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On The "Historic" US-China Climate Change Deal Confirms that We are Failing in the Fight Against Climate Change

Hopefully a picture is worth a thousand words.


It is not perpetual motion. Both the tropical surface and polar melting are driven by solar energy.

OTEC does cool the surface, which is what needs to occur. The question is where does the heat go that condenses the working fluid? I suggest it should be released as deeply as possible, which only occurs with the heat pipe design.

November 18, 2014    View Comment    

On The "Historic" US-China Climate Change Deal Confirms that We are Failing in the Fight Against Climate Change

Roger the scales are not comparable. The bottom bucket is about 300 times larger than the top bucket. The top bucket is constantly deriving new energy from the sun. The bottom is constantly being cooled by melt water flowing back towards the equator from the poles, which in turn is replenished with fresh ice every winter.

First the problem of global warming is a problem of ocean surface heat. With OTEC you convert a small portion of this heat to energy  and this is the only energy source that accomplishes this. Second you move a bunch more of that heat which is largely the consequence of greenhouse forcing to the depths. This in turn is what has brought about the hiatus of the past fifteen years, which now appears to be ending as the heat that was sequestered in the Western Pacific - only to a depth of about 250 meters - appears to be returning. Most dramatically off Vancouver Isand - my home - where the seasonal temperature anomally of the past 3  months is close to 4C above normal.

Convection also dictates heat in the depths will not stay there. Levitus points out to a depth of 2000 meters the oceans have only warmed .09C over the 55 year period 1955-2010. Since I am only talking about moving heat half that deep double that to say .2C. The water at a depth of 1000 meters is about 4C so now you have brought it up to 4.2C and this heat would then be expected to rise a hundred meters or so to where the ambiant temperature is 4.2C. At 1000 meters the temperature should remain pretty close to 4C.

A rise of .2C in 50 years would also mean you have closer to 250 years before you have increased the 0-1000 level by 1 C which even then would leave you a sufficient delta T in the tropics to continue producing power.

It is estimated that heat from the depths, absent any other forces, rises about 4 meters a year so in 250 years the heat you sink today will be availabe again to produce more power 250 years from now and you will probably want to sink it again then even if you no longer have a problem with CO2 in the atmosphere as a consequence of OTEC and other zero emission energy sources. Levitus states if that .09C was instantly added to the lower 10 kilometers of the atmosphere it would rise on average 36C so you definitely want modulate how fast it comes back. By most estimates, naturally, it will take about 1000 years for the ocean and atmoshere to come back into equilibrium.

Another way to look at it is hurricanes were occuring before there was global warming. A big storm can move as much as 200TWh and there are as many as 21 of these on averages each year plus a lot of smaller storms. They are derived from the same source of energy as OTEC. They can keep producing in spite of moving such massive amounts of heat because most of that energy is returned back to the source in rain.  It seems to me OTEC would recycle the heat it moves to the depths as well only over a much longer time scale.

Thank you for the thoughtful question however and thank you for being civil. 

 

November 18, 2014    View Comment    

On The "Historic" US-China Climate Change Deal Confirms that We are Failing in the Fight Against Climate Change

Earth is heating by 300TW due to increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Replace 14TW of primary energy we currently get from FF coverts 14TWh to heat to 14TWe and moves balance of 286TWh to deep water. No CO2 is produce thus greenhouse forcing is reduced and in your 696 years the forcing will all but be eliminated but you would not want all of the heat in the ocean to immediately flow back into the atmosphere so you can modulate this with the amount of energy you continue to produce with OTEC. In the meantime you have avoided 696 years of greenhouse induced climate damage.

November 14, 2014    View Comment    

On The "Historic" US-China Climate Change Deal Confirms that We are Failing in the Fight Against Climate Change

Robert, if we are not going to do enough about CO2 should we not then turn our focus to ocean surface heat, which is the consequence? There is an ocean of opportunity there to both sequester the heat as well as produce the energy the world needs in that process.

November 13, 2014    View Comment    

On Why Does the U.S. Still Need So Much Fracking Oil?

John, I am old enough to remember John Kennedy's speech, "We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."

That kind of motivation is needed to face today's challenges.

November 12, 2014    View Comment    

On Why Does the U.S. Still Need So Much Fracking Oil?

John, Stephan Rahmstorf was one of the lead authors of the 4th IPCC report. He recently pointed out that if all of the heat the oceans have absorbed since 1970 (93 percent of global warming) was evenly distributed over the entire global ocean, water temperatures would have warmed on average by less than 0.05 °C. "This tiny warming would have essentially zero impact. The only reason why ocean heat uptake does have an impact is the fact that it is highly concentrated at the surface, where the warming is therefore noticeable." 

