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April 28, 2010 at 6:01 am #36672
Guys after watching and hearing this discussion about climate change and global warming we are missing the fact that some day for sure oil reserves are going to be exhausted. So what we are going to do then? Wind energy definitely can’t replace the fossil fuels. Nuclear power is too dangerous and can fall into wrong hands.I feel that solar energy if fully tapped can be used. Moreover a lot of job opportunities can be created as well. Yesterday I did a little bit of research about the solar power potential on FreeCleanSolar.com and found out very nice info. I am fully convinced that solar is the future. Any comments??May 8, 2010 at 11:32 pm #40767
Thank you for mariginalizing all of us who live outside the banana sunbelt. While we do not constitute the majority of the population, there are enough of uss living north of the 45 parallel that you cannot simply blow us off as being insignificant. Unfortunately you are right about only doing a littel bit of research on solar power. The reality about solar power is somewhat different than the glossy ads and infomercials would have you believe. Before you jump to the conclusion that this is an anti solar rant let me say I first became actively involved with alternative power back in 1978. Scientists calculate one kilowatt of solar energy per square meter ( just a tad more than a square yard) reaches Earths surface on a clear sunny day. this is a calculated theoretical number and is affected by a number of factors. Among these is the distance through the atmosphere the sunlight has to travel before reaching the surface. Even a simple diagram will illustrate the fact ther is more atmosphere to travel through for regions closer to the poles than regions close to the equator. In other words the same solar panel installed in high latitudes will collect less energy than when it is installed at the equator. For todays’s market the best solar panels are rated as 180 or at most 200 watts output. these panels come close to having almost one square meter of surface area. In other words the efficiency of solar panels is around 20% not 100%. Panels installed at 45 degree latitude will have half as much output compared to at the equator so that reduces the effective efficiencies to 10%. Wher I live we have 16 hours of darkness during the winter months. this also happens to coincide with when we need the most lights during a 24 hour period. If you live far enough north ther is 24 hours of darness for several months of the year. So what good is solar power then?
I recently read of a European proposal to locate All the power generating capacity for all of Europe on the african continent. Talk about a collosa example of NIMBYISM. they want clean energy but installed on somebody elses land so they are in perpetual shade from these giant solar panels.
First of all ask yourself why solar panel still cost approximately USD $ 3.60 per produced watt compared to $0.50 per watt for petroleum powered generators.
Do you suppose eit purely a coincidence that over the past decade almost all of the solar panel manufacturing capacity has been bought up by the oil companies like BP and Shell.
When someone buys a generator they are fairly certain to become a captive customer of the oil companies but when that same customer buys a solar panel array they stop buying oil based fuel. The oil companies are determioned to get their pound of flesh one way or the other.
The reality is there are several other sources of energy. Some of them are quite affordable and renewable and relies on time proven technology. Why do we not see and hear more about these sources of energy especially in oil dependent North America. One reason may have to do with out news media. Solar has a aura of being high tech and sorta sexy so naturally everyone wants to write about it. It doesn’t hurt that so many people are paid by the solar panel manufacturers and installers to write up enticing articles about solar.
The other source of fuel for internal combustion engines used to generate power for indvidual homes is methane. Methane is actually designated as one of the green house gases. Methane is the natural result decay of organic matter .sometimes its called swamp gas and other tyimes it is referred to by less complimantary names. Every time a living creature farts the gas contains a large proportion of methane. Most land fill site havea major problem with what to do with the naturally developing methiane so they expend a lot of money building and installinmg methane capture wells and then they burn off the waste. A few progressive thinking land fill operators actually captur and use this methane gas to power their generators so they are self sufficient for energu=y and in some places thet actyally generate a surplus they can sell back to the power utility grid. Methane is a naturally ioccurring gas and is in fact a renewable fuel resource. This is not a hair brainend half baked theory. If you go online and google ‘methane digesters’ you will get a lot of hits. Other parts of the world has been exploiting this natural resource but by no means the majority of it.
