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Kirk Sorensen: A Detailed Exploration Of Thorium's Potential As An Energy Source

Tyler Durden's picture




 

Kirk Sorensen: A Detailed Exploration Of Thorium's Potential As An Energy Source

Kirk Sorensen, NASA-trained engineer, is a man on a mission to open minds to the tremendous promise that thorium, a near-valueless element in today's marketplace, may offer in meeting future world energy demand.

Compared to Uranium-238-based nuclear reactors currently in use today, a liquid flouride thorium reactor (LTFR) would be:

  • Much safer - no risk of environmental radiation contamination or plant explosion (e.g. Chernobyl, Fukushima, Three-Mile Island)
  • Much more efficient at producing energy - over 90% of the input fuel would be tapped for energy; vs <1% in today's reactors
  • Less waste-generating - most of the radioactive by-products would take days/weeks to degrade to safe levels, vs centuries
  • Much cheaper - reactor footprints and infrastructure would be much smaller, and could be constructed in modular fashion
  • More plentiful - LFTR reactors do not need to be located next to large water supplies, as current plants do
  • Less controversial - the byproducts of the thorium reaction are pretty useless for weaponization
  • Longer-lived - thorium is much more plentiful than uranium and treated as valueless today. There is virtually no danger of running out of it given LFTR plant efficiency 

Most of the know-how and technology to build and maintain LFTR reactors exists today. If made a priority, the US could have its first fully-operational LFTR plant running at commercial scale in under a decade.

But no such LFTR plants are in development. In fact, the US shut down its work on thorium-based energy production decades ago. And has not invested materially in related research since.

Staring at the looming energy cliff ahead created by Peak Oil, it begs the question - why not?

As best Kirk can tell, we are not pursuing thorium's potential today because we are choosing not to - we are too wedded to the U-238 path we've been investing in for decades. Indeed, the grants that funded the government's thorium research in the 50s and 60s were primarily focused on weapons development; not new energy sources. Once our attention turned to nuclear energy, we simply applied the uranium-based know-how we developed from our atomic bomb program rather than asking: is there a better way?

This is an excellent and thought-provoking interview. I highly recommend you also visit Kirk's website [10] and its FAQs [11] to familiarize yourself with the thorium cycle, as I predict we will be revisiting the thorium story again in the future.

And we encourage our readers with engineering and nuclear expertise to share their insights in the Comments thread below. We are looking for ways to light the path ahead as we begin to descend down the global energy cliff. Will thorium shine brightly for us?

Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with Kirk Sorensen (36m:02s):

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Sat, 08/04/2012 - 12:26 | 2678062 stinkhammer
stinkhammer's picture

wtf

Sat, 08/04/2012 - 12:44 | 2678102 Fish Gone Bad
Fish Gone Bad's picture

Government needs people to NEED it.  If people had everything they needed, then they would not NEED government.  Cheap energy?  That would violate what I just wrote about government. 

And there you have it in a nutshell, how life works according to Fish Gone Bad.

Sat, 08/04/2012 - 13:27 | 2678167 malikai
malikai's picture

 

I firmly support thorium as an energy source. India (with the world's largest supply of thorium) also naturally support and are developing reactors to burn it. IIRC they're using the old breeder designs from the 60s as a blueprint to develop their own build.

Meanwhile in the US, there is no talk of MSRs/LFTRs or even the decent LFR which was the recipient of many a tax dollars in DoE subsidies.

 

Sat, 08/04/2012 - 13:39 | 2678220 engineertheeconomy
engineertheeconomy's picture

The author does not understand why we use Uranium and Plutonium currently. Not because it's good, it's because it is free. It's left over from our insane governments nuclear arms buildup. We already have enough solar energy to satisfy humans energy needs a million times over. The real problem is that people let themselves be brainwashed. Switching from an extremely radioactive material to a lesser radioactive material is not the solution

Bitchez

Sat, 08/04/2012 - 13:58 | 2678246 Think for yourself
Think for yourself's picture

You couldn't be farther from the truth. Uranium fission is used because of the massive momentum that has been built on that path. In the 50s Uranium was chosen over thorium because of the weapons-grade fissile material that could be obtained from it, even though thorium already showed more potential as an energy source.

