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Tech Won't Save Us

Started by RE, Jul 02, 2023, 04:26 AM

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The ultimate goal should be total energy independence and the eventual planned obsolescence of the entire energy grid. Then the only remaining consideration becomes what to do with thousands of miles of unneeded transmission line...

Yes, and our transportation goal should be to breed a Skittle Shitting Unicorn for every driver and drill a water well for every McMansion.  We'll all eat organic eggs from free range chickens raised free of antibiotics and hormones and our fruits and vegetables will be raised on permaculture farms from legacy non_GMO seeds without fossil fuel fertilizer or pesticides utilizing no-till dry land farming methods.

We have the technology!  All we have to do is take the Green Pill and it all becomes possible.  We'll pipe water from the Great Lakes to New Mexico and the desert will bloom.

Our Aging Electrical Grid Can't Keep Up. So It Should Go Away Entirely



Once every few years some crackpot scientist from some obscure think tank claims to have  found a source of limitless and free energy, the proverbial "perpetual motion" machine.  "Something for nothing and your checks for free".  Cold Fusion was all the rage a few years ago, this time we're going to get not just free electricity but also clean water from Evaporation, which anyone who got a passing grade in 9th grade Physical Science takes Heat to change the physical state of matter from liquid to gas, or gives it back in the reverse process of condensation, going from gas to liquid.

No idea how these jokers are getting electricity and clean water out of this action which goes on constantly everywhere on earth where there is Water present in both a liquid and gaseous state like in such hard to find places as the entire atmosphere of the planet.  lol.  Somehow until now, scientists going baack to Galileo and inventors like Da Vinci have missed this solution to our energy and water woes.

Is there a Venture Capitalist out there who will give these guys a $Million$ grant for start up ccapital?  It's Nano-Nana-Nini technology, so it's very high tech and you need a Ph.D. in BS to understand it.

Scientists make 'major finding' with nanodevices that can seemingly produce energy out of thin air: 'Contradicting prior understanding'



QuoteCold Fusion was all the rage a few years ago

Raindrop Voltage
The comparison to cold fusion is accurate.  I looked several minutes trying to find more about hydroelectric core technologies without much luck.  Not a good sign.  Truth does not have to hide.  You have to call it misinformation to hide it.

But regardless of the scientific principles, the math obviously fails.

The phenomina seems to be more of a word salad generator than any energy source.  Somehow rain running across a charged surface to an electrode generates voltage for instance.   There are several permutations.

This shows an actual scientific principle is not necessary to generate a scientific paper.  You simply methodically observe something and write about it.  Observing something does not mean there is anything to see.  And since you are observing and scientifically detached, you can be as stupid as hell.  Your stupidity becomes a virtue.  You can pretend tiny insignificant effects matter since all you are doing is collecting numbers. 

The principle invoked in the evaporation process is totally obscure.  But they all suffer from the same math problems.

Voltage represents potential energy, but is not a direct measure of energy.  Voltage generated by a falling raindrop can't mean shit. 

The product of current and voltage together produces power.  Both are needed.  Voltage without current is meaningless if you are talking about power.  Simply charging something up to a high voltage does not mean a lot of energy stored.  Even capacitors designed to store electric charge have negligible capacity compared to a battery, any battery.

Charge On a Sphere

How much energy does electrostatic energy store?

I think we can agree that a metal sphere a foot in diameter charged to a million volts will have more energy than a raindrop with any electric charge we will find on planet Earth.  Orders of magnitude more.  A few thousand times more might be a low guess.

The capacitance of an isolated sphere is C = 4πε0r.  What does this equation do with a 1 foot metal sphere?

C = 4πϵ0 × 0.1524 meters  (0.1524 meters is six inches)

The permittivity of free space, a property of the universe, is 8.85E−12 F / m (Farads per meter)  -> that is .00000000000885 Farads per meter.

C = 4π×8.85×10−12 F/m × 0.1524 meters => C ≈ 3.56 × 10−11 F => C = 3.56 × 10−5 microfarads.  A microfarad is a millionth of a Farad.

The energy on a capacitor is given by 0.5 × C × V^2.  C is capacitance in Farads and V is voltage.  In this equation voltage is squared.  Using this equation calculates energy.

