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Jackie Chan Discs Help Boost Solar Panel Efficiency

Firethorn Re:Mass produce! (183 comments)

37 year payoff is 'barely' not worth it? When the panel efficiency starts drooping somewhat at the 20 - 25 year mark?
A 250 Watt panel doesn't stay at 250 Watts - it drops over time.

They're still rated for something like 40 years for 70-80% production.

But I missed a rather large math error. At 10 cents a kwh, it's not $4.38/year, it's $43.80/year. That's what I get for not using a calculator for it. At that point it's only 5 years to break even, everything after that is pure profit.

2 hours ago
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Jackie Chan Discs Help Boost Solar Panel Efficiency

Firethorn Re:Mass produce! (183 comments)

I'm not sure what you're talking about. Right now you can get a 250W panel for around $200. You should be able to generate around 438kWh from it a year(20% capacity factor). Or around $4.38 worth of electricity, which is a 46 year straight payoff(not worth it). If you pay 20 cents like some people, it's only a 23 year payoff(worth it).

Massive screwup on my part - assuming 10cent electricity, it's actually $43.80 worth of electricty a year, which is a 5 year payoff, not including other equipment. Easily worth it.

3 hours ago
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Jackie Chan Discs Help Boost Solar Panel Efficiency

Firethorn Re:Mass produce! (183 comments)

Welp, that changes my figures almost completely. Back to remedial math for me...

3 hours ago
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Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

Firethorn Re:Deliberate (628 comments)

I am talking about getting rid of at least 90% of coal usage and at least 50% of natural gas worldwide and 50% of oil too (to start with). So its not just the electrical grid, you also need the heating solution and transportation. We need that to fix climate change.

Ah, a change of topic. I was restricting myself to the electric grid, as I specified. As for the rest of it, I don't know what you think you're arguing with me about seeing as how I agree with it.

yesterday
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Jackie Chan Discs Help Boost Solar Panel Efficiency

Firethorn Re:Mass produce! (183 comments)

I'm not sure what you're talking about. Right now you can get a 250W panel for around $200. You should be able to generate around 438kWh from it a year(20% capacity factor). Or around $4.38 worth of electricity, which is a 46 year straight payoff(not worth it). If you pay 20 cents like some people, it's only a 23 year payoff(worth it).

A 22% increase in efficiency makes that 250W panel into a 305W one. 534kWh/year, $5.34 - 37 year payoff, which is barely not worth it, but you're looking at not needing to be paying on the highest end of the scale anymore for it to be worth it.

yesterday
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WaveNET – the Floating, Flexible Wave Energy Generator

Firethorn Re:Niche energy (89 comments)

Who cares about efficiency? The only things that are relevant are: cost, space, amount of energy/power produced.

I'd say the guy performing the cost estimate, because efficiency at extraction is a key indicator to how much space you'll need to produce your target amount of power(or how much power your limited space can produce), which determines how much equipment you need to do it, which drives cost. That's without considering that if you need to purchase/lease/rent land or area rights there can be a cost there as well.

But as an executive deciding between different options, you're right.

2 days ago
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Jackie Chan Discs Help Boost Solar Panel Efficiency

Firethorn Re:Mass produce! (183 comments)

Electricity is fungible - IE most people don't care where it comes from, so any one kWh is equivalent to any other.

Consider if Biodiesel is $3.50 and fossil diesel is $3. You're going to sell vastly more diesel than biodiesel. Make Biodiesel 22% cheaper and it's now $2.73. The situation will reverse practically overnight. More realistically what will happen is that investments in BD would languish until diesel hit $3.50, then plants would be built right and left, pushing down the price of both, but as process improvements decrease the cost of BD and capacity is increased even as fossil oil becomes harder to extract, that more and more BD would be sold even as FD sales decrease. Eventually FD would occupy more or less the same position as BD now.

To put it another way - alternative energy is very cliff-like - you don't notice much change until you actually fall of the cliff, then change happens very quickly. We're relatively close to the cliff right now. Hawaii is holding onto the old production model by it's fingernails. It's possible that very soon daytime electricity will be cheaper there than nighttime.

2 days ago
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Voting Machines Malfunction: 5,000 Votes Not Counted In Kansas County

Firethorn Re:I always insist on paper for vote (119 comments)

To avoid the chads problem I think we should stick with the 'fill in the bubble' or 'finish this line' type optical scanning ballots. Easier to write what counts and what doesn't, as well as easy for verification/counting by hand if necessary.

