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https://www.facebook.com/anonews.co/videos/1255866307758259/?hc_ref=NEWSFEED

 

Let's see if this works.

 

There's a video going around about a guy apparently putting baking soda and water into jars, then running a current, and somehow then putting the "hydrogen" into his fuel system and he's increasing gas mileage by "56%!"

 

It's so bad. So, so bad. And wrong. And it hurts.

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https://www.facebook.com/anonews.co/videos/1255866307758259/?hc_ref=NEWSFEED

 

Let's see if this works.

 

There's a video going around about a guy apparently putting baking soda and water into jars, then running a current, and somehow then putting the "hydrogen" into his fuel system and he's increasing gas mileage by "56%!"

 

It's so bad. So, so bad. And wrong. And it hurts.

 

 

Yeah, it hurts because he's not even fleecing anyone of their precious dollarbucks with this nonsense.

 

If you're going to spread bullshit, at least have the common decency to rob people while doing so.

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I saw that a bit ago.

 

The thing is, solar roadways is only exceptional in how brazen a scam it is.  The entire solar industry is farcical, and is a textbook example of what happens when you let people who can't do math think they have an opinion on energy policy.

 

People who cannot do math do not get to have opinions on STEM matters.  They can, at best, copy the opinions of other people, but they themselves lack the necessary skill required to independently have an opinion.

 

The current industry standard for solar panels is 20-something percent efficient.  Substantially better panels exist in labs; I've heard 46% tossed around, but that stuff uses cutting-edge semiconducter wizardry is still some ways off from production.

 

Now look at a world insolation map and get ready to do a bit of dimensional analysis.  Anyone who cannot do dimensional analysis does not have an opinion on energy policy.

 

Solar irradiance is 1.3 kW*M^-2 at 1 AU from the sun.  This gets chopped down to something like 1 KW*M-2 after the sunlight gets through the atmosphere (on a clear day, ignoring clouds).  A conveniently round number.

 

So, a patch of land that's one square meter in area orbiting the sun at the same distance as the earth does that's underneath an atmosphere that's as thick as Earth's would collect 8760 kWh of energy from sunlight, because there are 8760 hours in a year.  But the actual intensity of sunlight, averaged over a year, is less than a third of that on even the sunniest portions of Earth because:

 

a)  It's night half the time.

2)  Clouds and shit.

 

So divide one kilowatt per square meter by 3.5, for the very sunniest parts of the world, then multiply by .24 for the very top of the line solar panels currently on the market, and then look at wikipedia's table of countries by electricity consumption.  Why are we using wikipedia?  Well, if you look up indexmundi's chart, you'll see that they have power consumption listen in kWh.  kWh is not a unit of power.  That means that they are going to the hell reserved for people who cannot do dimensional analysis!

 

If you live in the United States, you use an average 1.8 kilowatts of electrical power.  That means you need 26.25 square meters (282 square feet for those of you using haram infidel units) to supply your electrical needs, assuming you live in Arizona, are running your shit directly from the panels so there are no line losses, and assuming you have some sort of perfectly efficient energy storage that magically smooths out peak supply and demand issues.

 

Now, go to your apartment or house roof, and try to figure out if there's even 26.25 m2 of usable area to park solar panels on there.  Don't forget to multiply the area of your roof by the cosine of its inclination if your roof is sloped!

 

And if you live in somewhere that isn't Arizona, or if you're using less than the best solar panels on the market, or if your panels and house aren't co-located, or if you lack perfectly efficient energy storage devices to coordinate peak use and production, please account accordingly.

 

The entire idea is an obvious non-starter if you can do math.

 

Here's another way to look at it; compare the number of people employed in solar power to the amount of power it actually produces.

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Question to anyone who knows solar panels:

 

My math above sort of assumes that the power generated by a solar panel is proportional to the power generated by the panel when it's perpendicular to the sun multiplied by the cosine of the angle of the panel from the perpendicular.  Do solar panels actually work like that?  It just occurred to me that they might be substantially less efficient than that, say if they reflect a lot of light when they're highly oblique to the sun.

 

I would look it up myself, but I don't really care about useless technologies.

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I saw that a bit ago.

The thing is, solar roadways is only exceptional in how brazen a scam it is. The entire solar industry is farcical, and is a textbook example of what happens when you let people who can't do math think they have an opinion on energy policy.

People who cannot do math do not get to have opinions on STEM matters. They can, at best, copy the opinions of other people, but they themselves lack the necessary skill required to independently have an opinion.

The current industry standard for solar panels is 20-something percent efficient. Substantially better panels exist in labs; I've heard 46% tossed around, but that stuff uses cutting-edge semiconducter wizardry is still some ways off from production.

Now look at a world insolation map and get ready to do a bit of dimensional analysis. Anyone who cannot do dimensional analysis does not have an opinion on energy policy.