The entire boom of nuclear energy was caused by the need to build up nuclear weapons inventory.

Now that it has been built up and reduced, there is much less interest in it, since it is only needed for maintenance. Nevertheless, opinion has been kept from considering thorium as the better alternative in the circumstances; after all, Big Gov's authoritarian power structure loses its relevance in an environment of abundant, decentralized energy. 

Sat, 08/04/2012 - 14:17 | 2678270 malikai
malikai's picture

LFRs would go a long way towards getting us there. Small, relatively safe, decentralized. I think they would make for a good stepping stone on the way to MSRs/thorium.

Sat, 08/04/2012 - 15:49 | 2678403 CrazyCooter
CrazyCooter's picture

If you want to read more, this is by the same author, same info, much older ...

http://www.scribd.com/doc/59204103/Thorium-presentation-Green-Energy-Forum-2008-07-25

Lots of interesting slides in that one!

Regards,

Cooter

P.S. Save a copy, I have a hard time finding the original PPT that I saw back in 2008 (NASA green energy forum). This is a very close approximate.

Sat, 08/04/2012 - 22:40 | 2678920 Indrid Cold
Sun, 08/05/2012 - 06:51 | 2679170 Svendblaaskaeg
Svendblaaskaeg's picture

Thank You!

Sun, 08/05/2012 - 12:23 | 2679225 sqz
sqz's picture

It is a crying shame about the nuclear energy power industry. If they had been focussed on power generation and being allowed to truly innovate, LFTR and MSR type efficient, small, passively-safe and lower cost designs would have been the norm since the 1960's and they would likely have seen more widespread use of nuclear power. However, this quasi-government industry and their subindustries have seen no real innovation since their creation. This is widely acknowledged, even by Bill Gates with his backing of the Terrapower (uranium) startup.

Unfortunately, in markets, timing is very important. Other power generation technologies have greatly advanced and some are actually accelerating in either innovation, reduced cost or both, e.g. solar.

You have to remember the key disadvantage of nuclear power, both conventional and MSR-type, is not safety nor waste compared to other power generation methods. It is cost and in the case of conventional plants, simply the time it takes to get a new one online (10-15 years). Thus, combined with lack of innovation, the window for nuclear power to make any further meaningful impact on most of the world's energy needs has dramatically narrowed. Only China, with its enormous growing energy requirements, is continuing to invest heavily in both conventional, MSR and other types of cutting edge reactors (e.g. pebble bed reactors that are so portable and safe they can be carried on back of trucks).

For the rest of the world, it is looking like natural gas plants to tide us over for another 70 years or so plus renewables, will be the primary source of new capacity and replacement for end-of-life capacity.

Well done to ZH for picking this up though. Not many mainstream news outlets are even aware of Sorensen's endeavours and the most they know of Thorium are India's old and fairly unsuccessful hybrid/solid cycle efforts.

Oh, and engineertheeconomy, I think the author/Kirk Sorensen fully understands nuclear energy power generation history a lot more than you do. It is pretty much the failings of history towards truly efficient and safe power generation that form the entire impetus for his work, including deeply understanding why we still unfortunately use uranium-238 and plutonium currently.

Sun, 08/05/2012 - 12:38 | 2679537 redpill
redpill's picture

And it's no coincidence that the prototype fusion reactors they are working on (ITER) is the most expensive, complicated, and heavy R&D approach to fusion power.  The approach to energy has nothing to do with finding the best source and getting it implemented quickly, rather the focus is on ensuring any change occurs very slowly so the existing fascist union of large government and large energy companies can maintain their power structure and they can fleece as much money from the populace in the process as possible.

