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View Full Version : 'Outside the box' ways to generate electricity....


BoogieQ
06-27-2003, 11:42 AM
What are your ideas?

I just had this thought....


Could we not build giant 'paddle wheels' per se' out in the oceans where the currents are strongest? This would look like a swing set, you have the main cross bar and then an A frame on each side that is anchored into the the bed of the ocean. You then have a giant 'paddle wheel' or some form of device mounted to a generator and the paddles stick into the water, using ocean currents the water spins the paddle generating electricity.

Now, the best thing to do would to have these in areas where storms happen most. The paddle would be HUGE, so that if you have 100 foot waves it is hitting only one half of the paddles. You would have multiple generators with multiple paddles such as it would look like this:

-||-||-||-||-

Durring a very large storm I would think a large amount of engergy could be created and / or stored.

Fun stuff to think about, gets your noodle workin! Any other ideas?

By the way, if this would NOT work, please explain why! :)

ProviaFan
06-27-2003, 12:22 PM
Heh, at least I've got to say that's a better idea than some of the "perpetual motion" aka "something for nothing" stuff people have been coming up with of late. The only things I can think of are practicality issues. For one, how are you going to anchor it to the ocean floor that far out, with the ocean being so deep? Also, you're going to have to have a very long cord to get the electricity back where it's needed (unless you experiment with wireless electricity transfer a la Tesla ;)), and the losses from the length of the wire might be too great (disclaimer: IANAEE).

TDSLB
06-27-2003, 01:34 PM
The loss of electricity over time was my thought, though, if you did this off shore of a island subject to extreme tropical storms you might be able to get something however, if the paddles were to large they may reach into the air so high that during a tropical storm the wind could cancel out if not overcome the power of the waves.... Just a thought, although, I agree that water power and air power are two places that we should be considering for electricity seeing our state. I think windmills on every house is a advantagious political stance...... I'll have to think about it.

Edit:

I forgot to mention that solar houses are getting some attention... With a well made one you can not only supply your own energy but often sell it to the local energy destributer. Of course you would make mabe pennies a month but the money saved on heating and cooling alone would be enough to make it worth a shot. Now we just need solar panels that don't lose there touch after 3 years.....

PrinceXizor
06-27-2003, 02:00 PM
As far as wind-mill style electricity generation, I always thought a sync'd micro wind-mill system would be mechnically possible (especially with the material fabrication possible today) that could be applied to a variety of structures. To my knowledge, the problem is not wind-mills themselves (sufficient design time could create non obtrusive versions imo) but again the whole problem of transferring the generated electricity into a sub-system where it is useful. I envision micro windmills (we're talking insect sizes here), in long channels, kind of like a super-long turbines that could easily be attached to buildings in various lengths and would be hardly noticeable. I'm just kind of free-thinking here, anyway, this is a very cool topic imho as some might have guessed from my other posts in HT :)

P-X

ProviaFan
06-27-2003, 02:15 PM
Originally posted by: PrinceXizor
As far as wind-mill style electricity generation, I always thought a sync'd micro wind-mill system would be mechnically possible (especially with the material fabrication possible today) that could be applied to a variety of structures. To my knowledge, the problem is not wind-mills themselves (sufficient design time could create non obtrusive versions imo) but again the whole problem of transferring the generated electricity into a sub-system where it is useful. I envision micro windmills (we're talking insect sizes here), in long channels, kind of like a super-long turbines that could easily be attached to buildings in various lengths and would be hardly noticeable. I'm just kind of free-thinking here, anyway, this is a very cool topic imho as some might have guessed from my other posts in HT :)

P-X
A problem with windmills on a personal level (example: for home power generation) is that in some areas of the country, the wind supply is not constant (such as today in Indiana, where there's next to no wind, and it's freaking hot outside :Q). In that case, backup power would need to be provided by solar panels, hydro generating units, or some other source. Also, there would be the maintenance cost of replacing the rechargeable batteries (assuming you wanted power at night) and the initial expense of a powerful DC-AC inverter.

f95toli
06-27-2003, 02:41 PM
Sure it is a good idea. It is so good that it has been used for a few years and is starting to become popular. There are many "current-driven" powerplants around the world, mainly outside the coast of England. They basically use the currents caused by the tide to generate electricity. I am sure you can find info about this on the web.

PrinceXizor
06-27-2003, 03:33 PM
Originally posted by: jliechty

Originally posted by: PrinceXizor
As far as wind-mill style electricity generation, I always thought a sync'd micro wind-mill system would be mechnically possible (especially with the material fabrication possible today) that could be applied to a variety of structures. To my knowledge, the problem is not wind-mills themselves (sufficient design time could create non obtrusive versions imo) but again the whole problem of transferring the generated electricity into a sub-system where it is useful. I envision micro windmills (we're talking insect sizes here), in long channels, kind of like a super-long turbines that could easily be attached to buildings in various lengths and would be hardly noticeable. I'm just kind of free-thinking here, anyway, this is a very cool topic imho as some might have guessed from my other posts in HT :)

P-X
A problem with windmills on a personal level (example: for home power generation) is that in some areas of the country, the wind supply is not constant (such as today in Indiana, where there's next to no wind, and it's freaking hot outside :Q). In that case, backup power would need to be provided by solar panels, hydro generating units, or some other source. Also, there would be the maintenance cost of replacing the rechargeable batteries (assuming you wanted power at night) and the initial expense of a powerful DC-AC inverter.