E = 0.5 × 3.56×10−11 × (1×10E6)^2 

E = 1.78 joules (for 1 sphere)

If my computer needs 500 watts to operate, how many 1 foot spheres must I discharge from one million volts in an hour to keep my computer running?  There are 3600 joules in a watt-hour.  My computer needs 1,800,000 joules.

1,800,000 joules divided by 1.78 joules per sphere, yields 1,011,236 metal spheres.  Each a foot in diameter. 

Trillions of raindrops would be needed to keep this single computer running.  Not billions, trillions when you think about it.  Maybe more.  We started out with a charge of a million volts, and we still needed a million 1 foot metal spheres to run this computer.  Energy goes up with the square of voltage and the raindrop phenomena generates small voltages.

I'll risk saying that there are a few technical problems to work out.

Could a collection area of a square mile in a hurricane run this computer using the obscure phenomena being studied?  Maybe.  But in a hurricane a windmill a mile in diameter will power a city.


Great Low-Tech energy storage method.  You could use this DIY with a Stirling Engine to make off grid electricity for your Doomstead.  No Solar PV cells or Li-I batts necessary.

I doubt you could insulate your thermal storage enough to hold energy from summer for winter months, but for using daylight to give you juice at night it would work perfectly.  Also allow you to efficiently heat or cool your home without an electric-heat conversion.  Just use the steam to run a heat pump directly.

Not sure how big a reservoir of crushed rock you would need or how many fresnel lenses to heat up the rock or exposed surface area you would need to avoid having to heat the rock without electric resistance coils though?  I think if you had the crushed rock on a conveyor belt and passed it under a few meters of lenses to heat and then dumped it into an insulated box that could bring it up to 750C/500F in one pass.

Building that whole system DIY at enough scale to both heat/cool a Monolithic Dome or McMansion/Cabin/Tiny Home with good insulation and run all your main appliances and charge a low power EV car/scooter/trike would be a fabulous challenge worthy of the Diner Master of DIY alternative energy systems, Duke of Wood Gas, Baron von Solar, His Royal Highness King of Contractors NF to undertake!

Will he rise to the challenge?   8)



World's first 'sand battery' can store heat at 500C for months at a time. Could it work in Australia?

The idea of storing heat in sand to warm homes through winter may, on the face of it, seem too simple to work.  Drop a load of cheap builder's sand in an insulated silo, heat the sand with renewable electricity, and then tap the stored thermal energy for months on end. In an age of green hydrogen, lithium-ion batteries and other high-tech energy solutions, it can't work, right?

Finland begs to differ. This month saw the Nordic nation launch the world's first commercial "sand battery".  About 230 kilometres north-west of Helsinki, in the town of Kankaanpää, homes, offices and the public swimming pool are being heated by thermal energy stored in a 7-metre steel container filled with 100 tonnes of sand.

So how does it work, what else can it be used for, and should we build them in Australia?

'It's really a typical silo'

The Kankaanpää sand battery is connected directly to the grid and runs when electricity is cheapest.  Hot air blown through pipes heats the sand in the steel container by resistive heating (this is how electric heaters work).  The sand is able to store heat at around 500–600 degrees Celsius for months, so solar power generated in the summer can be used to heat homes in the winter.  It can store up to 8 megawatt-hours of energy, which is the capacity of a large, grid-scale lithium battery.  The project was the work of Finnish startup Polar Night Energy and a local Finnish utility Vatajankoski.

Polar Night Energy's chief executive officer Markku Ylönen said the entire battery could be built in "any steel workshop". "It's really a typical silo with nothing that special," he said.  To discharge the stored thermal energy, air is circulated through pipes in the sand where it's heated, then directed, to wherever it's needed.  Right now, that's mostly heating homes, but it could also be used for high-temperature industrial processes, Mr Ylönen said.

"Or it can be directed to a steam drum to generate industrial steam at 200C, which is quite common in industrial processes."

Very little energy is lost in this process, so long as the heat is not being transported very far, he said.  In theory, the stored heat could be used to drive a steam turbine to generate electricity, but this is far less efficient.  "The efficiency will be something like 20–25 per cent," Mr Ylönen said.  "Technologically speaking, there are no obstacles, but the economic case is harder to find than with heat-only projects."

