Space Power

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http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30198977 / [ PG&E makes deal for space solar power Utility to buy orbit-generated electricity from Solaren in 2016, at no risk
California's biggest energy utility announced a deal Monday to purchase 200 megawatts of electricity from a startup company that plans to beam the power down to Earth from outer space, beginning in 2016. .... Solaren would generate the power using solar panels in Earth orbit and convert it to radio-frequency transmissions that would be beamed down to a receiving station in Fresno, PG&E said. .... PG&E is pledging to buy the power at an agreed-upon rate, comparable to the rate specified in other agreements for renewable-energy purchases, company spokesman Jonathan Marshall said. .... ... Spirnak said Solaren's system would be "competitive both in terms of performance and cost with other sources of baseload power generation." .... He said the agreement called for 800 gigawatt-hours of electricity to be provided during the first year of operation, and 1,700 gigawatt-hours for subsequent years. The larger figure is roughly equal to the annual consumption of 250,000 average homes. .... ]
See http://www.next100.com/2009/04/space-solar-power-the-next-fro.php
--
Cliff

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Apparently somebody on the Pacific coast has lost their mind, and the customers and stockholders will suffer, no power for customers, no dividends for stockholders.
NASA could not accomplish that if the entire NASA budget was dedicated to that one project, and a start-up company has big ideas, by apparently a good line of BS to get a power company to even listen.
How will they reduce power quick enough to avoid blowing up equipment with the communication delay?
What will the power company do with that much power at night, there is a surplus of power at night now.
Never mind, it will never get to orbit, NASA has trouble just ejecting the wind shroud.
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You did't read the article, eh? PGE pays only for the power produced. No power, no payments.

Aparently you don't understand how it will work or its economics.
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On Wed, 15 Apr 2009 11:36:26 +0000 (UTC), snipped-for-privacy@spamblock.panix.com wrote:

I read enough, if a company signs a contract, they need to have funding in place, and that can disrupt funding an optional source.

I understand it very well, you will probably see a follow up where I wrote that 200 megawatts is power equivalent to 4 large jet engines (240,000 HP x 746 watts), so that the company planning on building the power station could generate the same power at a cost of about 800 million dollars or less for the equipment.
And the gas turbines would only need to run during peak periods, and only part of the year.
The Air Force and others have tested jet engines on 50 percent biofuel, and will probably test with 100 percent biofuel in warm climates.
Biofuels are carbon neutral, so nothing is to be gained by space power, even at a cost of 40 or 50 times what the power can be generated for on Earth.
Also, space power would be at high risk in war time, always at risk of asteroid encounters, and is even a high risk venture, the largest experiment with transmitted power was recently at low megawatt power and only a few miles distance with a little more than half power received of that transmitted.
Transmitted power is in its infancy, large space structures have never been built, and there are many other problems that the dreamers do not think of.
I have been a science fiction fan since 1938, and the idea still does not make sense, economically or operationally.
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How lucky then that this is to be baseload capacity.
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It isn't going to happen, 200 megawatts is such a small amount of power, 100 years of full capacity would not pay for launch costs.
Many power companies sell to big commercial users at close to two cents a kilowatt hour, while California has had to pay over 30 cents during peak periods.
The average big bomber radial engine in WWII was more than 2,000 horsepower, that is about 1.5 megawatts.
Only insane people would consider space power when the relative power numbers are understood. I responded to an engineer working on airliner design for fuel cell propulsion technology, 2 megawatts sounded like a lot to him, but 2 megawatts is not enough to get a modern airliner off the ground.
Convert all power numbers to horsepower and reality sets in, be thankful there is the nuclear option, and that at least some hydro is available.
If the nuts close any coal plants, there will be a lot of people either freezing or sweating.
Maybe bed warmers will become popular again.
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100 * 365 * 24 * 200 000 * .07 dollars per KWh = US$ 12,264,000,000 Over 12 billion dollars.

WHERE? AFAIK Only surplus nightime hydropower to Aluminum firms, if even that. Who has that surplus these days?

Praise Enron & bushco.

So what?

Fuel cost is a bitch.

I like (some of) the cute ones.
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Try it for 10 years, then try to find a suitable launch vehicle.

http://www.bloomberg.com/markets/commodities/energyprices.html
I hesitate to say, but scroll down to electric rates, would converting from megawatt hours to KWH mean moving the decimal point 3 places?