Actually, while there is no discernable wind on a macro level, there most certainly is on the microlevel. That is why I am interested in microfans. Actually, the problem with micro-mills is exactly the opposite, how not to blow them apart when there's 60 mph wind gusts.

P-X

TDSLB
06-27-2003, 04:26 PM
Originally posted by: PrinceXizor
[quote]


...Actually, while there is no discernable wind on a macro level, there most certainly is on the microlevel. That is why I am interested in microfans. Actually, the problem with micro-mills is exactly the opposite, how not to blow them apart when there's 60 mph wind gusts.

P-X

Wouldn't it be fairly easy to put small mesh that would allow only so much wind to pass through? Kindof the same theorey as a damper spring... Only a small amount of air would be allowed to pass over those thousands of micro fans... I'm thinking of having them on top of a house in a pipe with, mabe, a foot diameter... It would have small fans lining the inside and the pipe itself would have all of the wiring laced into the tubing with a larger cable coming out one side running into the house.... That's where my mind went with it....

ProviaFan
06-27-2003, 06:38 PM
Originally posted by: PrinceXizor
Actually, while there is no discernable wind on a macro level, there most certainly is on the microlevel. That is why I am interested in microfans. Actually, the problem with micro-mills is exactly the opposite, how not to blow them apart when there's 60 mph wind gusts.

P-X
Ah, good point. I can see how there'd be a problem with generating too much current with too much wind, and blowing something up. :Q

I'm not sure, however, how you could solve the problem of slowing down too much wind, but not slowing down the wind when it is going at the speed you want. Perhaps you could have some sort of "gate" that would partially "close" to varying degrees with varying degrees of wind. :confused:

NathanS
06-27-2003, 07:26 PM
What about a super giant capacitor that lightning could strike? Then you could either hook it up to the grid, or maybe charge electric cars with it.

TDSLB
06-27-2003, 08:48 PM
I've heard some stuff about micro machines.... little molecules that create energy when they are turned around one another.... Does anyone know more about this, I've just heard of them... I really don't know the plauseability therein.

zephyrprime
06-27-2003, 09:30 PM
Here's a plan for a similiar plan. It doesn't use paddles, it uses a turbine.
water power (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/2742671.stm)

I remember one just went online in denmark or something but I couldn't dig up the link.

Water power is completely possible but the problem with it is cost and uptime. Burning coal is just really cheap.

Shalmanese
06-28-2003, 07:24 AM
There is a slightly related scheme where they have a large resevoir which fills up when the tide rises and drains when the tide falls. Power is created by turbines at the bottom of the wall. The problem is, you need areas with large differences between high and low tide to generate feasible amounts of power which limits it to only certain parts of the world.

Pudgygiant
06-28-2003, 07:15 PM
The "wireless electricity a la Tesla" comment reminded me of an idea I've had brooding for a couple months now. IR is energy, right? I've been thinking, the only real limitation to IR energy transfer (assuming batteries at the recieving end in case of interruption) on a smaller scale like household appliances is just throughput. Wouldn't current IR transmitters / recievers get fried with that amount of energy passing through them? I'm not exactly a Physics PhD, so I may be 100% wrong on this (and I probably am). Just correct me if I'm wrong, or flame, or something. =D

Shalmanese
06-29-2003, 01:49 AM
As for lightning, the problem is engineering. We dont know how to design a system to store lightning that can withstand the massive currents involved. Ive heard something like one lightning bolt is enough to power a small city for an hour or something like that. We would LOVE to harness it but we dont know how.

Cogman
06-29-2003, 10:38 PM
The other problem with lightning is how do you store it? Currently the way you charge a battery is with steady time and energy. Lightning is a super fast, superpowerful amount of electricity. Also, sorry, but on hour of electricity per bolt just does not seam to be enough, Here storms are few, and lightning even less. A couple of hours of free electricity from lightning is fine, but what if there is no lightning? how do you ensure strikes on the pole? Go invent a working cold fusion device. that would make you famous (a cold fusion device that produces more energy then required to start it)

Evadman
06-29-2003, 11:22 PM
what about a device that is 1000m long out in the ocean. (strung depthwize, not along the surface) then bring the hot water above and cold below, and use the temp difference to generate steam? then just use a regular steam generator. (albet a low pressure one)

TDSLB
06-30-2003, 01:16 AM
But how are you going to get the hot water to the surface? You'd need a pump or syphening(Spelling?) system of some kind.