What can it be used for?

Australia doesn't have the same domestic heating requirements as Finland, but there's plenty of potential for using stored thermal for industrial processes, said Andrew Blakers, director of the ANU Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems.  "There's an enormous storage market for these things and that is to replace gas in factories," Professor Blakers said.

"[Stored thermal] can be used for everything from food processing, to parts of the aluminium industry, to parts of cement manufacture, iron and steel, ceramics and plastics."

About 16 per cent of Australia's emissions are due to burning of gas in industry for processes needing high temperatures (anything above 100C).  Heat pumps (the same technology used by reverse cycle air-conditioners), which can be powered by renewables, max out at about 100C, meaning they can't replace gas for these industrial uses.  But thermal storage can deliver temperatures of more than 1,000C, depending on the storage medium.  You choose the storage medium to suit the temperature of the process," Professor Blakers said.  Sand is just one option. Others include crushed rock and molten salt.

Thermal storage 'cheaper than gas'

The idea of thermal energy storage, including the sand battery concept, has been around for years.  So why are we only building these heat batteries now?
Firstly, for many years it's been cheaper to burn gas to generate high temperatures.  Secondly, due to heat loss, thermal energy can't be transported as easily as pressurized gas, which can make it trickier to use.  But recently the economics have changed.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has disrupted the supply of gas to Europe and other markets. In the first quarter of 2022, European gas spot prices were five times higher than in the first quarter of 2021.  These high prices led to Australian gas producers exporting their gas, rather than selling it domestically, driving up prices in Australia.

Thermal storage has become cheaper than burning gas for high-temperature industrial processes, Professor Blakers said.  "In the past three years, the price of solar and wind has fallen so far, and [in the past few months], the price of gas has gone through the roof.

"Suddenly, conditions have turned completely upside down, and I now imagine most factories are looking at thermal storage."

But factories looking to switch to thermal storage won't be able to simply pipe in heat, like they do with gas.  Instead, they'll have to build their own thermal storage silos and heat them with cheap daytime solar electricity, from their own rooftop systems or the grid.  "A few thousand cubic metres of storage would be enough to keep a factory running," Professor Blakers said.  Or factories could wait for gas prices to fall.  "I think they'd be nuts if they waited," Professor Blakers said.  "Nobody can predict where the gas price will go, but the one thing you know is daytime solar electricity is going to stay at a low price."

What's next?
The Australian start-up 1414 Degrees has developed and patented a thermal storage system similar to the Finnish battery, but using molten silicon to store heat instead of sand.

It recently teamed up with another company, Vast Solar, to plan a solar thermal project in South Australia.  Swedish public utility Vattenfall is also building a 200MW-rated thermal energy storage in Berlin.  The heat storage tank can hold 56 million litres of water, which will be heated to 98C to warm homes.
Polar Night Energy has had plenty of interest in building more sand batteries, with the war in Ukraine putting the focus on alternative energy sources and storage methods, Markku Ylönen said.

Recently Moscow suspended the supply of gas and electricity to Finland due to its request to join NATO.  The next battery will be 100 times bigger, or about 20 metres in diameter and 10 metres high, with 1GWh of energy, Mr Ylönen said.  "With the economies of scale, if we go 100 times bigger, the price won't be 100 times larger. It will be 20–30 times larger.  "It will be in Finland, but we are already negotiating several sites internationally."
Once the first of these larger designs is built and tested, others could be built rapidly, he said.  "I would [eventually] like to say that we are building 10 next year."

The source, with many pics I did not post here.


A large quantity of scrap iron stores heat almost as well as water. 

If you had a volume of 1 cm³ of each material:

Water will have a mass of 1 gram and can store about 4.18 J of heat per degree Celsius.
Iron will have a mass of 7.87 grams and can store about 3.54 J of heat per degree Celsius.
Sand will have a mass of 2.2 grams (about) and can store about 0.703 J of heat per degree Celsius.