there is a lot of hullabaloo regarding carbon dioxide release by petroleum fffuelled engines. Natural gas has been substituted as a home furnace fuel because it burns cleaner. Natural Gas and Methane is essentially the same except for source. Te drilling companies are getting rich drilling into gas pockets deep in the earth but nobody is getting rich producing methane. Why? Because farts are free. So its not glamorous and consequently doesn’t get the media attention that solar gets. Go back and do some more homework and compare the cost of producing a 1000 watt solar panel as compared to generating methane that can be used to fuel a regular generator to produce the same 1000 watts of electrical energy. I say the future of renewable energy is a load of shit not solar.May 23, 2010 at 9:46 am #40780
i saw a program years ago. some poor farmers in southeast asia made their own methane. this old guy would compost their shit in this holding tank in the backyard , the gas went into a big balloon of somekind in the kitchen connected to a burner, and when the lady wanted to turn the heat up she just cinched the belt around the balloon a little tighter. once the manure dried out it was perfect odorless manure.KISS simple. i was sold on solar power, but i’m starting to have second thoughts.think of it. no more need for sewers or septic tanks, even in cities, and as long as we still had food, we’d have energy. the kind that provides serious heat. maybe a bit of solar for a few low draw lights.why not make the”problem “of waste disposal the solution. as far as it being a so called greenhouse gas, there’s always been debate over that whole issue. lately it’s being debated a whole lot more, i don’t think man is causing the earth to heat up. i think it’s natural. and just cuz everyone, and the “experts” say it’s true, doesn’t mean that it is. Herman Goebells, Hitler’s propaganda minister said “if you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” wouldn’t it be nice to not worry about septic system costs,sewer treatment plant costs, or even dumping the black water out of your rv? i’m not smart enough to design one of these units, but i could have fun comin up with some names.how bout “shitloader”, “shitstorm 3000”, “shiteater II” . “for every shithouse on the street, there was one less home to heat.” i’ve been converted. OK, Steve, shutup already!May 23, 2010 at 1:12 pm #40781
“First of all ask yourself why solar panel still cost approximately USD $ 3.60 per produced watt compared to $0.50 per watt for petroleum powered generators.”
elnav,isn’t the $3.60/watt-solar, a one time cost, whereas $.50/watt for petroleum isn’t.i’m new to this but that doesn’t seem to be a fair comparison. what did i miss? also, i love the idea of methane for motors, how much pressure is required to run an ic motor? i’ve heard it’s tricky, and dangerous to compress it very much without good cooling etc…using it for cooking sounds easy with no special equipment.May 24, 2010 at 3:00 am #40782
i thought i could edit my posts, but i can’t. i realize fred was talking solar, but the name of the thread was “green and clean”. this was my point:” i believe methane IS “green and clean”, just a little smelly.” cheersMay 28, 2010 at 6:48 pm #40783
Steve you raise some valid questions. Yes you are correct; the installed cost of a solar panel array is a one time cost. But it is not maintenance free. Especially in developed areas, there is a lot of soot in the air and even in rural regions dust will collect on solar panels. Somebody has to clean thses periodically. In most urban or suburban ares the practice is to roof mount these panels. Installers have good safety equipment but does the average house holder? The alternative is to hire a properly trained window cleaner service so now you have ongoing maintenance costs. Secondly unless you live in the south west sunbelt you will need more panels than you may anticipate. Therefore installed cost increases. Unless you are fortunate to live in a area where generous government subsidies exist, this has to come out of your own pocket. How many banks are willing to give out a home improvement loan for the required amount? Unless there is sufficient data avalable to show the cost increases the value of the home by a certain required amount they will not give the homeowner the loan. Going solar involves more than just sticking some panels on the roof. Unless the home energy consumption is modified much of the solar generated power is going to be wasted. This is something the solar ads aimed at the Califoornia market does not really delve into. I’m not against solar per se but one shoe does not fit all.May 28, 2010 at 7:09 pm #40784
Steve wrote: i saw a program years ago. some poor farmers in southeast asia made their own methane.
Not just in south east Asia. Many places in Europe and South America have ongoing methane generator installations.
Regarding your question of pressure. I do not have exact figures on hand but can tell your it is not much. Natural gas is the same as methane by another description. There are literally thousands of such installations in service. In terms of stored energy and explosive hazard gasoline is just as dangerous if not more so as methane or natural gas.
Right now solar power is considered the high tech ‘sexy’ media subject; no doubt assisted by manufacturers money to pay for infomercial type articles. Naturally, the public will focus on what they see in the popular press rather than delve into dry old technical papers written a long time ago. The perception is, because its new it must be better. However, just because it’s well established, does not means some technology is obsolete and useless.
Any sort of Google search on “methane digesters” will show you just how much activity and interest not to mention applications thers are. Add known applications for natural gas and you can easily see jut how useful methane is. The big benefit of methane is lower initial cost to get going with it compared to solar but it does not get a lot of good press since no one stands to make a big profit on it.
Natural gas from deep drilled wells can earn huge profits for the well owners who in many cases also own oil wells but who is going to pay big bucks to an owner of a manure pile?May 28, 2010 at 7:20 pm #40785
Methane and Natural Gas
It was not that long ago that a big push was made for homes to switch to natural gas heating. The argument was this burned much cleaner than oil heating. About the same time there was talk of using natural gas as a vehicle fuel. For various reasons this never took off possibly because the auto industry never really supported it. They had a vested interest in maintaining the status quo for gasoline fuelled vehicles. Natural gas fuel tanks does involves some additional regulatory issues and it is a fact that for a given tank volume you do get more range with gasoline than with natural gas. Natural gas made more sense for fleet operators where the vehicle stayed close to home and refuelling was dome by trained and certified staff. This notion was reinforced by a few spectacular accidents involving drivers making mistakes when refuelling their own vehicles. The auto industry was not interested in having to redesign cars to accomodate the bulkier methane tanks..
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