Valence to supply marine battery systems
June 10, 2009 at 3:19 pm #6410
We set up a few huge barges with the sole intent of following the sun
You can’t follow the sun all the way around the planet. The point of using the SPS systems is that they are in GEO, so you always have them overhead.
And how would you store the energy on the barges? In batteries? Flywheels? Hydrogen? These all add conversion losses to the system. With the SPS you have 24/7 energy going right into the grid without the need for storage and the losses that adds.June 10, 2009 at 3:56 pm #6413
We’re on the ocean. All energy will have to be stored at some point.
As for following the sun, I just meant avoiding cloudy areas.
Still seems alot more realistic than energy beams. They sound like a dead-end technology IMO. The only major advantage seems to be that they’re geostationary.
– NickJune 10, 2009 at 5:18 pm #6419
All energy will have to be stored at some point.
Why? Whatever energy we generate with SPS systems will go right into the grid. I’m sure we will store energy at some point (for backup, sale, etc) but that is a secondary issue as long as the power source is continuous.
And that’s where SPS systems shine (pun intended). With wind power, PV systems, wave power, and other intermittent systems you will need a storage system for when the wind dies down, the sun goes down, or the waves slack off. With the SPS system it is always feeding nice, sweet energy into your seastead grid.
I just meant avoiding cloudy areas.
You can avoid all the clouds you want, but the sun will set eventually. Any system based on solar access (PV, thermal, etc) will need a massive storage system to handle the times when the sun is down. Clouds only account for a small percentage of the total downtime inherent in solar systems. I prefer conversion into hydrogen as a storage system myself.
“Energy beams” are do-able right now with off-the-shelf tech. All you need is the money to scale up. The U.S. has all the money it needs…it would rather give it to bankers and failed automotive executives.
The only major advantage seems to be that they’re geostationary.
That’s like saying the only major advantage cars have over horses is that they go faster.June 10, 2009 at 6:24 pm #6423
What grid is this you’re talking about? Some magical grid that connects all the Seasteads? Of course the energy will have to be stored. You don’t use the same level of energy 24/7. What about Steads on the move? They’ll need to carry batteries.
Of course the sun will set, but if you’ll have batteries anyway, which you always will, then why not use them?
Couple all that with the cost of launching a sattelite for every ground station on every colony and you’ve got enough major issues there to make the whole thing pointless.
We’d be better off designing a better battery, not that we’d need to with the miniscule losses that modern batteries have.
– NickJune 10, 2009 at 8:08 pm #6430
bounce the sunlight off these down to a solar thermal generator
The issue is one of safety. When you are using microwaves the beam intensity is very low, so you don’t have to worry about frying birds or people in planes. If you were trying to focus an intense beam of sunlight onto a thermal engine, the beam intensity would have to be enormous and you would have people going crazy about this “solar death ray” that could incinerate cities.
You could get away with using mirrors to focus a less-intense beam onto PV systems, or a big solar thermal farm. You would have the benefit of not having to track the sun with your mirrors or PV arrays. But this mirror system doesn’t work on cloudy days or in bad weather. The reason for using 2.45GHz microwaves (or actually anything under 10GHz) is that clouds and water vapor have no effect on the beam strength. The beam passes right through clouds like they weren’t there so you truly have energy 24/7 (minus a few hours a year due to the sun position during the solstice).
Lasers have this same limitation, which is why all real energy beaming work since the 60s has been focused on microwaves.
So what you are saying is that a person can be hit with a beam of microwaves with the same intensity as say, a hundred times normal sunlight, and don’t be affected?
If that is the case, what happens with the energy? It must go somewhere. Let’s say we aim such a beam at a city. Assuming the bulidings don’t melt and the beam doesn’t bounce back into space, where does the energy go? Through the earth?June 10, 2009 at 8:32 pm #6431
I have to weigh in on this: have any of you guys ever heard of a guy named Nicola Tesla? Another guy named Westinghouse financed him for a while until ‘ol Niki came clean and admitted that he wanted to ‘beam’ electricity out to people.
Westinghouse: “So Niki, how will we make money off of this if anyone can build a receiver and get ‘free’ electricity?”
Nicola Tesla: “Uh, well, I thought we were doing this for the good of man kind…”
Needless to say, Niki’s funding was cut off, his tower was torn down, he was labeled a ‘Crack Pot’ and eventually died broke and in obscurity in a cold water flat in New York city. Solar power satellites beaming free power to the world would be great but…June 10, 2009 at 9:51 pm #6437
Some magical grid that connects all the Seasteads?
No, the electric grid for the single seastead. The same electrical grid you would feed your wind farm, or PV array, into. One electric grid for the whole seastead. I plan on having a single seastead, anchored in place, with a dedicated power system. In the beginning this will be wind and solar thermal with hydrogen storage for off-hours and backup energy needs. Once I have a few billion dollars and space launch capability I will worry about SPS. You’ll notice I mentioned that this is the pinnacle of the tech…not something I plan on doing right away.
I do not envision a flotilla of boat-people-like seasteads all cobbled together, each with its own power systems. I envision a single, monolithic seastead with a dedicated power grid. This grid is fed by the best power supply available at the moment. For now it will be wind, wave, and solar thermal. Eventually it will be SPS.
