Solar to Become World's Largest Power Source by 2050

12 hours ago, Guillaume Albasini said:

Only a little fraction of the world population is living in the northern regions. Most of the human beings are located between the 45th parallel north and the equator.

image.thumb.png.8570106c81462ef2c65407b53ae7fae6.png

Everything that helps us to survive does better in a warm climate.

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47 minutes ago, Oil_Engineer said:

No kidding.  I used to work a few km from that facility.  I wonder how many kW they get from that array?  it's a great location, all you have to do is sweep the sand off once in a while.  They should do the same thing all over.

The trouble with the 'sand' in KSA is that it sticks to things like sh1t on a blanket. 

 

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41 minutes ago, Oil_Engineer said:

Everything that helps us to survive does better in a warm climate.

Apart from fishing. Productivity of the oceans is much higher in cooler oceans

oceans.jpg

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21 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

These problems can in part be contended with by the installation of rotary condensers.  The problem then is that such condensers tend, as built today  (which is largely one-off), to be quite expensive.

Jan - that's one of the few times in the debate I've had to stop to look up terms. As far as I know you're the only one to suggest these condensers and I imagine its some form of energy storage - there's heaps of suggestion for energy storage, including compressed air, liquid air, batteries and the use of ammonia.. so far none have been made cheap enough to be of any real use.. 

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5 hours ago, NickW said:

Can you explain the Maths please. 

If current output is 2%, expanding it 65x gets it to 40%??????

Or can I just resort to a 🤦‍♀️😄

The 2 per cent was just a figure off the top of my head, as I th0ught I had implied. Now that I think about it, the figure would be much less, so discount back from 65 times and that must be the right figure. Leave it with you.. 

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15 hours ago, Guillaume Albasini said:

Only a little fraction of the world population is living in the northern regions. Most of the human beings are located between the 45th parallel north and the equator.

image.thumb.png.8570106c81462ef2c65407b53ae7fae6.png

Great map! Added to the top of my Population Problems topic https://docs.google.com/document/d/1P5E7KXffXhi_nqMJETLjtoVfYdVHr-pVrYWzVg36ykk/edit 

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32 minutes ago, markslawson said:

Jan - that's one of the few times in the debate I've had to stop to look up terms. As far as I know you're the only one to suggest these condensers and I imagine its some form of energy storage - there's heaps of suggestion for energy storage, including compressed air, liquid air, batteries and the use of ammonia.. so far none have been made cheap enough to be of any real use.. 

How about molten salt? Isn't that already being used in solar arrays?

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Utility scale solar as of 2018 costs about $1 per watt, installed. This would suggest that the US would need to spend $400 billion to build out 'peak' (daytime maximum) solar. Apple has $260 billion in cash. Warren Buffet (Berkshire Hathaway) has $100 billion that they don't know what to do with. These two companies alone could just about build out the 'daily max' component. Other companies like Google and Facebook have tens of billions in cash, so they could fill in the rest.

Anyone want to compare $400 billion to the current US annual defense budget?

 

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In any case, the 2050 scenario is pessimistic. My prediction runs more towards 2025. The '65x' number is two orders of magnitude. Anyone looking at the growth of the PC industry in the 1980's would see expansion from millions to tens of millions to hundreds of millions in the space of a few years. In the early 1980's a simple PC could easily cost $5000.

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3 hours ago, markslawson said:

Jan - that's one of the few times in the debate I've had to stop to look up terms. As far as I know you're the only one to suggest these condensers and I imagine its some form of energy storage - there's heaps of suggestion for energy storage, including compressed air, liquid air, batteries and the use of ammonia.. so far none have been made cheap enough to be of any real use.. 