Sat, 08/04/2012 - 16:08 | 2678414 engineertheeconomy
engineertheeconomy's picture

Cool, I might be wrong on this, but I don't think you are a hundred percent right either. To set the record straight, I am not for any kind of Nuclear Energy or anything radioactive for that matter. However, you say that our stockpile of bombs has been reduced. I say really? To my knowledge they have only been decommissioned. The radioactive material is still highly radioactive. That is why they are currently using it in our Nuclear Power Plants. The shit is still here, it was not transported to a parellel universe. Thorium would have been a better choice, but that did not meet the bankers desire to kill their enemies with cancer... generation after generation. And why anyone would disagree with Solar is beyond me, that's just plain retarded. I just finished assisting with a multi billion dollar renewable solar/wind project thatt's already powering the grid. Hey, but if you insist that I don't know what I'm talking about, you could be right. But then you could be wrong about one or two things yourself

Sat, 08/04/2012 - 17:15 | 2678517 Think for yourself
Think for yourself's picture

I was saying that you were far from the truth in reference to the fact that you stated we used uranium because it was free. This is wrong, and it is precisely because there is existing (obsolete) infrastructure due to the buildup, combined with the fact that it is far from free, that mankind still has permission to use it. By its nature and required engineering it is a very centralized energy source, that is easily controlled by authorities. Thorium, on the other hand, has definite advantages in that regard, aside from the potential to bring about energy abundance, which would be disastrous to TPTB.

The beauty and efficiency of thorium (we're talking 2 orders of magnitude better than even the best uranium designs) is that is has comparatively minimal amounts of biproducts in the end. What would be radioactive waste for uranium designs is simply a new generation of fuel that will start new fission cycles in parallel to the other cycles already going on in the reactor. The biproducts are burned and burned again until the waste is reduced to a very low-grade waste material.

Then consider passive safety of even the simplest designs that easily rival with the best of Gen 3.5 uranium designs, and you've got a winner.

I didn't disagree with solar - I actually love solar concentrators for large scale projects, or photovoltaics for independence/mobile sources - but you are exagerating by orders of magnitude when we have enoug solar to power humanity million times over. Yes, the amount of power the sun shines on the earth is incredible, and over astronomical timelines the only significant source of power within the solar system is the sun itself (according to consensus mainstream science). Nevertheless, it is not the end-all-be-all source. It is very expansive (doesn't matter if you have large deserts close by, of course), season, latitude and weather dependent, and a relatively low EROEI while being dependent on comparatively large amounts of high tech materials and rare earth metals.

All of these combine to make solar a very poor base load provider for the majority of the globe. Sure, you have to make best use of it where it works, just like geothermal/wind/tidal, but a sane energy policy will make sure to establish redundancy over the different energy sources as a way to regulate input and provide for different needs.

The obvious one being that in terms of energy production and, nothing beats nuclear's density, and nothing even comes close to thorium's independence from external conditions and return over investment energy-wise.

I'd really like to see you try and fit a square-mile solar project on a megascale cruiseboat/floating city, for instance. Or underwater. Or in space. Or anywhere north of the 40th parallel (same in the south hemisphere). Or anywhere in the tropics that actually have dry/rainy seasons where the project would be useless for entire months out of each year. And so on and so on...

Sat, 08/04/2012 - 17:30 | 2678550 engineertheeconomy
engineertheeconomy's picture

"Free" was the wrong word to use. I was simply pointing out that they were making bombs and had what they considered to be "left overs". My mistake, sorryz

Sat, 08/04/2012 - 17:37 | 2678554 PersonalRespons...
PersonalResponsibility's picture

Nuclear power is the side effect from building nuclear bombs.  In order to enrich radio active elements to be bomb grade, they needed to build nuclear plants.  They then though, hey, why not use a steam turbine to produce electricity.  I'm all for stopping anyone from building conventiional nuclear power plants because the only reason to do so is to obtain nuclear fuel for bombs.

 

Let's stick with thorium.  gee, wonder why no one does.

Sat, 08/04/2012 - 19:26 | 2678680 engineertheeconomy
engineertheeconomy's picture

Central bankers, Central Government, Central power source... how convienent for them to keep the people entirely dependant. It's like a war on independance from the grid. Somebody should invent a declaration of independance...oh wait... didn't we already do that?