Most homes can get by with very little power, it is summer peak daytime and evening that seems to be the problem, so it is peak power that is needed, all power companies have base load capacity.

So is interest on investment.

Chances are the capacity will catch up to the slowing demand, it may depend a lot on how many go back to Mexico because of job shortages.
I wouldn't doubt but that the power company doesn't even think the power will ever be delivered they may be just doing public interest or looking good to the AGW nuts.
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Power from gas turbines is only used for critical peak loads. It's too expensive.
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Maybe not, there is conflicting language.
"A cogeneration configuration can be over 90% efficient."
"A typical large simple cycle gas turbine may produce 100 to 300 megawatts of power and have 35–40% thermal efficiency. The most efficient turbines have reached 46% efficiency.[7]"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gas_turbine
Note the word "simple". These machines can be built in one year or less and can be started much faster than steam boilers of any kind. Good planning should include a mix of cogeneration machines.
Peak generation is needed, and this is the lowest cost way to buy it or use.
If space power is ever implemented, fine, but don't count on it, the capacity would take so long to manufacture and launch, any existing fossil plants will live out ther design life.
(except maybe for the old dogs in New York that are the least efficient).
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Max efficiency = 1 - (temp output/temp input). Temp in absolute. http://galileo.phys.virginia.edu/classes/152.mf1i.spring02/CarnotEngine.htm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_efficiency "Carnot's theorem only applies to heat engines"
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That does not discuss "cogeneration" which makes the gas turbine power plant far more efficient.
Actually, with a cascade of boilers, turbines and condensor units, very high efficiency can be reached, they just don't do it on large plants.
A high school auto repair class connected a car engine to a generator and a heat pump and delivered _better_ than 100 percent energy to a house.
That would work good if the same amount of heat and electricity was needed year around.
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Bullshit. You just lost all credibility.
What did they do, capture 110% of the waste heat from the engine?
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On Fri, 8 May 2009 14:59:58 +0000 (UTC), snipped-for-privacy@spamblock.panix.com wrote:

No, I should find the article, they probably got about 20 percent from the driveshaft, and 85 percent from the waste heat, does it matter, the object until alternate energy is available is to get the most energy possible from fuel used.
I'm glad you objected, I found this very interesting page;
http://hpac.com/mag/regenerative_dual_duct/index3.html
I wonder what is going on, are high schools more advanced than colleges?
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=high+school+energy+100+percent&aq=f&oq http://www.neep.org/HPSE/index.php
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And you think it is possible to get 110% of the energy from the fuel used?
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On Sat, 9 May 2009 14:50:05 +0000 (UTC), snipped-for-privacy@spamblock.panix.com wrote:

If I can find the original article from Popular Mechanics, I will post the url.
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All of the energy from the fuel ends up as heat. Some of the energy is also used to pump some heat from point A to point B as part of the process *in addition to the heat from the fuel* which is still released in the end. No free lunch.
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With a modern high efficiency furnace, the efficiency is probably in the 90+ range, so that is one the things to compare it with. I have gas space heaters and a gas kitchen range that I only use during power outages, the gas range may be 90+ percent, but it takes a lot of oxygen and makes fumes, but the gas stoves require changing the air 5 or 6 times an hour and are less than 70 percent efficient.
I thought the high school project was excellent for teaching innovative ways to get as much useful energy as possible from the fuel.
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You are using two different meanings of "efficiency" in different contexts. If nothing gets vented a gas space heater would be 100% "effecient" (as would a light bulb) .... at ending up with heat.

It just caused you confusion IMHO,
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"Efficiency" is the useful enery over the consumed energy in actual practice, there is only one context for the energy used.

Well, they use a different term for heat pumps for that reason, which should be made more widely known, many people think heat pumps are no good, when they actually may be the only way that enough space heat can be used or afforded in the future outside the sun belt.
There is no way any gas stove or light bulb can give more than 100 percent, but the heat pumps and the high school arrangement do.

No, you are fixated on a theoretical concept, and I find that restricting.
A scientist or engineer that allows himself to be closed minded to a concept of "anything is possible" may deny himself the pleasure of new discoveries.
In 1975 how many aerospace engineers believed that an all aspect fighter jet could be made almost impossible to track on radar?
How many now think that space propulsion requires ejection of mass in the opposite direction.
How many economists think that the government must either tax, borrow, or print every dollar it spends.
These types of things need to be discussed with an open mind.
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