Solar Array Required to Match Global Oil Consumption

99,000,000     Barrels of oil per day global consumption as of the end of 2018
1,628,200     Watt-hours barrel of oil equivalent
161,191,800,000,000     Total consumption in watt-hours per day
32,238,360,000,000     Solar power wattage required to capture this much energy per day (total watt-hours divided by 5 hours per day)
161,191,800,000     Square meters covered by solar panels (200 watts per square meter)
161,192     Square kilometers covered by solar panels
401     Distance of one side of square covered by solar panels in kilometers (SQRT of 161,192)
241     Distance of one side of square covered by solar panels in miles (Kilometers times .6)

"The Permian Basin is located in West Texas and the adjoining area of southeastern New Mexico. It underlies an area approximately 250 miles wide and 300 miles long and includes the Texas counties of Andrews, Borden, Crane, Dawson, Ector, Gaines, Glasscock, Howard, Loving, Martin, Midland, Pecos, Reeves, Terrell, Upton, Ward, and Winkler." From the Handbook of Texas Online.

 

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7 hours ago, Meredith Poor said:

99,000,000     Barrels of oil per day global consumption as of the end of 2018
1,628,200     Watt-hours barrel of oil equivalent
161,191,800,000,000     Total consumption in watt-hours per day
32,238,360,000,000     Solar power wattage required to capture this much energy per day (total watt-hours divided by 5 hours per day)
161,191,800,000     Square meters covered by solar panels (200 watts per square meter)
161,192     Square kilometers covered by solar panels
401     Distance of one side of square covered by solar panels in kilometers (SQRT of 161,192)
241     Distance of one side of square covered by solar panels in miles (Kilometers times .6)

"The Permian Basin is located in West Texas and the adjoining area of southeastern New Mexico. It underlies an area approximately 250 miles wide and 300 miles long and includes the Texas counties of Andrews, Borden, Crane, Dawson, Ector, Gaines, Glasscock, Howard, Loving, Martin, Midland, Pecos, Reeves, Terrell, Upton, Ward, and Winkler." From the Handbook of Texas Online.

 

How much battery storage would you need?  

How much would that cost?

Edited by Chris Wells
addition question
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(edited)

34 minutes ago, Chris Wells said:

How much battery storage would you need?  

How much would that cost?

A solar only scenario is purely hypothetical. In the real world different types of renewables would be integrated, some of which are quite dispatchable (Hydro, Biogas, Biomass, Geothermal). Other developing technologies such as Tidal are intermittent but very predictable and Wave power tends to track the seasons peaking in winter. 

Pump storage, Compressed air and possibly rail mass storage offer better large scale storage (https://www.aresnorthamerica.com/)

HVDC offers opportunities to link previously isolated regions allowing for sharing of resources and exploitation of different time zones.

Dynamic demand systems offer great opportunities to shave peak demand requirements. http://www.dynamicdemand.co.uk/

Short answer is - not nearly as much as you are thinking

Edited by NickW
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3 hours ago, Chris Wells said:

How much battery storage would you need?  

How much would that cost?

One point of this is that the Permian Basin is torn up with vast amounts of oil pumping infrastructure - wells, pipes, tanks, etc. There is a lot of 'pristine' land that might bother people if it was covered with solar panels. It's hard to imagine anyone in the Permian objecting to something more benign than what is already there.

The remaining point is that the 'oil country' of Texas and New Mexico could, in theory, meet the entire global demand for petroleum products without extracting a single barrel from the ground. This would involve a mixture of carbon capture (from the air), water electrolysis, and hydrocarbon synthesis. The amount of water this would take would be substantial - more than is available in the region.

As far as batteries go, it depends on on the chemistry and other factors. There isn't really a simple answer.

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12 hours ago, Meredith Poor said:

32,238,360,000,000     Solar power wattage required to capture this much energy per day (total watt-hours divided by 5 hours per day)

I suspect that this part of your calculation is optimistic. PV panels generally have a capacity factor of 18 per cent, so maybe 4 hours  or less, but even if you adjust the area and managed to find enough PV panels and space - in job lots no doubt, all linked up - you have the colossal problem of storing and transporting the energy. The point about oil is that it comes out of the ground in transportable form. Granted it has to be cracked before it can be used into a number of different products, not just fuel, but it is easy to handle, transport and store. Power from PVs or wind farms is none of those things. There have been all sorts of suggestions about systems for storing energy - hydrogen, ammonia, pumped hydro, liquid air and compressed gas to name a few. Assuming you an get any of them to work at tolerable cost, by the time you install enough storage capacity to matter, any advantage from green energy would be more than wiped out. That's been the problem all along.  

