Wednesday, November 03, 2021

Reality, Just for Fun

Not my field, by any means, and this guy may be full of it.  But I liked the line "...reality has a way of interfering with futuristic pie-in-the-sky calculations like this." It's rather a basic assumption in my life. Let's see what he has to say after that...

We pretty obviously have an enormous amount of solar energy hitting the earth that might be useful. We also pretty obviously have not yet been able to make this work despite having some very bright and determined people working on it, often with significant government and NPO funding behind them.

5 comments:

james said...

Back when people were planning for the SSC, one team created a tentative design for a calorimeter system (energy-measuring detectors). It gave excellent coverage, with only trivial blind spots. They brought it to the engineers. First question: "What holds it up?"
Oops. The next design iteration replaced some of those detectors with support pillars--big blind spots, but what to do?
Yes, transmission is a huge and expensive problem.
He doesn't help his talk with complaints that the Europeans aren't funding these projects out of the kindness of their hearts--what does he expect? And the segue into the ad for the programming classes is jarring.

james said...

OK, just for fun. He talks of a 700MWatt power transmission line. At 44 MJ/kg for gasoline, what is that in kg/sec of gasoline? How many large tanker trucks/day?

random observer said...

If I were ISIS West Africa and people tried to spread solar panels all over the desert, why would I not attack those all the time? And I mean all the time.

Unknown said...

James - you've led me on a wikiwander of intersting journal articles on the comparative costs of energy transmission/transport between chemical and electrical.

The 'Dakota Access pipeline' crude oil was holding up my commute at railroad level crossings quite frequently until they stopped handling it at the port of Albany (after an ocean going tanker lost steering and ran aground north of NYC in the Hudson), so I've got an inkling that there might be safer, greener, and more economic means of transporting bulk chemical energy long distances than to use tanker-trucks . . .

Texan99 said...

I'd be surprised if there weren't some interesting breakthroughs in solar energy technology in the not-too-distant future. Single-cell life figured out the trick a long time ago, without the luxury of unlimited resources to waste or the ability to lie about results. Current human solutions are mostly silly, and the political attitude to them is worse, but it's early days.