Solar irradiance is 1.3 kW*M^-2 at 1 AU from the sun. This gets chopped down to something like 1 KW*M-2 after the sunlight gets through the atmosphere (on a clear day, ignoring clouds). A conveniently round number.

So, a patch of land that's one square meter in area orbiting the sun at the same distance as the earth does that's underneath an atmosphere that's as thick as Earth's would collect 8760 kWh of energy from sunlight, because there are 8760 hours in a year. But the actual intensity of sunlight, averaged over a year, is less than a third of that on even the sunniest portions of Earth because:

a) It's night half the time.

2) Clouds and shit.

So divide one kilowatt per square meter by 3.5, for the very sunniest parts of the world, then multiply by .24 for the very top of the line solar panels currently on the market, and then look at wikipedia's table of countries by electricity consumption. Why are we using wikipedia? Well, if you look up indexmundi's chart, you'll see that they have power consumption listen in kWh. kWh is not a unit of power. That means that they are going to the hell reserved for people who cannot do dimensional analysis!

If you live in the United States, you use an average 1.8 kilowatts of electrical power. That means you need 26.25 square meters (282 square feet for those of you using haram infidel units) to supply your electrical needs, assuming you live in Arizona, are running your shit directly from the panels so there are no line losses, and assuming you have some sort of perfectly efficient energy storage that magically smooths out peak supply and demand issues.

Now, go to your apartment or house roof, and try to figure out if there's even 26.25 m2 of usable area to park solar panels on there. Don't forget to multiply the area of your roof by the cosine of its inclination if your roof is sloped!

And if you live in somewhere that isn't Arizona, or if you're using less than the best solar panels on the market, or if your panels and house aren't co-located, or if you lack perfectly efficient energy storage devices to coordinate peak use and production, please account accordingly.

The entire idea is an obvious non-starter if you can do math.

Here's another way to look at it; compare the number of people employed in solar power to the amount of power it actually produces.

1.

This means that solar is completely viable for my house. Still waaaay too expensive to install though.

2.

Doesn't this assume a solar-only scenario rather than some sort of mixed approach?

3.

Storage is the great stumbling block of nearly all power generation concepts (except hydro), but...

4.

In our context it's become popular for richer households to have a few panels, a battery bank and an inverter for when eskom is feeling creaky or some jackass stole the cables again. This is just to get you through the 2-6 hours of blackout without your fridge defrosting.

In general, it seems to me that solar is one of those niche/expensive things that's nice to have if you/'re society can afford it, but is still waiting on cheap manufacture and storage.

Just for curiosity sake - how do the numbers look if you don't bother with the panels and instead grow biomass over the same area to chuck into a conventional power plant?

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1.

This means that solar is completely viable for my house. Still waaaay too expensive to install though.

 

 

Is it?  There's a difference between "viable" and "less than averagely silly."  I assume you can track average power consumption through your utilities provider, but can you track peak load vs. time?

 

Also, how can solar be simultaneously viable for you and waaaay too expensive?

 

 

2.

Doesn't this assume a solar-only scenario rather than some sort of mixed approach?

 

 
Solar evangelists speak of an ideal future where everything is powered by the sun.  The Thunderfoot video above quotes one such, but there are several others.
 
So far as I can tell, "mixed" is basically weasel-speak for "our shit doesn't actually work, so we need to get something that does work to actually carry the grid load so we can continue our expensively subsidized jobs program."
 
It's not like solar power has particular merits (outside the cases of providing power to remote installations where it isn't worth stringing lines or providing supplementary power in areas with unreliable utilities like you mentioned).  It's pretty much just bad.  At least it provides power at a time that mostly coincides with peak draw, unlike wind, but that's where the merits end.
 
In the case of a mixed solar thermal/gas plant, like the Ivanpah anti-bird death ray, what exactly is the solar adding to the thing?  The reflector panels just make the thing bigger and more expensive.  I guess they laser birds out of the sky, which is pretty funny, but that does not improve the bottom line.
 

3.

Storage is the great stumbling block of nearly all power generation concepts (except hydro), but...

 

 
Sort of.  There was a study showing that non-renewables would benefit even more from energy bulk storage than renewables would, but I'd be curious to find out why.
 
Current utilities providers are pretty good at matching electrical production to electrical consumption.  A friend who works in this stuff told me a story about how some Japanese cities suffered brown-outs because the weather forecast mis-cassandra-d the daytime high temperature by a few degrees.  It ended up being hotter, and the extra AC power consumption was enough to push the grid over in places.
 
They cut it pretty damn tight as is; and the drop in load at night is often used to power down the equipment and perform maintenance.  So it's not like there would be enormous improvement in being able to flatten out power consumption vis a vis power generation methods that actually work (i.e. not solar or wind).
 

 

4.