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4 hours ago, Meredith Poor said:

One point of this is that the Permian Basin is torn up with vast amounts of oil pumping infrastructure - wells, pipes, tanks, etc. There is a lot of 'pristine' land that might bother people if it was covered with solar panels. It's hard to imagine anyone in the Permian objecting to something more benign than what is already there.

The remaining point is that the 'oil country' of Texas and New Mexico could, in theory, meet the entire global demand for petroleum products without extracting a single barrel from the ground. This would involve a mixture of carbon capture (from the air), water electrolysis, and hydrocarbon synthesis. The amount of water this would take would be substantial - more than is available in the region.

As far as batteries go, it depends on on the chemistry and other factors. There isn't really a simple answer.

West Texas has it's own inner beauty that a lot would think is benign is not true by any means. They already have big solar arrays within 30 miles of Ft. Stockton taking up as much as a section of land. These arrays are pure ugly like the wind generators on the mesas. Beauty is within and if you've never been here, there is an expanse of area that is just beautiful, just like when the ranchers got here 120 years ago. Sorry, I for one think the panels and all the freakin' wiring sucks. Go to Yellowstone NP and put in miles of GeoThermal.  Many Kilowatt hours there of power. 

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47 minutes ago, Old-Ruffneck said:

West Texas has it's own inner beauty that a lot would think is benign is not true by any means. They already have big solar arrays within 30 miles of Ft. Stockton taking up as much as a section of land. These arrays are pure ugly like the wind generators on the mesas. Beauty is within and if you've never been here, there is an expanse of area that is just beautiful, just like when the ranchers got here 120 years ago. Sorry, I for one think the panels and all the freakin' wiring sucks. Go to Yellowstone NP and put in miles of GeoThermal.  Many Kilowatt hours there of power. 

I've driven around Sweetwater and San Angelo so I've been at least somewhat in the area. However, admittedly that isn't Midland/Odessa.

The kind of stuff I'm talking about is wall to wall pump jacks. I would prefer areas that are undisturbed to remain that way.

In any case, this was simply to illustrate what the land footprint would be, it doesn't mean it makes sense to construct such infrastructure in that area.

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2 minutes ago, Meredith Poor said:

I've driven around Sweetwater and San Angelo so I've been at least somewhat in the area. However, admittedly that isn't Midland/Odessa.

The kind of stuff I'm talking about is wall to wall pump jacks. I would prefer areas that are undisturbed to remain that way.

In any case, this was simply to illustrate what the land footprint would be, it doesn't mean it makes sense to construct such infrastructure in that area.

Well, unfortunately they are already in process of several more of these "farms". The powers that be seems to think this is good clean energy and if you get down to the basics, while vast improvements in last 5 years, almost all the panels come from China. IMHO we have enough natural gas and our nuclear tech is enough without adding to the eye pollution of solar and windmills. In the end the American people pay through all the subsidies and the Big Power companies get more bucks. Dig down deep and research the infrastructure and who the government paying how much and you'd see that wind farms are a total loss. Solar not so bad in loss but we have enough of our own resources not to be dependent on countries that steal our tech. It's a moral thing with me....

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(edited)

It depends on many things.

Tracking solar in the Southwest runs around 30%+ CF so that decreases the area of the panels by 1/3rd. New generation solar panels are 210-220 W/square m and Lab versions area approaching 280 so lets say 250 W/sq m over a 15 year period, another 20%. Then in terms of energy services, combining the energy used to explore, exploit, refine and transport oil, only about 80% of the oil ends up being combusted in some way. However the biggy is that 20-85% of that energy is wasted as it goes up the chimney, out the tailpipe or into a cooling system, pumping losses in engines, stop start driving etc. For example Volvo calculates that an electric service truck uses 1/5th of the energy of a diesel one. So to replace the service provided by by oil,  oil can be replaced by 30% as much solar energy 

161,000 x .67 x.8 x .3 =  26,400 square km. or 6,500,000 acres a bout 30% more than the worldwide area devoted to golf courses  or less than 1/3rd of the area of Lake Superior. In practice tracking solar has about 22% packing density so if your original calculation is right that would mean 115,000 square km of solar farms to replace the worlds energy use from oil

Solar can also be put on roofs, floated on reservoirs and waste water treatment plants and of course worked out mines and quarries, rail line reservations etc. In some circumstances if it is mounted slightly higher and spaced more widely it can actually increase the yield of pasture and some forms of horticulture, by providing shade and windbreaks.