It's less about absolute accuracy than it is about being auditable.

2 days ago
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Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

Firethorn Re:Deliberate (628 comments)

Except you can't much go beyond 25% solar+wind with current tech.

Why not? Also, keep in mind that I'm talking about shutting down every single fossil fuel power plant, though some would be converted to biomatter plants. That's a massive game changer right there.

The idea is that at 20% solar covers the daytime increase in power usage. It should be installed such that, normally speaking, it only covers 50% of daytime usage. 20% wind is within reach without massive grid modification. My peaking/windless generators are the hydro and biomass plants. I would encourage the use of thermal storage systems though - bigger water heaters that operate only when electricity is at it's cheapest(most plentiful).

As for transmitting electricity for thousands of miles, at least in the USA you wouldn't have to. You would just 'trade off' production towards the area having a shortfall.

2 days ago
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Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

Firethorn Re:Deliberate (628 comments)

I think you are ignoring the fact that many countries have lots of hydro, like Brazil (70-80% of our electricity is hydro). Many other countries have over 50% hydro. The US alone about just as much hydro as nuclear (around 15%). Canada is close to 2/3 hydro.

Well, yes, I keep forgetting to put 'for the USA' into my statement. It also averages out to the world. Specific countries have different ideal setups. Brazil and Canada can keep using it's hydro and neglect solar in favor of wind. Hawaii and other equatorial islands can go nearly all solar. Alaska would probably end up being more nuclear(as I understand it our hydro prospects aren't that great).

Finally, I'll say there's a reason I said 'roughly'.

But then there is this other argument that somehow big reservoir hydro is bad. It takes too much land.

There's a lot more wrong with hydro than just 'takes too much land'. There's lots of ecological issues, which is why the USA is considered pretty much maxed out on hydro. It' also not zero CO2, it's really low, but making all that concrete does produce it. Plus you eventually have to dredge the lake to get rid of sediment build up.

It produces methane, the same stuff natural gas is made of.

For some reason this irks me. It's the same chemical as the majority of natural gas, IE CH4. NG tends to be a bit dirtier depending on how well they've filtered/cleaned it.

The big Germany solar push is a really stupid idea compared to a big solar push in South/Central America / Africa / Portugal / Spain / Middle East.

Southern half of the USA for that matter.

But much like big pharma isn't interested in cheap medicine, biomass doesn't have the billions in costs (hence doesn't have high profits). Its not a matter of national pride.

I think you're glossing over a number of issues. There are real-world concerns with the growth, harvest, processing(moisture removal), and delivery of biomass to the plants. There are also serious pollution concerns when you do a lot of it. Mostly fine particulates and NOx compounds. You have a very interesting outlook if you think that 'high costs' = 'high profits'. You get the highest net profits from high-gross profits combined with low costs - IE cheap to produced, sold high. Electricity is normally a standard in fungible goods - if you can produce it a cheaper way, that's the way to make a profit.

2 days ago
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Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

Firethorn Re:Is Nuclear going to be acknowledged? (628 comments)

Huh, that made total sense when I wrote the post. What's captured? Costs. 'externalities' are costs that are not directly paid for by the company. Pollution is normally an externality because while it causes harm(which is a cost), it's imposed on others. Such as the population as a whole for air pollution, those downstream for water pollution, etc...

There's not a lot of external costs with nuclear power - the waste isn't going up the smokestack.

2 days ago
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Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

Firethorn Re:It boils down to energy storage costs (628 comments)

*sigh* --- I measure 'efficiency' by the amount of human effort it takes to run the machine. So, if the process can be automated and low maintenance....

What about the human effort required to make the machine? Or perhaps I'm expanding the scope of the machine you're looking at - beyond the storage system to also encompass the generation systems, because if you make the storage systems more efficient you need less generation, and on average that will indeed save you human effort if the extra efficiency isn't too expensive(in human labor and such).

2 days ago
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Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

Firethorn Re:Deliberate (628 comments)

Renewable biomass will expand (the largest portion of current non-Hydro renewables).
Geothermal will expand.
Wind will expand.
Solar will expand.

Geothermal is smaller than wind.

Actually no. My plan isn't calling for 1/4 of what yours is. Mine is looking at roughly a 3-4-fold increase across the board. What you're looking at is closer to a 500-fold increase for solar and 100-fold increase for wind.

