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I am not sure if there is a thread about this so I created a thread since it is a topic which is in the interest of everyone. Just discuss anything about green energies from whether something is actually green to what could be a potential green solution.
Over the years I have become increasingly disillusioned with supposedly green energies or techniques for the most part. After reading a bit I get the impression we are no closer now to actual green energy supplies to 10, 20 or even 100 years ago. I'll go over my reasons one by one.
Lets take a look first at solar energy. Once you have the panel you get a not so efficient but clean energy source but what does making the panel involve? From what I understand making the panels requires a great deal of chemical contamination. You don't get any CO2 but in turn you get a somewhat considerable amount of other waste which could be hard to dispose of. Imagine the waste using panels for something like a city would generate. Is this extra chemical waste worth not having the emissions? Or if we are going to have a great deal of toxic waste wouldn't be better off with nuclear plants anyways?
How about wind energy? Not exceptionally efficient and from what I understand we would need specially windy areas and large amounts of windmills. Sometime ago I found out those windmills actually kill a huge number of birds everyday which I assume can't be good for ecosystems (assuming we care about that if we already have covered thousands of acres with windmills).
How about hydrogen? Using hydrogen as fuel seems extremely promising as the combustion of hydrogen yields water and as fuel it is very efficient. The main issue is whether we have a steady supply hydrogen. Some people argue we can get hydrogen from water but there is a big flaw with that argument. If we use hydrogen then we are basically making it explode in a reaction with oxygen to release energy. That results in good old fashion H2O. Now, what would we have to do get the hydrogen out of the water to use it again as fuel? Easy enough, we have to give energy to the water so that it would be separated from the oxygen. And how much energy would we need to separate it? As we all know from our high school chemistry and physic classes, in chemical reactions and systems energy cannot be created nor destroyed. More importantly, this is not a closed system so the amount of energy required to separate hydrogen and oxygen would be at the very least equal and in fact greater than the amount of energy released when we burn hydrogen. In that sense, using hydrogen from water is basically a waste of energy and would result in further pollution depending on where exactly the extra energy for the reaction came from. That leaves the question, is there a stable source of hydrogen we could eventually rely on so as to replace oil? I don't think we have such a thing on earth....
What else is there.... I actually like hydraulic dams but of course as with everything else there are issues. The first one is that there are not many places left where you can build such dams. Last I heard there were less than 20 left. Then there are the ecological issues of completely changing the landscape of a place but given how clean the whole thing is overall I think it is worth it.
The last thing I was going to comment on, which I thought was hilarious when I found out, are hybrid cars. Biggest sham I every heard off lol. The first big issue this is that they require more parts in order to be made than regular cars. In that sense, more energy is require to make a hybrid car than a regular car. First little detail to reduce the ecologic value of such a car. The second issue and perhaps the more significant one is that hybrid cars run on no less than 6 batteries. We all should know batteries, specially car batteries, contain a number of chemicals which pollute like crazy and are very hard to dispose off. Making a car battery is from my understanding a very pollutant process too. On top of it there are plenty of studies that show that the money you save on gas does not even come close to the extra money you spend on buying a hybrid car even with gas as expensive as it is now. It takes around 8 years or perhaps even more to actually start saving money. In conclusion a hybrid car will result in you actually causing MORE pollution and you even spend MORE money. It's like pollution with a regular car is not enough.
So what do you all think? Did I get my science or facts wrong(please, correct me if I am wrong)? Are there any new potential viable methods? Is there a shred of a chance a viable method is actually being developed and we are any closer to clean (or at least cleaner) energy sources than we were a century ago? It just does not feel as if real progress has been made at all.....
First of all, please let me correct a little bit: windmills do not kill masses of birds every day. While there might be incidents where birds as well as bats were killed, especially in the first time after putting a windmill in place. However birds get used to it with time I think and it's a typical knockout argument imo.
Maybe it's american to "think big" but imagine this for a moment:
there is a town a little away from everything else and they need energy - should they be connected to a big energy grid which requires transmission lines? or would it be better to put up some windmills to have energy near.
That's a very basic question and not only applies to windmills, although the connection to the grid would be better in any case indeed.
However there are also other renewable enrgy possibilities not with the big wind mills, but stuff like small vertical axis wind turbines that could be placed on rooftops as well as parking lots for example. Same for hydroelectricity: it's not the big dams like three gorges or hoover that will provide energy most likely, but small (again) turbines anchored at the shores - and even save for any fish living there.
