3. It would be vulnerable to space radiation and coronal mass ejections. They can be hardened against that, as we already do with communications satellites.
4. They could become platforms for death rays. Yes, but all the more reason that we put them up instead of someone else.
5. The power beams would disrupt migrating wildlife. The heating effect would be less than sunbeams through clouds, negligible.
6. The satellites would brighten the night sky, impairing ground-based astronomy. But we could move the telescopes out into space, even putting them on the solar power satellites.
7. The space aliens might object. Okay, this is for humor. But since the satellites would support the effort to defend the Earth from impacts with asteroids and comets, one suspects the aliens wouldn't object to us doing that.

Check out some of these links:
Space Studies Institute http://ssi.org/
Sunsat Energy Council http://www.sunsat.org/
NASA
http://grin.hq.nasa.gov/ABSTRACTS/GPN-2003-00108.html
http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/legaff/solar.html
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2001/ast23mar_1.htm
http://space-power.grc.nasa.gov/ppo/projects/sdp/
Solar Power Satellites http://www.freemars.org/history/sps.html
Wikipedia articles
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_satellite
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microwave_power_transmission
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Future_energy_development
Space.com
http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/technology/solar_power_sats_011017-1.html
http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/technology/space_solar_000908.html
http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/technology/solar_power_satellite_000421.html
Space Daily http://www.spacedaily.com/news/ssp-01a.html
Reinventing the Solar Power Satellite http://gltrs.grc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/GLTRS/browse.pl?2004/TM-2004-212743.html
Solar Power Satellite Place http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/solarpowersatelliteplace/
Space Solar Power Library http://www.nss.org/settlement/ssp/library/index.htm
Space Based Weather Control http://www.borderlands.com/spacewea.htm
Resources for the Future http://www.rff.org/rff/News/Releases/2000/Satellite-Solar-Power-Faces-Considerable-Economic-Challenges.cfm
Access to Energy http://www.accesstoenergy.com/view/atearchive/s76a4466.htm
Lift Elevators to Space http://www.liftport.com/forums/index.php?topic=619.0
MSNBC http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2007/09/07/350320.aspx

What you can do is spread this message with the suggestion that everyone write to their favorite media urging them to provide more coverage of this alternative. The time for replacement of fossil fuels is already very late.

3 comments:

Healthy Matters said...

Least we forget the genius inventor, Stan Meyer, who was ultimately assassinated in his native state of Ohio for his patriotic refusal to release his hydrogen fuel cell secrets to any party except a trusted American party.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8stApCmxYEM

Jay Draiman said...

Energy Independence begins with Energy efficiency - It's cheaper to save energy than to make energy (“Out of Oil, Here Comes the Sun”)
Why high oil prices haven't cut demand.
As oil nears $100 .
Bigger economic incentives needed to conserve energy
Driving habits little changed by gas prices
May 12: American motorists continue to fork over more money at the pump and are not changing their driving behavior despite rising fuel prices.
Despite higher fuel prices, demand hasn't fallen as it did after the 1970s oil shocks. Energy researchers say it will take greater economic incentives to boost energy efficiency and cut consumption. Accelerate the implementation of renewable energy generation, Solar, Wind, etc.

Updated December 30, 2007
MANDATORY RENEWABLE ENERGY – THE ENERGY EVOLUTION –R30
by Jay Draiman, Energy Consultant

Sustainability - "We strive to meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs".

Today’s energy industry is perhaps the world’s most powerful. Energy is the basis of this entire world’s wealth, and for perhaps earth’s entire history, the sun’s energy has fueled all ecological and economic systems. If early humans did not learn to exploit new sources of energy, humankind would still be living in the tropical forests. Without the continual exploitation of new energy sources, there would have been no civilization, no Industrial Revolution and no looming global catastrophe.

In order to insure energy and economic independence as well as better economic growth without being blackmailed by foreign countries, our country, the United States of America’s Utilization of Energy Sources must change.
"Energy drives our entire economy.” We must protect it. "Let's face it, without energy the whole economy and economic society we have set up would come to a halt. So you want to have control over such an important resource that you need for your society and your economy." The American way of life is not negotiable.
Our continued dependence on fossil fuels could and will lead to catastrophic consequences.

