September 25, 2011 at 2:14 pm #1643
I like to spend time on youtube watching alternative energy videos. I spent a day on a “wave power theme and it occurs to me that the wave/offshore wind energy question solves many of the “what/where/why” questions of seasteading. Deep ocean mining could be as well, but not untill the cost of underwater robots falls considerably.
If I were to plan a seastead right now, the first question I would answer is “where is the energy going to come from” and then I would design it to be capable of temporary submersion for storm survivalability. Retreating to land via boat allows the structure to be as minimalist as possible so that one challenge can be focused on at a time. This way the planning doesn’t get bogged down with life support.September 26, 2011 at 4:44 pm #15671
Tusavision, yes, I agree with your “where is the energy going to come from” priority assessment, and wave energy seems like one of the potential sources, in addition to solar and wind, depending on the conditions surrounding the seasteading community
I thought you would appreciate the news from a week back, if you haven’t seen it already, about how salt water could become the source for unlmited amounts of hydrogen fuel, through a new technology using bacteria and a reverse desalination process.
The findings by Penn State University team led by Bruce Logan, were published on Proceedings of the National Academies of Science journal last week. Google “An Unlimited Supply of Hydrogen Energy from Wastewater? New Research Suggests it’s Possible” to find the full article at NaturalNews.
Saltwater as a source of energy sounds like an ideal solution for a seasteading nation, as there is never going to be a shortage of saltwater.
As for storm survivability, I think that can be improved through anchoring the structures in various adjustable and reversible ways, as well as designing the seasteading blocks, both in terms of architecture and materials, to withstand storm winds and high waves, so you don’t necessarily have to resort abandoning the modules or going for a submersive design.September 26, 2011 at 6:19 pm #15672
Honestly, the really difficult thing isn’t generating energy, it’s *storing* it. Very few energy generation systems supply energy in the format or quantity needed for immediate use; this is why most boats and RVs and cars operate the majority of systems on 12v DC.
What needs to happen first is that you will need to identify the *uses* for your energy. In your design, will most of your energy output be towards life support systems in the ways of heating/cooling/desalination/oxygen recovery/waste management/etc, or propusion systems, whether that mean moving the vessel around or raising/lowering it in the water? Or are you thinking more household electrical, lighting and instrumentation?
The best thing you can do at this stage is to come up with some numbers, even if they’re hypothetical – assuming you’re living at sealevel in a given temperate zone, how many BTUs of heating energy would you need per day to run all of your systems, and how many BTUs per year? Then compare to a hydrogen generating plant – how much work and space is needed for a (theoretically possible) plant that can come up with enough hydrogen to cover your needs, and how large a storage system would you need to survive a situation where you didn’t have capability to generate hydrogen for a month or more?
What I’m curious about is how much gross energy is needed in the hydrogen generation – current hydrogen generation methods use something like two barrels of oil worth of electricity to produce one barrel of oil worth of hydrogen… in this new method how much electricity is needed?
Cheers, - Drew.
-- "Analogies are dangerous, Amanda, because life is like a sandcastle..." Technomad blog: http://disengage.caSeptember 26, 2011 at 7:56 pm #15673
re: wave/wind: the current problem with wave energy is that waves aren’t a predictable source of motion – sure, they’re predictable on the very short term, ie if you’ve had thirty waves of size X in a row, you can gamble that the next wave will be X ± 5%. It’s somewhat more difficult to predict that there will be enough waves next week to cover your net energy needs!
Ditto tide; the only way to make use of tidal energy – which is very predictable, and it baffles me that we’re not using it on a grand scale already! – is to leverage the immense power of the tide against something immoble, like land. It’s difficult if not impossible to use tidal energy without bracing off of the land.
In/on our home, the s/v TIE Fighter, we’ve been completely off the grid for almost three years now – in that time we’ve relied mostly on a Honda EU2000i generator for our electrical needs, but in the last few months we’ve finally gotten away from that to a pair of 140w solar panels. Later this month we’ll be adding a KISS Energy wind turbine, and we’ll probably add a second alternator tied to the propellor shaft at some point in the future, so that we can generate electricity while we sail. The answer has proven to be a diversification of energy sources; if it were always sunny, we could happily live off of solar alone right now, but that’s just not the case. Fortunately, when it isn’t sunny there’s often wind, and if there’s no wind and no sun we have the Honda.