Lastly there's also energy and fuel produced in a renewable fashion: energy literally with shit and thus available in any agricultural society with a high enough output (without using food there!) and fuel through algae (again without using food).
Granted most of the energies are still in a rather low development state, but living in a country that went from roughly 3% to about 20 % of renewable energy in use as opposed to CO2 producing powerplants as well as nuclear ones doesn't make me think there's o development. It's too slow without doubts and more is possible, but it's already started
First and foremost I am not from the USA. I was neither born nor raised there. I admit I am a student there though.
The thing about the two sounds pretty and everything but it sounds ultimately inconsequential at best. I don't have the numbers but most likely if every small town on earth started using green energy alternatives in the way you suggest while the rest of the world remains the same then probably pollution won't be reduced by even 1%. Of course, I don't have the numbers so it is a bit of an assumption on my part but considering extremely large amounts of pollution come from very few countries or places I think it should mostly reflect the reality of the situation.
As for small turbines, I am not too sure about those.... For one thing, the large ones are already outputting rather small amounts of energy aren't they? How many little windmills would you need for a normal house(what really complicates the question is that the idea of a normal house between countries varies)? What about the amount of small turbines you would need to put on a seashore? Small turbines would probably yield small amounts of energy so you probably would need a large amount of them. Winds are rather unpredictable so what is going to keep the stuff in my fridge from going bad on a non windy day? If I lived in Chicago then I could probably even sell energy to my neighbors but what if the place I am at is not as windy? There are other methods which involve using sea currents in a rather large scale which result in virtually no pollution but in turn they result in severe damage for the area ecosystem (virtually destroying the area) which is why they are not implemented in the few locations where they would be viable.
The idea of using feces to get fuel is actually good except that it is still not a solution. It would result merely in a reduction of the use of fossil fuels at best. I read about it but it would seem even with all the shit in the world we would still be far from a significant difference. We would need a decent number of alternatives with the same result to finally actually solve the problem.
I actually liked geothermal plants but those do come with the issue of there simply not being enough places to build them unfortunately. It simply seems like the solutions available right now are simply small patches. How long will it be until the collectiveness of small patches actually builds up to something significant? According to experts earth population is expected to grown and peak at 11 billion people (or so I read in one of my textbooks at least) so it would seem we will need a few hundred years until the patches accumulate....
The small turbines wouldn't be put on the shore, those are exclusively for use in populated areas like cities (rooftops as I said). For seashores the big ones are fine.
Maybe I wrote it a little confusing, I'm not against the big ones being used. I just wanted to illustrate that there is further development and that mounting one such thing on every house, much like Photovoltaics are already almost-standard for new built houses here, that it then would very much lessen the need for power plants burning coal.
In a similar way, there are thoughts of giving every n-th (n being a number between 2 and 10 or so? ) house a little generator (like a cars motor) running on natural gas - it burns with less CO2 and is localizing the energy supply.
This by comparision is easier to achieve than building one huge windplant like they wanted in Australia some time ago, and easier than building stuff like Desertec
As for shit being the solution: no. surely not solely. It's a variation of the things you have in a place that should be used. Norway for example has no problems to get 100% hydroelectric energy with all the water they have iirc.
But rather than not using the shit, why not use it for energy and the remainings afterwards for fertilizing? it works and it should be done.
Geothermal plants on the other hand got a really bad press here, after causing some tremors in the earth and destroying buildings - and that was only a small solution and not a big project but yh, many small patches make a big one instead of relying on unsecure stuff.
Talking about unsecure stuff, nuclear fusion would be a brilliant way to solve all our problems, but sadly it doesn't work yet
btw. just saw a new technology: kite gen
Nuclear fusion would be nice but we could 100 or 500 years away from that. It's nice to have a laugh at the clowns who believe in cold fusion though....
oh, also forgot something: the best way to go green is not neccessarily to change the production, but to curb the needs, i.e. isolating houses properly, not driving cars that need 12l for 100km, turning off electrical devices instead of letting them run on standby, etc. pp.
last thing I write till a third party joins, else we'll bring everything up before the fun starts ;P
When talking in dust to dust ie taking into account all the energy from creation to elimination, I think I have read that the Tyota prius is only shortly better than a Hummer... Also one have to take into account that if electric car were more mass product perhaps their energy cost would lessen.