HEAVEN FORBID THAT THE ZOMBIESHEEPLESLAVES BECOME INDEPENDANT AN PUT A SOLAR PANEL OR TWO ON THEIR ROOFS

Sat, 08/04/2012 - 19:57 | 2678718 Think for yourself
Think for yourself's picture

Now I green arrowed you. Still, maybe it's because living in the tropics I've learned how you can do without electricity - especially being a vegetarian - so I would actually prefer to use all available surfaces, be they horizontal, vertical or sloped, into high-yield edible landscaping/permaculture. You would be surprised at the amount of organic food you can get out of the proper installations even with minimal garden area - using the house's walls and fences as vertical growing surfaces helps, as well as using the roof... and the conversion factor from sunlight power to bioaccumulated energy is much more efficient and useful than anything else you would be doing with that electricity.

I'd put that solar panel on a pillar, so it used as little real estate as possible... 

Sun, 08/05/2012 - 02:12 | 2679083 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

do you have a cat?  it laughs at you for being a vegan

 

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 00:55 | 2680917 dirtbagger
dirtbagger's picture

"In order to enrich radio active elements to be bomb grade, they needed to build nuclear plants. " 

Okay Mr Time Warp please explain how the first bomb was built in 1944-45 when the first nuclear power plant was built in Russia in 1954, England in 1955, and the US in 1957

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 09:51 | 2681450 Tunga
Tunga's picture

The first reactor operated in 1942 on a raquets court in Chicago.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_Pile-1

Sat, 08/04/2012 - 21:15 | 2678812 flapdoodle
flapdoodle's picture

No doubt TPTB have penciled in Thorium as the power source of choice, once they have reduced the world population to a more controllable 500 million...

Sat, 08/04/2012 - 15:35 | 2678386 CrazyCooter
CrazyCooter's picture

Hey, before 200 years ago, almost all of society lived on solar energy. Horses ate grass (solar) and families heated with wood (solar).

Solar will NEVER come CLOSE to supporting a modern lifestyle for anything CLOSE to current world population levels. The math just doesn't work.

The present population, an overshoot enabled entirely by fossil fuels, will correct in future generations.

Thorium, as best I can tell based on everything I have read, is the only option that comes CLOSE to supporting a modern lifestyle ONE THOUSAND years from now. Everything else collapses before then due to non-renewable supply or population demand.

Thorium will run out too (also non-renewable), however it will be much after 1,000 years.

Regards,

Cooter

Sat, 08/04/2012 - 16:19 | 2678447 engineertheeconomy
engineertheeconomy's picture

Sorry Cooter, but you are wrong. I doubt that you are or know any qualified engineers. I doubt that you can do any math at all. The truth is that there are plenty of renewable energy sources, but mainstream media is hell bent on creating another Fukushima. Thorium is not the answer to any of our current or future energy needs. I don't give a flying fuck how many down arrows the trolls on this site give me. I will coutinue to tell the truth as does Arnie Gundersen

Sat, 08/04/2012 - 17:17 | 2678541 CrazyCooter
CrazyCooter's picture

You conflate "energy politics" of today with having a modern lifestyle in, say, 200 years.

Thank you for vetting my qualifications on some anonymous forums, as any readers with critical thinking skills will quickly recognize the value and eloquence of your comments and extend those observations to your opinions. Good thing you give a flying fuck about those pesky down votes.

Regarding PWR, which I think should be decommissioned (thanks for asking me about that rather than assuming) as many of them are unsafe and are operated in an unsafe manner. The reality is though, 20% of US base load comes from many of these reactor types, so the "hit" to the cost of energy in the US would be very, very significant. No free lunches.

I never said there were not plenty of renewable options. Instead I focused on the multi-billion world population and the woeful inadequacy of renewables to meet that demand in any significant percentage. In fact, that was precisely the point of my original comment to you, which you conveniently bypassed based on my lack of credentials to have an opinion on the matter.