Cheers, - Drew. -- "Analogies are dangerous, Amanda, because life is like a sandcastle..." Technomad blog: http://disengage.caSeptember 26, 2011 at 11:55 pm #15676
Assumeing in the tropics and no electrical heating and cooling, actual electrical needs could be very minimal, ie lighting and electronics.
1) minimal btus needed for heating water for showers from direct solar heat gain tubes stored in large hot water container.
2) cool seawater from 1000+ feet down could be used to cool living areas
3) energy could be derrived by the difference in the warmth of the sea level water and the coolness of seawater at depth
4) fresh water could be derrrived by the same ocean temp differences or a variant on option 1 to heat water and use the difference in sea level water and heated water to form condensation.
5) solar electrical panels (PV) for direct conversion of sunlight to usable electricity stored in lead acid battery systems, solar panel laminates are now as low as 50 cents per watt unframed, no kidding you can get 10kw of panels now for $5,000
6) wve energy could be simply used for mechanical pumping like a large lever action pump of seawater to create pressure or move seawater through a thermal system
7) wind energy could be harvested and stored in batteries
8) cool rich in nutrients seawater from deep could be pumped up and spread out at sealevel after extracting themal energy to feed enhance fish / shrimp cultivation
We have just solved, freshwater, hotwater, electrical and an enhanced feeding program for farm sea raised fish and shrimp
Anyone add more SIMPLE technology to the list that the common man can acquire and operate
Perhaps locate in the trash dead zone in the middle of the pacific, then currents ill not move you around muchSeptember 27, 2011 at 3:40 am #15677
Drew, regards your question “What I’m curious about is how much gross energy is needed in the hydrogen generation – current hydrogen generation methods use something like two barrels of oil worth of electricity to produce one barrel of oil worth of hydrogen… in this new method how much electricity is needed?”,
the answer is that the hydrogen extraction process discovered by the Penn State University team requires no external power source, the bacteria work on the organics independently after being charged electrically into motion once, producing hydrogen fuel at potentially unlimited amounts. Yes it is revolutionary and already works on laboratory conditions. You should read the article about the discovery, thought-provoking, all in all.
As for energy issues, as long as oil is the cost-efficient energy source, I don’t see any problem for a seastead using that (or other traditional energy sources such as coal) as a primary energy source. There could be central oil storage areas within a seasteading nation, as in any other country, to supply more oil as purchased for consumption into resident-units.
If the resident within a seasteading nation does not change locations constantly, I would expect the energy issues to be mostly like what you would have within a single family house, as designs for units to a seasteading nation, at least at first, may resemble their counterparts in dry land, so the energy consumption figures should be similar as well.
The real question then becomes, what type of work will the seasteading nation residents do, to afford the oil and the energy consumption?
I’m a big believer in free markets, and I believe that left to each to figure that out for themselves (and to entrepreneurs within a seastead), there will be a lot of economic activity going on at these seasteading start-ups to cover the costs, especially because I believe that most of the seasteading nations will have no taxes (of any kind, but you pay for the services you purchase).September 27, 2011 at 6:52 am #15679
Oh wait. You’re serious… Let me laugh even harder.
I’m not a troll… I’m you!September 27, 2011 at 7:28 am #15680
I don’t think energy storage is actually that big of a problem. From an infrastructure perspective its huge because you have to consider efficiency in order to price the service competitively. As a point of use consideration, while still a challenge it it certainly a manageable one to overcome.
Big infrastructure likes phase change of materials with a high specific heat like molten salt. For our purposes, electrolysis of water; pressure accumulators; and hydroelectric are all on the table.
Both hydro electric and pressure accumulators fall under the same category as far as Im concerned, be it pushing water up a hill, or pushing air bubbles under water.
High pressure electrolysis generates usable hydrogen which can be stored underwater at multiple atmospheres to achieve volumetric density. Simultaneously, breathable oxygen is generated which can be stored at depth to allow for submarine storm escapes.
Ocean thermal electric has poor Carnot efficiency which is further exacerbated by the energy consumption of the pumps used to circulate the water. Wind or wave powered pumps eliminate the mechanical to electrical conversion efficiency loss making the technology more likely to succeed, particularly when solar thermal collectors are exploited.
It’s my belief that underwater habitats producing high pressure hydrogen gas and using cryogenic rebreather technology could allow for both carbon sequestration and an economical form of energy production.September 28, 2011 at 7:26 am #15688
What about LNG? Does anyone have any experience with the geographic location of these deep water deposits and the process needed to refine it to a usable form? Is it just a matter of heating up sand from the deep ocean floor?
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