The federal, state and local government should implement a mandatory renewable energy installation program for residential and commercial property on new construction and remodeling projects, replacement of appliances, motors, HVAC with the use of energy efficient materials-products, mechanical systems, appliances, lighting, insulation, retrofits etc. The source of energy must be by renewable energy such as Solar-Photovoltaic, Geothermal, Wind, Biofuels, Ocean-Tidal, Hydrogen-Fuel Cell etc. This includes the utilizing of water from lakes, rivers and oceans to circulate in cooling towers to produce air conditioning, increase the use of outside air for ventilation and cooling (which also reduces indoor pollution and healthier), and the utilization of proper landscaping to reduce energy consumption. (Sales tax on renewable energy products and energy efficiency should be reduced or eliminated) (Construct new transmission lines and renewable energy zones) (We should also utilize solar energy for ocean water desalinization to alleviate the increasing water shortages – the scientists are claiming ocean levels are elevating – population, economic advancement and technology are increasing which increases demand)
“OUT OF OIL, HERE COMES THE SUN” SOLAR ENERGY
The implementation of mandatory renewable energy could be done on a gradual scale over the next 10 years. At the end of the 10 year period all construction and energy use in the structures throughout the United States must be 100% powered by renewable energy. (This can be done by amending building code)

In addition, the governments must impose laws, rules and regulations whereby the utility companies must comply with a fair “NET METERING” (the buying of excess generation from the consumer at market price), including the promotion of research and production of “renewable energy technology” with various long term incentives and grants. The various foundations in existence should be used to contribute to this cause.

A mandatory time table should also be established for the automobile industry to gradually produce an automobile powered by renewable energy. The American automobile industry is surely capable of accomplishing this task. As an inducement to buy hybrid automobiles (sales tax should be reduced or eliminated on American manufactured automobiles).

This is a way to expedite our energy independence and economic growth. (This will also create a substantial amount of new jobs). It will take maximum effort and a relentless pursuit of the private, commercial and industrial government sectors’ commitment to renewable energy – energy generation (wind, solar, hydro, biofuels, geothermal, energy storage (fuel cells, advance batteries), energy infrastructure (management, transmission) and energy efficiency (lighting, sensors, automation, conservation) (rainwater harvesting, water conservation) (energy and natural resources conservation) in order to achieve our energy independence.

For the benefit of mankind, maintain the quality of life and preserve the tranquility of world population. Water resources must be preserved to sustain humanity. We should utilize solar and or other source of renewable energy to operate desalinization projects from the oceans. As world population increases the scarcity of water will become a cause for conflict, unless we take steps now to develop other sources of water for drinking, rainwater harvesting and graywater utilization.
To preserve the future generations sustainability, we should look into urban farming – vertical farming. The term "urban farming" may conjure up a community garden where locals grow a few heads of lettuce. But some academics envision something quite different for the increasingly hungry world of the 21st century: a vertical farm that will do for agriculture what the skyscraper did for office space. Greenhouse giant: By stacking floors full of produce, a vertical farm could rake in $18 million a year.
I believe what America needs are cool headed government leaders who understand how markets function and can work with consumers, voters and oil industry leaders to develop a viable energy strategy that will help and not hinder as our nation transitions to our new energy reality.
For German Homeowners Renewable Energy is No Longer a Choice
All new homes built in Germany from January 1st 2009 will be required to install renewable energy heating systems under a new law called the Renewable Energies Heating Law
"To succeed, you have to believe in something with such a passion that it becomes a reality."

Jay Draiman, Energy Consultant
Northridge, CA. 91324
December 27, 2007

P.S. I have a very deep belief in America's capabilities. Within the next 10 years we can accomplish our energy independence, if we as a nation truly set our goals to accomplish this.

I happen to believe that we can do it. In another crisis--the one in 1942--President Franklin D. Roosevelt said this country would build 60,000 [50,000] military aircraft. By 1943, production in that program had reached 125,000 aircraft annually. They did it then. We can do it now.

"The way we produce and use energy must fundamentally change."
The American people resilience and determination to retain the way of life is unconquerable and we as a nation will succeed in this endeavor of Energy Independence.

The Oil Companies should be required to invest a substantial percentage of their profit in renewable energy R&D and implementation. Those who do not will be panelized by the public at large by boy cutting their products.

Solar energy is the source of all energy on the earth (excepting volcanic geothermal). Wind, wave and fossil fuels all get their energy from the sun. Fossil fuels are only a battery which will eventually run out. The sooner we can exploit all forms of Solar energy (cost effectively or not against dubiously cheap FFs) the better off we will all be. If the battery runs out first, the survivors will all be living like in the 18th century again.

