...or if there is a low cost alternative that offers an attractive option. Some people here may not like the 'D' word, but a large part of the picture taking market finds it attractive. They didn't stop making horse driven buggies when the auto took over the personal transportation market, but the volume sure dropped; but buggies are relatively simple to make without fancy machines.
Originally Posted by Photo Engineer
'Fancy' films may be in trouble. BTW, I hope they won't be, because I'm stlil a big believer that the best archiving medium for D images is film.
What I don't understand is the talk about installing "batteries" to store electric energy from peak production hours to peak consumption hours, on a national grid level. Wouldn't that require huge installations, with huge costs?
Besides, batteries age. Even in an electric car the battery pack must be substituted every few years. I expect performances to be declining during the years of use. How can that be applied to electric energy?
I ask this because there are talks, here in Italy, about adapting the distribution network to the new needs caused by the huge increase in small intermittent plants (solar, wind) which causes several problems, notably that conventional power stations have now to run for shorter periods of time, with shorter notice, and much higher costs. As far as I can gather, there is talk about solving the problem with some sort of accumulators.
Seems economically (and possibly ecologically) infeasible at first glance to a layman like me.
The Seneca Power Station at Kinzua Dam near Warren, PA is essentially a storage battery for electricity... without using batteries. It uses hydroelectric power derived from water pumped from the dam during off-peak hours.
Originally Posted by Diapositivo
Regarding nuclear power safety... there doesn't seem to be much talk about the coal power plant explosion in Japan at the same time that send radioactive coal dust everywhere. Because everyone is "hurr durr nuclear bad".
Well the alternative is mostly coal power for a lot of us, and that is radioactive, but with no protection! Deaths are a natural part of coal power production when it's operating normally, let alone the long term affects when a coal power disaster happens. Not to mention the air pollution you get from being anywhere near coal power (or almost anywhere in the country in China). Studies even show that coal ash is more radioactive than nuclear waste. But also has a shit tonne of other problems associated with it.
Deaths due to nuclear power is only when something goes wrong!
No, let's not not use nuclear power, let's just stick with coal for a long time to come (before anything else that can completely replace all power demands comes along).
Yes I knew that. I meant chemical accumulators. Italy has got "plenty" of hydroelectric power stations which are also used as accumulator of potential energy, but it's basically infeasible to build new ones (for environmental and social reasons). Hence the talk about "real batteries" on a national grid level which finds me quite surprised.
Originally Posted by Worker 11811
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
I really like the idea of pumped storage hydroelectric generation. I think it is a smart idea. The idea of chemical batteries is interesting but I wonder about the environmental cost of batteries versus pumped storage.
First, both are net consumers of power. There are costs associated with pumping water uphill and there are costs associated with losses in batteries. Batteries might come out ahead. However, I wonder about the environmental cost of making batteries out of (toxic?) chemicals then keeping them contained during use as opposed to the environmental cost of building reservoirs. Then there is the cost of replacing worn out batteries versus maintenance on dams and reservoirs.
I imagine that pumped hydroelectric storage might come out ahead in the long run. I don't know. I'd have to look it up but that's my guess.
As for nuclear power versus coal and gas, we still do basically the same thing: We boil water. That water is turned into steam which turns generators. The inefficiencies in the generation process are the same for both. In the end, it comes down to the question of which fuel source is better.
Is nuclear power safer than coal? In the short term, I think not but, in the long term, I think nuclear comes out ahead because, as stated above, burning coal produces pollution that is as bad or worse than the potential of pollution from nuclear fuel. We have to either dispose of nuclear fuel or learn how to recycle it. We have to worry about disasters which would release radiation into the environment but those problems are essentially point-source events. If a problem happens, it happens all at once and has great consequences in the short term. With coal, we don't have to worry so much about short-term disasters but, long term pollution costs might outstrip the superficial benefits.
Again, I don't know for sure but I guess that nuclear power comes out ahead in the long run, provided we accept the caveat that we have to be really freakin' careful. One false move and we've got troubles, Bubbles!
At the end, I come down on the side of pro-nuclear with serious consideration of that caveat. I don't think we know everything we need to know about keeping nuclear power safe and making it better but I think that's because so many people react with knee-jerk fear of it. I think we should hold the line on what nuclear power we have. Don't forge ahead to build more but don't get rid of the plants that are operating now. We should use them to learn from and help us build better ones.
As I said, I hate it when people seem to say that nuclear power is SO BAD that we can't even do research on it. I stipulate that it can be bad but I believe that is the very reason why we should study it. To find out how to keep it from being so bad.
Secondarily, I have always felt that using nuclear reactors to make steam is a waste. Isn't there a way to harness the nuclear reaction to produce electricity directly? I know that there is, in theory, but nobody has figured out how to do it on a sustained level. It would be really cool if we could but, to do that, we need research.
In the mean time, what's the next best thing to coal or nuclear? Hydro is at the top of the list. Isn't it?
Wind, wave and solar are next, after that but I don't think they'll ever be a solution for the long term because you can never count on them being a constant source of power even if you connect the generators into giant grids. Wind is just too unstable. The sun isn't constant and seas can be calm one day and be raging torrents the next. I think they are good ADJUNCTS to our power solution but not the solution by themselves.
That brings us back to coal, hydro and nuclear.
I think we should hold the line on coal: No more but no less. (Unless we absolutely have to build more.) I think we should supplement our coal power with hydro power. I think we should learn to build better nuclear plants then, finally, fill in the gaps with wind, wave and solar power.
Back to the topic sentence: I think pumped storage is in the same department as wind, wave and solar. It's not practical for the long term but as an adjunct, it's good. I think it also might make a good research tool, as well. (i.e. How to build better generators and pumps that are better and more efficient.)
Batteries? Sure I think they'll work but for the long term? I think they are at the bottom of the list.
Fusion! That is the answer. Or, the Casimir effect which brings us back to capacitors in a way..
PE is right when he suggests fusion.
Originally Posted by Photo Engineer
It's what powers the universe and the fuel for it is hydrogen. Our oceans have enough hydrogen to support fusion for billions of years even at extravagant consumption rates. The "ash" is helium and there is no long term nuclear waste. Every country in the world has more than enough supplies. The stuff can't be weaponised. All the basic science has been well understood for decades. Controlled fusion has been done hundreds of times in laboratories.
All that is required is to solve some engineering problems so that the energy coming out exceeds the energy put in. A concerted effort, perhaps not even as big as the Manhattan project, could solve human energy demand forever. The obstacles ultimately are political and financial.
Photography, the word itself, invented and defined by its author Sir John.F.W.Herschel, 14 March 1839 at the Royal Society, Somerset House, London. Quote "...Photography or the application of the Chemical rays of light to the purpose of pictorial representation,..". unquote.
I think there may be more than just political and financial devils in those engineering details...
Originally Posted by Maris
"There is very limited audience for the arty stuff, and it is largely comprised of other arty types, most of whom have no money to spend because no one is buying their stuff either. More people bring their emotions to an image than bring their intellect. The former are the folks who have checkbooks because they are engineers, accountants, and bankers—and generally they are engineers, accountants and bankers because they are not artists."
— Amanda Tomlin, Looking Glass Magazine, 2014