Akira13
06-30-2003, 01:41 AM
If we can get energy from EM radiation (in the form of solar energy), then why not get energy from all of the other frequencies of EM out there?

Fencer128
06-30-2003, 06:18 AM
Originally posted by: Akira13
If we can get energy from EM radiation (in the form of solar energy), then why not get energy from all of the other frequencies of EM out there?

Well, the solar spectrum is pretty complete (if you neglect what the atomsphere absorbs as it passes through to us on the ground. It contains just about every "naturally occuring" frequency you're going to get on the earth's surface (you can of course make emitters at specific wavelengths - but that requires energy).

Now, different frequencies have different signal strengths, and solar cells/focussed rays have been experimented with at various wavelengths. In terms of efficiency and manufacturing costs, people are currently working on crystaline/amorphous silicon, GaAs and polymer solar cell technology as these give the best (as an overall combination of efficiency and cost) results.

Cheers,

Andy

Chaotic42
06-30-2003, 09:31 AM
Originally posted by: Evadman
what about a device that is 1000m long out in the ocean. (strung depthwize, not along the surface) then bring the hot water above and cold below, and use the temp difference to generate steam? then just use a regular steam generator. (albet a low pressure one)

Read the Millinial Project. ;)

Fozzie
06-30-2003, 11:23 AM
Concerning lighting storage, it seems to me that lightning itself is not an isolated phenomonen. Rather research should go into the forces behind lightning, migration of electrons, static electricity. Learn to tap the natural electrical forces in nature.

BTW, the ironic issue with windmills is the enviromental impact they have. Damage to the local bird populations is a problem. Think about how many birds die each year from radio towers. Now imagine if everyone has a 40 foot tower with a windmill in their yard.

Smilin
06-30-2003, 02:19 PM
Another power-by-ocean idea that someone came up with:

They put these partially submerged tanks near shore that would allow waves to come in and out. The upper half of the tank was filled with air and had exhaust vents on top with turbines in them. The waves would rise and fall inside the tank and cause the air to 'inhale' and 'exhale' past the turbine vanes.

The initial home-grown design worked really well and the last I hear they were looking at putting a farm of them off the west coast somewhere.


Anyone seen that design for that solar tower they are going to put up in Australia? It's basically a big circular greenhouse several miles in diameter. In the middle is this BIG tower - tallest building in the world kinda big - that was filled with turbines. The warming air of the greenhouse would expand and vent out of the tower during the day generating something like almost 100mph winds near the center. It's supposed to be able to power a small city.

BoogieQ
06-30-2003, 02:28 PM
I'm sure fish work their way into hydroelectric systems as well... so the issue with the birds is kind of moot.

Some awesome ideas in here! I really like that link posted to the power being generated from the currents!

There are tons of ways we could generate electricity, finding the big ones and harnessing it is the hard part I think. Lightning and the Ocean seem to be the top two... however Solar and Wind could be equally powerful.

I would not imagine our electrical system would be completely replaced by these systems as your not always guarented light, wind, lightning. However, think of the impact if say 25, 30,50% of the electrical load could be offset by using natrual energy sources.



How bout this idea... for airplanes to be more fuel efficient. I know they burn fuel to turn the engines and I am not sure HOW but I would assume they run some form of 'alternator' off those engines in order to provide the electricity needed for the cabin, instruments, etc. Why not have a bunch of smaller 'windmils' along the body of the airplane that would generate the electricity for the plane? This should take SOME load off the engines allowing them to burn less fuel. The drag brough on would be minimal I would think provided they are properly designed ( it could look like a mini jet engine on the top of the body, and be shaft driven to the generator below the body so it has minimal exposure with an air outlet through the back.


I really like the idea one of the car makers did where a generator runs when the car is using it's breaks to use some of that energy that would normaly be wasted to charge it's batteries a bit.


The big generators in power plants must be putting off some heat I would think right? Could that heat be used to boil even more water using some of it's own wasted engergy to be a bit more efficient and use less coal?

BoogieQ
06-30-2003, 02:32 PM
Anyone seen that design for that solar tower they are going to put up in Australia? It's basically a big circular greenhouse several miles in diameter. In the middle is this BIG tower - tallest building in the world kinda big - that was filled with turbines. The warming air of the greenhouse would expand and vent out of the tower during the day generating something like almost 100mph winds near the center. It's supposed to be able to power a small city.

THAT is sweet!!!!!

Any links? Pictures?

Smilin
06-30-2003, 02:35 PM
here, slap these keywords into google and hit the lucky button:

solar power australia world's tallest

I'm still digging around to find a more technical document on it. I can't remember the exact speed of the air near the tower and that's the part that impressed me most.

