Small Mass-Produced Uranium Hydride Nuclear Reactor expected to ship in 2013
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October 4, 2008 at 12:38 pm #710
70MW thermal and 25MW electric power output possible (with added power generation equipment). Price below $100 million. And supposedly “walk away safe”.
Still somewhat big and expensive for anything but a very large residential seastead (this one is expected to supply 20000 “american” homes), but things are improving and I´m sure there will be devices with a tenth of the power and price of this not very long from now.
And for anyone planning industrial operations on the high seas this might be economical as is. Industries needs lots of power.
Would it be practical to distribute power across a community of seasteads if you hade something like this? Power cables in the air or in the water?October 24, 2008 at 3:41 pm #4041
I’ve still not gotten a good sense of how people imagine a community living in a sea-city (sity). It seems as though the plan is to have individual homes bobbing around in a few hundred meter zone, with common areas being barges floating amongst them. Transportation would be in dingy. When I first heard about this project I imagined something like a floating home pier where everybody is connected by some kind of dock that would be foot-navigable.
If there are docks, it would be pretty easy to put conduit and junctions to create a customizable grid wherever the dock went. Metering the power consumption in such an arrangement may be tricky, but I’m sure someone could work that part out.
On the other hand, if these things are just floating around, that creates all kinds of problems. Cord would almost certainly not suffice, you’d want to run hard conduit between the spars. The conduit would have to be marked with buoys to keep boats from striking it. Now you have to make sure the spars don’t move around much relative to each other…
However, there is another possibility; most designs I’ve seen call for wind or solar power generation, which means there will be battery storage on board. I might be a good idea to have a service ship which can bring a fresh bank of batteries and swap out the old ones.October 24, 2008 at 7:55 pm #4043
I guess there will be different types of layouts for communities. One potential way to get power across the water between free-floating structures could be a cable that hangs rather straight down from the seastead. This would allow for some movement between platforms as well as get the cable away from the surface.
Here:s the Sketchup model if anyone wants to “expand” on this concept (it´s a very simple model though): http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse/details?mid=ca2162a15c1871c5cc458ddb148d9377
I guess you´d need some coupling that swivels as well as breaks away if the seastead were to drift too far apart.
Metering on the client side is pretty common in the power industry I believe. Just use a sealed meter. And you can read it from remote, over some wireless protocol.
Good idea with the common area (town square?) on a barge. This could increase the city area quite cheaply without any significant risk of losing valuable things to a storm.
Moving batteries around… Intriguing idea, but I really cannot imagine this being practical. Batteries are extremely heavy for let´s face it, not that much stored power. I guess exactly how much battery hauling you´d have to do can be calculated quite easily though.
How about wireless energy transmission? Microwaves? Laser? I think there has been experimentation with this, but not any production use as far as I know.October 25, 2008 at 3:27 am #4045
Early on I think we will see everyone making their own power, and I think it will be solar but some here argue for diesel.
I think I will need about 2,000 watts for my thrusters and 2,000 watts for living (mostly air conditioning). So about 4,000 watts. Given that the sun is not straight above, or up at all some of the time, I think I need around 16,000 watts of panels. At $4/watt this is about $64,000 worth of solar panels. Now we need some way to store the energy. I keep wondering about using the flotation for compressed air energy storage (like the balls in the WaterWalker). But I may end up spending a bunch of money on batteries. This bothers me because batteries just don’t last that well (particularly compared to solar panels).
I think a seastead that my family could enjoy is going to be in the $1 mil range (I can imagine cheaper seasteads, just not ones that I can talk wife into moving onto). So I think solar, electricity, power, energy, whatever, won’t be that big a problem.
I have yet to measure the force needed to move my models, so that thruster power estimate is subject to future modification. The thrust scaling for a 1/25 scale model is a factor of 25^3 or 15,625. The 2,000 watts can get me about 500 lbs of thrust, so for the scale model I would have about 1/3 lb thrust to get it going 1/5th of a MPH to simulate a full scale prototype at 1 mph (speed scales by 5 for 1/25 models). I have pushed the models around and so have some feel for what is needed to move them. I am very sure this is much more thrust than needed to get my catamaran model going that fast. Pretty sure this is more than enough for the waterwalker, ball house, and tension circle, but really need to do some force/speed tests. Will do after my Casio EX-FH20 gets here (mid November).
http://wiki.seasteading.org/index.php/ThrustersOctober 25, 2008 at 6:11 am #4046
The Firefly Lead-Acid batteries may last much longer than regular Lead Acid. The difference is Carbon foam electrodes with very large surface area. The cycle life looks much longer than Lead Acid:
And they’re in production. The Firefly materials are fully recycleable, which like conventional Lead-Acid is environmentally friendly for that reason.October 25, 2008 at 11:26 am #4048
They say at 100% discharge it is good for 700 cycles and 80% discharge it is good for 800 cycles. If we use this for solar power on a day/night cycle this is around 2 years. I don’t want to have to buy batteries every 2 years. Just seems wrong.October 26, 2008 at 11:51 am #4052
How about making your own battery? Divide the bottom floor of your structure into cells, fill with battery acid and drop in some lead and whatever is needed. I bet you could get some very cost efficient energy storage this way. You´d need to service it form time to time, and refresh the fluids of course but it would probably be simpler than exchanging hundreds of whole batteries for brand new ones.October 26, 2008 at 11:52 am #4051
Posted in wrong place – deletedOctober 26, 2008 at 1:56 pm #4054
>How about making your own battery?
I will have kids onboard and you want me making batteries of my own design with lead and sulfuric acid? If an acid leak eats a hole in my seastead it could ruin my whole day. If the fumes fill the living area it would be very bad. I am not generally thought of as risk adverse, but we need to look at the risk/reward ratio here. If I buy 100 batteries at $100 each every two years that is $10,000 or $5,000/year. These are probably mass produced in China. My time is valuable to me (and sometimes others). If I factor in my time, I doubt very much I can save anything. Even not counting my time I may not be able to save since things won’t be mass produced or as optimized/engineers/tested/safe. But say I could save $1,000/year. Not worth the trouble and risk to me.
Batteries probably do need to be in a place where fumes will not go into the living area, even for commercial batteries.
In general I don’t think “making my own” would help, except maybe for the actual seastead structure. But even there I really expect to use experts to check over the final design and build it.October 26, 2008 at 6:26 pm #4055
Clearly you will need to ventilate the battery compartment in a safe fashion as well as seal it off from living quarters. This goes without saying. You could omit all the doors and openings between these areas and access the battery space from an external ladder on the outside of the seastead, making the intrusion of gases in the living quarters virtually impossible. Perhaps you could even put the batteries on an external barge floating some distance away from the seastead. Anyway, these are probably solvable issues.
I agree that making your own stuff rarely makes economical sense. My thought was that having one huge battery that you continually service whenever needed (refreshing with acid, exchanging a couple of electrodes now and then) would cut down on the heavy lifting and possibly shipping needed to exchange several discrete sealed battery units, as well as the number of operations one needs to perform.
I am no huge fan of using batteries at all, but if one must, due to the use of intermittent power generation, then perhaps this is worth evaluating. Or perhaps batteries are cheap enough and the work and cost of exchanging them isn´t taxing enough that developing proprietary solutions is warranted.
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