The proper billionaire bunker would have an underground silo filled with iron balls about six inches in diameter.  A solar collector would heat air to 50 degrees C or more, and blow it into the bottom of the silo.  Heat is transferred to the iron balls as air passes through.  The silo has a diameter on the order of three meters and is three meters tall.  Imagine a giant jar of Jelly Beans.  Residential heating pulls air through the the silo as needed for heating.  A second silo could have night air blown through it to provide air conditioning in the daytime.

I was thinking of building a thermal ballast under the house consisting of six inch cobble stones in a wood box about ten feet square. (Years Ago)  A solar collector would charge it with hot air at the bottom, and air for house heat would be drawn out of the top of the wood box.  All that is needed is solar power and enough electricity to blow low speed fans to provide air flow.  Solar power to operate the thermal charging air flow is an obvious choice.

The fluid tubes are eliminated if air is used.  I would have built an insulated duct from the air channel that replaces the fluid tubes to the bottom of my box of cobblestones.  The duct would be fan driven.  Speed controlled to keep the introduced air hot when the solar collector is active.  At night a damper isolates the duct from the solar collector.

But what would have been the point?  Mrs. Dog would have seen it as a total waste of time and money.  A ten foot square box of rocks that could cause a divorce, and then I would not be in the house.

Cultural hegemony kills many a dream.

When someone is high on hopium they like to say there are all kinds of solutions 'if people only had the will to carry them out'.  Usually when they say this BS I think their fingers must stink from the shit they are pulling from their ass.  But solving building heating issues by thermal storage is one of the imagined fantastical solutions that actually exists.


Quote from: K-Dog on Apr 14, 2024, 09:43 PMA large quantity of scrap iron stores heat almost as well as water. 

If you had a volume of 1 cm³ of each material:

Water will have a mass of 1 gram and can store about 4.18 J of heat per degree Celsius.
Iron will have a mass of 7.87 grams and can store about 3.54 J of heat per degree Celsius.
Sand will have a mass of 2.2 grams (about) and can store about 0.703 J of heat per degree Celsius.

Due to its very high heat capacity, for the purpose of home heating water works great.  You can store a lot of heat in a small volume, which is fully filled with the liquid.  With sand or iron balls, besides the lower heat capacity/gram, you have the issue that there is a lot of air space between the balls or grains of sand, depending on how fine the grains of sand or small the balls.  So it takes a lot bigger volume to store the same amount of total heat.

The problem with water for purposes other than home heating (like producing electricity or running a pump) is the phase change to steam (vapor) at 100C/212F.  Once it changes to a gas, the heat capacity drops off the map.  It essentially gives up all the stored heat in the phase change from liquid to gas.  So if you want to store heat at the temps that are efficient for industrial processes or generating electricity, you need either a solid or liquid that doesn't change phase until it reaches 500F or more.  Sand is good because it comes cheap, though the crushed rock/gravel probably works better with a smaller total volume.  Mercury might be a choice, but it would be expensive and mercury is poisonous as all get out so you wouldn't want so much of that shit around.

In any event, according to the article on sand, well insulated it could hold heat between seasons, but you would need a huge thermal mass to hold a winter's worth of heat.  Like a mountain. lol.  I think this type of storage is limited to the day/night cycle.



What did I say about a new energy tech every day?  Today's feature: Green Hydrogen!

Yes folks, since the folks at BMW apparently have concluded they'll never be able to get enough grid power for their 444 HP muscle cars, they are going to power them instead now with hydrogen produced by renewable energy sources, no carbon.  The internal combustion engine is not dead: burn hydrogen, only water out the tailpipe.

What's the over-under on this tech taking off?

Carmakers say goodbye to EVs: this is the new engine that changes everything



Maybe BMW will build the new Green Hydrogen ICE Muscle Carz from the new Miracle Material that replaces metal, plastic, cement and wood in everything from cars to machines and buildings!  Listen to this hype about the magical new Galvorn:

Recently, a group of scientists has succeeded in describing an exceptionally strong material that promises to surpass both steel in strength and aluminum in lightness. This breakthrough not only opens the door to technological innovations, but could have a significant impact on reducing carbon dioxide production.

Being lighter, it would allow the construction of more efficient infrastructures in terms of consumption and lighter in various applications, thus contributing to mitigating once and for all the environmental footprint associated with the manufacture of buildings and large architectural projects made with highly polluting materials.