Oh, and one more thing; my public electric grid is 100% renewable (unless there is an outage - then its diesel back up). I live four miles from work with a public transportation option. How about you?

Regards,

Cooter

P.S. Spend some time over at DoTheMath, if of course you still assume I have an inability (or interest) in subjects related to *math* and *energy*. I think you will find the content there, particularly the archives, very enlightening.

Sat, 08/04/2012 - 17:52 | 2678567 engineertheeconomy
engineertheeconomy's picture

Sorry dude, I'm way, way, way past all that. I'm not even going to begin... let me just share with anyone else that is still reading, that the only entity in the entire world that endorses nuclear energy is the very same entity that profits from it. It is unsafe and is not even remotely necessary. They will spout out propaganda saying that we have to have this huge butload of energy, but it's all horseshit. People do not need all the crap they have in their homes, especially TV's. Watch out for government trolls that seem friendly, they might even have an affectionate name like Cooter.

REMEMBER FUKUSHIMA, all those children over there are going to die horrible, painful radiation related deaths. There is NO SAFE LEVEL OF RADIATION.

DO NOT ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE BRAINWASHED

Sat, 08/04/2012 - 18:13 | 2678581 smiler03
smiler03's picture

 "People do not need all the crap they have in their homes, especially TV's."

That's very good of you to say so, personally I think most people waste the internet's resources so you for a start shouldn't have access to it. As for electric light and heating, are you a wuss? Can't you read in the dark whilst living in a sleeping bag in winter? Pray do tell how you lead by example. ("I'm not even going to begin"). Perhaps you live "off grid" and jolly good for doing so but if we were all to do that, I think you would probably have to wipe every city off the planet just to start, maybe that's acceptable to you but is it right?

There'a a widely used meme thats says without power generation we'd go back to the middle ages. I take it you disbelieve this and think we'd all get by with a few solar panels and a small wind turbine on top of everybodies house/flat/apartment/tent? Maybe I'm misjudging you in which case I apologise in advance.

Sat, 08/04/2012 - 18:29 | 2678603 engineertheeconomy
engineertheeconomy's picture

There are not simple solutions to all human problems. But yes, I do own a home or two and have one that is completely off the grid. I have a windmill for pumping water up to the tank, a huge garden, livestock and solar panels. I have a small highly insulated home that utilizes the earth temperature and cost's practicall nothing to heat/cool. I can easily and happily live independantly/self sufficiently without any connection to the government grid. They want us all dependant on them so they can control and profit from us. I am rebeling in my own way. I did not learn how to do this from any public school or university. Anybody can do it. If you want to portray me as living in the dark ages, that's fine. If you were to see my farm you would be stunned at how comfortable and relaxed it makes you feel. I have no desire to reconnect to the grid. Anything else you want to know?

Sat, 08/04/2012 - 20:14 | 2678738 Think for yourself
Think for yourself's picture

Lets give kudos to Engineertheeconomy here. He's actually right that solar by itself could easily provide for the entirety of mankind. The other guy giving himself airs knows apparently nothing about it.
I'm against using solar as a main source, because it takes lots of space, and depends too much on external circumstances to provide a reliable baseload. Still, it's awesome at what it's good at, and by converting 1% of the earth's desert surfaces you could provide abundant energy for all manking with room to grow for years if not decades at exponential growth.
But that would require hundreds of projects, each of them at least on a scale of the Three Gorges Dam. Sure, as a species we could easily do this if we converted the output we waste on the MIC and wars to common projects, but aside from this we can only build up slowly towards it.

Just like geothermal can also easily provide for hundreds of times our current energy use, except for the unfortunate fact that its distribution is radically delimited by geographical features. Tidal could also provide an interesting fraction but has the same limitation.

This is why I affirm that we cannot afford to ignore thorium. Fukushima? Fuck fukushima. It was a lousy Gen 1.5 reactor build on a fault line on the side of a huge stretch of water - the sea - as most lousy uranium reactors need to be.