Fencer128
06-30-2003, 02:47 PM
How bout this idea... for airplanes to be more fuel efficient. I know they burn fuel to turn the engines and I am not sure HOW but I would assume they run some form of 'alternator' off those engines in order to provide the electricity needed for the cabin, instruments, etc. Why not have a bunch of smaller 'windmils' along the body of the airplane that would generate the electricity for the plane? This should take SOME load off the engines allowing them to burn less fuel. The drag brough on would be minimal I would think provided they are properly designed ( it could look like a mini jet engine on the top of the body, and be shaft driven to the generator below the body so it has minimal exposure with an air outlet through the back.

I would imagine that any saving on fuel due to the lack of alternator would be more than compensated for by the drag/turbulence introduced by the windmills. I don't share your optimism that with careful design drag could be kept to a minimum - for the windmill to work efficiently it must "catch" air, to do that it must promote drag on the aircraft.


The big generators in power plants must be putting off some heat I would think right? Could that heat be used to boil even more water using some of it's own wasted engergy to be a bit more efficient and use less coal?

I'm interested to see how this is currently handled (I guess it's more an issue of turbine cooling than steam generation at the moment).

Cheers,

Andy

Smilin
06-30-2003, 02:47 PM
One more link (http://www.math.purdue.edu/~lucier/The_Solar_Chimney.pdf) I found. The photo on the opening page is not an "artists concept" drawing - it's an actual photo of the prototype they built in spain some time ago.

Hayabusa Rider
06-30-2003, 03:51 PM
Originally posted by: Fencer128

How bout this idea... for airplanes to be more fuel efficient. I know they burn fuel to turn the engines and I am not sure HOW but I would assume they run some form of 'alternator' off those engines in order to provide the electricity needed for the cabin, instruments, etc. Why not have a bunch of smaller 'windmils' along the body of the airplane that would generate the electricity for the plane? This should take SOME load off the engines allowing them to burn less fuel. The drag brough on would be minimal I would think provided they are properly designed ( it could look like a mini jet engine on the top of the body, and be shaft driven to the generator below the body so it has minimal exposure with an air outlet through the back.

I would imagine that any saving on fuel due to the lack of alternator would be more than compensated for by the drag/turbulence introduced by the windmills. I don't share your optimism that with careful design drag could be kept to a minimum - for the windmill to work efficiently it must "catch" air, to do that it must promote drag on the aircraft.


The big generators in power plants must be putting off some heat I would think right? Could that heat be used to boil even more water using some of it's own wasted engergy to be a bit more efficient and use less coal?

I'm interested to see how this is currently handled (I guess it's more an issue of turbine cooling than steam generation at the moment).

Cheers,

Andy
Precisely. If one was to take power from the air for generating electricity in an aircraft, conservation of energy demands that there is no free lunch. The aircraft would have to produce more power to compensate, by the same amount generated under ideal circumstances. Anything siphoning of energy from the airflow IS drag.

Shalmanese
07-01-2003, 04:31 AM
Originally posted by: BoogieQ


How bout this idea... for airplanes to be more fuel efficient. I know they burn fuel to turn the engines and I am not sure HOW but I would assume they run some form of 'alternator' off those engines in order to provide the electricity needed for the cabin, instruments, etc. Why not have a bunch of smaller 'windmils' along the body of the airplane that would generate the electricity for the plane? This should take SOME load off the engines allowing them to burn less fuel. The drag brough on would be minimal I would think provided they are properly designed ( it could look like a mini jet engine on the top of the body, and be shaft driven to the generator below the body so it has minimal exposure with an air outlet through the back.


Darn, this whole conservation of energy thing does get annoying sometimes doesn't it? The problem is the energy you gain from putting windmills on your wings is coming directly from the energy you are using to make the plane move forward.

AbsolutDealage
07-01-2003, 10:33 AM
How bout this idea... for airplanes to be more fuel efficient. I know they burn fuel to turn the engines and I am not sure HOW but I would assume they run some form of 'alternator' off those engines in order to provide the electricity needed for the cabin, instruments, etc. Why not have a bunch of smaller 'windmils' along the body of the airplane that would generate the electricity for the plane? This should take SOME load off the engines allowing them to burn less fuel. The drag brough on would be minimal I would think provided they are properly designed ( it could look like a mini jet engine on the top of the body, and be shaft driven to the generator below the body so it has minimal exposure with an air outlet through the back.

As stated before, the drag created by the generators will offset any parasitic energy gain. However, commercial jets are equipped with small retractable Ram Air Turbines (RATs) for use in an emergency. When power is lost to all of the main engines and the plane is coasting, the turbine extends from the fuselage. That turbine powers the emergency hydraulic systems for the control surfaces, brakes, and landing gear, as well as emergency electrical power to the intercom system, emergency lighting, and essential cabin electronics.

Just a little FYI for all of you who are afraid to fly... ;)

PrinceXizor
07-01-2003, 12:02 PM
Originally posted by: Shalmanese

Originally posted by: BoogieQ


How bout this idea... for airplanes to be more fuel efficient. I know they burn fuel to turn the engines and I am not sure HOW but I would assume they run some form of 'alternator' off those engines in order to provide the electricity needed for the cabin, instruments, etc. Why not have a bunch of smaller 'windmils' along the body of the airplane that would generate the electricity for the plane? This should take SOME load off the engines allowing them to burn less fuel. The drag brough on would be minimal I would think provided they are properly designed ( it could look like a mini jet engine on the top of the body, and be shaft driven to the generator below the body so it has minimal exposure with an air outlet through the back.