Your target: 25%. Subtract the 7% hydro, because we both agree it's maxed: 18% remaining.
Per the EIA, in 2013 wind actually led behind hydro at 4.13%, not 2.08, and solar was at .23%, not .39%, so I'm curious where your numbers come from.
Biomass: 1.48
Geothermal: .41%
Solar: .23%
Wind: 4.13%
Actually adds up to 6%. To reach 18% we'd need to build 3x as much of 'all of the above'.
To reach my goal(60%), we'd need 10X as much. 10X/3=3.33. I should have said 1/3rd, not 1/4, sorry.
To reach my goal you 'only' need a 5 fold uptick on wind, not 100x, solar would be 100x, not 500x. I'm curious as to how you worked your math, because 100*2.08%= 208% of current generation, which means we'd be more than doubling our generation capability in wind alone.

Given that solar has had a relatively late start over wind, the fact is that it only needs another 4% of total generation over wind. That's a better way to look at it than goal percentage/current percentage = difficulty.

Biomass and geothermal would need around a 6X increase(they only need to hit ~12%). Of course, to outright state it again: There's a reason I said rough percentages. I'm not going to cry if the mix ends up being 50% nuclear, 15% wind, 10% solar, 25% 'other'. I also didn't state any real timeline, though 'sooner is better' should be implied.
source

2 days ago
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Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

Firethorn Re:Deliberate (628 comments)

A "natural park"? Really? Have you seen what the controlled area looks like?

Yes I have. Most of it's green. Like most northern areas if you take pictures at the right time you can get very dead looking terrain.

Let's see: Green grass, check, mold check, lichen check, green trees, check.

I whole heartedly disagree. A Chernobyl in Nebraska is a vastly worse case scenario.

That would be tough given that we pre-entomb our reactors in the USA.

These 60+ year old reactors have to be taken offline and replaced with modern technology.

Yeah, I've mentioned that a few times...

Pebble beds have been in operation since the 1980's and we still haven't made the jump.

I suggest you check your research. They've been testing/developing pebble bed reactors, but they've run into issues such that they're not replacements for rod type reactors yet.

Again, this is only >Human deaths. If you look at the full ecological impact that number is dramatically higher. As it is for coal and oil as well.

Where's the huge ecological impact for nuclear coming from? Like I said earlier, no argument from me about coal/oil. My point has always been not that nuclear is harmless, but that it's less harmful than the alternatives while still remaining affordable(minus political stuff).

I'd also love thorium-salt reactors. There's a reason why I mentioned 5 designs spread over 200 reactors - I want some experimentals in there that will hopefully become standard.

2 days ago
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Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

Firethorn Re:Is Nuclear going to be acknowledged? (628 comments)

It's not that there's no problems. It's just that if you do an honest assessment that includes externalities nuclear beats coal hand over fist. They're mostly captured with nuclear plants, not so with coal.

2 days ago
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Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

Firethorn Re:Deliberate (628 comments)

Crops, fisheries, radioactive contamination, the whole system would lead to massive collapse after a decade. Sure, hardly anyone would die from the immediate impact of the annual nuclear meltdown, but once we start ticking off the body count of the millions dying to radiation poisoning and starvation, we might want to reconsider that path.

1. The total death impact from Chernobyl is roughly 4k people. There's some high end estimates like 985k, but those seem to assume that humans are snorting all the radioactive material.
2. The exclusion zone is 1k km, 1 a year would add up to 1M 'off limits', most of it indistinguishable from a natural park. About 2% of our land mass, assuming we don't smarten up and keep plants on previously 'disallowed' areas.
3. 1 Chernobyl/year is an absolute worst case scenario. Even if we multiplied our nuclear power 100 fold we wouldn't have that disaster rate, especially as we transition past the legacy plants the US uses now.
4. Estimates range from 4k to 93k deaths from the accident and resulting radiation. Meanwhile the death toll from coal in the USA alone is 10k..., and 170k world wide.

2 days ago
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Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

Firethorn Re:Deliberate (628 comments)

Right now, solar power in the US accounts for 0.39% of ALL power generated by the country (or 3% of total renewable energy generation).
Right now, wind power in the US accounts for 2.08% of ALL power generated by the country (or about 16% of total renewable energy generation).

Electricity generation in the USA used to be zero. Lighting and such were done by flame type devices. There used to be zero automobiles, now there's more than 1 per adult in the country. Nuclear electrical generation used to be zero, now it's close to 20%.

Expecting a 500-fold uptake on solar and a 100-fold uptake on wind?