It will be noticeable and contributed to atmospheric warming for another 1000 years.

The reason why this heat does not naturally diffuse throughout the ocean and thus be diluted to the point of insignificance is because its natural tendency is to rise. The heat pipe overcomes this obstacle and moves heat to where it needs to go to produce zero impact even as it produces energy and with electrolysis can neutralizes the ocean acidity resulting from increasing CO2 concentrations.

Mitigating the consequences of burning fossil fuels means those assets are under less threat of becoming highly depreciated. It is in the interest of petroleum and coal to demonstrate that both the long and short term consequence of the use of their products can be addressed in an economic fashion.

CCS is neither economical nor particularly effective at mitigating the consequence of planetary warming.

November 12, 2014    View Comment    

On Why Does the U.S. Still Need So Much Fracking Oil?

The Detroit News, "Concerned about slow sales of electric cars and plug-in hybrids, automakers are increasingly betting the future of green cars on hydrogen fuel cell technology."

The current problem is most hydrogen is produced by steam reforming of natural gas which leaves CO2 as the byproduct and thus results in no environmental benefit.

Supergreen hydrogen is derived from the electrolysis of sea water. It draws CO2 out of the ocean and atmosphere and neutralizes ocean acidification. The power for electrolysis can be derived by moving the ocean surface heat that is the greatest consequence and risk of global warming into deep water through a turbine utlilzing the phase changes of a working fluid.

U.S. petroleum consumption is reduced as are the cause and effect of burning the same but more importantly U.S. economic activity is greatly enhanced by building out the infrastructure require to address the joint energy/environment problem.

November 12, 2014    View Comment    

On Nuclear and Renewables Shared Goal and Comparative Costs

If your argument is failing I guess making up a bunch of numbers is one way out. The actual sizing, parasitic losses and water volumes are all referenced in previous posts on this page.

 

November 11, 2014    View Comment    

On Nuclear and Renewables Shared Goal and Comparative Costs

Pump deep water to the surface and release more CO2 into the atmosphere than the fossil fuel industry is currently doing.

I also don't know where you come up with HVDC lines. The electricity will be converted to any of many different energy currencies. Many in the auto industry are looking to hydrogen. The problem is it is most often formed from natural gas with CO2 as the byproduct thus no gain for the environment.

OTEC can be combined with the production of supergreen hydrogen to reduce atmospheric CO2 and neutralize an acidifying ocean.

Your costs are also out of whack. Lau "At 2 cents per kwh, an OTEC plant of 12 megawatt capacity can generate 1.0 x 108 kwh of electricity worth 2,000,000 USD. The 12 million USD investment can be recovered in 6 years. With the expected OTEC plant life of 50 years, the net income would be more than 100,000,000 USD."

November 11, 2014    View Comment    

On Nuclear and Renewables Shared Goal and Comparative Costs

I think you are wrong about the vacuum. See again the Prueitt table in each instance the bottom pressure in the vapor channel is higher than the top pressure and this increases the delta T. He then uses a secondary cycle and boiler to drive the turbine. The temperature pressure diagram for CO2 also indicates it forms a liquid at 4C at a pressure of many atmospheres. I believe in the vicinity of 20 per the following.

Nevertheless pressures at 1000 meters are 100 atmospheres and need to be counteracted.

Lau uses a thickness to diameter ratio of 1 to 25 at 1000 meters. His proposal is outlined here.

I have proposed a counter-current fluid return system that uses a coiled pipe to buttress against the crushing forces per the following.

November 11, 2014    View Comment    

On Nuclear and Renewables Shared Goal and Comparative Costs

Melvin Prueitt with Los Alamos filed patent application US patent application 20070289303 A1 - Heat transfer for ocean thermal energy conversion. It is a heat pipe design and the application contains a table which shows the power losses for various working fluids. For NH3 for a plant with an output of 59.4 MW the pump requires 4.66MW giving a net output of 54.7 MW, which I think you would agree is a pretty hardy lunch. These calculations were made with a program call OTEC.exe which is proprietary to the DOE - I believe.

The consensus of the group I am working with is that CO2 would be the best working fluid for this kind of application but unfortunately Prueitt did not run the data for CO2.

James Lau, who is a PhD in physics did enthalpy calculations with CO2 using surface water temperatures of 25.5C and a cold sink of 5.5C and found that the turbine would produce 10.25J/g and the pump would require 2.8J/g for a net energy conversion of 7.45 J/g.

    
November 11, 2014    View Comment    

On Nuclear and Renewables Shared Goal and Comparative Costs

Agreed, this is preciously the approach we would like to take but even baby steps take funding.

Do not though then claim you didn't generate sufficient power when you don't have equipment with sufficient scale to do so.

November 11, 2014    View Comment