We are talking about Galvorn, a material that has already been approved by the specialized materials development company DexMat, which confirms the above statements, making it clear that this new material could be implemented in industries such as construction, automotive and aviation, due to its multiple benefits.

Back in college in the 70s I remember reading about Buckyballs and Carbon Nanotubes and how they were going to revolutionize materials science and engineering.  A half century later, apparently the grandchildren of Russian scientists Radushkevich and Lukyanovich, the scientists working long years in the basement of their Moscow apartment have at last taken their ideas and created NTCs, or negative temperature coefficient thermistors which besides doing your dishes and walking your dog also are eco-friendly and will sequester carbon from methane, thus also resolving global warming and climate change.  With a name ike that, how could this material be anything short of the miraculous magic bullet we have all been waiting for?

Nothing in the article of course about where all the methane is going to come from to make the Galvorn or how much energy and money it takes to make a kilo of the stuff, but those are just minor details to be worked out later.

Farewell to metals in industry forever: the material that science fiction predicted and has just been produced



OK, now I know why it's BMW that is going after Hydrogen powered ICE engines as the new, new solution to a carbon free transportation fleet  The engine type they are talking about is the horizontally opposed configuration, which BMW uses in its motorcycles.  I had one back in the 70s, a horizontally opposed twin, air cooled in those years, the BMW R100RT.

There is nothing special about this engine design that makes it better for hydrogen than the in-line configuration.  It's advantage in motorcycles is it has less vibration and gives you a smoother ride.  However BMW long experience playing with this engine using different size cylinders to generate power probably gave them an idea on what would work best with hydrogen as the fuel.  So they probably took some of their older engines and tested them and found a good one to use,

Far as hydrogen being a "new" fuel just discovered, that's ridiculous.  The only thing new is that as it has become cheaper to generate electricity with renewables, it's coming closer to the cost of using fossil fuels as they get more expensive.

This IS a means of powering even big rigs without carbon, as long as the juice is generated by wind/solar/hydro/nuke.  You also can rapidly refill the tanks.  So where is the problem?

It's the fact hydrogen is a gas, and to have enough of it on board your vehicle it either has to be highly compressed or in liquid form, which takes temps close to Absolute Zero.  The 2nd method is impractical for small vehicles like cars.

The 1st method is practical, but a compressed hydrogen tank in a car accident is a freaking nightmare waiting to happen.  When the valve breaks off, the tank blows out like a missile, the gas all mixes with air and POW, hollywood style explosions on the freeway.  How they figure to deal with this little safety problem I have no idea.

The other problem is the infrastructure of filling stations and big compressed hydrogen tanks at every convenience store to have a supply on hand to sell to the happy motoristas.  Then the big compressed gas supply trucks, and finally tankers with super cooled hydrogen moving around as well.  All of the have to be built.  We have LNG tanks that could be adapted, but not enough of them to handle a whole fleet of cars and trucks powered this way.  It will take a while to manufacture all that and get it in place.

Will this fit into the mix to keep the techno-futurist dream alive?  It's conceivable, but time is short I think to get it done.

The engine that is turning the United States upside down: it is 80 years old and runs on a fuel that we have just invented



Here's today's entry for new battery tech.  ::) Quick charge sodium.

Researchers develop sodium battery capable of rapid charging in just a few seconds



Quote from: RE on Apr 19, 2024, 02:27 PMOK, now I know why it's BMW that is going after Hydrogen powered ICE engines as the new, new solution to a carbon free transportation fleet  The engine type they are talking about is the horizontally opposed configuration, which BMW uses in its motorcycles.  I had one back in the 70s, a horizontally opposed twin, air cooled in those years, the BMW R100RT.

Had mine in this decade. Loved the thing. Sold it right as Covid arrived.


Basically, this is Iron Man Tony Stark's "Repulsor Technology" that allows him to fly around in his suit and knock bad guys across the room by facing his palm toward them.  The suit carries no fuel for rocket motors or compressed gasses, it just is powered by a miniature "arc reactor" that produces gigawatts of energy, presumably electromagnetic.