Darn, this whole conservation of energy thing does get annoying sometimes doesn't it? The problem is the energy you gain from putting windmills on your wings is coming directly from the energy you are using to make the plane move forward.

Not quite true. Now, I'm not saying that there will be some large energy boost from wind technology. But, the energy of the moving wind (i.e. the friction) is being translated into 1.heat energy 2.linear force acting against thrust (drag) 3.radial acceleration of the turbine blade. So, not ALL of the friction force is being converted into a linear force acting against forward movement. Usually, it is significant enough to override any gains. But, theoretically, there is room to reduce (never offset) overall energy output necessary to sustain a specific velocity, once that velocity has been reached.

P-X

RayH
07-01-2003, 01:06 PM
Massive composite kite flying in the jet stream with fans and generators anchored to the ground with carbon nanotubes which double as superconductors.

Fencer128
07-01-2003, 01:11 PM
Originally posted by: RayH
Massive composite kite flying in the jet stream with fans and generators anchored to the ground with carbon nanotubes which double as superconductors.

I've seen a slight variation on the tehtered power concept - albeit using a different source. Not so long ago NASA was experimenting with satellites in orbit. The satellite was to have a long (km) conductor tethered to it that would be dragged through the earth's magnetic filed as the satellite orbitted. The change in magnetic field --> electric filed generation --> power for the satellite.

I don't know hopw efficient this process was to be, but in theory at least the satellite could be tethered to the earth (i'm guessing even geostationary satellites will move through the eartch's dynamic? magnetic field) and power generated and transferred along that line.

EDIT: What do you know, just seen this (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3026414.stm) story right now on the BBC news site. I quote:


So too is so-called tether technology, which involved dragging an electrically conducting wire, possibly several kilometres long, through the Earth's magnetic field. The interaction produces a propulsive force that can be utilised.

Cheers,

Andy

Def
07-01-2003, 06:49 PM
Originally posted by: Evadman
what about a device that is 1000m long out in the ocean. (strung depthwize, not along the surface) then bring the hot water above and cold below, and use the temp difference to generate steam? then just use a regular steam generator. (albet a low pressure one)

I did a problem in Thermodynamics a while back that used ammonia in a liquid-vapor Rankine cycle powerplant. Assuming complete irreversibility(no losses from friction, or pressure drop from your evaporator, condensor or turbine - ideal conditions) and everything is adiabatic(no heat transfer except in evap and condensor), and somewhat generous values - the power generated wasn't all that much. A few HP if I remember correctly.

There just isn't enough of a temperature differential to get a large amount of power.

The entropy change times the temperature change of the substances gives you a very rough idea of the amount of work possible - the entropy change is going to be largely constant given any substance, so you really have the temperature differential to work with. It needs to be VERY large to be useful.

kpb
07-01-2003, 11:19 PM
Yeah the turbines/windmills on an airplane is a loosing idea. Simply put even if things where highly efficient in this design it would at best me about equal to current generation methods. The engines have to generate the forward motion thats would be turning the turbines so all your doing is taking and replacing the chain, or what ever they currently use to drive the alternater and replacing it with wind and a turbine to recapture it. Theres no free lunch to be had here anything your capturing on the turbines is going to have to come from an increased drag on the plane. Some how i just can't imagine any design where a windmill on the plane is more efficent than a chain hooked straight to the generater.

As for the other sugguestion the reason that most power plants vent so much heat in one form or another is that you need a certain amount of temperature differential to effectively drive the turbine that they use to generate the electricity and you need air moving from your high tempature to the low temp to turn the turbine. If someone could come up with a way to effectively and simply convert smaller temperature differentials to electricity there would be all sorts of uses. Power plants could suddenly generate more power and have less environmental impact (the waste heat around the power plant changes the climate in the imidiate area). Cars could gerenate electricity from thier exhast heat and use a smaller alternater.

Cashmoney995
07-02-2003, 12:14 AM
LOL to the Super Giant Capacitor thing, problem is dude that lightening will just blow that shiz nit up, its just way to powerful and you cannot keep the charge very well. Plus a 25 gigawatt battery has to cost SOOOOOO much.

About water and paddles....theyve kinda already done it...now now...dont say DAMN it...say DAM it. :P Rivers provide CFM much more steadily. Problems with ocean are basically same mentioned above, and that the Cost to energy gained ratio is just horrible.

