Whorled View

September 18, 2008

In 2030 Japan will have the most powerful WMD, and in Space

I’ve previously posted about space based Solar Power, which converts sunlight into ludicrous-power lasers that are beamed back to earth.  We’ll, Japan is serious about doing it:

http://energycentral.fileburst.com/EnergyBizOnline/2008-5-sep-oct/Tech_Frontier_Solar_Space.pdf

Now, of course, this is intended to be a technology to save the planet (it’s solar power for heaven’s sake), but will require little to no effort to instantly start using it to selectrively fry whole neighborhoods without any warning and with breathtaking accuracy.

It seems this is a technology we should be working on – if only to safegaurd ourselves against others with this ability.  Remember Japan is still the only country which attacked us on our soil in the 20th century.  They’re utterly peaceful now, but that’s not stopping them from building the world’s first Star Wars technology death ray.

Here’s the amazing thing … by thier own admission it will cost much more per MW than conventional earth-based Solar plans so is there an alterior motivation here?  Let’s just hope that Iran doesn’t start building one of these.

There is one good thing about having a geostationary death-ray, though.  They are easy to shoot down (provided that you send enough bombs it’s way to make the death-ray too weak to defend itself).

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April 25, 2008

REALITY CHECK: Electric Vehicle Fueling Stations

I thought this wasn’t doable until I ran the numbers. See … it depends on how the Electric Vehicle (EV) is built. You can trickle charge them overnight, or you can rapid-charge them in a matter of minutes if you have enough juice, but the battery must be designed for one method or the other. Right now they’re all designed for trickle charging overnight.

The problem with rapid (5 minute) charging is the amount of energy throughput required. The electrical grid would need some massive restructuring to provide the kind of throughput needed, which is very very expensive. The other option, which is far more likely than to get the power companies to do anything, is to generate it onsite via wind power or solar power.

The wind power is a slam dunk. Just one of these windmills can easily generate enough to charge 6 cars at a time … assuming it’s windy enough. This would be a no-brainer in many places. The Windmill will be around $500,000. The whole thing (including infrastructure power conditioning, and storage) should cost around $1.5 M. Not bad. No wonder wind power is by far the fastest growing renewable.

Solar is a little trickier. Ideally you’d put your panels over a parking lot for a shopping center or supermarket. You could also put them directly on top of the shopping center or supermarket, but I think a covered parking lot would be desirable enough for the shoppers such that the owners would probably provide the parking lot solar space for free. To support rapid filling 6 cars simultaneously you’re going to need about 6 acres of panels. A large parking lot should provide this, assuming that the panels will only cover parked cars. If more space is needed, a patchwork could be put over the low-traffic areas.

That’s not bad (I expected the space requirements to be more demanding). How about cost? About $3.5 million just for the solar array. Add another $2M for infrastructure (including panel supports, wiring, energy storage, and power conditioning) and you’re into it about $5.5 million. Sounds like a lot (especially compared to wind power), but if you charge $0.05/mile, which is about 1/4 of what gas currently costs for most Americans right now, you can turn a profit.

How much profit? At $0.05/mile you’ll be selling energy at twice the rate that grid normally costs, or $0.17/kWh. Assuming that the cars will be charged at a rate of 500kW (167W/car), and that you’ll charge an average of 3 cars (a generous assumption, imo) at a time between the hours of 7am and 10pm (15 hours), you’ll gross about $465k/yr from motorists. Then you’ll sell the excess back to the grid generating an additional $150k/yr (remember you’ll be using some of this excess in the evening and in some seasons). That’s not bad, but it’s not spectacular considering your loan and the costs of running such a business. In fact, it’s not much better than what you’d make just selling all the electricity back to grid, which is what you’ll do with the excess anyway. If you sell it back to grid you’ll still make about 70% as much per kWh, without having to deal with the bother and costs of running an EV Fueling Station.

Here’s the kicker though … just about the time you’ll have the original loan paid off … say in 20 years, it will be time to replace all the solar panels, costing you another $1.8M in today’s dollars (assuming solar prices will have dropped in half), but at least after that your net will be higher than it was with the original loan.

Still every penny counts when you run a business, so it looks like a good deal, and you’ll be providing a service to the EV community. It is however contingent on three extremely critical things: 1) that it’s sunny, and 2) that they build cars for rapid charging 3) that people will rapid charge their car at 2X the cost of what it costs them to do it at home overnight.