A rotary condenser is basically a gigantic motor generator with no real outputs.  What it does is sit there and spins, and acts as a form of voltage and frequency filter.  The problem with outputs from industrial wind installations is that you get these fluctuations, with current pulses creating higher voltages and faster frequencies.  To keep that within the tolerances required by the Grid, the installation outputs go into that rotary condenser, which acts as a sort of electric sponge.  Excess energy pulses would attempt to push the condenser to rotate faster; but the mass of the machine resists such movements. Think of the condenser as a sort of rotary energy dump. To accomplish their task, they are built seriously big and heavy, and rely on inertia of the moving rotating mass to absorb and discharge incremental energy pulses. A bit like letting the sail out on your yacht when a gust of wind hits it while close-hauled on tack, that sort of thing. 

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On 3/8/2019 at 1:52 AM, Meredith Poor said:

Utility scale solar as of 2018 costs about $1 per watt, installed. This would suggest that the US would need to spend $400 billion to build out 'peak' (daytime maximum) solar. Apple has $260 billion in cash. Warren Buffet (Berkshire Hathaway) has $100 billion that they don't know what to do with. These two companies alone could just about build out the 'daily max' component. Other companies like Google and Facebook have tens of billions in cash, so they could fill in the rest.

Anyone want to compare $400 billion to the current US annual defense budget?

 

Well over a trillion was spend on operation Enduring Carnage (Iraq and Afghanistan) 

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On 3/7/2019 at 11:27 PM, markslawson said:

Jan - that's one of the few times in the debate I've had to stop to look up terms. As far as I know you're the only one to suggest these condensers and I imagine its some form of energy storage - there's heaps of suggestion for energy storage, including compressed air, liquid air, batteries and the use of ammonia.. so far none have been made cheap enough to be of any real use.. 

IMO EV Car Batteries at the end of their transport life but with decades of life as stationary storage will address the storage issue. They will first make a useful short term operating reserve and as the battery parks expand provide medium term storage. 

Lets say we have 50,000 1st Generation Nissan Leaf Batteries that have dropped to 50% of their nominal capacity so 12 Kwh. To help preserve the batteries output is restricted to 10KW

That battery bank can hold 600 Mwh  and deliver 500 MW for over an hour. 

Now apply that to a world where say 25% of Vehicles are EV's and batteries are replaced every 10 years. 

Car manufacturers are already doing this.

https://www.greenbiz.com/article/final-stop-ev-batteries-hyundai-kia-toyota-nissan-and-bmw-grid

In the UK STOR capacity is increasingly coming from batteries as OCGT are more expensive to run. 

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On 3/8/2019 at 2:05 PM, Jan van Eck said:

A rotary condenser is basically a gigantic motor generator with no real outputs.  What it does is sit there and spins, and acts as a form of voltage and frequency filter. 

Okay, I understand. Basically its a vast additional expense to fit wind energy on a grid. I think you'll find that they aren't used widely, or even at all on most grids. I've been living with the wind debate for decades now and its the first I've heard of them. Some of their functions may well be taken over by conventional generators. Anyway, thanks for that.. 

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On 3/8/2019 at 11:01 AM, ronwagn said:

How about molten salt? Isn't that already being used in solar arrays?

Molten salt is often used, as you say, in solar arrays, and it certainly has some advantages in that application, but it counts as yet another expensive way to store energy. Solar arrays have been under development for decades now and basically don't seem to have done much

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2 hours ago, markslawson said:

Solar arrays have been under development for decades now and basically don't seem to have done much. 

You're writing about solar thermal generation, rather than photovoltaics?

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3 hours ago, NickW said:
On 3/7/2019 at 5:27 PM, markslawson said:

Jan - that's one of the few times in the debate I've had to stop to look up terms. As far as I know you're the only one to suggest these condensers and I imagine its some form of energy storage - there's heaps of suggestion for energy storage, including compressed air, liquid air, batteries and the use of ammonia.. so far none have been made cheap enough to be of any real use.. 

IMO EV Car Batteries at the end of their transport life but with decades of life as stationary storage will address the storage issue. They will first make a useful short term operating reserve and as the battery parks expand provide medium term storage. 

Lets say we have 50,000 1st Generation Nissan Leaf Batteries that have dropped to 50% of their nominal capacity so 12 Kwh. To help preserve the batteries output is restricted to 10KW

That battery bank can hold 600 Mwh  and deliver 500 MW for over an hour. 