Retire all pre-Gen 3 reactors; retire all designs that do not feature redundant passive safety mechanisms, each of which is sufficient by itself to physically prevent the possibility of criticality. Within these confines, though, feel welcome to keep working with nuclear - it's still far better than coal, oil, or even than any renewable energy except geothermic and solar (if built in deserts).

Sat, 08/04/2012 - 21:25 | 2678827 flapdoodle
flapdoodle's picture

You may be right about solar, eventually - but fusion, if it can ever be made self sustaining, will be likely be cheaper in the short/mid term. I would expect solar energy will probably be reserved for trees and vegetation.

But perhaps we are in fact heading towards Freeman Dyson's view that human civilization, advanced enough, will tap and require the entire output of the sun for its needs...

 

Sun, 08/05/2012 - 00:26 | 2679018 Think for yourself
Think for yourself's picture

Of course, on the long run - if humanity evolves - what we're looking at is a dyson sphere or its logical extension, matrioshka brains. This is why, further upthread, I was referring to the fact that on astronomical timelines, the only significant power source in the solar system is the sun itself.

But that's blue sky thinking. To get to a post-singularity technology level that harnesses planetary/astral engineering, we first need to survive the next 50 years as a technological society.

That means we can't wait for fusion, zero-point energy, or any other "free" energy source which is either already existing according to secret history/conspiracy theories or physically plausible according to the current understanding of physics - that is, there are many dark/blurry spots in our understanding in which they could plausibly fit.

But that it might be possible doesn't help us now. What we need to do is harness that which we already have while orienting further energy development towards the healthiest possible path. That path includes solar, geothermal, tidal, and nuclear - the healthy kind, be it under the form of thorium fission or energy multipliers (I don't remember the exact terminology, but the working model is a particle accelerator that smashes atoms into heavier nuclei to turn them radioactive, and then extracts more energy out of the fission than it took to accelerate the components).

One thing is sure, Gen 1, 2 and even 2.5 uranium reactor designs don't figure in that list. Both solar and geothermal also have large potential, but geothermal is heavily geographically restricted while solar requires an amount of productivity invested which appears to be impossible as long as the MIC runs things... So you're mostly left with nuclear.

Sun, 08/05/2012 - 14:53 | 2679878 Reptil
Reptil's picture

The (technical) issue with using solar as main source is not the production of energy but the capacity to store it.

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 00:07 | 2680893 Think for yourself
Think for yourself's picture

I say superconducting storage banks. We're not there yet.

Sat, 08/04/2012 - 19:53 | 2678710 DeadFred
DeadFred's picture

As Draghi said, just believe him. No facts, just believe.

Sat, 08/04/2012 - 17:57 | 2678564 smiler03
smiler03's picture

@ engineertheeconomy

Please please tell me the truth about how reneweable energy resources can replace nuclear and fossil fuels in the near future.

The UK is the 8th highest generator of wind power in the world but is paying a high price for it. UK consumers electricity bills are almost twice the price of the US (UK 21.99 cents/kWh. US avg residential 11.80 cents/kWh).

Germany and it's solar power racket is costing a fortune. "Photovoltaics are threatening to become the costliest mistake in the history of German energy policy. Photovoltaic power plant operators and homeowners with solar panels on their rooftops are expected to pocket around €9 billion ($11.3 billion) this year, yet they contribute barely 4 percent of the country's power supply, and only erratically at that." 

"Chancellor Angela Merkel previously promised to cap it at 3.5 cents, but Erdmann's calculations show the EEG contribution jumping to "over 10 cents per kilowatt hour," or nearly three times what the chancellor pledged."

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/german-solar-subsidies-to-remain-high-with-consumers-paying-the-price-a-842595.html

Finally I find it bizarre that you say "MSM is hell bent on creating another Fukushima". You're saying that the media pays for nuclear energy? I could have sworn it was paid for by government subsidy, ie taxpayers. 

