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On Great Visualization of Our Energy and Carbon Consumption and Emissions [VIDEO]

Roger, CCS is a response to the cause but not the effect, which is heat accumulation in the upper layers of the ocean and the implications of that storage, which are storm surge and sea level rise. These are implications that will last a 1000 years due to the thermal inertia of the ocean and CCS will do nothing to reduce them.

Sequestering surface heat in the deep ocean would mitigate those consequences however as it produces energy that would replace fossil fuels. The potential also exists to tie this option in with Greg Rau's supergreen hydrogen production that would sequester CO2.

Rather than advancing an ideological agenda it seems to me we should be advancing the best technical approach.

October 24, 2014    View Comment    

On The Alternative to the Climate Nuclear Option is Innovation

Duplicate posting?

October 22, 2014    View Comment    

On The Alternative to the Climate Nuclear Option is Innovation

Matthew I am beginning to wonder whether there is any real interest in finding let alone implementing a climate solution?

RealClimate has a current piece that debates the merits of ocean heat storage as a policy target.

Stephan Rahmstorf, Potsdam University, argues it is not, even though he admits if all the heat the oceans have accumulated since 1970 was evenly distributed over the entire global ocean, water temperatures would have warmed on average less than 0.05 °C and there would be zero impact. 

In the piece he takes issue with David Victor and Charles Kennel who prefer ocean heat content over a global mean surface temperature as a target because energy stored in the deep oceans will be released over decades or centuries, ocean heat content is a good proxy for the long-term risk to future generations and planetary-scale ecology.

The bottom line is, the oceans are saving us but as Rahmstorf suggests only the surface is currently taking the heat to any significant degree.

We can change this with heat pipes that overcome the natural resistance to the rapid movement of heat into the depths.

We can produce all the energy the planet needs this way.

We can save the planet in the process.

What we can't seem to do is say yes to the answer that is staring us in the face.

October 22, 2014    View Comment    

On Pentagon Sees Climate Change as Immediate Security Risk

Mitigation would be cheaper.

Adaptation invariably involves non recoverable expenses and capital losses as territory is given up to sea level rise.

Mitigation entails revenue generating alternative energies one of which would mitigate sea level rise.

October 20, 2014    View Comment    

On Deniers Mistakenly Say that Global Warming Has Ended

Henry, the deniers that trouble me are those who refute that the hiatus is the analogy for how we should deal with the problem. Warming is trapping heat as you indicate, mostly in tropical waters.

The second law of thermodynamics dictates that this heat flows to a cold heat sink and the line of least resistance is towards the poles where the icecaps are vulnerable.

The deep oceans are an equally great cold sink but as the natural tendency is for heat to rise it is a slow process for trapped heat to migrate there. A NASA study shows there has been no measurable warming of the ocean below 2000 meters over the past 8 years.

There are two explanations for the hiatus. The first is stronger than normal trade winds are driving heat into the eastern Pacific. It is pushing the thermocline down by about 50 meters but it is anticipated when these winds revert to normal the heat will rapidly return.

The second is thermohaline circulation is pulling the heat down into the Atlantic. But even if this is the case, the researchers who put forward the theory say it only gives us an additional 10 to 15 years before global warming resumes with its previous intensity.

Eco-Business points out, “One urgent question that needs answering is how much longer the water near the surface can continue to absorb the extra heat which human activities are producing. Another is what will happen when the oceans no longer absorb heat but start to release it. The answers could be disturbing.”

A heat pipe, using the phase changes of a working fluid, can overcome the natural resistance to rapid heat movement into the deep oceans. Ocean thermal energy conversion systems based on these movements can produce as much energy as is currently derived from fossil fuels.

They are a positive response to the problem of trapped heat and an adaption of the natural analogy.



October 20, 2014    View Comment    

On Short-Circuiting Sea Level Rise

Roger you are off on your dimensions by at least 2 and probably 3 orders of magnituge. Luis Vega calculates condensers and evaporators for a 16MW assembly would be 34 m (L) x 13m (W) x 16 m (H). For a 100 MW plant that makes a total square area of 44,200m3 as opposed to your 27,000,000. 

Dr. James Lau, PhD in Physics, has calculated the the exchangers would be even smaller for his design, US patent 8,484,972, coming up with 2500 cubic meters for an 18MW plant or roughly 14,000 cubic meters for the 100MW plant.