Every new home built should come with a solar package. A 1.5 kW per bedroom is a good rule of thumb. The formula 1.5 X's 5 hrs per day X's 30 days will produce about 225 kWh per bedroom monthly. This peak production period will offset 17 to 2

4 cents per kWh with a potential of $160 per month or about $60,000 over the 30-year mortgage period for a three-bedroom home. It is economically feasible at the current energy price and the interest portion of the loan is deductible. Why not?

Title 24 has been mandated forcing developers to build energy efficient homes. Their bull-headedness put them in that position and now they see that Title 24 works with little added cost. Solar should also be mandated and if the developer designs a home that solar is impossible to do then they should pay an equivalent mitigation fee allowing others to put solar on in place of their negligence. (Installation should be paid “performance based”).

Installation of renewable energy and its performance should be paid to the installer and manufacturer based on "performance based" (that means they are held accountable for the performance of the product - that includes the automobile industry). This will gain the trust and confidence of the end-user to proceed with such a project; it will also prove to the public that it is a viable avenue of energy conservation.

Installing a renewable energy system on your home or business increases the value of the property and provides a marketing advantage. It also decreases our trade deficit.

Nations of the world should unite and join together in a cohesive effort to develop and implement MANDATORY RENEWABLE ENERGY for the sake of humankind and future generations.

The head of the U.S. government's renewable energy lab said Monday (Feb. 5) that the federal government is doing "embarrassingly few things" to foster renewable energy, leaving leadership to the states at a time of opportunity to change the nation's energy future. "I see little happening at the federal level. Much more needs to happen." What's needed, he said, is a change of our national mind set. Instead of viewing the hurdles that still face renewable sources and setting national energy goals with those hurdles in mind, we should set ambitious national renewable energy goals and set about overcoming the hurdles to meet them. We have an opportunity, an opportunity we can take advantage of or an opportunity we can squander and let go,"

Solar energy - the direct conversion of sunlight with solar cells, either into electricity or hydrogen, faces cost hurdles independent of their intrinsic efficiency. Ways must be found to lower production costs and design better conversion and storage systems.

Disenco Energy of the UK has announced it has reached important
milestones leading to full commercialization, such as the completion of
field trials for its home, micro combined heat and power plant (m-CHP).
The company expects to begin a product roll out in the second quarter of
2008.
Operating at over 90 percent efficiency, the m-CHP will be able to
provide 15 kilowatts of thermal energy (about 50,000 Btu’s) for heat and
hot water and generate 3 kilowatts of electricity. The m-CHP uses a
Stirling engine generator and would be a direct replacement for a home’s
boiler.
Running on piped-in natural gas the unit would create some independence
from the power grid, but still remain connected to the gas supply
network.
Whereas heat is supplied only when the generator is running (or
conversely electricity is generated only when heat is needed) a back-up
battery system and heavily insulated hot water storage tank seem
eventual options for more complete energy independence.

FEDERAL BUILDINGS WITH SOLAR ENERGY – Renewable Energy
All government buildings, Federal, State, County, City etc. should be mandated to be energy efficient and must use renewable energy on all new structures and structures that are been remodeled/upgraded.
"The government should serve as an example to its citizens"

A new innovative renewable energy generating technology is in development. The idea behind Promethean Power came from Matthew Orosz, an MIT graduate student who has worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in the African nation of Lesotho. Orosz wanted to provide electric power, refrigeration, and hot water to people without electricity. He and some MIT colleagues designed a set of mirrors that focus sunlight onto tubes filled with coolant. The hot coolant turns to pressurized vapor, which turns a turbine to make electricity. The leftover heat can be used to warm a tank of water and to run a refrigerator or an air conditioner, using a gas-absorption process that chills liquid ammonia by first heating it.
IS TECHNOLOGY BEING HELD BACK
New Solar Electric Cells - 80% efficient
Mr. Marks says solar panels made with Lepcon or Lumeloid, the materials he patented, ... Most photovoltaic cells are only about 15 percent efficient. ...
In late July 2007 University of Delaware researchers Honsberg, 40, and Barnett, 67, set a world record for solar efficiency, converting 42.8% of the sun's radiation into electricity with their prototype cell. That's almost three times as efficient as commercial solar cells. "We think we can do 50%," says Barnett. He and Honsberg are working to build practical devices by 2010, with support from the U.S. military and an industrial group led by DuPont
A major increase in daily petroleum output is deemed essential to meet U.S. and international oil requirements in 2020, and so we should expect recurring oil shortages and price increases. Only by expediting the diminishing our day-to-day consumption of petroleum and implementing of efficiency and renewable energy policy can we hope to reduce our exposure to costly oil-supply disruptions and lower the risk of economic strangulation.
Quick Facts
 Energy is vital to every sector of the U.S. economy. As our economy grows, the demand for energy rises.

