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We're running out of wind!
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RenewableCandy



Joined: 12 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

goslow wrote:
RC, is an all-wind grid supply technically feasible for the UK?
Almost certainly not (we've not enough big storage...yet(?) ), but an all-renewables system for Europe and part of North Africa has been modelled, using real met data, by Czisch, and found to work (in the model). The UK's contribution to this grid was mainly wind, with some biomass and tidal iirc.

There was a report in Ireland which concluded that their grid could still provide its "five nines" reliability with 42% wind capacity.

Nowt wrong with deep disposal of the nuclear stuff we already have, after all, what else can we do with it?? Fergus Gibb of Sheffield has modelled a self-vitrifying process with Plutonium lowered 4 km down into granite. It'd only work for the hi-level waste, though: the low-level stuff is much more voluminous, and wouldn't vitrify into/with the granite.

My objection is based on not wanting to create any more of this stuff than we already have: 4 km holes in Granite don't come cheap, any 2 wells have to be far apart, and there's only so much of Cornwall/Aberdeen/wherever, to play with.

Deep-sea disposal is all very well but we don't really know enough about the places involved (ocean curents, plate movements, living beings' activities...) to guarantee it's not going to come back at us sometime over the next couple of centuries...after all the old Soviet boats have only been lurking down there for a few decades.
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biffvernon



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An Inspector Calls wrote:
I doubt such flippancy would go down well here!


No, it might get countered with a statement like

"The surface radioactivity of a spent fuel rod still exceeds 100 Sv/h after having been stored ten years in the spent fuel pond."
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clv101
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kenneal wrote:
Does anyone know where the reference to the film about Finnish Nuclear Deep Storage can be found, please? It might keep the Inspector quiet for a few minutes, though I doubt it. I've done a search but can't find it.


This one?
http://www.intoeternitythemovie.com/
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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's the one, Chris, thanks.

The whole film is available in six parts here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AWcle6lM_Q
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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

An Inspector Calls wrote:
Save me OCRing Hoyle, McKay will do, page 169ff:
http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/withouthotair/c24/page_169.shtml

Hoyle suggests 300 years will do - about one half-life shorter than McKay. I like Hoyle's suggestion that we should be sent our very own nuclear waste after the first 40 years have elapsed, and we could display it as a small, orange-sized spherical ornament, it would be that inncocuous. I doubt such flippancy would go down well here!


And McKay says 1000 years, so perhaps we ought to ere on the safe side in view of the potential hazards involved and the lack of transparency being shown by the authorities worldwide on issues nuclear.

Quote:
Thus waste storage engineers need to make a plan to secure high-level waste for about 1000 years.

http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/withouthotair/c24/page_170.shtml - Line 2

A bit further down the same page he says

Quote:
People sometimes compare possible new nuclear waste with the nuclear waste we already have to deal with, thanks to our existing old reactors. Here are the numbers for the UK. The projected volume of “higher activity wastes” up to 2120, following decommissioning of existing nuclear facilities, is 478 000 m3. Of this volume, 2% (about 10 000 m3) will be the high level waste (1290 m3) and spent fuel (8150 m3) that together contain 92% of the activity. Building 10 new nuclear reactors (10 GW) would add another 31 900 m3 of spent fuel to this total. That’s the same volume as ten swimming pools.


That would be quite a few of the boreholes that Candy was suggesting. If Finland needs something on the scale shown in the film quoted above perhaps we might need something a little larger and probably more expensive.
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An Inspector Calls
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kenneal:
I'm not sure what your response is meant to convey?

Sure McKay says 1,000 years; I can read. And that's approximately one half life shorter than Hoyle's suggestion, as I said. One half life will make very little difference to the radioactivity level of the stored waste, but hey ho, if you want to quote 1,000 years that's OK by me. It's a great deal less hysterical than previous figures such as longer than the period between ice ages.

