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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    

On Nuclear and Renewables Shared Goal and Comparative Costs

Because you can move 35 times more heat a lot faster with the phase changes of the working fluid than you can by pumping the water. And where pray tell are you going to get the power to pump all of this water?

November 11, 2014    View Comment    

On Nuclear and Renewables Shared Goal and Comparative Costs

High capital costs are first a function of the cold water pipe, which due to its size requires large surface infrastucture to support it. Luis Vega point out in "First Generation 50 MW OTEC Plantship for the Production of Electricity and Desalinated Water" to produce 50 MW with the cold water pipe 138.6 m3/s (142,300 kg/s) of cold water is required. Only 2,750 kg/s of anhydrous ammonia as the working fluid is required however and since the density of ammonia is 682 kg/m3  this equates to 4 m3. You can move as much heat in this 4 m3 of the working fluid as you can in 138.6 m3 of water and thus you need much less pipe and surface infrastructure. Since the vapor condenses in cold water at a depth of 1000 meters there is little to no fouling of the surfaces. As to the evaporator the fouling can be addressed with either chloronation or ozonation. The design shown at http://www3.telus.net/gwmitigationmethod/100MWPlant.htm uses the byproduct of sea water electrolysis for this purpose. The output of the original prototypes was small, though Vega claims they did obtain a positive return, but this is mainly due to the size of the plants. Most consider 100MW is required to maximize the thermodynamics and noone has ever demonstrated a system anywhere near that size.

As Paul Curto, former chief technologist with NASA puts it, "the parasitic losses (using the heat pipe design) are cut in half. The costs for the cold water pipe are eliminated, along with the cold water return pipe and condenser pumps, the cleaning system for the condenser, and the overall plant efficiency approaches 85% of Carnot vs. about 70% with a cold water pipe.

The parasitic losses could be reduced as much as 50% and the complexity, mass (and cost) of the system reduced by at least 30%. The vast reduction in operating costs and environmental impacts would be worth investigation alone."

In a nutshell, that is what is different this time, yet not one cent has ever gone towards the investigaiton that is required to genuinely solve the climate problem. 

 
November 10, 2014    View Comment    

On Nuclear and Renewables Shared Goal and Comparative Costs

A plan that actually adds up would first have to comply with the laws of physics or more particularly the laws of thermodynamics.

The IPCC identifies storm surge and sea level rise as the greatest risks and therefore costs associated with climate change. These are both direct consequences of ocean surface warming which power storms, moves heat towards the poles where it melts icecaps and causes the oceans to expand. Heat pipe OTEC could move a great deal of this heat to the benign safety of the depths where the coefficient of expansion of ocean water is less and it has the potential to replace all fossil fuels. Wind, solar and nuclear are carbon free but ocean heat on the surface means the effects of climate change will be with us for 1000 years so if you want to address climate change in the short term only one source of power will accomplish this and at the same time reduce trillions in costs expected to be incurred as a consequence of sea level rise and storm surge in the years ahead.

If you aren't accounting for the benefits of a technology your plan will never add up!

And by the way, OTEC uses no land, produces power 24/7 and has the potential to draw down atmospheric CO2 when combined with Greg Rau's supergreen hydrogen technique.

November 10, 2014    View Comment    

On Renewables Now Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels In Developing Countries

Why stop at costs? How about the benefits? The IPCC identifies storm surge and sea level rise as the greatest risks associated with climate change. These are both direct consequences of ocean surface warming which powers the storms, moves heat towards the poles where it melts icecaps and causes the oceans to expand. Heat pipe OTEC would move a portion of this heat to the benign safety of the depths where the coefficient of expansion of ocean water is less and has the potential to replace all fossil fuels. Wind, solar and nuclear are carbon free but ocean heat on the surface means the effects of climate change will be with us for 1000 years. If you want to address climate change in the short term only one source of power will accomplish this.

November 10, 2014    View Comment