Sat, 08/04/2012 - 18:09 | 2678585 engineertheeconomy
engineertheeconomy's picture

MSM is owned by GENERAL ELECTRIC for example. Hmmn, now what was that they profit from... if you can't make the connection between the mainstream media whores and those that profit from nuclear energy, I'm sorry, I can't help you. And as for those morons trying to heat huge uninsulating brick buildings in the middle of winter, well, what do you want? Do you want me to feel sorry for them? If they refuse to acknowledge that all ecosystems have a limit to their growth, then they will have to pay the consequences. There is no such thing as a free lunch. If it is so important to you that you have enought cheap electricity to watch your TV all day and all night for free, why don't you get a job on the nightshift at your nearest radioactive power plant. Hell, maybe they'll even let you live there for free too

Sat, 08/04/2012 - 18:31 | 2678600 smiler03
smiler03's picture

You're right, you can't help me.

Just a few things though, I live in a small two bedroomed brick house built in 1938. When I was buying my house I had a very small budget and bought the cheapest because it's all that I could afford.

I would love to live in a Passive House http://www.passivhaus.org.uk/ but there is no way on earth that I could afford to. Neither would anybody else in the small town that I live in in North East England. It's a fine idea but who would pay for it?

I have insulated my house as much as I can. I have modern double glazing, a solar powered heat source in the form of a south facing conservatory, 14 inches of loft insulation and cavity wall insulation. There are about thirty 80(?) metre tall wind turbines within 4 miles of my house but they are only managing 23% efficiency, despite being in an ideal place.

Grand designs, but only for the wealthy.

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/grand-designs/

Sat, 08/04/2012 - 18:40 | 2678618 engineertheeconomy
engineertheeconomy's picture

Move to Hawaii, Brazil or anyplace with a decent climate. I would prefer to  live in Columbia or Venezuela rather than next to a Nuclear Power Plant and have my children born with three fucking eyeballs. To each his own

Sat, 08/04/2012 - 21:27 | 2678833 Acorn10012
Acorn10012's picture

How about a ten-inch dick?

Sun, 08/05/2012 - 14:32 | 2679809 Reptil
Reptil's picture

You're wrong, on all counts.

THIS IS HOW: CHEAP SOLAR coming! ANY SEMICONDUCTOR AS PHOTOVOLTAIC! THIS IS A GAME CHANGER.
http://www.newelectronics.co.uk/electronics-news/breakthrough-technology... Breakthrough technology promises photovoltaics from any semiconductor
http://www.electronicsnews.com.au/news/look-ma-no-doping!-solar-cells-from-any-semiconduc Look ma, no doping! Solar cells from any semiconductor material | Electronics News
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nl3020022 Screening-Engineered Field-Effect Solar Cells - Nano Letters (ACS Publications)

And YET ANOTHER SIGNIFICANT TECHNICAL IMPROVEMENT IN SOLAR. (high efficiënt solar panels

http://www.solarthermalmagazine.com/2012/02/19/tulipps-solar-wins-dutch-...

Problems with production of solar panels, not maing a profit is due to badly managed corporations in a hostile business environment. (Solyndra debacle - chinese competition)

Germany faced/faces huge cost updating their (very good but centralised) powergrid. These are longer term investments necessary with large scale renewables.

There's a lot of BULLSHIT dysinfo floating around; Germany has OVERCAPACITY in energy production. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-07/germany-threatened-by-energy-ov...
Instead look at nuclear fission: It's now generating only a TINY amount of the total capacity in Germany or the USA. (France and Japan obviously are different)
The "we can't replace nuclear, otherwise our energy production will fail" is a myth. In order to generate enough energy with fission nuclear, a HUGE amount of nuclear powerplants will have to be built.

Of course the Nuclear Industry wants to be deregulated, and even want to revoce evacuation protocols (they don't give a SHIT about human beings living around these plants) but still want the PUBLIC as backstop, if/when it goes wrong. NO insurance corporation is willing to insure Nuclear fission plants.

Uranium, a natural fuel is going to run out in a few decades only. Is it worth building a huge structure of plants and appropriate engergy grids around it? Thorium? MOX? Nuclear warheads? Fast breeders?

