And a country that's already trillions of dollars in debt has to cough up
trillions more dollars to build the nukes and infrastructure. The money
comes up front, present generations benefit and future generations get
stuck with the bill. China already holds over 20% of US debt; if you stay
this course, the communists will own America.
I'm not pushing hydrogen. But the other guy brought it up. My point
was that there is no special relationship between hydrogen and nuclear
versus hydrogen and other ways of making electricity.
AIUI, fuel cells are practically essential for spacecraft, because the
byproducts are electricity and pure water. Solar cells are an
alternative, but it seems they don't use them everywhere if I recall
And in the city they are at least potentially useful because they
don't make noise and they don't pollute (the pollution is made at the
power plant, where perhaps it can be controlled better than at
individual gas or ethanol engines. I expect sure ethanol makes some
sort of pollution, no?)
And they are lighter than lead-acid batteries, or any rechargeable
batteries I think.
The point is the hydrogen is just an energy transport vehicle. So, if
not nuclear, then where do you propose to get the energy from? Import
more oil? Burn natural gas? Just use the oil or gas then and forget
the hydrogen. Hydroelectric? All the easy sites are done, and there
are serious environmental issues with any more sites. Nuclear is cost
effective and readily deployable. That's why it makes the most sense
as a source of energy to generate hydrogen.
(except that if cold fusion is ever developed, it will *use* hydrogen,
Sure you could burn coal, but how realistic is that? You've got lots
of people running around saying that global warming is gonna kill us
all. You think building more fossil fuel plants, especially coal
fired ones that not only generate CO2 but other difficult to deal with
pollutants, is a reasonable approach?
So, again, where is the energy going to come from for this pie in the
On 10 May 2006 11:00:09 -0700, email@example.com wrote:
For all the risks and costs of nuclear, it might be necessary if we're
going to keep using electricity at the rate we do. According to
Jeopardy, 20% of US electricity is made with nuclear now. (even though
no new plants have opened in decades. There are 3 within 90 or 120
minutes of Baltimore.)
My objection was to your tying hydrogen closely to nuclear. It has no
special relationship to nuclear.
(not counting hydrogen bombs and the possible possibilty of cold
fusion (that is, a hydrogen bomb that's not a bomb and generates heat
more slowly and at a lower temperature than a bomb.)
If you mean that you want to use nuclear and hydrogen is one way to
store the energy, I have no objection, but it didn't sound that way in
hte post that I answered
There are problems with every fuel. I'm not pushing coal (even though
it is plentiful and not radioactive), only saying it is as related to
hydrogen as is nuclear.
There is also coal slurry, which iirc solves some of the problems of
coal, but has difficulties of its own. I don't remember the details.
There is also low sulfur versus high sulfer coal. I thought
low-sulfur was pretty good, but I don't recall details.
Nor am I pushing hydrogen. It too has problems, mostly iiuc that you
can only put so much of it in a pressure tank on a car.
AHH, but studies of the emissions from coal plants show clearly that the
amount of radiation vented to the atmosphere from coal plants EXCEEDS
normal annual radiation released from a nuclear plant!!!!
There is a very low level of radioactivity in coal. When you burn ALOT
of it, the radiation gets released. Thorium and uranium are present in
very nearly MINE ABLE quantities in the ash that gets trapped in the
This link explains some of the hazards of coal fired plants.
In the 1950s I lived near a town that processed lots of wood into paper
and lumber products. Those processes needed LOTS of high pressure steam
heat. The plants were in a valley in the mountains of North Carolina.
Coal was the fuel of choice for these plants, HUGE piles of it were
lying around on the ground surrounding the boilers. The stink was
awful, you had to roll up the windows (no AC in cars those days), hold
your breath and close your eyes (eyes burned)
Course those plants did not have fly ash precipitators on them and all
coal power plants now have such, capturing over 99% of the ash before
reaching the atmosphere.
Do you realize where much of that waste coal ash winds up? It's in most of
the concrete that you buy today. A high percentage of concrete mix plants
(ready mix plants) substitute coal ash (fly ash) for the cement in the mix.
The amount of substitution varies anywhere from 15% to 25%, depending on
where you are located in the U.S. This replacement of cement in concrete
was pushed by the EPA and, for many industries, this substitution was
required years ago. So, your highways, basement walls, sidewalks,
driveways, etc. contain fly ash. The fly ash doesn't always provide any
benefit to the concrete, but if the industries that were mandated to use it
couldn't show that it specifically harmed the concrete in some way, they are
required to use it.
It's also allowed for use as a soil amendment used to change the compaction
characteristics of soil used for fill.
I can see where you would think I was directly linking them, because I
do believe nuclear makes the most sense for the energy source to
One key reason is because it preserves hydrogen's zero green house gas
emissions, which is one of the key points about hydrogen that it's
proponents always proclaim. The problem is that the hydrogen has to
come from somewhere and you need a lot of it. Currently most of it is
generated from natural gas, but that isn't a very viable solution,
because the supply of natural gas is also constrained and the price is
way up. If you go to coal, which is in abundance, then you have lots
of CO2 emissions, which there isn't any viable way to eliminate, as
well as other pollutants to deal with. So, if you want to generate
hydrogen as a fuel for cars, nuclear seems to me to be the most
The problem here that I think we agree on, is that there is no easy
solution and no free lunch. Which is why I get annoyed when I see
folks claiming all we need to do is use hydrogen, that it's plentiful
because it's contained in water, it's all not happening because of some
conspiracy, etc. Many do this out of ignorance, but some know better,
but just want to ignore it, because they have their own agenda.