 Total energy consumption is projected to increase 35 percent by 2030.

 Energy-efficiency improvements have played a major role in meeting national energy needs since the 1970s, relative to new supply.
ULTRACAPACITORS - But what if you could harness a technology that would enable you to drive 500 miles round-trip on a 5-minute charge?

That's the promise of U.S. Patent No. 7,033,406 which promises, maybe even threatens, to do away with the internal combustion engine, and the traditional car battery, all in one swoop.
The patent is the property of Austin-based startup called EEStor, which touts "technologies for replacement of electrochemical batteries." In layman's terms, that means you could use the EEStor technology to drive from Boston to Philly and back without a drop of gasoline.

The Vertical Farm is a concept that seeks to address the major concerns of the environmental degradation of the modern city by composting, recycling waste and farming in a standard tenement building. The "ecological footprint" of the city will be lessened and therefore the city will become a more sustainable setting. The reduction of wastes and the production of foods for consumption will in turn increase the quality of life for all those within the city and its surrounding area. The reduction in transportation of both wastes and of food products and the use of abandoned buildings will directly increase the quality of the urban settling.
Inverse Offshore Pump Accumulation station (IOPAC). The concept is a relative (and sort of the inverse) of onshore pumped storage hydroelectric facilities where water is pumped to high elevation ponds with surplus power, then released when needed for peak power demands on the grid.
THE BATTLE FOR YOUR ELECTRIC BILL Private-equity buyout funds are targeting electric power companies in deals that generate massive debt, stop the building of better plants and jack up rates. They take the profits and stick consumers with the cost.
In three detailed future scenarios, the SRA describes concrete outcomes of sustainable chemistry in health care, energy efficient housing and industrial bioprocesses.
The energy-generating home scenario demonstrates how smart materials and energy management can, for instance, help reduce heat loss, improve energy efficiency and transform kinetic energy into electricity. These technologies will turn tomorrow’s home into an independent mini power plant capable of exceeding its own energy requirements.
Personalized health care to meet the growing demands of an ageing society are another application of SusChem’s SRA. Using future nano and biotechnologies and materials, sustainable chemistry will help accelerate intervention using remote monitoring and intervention systems, improve diagnostics through advanced medical imaging techniques, and reduce the intrusiveness of the medical treatment overall.
A Guide for the Survival of Humankind, and Improving the World, Society, and Yourself!
Yet who can the world trust to be idealistic and moral enough to help all of humanity and the environment, and at the same time, be practical enough to make extremely difficult decisions that can and will harm a great deal of people?

STEP INTO THE LIGHT – AND OUT TO THE WORLD.
THE NEW DAWN OF SOLAR
A California firm says it is producing solar panels for 30 cents per watt. If true, then a power plant made from these solar panels should produce electricity cheaper than a coal plant.
Nanosolar’s cells use no silicon, and the company’s manufacturing process allows it to create cells that are as efficient as most commercial cells for as little as 30 cents a watt. “You’re talking about printing rolls of the stuff—printing it on the roofs of 18-wheeler trailers, printing it on garages, printing it wherever you want it,” says Dan Kammen, founding director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley. “It really is quite a big deal in terms of altering the way we think about solar and in inherently altering the economics of solar.”
Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERV). ERV is the technology that completes an HVAC system. The "V" in HVAC can no longer be ignored and higher ventilation loads require a new design approach. Whether you are a home owner, business owner, building administrator or engineer, it is essential to realize the importance of indoor air quality (IAQ) and fresh air ventilation. It reduces the cooling load and saves energy.
Jay Draiman, Energy Consultant
Northridge, CA 91324
Email: renewableenergy2@msn.com

Posted on: 12/30//2007

mkoswell said...
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