This last point sinks the whole deal for me. If convenience and the mighty dollar is king (and I think it is) people would prefer to just plug in their car when they get home, saving them money over the cost of rapid charging at the supermarket. If someone forgets to plug in their car at night, they’ll just generate their electricity on the fly with a built-in gas-powered generator. That is, incidentally, how they’re making the next generation hybrids, and all future EV’s will likely have that feature so you’ll never be stranded.

So there you go. Conclusion: Based on my analysis EV’s will NEVER be rapid charging nor will Electric Vehicle Fueling Stations exist for rapid charging purposes. That is unless all the solar cell manufacturers are bought up by the oil companies who then will then get into bed with the auto manufacturers, who will then agree to only make rapid-charge EVs that can only be charged in EV fueling stations (not at home).

Now that’s a scary thought. If that happens (doubtful) then this is a viable business. Due to the high upfront costs it’s maybe twice as profitable as a normal gas station is today (based on my google research). But in this scenario where Automakers produce only rapid-charge EVs, which I think is unlikely, this would be a sure thing. Note that there will be limited places where this can be done: shopping centers and supermarkets where there is enough space to also put a gas-station-sized EV station.

PS- here’s the math for those who like math:

Solar Array Energy Generating capability:
Most of the EV cars over the next 10-15 years will likely have 15kWh storage capacity as Advanced Li-Ion batteries. These batteries can be made to completely charge in 5 minutes, but that’s like 15kWh in 5 minutes, and if you have 6 cars doing that simultaneously, that’s 90kWh in 5 minutes That requires a energy generation capability of 90000Wh *(60min/h)/(5 min) = 1MW (approx).

Solar Panel Space Requirements:
On average a good 3×8 panel will provide about 100 Watts, so you’ll need 10,000 of these panels (minimum) assuming it’s sunny all day (1M/100=10,00 panels). That will take up 6 acres of panels (3ftx8ft*10,000 = 240,000ft^2 = 6 acres).

Solar Panel Cost:
Today if you buy in bulk and if you’re lucky you can get solar panels at $3.5/Watt. This cost has not changed much in the last 10 years. It isn’t expected to drop much in the next 10-20 years even with an explosion of supply simply because demand is so high, and as soon as the price drops demand increases to stabilize the price. 1 Million W at 3.5/Watts = $3.5 Million just for the solar array (infrastructure not included).

Gross Annual Income:
($0.17/kWh which is what you’re charging) * (500kW used to charge 3 cars continuously) * (15 h/day) * (365days/yr) = $465k

January 24, 2008

70% Solar Energy by 2050: Scientific American

Probably one of the best layman articles on the subject from a contemporary perspective except for one major problem. Nevertheless it’s worth a good read. Check it out: http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=a-solar-grand-plan

The problem: Once again it places more emphasis on Solar PV than Solar thermal. It pretends to justify this by throwing around some magical numbers that at this point are pure theory and highly unlikely. Compare that to Solar thermal where the numbers are even better and are proven.

Case in point: It says Cadmium Telluride (nanosolar film) will be able to produce electricity for $0.05/kWh by 2020. This is based on the theory that they can get efficiencies up to 14%. I’m sorry, but I’m quite convinced that in order to do that they’ll have to enable some technologies that will up the price of the manufacturing enough to blow that number out of the water. They think they can improve the efficiency by 40%, based on what? Silicon solar efficiencies have improved maybe 10% in the last 20 years? Sure Cadmium Telluride went from 8% to 9% in the last year, but they’re approaching a ceiling that will get extremely hard to raise. My guess is that it will top out at 12%, which leaves solar PV maxing out at $0.06/kWh assuming all other costs stay the same, which they won’t. Add to that $0.04 /kWh for storage and you get 0.10/kWh, AND YOU HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL 2020 TO SEE THAT RESULT.

Compare that to Ausra’s Solar thermal technology which by 2013 should produce electricity, including storage, at $0.07 /kWh.

HELLO!? Am I the only one running these numbers? Solar Thermal is so superior. Nothing, I repeat: NOTHING should go toward the development of something that will cost more near term and long term than Solar Thermal will.