Sure, why not? Hawaii is a limited market and very much an ideal case for it, but look at how fast they're installing solar.

Your plan appears to call for approximately 1/4 the solar and wind mine does, how different is that really when you're complaining about the OOMs difference between my ideal and current production, when your ideal is less than an OOM different than mine?

Otherwise, you seem to like your .39% argument, as for your post from the last week. This comic works both ways. Sorry for taking so long to reply to it, by the way. Not sure how I missed it and I was busy that weekend.

2 days ago
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Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

Firethorn Re:here we go again (628 comments)

people start coming home and cranking up their A/C and other appliances you reach peak electric use after solar has started its collapse.

The AC is at least solvable. If we install so much solar that prices are cheaper during the day you can have systems set up to chill your house during the cheap period so you still come home to a comfortable house, and keeping it cool should be generally easy at night without too much power.

Government policies like forcing utilities to buy back home-installed solar at retail price just exacerbates the problem as it overemphasizes the economic case for solar

Outside of Hawaii they aren't even touching baseload during the day yet. So it's a very 'eventual', because right now solar tends to displace more expensive peaking plants.

But I agree - the electricity market would change drastically somewhere between 20-30% of electricity produced by solar. I'd actually say massive changes seen at 20% is likely - at that point you're producing enough electricity by solar to negate the average difference between daytime and nightime consumption, as daytime tends use ~50% more power than night. At least in the USA.

2 days ago
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Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

Firethorn Re:Nuclear (628 comments)

How about 6Mw? That's practically neighborhood level. It's also so small that it could be placed close enough to businesses to be able to do things like provide district heating with the waste heat.

France runs a number of nuclear plants in a lead-following mode. It can be done.

Still, I'd stop at about 40% of our power being produced by nuclear.

2 days ago
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Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

Firethorn Re:We need a *social* change (628 comments)

Imagine what would happen if there were fewer ad companies around pushing more stuff into our face attempting us to buy the product they were hired to promote.

2 days ago

Submissions

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Firethorn Firethorn writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Firethorn (177587) writes "From Decatur Daily
Shut down 22 years ago in 1985, the Tennessee Valley Authority has reactivated Unit 1 at Browns Ferry Nuclear plant in response to rising demand for electricity in North Alabama. It's the first reactor activated since 1996.

It's expected to produce 1,155 megawatts, power 650,000 homes, and employ an extra 100 workers at the plant.

Renovations cost $1.8 Billion, but they expect the payback to be done within 4-5 years, down from the 7-8 years estimated in 2002, mostly because of increased fuel costs for the alternatives."

Journals

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Firethorn Firethorn writes  |  more than 5 years ago

You know, I found a story on fark leading to a postive spin on Walmart. Of course, the thread had all sorts of entries on how bad/evil Walmart is. While I certainly don't agree with everything in the article, neither do I believe that Walmart is worse than the devil. It's of only average evilness for a large corporation.

One points brought up was the 'liveable wage'. While Walmart does indeed have one of the lower wage medians, it's a retail store. It's wages are in line with the other 'mart' stores, grocery stores, and their ilk. If anything, a lower median wage indicates that they aren't top heavy with too many managers. 90% of their workers are covered by health insurance - and not government plans.

Here in the USA we have a messed up view of what a 'liveable wage' is. It's part of why we've lost so much of our manufacturing - cheaper laber outside the USA.

I'd rather have them have a job that might not pay enough for them to get that 60" Plasma, own two cars, not to mention such 'essentials' as cable, high speed internet, a thousand+ computer, etc, than NO JOB.

Essentially, I feel that it'd be a better situation to have welfare set up so that people are always better off working than not working. They're also always better off working the better paid job than the lesser**. As part of that, I'd get rid of the minimum wage.

IE we declare the minimum living income to be X. Really bad standard of living, barely covers the basics. Everybody gets X.
Joe gets a job making Y. His welfare payments are adjusted such that he gets Y + (X-Y/3). I use a divisor of 3 because there are costs associated with working, and a /2 is a bit too quick. Let's say X is the Poverty line. We'll go with a family of 4. $21,200. Ouch. Still, let's say they get job/s earning $30k. They'd 'lose' 10k in benefits, still obtaining $11.2k in benies. They now have an effective income of $41.2k, which while not great, is better than sitting completely on welfare. Meanwhile the single guy would be looking at $10.4k, and that $30k job would leave him with $400 in benefits. He's still better off getting that pay raise, though. I'm firmly of the belief that somebody working and contributing is better than not working.