Using Dr. Lau's calculations, I constructed the Autocad rendering shown at The evaporator and condensers are of the falling film design and each has a radius of 31 meters and the five tiers of 14,000 pipes each total 65 meters in height.

Considering what is required to maintain an inhabitable planet is the movement of ocean heat to the deep the low temperature gradient heat engine is just the ticket. It moves 20 times more heat than power obtained. While 14 TW of OTEC power would take care of 294TW of surface heat 14 TW of your nuclear power would add an additional 28TW of waste heat to the oceans, which is the last thing the planet needs.




October 15, 2014    View Comment    

On Short-Circuiting Sea Level Rise

Roger, producers are fighting over the LNG markets that require transoceanic shipments. Hydrogen would be conveyed the same way. Further hydrogen produced by electrolysis at a depth of 1000 meters arrives at the surface pressurized to 100 bar. The Toyota fuel cell vehicles is looking at pressures of about 650 bar in their tanks but the energy required for pressurization is logarithmic so 100 bar puts you well down that road.

Working at those depths you can also desalinate water virtually for free because it takes from 65 to 70 bar to desalinate sea water.

Rather than gigawatt sized plants I think it more likely 100 MW plants would be optimal, thus you would be looking at about 250,000 of these to fill the need.

In WWII the allies built 637,248 planes and 54,932 ships, virtually all of which were writeoffs by the end of the war. OTEC plants on the other hand would be self financing so I think if there is any insanity involved it is in not making the effort that solves the problem.



October 15, 2014    View Comment    

On Short-Circuiting Sea Level Rise

Wikipedia, a 100 MW OTEC power plant would require 200 exchangers each larger than a 20 foot shipping container. A 20 ft container is 33 cubic meters thus 200 is 6600 cubic meters. A far cry from 27,000,000.

October 15, 2014    View Comment    

On Short-Circuiting Sea Level Rise

Vega's design for a 50 MW plant moves 142,300 kg/s of cold water to the surface to condense 2,750 kg/s of anhydrous ammonia. With the heat pipe it is only the working fluid that is circulating between the surface and the cold sink thus there is at least a 50 percent improvement in terms of parasitic losses.

October 15, 2014    View Comment    

On Short-Circuiting Sea Level Rise

Between the evaporator and condenser is 800 meters of vapor pipe exposed to cold water below the thermocline, which further facilitate the condensing process.

October 15, 2014    View Comment    

On Short-Circuiting Sea Level Rise

Oliver, Prof. Gerard Nihous of the University of Hawai is considered the authority on the amount of energy that can be produced with OTEC. In his latest work he puts that potential at 14TW or 250,000 100 MW plants. This is what we currently get from fossil fuels but others have put the potential as high as 25 TW. This energy will be produced in the tropics and will require an energy carrier like hydrogen to get it to market. (Don't forget much of the world's oil and gas comes from the Middle East requiring transportation over equally long routes.)

Also that tropical heat is driven by the second law of thermodynamics towards the poles where it melts the icecaps.

A group lead by Greg Rau of the University of California Santa Cruz have developed a technique for producing "supergreen" hydrogen by the electrolysis of sea water that removes and stores atmospheric carbon dioxide while generating carbon-negative hydrogen and producing alkalinity, which can be used to offset ocean acidification.

Your wikipedia link points out the thermally efficiency of OTEC has a theoretical maximum of 6 to 7 percent but in reality existing efforts are half that.

A 2010 NOAA study found the upper layer of the world’s ocean was storing enough energy to power nearly 500 100-watt light bulbs per each of the roughly 6.7 billion people on the planet - . I make this to be about 335 terawatts.

The thermal efficiency of the heat pipe design is about 5 percent so to produce 14 TW with the design you would have to pump 280 TWh into the deep and the conversion would bring the benefit to 294TW or just about all what is currently being added.  And with the heat pipe you pump zero water from the depths because only the working fluid vapor is moving from the surface to the cold sink, where it is condensed and then pumped back again. This requires the movement of about 8 m3 of ammonia for a 50MW plant as opposed to about 150 m3 of water every second. The parasitic losses of this system are about half of the other.

There are a lot of climate and energy wins with such a system.


October 14, 2014    View Comment