GIGAWATT HOURS GENERATED, USA.
JANUARY, 2006 %
coal ---------- 168,997 51.96%
liquid petrol-- 4182 1.29%
petrol-coke---- 1876 0.58%
nat-gas ------- 41735 12.83%
nuclear ------- 71912 22.11%
hydro --------- 27084 8.33%
oth.renewable - 8355 2.57%
wood ---------- 3406 1.05%
waste --------- 2,063 0.63%
geothermal ---- 1255 0.39%
solar --------- 12 0.00%
wind ---------- 1619 0.50%
pumped-storage -(-536) (-0.16%)
Other --------- 287 0.09%
calc-total ---- 332,247
Reported Tot -- 325246 100.00%
This works out to an average of
(or, around 437,158,602 kilowatts,
For comparison, the solar power density
at earths orbital distance is around 1.4
kilowatts/meter.(1) So an orbiting solar
plant, in full sun, with 100% conversion
efficiency, only needs around 312 square
kilometers of solar collector.
About half of the available energy hitting
the top of the atmosphere makes it to the surface.
About half the time, any given part of the planet
is in darkness. Divide by 2 again to
account for dawn/evening, and the fact that
your solar plants aren't on the equator.
Optomistically, current technology allows for
around 20% conversion.
So 312 * 2 * 2 * 2 * 5 ~= 25,000 sq. km
is needed to replace the current electric
generating capacity of the US with solar.
That's certainly do-able. I mean, it's only
a chunk of land the size of Macedonia.
I'm pretty sure AOL has mailed out enough
CDs to make the reflectors..
(or maybe maryland. Can we pave maryland?
(1) Numbers from sources more than
about a decade old will be around 10%
less than this, the difference appears
to be an increase in solar energy output.
I read a lot of belittling- and pretty damned inaccurate- comments re
environmental concerns. I think these are very important, and I tend
to find the consensus of scientific opinion on global warming and
biodiversity, for example, more convincing than say, Michael Crichton
and Rush Limbaugh. As some have noted, all that oil was produced via
photosynthesis- the coal, too. Ought to give you some pause about
being too cavalier with the conditions that make this planet
biologically rich. We are living in an era of accelerating mass
extinction of species- this means nothing to you? No, it isn't
happening for some mysterious, indefineable reason- we're doing it.
Good point about Brazilian ethanol's actual and potential impact on the
Amazon. Renewable resources are renewable if used sustainably- wood
is not very renewable if we clearcut every forest on earth to produce
it- which is rather close to the current situation. Consider that
the clean air most of us breath, clean water we drink, would be a lot
dirtier if not for some of those who I hear being called crazies,
wackos and obstructionists- they were called that then, too.
This request- if you want to talk about crazy
environmentalists- at least cite some actual people/ organizations- I
certainly don't agree with all of them, all of the time- instead of
simply being a "theysayer."
"and I tend to find the consensus of scientific opinion on global warming"
While irresponsible conduct by man may contribute slightly to global
warming, a few million years ago, long before man started doing all these
supposedly irresponsible things or was even here, there was a glacier 50
miles from where I live in East/Central Illinois. What happened to it?
Global Warming. There is also constantly being found evidence of animal and
plant species that vanished long before man started burning gasoline, coal,
cutting trees, etc.
There have been commercials on TV lately by a Minister no less, saying we
can stop global warming. Phooey, it will take a force far greater than mere
man to do that, not to say we shouldn't do what we reasonably can to keep
from accelerating it.
Actually, for a mere couple of trillion dollars, we COULD stop global
warming. You just have to launch a giant mylar sunshade into
high-earth-orbit. SOmething like 2,000 miles square.
Ok, maybe closer to a few dozen trillion. Call it 50.
That's only around $7,000 per human.
Even better. Think of as a battery, being charged by a <something>.
There are more energy efficient ways of producing hydrogen than
electrolysis, but most have their own problems.
Back in the old days, it was done by reacting iron with sulphuric
acid. Which'd be economically and environmentally unpleasant in the
volumes we'd need. [I have a book from the 1900s that outlines exactly
how to make your own man-rated airship including how to make the
hydrogen too. By today's standards, really scary stuff.]
In the beginning of this century, naval ships carried tons of calcium hydride
that they could convert to hydrogen (for observation blimps/balloons) simply
by adding water.
But you have to produce the calcium hydride. It wouldn't be cheap.
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It\'s not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
On 10 May 2006 05:28:59 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
No, we do hear about that but it is referred to as fuel cell research.
I think we've been using it since the 60's in manned spacecraft to
make electricity, and it has advantages in space, but like the other
poster said, not in cars except for pollution issues. It transfers
pollution issues to the power plant
No. That's the other side of your statment below, that policitics is
dirty, is let's blame politics even when it has nothing to do with it.
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