Two more reasons Solar thermal is better:

TIME TO MARKET: Unlike any kind of Solar PV solar thermal uses no fancy technology. It uses no special materials that require special processing. The materials and the parts and pieces that make solar thermal plants are found all throughout existing industrial parks across America -and at bargain prices. All you need is the money to buy them (tons cheaper than what Solar PV factories cost), and people to build them (requires no special training or science). All these things are in stark contrast to the supply problems that have plagued the Solar PV industry. Solar PV, whether it’s thin film or otherwise, will never be able to scale up at the rate that the Scientific American author suggests. The materials and processing equipment demands are just too great even if the money was there … can’t be done.

LIFETIME: A solar thermal plant lasts almost forever if cared for correctly. Sure parts of the turbine needs replacing as with any turbine including the ones used by SolarPV to reconvert pressurized gas to electricity, but thats about it. No solar cells to replace. The mirrors last forever. The dewar tubes containing the molten salt or H2O (Ausra’s technology) should last a very long time if maintained right. Compare that to SolarPV where the life of the Solar Cells is 20-30 years at the most. Also you’ll have to replace the compressors as well as the turbines parts in the Solar PV plant (incidentally solar thermal needs no compressors – another bonys). Can you imagine that? With a Solar PV plant you’re replacing practically the whole plant every 20-30 years. Not so with Solar Thermal.

In short, media bias favoring Solar PV once again garners unworthy support, thereby siphoning off the funds from Solar Thermal, possibly in order to fatten the wallets of those who invest in Solar PV (Al Gore) or work for the industry. Solar PV, even in Cadmium Telluride thin films will forever be inferior, less efficient, and a more expensive technology than Solar thermal. Articles like this that have some fantastic information and promote the use of the Sun’s rays almost do more bad than good by obfuscating the issue and guaranteeing that our hard earned tax dollars will be taken away from Solar Thermal and reinvested in Solar PV assuming that Solar PV will someday meet the magic numbers that it was supposed to achieve 20-30 years ago, and neither will we solve our energy problems as quickly as we could if all the funds went to something like what Ausra does (www.ausra.com).

December 13, 2007

DOE finally funding CSP

It’s about time. The most promising energy technology and they’ve finally decided to commit some money to it.  Check it out: here

Some of this money is intended to go to linear Frensel-type reflectors like Ausra is doing, which gets my vote for the energy of the future.

November 20, 2007

The Vitamin C “Dead Zone”

Filed under: economics,Health,media bias,medicine,Science,Vitamin C — lullabyman @ 4:47 pm

Most medical practitioners do not understand how the body utilizes high concentrations of ascorbates (Vitamin C and it’s buffered variants). As a result clinical studies for Vitamin C are poorly designed and result in inadequate and misleading conclusions. Ultimately such misleading conclusions discourage medical practitioners from using vitamin-based treatments despite a growing number of studies with seemingly polar opposite conclusions that strongly promote the use of vitamin-based therapies and treatments. This is a globally important issue, since vitamin-based therapies provide the world with cheap and effective treatments that are readily available. Sadly those same therapies are widely disparaged because of an overwhelming amount of research inappropriately done in what I call the “dead zone”. Read more about this “dead zone” here: http://www.the-austins.com/Vitamin%20C%20Dead%20Zone.html

Dead Zone Effectiveness

Dead Zone Economics

November 12, 2007

Al Gore says something really stupid again

He won the popular vote for President of the United States. He jumped on the green energy bandwagon. For those two things I applaud him.

Everything else he’s done reminds me what an incredible stroke of luck it was that he lost the electoral vote. I posted earlier about how awful of a job I thought he did on the “Inconvenient Truth”, and I suggested similar programs that were far better on a number of levels – although even they were seriously flawed. His moaning throughout the program about how unfairly he was treated and about how little data convinced him of global warming were tedious at best, and the treatment of any of the data he presented was excruciating from a statistical standpoint. The worst part of it was his solution to the problem (use less electricity and spend money on technologies that were entirely unlikely to help), which was the equivalent of stopping a fire hydrant with a stick of bubble gum. Besides, you cannot begin to legislate that. Neither can you force China to do that. The solution should have been this: we need tons of cheap clean energy and we need it fast, and stop investing in technology that has no chance of being competitive with coal.

Nothing else will work. Gore seems oblivious on this point.

Does such a ridiculous remark have anything to do with the fact that he runs a Venture Capitalist firm that invests largely in these inferior “competitive” technologies?