I'm afraid it's not really a solution. Green oil has much more potential but it's not like if it was completely satisfactory either.
Unfortunatly it seems that the only real solution is to decrease or need. In particular it's quite a shame that all our products are no more build to last more than a few years. Honestly do we need to change TV, mobile phone every 2 years ?
Also the controvertial issue is that when living in the country, you have plenty of place to develop green energy but people living there are hopeless without car, whereas when we live in the city we have plenty of people and common transport but we lack space.
At a certain deadline a market review is made of an item, for example air conditioners. The consumption of the most efficient is then raised to be the standard for the industry, which at a certain time in the future must be achieved, approximately in 5 or 7 years. Can a manufacturer not fulfill this new efficiency standard after this time limit he has to pay a fine or his products are even baned. Japan does this since the 90s and was able to reduce the consumption of air conditioners around 63% and for computers around 83% after
Sadly Japan is the only country doing this afaik
Maybe its unrelated. But thought this was cool nevertheless.
Marking Earth Hour
Also since there seems to be a problem for green energies to store the produced electricity. Yesterday I saw an interesting possibility regarding that called "windgas" (and/or "solargas"). when talking about storing electricity, it usually stops at splitting H2O into H2 and O2 and maybe using this as fuel which is not so easy cause it's a diffrent technology alltogether. Now what they do is, they combine the H2 with CO2 from any source of burning, best also renewable stuff and make Methane out of it, which can be used to make electricity (also gives off warmth) and maybe even fuel.
Quite interesting since - like Algae - it is using CO2 and could lessen what we blow into the atmosphere, neither is used yet though ;(
I find Earth hour a bit stupid. It does not really save energy. It's just like this summer/winter hour system, when will we get rid of it.
Those are really hypocrital measure which make people believe we are doing something while in fact nothing change. It's like the ban of the old bulbs by EU. This was maybe one of the biggest mistake ever. I still don't understand how it was possible to make such a law.
at earth hour: as something to save energy I'd think the same about it, but personally I see it as nothing more than a symbolic act to raise awareness, especially for computer users, who are consuming lots of energy - if I didn'T get earth hour wrong alltogether lol
at winter/summertime: it's quite diffrent since it's not really symbolic and since it comes form a time when energy use was not quite as much, I guess it really fulfillled its purpose. however, energetically it's contraproductive now and maybe should be taken back like in russia - though their argumentation about cows was really farfetched
at lightbulbs: I don't get why that should be seen as wrong :/
For first point : I'm wondereing what is the ratio of energy consumption between consumer and enterprise. I don't think energy saving will come from individual alone. Let's take computor for example. My brother asked why computors of the university he work for are never shut down. The answer is because most of the failure happen when you shut on or off thecomputer. As a result it's more economic for the university to let them on all the time... Also there is the fact that if everyone really followed earth hour it would generate problem due to the peak and leak of electricity it would generate which would be bad enough to completely anihilate the effort spent.
For lightbulbs it's again a matter of end to end. Ok they consume less but what about their production ? What about their destruction ? They are so polluting that you cannot put them in a standard trashcan. They are way more expensive and the fact they last 10 years is just fraud ( cf on/off above, and don't tell me it never happen to youor someone you know) plus there is the question of the bad harmonic current generated by this bubbles so yes I think that it may have been wiser to think about it before we made such a law
Last edited by k-dom; March 28, 2011 at 04:55 PM.
well you're only taking the bad substitution now, the ones media publishes horror stories about where you have to leave the room for hours when they break.
two things though: first, the production of one of those energy saving blubs might cost more, but indeed I do remember how often we had to change those whereas now it's much less. it might not be 10 years but still, it's a fair bit longer so that the costs get near to each other again.
the other thing is, there are LED bulbs that need way, way less energy in use and to my knowledge are not dangerous to trash if they die off at all - haven't used any yet ^^; but yh, for this technology to get into the market the "cheap and easy" solution, i.e. the old bulbs, needed to be cut down. seeing how there are so many problems with the other sort you described earlier it wouldn't be a wonder if it was already on the list of the EU to ban somewhen soon >.<
Last edited by Akainu; March 28, 2011 at 05:12 PM.