Infrastructure open thread
May 21, 2008 at 11:10 am #2166
“it would probably be best to stay away from the incredibly dangerous biofuels just because it actually takes more gas to make biodisiesel than it does to just use gasoline.”
- What is so incredibly dangerous about biofuels? Neither ethanol or biodiesel are persistant in the environment.
- “takes more gas”: this is not entirely accurate. It depends on how you are making the biofuels, what inputs you use, what stage in the lifecycle you use, etc. Ethanol from corn is one of the worst ideas. But ethanol from sugar cane is quite economical in Brazil. Ethanol from seaweed or algae is at least possible, and is an otherwise unused (by humans) resource. The same for biodiesel. Biodiesel could have postive externalities as well, because the copra industry (for one) in the Pacific is not nearly as profitable as is used to be, and this could provide revitalized industry to more than Seasteaders. Particularly if a large ship could be re-fitted for processing of various biomass inputs to make the biofuels while enroute to gather more inputs, stopping to trade off finished product, and running on the biofuel it makes. Most Pacific islands are net recipients of aid, some places entire “economy” is international or US aid.
- Diesel engines were originally conceived of and designed to run on peanut oil.
- Biodiesel can also be mixed with petro-diesel (#2) in any ratio. Of course, regular diesel from petroleum is more toxic and persistent. You can also run most diesel engines on diesel mixed with recycled oil (in proper ratios) or automatic transmission fluid, as long as the recycled products are filtered for particulate matter. As in the thread I quote, I have a friend who is a diesel mechanic for Ford, and he filters all the ATF that they get from doing service jobs and runs it on his diesel truck.
- Diffuse energy is useless to specific purposes. There is a reason why petro-fuel is the most widely used: it has always been the most economical, readily available, an concentrated portable source of energy. It is fairly safe, handling methods and tools are well-developed, and lots of applications exist designed to use it. All that being said, some things really do change when you move away from terrestrial resources. I cannot imagine running a diesel generator on the moon.
“Winds can theoretically supply 6 ZJ of energy per year”
May 21, 2008 at 3:45 pm #2180
- I don’t know who said it first, but it’s true: “The difference between theory and practice, is much greater in practice than in theory.”
i am not sure where the incredibly dangerous came from because i was watching a show about some type of military deal so it is entirely possible that i wrote incredibly dangerous on accident. But in any case, i think that it would be best to stay away from biofuels mainly becaue of personal preference but also because on a seastead there would be minimal room on a seastead to grow the biofuels and so it would limit the amount of food that could be grown and it could affect what all a seastead is able to have on its roof.
As for my comments about solar energy, vtoldude, they are just an expressionof facts and the calculations for the enrgy equivalents of TNT and atomic weaponary are my own calculations and so they might not be entirely accurate but they give a good estimate of the potential energy available from the sun. Also, i am not hinting at covering te earth in 100% efficient photovoltac cells for a number of reasons but if we can inrease the efficiency of those cells as much as possible it would very benificial to any type of community which was in an enviroment that is sunlit as much as possible. as for the 100% effeciency deal and the theoretically, i know that no chemical reaction is 100% effecient and that theoretical yield is ALWAYS greater than the actual yield.May 21, 2008 at 4:46 pm #2186
May 3, 2009 at 8:16 pm #5822
- I figured you weren´t. Couldn´t help myself writing that, sorry.
- Solar cells are great, and I´m sure most seasteads will have some, if only as an emergency energy supply. The same goes for wind, although I´m not too fond of those big propellers. But there are big problem with both these energy production methods. They are unreliable, and they are expensive. Thus I believe most seasteads will rely on some sort of baseline power that doesn´t depend on the time of day or whether the wind blows to produce power.
- If you are willing to pay more for your power and not be able to depend on it, perhaps for political or philosophical reasons, then by all means go ahead. For me that´s too big a sacrifice though.
Maybe with serial production, they get cheaper and better. If they prove to be successful, maybe competing products and services emerge (you can rent these things, of course, no need to buy). We may have affordable (for a group of seasteads) nuclear power at sea within a decade or two.
P.S. I checked some Russian sources. The guardian mistranslated “servicing” for “re-fueling”. It is the re-fueling that needs to be done every 12-14 years, of course.
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