So what now did he recently say that filled me with disgust? What proved his underlying blind ignorance to institute “fairness” at the expense of achieving the ultimate goal? It was simply this: When an Ausra executive said that their Solar Thermal technology would produce electricity so cheap as to “thrash” all the other alternatives, Gore reprimanded him for “assassinating” the competition. You can read about it here at the end of this fortune magazine article from November 12th. Be sure to read also the blindedly ignorant opinion of the author of the article, gushing over Gore like he was a rock-star who could do no wrong.

Excuse me?! Why is Gore being overly protective of less efficient, more expensive, and slower to market technologies?! Can you say “biased”? Can you say “self-serving”? Does such a ridiculous remark have anything to do with the fact that he runs a Venture Capitalist firm that invests largely in these inferior “competitive” technologies?

… when someone says something extremely stupid that also reveals their true motives it’s time to call a spade a spade …

If Gore was truly interested in saving the planet, then he would have said something smart like “Wonderful! Let the competition begin!”. And that, my friends, is why we are in the current mess that we are in. Solar Thermal has been capable of providing us with near grid-cost energy for a dozen years while people like Gore have insisted that all the DOE funds go to more expensive and less efficient, and less eco-friendly projects.

Am I the only one that sees a conflict of interest in making a Eco-Venture-Capitalist-Advisor into the Czar of environmentally friendly technologies? Are people really so stupid as to think such a person could be objective? And journalists … when someone says something extremely stupid as well as revealing of their true motives it’s time to call a spade a spade instead of praising the person for senselessly sticking to their rusty and hypocritical guns.

October 21, 2007

Winning the War on Terror through Vitamin C

Filed under: defense,economics,Health,medicine,middle-east,Science,Vitamin C,war — lullabyman @ 3:05 am

The war on Terror costs money. Lots of it. It seems then that the best way to win the war on terror is to free up tons of money, making it available to the economy so the war on terror can be funded. After all, most wars are not won on the battlefield anymore than they are in the pocketbook. Whoever can afford to fight the longest and hardest wins.

Where to get such money? Well, according to the results of a British researcher: http://torontosun.com/Lifestyle/2007/10/20/4590932-sun.html we could very likely solve heart disease problem cheaply and efficiently and heart disease is (the #1 killer in the United States) costs Americans more money every year by far than does the Iraqi conflict. The wild thing is that tons of research backs up this claim the cheap doses of Vitamin E (an antioxidant), cheap resveratrol (another antioxidant), and cheap megadoses of Vitamin C can prevent, and even reverse the conditions that lead to heart attacks, and yet our “noble” allopathic tradition discourages it, claiming that it’s dangerous because it can give you diarrhea … or even worse: it might make you fart!

Oh! The horrors!

Meanwhile the war on terror is bankrupting the world, yet heart disease costs even more. Same thing with Cancer (costs more than the war on terror), which disease is also very treatable, very effectively by extremely cheap IV based ascorbate treatments (as high as 200 mg/day, but usually 70 mg twice/week is adequate). So if we started using these cheap treatments and reinvesting that money usually spent on Cancer and Heart Disease into the economy then we would have more than enough to pay for the War on Terror. Not to mention it would save 100,000,000’s lives every year worldwide – allowing the patients to live full and productive lives.

But then who’s going to pay for all the Yachts? No wonder the AMA and your very own doctor frowns upon anything that has anything to do with Vitamin C. And so we’ll bankrupt the economy of the world. Just remember – it wasn’t the war that did it. It was the refusal to save money where money could have been saved.

September 19, 2007

Allopathic Taliban suffer another blow

Filed under: Corruption,Health,Science,Sociology,Technology,Vitamin C — lullabyman @ 6:20 pm

I’m a huge proponent of orthomolecular medicine, which is the practice of fighting diseases with the substances our bodies need to be healthy, ie. certain vitamins and minerals often in super-megadoses. Orthomolecular medicine is in direct opposition to allopathic (traditional) medicine, which uses substances that our bodies normally don’t use (example: all pharmaceutical drugs) for medicine in order to fight diseases.

