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On Nuclear Retirements Would Sabotage Clean Power Plan Carbon Reductions

Is the ultimate goal CO2 reduction or keeping to less than 2C?

Which ever it is, OTEC with supergreen hydrogen production is the only one that accomplishes both goals.


September 4, 2015    View Comment    

On Do We Have a Wicked Problem to Deal With?

The issue of climate change is immensely easy to solve. We simply have to pay heed to Nature's example. Even though carbon dioxide emissions continued to rise between 1998 and 2013, atmospheric temperatures did not. 

How this came about by the movement of heat to deeper ocean water can be replicated with devices that can produce energy with the same process.

A recent Citibank report "Energy Darwinism" says slowing global warming would save tens of trillions of dollars.

The study shows that the difference in climate damage costs between a low 1.5 degree C warming scenario and a high 4.5 degrees C scenarios is as high as $50 trillion. And even a 2.5 degrees C scenario costs $30 trillion less the 4.5 degrees C business-as-usual scenario.

A group from the Applied Physics Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University was one of the earliest proponents of ocean thermal energy conversion. Their concern was it could start a new ice age. It was determined that 5 terawatts would reduce surface ocean temperatures, and therefore atmospheric temperatures, by 1C each decade.

Nature has demonstrated we could attain zero warming at zero cost because OTEC platforms would pay for themselves out of the $6 trillion/year the world pays for the energy it currently consumes.

OTEC could produce 86 percent of that market.

September 2, 2015    View Comment    

On Can Market Fixes Overcome the Declining Value of Wind and Solar at High Market Shares?

EP the much simpler and easier OTEC has never been tried. It would be the one that moves heat with the phase changes of the working fluid rather than in huge volumes of water. The main piping would be one order of magnitude smaller as would be the infrastructure necessary to support this piping.

This is the design that mimics natural events that brought about the warming hiatus.

I fully agree that a solid demonstration is necessary but there is almost as much inertia in this field with respect to the cold water pipe design as their is in the energy field in general.

Sunk costs make a whiteboard approach difficult.

August 31, 2015    View Comment    

On The Best Shot for Slowing Climate Impacts in Alaska and the Arctic

Durwood, the best shot at slowing polar climate impacts is to produce energy with the movement of the heat that would otherwise warm these regions from 2.5 to 4 times faster than the rest of the planet to deep water. This is how atmospheric warming stayed level for 16 years and is the lesson from Nature we need to heed.

August 29, 2015    View Comment    

On Implicit Climate Subsidy Exceeds Profits at 20 Top Fossil Fuel Companies

Where are the investors? Good question Joe. I am at a loss as to what the problem is. One colleague who has been at this for years says he gave up fighting the oil lobby, aka any organization of the governments controlled by them, a long time ago. Trillions of dollars and 100 million jobs held by them are at stake. They have chosen extinction for everyone as long as they profit from the exercise.

Giving up however isn't in my nature and I believe that in a democracy the will of those of us at risk to the actions of the 100 million profiting from the destruction of the planet, the minority, can prevail. I have published a number of articles in this forum and others as outlined here. 

Technically most OTEC efforts have been focused on bringing cold water near the surface to condense the working fluid vapor. This is costly because the pipes for a 100MW plant are about 10 meters in diameter and the cold water, which can contain CO2 in concentrations as high as 900 ppm, will release the gas at the reduced pressure.

The heat pipe is one order of magnitude smaller, overcomes the environmental issues, reduces atmospheric warming, icecap melting and tropical storms and may be the renewable energy with the lowest levelized capital cost. Overall a lot of wins with one technology but why we are not moving ahead with it keeps me up most nights.

If you have any thoughts, I would love to hear from you.

August 14, 2015    View Comment    

On Implicit Climate Subsidy Exceeds Profits at 20 Top Fossil Fuel Companies

Joe and Bob, if not a miracle, at least a means to produce energy that Nature has demonstrated reduces atmosperic warming and can provide as much zero emissions energy as we currently are deriving from fossil fuels.

August 14, 2015    View Comment    

On Watering Down the Energy Debate

"Water is essential for the production of energy."