In summary in terms of energy supply there is no technical or land use problem replacing oil with solar assuming you calculations are correct. In fact I suspect that there is an error in your calculations somewhere, they sound too good to be true

Edited by pfarley@bigpond.net.au
spelling, grammar
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I am not interested in solar panels, what use do they provide on cloudy days, how much energy can they produce then??  To the root of it, to be precise, I work in oil, so green tree hugger energy ideas can quietly take a f%$@ off....the ideaology is truly not practical...today, next year, 5, 10, 30 years....just my .02

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(edited)

17 hours ago, markslawson said:

I suspect that this part of your calculation is optimistic. PV panels generally have a capacity factor of 18 per cent, so maybe 4 hours  or less, but even if you adjust the area and managed to find enough PV panels and space - in job lots no doubt, all linked up - you have the colossal problem of storing and transporting the energy. The point about oil is that it comes out of the ground in transportable form. Granted it has to be cracked before it can be used into a number of different products, not just fuel, but it is easy to handle, transport and store. Power from PVs or wind farms is none of those things. There have been all sorts of suggestions about systems for storing energy - hydrogen, ammonia, pumped hydro, liquid air and compressed gas to name a few. Assuming you an get any of them to work at tolerable cost, by the time you install enough storage capacity to matter, any advantage from green energy would be more than wiped out. That's been the problem all along.  

The crux of this thread is about land usage requirements for different technologies. 

I estimate that 162000 km2 of West Texas would generate in joules terms about 62.1 mbpd of oil equivalent. 

This wont do North America but you can get an approximation for an equivalent location such as Southern Spain or North Africa. 

http://re.jrc.ec.europa.eu/pvgis/apps4/pvest.php

For West Texas working on an annual output of 1650kwh/ KW of panel which equals 250kwh / m2 then you would get 40,300 twh of electricity. This is for fixed panels working in the region of 18% efficiency. Go for tracked and higher efficiency panels and you would be in the region of >80mbpd. 

Working on the basis that a barrel of oil has 6.4 bn joules in it then on a pure joules conversion you get 62.1mbpd of oil equivalent. 

This is crude oil so you have to expend some to get it into a usable form - that will take the figure to around 70 mbpd 

Edited by NickW

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4 hours ago, cbrasher1 said:

I am not interested in solar panels, what use do they provide on cloudy days, how much energy can they produce then??  To the root of it, to be precise, I work in oil, so green tree hugger energy ideas can quietly take a f%$@ off....the ideaology is truly not practical...today, next year, 5, 10, 30 years....just my .02

Reality is increasingly proving otherwise. 

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14 hours ago, Old-Ruffneck said:

West Texas has it's own inner beauty that a lot would think is benign is not true by any means. They already have big solar arrays within 30 miles of Ft. Stockton taking up as much as a section of land. These arrays are pure ugly like the wind generators on the mesas. Beauty is within and if you've never been here, there is an expanse of area that is just beautiful, just like when the ranchers got here 120 years ago. Sorry, I for one think the panels and all the freakin' wiring sucks. Go to Yellowstone NP and put in miles of GeoThermal.  Many Kilowatt hours there of power. 

Beauty is always subjective, and if you think it is pretty then I'm not one to say you're wrong.

Last few times I've driven through there the one thing that stood out was the smell, it reeks of crude in certain places.

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1 hour ago, Refman said:

Beauty is always subjective, and if you think it is pretty then I'm not one to say you're wrong.

Last few times I've driven through there the one thing that stood out was the smell, it reeks of crude in certain places.

Smells like money 😁

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As everyone knows, in order to produce any FAKE SOLAR energy, solar panels must be amply lubricated with good-old fashioned, works-every-time, american-know-how, patriotic-red-white-and-blue....you guessed it--OIL.

A thick coating of dinosaur essence increases the power output of these obnoxious and unsightly panels by nearly x1.8 million percent, which means that a solar panel array the size of oklahoma will in fact power a solar calculator for approximately 1 hour per year, if exposed to bright sunlight for seven to ten centuries.

Nothing is more unsightly than any non-petrochemical burning machine, and while the acres and endless acres of beautiful, natural highways, interchanges, pipe and valve farms, pipelines, and rigs are the natural and most desireable state of America's wilderness--we would be willing to tolerate a small, well greased panel at the very tip top of a huge old-fashioned oil derrick, which will be installed on the lawn of the new President's house located in the capitol of new America; Middleland Texas.   This Derrick will spew All-American Crude in the fashion of Spindletop, for all the sons and daughters of our great nation to play in and enjoy.

As our founding father, Abraham Madison said--"I don't trust any energy source that doesn't emit a powerful smell and ravage the land, unless its based on the modern, advanced technology of Whales"

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how about we cover the globe in a grid of superconductor wires and connect enough solar panels (they getting cheap so fast - if I wait long they should pay me for taking it, right?) to power the Earth? And since energy is free and abundant, we can generate as much hydrogen we want, converting it to energy in fuel cells or old-fashioned ICE. Bingo!