… the NIH published a study last week that Vitamin C does indeed fight cancer, while not affecting non-cancerous tissue. In fact it apparently does this better than any other substance known to mankind

To the chagrin of the Allopathic Taliban (those who blindly commit professional violence against those who use or prescribe vitamins in a therapeutic manner as a matter of professional bigotry) the NIH published a study last week that Vitamin C does indeed fight cancer, while not affecting non-cancerous tissue. In fact it apparently does this better than any other substance known to mankind. Again, that’s NIH, the National Institutes of Health saying this – the same institute who disparaged Linus Pauling, 2 time Nobel Laureate, 30 years ago for saying the exact same thing: Vitamin C fights cancer and strengthens the body. This claim about Vitamin C is in fact listed as quakery by allopaths and their minions everywhere. Other claims even attempt to suggest that Vitamin C increases cancer with the most hokey reasoning imaginable.

mercolla's clever allopathic allegory

Now they’re disparaging Pauling (an easy thing to do now since Pauling is dead) for not going about it differently 30 years ago. For example, Mark Levine (a pseudo-advocate of Vit C therapies) says “If Linus Pauling, the two-time Nobel laureate turned vitamin C zealot, had taken an equally dispassionate stance 30 years ago, who knows where the vitamin would be in oncology today”, then later equivocates the questing that the medical community screwed up by disparaging Vitamin C “is akin to ‘Do you still beat your wife?’ “.

Levine equivocates the questing that the medical community screwed up by disparaging Vitamin C “is akin to ‘Do you still beat your wife?’ “. The fact is that they have, and if that’s like “[beating] your wife”, then they’re as guilty as a rabid male chauvinist.

Well, I don’t ask the question. I state it as a matter of fact: The allopathic medical community as a whole has systematically sabotaged every study they possibly could over the last 30 years that would have otherwise vindicated Pauling’s claims. Why? Because he was an outsider to the medical community? Because pharmaceutical companies were scared? Because it was just so incredibly different (the horrors: cheap vitamins for therapy!)? Who knows why they have done this … it doesn’t matter why. The fact is that they have sabotaged every megavitamin study ever, and I don’t mean offense to Mark Levine but if that’s like “[beating] your wife”, then as a society the AMA is as guilty as a rabid male chauvinist by completely abandoning their Hippocratic oath with respect to orthomolecular therapies.

Levine himself did that when he discouraged people from using megavitamins in the conclusion of his study that proved Vitamin C kills cancer while not hurting adjacent healthy tissue, and later saying : “This is not ready for patients yet”, and just that “we should reinvestigate”, and “there may be a new hope coming, but it’s certainly not here”.  1000’s who’ve added years to their lives, and a wealth of data on the safety of Vit C protocols strongly disagree that “it’s certainly not here”.  Shame on you Levine and others for knowingly proving it’s safety, simplicity, and efficacy and then discouraging usage for what I can only assume is out of fear for professional retribution.  Hippocrates be damned.  Such are not doctors nor health practitioners, but mere scientists.

And that’s why your doctor would rather stuff your body full of toxic things it’s never experienced before, than to use vitamins and other chemistries that fortify and build human tissue. Never mind that AIDS patients have received as much as 300,000 mg / day of buffered vitamin C shot directly into their bloodstream without any adverse long-term effects, your doctor will still insist that it’s unhealthy for you to consume, just orally, a mere 5,000 mg/day (1/60 as much). Apparently allopathic doctors (most doctors) feel it’s okay if all your hair falls out while killing off massive amounts of vital healthy skin tissue with traditional (allopathic) cancer therapy, but heaven forbid you suffer a little bowel discomfort from consuming too much vitamin C because it might dehydrate you.  Apparently none of them heard of drinking more water.

The truth is that you can avoid bowel discomfort / diarrhea if you take buffered C (ex:sodium ascorbate) along with another anti-oxidant vitamin E, and plenty of water.  I’ve found you can guarantee no bowel discomfort with mega-doses of Vit C in a delicious shake (which tastes like lighly carbonated “gogurt”) by blending 20g Vit C powder in with 10 flavored anti-acid wafers (calcium-carbonate), along with 1/3 cup sugar and 2 cups water.  If you have gas after mega-C doses then you need to drink a lot more water than you’ve been drinking, which also has innumerable other benefits.

Eventually the reign of the allopathic Taliban will come to and end as more studies like this are brought to light by highly principled physicians who can read beyond poorly done studies using insufficient dosage levels. It’s just a matter of time before the old doctors die off and the new ones can put the blame where it deserves: tradition and professional prejudice.

Sadly, it’s just a shame that in the meantime so many patients will go broke with expensive and toxic drugs while needlessly suffering illness and even unecessary death.

I incidentally, have been taking an average 20,000 mg/ day for 4 years now and have never felt better. I have taken as much as 60,000 mg/day orally with no adverse side effects.

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