Now apply that to a world where say 25% of Vehicles are EV's and batteries are replaced every 10 years. 

Car manufacturers are already doing this.

https://www.greenbiz.com/article/final-stop-ev-batteries-hyundai-kia-toyota-nissan-and-bmw-grid

In the UK STOR capacity is increasingly coming from batteries as OCGT are more expensive to run. 

Nick, Let us not forget that this is only supposed and not tested. No one knows for certain the value of these batteries as storage for grid applications since there is not a large enough quantity of ten year old EV cast-off batteries available right now (nor will there be for quite a few years) for accurate results to be gleaned from. I do hope that it will work but it is only theory right now. This is my continuing criticism of the green left.

We are given theories from "scientists" that we are urged to act on with real money from various levels of government coffers and we have no guarantee that anything productive is going to come from these monies being spent. The green message is always accompanied by the urgent call for action "right now!" or the world is going to end on (deadline de jour) but nothing ever happens on this supposed deadline.

I hope you can see where this behavior has created a high level of skepticism from those of us not already in lock step with the movement.

I would like to think that reasonable people want solid data prior to committing to unprecedented expenditures of government monies on any project. What is the rush? Is it unreasonable to want a real data-set prior to committing my grandchildren's money/future to a project? 

You are educated in science. Does this not make sense to you? 

 

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On 3/6/2019 at 4:42 PM, ronwagn said:

Whatever happened to thin solar that could be used everywhere and was far cheaper?  They even talked about solar paint. We should be using some form of solar on the sunny side of wind turbines, 

It's money. Ten years ago it was a common expectation the "thin films" solar would be dominate, but nobody was really counting on how much traditional silicon photovoltaic would drop.

I was in the thin film business, work at a giant glass coater. You can turn pretty much any modern glass high rise into a net energy producer. But the costs get in the way and it was a fun, one year ride for me as economics caught up. As has been mention, actions to reduce consumption are more cost effective than producing. I've seen glass that would keep out heat, keep in heat, and generate electricity. 

In North America a south oriented roof with the right pitch, in many states you can do quite well. And yes, your production costs are more than a good combined cycle gas system, but you don't pay what it cost to produce, you pay what they charge, and all of a sudden solar economically works for many home owners.

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6 minutes ago, John Foote said:

It's money. Ten years ago it was a common expectation the "thin films" solar would be dominate, but nobody was really counting on how much traditional silicon photovoltaic would drop.

I was in the thin film business, work at a giant glass coater. You can turn pretty much any modern glass high rise into a net energy producer. But the costs get in the way and it was a fun, one year ride for me as economics caught up. As has been mention, actions to reduce consumption are more cost effective than producing. I've seen glass that would keep out heat, keep in heat, and generate electricity. 

In North America a south oriented roof with the right pitch, in many states you can do quite well. And yes, your production costs are more than a good combined cycle gas system, but you don't pay what it cost to produce, you pay what they charge, and all of a sudden solar economically works for many home owners.

As I have said before, I use all LED lighting and have a well insulated home. I saved a lot of money for a few months, then they changed my meters twice, two different "smart meters". The price went up. Now I am billed as much for the delivery of the natural gas and electricity as I am for the fuel itself. 

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On 3/7/2019 at 1:46 AM, Marina Schwarz said:

I trust mathematical calculations and I always find it charming when the U.S. is being used as a synonym for the world. However, in reality not all countries have the space necessary, not readily available at least, not to mention climatic differences that reduce the number of sunny days. I do believe this also has a bearing on the output of solar installations. Again, I would love to have economies powered by renewable, emission-free energy. I simply doubt it will happen as quickly or as cheaply as proponents claim.

P.S. Also, batteries?

Here where i live in North Florida,   our City is one of the largest municipal user / producers of Solar in the USA...

Yet,   despite that,  all of our Solar facilities provide less than 7% of the total City's daily power needs.

The price of the land for commercial solar projects is very high........

