The Alternative Energy Thread

Discussion in 'Techforge' started by The Night Funky, Nov 10, 2013.

  1. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    Chances are the owners of the coal mines make lots of money, but the owners of the coal fired steam plants would be just as happy not having to turn up the heat and still make profit from the retail sale of power purchased wholesale from you and me.
  2. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    Tesla sales video (requires headphones at work). Insane mode?

  3. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

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  4. The Night Funky

    The Night Funky BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    It has beaten expectations in terms of energy produced.
  5. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    I acknowledge they've had modest success generating 60% of an average US consumer's single house electricity consumption with 230 linear feet of solar path (about 1,300sqft), but really don't see the advantage to this over solar panels on a roof. The latter has the advantage of being angled (hopefully in the correct direction), keeping the sun's radiation off the roof itself, and not having to support traffic.

    Solar roads are uneconomic either as paving or energy collectors.
    Last edited: May 12, 2015
  6. mburtonk

    mburtonk mburtonkulous

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    Hey, people can be dreamers. If not solar roads, maybe a manufacturing process for extra-durable solar panels, or some other useful technology that wouldn't have been figured out otherwise.
  7. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    Disagree. If the tech pans out, solar paving can make use of "free" open space. No trees need be removed, the roads are already there and (mostly) owned by governments so there's no additional right-of-way issues, no extra land need be purchased, and so on. Seems like a good way to get multiple uses out of the same asset.
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  8. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    I'm not seeing it. If it cost more to pave a road in solar panels than will be realized in energy savings in other forms of solar generation (including the cost of the footprint) it won't happen. But I guess that's what you meant by "if the tech pans out." This is up there with the air-powered car.
  9. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    Solar roadways are a colossally bad idea.

    If you want an engineer's take--that demonstrates in detail how flawed the idea is--watch this video:

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  10. Bailey

    Bailey It's always Christmas Eve Super Moderator

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    I agree with you Lanz, but the Solar Roadways concept is incredibly over-engineered. I think it will end up happening, however it will be done with more crude solutions like photovoltaic paint. There are various teams working on bringing the cost of such paint down and while it will never be as efficient as carefully engineered panels it should reach a point where it is cheap enough that the lower efficiency doesn't matter.
  11. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    perhaps, but the cost of wiring photovoltaic painted sections of road to the grid would be prohibitive. Also the energy loss over distance might negate any electricity generated this way. The paint should radiate EM energy when an EM receptor is near, say on the bottom of an electric car. yeah that'd work.
  12. Liet

    Liet Dr. of Horribleness, Ph.D.

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    A blast from the past, explaining why we need alternative energy today:

    [​IMG]
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  13. gturner

    gturner Banned

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    To melt glaciers?
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  14. The Night Funky

    The Night Funky BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    New coating improves the performance of solar panels.
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  15. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    Cool! And I thought everything had already been invented :)
  16. The Night Funky

    The Night Funky BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    MIT thinks they've finally got this whole fusion business cracked.
    Lots more at the link.
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  17. The Night Funky

    The Night Funky BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    US Army to test GM fuel cell truck.
    [​IMG]
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  18. The Night Funky

    The Night Funky BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    Large scale testing of solar roads to being next year.
  19. oldfella1962

    oldfella1962 light & lethal

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    :lol: C-3PO no you di-int! :nono:
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  20. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    Bouygues and their Colas division aren't to be scoffed at. Still, this seems destined to failure. Mark my words, I may have to eat them in a couple years. The French do have a different attitude about energy and infrastructure, they have that going for them.

    Any update on the Dutch experiment?
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2016
  21. The Night Funky

    The Night Funky BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    Mixed.
    It performed better in terms of energy production than what they expected, however.
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  22. The Night Funky

    The Night Funky BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    Perhaps this will inspire them to remake Diamonds are Forever.
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  23. The Night Funky

    The Night Funky BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    Oil company dumps oil for wind.
    France opens its first solar road.
    More at both links.
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  24. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    While I'm big on wind, I'm feeling less bullish on solar roads. If Elon said he was going to do them I'd still snicker. He's into boring tunnels now it seems.
  25. The Night Funky

    The Night Funky BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    Georgia (the state, not the country) gets a solar road.
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  26. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    7,000 KWH/year is 19KWH/day. Assuming about 4 hours average peak generation per day (optimistic, I think for GA) that's an output of 4,700 watts. 4,700 watts/538sq feet* is 8.7 watts/sqft. That's about state of the art for panels so it might be a bit optimistic given they can't angle the panels to catch the rays.

    A more efficient and cost effective means of generating power would have been to put 538 sqft of panels on the visitor center roof, or off to the side, maybe in a right-of-way space. Oops I see they're already doing that.

    A solar array capable of 1 megawatt output would require 100,000 sq ft of solar panels. A right-of-way installation 20ft wide would be a mile long. Georgia DOT and Public Service Commission is managing that project. That's interesting. more


    *edit: oops, that's 538 sq meters, not feet. Who the hell uses meters in GA?

    Converting sq meters to sq feet it's 5,790 sq ft (not 538) so they're only producing 4,700 watts over 5,790 sq ft which is only 0.8 watts/sq ft. Someone's numbers are off. Might be mine. Wonder what output per sq meter Colas advertises.

    5,790 sq ft in a 12 foot wide strip would be 480 feet long. Pics don't show entire length but I'm willing to bet it's not more than 45 feet long, which would be consistent with 538sq ft.

    Colas is peculiarly circumspect providing details on output for their panels. If we assume that they aren't woefully inefficient and the GA installers put meters when they meant feet, then 8.7 watts per sq ft is reasonable. more

    edit edit: oops oops, they used both meters and feet with 538 in different places. I'm not nuts.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2017
  27. The Night Funky

    The Night Funky BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    Oooh, a turbine powered hybrid electric car!
    Pics and video at the link.
  28. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    There was an interesting idea a few years ago in Popular Mechanics about covering the parking lots of McDonalds across the United States in a kind of wear resistant solar panels that could recharge any electric vehicles parked there. IIRC the "road panels" were projected to cost three times as much as equivalent asphalt but make up for that in durability and return on electricity.

    The idea pointed out that most electric cars could only go about 300 miles on a charge, but that McDonalds were all across the United States and that if all you had to do to recharge an electric car was to find a McDonalds you could drive from Idaho to Florida pretty easily. While I'm no big fan of electric vehicles the idea of using McDonalds franchise as ready made distribution infrastructure is an intriguing one.
  29. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    Most ICE vehicles don't go much more than 300-350 miles on a tank of gas. :clyde:
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  30. The Night Funky

    The Night Funky BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    True, the difference between a gasser and an electric is that it currently only takes about five minutes to refill your tank, while, it can take 30 minutes or more to recharge an electric car. (There's also issues with declining range as electrics age, and in extremely cold weather.
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