An energy question from an energy idiot

Discussion in 'Energy' started by Dr.Drock, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. Dr.Drock
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    Dr.Drock Senior Member

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    I always hear for either the pushing of wind energy and solar energy or the defending of oil and coal energy.


    To me it seems like geothermal, wave and tidal energies would be the best. It's not always windy, it's not always sunny, the other resources listed are finite. The earth's core will always be hot, there will always be ocean currents and waves.


    Am I as clueless as I sound? Or am I on the right track?
     
  2. Anachronism
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    Anachronism BANNED

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    The problem is harnessing those particular forms of natural energy on a sizeable enough scale to make them cost effective while producing significant enough energy.

    Imagine the outrage from PETA and the area residents if one were to suggest tearing up a mile of beach and oceanfront property in order to put in a wave-energy plant. The NIMBY crowd would be out in force overnight decrying such an idea, nevermind PETA, GreenPeace, etc....

    Geothermal works well on a small scale, but it hasn't yet been refined sufficiently to be able to make it work on a large scale from what I've seen and read on the topic.
     
  3. Dr.Drock
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    Dr.Drock Senior Member

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    Thanks for the input those are good points, the thought just crossed my mind because I have a friend who has geothermal energy for her house and she says it was more expensive up front but much cheaper now on a month to month basis and the savings have already paid for the initial cost.
     
  4. Skull Pilot
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    Skull Pilot Platinum Member

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    For one a geothermal heating and cooling system for a home is not an energy source.

    A ground source heat pump merely uses the earth's constant 70 degree temperature as a starting point for heating and cooling. Liquid is passed through a series of coils and heat is dumped into the ground in summer or taken from the ground in winter. It does not produce energy per say but it lowers the amount of energy needed for heating and cooling.
     
  5. mdn2000
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    mdn2000 BANNED

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    Geothermal for a home, I beleive those are Heat Pumps, I hear they work great, a freind of mine uses one in Pennsylvania.

    Geothermal for commercial is extremely expensive, more expensive than any other form of energy. There are actually threads on the topic, very good threads.

    I work in Geothermal plants, we have at least 7 on the south end of the Salton Sea.

    They are given a big free pass when it comes to environmental laws, I have no idea why, most likely because of all the research money that gets poured into the Univerities that support Geothermal.

    The Salton Sea must drill 10,000 ft. to a pool of water on a pool of Lava sitting on the San Andreas fault. Drilling uses the same rigs that Drilling for oil use so the price is the same, a million a day to drill for oil, a million a day to drill for hot water.

    The water is not actually water but brine, lots of salt and other nice and toxic things. One gallon of Brine weighs about 10 lbs. A gallon of water weighs a bit more then 8 lbs. That means a gallon of Brine has two pounds of stuff regular water does not, stuff like Strontium, Cobalt 60, Cesium, Strontium, and my personal favorite Arsenic.

    The wells are a big expense, if you call constantly drilling for wells, using materials to encase the well, piping the Brine to plants as Green or Renewable than I think you may just not understand Geothermal.

    One, the wells lose their energy and weaken over time thus must be redrilled. The brine also destroys the lining of the well which also results in the need for a new well. As far as I can tell, I always have seen new wells being drilled.

    Two, the hot brine must be piped in special pipes, they used to be lined with concrete but I think since then the found a special alloy to replace the pipes with. The Brine is extremely corrosive, it literally eats up the pipes thus a Geothermal plant uses more resourses or materials to operate. The pipes are 48" in diameter and over a mile long, that is a lot of pipe.

    Three, they must reinject the brine into the earth after its lost its energy or heat, the brine is extremely toxic, not just a little but an extremely hazardous toxic waste which gets to break every environmental rule in regards to toxic waste. Millions of gallons of waste is injected back into the ground, I hope to hell that does not find its way into California's water supplies.

    Four, the pipes burst and when they burst if your standing nearby, say good by, if you get hit with the water your most likely going to be boiled by a lobster but even more troubling is these pipes cross thousands of Acres of farmland and thus are bursting contanimating crops, mostly Asparagus which the Imperial Valley supplies to the entire nation.

    Five, each and every Geothermal source is unique requiring a very specific engineering solution. Each source of heat is unique, from the rock or earth you must drill through but a bigger problem is the unique chemical characteristics of source of heat. Each plant must be designed and engineered specifically to the chemical characteristics of the brine or heat source. Thus each plant is literally custom designed.

    Geothermal is dead, its reached its peak, I say that because the best, easy sites are already developed.

    Tides and Ocean currents require a turbine of some sort transfers the energy into electricity, that requires a turbine or something that runs an Electrical Generator, anything that moves copper wires through a magnets which induces current flow. Any Generator that is so effecient as to make tides, currents, or winds competitive with Nuclear power will have more value installed in a Nuclear power plant.