In our context it's become popular for richer households to have a few panels, a battery bank and an inverter for when eskom is feeling creaky or some jackass stole the cables again. This is just to get you through the 2-6 hours of blackout without your fridge defrosting.

In general, it seems to me that solar is one of those niche/expensive things that's nice to have if you/'re society can afford it, but is still waiting on cheap manufacture and storage.

Just for curiosity sake - how do the numbers look if you don't bother with the panels and instead grow biomass over the same area to chuck into a conventional power plant?

 

 

 I am so happy that I live in a country where I don't have to worry about shit like that.  After this election, though, perhaps I'll be more of a fan of solar panels.
 
Plants are pretty terrible at converting sunlight into usable energy.  Sugarcane can convert something like 10% of the sunlight that hits it into calories, and that's one of the more efficient crop plants too.  According to this book, you can model green plant energy efficiency at about 2% for ecological modelling.
 
On the other hand, plants don't need to be wiped off with a moist towelette, and they do self-propagate.
 
So I think, bottom line, you would get far, far more energy from covering a field with solar panels than you would from covering a field with crops and then burning them, but covering an arable field with solar panels would be completely financially insane.
 
Although, given that, burning edible crops is even more insane.

 

1.

This means that solar is completely viable for my house. Still waaaay too expensive to install though.

2.

Doesn't this assume a solar-only scenario rather than some sort of mixed approach?

3.

Storage is the great stumbling block of nearly all power generation concepts (except hydro), but...

4.

In our context it's become popular for richer households to have a few panels, a battery bank and an inverter for when eskom is feeling creaky or some jackass stole the cables again. This is just to get you through the 2-6 hours of blackout without your fridge defrosting.

In general, it seems to me that solar is one of those niche/expensive things that's nice to have if you/'re society can afford it, but is still waiting on cheap manufacture and storage.

Just for curiosity sake - how do the numbers look if you don't bother with the panels and instead grow biomass over the same area to chuck into a conventional power plant?

 

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Viable meaning here that I could put in enough panel area to completely power my household indefinitely.

I could also buy a large generator and store a month's worth of fuel in my garage, but that would also be waaay too expensive.

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To be fair to Eskom, it's been a year since the last wave of 'load shedding'.

Unfortunately we're dealing with infrastructure that got neglected for almost two decades, so it's pretty much a matter of time before shit hits the fan again.

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My understanding regarding storage is that the more of it you have the leaner you can run your capacity.

You mention that off-peak time can be used to power down, do maintenance and the like. But spinning down takes some time and your peak load is often far above baseline.

So no matter how you slice it you can save a lot on capacity by having storage.

On our side of the world, this is done by using dams - I think Eskom can run well over for a few hours if needed and then pump the water back during off-peak. Then again, we're also in the middle of a severe drought...

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In terms of solar evangelists, of course they'd be convinced that it's the only answer. So you can discard their opinion on that front.

However; in the real world you can quite happily build your total capacity out of coal, nuclear, hydro and gas. And nobody uses that as an argument for any of these technologies being absolute shit. So I don't buy the idea that mixed approaches are some sort of slam-dunk on solar.

I guess my final point is that I don't really get your action against solar beyond a well-founded dislike of hippies and all they do. I see it cropping up all over as a way to make use of otherwise-wasted roof space and have local generation capacity that doesn't need a supply chain to feed it after install. And that seems perfectly fine to me. Let a thousand gardens bloom and all that.

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However; in the real world you can quite happily build your total capacity out of coal, nuclear, hydro and gas. And nobody uses that as an argument for any of these technologies being absolute shit. So I don't buy the idea that mixed approaches are some sort of slam-dunk on solar.

 

I don't believe colli was using the existence of mixed approach as proof that solar is bad, I believe he was saying that mixed approach plants are essentially functioning natural gas/whatever plants that want solar subsidy money.

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Solar evangelists speak of an ideal future where everything is powered by the sun.  The Thunderfoot video above quotes one such, but there are several others.

 
So far as I can tell, "mixed" is basically weasel-speak for "our shit doesn't actually work, so we need to get something that does work to actually carry the grid load so we can continue our expensively subsidized jobs program."
 
It's not like solar power has particular merits (outside the cases of providing power to remote installations where it isn't worth stringing lines or providing supplementary power in areas with unreliable utilities like you mentioned).  It's pretty much just bad.  At least it provides power at a time that mostly coincides with peak draw, unlike wind, but that's where the merits end.
 
In the case of a mixed solar thermal/gas plant, like the Ivanpah anti-bird death ray, what exactly is the solar adding to the thing?  The reflector panels just make the thing bigger and more expensive.  I guess they laser birds out of the sky, which is pretty funny, but that does not improve the bottom line.

I interpreted the above as referring to other power generation options within the overall mix. Because that's what I was referring to.

 

Ivanpah is mentioned later on.