You can have a single SPS send energy to multiple rectenna, so each colony could have a single rectenna being fed from a large SPS. Most likely you will have one SPS per rectenna.
beam of microwaves with the same intensity as say, a hundred times normal sunlight
That’s not what I said. Even at the exact center of the most intense beam currently designed you are only talking one-sixth what you would get on a very hot, sunny day. At the beam edge you are talking less than .1mW/cm^2 which is so insignificant it isn’t worth mentioning. Here is good read: permanent.com/p-sps-bm.htm
Solar power satellites beaming free power to the world
Never said that either. You are not bathing the entire world in microwave energy and letting people pick it up for free. You are beaming a very tight energy stream from a transmitter to a rectenna receiver on the ground. Come on people, this is no different from microwave transmissions used RIGHT NOW in the comm industry. Most designs even have the receiving station send up a pilot beam that the transmitter uses for station keeping so the transmitter cannot send the beam off willy-nilly.June 10, 2009 at 11:50 pm #6443i_is_j_smith wrote:
I do not envision a flotilla of boat-people-like seasteads all cobbled together, each with its own power systems.
Well tough, ‘cos that’s what’s going to happen. One of the most important concepts of Seasteading is the ability to pack up and move at any time. Maybe not most, but many people will spend alot of their time travelling and almost all will be travelling at some point. So everyone will have power systems on board. There may be a communal grid that you hook into when you arrive, but it will be fed by everyone’s personal systems.
– NickJune 11, 2009 at 3:16 am #6454
Do you know how complex an engineering task it is to take all the electricity from dozens of various systems, all generating it by different methods and probably using various voltages, and link it into one communal grid? I suggest that it is impossible. Not to mention who would build that communal grid and monitor it?
As I said in the other thread, I don’t think you will ever see these large communities of lashed-together boats. Simply because it hasn’t happened yet. People have been sailing recreationally for decades, and this has not happened. Meanwhile there have been several attempts at stationary, monolithic sea colonies. Almost all have failed, but more stationary seastead systems have succeeded than groups of boats lashed together.
And you can always “pack up and move” from any location whenever you want. Pastor_Jason is doing just that. He’s disillusioned with his current setup, and is up and moving and trying something new. There might eventually be dozens of monolithic, anchored seasteads, each with it’s own type of government and morality. You can choose to go wherever you want. It doesn’t take “dynamic geography” or hippie communes made out of rafts and sailboats to get that choice.June 11, 2009 at 3:00 pm #6461
The only reason we don’t currently have colonies of rafts is the lack of self-sustainability. Which is what I’m here to work towards. To get enough people living on the ocean so that these raft colonies will be a reality. And they will, just as wagons banded together in the new fronteir of America, and eventually became towns and cities. The only difference is that in a land city, you can’t take your building somewhere else.
I don’t think this will be settled for a long time. It may be that everyone wants to live your way, or my way, or a mixture of both. But right now, we’re both working toward the same goal, getting people on the ocean. In 20 years time, when Seasteading is a reality, we can look back and decide who was right.
– NickJune 11, 2009 at 3:59 pm #6469
lack of self-sustainability
Self-sustainability has several meanings. There are MANY people who already live for long periods at sea…sometimes weeks at a time. They have a measure of self-sustainability. Here is a great website for you: http://www.livingaboard.com/ It is all for people who just want to drop everything, buy a boat, and sail away.
It has been said before here that even massive, permanently anchored seasteads like the one I envision will not be “self-sustainable” for a long time. The infrastructure needed to manufacture electronics, complex chemicals, and smelt metal ore are WAY into the future for seasteads. We will have to buy or trade for our computers, TVs, guns, etc for a long time to come.
But a flotilla of boats and rafts doesn’t need that. It just needs food and water…both of which are possible RIGHT NOW with off-the-shelf equipment. Give each boat a water maker, some fishing poles, a small greenhouse, and a bunch of PV panels and you are done. So I don’t agree with you that a lack of sustainability is the reason why communes of boats drifting the seas haven’t appeared. It is because there is no need for it. If you need something you pull into a port somewhere. Why lash your boat to a floating mass of other boats?
wagons banded together in the new fronteir of America, and eventually became towns and cities.
You make my point for me. The wagon trains set off from somewhere with the hopes of starting fresh. They found land that they thought could sustain them and setup a permanent town. They didn’t wander around the country in their wagons like nomads. They claimed territory for themselves, worked it and defended it, and made something new. THAT is what seasteading is all about. Some of those towns dried up and vanished. Some grew into cities. I hope one day my little seastead will be a city on the sea. Only time will tell.June 11, 2009 at 4:01 pm #6471
And I hope one day everyone will be free to move communities on a moments notice.
We shall see…
– NickNovember 9, 2009 at 5:00 pm #8564
Caught this mention on Slashdot. Japan has been pioneering this research for decades…looks like they’re still on their game.
Everyone’s gonna be kicking themselves when Japan is getting gigawatts of clean energy from space and everyone else is fighting over the scraps of oil that are doled out by OPEC.December 7, 2009 at 5:28 pm #8842
Looks like California doesn’t want to be left out in the cold either…
200 megawatts in 6 years…not too shabby. I still think photovoltaics are a mistake but that’s the current trend.December 8, 2009 at 9:19 am #8848
Space based solar is patently ridiculous. First, geostationary satelites experience night just as much as we do on earth, second, a majority of solar radiation makes it to the surface, so its not like there are huge gains to be made. Then what is the big difference with a land based station? A few orders of magnitude higher cost is the first thing that springs to mind.
PV is great technology; if only it had an order of magnitude LOWER cost than it currently does. This idea is such a major leap in the wrong direction, it blows the mind. The only people who could rationally think this is a good idea, are people in the space industry. Good for them, that is.
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