I would love to see "commercial solar" installed above our city Interstate roadways,  I-95, and I-295,   that is a huge amount of land.......

BUT,  the cost of installation would be so staggering that the project would NEVER pay for itself at the current efficiency rate of Solar panels.....

 

The bottom line is that at this time,  SOLAR is not efficient enough to be useful.........

Solar is "curiosity" at this time.......

 

Solar will not be worth real,  massive adoption m  until scientists:  INCREASE THE EFFICIENCY RATE,  AND INCREASE THE STORAGE CAPACITY OF BACKUP BATTERIES,  AND DRAMATICALLY REDUCE THE FULL COST OF INSTALLATIONS BY AT LEAST 50%....

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4 hours ago, markslawson said:

Okay, I understand. Basically its a vast additional expense to fit wind energy on a grid. I think you'll find that they aren't used widely, or even at all on most grids. I've been living with the wind debate for decades now and its the first I've heard of them. Some of their functions may well be taken over by conventional generators. Anyway, thanks for that.. 

Mark, I do wish to emphasize that i was not suggesting the use of these condensers.  it was a mandatory requirement for a proposed ridge-line wind farm in NE Vermont to connect to the grid, a requirement for that particular installation by the Independent System Operator.  The project was abandoned as the condenser would cost $25 million.  In another case, the ISO demanded a rotary condenser for tie-in and it was actually bought.  All this is only possible when huge subsidies are offered for these wind-farm installations.  Those subsidies flow from Washington, with (until recently) small subsidies from the Vermont Treasury.  The current Governor has vowed to never have a permit issued for another wind machine in the State  of Vermont.  Period.  His one-word answer:  "No." 

A rotary condenser is in essence a huge rotating flywheel.  Due to its mass it absorbs  dramatic changes in inputs, thus keeping the connection to the grid stable and preventing rapid decay.  It is a workable solution.  But, it is expensive.   Cheers.

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1 hour ago, John Foote said:

It's money. Ten years ago it was a common expectation the "thin films" solar would be dominate, but nobody was really counting on how much traditional silicon photovoltaic would drop.

I was in the thin film business, work at a giant glass coater. You can turn pretty much any modern glass high rise into a net energy producer. But the costs get in the way and it was a fun, one year ride for me as economics caught up. As has been mention, actions to reduce consumption are more cost effective than producing. I've seen glass that would keep out heat, keep in heat, and generate electricity. 

In North America a south oriented roof with the right pitch, in many states you can do quite well. And yes, your production costs are more than a good combined cycle gas system, but you don't pay what it cost to produce, you pay what they charge, and all of a sudden solar economically works for many home owners.

To illustrate how that works, I currently pay 23 cents/KWH for power.  The cost of that power component from HydroQuebec is wholesale about five cents.  The rest comes from a mix of so-called "renewables" and drives the price up through the proverbial roof.  In reality, because my provider  (a power co-op) buys power off the grid, the real power I take is a mix of what is sold into the New England grid, and that includes oil, gas, nuclear, hydro, wind, biomass  and solar.  Can I do better than 23 cents by installing my own hydropower and battery bank?  Probably.  But I am locked in to these guys by the cost of development.  Could I install a set of solar panels?  Not really, I would have to cut my trees down and then I would have no shade and have to install air conditioning. So I have to "eat it."  Is that electric bill a huge deal?  Not for me; runs a tad over 100 a month.  Why would I go spend thousands on some solar panel set-up, when sitting at the 44th parallel?  Not rational at all.  Might work fine in New Mexico, though.

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(edited)

17 hours ago, MUI said:

Nick, Let us not forget that this is only supposed and not tested. No one knows for certain the value of these batteries as storage for grid applications since there is not a large enough quantity of ten year old EV cast-off batteries available right now (nor will there be for quite a few years) for accurate results to be gleaned from. I do hope that it will work but it is only theory right now. This is my continuing criticism of the green left.

We are given theories from "scientists" that we are urged to act on with real money from various levels of government coffers and we have no guarantee that anything productive is going to come from these monies being spent. The green message is always accompanied by the urgent call for action "right now!" or the world is going to end on (deadline de jour) but nothing ever happens on this supposed deadline.