Best thing is Nuclear Energy, it provides Sooooo much and sooooo cheaply and is virtually 110$ safe. Those idiots who riot are exactly that. You let Naval Carriers and Submarines which are MENT to be sunk, blown up and completely exposed which have Nuclear Reactors go away unscathed and nive big Land one's that arent ment to get attacked a hard time. Gimme a break, if your willing to risk the pollution of the entire ocean which produces like 75% of the oxygen we breath...exactly. Same bs with this global warming...One forest fire caused by lightening puts up as much carbon dioxide and other chemicals in the tree's and shrubs in the air as much as the whole united states in one calander year. Now, factor in that we prevent and stop forest fires and that the Earth has been warming up for a longgg ass time, who melted the ice in the ice age? Earth always does warmin and coolin, to think that we cause it is almost arrogant.(I do however believe that nuclear winters are possible by man's hand)

Fencer128
07-02-2003, 07:18 AM
Best thing is Nuclear Energy, it provides Sooooo much and sooooo cheaply and is virtually 110$ safe. Those idiots who riot are exactly that. You let Naval Carriers and Submarines which are MENT to be sunk, blown up and completely exposed which have Nuclear Reactors go away unscathed and nive big Land one's that arent ment to get attacked a hard time. Gimme a break, if your willing to risk the pollution of the entire ocean which produces like 75% of the oxygen we breath...exactly.

Well, most people who oppose nuclear power do so because of the nasty long-term waste it produces, not because of Chernobyl type risk. I wouldn't go labelling them all "idiots" as that's not very complementary nor does it show that you've taken their very valid views into consideration.


Same bs with this global warming...One forest fire caused by lightening puts up as much carbon dioxide and other chemicals in the tree's and shrubs in the air as much as the whole united states in one calander year. Now, factor in that we prevent and stop forest fires and that the Earth has been warming up for a longgg ass time, who melted the ice in the ice age? Earth always does warmin and coolin, to think that we cause it is almost arrogant.(I do however believe that nuclear winters are possible by man's hand)

Well, consider you don't list the size of the forest fire - I find your numbers a little difficult to believe. Not only that, but a good proportion of expert opinion does believe that the warming we're are/will be experiencing is outside of that which naturally occurs on geological timescales - and so your "brush off" of global warming as bullsh*t shows itself to be more wishful thinking than scientific logic. You can sit in one particular camp, but you can't say you're conclusively right at this point in time (hence the need for cautious action...)

Cheers,

Andy

Hayabusa Rider
07-02-2003, 07:44 AM
Wave power is a demonstrated commercially viable alternative. There is a project (Scotland I believe) that has been working quite nicely. The principle can be used in the US, and I would wager that if the money spent on the war in Iraq were devoted to that, we would be oil free in relatively short order. Of course the US and other major nations don't really want to do that, but that's another topic. Literally, the entire US power needs could be from harnessing a few square miles of ocean. Now what about power away from the coastline? Pipelines carrying hydrogen produced at the coastal generator sites. This same fuel could power a new generation of fuel cell powered vehicles. No more pollution from power generators or autos.

Fencer128
07-02-2003, 08:20 AM
Originally posted by: Hayabusarider
Wave power is a demonstrated commercially viable alternative. There is a project (Scotland I believe) that has been working quite nicely. The principle can be used in the US, and I would wager that if the money spent on the war in Iraq were devoted to that, we would be oil free in relatively short order. Of course the US and other major nations don't really want to do that, but that's another topic. Literally, the entire US power needs could be from harnessing a few square miles of ocean. Now what about power away from the coastline? Pipelines carrying hydrogen produced at the coastal generator sites. This same fuel could power a new generation of fuel cell powered vehicles. No more pollution from power generators or autos.

Scotland generates a fair proportion of it's electricity from hydroelectric power. I know that there have been several wave power projects undertaken in the last few years.

Cheers,

Andy

BoogieQ
07-02-2003, 12:12 PM
This is a great discussion! I like the ideas and thoughts coming out in this thread.

It is neat to see that some of these ideas ARE being implimented in some form or another around the world.


What I am starting to see is that there are SOOOO many ways for us to generate electricity from the energy that is in nature that there is basically no need for our current methods of electrical generation. I DO hope they eventually sway away from conventional means for things like this power tower in the Outback and underwater generators run off of ocean currents.

Fencer128
07-02-2003, 12:15 PM
Originally posted by: BoogieQ
This is a great discussion! I like the ideas and thoughts coming out in this thread.

It is neat to see that some of these ideas ARE being implimented in some form or another around the world.


What I am starting to see is that there are SOOOO many ways for us to generate electricity from the energy that is in nature that there is basically no need for our current methods of electrical generation. I DO hope they eventually sway away from conventional means for things like this power tower in the Outback and underwater generators run off of ocean currents.

Well, at the moment it comes down to cost - how much are you willing to pay for your energy? Once this is decided, alternative technologies go mainstream when they hit that magic price. Most of them are not there yet.

Cheers,

Andy

Smilin
07-02-2003, 02:40 PM
Folks I don't think any creative energy solution short of cold fusion is going to help us.