Am I meant to be impressed or worried about a waste volume of ten swimming pools? I think McKay's making the point that it's trivial in terms of underground store sizes. It's also trivial when compared to the piles of waste produced by other industries. Most of the plans I've seen are excavations on the scale of a small mine. The Cheshire salt mines (which are vast, and bone dry) have been suggested. I await the day when a shale gas developer is baulked by consideration of one of Gibb's nuclear waste sites!

Loved the movie!

RC
"There was a report in Ireland which concluded that their grid could still provide its "five nines" reliability with 42% wind capacity. "

Can you provide a link to this please? I don't know what you mean by 5 nines reliability. The UK grid aims for 95 % (one failure every 20 years). I very much doubt the Irish can run their grid with 42 % wind. They have one pumped storage plant at Turlough Hill (fine piece of engineering) but it's not the last word in terms of speed of response. They used to work to a grid frequency variation of 5 % - much looser than the UK - and that was when they had steam-range plant dominating their grid. So: I'd like to see that reference please.


Last edited by An Inspector Calls on Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:42 am; edited 2 times in total
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goslow



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks RC, the thread can go back completely to the nuke discussion now! I'll read up on Czisch's publications, will be helpful for a debate I might be doing.
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An Inspector Calls
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

goslow wrote:
thanks RC, the thread can go back completely to the nuke discussion now! I'll read up on Czisch's publications, will be helpful for a debate I might be doing.


McKay makes similar calculations for Europe:

http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/withouthotair/c30/page_231.shtml

"The total so far is 9 + 6.4 + 2 + 2.6 + 7 + 3.6 = 30.6 kWh/d per person.

[The target is 195 kWh/d per person]

The only resources not mentioned so far are geothermal power, and large-scale solar farming (with mirrors, panels, or biomass).

Geothermal power might work, but it’s still in the research stages. I suggest treating it like fusion power: a good investment, but not to be relied on.

So what about solar farming? We could imagine using 5% of Europe (450 m2 per person) for solar photovoltaic farms like the Bavarian one in figure 6.7 (which has a power density of 5 W/m2). This would deliver an average power of 5 W/m2 × 450 m2 = 54 kWh/d per person.

Solar PV farming would, therefore, add up to something substantial. The main problem with photovoltaic panels is their cost. Getting power during the winter is also a concern!

Energy crops? Plants capture only 0.5 W/m2 (figure 6.11). Given that Europe needs to feed itself, the non-food energy contribution from plants in Europe can never be enormous. Yes, there will be some oil-seed rape here and some forestry there, but I don’t imagine that the total non-food contribution of plants could be more than 12 kWh/d per person.

The bottom line
Let’s be realistic. Just like Britain, Europe can’t live on its own renewables. So if the aim is to get off fossil fuels, Europe needs nuclear power, or solar power in other people’s deserts (as discussed on p179), or both.
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RenewableCandy



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Five nines" is a pretty bog-standard phrase in the power industry. AIui, it refers to the fraction of time for which Grid electricity should be available (99.999%).

The Irish report with the 42% figure in it has been mentioned on this forum, but I've just looked back through all the windy discussions and not seen a thread title relating to it...so, as they (always) say, "further research is necessary...".

McKay's number-crunching is useful stuff but he's extremely "conservative" both about the extent to which demand can be reduced (for example, that target of 195 kWh/person-day includes heating, which can almost certainly be reduced by more than the figure in "Hot Air", oh, the Irony Smile ), and the extent to which renewables, of all sorts, can be built.

Large-scale solar "farming" is now beginning to happen in Europe: in Spain, for example. You don't have to go all the way to North Africa to find "deserts" these days.

I like to think that bailouts of the southern EU countries may include some kind of energy-generating component (Northern EU lends the cash, they build the DODGY, they pay us, not with money but with energy directly). As long as the EU holds together (yeah OK that's a bit of an "If"...) it might just work.
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goslow



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Our "household/private" annual direct energy use is currently about 27000 KWh (gas+electricity+car fuel), there happen to be 6 in the family which is 12 KWh per person per day. We live in the north of England so not exactly moderate in heating requirements. And we still have a lot of scope to save energy. So even accounting for energy use by industry, public transport, public services etc I find it hard to understand why the target is 195 KWh pppd, and why managing with 30 KWh is not feasible.