There can only be one conclusion: Fission Nuclear is obsolete, uneconomical, and civil nuclear is just a FRONT for the militairy/civil nuclear corporations.

http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/241103-the-call-fo...

http://www.dcbureau.org/201204097128/national-security-news-service/unit...

Thorium Recators STILL produce radioactive waste. Less, but it's still the case. A simple fact much overlooked. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jun/23/thorium-nuclear-uranium

MSM is part of the industrial conglomerate: They've not been forthcoming, and have NOT informed the public about the scale of the disaster.

(slow but sure destruction of the natural habitat supporting human civilisation http://fukushima-evacuation-e.blogspot.jp/2012/06/fukushima-precious-tim...)

 

Face it: Nuclear Fission is bad for EVERYONE except for generating short term profit for those (including British and Dutch royal families) who invested in this old, obsolete and terminally dangerous technology.

It's another malinvestment, that the public is supposed to support, while the public is MISINFORMED about it. We'll all be dead or dying (slowly) and unable to reproduce. Including the shortsighted morons who invested in nuclear.

 

Sat, 08/04/2012 - 19:09 | 2678659 azengrcat
azengrcat's picture

Power density 101: How many solar panels does it take to make a solar panel? You know extruding aluminum and melting silicon, high power industrial processes. Solar power is great for a farmer but building an electric car with solar panels is going to take a lot of land. You need a clean base load to support wind/solar and thorium is the best current technology.

Sat, 08/04/2012 - 19:33 | 2678685 engineertheeconomy
engineertheeconomy's picture

You are a very sick individual.

Sat, 08/04/2012 - 20:11 | 2678736 malikai
malikai's picture

Math sucks, engineer.

Sat, 08/04/2012 - 22:35 | 2678915 Vlad Tepid
Vlad Tepid's picture

The up arrow you gave yourself is so transparent it's laughable.  And by the way, we're still all waiting for you (the genius mathematician engineer childless tent dweller in Venezuela) to answer the above question about how many solar panels it takes to make a solar panel...we're a patient lot, so take your time.

Sun, 08/05/2012 - 01:18 | 2679061 patb
patb's picture

 

1) If you live in the real world you would know the energy cost of a solar panel is refleted in the price.

 

same with cars, trucks, books....

 

 

Sat, 08/04/2012 - 21:27 | 2678834 DrunkenPleb
DrunkenPleb's picture

Never say never - the main thing that solar has going for it right now is the same trend of exponential increase in performance that has happened in other semiconductor technologies. It may not make a lot of sense now, but ten years is a very long time in technology terms.

Sun, 08/05/2012 - 01:37 | 2679067 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

Solar is the way. 

"Solar panels are coming down dramatically in cost per watt. And as a result of that, the total amount of solar energy is growing, not linearly, but exponentially. It’s doubling every 2 years and has been for 20 years. And again, it’s a very smooth curve. There’s all these arguments, subsidies and political battles and companies going bankrupt, they’re raising billions of dollars, but behind all that chaos is this very smooth progression."

"After we double eight more times and we’re meeting all of the world’s energy needs through solar, we’ll be using 1 part in 10,000 of the sunlight that falls on the earth. And we could put efficient solar farms on a few percent of the unused deserts of the world and meet all of our energy needs."

http://bigthink.com/think-tank/ray-kurzweil-solar-will-power-the-world-i...

Sun, 08/05/2012 - 02:43 | 2679094 CrazyCooter
CrazyCooter's picture

So, what you are saying then is, past performance (assuming its factual as presented) is a guarantee of future performance?

Regards,

Cooter

Sun, 08/05/2012 - 15:38 | 2679985 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

"So, what you are saying then is, past performance (assuming its factual as presented) is a guarantee of future performance?"

 

No.

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 09:57 | 2681464 Tunga
Tunga's picture

Peak Solar? Ha Ha Ha! Good one CrazyCooter. But seriously retarded. More solar energy falls on Massachusetts in one day that the whole US generates in a year. 

 

CC does his math by oil lamp. 

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