Mother nature only puts so big of a filter in the fishtank we live in. We've just got too many fish! We could go to 100% wood or coal as an energy source with no emission controls whatsoever if we could bring the earths population back in line to say 2-3 Billion. As it stands were going to hit 10 Billion pretty soon and that's just too many houses to light regardless of the fuel source.

Fencer128
07-02-2003, 03:38 PM
Originally posted by: Smilin
Folks I don't think any creative energy solution short of cold fusion is going to help us.

Mother nature only puts so big of a filter in the fishtank we live in. We've just got too many fish! We could go to 100% wood or coal as an energy source with no emission controls whatsoever if we could bring the earths population back in line to say 2-3 Billion. As it stands were going to hit 10 Billion pretty soon and that's just too many houses to light regardless of the fuel source.

A rather pessimistic view! I don't share that - if existing renewable energy technology was massively exploited and people were prepared to spend more on their electricity bill, then population would not be the barrier to our current energy needs.

Cheers,

Andy

GridOner
07-03-2003, 03:40 AM
This whole power talk has reminded me of an idea thats been cropping up in my head for a while now.
I keep comming back to the fact that everything contains a certain amount of energy, even the individual molecules vibrating (unless you believe in the 'absolute zero' theory).
So although not very practical, I keep wondering how one could make a device able to generate electricity from sonic vibration. Could be useful in offsetting some power consumption in noisy areas (power plant, train station, urban city)
It would perhaps be a large grid of many tiny cone/flat shaped speaker drivers that would abosorb vibration as opposed to creating vibration.
Just one of those ideas that you think about when you're bored. It derives from a very interesting conversation i had with one of my sound savvy friends who told me that, if adjusted correctly, any speaker can be made into a microphone and vice versa; smaller 'speakers' are used in microphones because the small vibration created by a person's voice affects a smaller, lighter surface much better than a large, heavy surface.

GridOner
07-03-2003, 03:45 AM
There is also a method of creating power from the sun (forget what the name of it is) by setting up hundreds-thousands of magnifying mirrors focused on a large container of water. The heat caused by the magnification of the sun's rays on a single area causes the water to boil and create steam. The steam can then power a steam driven generators.
Simple, effective, cheap, abundant.

Fencer128
07-03-2003, 06:20 AM
Originally posted by: GridOner
This whole power talk has reminded me of an idea thats been cropping up in my head for a while now.
I keep comming back to the fact that everything contains a certain amount of energy, even the individual molecules vibrating (unless you believe in the 'absolute zero' theory).
So although not very practical, I keep wondering how one could make a device able to generate electricity from sonic vibration. Could be useful in offsetting some power consumption in noisy areas (power plant, train station, urban city)
It would perhaps be a large grid of many tiny cone/flat shaped speaker drivers that would abosorb vibration as opposed to creating vibration.
Just one of those ideas that you think about when you're bored. It derives from a very interesting conversation i had with one of my sound savvy friends who told me that, if adjusted correctly, any speaker can be made into a microphone and vice versa; smaller 'speakers' are used in microphones because the small vibration created by a person's voice affects a smaller, lighter surface much better than a large, heavy surface.

An interesting idea - but I can imagine that compared to the area you'd have to cover with speaker cones, the power derived from ambient noise would be miniscule.

Cheers,

Andy

Shalmanese
07-03-2003, 07:50 AM
The vibrations form molecules is known as heat. A heat engine is basically translating those vibrating molecules into something useful. However, we can only do that for large temperature differentials or the efficiency is not practical. Basic part of the 2nd law and cannot be broken. As for all the other suggestions, people have already thought long and hard about all of them its not for lack of will that they havent been implemented. ALL current forms of energy have their drawbacks. Its just a balancing of priorities.

Personally, I think the biggest problem will not be energy generation but energy storage. Simply, theres nothing even close to fossil fuels for the energy/gram and energy/second that we can practically put in cars and planes. Batteries are grossly inefficient and fuel cells might be slightly better but in the end, fossil fuels seem the only alternative for a long time.

Kntx
07-03-2003, 04:10 PM
Now, the best thing to do would to have these in areas where storms happen most. The paddle would be HUGE, so that if you have 100 foot waves it is hitting only one half of the paddles. You would have multiple generators with multiple paddles such as it would look like this:

The thing about waves is that they don't really move side to side so much as they move up and down.

What you're saying is sorta similar to tidal generation. I remember reading years ago about a tidal power generation project somewhere in Nova Scotia Canada. The variation between high and low tides in this bay was something like 18 m (or 18' i dont remember). I'm not sure if it has built already, is being built, are plans for it being built, or was just talked about being built.... But the jist of it was dam sorta thing that would hold part of the tide back and force the flow thru some turbines or something.