That would help with our outsourcing problem, while wages would drop, it would help make us competitive on the global workforce market again.

On another topic - U.S. homes lose $2 trillion in value in '08

Is this necessarily a bad thing? For a while there people were treating their homes as investments - well, a home IS an investment, but they were treating theirs like something they could buy then sell when their retired for enough money to retire on. Easy credit allowed people and speculators to buy far more home than they needed, or even could afford, putting a crunch on housing and raising prices to the point of unaffordability. Personally, I'd like to remain able to afford a decent home with a 30 year fixed, on no more than 30% of my income, not some fancy loan that I ultimately can't afford.

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Firethorn Firethorn writes  |  more than 9 years ago

What with the flooding, I feel that New Orleans should be renamed to 'New Venice'. I have many thoughts on this.

For one, it's just stupid to build a standard city below sea level, on the coast, especially in an area subject to hurricanes.

My idea, since the area's natural tendency is to be flooded anyways, we go along with it and build like in venice. It'd remain a tourist attraction, and would be far more resistant to hurricanes with proper construction. My idea is floating homes. Tie them in location with rails so they stay level. Give then around 3-4 meters of travel. You could reduce this by actually artificially raising the level of water, then when a hurricane comes, pump the water out to keep it level. It's hard to flood an artificially raised lake. You break a levy, the water level drops.

Then instead of levees, you build tide breakers, to moderate the tide and any breakers. Build 'sacrifice buildings' closest to the gulf, that can be used to break the tide even further. Then large buildings that won't float, but sit on a solid foundation, will use their first floors for nothing critical, and reinforce the ocean side to withstand the hurricanes, at least better. They're also to protect the homes behind.

Great tourist attraction, unique, pretty much floodproof.

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Why do people keep calling me a republican?

Firethorn Firethorn writes  |  more than 9 years ago

Disclaimer: This is intented to be a summery. There are all sorts of jinks and kinks in my beliefs. This is mearly a summery.

People keep calling me a republican on this board. If I am one, I must be an awfully strange one, seeing as how I'm pro choice, pro drug legalization, at least somewhat pro gay rights, and am an agnostic with atheist tendencies.

I believe in seperation of church and state, but I don't think that means that the state can supress people's freedom of religion. As in if a kid wants to read the bible or pray in school, they can (as long as it's not disruptive to class).

I think that school vouchers are a good idea. Private schools and parents have been doing more education with less than public schools for years.

I think that the government should run a balanced budget. I also think that the fairtax guys have a good idea, but that there are a number of kinks to work out.

The war on terror, war in Iraq? I think that we're taking the wrong direction at the airports. I think that all the violations of our rights are wrong. As for the war in Iraq, well, we're committed. We have to finish it, lest it turn into another Afghanistan. I can only hope the upcoming elections go reasonably well.

I am a strong supporter of the first amendment. I feel that if I'm not uncomfortable with at least some of what is being said, speech isn't free enough.

I am also a strong supporter of the second amendment. And yes, I believe that that covers machine guns. NBC weapons are a bit much even for me however. If it's not something that a single soldier can be expected to haul and use somewhat discriminatorily, it's not a personal arm.

I think that it's a major crime that the government can confiscate property without trial.

I think that our government spends too much money on various welfare and pork barrel projects. If we must have welfare, I think that people should have to work for it.

I'm a libertarion, not a republican.

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First Entry...

Firethorn Firethorn writes  |  more than 9 years ago

Well, I usually mess something up in my posts, so if something seems odd, it might just be.

I'm certainly not average.
I'm pro-choice... And Pro-Death penalty
I'm for a strong military...but I'd let gays join
I'm for closing the border...but I'd let legal immigration be easy.
I'm for legalizing drugs...And serious prison time for DUI's.
I consider myself for a clean enviroment...but I'd do this closing all hydrocarbon powerplants and replacing them with nuclear.
I'm a strict constitutionalist.
I believe that if we must engage in war, we should wage it offensivly. Under modern technology, offense is what wins battles.
I'd eliminate welfare and the minimum wage, replacing it with a 'work-fare' program, where you have to work at something for forty hours a week (even if only picking trash up from the side of the road). Benefits would be mostly concrete, not cash. You'd eat at a dining facility, live in a provided apartment, etc...

I certainly have other views, but this should cover most of the issues.

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