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'[OT]: Green power - was Lead poisoning'
2003\07\14@195812 by Jinx

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> > If its so "trivial" one would think there would be a good many more
> > solar  farms out there.  Same goes for wind farms.  People have
> > been working on these for a long time; why isn't there a more
> > reasonable return on investment yet if it can be done so easily?

NZ company Whisper Tech is now producing Stirling engines for
domestic power generation (apparently beating My Segway - Dean
Kamen). They've run household trials in the UK for some time and,
as happens with wind/solar, there is enough left over to feed back
into the national grid. Gas is a reasonably clean energy source and
could be got from rubbish dumps or bio-mass

Experiments are going on around NZ with wave/tide/wind power too

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2003\07\14@211649 by Robert Ussery

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----- Original Message -----
From: "Tony Nixon" <.....tony.nixonKILLspamspam@spam@ENG.MONASH.EDU.AU>


> Dal Wheeler wrote:
> > If its so "trivial" one would think there would be a good many more
solar
> > farms out there.  Same goes for wind farms.  People have been working on
> > these for a long time; why isn't there a more resonable return on
investment
> > yet if it can be done so easily?

Main problem w/ solar is that most solar cells (not the newest crop, but the
older ones) are extremely inefficient unless they are oriented perpendicular
to the sun (hard to do for a significant period, without motorized
orientation) and take an enormous amount of room to generate a relatively
insignificant amount of power. Their best application is for the individual
power consumer to use as roofing tiles and augment the power he buys. They
are also nearly worthless during the winter and in areas that don't receive
constant sunlight. In the U.S., AZ, NM, and NV are about the only places it
would probably be feasible. Because they aren't as reliable as nuclear, gas,
coal, or oil generators, the power company must supply some sort of backup
generation for those days when the sun don't shine.

Wind power is much more promising, in that a wind generator's capital
investment is recovered much more quickly than with solar, they are
relatively low maintenance, they work all year round in places like Wyoming.
There are three very successful wind farms where I live; one on the
Colorado-Wyoming border owned by Excel energy, another Excel station on I-80
in Wyoming, and one in Medicine Bow, Wy. owned by Platte River Power
Authority. These each provide many Megawatts of generating capability, and
nearly always are producing power. The main reason wind power is not
feasible are the whiner Greeny tree-huggers who say they wreck the scenery,
and think they kill whole populations of birds. I personally think they're
very pretty - those giant white wind turbines going whomp, whomp, whomp -
and the newer large ones kill very few birds because they are so large and
turn so slowly, even in very high winds. Anyway, serves the darn birds
right! Improves the gene pool :O)

> I've just been hearing about an Aussie invention that claims to be able
> to harness 'wind' for power generation.
> The idea is to have a somewhat large diameter pipe with a turbine in it.
> The pipe is long enough so that when erected into a vertical position,
> the temperature difference between the top and bottom causes an airflow
> up the pipe. This turns the turbine and produces power.

Actually the idea is to have a giant (several km^2) greenhouse underneath,
with a 1000' or so tall stack on top. The hot air generated in the
greenhouse rises up the stack and turns a bunch of turbines to generate
electricity. Plus, you can have all-year round food production inside the
greenhouses. This is actually a very neat, very promising technology, if the
whiner Greenies don't get in the way (Ooohh! ooh! you're glassing in huge
areas of wild-life preserves! Waaaahhhhh!!! And that giant stack with all
those horrible strobe lights on it. Waaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!) This could
generate huge amounts of electricity, as you could easily have that air
moving at >50 knots up the stack (even natural thermal currents in the
atmosphere often move at 20 knots...channel the hot air from the greenhouse,
and you can get fantastic speeds), and could have a bunch of generators in
line to extract maximum energy from the rising air.
Plus, this technology is very exciting to me as a soaring pilot... 20+ knot
thermals with a nice 1000' marker post! way cool! 2000km cross-country, here
I come! :O)

- Robert

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2003\07\14@213554 by Jinx

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> Actually the idea is to have a giant (several km^2) greenhouse
> underneath, with a 1000' or so tall stack on top. The hot air
> generated in the greenhouse rises up the stack and turns a bunch
> of turbines to generate electricity.

Proposed 1000m stack in Mildura, Victoria, Australia

http://www.enviromission.com.au/index1.htm

5km diameter plastic canopy, 35degC temperature differential
between bottom and top of stack causing 15m/s airflow through
the turbines

An article in Silicon Chip 7/2002 says that a pilot scheme with a
195m stack and 240m diameter greenhouse in Manzanares, Spain
ran for 7 years from 1982-89 producing 50kW of power

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2003\07\14@215941 by Robert Ussery

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----- Original Message -----
From: "Jinx" <EraseMEjoecolquittspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTCLEAR.NET.NZ>

> Proposed 1000m stack in Mildura, Victoria, Australia

Yowee!!! 3200' stack???!!!! Won't the Greenies love that! (Waaaaaaaaahhhhhh!
it's obstructing our view!!! Call the Waaaaaaaaaaahhhhhmbulance [with
apologies to The Kid]!!!!!) Sounds really cool!

> 5km diameter plastic canopy, 35degC temperature differential
> between bottom and top of stack causing 15m/s airflow through
> the turbines

That's 30+ mph! Lots of energy there! Any predictions as to how much energy
they'll be able to actually extract from that? I bet it's a lot!

> An article in Silicon Chip 7/2002 says that a pilot scheme with a
> 195m stack and 240m diameter greenhouse in Manzanares, Spain
> ran for 7 years from 1982-89 producing 50kW of power

Not bad for pretty reliable free energy! I think these would have a huge
advantage over photovoltaic cells because you can still generate
considerable energy on even a cloudy day, since they rely on temp
differences rather than on absolute energy input.

- Robert

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2003\07\15@044833 by Alan B. Pearce
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>Main problem w/ solar is that most solar cells (not the newest crop, but
the
>older ones) are extremely inefficient unless they are oriented
perpendicular
>to the sun (hard to do for a significant period, without motorized
>orientation) and take an enormous amount of room to generate a relatively
>insignificant amount of power. Their best application is for the individual
>power consumer to use as roofing tiles and augment the power he buys. They
>are also nearly worthless during the winter and in areas that don't receive
>constant sunlight. In the U.S., AZ, NM, and NV are about the only places it
>would probably be feasible. Because they aren't as reliable as nuclear,
gas,
>coal, or oil generators, the power company must supply some sort of backup
>generation for those days when the sun don't shine.

I suggest you get a subscription to Home Power magazine and update yourself.
The examples in there have people in the snowy northern states self
sufficient with solar cells and battery banks.

http://www.homepower.com/

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