Kntx
07-03-2003, 04:15 PM
Here's an idea... make this big pully thing around the circuference of the earth... then put a rope around it and tie both ends to the moon, then as the moon spins it would turn the pully. The pully would be attached to some gears and stuff... which would connect to some rods and shafts, which would spin some lazy susan muffin display in a cafeteria.

then people could ask " I wonder what makes it turn" to which another persone could reply... "pshh. who cares"

Smilin
07-03-2003, 05:04 PM
heheh

GridOner
07-03-2003, 09:57 PM
Thats ridiculous!...

A cafeteria on the moon?!

syberscott
07-04-2003, 02:57 AM
Originally posted by: Kntx
Here's an idea... make this big pully thing around the circuference of the earth... then put a rope around it and tie both ends to the moon, then as the moon spins it would turn the pully. The pully would be attached to some gears and stuff... which would connect to some rods and shafts, which would spin some lazy susan muffin display in a cafeteria.

then people could ask " I wonder what makes it turn" to which another persone could reply... "pshh. who cares"
Other than the moon decelerating and crashing into the earth, it's a great idea!:P

Jeff7
07-07-2003, 07:25 AM
Originally posted by: Fencer128

Originally posted by: RayH
Massive composite kite flying in the jet stream with fans and generators anchored to the ground with carbon nanotubes which double as superconductors.

I've seen a slight variation on the tehtered power concept - albeit using a different source. Not so long ago NASA was experimenting with satellites in orbit. The satellite was to have a long (km) conductor tethered to it that would be dragged through the earth's magnetic filed as the satellite orbitted. The change in magnetic field --> electric filed generation --> power for the satellite.

I don't know hopw efficient this process was to be, but in theory at least the satellite could be tethered to the earth (i'm guessing even geostationary satellites will move through the eartch's dynamic? magnetic field) and power generated and transferred along that line.

EDIT: What do you know, just seen this (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3026414.stm) story right now on the BBC news site. I quote:


So too is so-called tether technology, which involved dragging an electrically conducting wire, possibly several kilometres long, through the Earth's magnetic field. The interaction produces a propulsive force that can be utilised.

Cheers,

Andy

Interesting link there, concerning what antimatter could do for stellar exploration. One problem though I learned of with spacecraft is that we're going to want/need some sort of intertial damper system - otherwise, it would take a LONG time (can't remember how long exactly, many many hundreds of years I believe) to accelerate to the speed of light without killing everyone on board. Maybe take it to 1.5 G's - everyone might toughen up eventually - but that will still take many generations before the ship is near light speed. And then you need to wait again while the ship decelerates. The Star Trek: TNG technical manual said that, without the intertial dampers, the crew would be turned into "chunky salsa" whenever the ship made a standard maneuver. Something like just going to full impulse (167 million mph), in the time it takes the helm officer to say "Aye Sir, full impulse", would kill everyone instantly.



Originally posted by: BoogieQ
This is a great discussion! I like the ideas and thoughts coming out in this thread.

It is neat to see that some of these ideas ARE being implimented in some form or another around the world.


What I am starting to see is that there are SOOOO many ways for us to generate electricity from the energy that is in nature that there is basically no need for our current methods of electrical generation. I DO hope they eventually sway away from conventional means for things like this power tower in the Outback and underwater generators run off of ocean currents.
The main issue is location. If you're in a place that really doesn't have a lot of good options for power generation, it'll be difficult to get the energy to you, and do so with great reliability. There's also the issue of space that a generating plant will take up. A wind farm uses a lot of ground space, as would a large solar generator facility. Ok, so you put it in a desert where there's not a lot of people anyway. You've still got to keep the panels clean. Though I will say, that idea does seem kind of feasible, provided it's not the kind of desert with lots of sand dunes, as they'd bury the panels completely. Solar generators in a desert, with robotic rovers that could clear dust or debris from the panels. Expensive to produce, but cheap to maintain. Yes, it would need to have a massive array of batteries too, but still, throughout the day, you get cheap power.



Originally posted by: syberscott

Originally posted by: Kntx
Here's an idea... make this big pully thing around the circuference of the earth... then put a rope around it and tie both ends to the moon, then as the moon spins it would turn the pully. The pully would be attached to some gears and stuff... which would connect to some rods and shafts, which would spin some lazy susan muffin display in a cafeteria.

then people could ask " I wonder what makes it turn" to which another persone could reply... "pshh. who cares"
Other than the moon decelerating and crashing into the earth, it's a great idea!:P

Set up huge springs, or something to absorb the impact of it, and at the same time, produce a LOT of energy.:P

Kntx
07-07-2003, 12:43 PM
Originally posted by: syberscott

Originally posted by: Kntx
Here's an idea... make this big pully thing around the circuference of the earth... then put a rope around it and tie both ends to the moon, then as the moon spins it would turn the pully. The pully would be attached to some gears and stuff... which would connect to some rods and shafts, which would spin some lazy susan muffin display in a cafeteria.

then people could ask " I wonder what makes it turn" to which another persone could reply... "pshh. who cares"
Other than the moon decelerating and crashing into the earth, it's a great idea!:P

duh, the moon would be tied to jupiter.