I hope you can see where this behavior has created a high level of skepticism from those of us not already in lock step with the movement.

I would like to think that reasonable people want solid data prior to committing to unprecedented expenditures of government monies on any project. What is the rush? Is it unreasonable to want a real data-set prior to committing my grandchildren's money/future to a project? 

You are educated in science. Does this not make sense to you? 

 

Lithium batteries have been around since the 1970's. They have obviously improved since then but we have almost 5 decades worth of data. In regard to current Lithium Batteries used for EV's we have the best part of a decade of data. See the two graphs posted below for Nissan Leaf and Tesla Batteries. NIMH Batteries from Hybrids have been around since the late 1990's so we have two decades of data on their degradation rates against years of use and or mileage. 

Car manufacturers are reusing end of life EV / Hybrid  batteries now so clearly they have confidence that these batteries have a second life usage as stationary storage capacity. There is no expenditure of govt money because the car manufacturers are simply using what would other wise be a redundant product. 

Whats the alternative?  you can put these batteries on a rubbish tip or reuse them for at least a couple of decades and make some money as they fulfill the STOR requirements for electricity grids at lower cost than OCGT plant.  Seems like a no brainer to me. 

 

 

 

 

Leaf Battery 30kwh degradation.jpg

Tesla Battery degradation.jpg

Edited by NickW

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15 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

To illustrate how that works, I currently pay 23 cents/KWH for power.  The cost of that power component from HydroQuebec is wholesale about five cents.  The rest comes from a mix of so-called "renewables" and drives the price up through the proverbial roof.  In reality, because my provider  (a power co-op) buys power off the grid, the real power I take is a mix of what is sold into the New England grid, and that includes oil, gas, nuclear, hydro, wind, biomass  and solar.  Can I do better than 23 cents by installing my own hydropower and battery bank?  Probably.  But I am locked in to these guys by the cost of development.  Could I install a set of solar panels?  Not really, I would have to cut my trees down and then I would have no shade and have to install air conditioning. So I have to "eat it."  Is that electric bill a huge deal?  Not for me; runs a tad over 100 a month.  Why would I go spend thousands on some solar panel set-up, when sitting at the 44th parallel?  Not rational at all.  Might work fine in New Mexico, though.

What you need, then, is to be able to generate electricity from live trees. Sucrose is the most commonly traded commodity in the natural world - trees supply sucrose to the bacteria in the ground in order for the bacteria to extract nutrients and feed them into the tree. Bacteria can be employed in 'microbial fuel cells'. One approach would be to extract sucrose as is done for maple syrup and then mix it with water and feed the mixture to fuel cells (you would need about 12,000 distinct cells, although they would be about the size of a vitamin pill bottle). The other would be to design electrodes that you could simply insert into the ground. The latter idea would take some experimentation. Keyword search 'generating electricity from trees'.

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30 minutes ago, Meredith Poor said:

What you need, then, is to be able to generate electricity from live trees. Sucrose is the most commonly traded commodity in the natural world - trees supply sucrose to the bacteria in the ground in order for the bacteria to extract nutrients and feed them into the tree. Bacteria can be employed in 'microbial fuel cells'. One approach would be to extract sucrose as is done for maple syrup and then mix it with water and feed the mixture to fuel cells (you would need about 12,000 distinct cells, although they would be about the size of a vitamin pill bottle). The other would be to design electrodes that you could simply insert into the ground. The latter idea would take some experimentation. Keyword search 'generating electricity from trees'.

I am delighted to see a level of whimsy accrue to oilprice.com!

C'mon, Meredith, I do what everybody else does:  I eat the 23 cents, I pay, and I grumble at the cost.  That 23 cents is what it costs for rural Vermonters to kowtow to the Greenies, who insist that paying that will "save the planet."  That the plausibility of that line of thinking has never been demonstrated empirically, hardly will dissuade the fundamentalists, you know that!

Thanks for writing. 

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