    Sad fact, Nuclear power can turn any Electrical Generator a thousand times faster than the wind or sea. Improve the generator to make any technology compete and the same generator can be installed in a Nuclear power plant.

    Outside of Solar Energy which converts electricity directly into electricity, (which is a small percentage of Solar energy overall) all electricity is made by turning a Electrical Generator, the more times it turns, the more energy is made, its the law of electricity, I should no the name of a particular law, maybe its Ohm's Law. Seems to simple though.

    Energy is what has created our world, now we have people advocating for the United States to be the World's leader producing the weakest, most expensive, resource extensive form of energy. This literally is crippling our economy.

    Why would anyone advocate a losing policy, I know that many actually seem to hate the USA and describe all we do as bad and evil so I guess some would also like to see us be a third world country and scorned by the World.

    Too sad, I thinks too many people have read Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky.
     
  6. Dr.Drock
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    Dr.Drock Senior Member

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    Mdn thanks that was a great read, I've mostly only heard good about nuclear energy as well I should've included that in the OP but it slipped my mind.
     
  7. mdn2000
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    mdn2000 BANNED

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    Arsenic, I got an Arsenic burn on my ass while working at the Calipatria/Brawley Geothermal plants. Nasty stuff, we were inspecting a heat exchanger which flashes the brine to steam, we had to wear protective gear, full face respirators and rubber rain suits. The idiot in charge, I say idiot for I knew the guy, he worked for our company and left to manage the ISI department for Cal Energy, he eventually ended up on Megans Law's website for raping children. Pedophile who actually looked like Chester the Molester and acted very strange, said crazy stuff only he thought was funny.

    Anyhow T.J. Linney arranged so all we had to do was wear the respirator and a paper cover-all, seemed okay, everything was dry in the heat exchanger. I had to go inside, a confined space which required the Oxygen level to be monitored by a plant safety person. Crazy, jumping into a tiny space in which water from 10,000 below the earth circulates.

    So its nice and dry, I am breathing through a respirator, which requires a PFT physical, and in the limited light I can see a billion particles of shiny dust in the air. Mostly arsenic but radioactive garbage as well. I know, beside reading the MSDS which describes exactly what is in the Brine, we had a Geiger counter we used to measure the radioactivity of 55 gallon drum of solid or dust that was removed from components that maintenance was repairing. The barrel read a good 300 mrem above background radiation. Completely un-marked, un-regulated, radioactive toxic waste.

    So I see all this dust sparkling in the air and even thought I am safe in the respirator I know that the fit facter is not a 100% so its possible I could breath a tiny percentage of the toxic poison so I get a great idea, wash the dust out of the air prior to our inspection every morning. It worked great, we had a nice puddle of water below the component which I mention because at night the crickets would come out and try and cross our puddle, they all died, poisoned by the time they made it half way across the puddle which was only three or four feet wide. I always wondered about the crickets that did not go through the water, were their tiny feet picking up traced of Arsenic, Strontium, Cesium, as they crossed the Geothermal plant. I am rambling a bit but to understand the environment I am in the cricket story is perfect, they died in the water we washed from the component in which I was inspecting.

    So the crickets cross this geothermal plant, arsenic dust everywhere, they even have giant vacum trucks with mexicans in space suits sucking up the dust off the roads and access roads. The Geothermal plant is surronded by thousands of acres of Asparagus, the crickets are everywhere, leaving and coming in from the Asparagus fields. Being the south end of the Salton Sea this is part of the Pacific Flyway for migratory birds. These birds numbered in the hundreds of thousands, easily. They were all feeding on the crickets, some crickets which traversed the toxic wasteland of Geothermal energy.

    Pretty rotten, tracking that dust into the food we eat, the Aspargus, poisoning birds which are a part of the food chain.

    So I am in my watered down heat exchange sitting on a board, after TJ Linney the child molestor to be has arranged for us to wear paper instead of rubber. I thought nothing of it as I did my inspection and sat on the board provided for me inside the confined space. It was damp, which soaked through my papersuit, which for me, I did not notice, its a miserable job, hot, cramped, hard to breath, dangerous. After three days my butt got warm.

    At the hotel I looked at in the mirror, it was bright red like a sun burn. I went to the doctor, I did not report it to the plant, to do so would of got me kicked off site and our company most likely would not work here again. So the doctor never heard a story like this so he puts a call into the Nations Center of Poison Control or something like that, maybe it was the Center for Disease control. They told the Doctor not to worry, Arsenic only penetrates a few layes of skin thus would not poison me. My ass was just a bit sore and after a week the skin peeled off my ass like the worst sun burn I have ever had.

    Geothermal can not be called clean nor renewable.
     
  8. uscitizen
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    uscitizen Senior Member

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    that constant tem varies a bunch? The shallow ground constant tem is around 50 f here.
    by shallow I mean up to several hundred ft deep.
     

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