Offered here is energy production that delivers 600 gallons of water per year for every person on the planet and as much energy as is currently derived from fossil fuels. This is close to twice the recommended daily consumption.

June 29, 2015    View Comment    

On A New Look for Nuclear Power

Hops, see the table in the following post. It shows that the capacity of OTEC is higher and the levelized cost lower than advanced nuclear for a 400MW plant than advanced nuclear. The thesis also points out the heat pipe or deep water condenser design, which is what I support, is about 30% cheaper than the conventional design shown in the table and also that for each doubling of plant size the cost is reduced by 22%.

June 27, 2015    View Comment    

On A New Look for Nuclear Power

This study is an excellent opportunity to compare offshore nuclear with OTEC. Everything it says about construction techniques and promising economics, abundant potential markets are equally applicable to both. The size of gigawatt sizes platforms would also be comparable.

One main difference lies in the fact OTEC has no fuel costs, no waste considerations and an accident with a plant using CO2 or ammonia as a working fluid would have limited consequence compared to the nuclear plant.

The greatest difference however is in the way each produces and utilizes heat.

The recent study by the Carnegie institutions Zhang and Caldiera shows that the energy released from the combustion of fossil fuels is now about 1.71% of the radiative forcing from CO2 that has accumulated in the atmosphere as a consequence of historical fossil fuel combustion. Nuclear plants are equally as inefficient as fossil fuel power generators and engines and thus release the same amount of waste heat most of which ends up in the ocean and since heat rises it remains on the surface where it contributes to most of the problems we are currently experiencing with global warming. We are currently using about 16TW of energy annually but Martin Hoffert and Richard Smalley say we will need between 30 to 60TW respectively by 2050.

At these rates the waste heat from nuclear starts to become a real issue.

OTEC on the other hand can convert as much as 14TW of surface heat to productive use and move about 280 more of the 330 TW of heat the oceans are said to be accumulating to the safety of the ocean abyss. This would remedy virtually every problem, including CO2 emissions, mankind is confronted by with respect to global warming.

With nuclear all you get is carbon free power, which leaves our offspring with another 1000 years worth of the problems we are currently experiencing.




June 26, 2015    View Comment    

On BP Data Suggests We Are Reaching Peak Energy Demand

Gail: wealth is created either from the sale of extracted resources or manufactured products.

Renewable energies require manufactured products to produce power from resources that are constantly replenished by Nature.

Economies of scale and technological change drive down the cost of renewable infrastructure as production volumes increase whereas with extractive resources the situation is reversed.

The world can generate an awful lot of economic activity and wealth producing the kind of infrastructure that can replace fossil fuels. Since renewables never run out you can generate this wealth from both the energy and manufacturing steams ad infinitum.

June 24, 2015    View Comment    

On How Much Land Does Solar, Wind and Nuclear Energy Require?

This is but one argument for ocean thermal energy conversion. Another it is created in no one's backyard whereas NIMBY is a concern with virtually every other source of power. The biggest one however, by far, is that it converts and relocates the heat that is accumulating in the ocean due to climate change, which in turn is the greatest repository of stored energy on the planet. It is a storehouse that is overflowing resulting in the release of energy in the form of tropical storms that kill thousands and do billions in damage annually. Far better we put that energy to productive use.

To get ocean created electricity to market it would have to be converted to the energy and water carrier hydrogen, which has the greatest specific energy of all non fissionable materials.

June 24, 2015    View Comment    

On Enhancing the Role of Fuel Cells for Northeast Grid Resiliency

Bruce, John A. “Skip” Laitner points out in his paper Linking Energy Efficiency to Economic Productivity: Recommendations for Improving the Robustness of the U.S. Economy "It turns out that the U.S. economy is not especially energy efficient. Of the total high-quality energy consumed to support economic activity in 2010, only 14 percent was converted into useful work. In other words, the American economy wasted 86 percent of all the energy used that year in the production of goods and services.

In that light 50% fuel cell efficiency and 80% methane to hydrogen conversion efficiency looks pretty good?


June 23, 2015    View Comment