This is all bad sci-fi of course,nothing remotely like it exists...UNTIL NOW!  At least according to Dr. Charles Buhler, a seasoned NASA engineer and co-founder of Exodus Propulsion Technologies.  If it works at all, my guess is it somehow interacts with earth's magnetic field to generate propulsion.  If that is the case, it wouldn't work in interstellar or even interplanetary space, which is the primary thing such a holy grail type of propulsion system would be useful for.

Basically it's the anti-gravity force used as a contrivance in practically every sci-fi movie that has everything from small "land speeders" to massive spaceships that magically float up off the ground without using the action-reaction principle of Newton's 2nd Law.  It's right up there with Time Travel as a sci-fi staple that has zero basis in physics to justify it, yet just recently also some physicist claimed to have shown time travel to be possible also.

Desperation makes even really smart people grab hold of any glimmer they can see of hopium.  Really smart theretical physicists find their glimmers in the wildest sci fi they read as kids, and try to make it true.  So far, no.  But who kknows, maybe this time, right?

NASA veteran's propellantless propulsion drive defies laws of physics



QuoteNASA veteran's propellantless propulsion drive defies laws of physics

This is the second article in a row on 'tech' you found which does not describe the physical principles underlying what is being talked about.

A long time ago I realized everything people do involves 'burning' of something.  Modern civilization is only a hundred different ways to make fire.  Burning is energy extraction, I have a broad definition.  Changing a small about of rest energy into motion one way or another.  Harnessing the heat release from  E = MC^2.

Everything we do is uses electromagnetic energy on the atomic scale.  A thousand different ways to do it disguises that any underlying tech is always brain dead simple.  Fancy and different behavior emerges on a macro scale, but reduce whatever it is down to basics, and simple processes are revealed.  But hopium tech articles never talk about any underlying physical principles involved.  It would destroy the bullshit.

New car engines that blow away the performance of everything we have are published every few years.  But how much can you improve expanding gasses in a metal tube against a piston really?  Car engine articles always use a hat trick of some kind to get around the fact that that all you do is expand gasses in a metal tube.

The Carnot cycle describes the maximum possible performance of expanding gasses in a metal tube no matter what engine you are talking about.  Steam, Diesel, Gasoline, or Sterling engines which use expanding air.  All these engines expand gas in a metal tube against a piston resulting from something being burned.  None of these engines can do magic.  The Carnot cycle puts hard limits on  what can be done.

The whole is more than the sum of its parts.  A robot can dance.  A robot can walk.  But all that happens is electric motors move things.  Electric current in magnetic fields making a force.  Ask how any robot works and 'electric current in a magnetic field creating a force' describes the basic principle.

My point is that the principles behind all modern tech are simple, not mysterious, easily understood, and there are not so many principles to understand.  Tech is related to art.  Engineers are artists who use the physical properties of the universe as their color palette.  Scientists discover the principles, and when they are not discovering they teach to others.  The discovering part of the job can turn into into mental masturbation and discovering new stuff is hard work.  Consequently teaching has to be part of the job.  Peak oil in America was in the 70's.  Peak scientific discovery of new physical principles was in the 1700's.  Teaching has to be part of the job of scientists or the process of discovering can turn into a process of useless eating.

From this to this. 


Both are pigments on a surface.  The sailboat is 'more' because we make it so.  But on the atomic level all we have are collections of atoms on a pallet, that are transferred to a canvas.

What is the underlying principle of repulsor tech.  What new color is on the palette?  Current through wires in a magnetic field?  Spinning wheels that go round and round? Love potion number nine?  Kinky sex with Robert Downey Jr?  What is it?  Where is the secret sauce.

Inquiring minds want to know so bad, that I think someone who would write an article without describing the underlying physics is an asshole.

Hopium must pay well.


Quote from: K-Dog on Apr 24, 2024, 11:26 AMWhat is the underlying principle of repulsor tech.  What new color is on the palette?  Current through wires in a magnetic field?  Spinning wheels that go round and round? Love potion number nine?  Kinky sex with Robert Downey Jr?  What is it?  Where is the secret sauce.

Inquiring minds want to know so bad, that I think someone who would write an article without describing the underlying physics is an asshole.

Hopium must pay well.

Here's your answer.

The Myth Of Propellantless Space Propulsion Refuses To Die