Meanwhile - back to collecting unicorn farts

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11 hours ago, NickW said:

The crux of this thread is about land usage requirements for different technologies. 

I'm well aware of the crux of the thread. My point was that the calculations were simply of no use as the energy is in a form that cannot readily be used without enormous additional investment in technologies that either haven't been invented yet, or are still in test phase. The present use of the land is vastly more efficient as it produces energy in a form that can be stored and pumped. You can do whatever calculations you like with PV panels but until you solve the storage problem they are a waste of time. Leave it with you.

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4 hours ago, Old-Ruffneck said:

Smells like money 😁

Indeed it does, but personally I'd rather look at a windmill than smell crude all day.

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12 hours ago, markslawson said:

I'm well aware of the crux of the thread. My point was that the calculations were simply of no use as the energy is in a form that cannot readily be used without enormous additional investment in technologies that either haven't been invented yet, or are still in test phase. The present use of the land is vastly more efficient as it produces energy in a form that can be stored and pumped. You can do whatever calculations you like with PV panels but until you solve the storage problem they are a waste of time. Leave it with you.

The equation simply disproves the usual tripe we hear on here along the lines of:

You would have to cover the entire world with PV to get 10% of what Oil provides

Well you don't - on a joule for joule basis you would need an area of land space, much of which could be roof spaces, or floating on reservoirs about the size of the UK. For comparison WA is about 11x bigger than the UK. 

In reality no one is proposing a 100% PV system so the storage issue is a moot point. 

Edited by NickW
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(edited)

"How much battery storage would you need?  How much would that cost?"

 - if elon mask will do it:   tesla powerwall $3000 per 3 kwh; so $1000 per kwh.

if    161,191,800,000 kwh  -Total consuption/production, Total battery capacity:

$ 161,191,800,000,000     batt. Total.    161 trillon, world gdp for 2 years, us & eu gdp 4 years, china - 20,  pentagon budget for 80 years

or 10% gdp in  20-year program (double of us defense spending). if half connected and consumed by existing grid, than 5%, which = pentagon  spending

p.s. tesla powerwall - lithium ion batteries, $1000/kwh;  lead-acsid - $400/kwh; zinc-air (nantenergy) S100-200

so, cost of  li-ion 160 trillions, lead 70,   zinc-air 20 = 10% of us gdp in 10 years or = us defense  spending in 20y or 5% of us & eu economy in 10 y. if us, eu & china - 4%;  if half consumed by industry grid while produced - 2% in10y

Edited by Igor Ua

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Here are some pictures from Orla for an idea how it looks out there.  Actually the first picture is Screwbean Springs which is about 12 miles SE of Orla.

 

 

screwbeanspring.jpg

wildflowerssec36.jpg

orlasunset.jpg

orlaresident.jpg

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17 hours ago, Refman said:

Indeed it does, but personally I'd rather look at a windmill than smell crude all day.

Since you don't live down here, I would say your argument is moot. 

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It is kind of cool to make such calculations. But it does not work in reality. Plus there is a great financial problem with storing energy, that doubles energy cost. As a first step it is quite competitive to replace up to 20% of generated electricity with solar. It will reduce oil and coal consumption noticeably. Also no big changes in grid structure would be required. Beyond 20%, it becomes increasingly complicated, as grid structure must be changed and either backup fossile power generation must be built with fast startup capability or energy storage used instead. To some extent hydropower can be used as energy storage. 

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On 2/10/2019 at 1:22 PM, Meredith Poor said:

As far as batteries go, it depends on on the chemistry and other factors. There isn't really a simple answer.

For Texas the battery/storage solution is actually very easy because the state has direct access to the Gulf of Mexico.

Renewable energy can be stored as compressed air, at depth, in pressurized bags offshore. 

The technology already exists.  

Texas is in a great position to become North Americas renewable energy giant.

It's a great place for energy companies to shift investment and transition. 

 

I have attached a Google Earth KML vector map showing the approximate total areas for Texas to produce ALL the worlds oil energy with solar panels, and if Texas chose to produce only ALL North American oil energy using only solar panels.

It would be trivial for Texas companies to be in charge of this. The pipelines required to transport compressed air already exist as oil and gas pipeline infrastructure.

 

 

TexasAsSolarEnergySuperpower.kml

Edited by pwillis

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(edited)

23 hours ago, Old-Ruffneck said:

Since you don't live down here, I would say your argument is moot. 

Well I think the argument is valid, regardless of location.

Edited by Refman

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