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Reading things again, I get the impression that our differrences in opinion are partly related to how solar is sold as a concept.

 

In South Africa we have Eskom, which has a national monopoly on both generation and distribution. Eskom favours large centralised units. We have, for instance, 18 coal plants in the whole country (of which 2 are under construction) producing 40 000 MW. Eskom also uses a very old-school grid system which is built around top-down distribution from these large plants.

 

Which is all good and efficient; but exceedingly fragile if, for instance, you let your plants/grid age out or your infrastructure gets vandalised. Or your coal supply line gets broken or disrupted.Then its a huge fokop.

 

So, in our context, solar seems like a great way to plug the gaps in the system by providing small-scale capacity as a local, backup option. We have plenty of sun and plenty of non-arable land (including sprawling cities with lots of roof acreage). So solar seems like a good fit regardless of cost or efficiency, as it fills a need that simply isn not being filled otherwise. And that's where you find it: on the tops of roofs or in small fields linked directly to the infrastructure it is supposed to be serving.

 

If we were talking about lots of local, small-scale generation capacity competing across multiple companies and technologies, then I'd happily grant that solar is a... bespoke option.

 

What is the U.S. context?

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In the USA a pretty typical mix is natural gas and coal, although hydro or nuclear or something else may be locally dominant.

 

The coal provides the base load, and natural gas provides the load following.  Coal is (usually) a bit cheaper, and natural gas plants are better at responding to changing load.  There doesn't end up being an enormous amount of slack.

 

If there were effective bulk storage, then the power company could just run coal all the time at the average load.  This would probably be a bit cheaper, but the cost savings wouldn't be enormous.  Again, according to a friend I have who works on this stuff, a lot of the ideas of utilizing cheap, nighttime off-peak electricity are fanciful, because there's just not that much underutilized peak even at night.

 

Solar panels add power to the grid when the sun is shining, which kind of mostly lines up with the peak demand.  But the amount of power they produce is so pitiful that in any municipality with solar installations (usually highly visible ones that are just large enough to keep hippies happy; not being able to do math works both ways), that really all they do is mean that one of the load-following natural gas plants gets throttled down a little on sunny days.

 

Given that air conditioning is one of the largest single uses of electricity on sunny days, I would guess that the money spent on solar panels could be better used improving the insulation on newly built structures, which these days is pretty piss-poor.

 

So solar doesn't really add much to the mix.  The biggest problem is that as a power source it's pitifully diffuse; there would need to be orders of magnitude more solar panels in the world than there are currently for it to warrant serious consideration.  Probably more panels than simple math would suggest, because, at least in the US, solar installations are usually quoted at the maximum electrical power that they can sustain, not the average amount of electrical power they actually produce.  This sort of dishonest accounting is, as you might imagine, unique to power generation technologies that don't actually do anything.

 

The next problem is that solar only works when the sun is up.  Something else has to be running the rest of the time.  I guess a solar/hydro combination could work, with the solar producing power when the sun feels like it, and the hydro taking up the slack.  But what does the solar add to this setup?  It takes a hell of a lot of panels to equal one dam.  Also, depending on where they are and what the rainfall has been that year, dams aren't necessarily that free to produce electricity as they see fit.  They're also constrained by the need to store or release water for agricultural needs, and also constrained by the need to not run dry and not overflow.  So the ability of a hydroelectric dam to load-follow could easily be compromised.  Also, at least in the US, just about everywhere that hydropower can be installed already has it.  There's very little growth potential.  The US hydropower association talks about their being an additional hundreds of gigawatts of additional capacity, but I think they're including wave/tidal in that.

 

Wind at least makes more serious amounts of power, but only whenever the hell it feels like it.

 

Maybe it's different elsewhere, but at least in the USA, "mixed" power generation schemes are basically schemes to put up a few wind turbines and PV panels in highly obvious locations, and cook the numbers on how much power they contribute to the grid at much as possible in order to qualify for various green power initiatives and to keep hippies from bitching too much.  Having the turbines or PV panels actually produce electricity that can be used is a tertiary concern.  Coal and natural gas still do all the heavy lifting.

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We are still primarily nuke and hydro in the PAC NW with our one WPPSS nuke plant in Hanford providing like 20 percent of the energy of ALL our hydro projects. That counts Grande Coulee btw.

Eastern Washungton is getting polluted with wind turbines which account for about 2 percent if you buy the accounting gimmicks. You see homes with solar but they are a status symbol and are paid for by tax rebates. We chased coal out of Washington a decade ago.

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I've noticed a growing anti-dam movement among environmentalists. I don't know if that is just an intellectual thing among the professorship where I'm studying or if it represents a wider movement.

They seem to be not only concerned with fish migration, but decreased sedimentation on coasts which exacerbates erosion. Also reservoirs produce a sizable amount of gh gases.

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