Only 2 Days Left to Nominate A Project of the Year and A Woman of the Year. Nominate NOW! ×

John Sotack's Comments

May 10, 2012

Massachusetts Sets Strict Regulations for Biomass: Will This Influence Further Restrictions?

I am trying to understand the concern over ocean PH.

In the Jurassic period I believe C02 was around 1800 ppm. Can someone explain the comment:
'The world oceans are <0.2 pH from death of their food chain, endangering species & billions of us.'

I assume there was life in the Ocean during the Jurassic period and all other times since life began.


The dangers of human C02 emissions claimed by some seem a bit alarmist to me. Hasn't the earth survived with C02 very significantly higher than today's levels?

Below is a presentation attributed to Burt Rutan which appears to give a rational assessment of man made C02. Burt Rutan is the guy who won the X-Prize, and had made the plane piston plane that circled the earth among other things.


http://rps3.com/Files/AGW/EngrCritique.AGW-Science.v4.3.pdf

Also see YouTube at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gm8vaH8LEV0

John

March 31, 2012

SolFocus Snags Mega Concentrating PV Project in Mexico

With the lack of feed in tariffs, apparently the appeal of the CPV plant is wide price variability from a single provider.

However, why wouldn't conventional generation also fill the need. For example why not bring any other technology plant online when the cost per KWH exceeds some value such as $0.20. A fossil fuel plant could be brought off line when price dipped below production costs resulting in zero fuel cost. For a solar plant I expect there is no benefit to taking it off line when prices are low provided the cost of the incremental operating costs.

What is it about Mexico that prevents other utilities from competing?

November 23, 2011

The Power to Persevere: How One City Is Rebuilding Itself Through Biomass

I often think it is too bad that ordinary grass seems to be wasted as a bio mass type fuel. One advantage grass has is IT IS ALREADY HARVESTED BY MANY HOMEOWNERS, BUSINESSES, AND MUNICIPALITIES. In my part of the country grass is everywhere and grows spring through fall although the growth rate varies.

There is probably good reason why so many bags of grass end up in landfills in the U. S. (I assume that is what is happening) but it seems like such a waste. Every residential, commercial, and public lawn (including schools), as well as grass growing along side highways is a giant solar collector coveting sunlight, C02, and H20 into biomass which as far as I know is discarded in the U. S.

A nice thing about grass, unlike other waste, is it is well separated and brought to the curb. A bag of grass is nearly 100% grass although it may have some leaves in the mix in the fall. We separately collect paper and non paper recyclables with our weekly trash collection in my area which tends to be very coarsely separated (i. e. broad categories). I wonder if a grass bin could be added to the recycling trucks.

The grass would need to be dried. That may be a good candidate for solar heat since a driver to the growth of grass is sunlight which is of course available in relative abundance when grass is growing the fastest. When the sun is low in the North East in the winter, grass is not growing. Anyway, the next time you 'harvest your lawn' think about what does happen, and could happen to your harvest.


John Sotack

November 23, 2011

The Power to Persevere: How One City Is Rebuilding Itself Through Biomass

So it sounds like the common grass less the chemicals would be OK. In a suburban environment it would be hard to be sure which grass had chemicals and which did not especially considering over spray, etc.

It still seems like such a waste (not using common grass).

John

November 25, 2011

The Power to Persevere: How One City Is Rebuilding Itself Through Biomass

What happens to biomass (particularly the carbon it contains) if it is left to decay naturally? Is the carbon returned to the air?

For example, what becomes of the substance of my lawn when I mulch it rather than bag it?

John

September 30, 2011

Solar Shakeout Continues: Stirling Energy Systems Files for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Interesting thought using a changeable heat source.

I suppose the sterling engine could be separated from the dish and replaced by some type of heat collector and heat pipe able to transfer heat to the remote engine.

You would have other options than just switching to all gas / biomass as the heat source when there is no sun. You could get a faction of the heat from another source when the sun in less bright (i. e. late in the day or early in the morning.)

John

October 01, 2011

Solar Shakeout Continues: Stirling Energy Systems Files for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Another approach to a new technology might be to start by using it in a small niche where it has a distinct advantage. An example is the use of PV in satellites for decades.

I don't know just where the sterling would have an advantage over PV, but the Stirling's output is mechanical energy so perhaps an application like pumping or conventional air conditioning would have some advantage by not needing an intermediate electric motor.

The problem here is the Stirling engine, (and its mechanical output) is on the focus of the dish which moves.

John

October 02, 2011

Solar Shakeout Continues: Stirling Energy Systems Files for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Regarding T. C. Chandran's comment, could another fit for a small sterling energy be recycling waste heat in a hybrid car? The salient metric for hybrid car is miles per gallon (i. e. efficiency).

Conventional hybrid cars get all of their energy from an Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) and a well designed ICE is around 30% efficient. Thus 70% of the combustion energy is available as waste heat. If this waste was converted to usable energy at 30% efficiency with a Stirling engine, then .7*.3 = 21% additional energy would be realized.

The improvement would be new efficiency over old efficiency = (.3 + .21) .3 = .70%. Thus could new mpg = (old mpg) * 1.7. For this application, the Stirling engine and ICE could both turn the same EXISTING electrical generation components. The ICE and Stirling could be be clutched such that each is connected only when adding energy.


John Sotack

September 12, 2011

FBI Raids Solyndra Headquarters

Interesting point in 20 by Brian Julin. Hopefully those who approve such loans of the public's money are required to do "due diligence" in investing a company / technology before investing in it.

I understand there were private investors so it probably had apparent merit base on the information available. People with money to invest do not have it from making back investment decisions.

Perhaps subsidizing installation is better because it has less risks in that it involves products that already exist.

John
John

September 18, 2011

U.S. Senator to Obama: Hike Tariffs on Chinese Panels

I think you can almost always find a reason against tariffs. When you make a component of something more expensive, you make the end product more expensive (like a roof top solar installation). You will get less of the end product and all the activities that support it (ie inverters, metering equipment, installation labor). Tariffs try to pick winner and looser industries.

There is an intelligence in the free market that works toward greatest efficiency that extends beyond any one component. People tend to buy more of the best solution (which tends to grow) and less of the inferior solutions, that goes out of business. Ways of doing things get reformed through "Creative Destruction". If an external supplier can to solar panels better on a level playing field than the US, then maybe our talents are best used elsewhere (like developing high tech electronics).

John

September 18, 2011

U.S. Senator to Obama: Hike Tariffs on Chinese Panels

I think when people are dying of poverty (indequate nutrition, health care, shelter) they are more intested in getting the resources they need for their families to survive and consider things like pollution more secondary. In the case of China, as the people are becoming wealtheir, I think they may be caring more about air quality and other forms of pollution control. (See article link regarding Chinese Village's Protest of PV Manufactures pollution).

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904106704576578442998803296.html

I assume in free market there should be monopoly and antitrust protection, and things like environmental protection. More specifically a business should not directly harm other people or their property. What I don't like is pretectionism. I agree that there are aspects with China involving pollution and national security, and for those reasons I am not anti-tariff. However, I do not favor tilting the playing field.

As far as in Economics, I like Nobel Prize winning economist Miltron Freedman's joint work with his wife "Free To Choose". He tends toward liberatarinism, in my opinion and specifically addresses counter arguements to his philosophies. He seems a bit like a modern Adam Smith in terms of free markets.

As far was wealth distribution / redistribution, that is a topic for a purely political website. This forum has gone well beyond renewable energy as it is.

John

John Sotack

John Sotack

Presently Firmware engineer developing power instruments. Hobby interest in RE.

Total Access Partners

Growing Your Business? Learn More about Total Access