Its an interesting discussion, maybe even regardless of whether you supply this energy from renewables or non-renewables.
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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From personal experience, I know that many households in the UK can reduce their energy use by 80% and with a little bit more effort that could be increased to 85%. That could be replicated in some industry and business as well. That would be a game changer in terms of the total energy required by the country as a whole, almost halving energy, mainly gas, required.
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An Inspector Calls
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RenewableCandy wrote:
"Five nines" is a pretty bog-standard phrase in the power industry. AIui, it refers to the fraction of time for which Grid electricity should be available (99.999%).


Never heard of it. I've heard of five nines copper, and the like, but nothing referring to grid availability. The grid operators manage the load/generation balance to a risk level of 95 %. They're attempting to get system failures down to one every twenty years. And that's the figure that's relevant to designing plant mix.


RenewableCandy wrote:
"McKay's number-crunching is useful stuff but he's extremely "conservative" both about the extent to which demand can be reduced (for example, that target of 195 kWh/person-day includes heating, which can almost certainly be reduced by more than the figure in "Hot Air", oh, the Irony Smile ), and the extent to which renewables, of all sorts, can be built.

Large-scale solar "farming" is now beginning to happen in Europe: in Spain, for example. You don't have to go all the way to North Africa to find "deserts" these days.


I don't think McKay's is at all conservative. He quite happily makes optimistic allowances for the provision of renewable energy sources. He is conservative on how much energy we can save, but perhaps realistic would be a better word.

He has allowed, so far as possible for solar exploitation within Europe. If you follow the cross-refernce in the quote I gave (p179) he discusses explotation in Africa.

Goslow: read McKay to find why its 195 kW/d/p - but basically, you're just considering your own personal consumption and making no allowance for the demands of industry and the public services you use (p103 for summary)

Kenneal: fine but I think your 'little bit of effort' is just a little bit optimistic.
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goslow



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, I already mentioned that I had considered not only personal consumption in my statement that "its hard to believe that 195 KWh pppd is necessary". Our direct amount is 12 each then maybe quadruple that to take account of indirect energy and its still ~25% of MacKay's 195 KWh.

MacKay does seem rather generous in his estimates and is probably thinking of a typical affluent middle class lifetyle here (flights! cars! lots of stuff!). Indeed, the average UK energy in 2007 is actually 125-130 KWh pppd (excluding imports, but imports can't add that much more)
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RenewableCandy



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Total UK electricity use is (very aproximately) 1 TWh per day at the moment. There's a multiplier of about 2.5 to get to the original energy content of the fuel. And (so they say) the energy content of the gas we use (heating, process heat for industry) and oil we use (transport, oil for industry) are each about as much again. Giving a total of 7.5 TWh per day all in. And there are 60M of us.

Thus, each person uses 7,500,000,000,000/60,000,000 Wh, or 125 kWh per day, of energy. Like McKay, I'm not counting the energy content of imported goods, though of course this little excercise does count the energy content of the UK services we all share (NHS, Forces, Polis, etc).

This is rather less than 195, and that's before taking any energy efficiency measures. Even I think an 80% reduction, in the current landscape, is "optimistic", but 40% would be a practical target for now. I love that sentence
Quote:
this approximation (getting the energy content of a hydrocarbon from the calories in a lump of butter!) got us within 30% of the correct answer. Welcome to guerrilla physics.


Of course, as has been mentioned rather a lot of times before, most people on this forum reckon "the current landscape" (including for example the assumption of 50 km a day driven in 33 mpg cars!) is by no means a permanent fixture.
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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

An Inspector Calls wrote:
Kenneal: fine but I think your 'little bit of effort' is just a little bit optimistic.


The 80% savings I quoted didn't use LED lighting, for example. The insulation could be improved a little and triple glazing rather than double glazing could be installed.
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