• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

The easy trap of false economies  RSS feed

 
David Williams
Posts: 133
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello like minded ppl,
This is my first post and hopefully one of many, My Name is David and i come from the future !! LOL well about 8-12 hours ahead of the US anyways
i have extensively been reading the forum threads here and am greatly encouraged at the thinkers and tinkerers making posts .....
Alas i thought i would put a post up as a reminder about "pit-falls" a lot of intelligent ppl fall into if they don't keep some basic principals in mind
while i am known by my friends to rant and rave with passion ... i'll try and keep it short and concise, and happy to keep an open dialog about things
We are all here for different reasons and each of us take something different from the texts we read , I do hope my input will help a few of you...
Here is an example of a "False Economy" that i am in regards to....
Lets say you want to lower your carbon footprint on our little speck we call Earth...so you go an buy a small wattage device to replace a previously owned
one that has a larger wattage, eg. a heater lets say the original being 2000 w and the new one being 1000 w and are both powered by the same
conventional power station .... you 2000 w heater raises the room temp to a set level, turns off and waits for the thermostat to kick in, your 2000 w
might run for say 33% of the time to keep even temperature .... now you have a 1000 w heater that needs to run 100% just to keep the room at said
temperature... over time you DO actually burn more energy ..... also , let say the element in the heaters have the same "lifetime" for eg 50,000 hours
of run time.... the 1000 w heater will run for 50,000 hours then "die" needing to be replaced but the 2000 w one will run for 150,000 hours before
needing to be replaced .... as we all know the plastics and metals manufacture require a lot of energy.. so any saving in power you have made at home
will simply be transferred somewhere else and actually can increase your carbon footprint, even tho that's the opposite of your intent....
A classic example of this is ppl who are making motor's that create "free energy" without factoring in the energy used to create the device/magnets
we all know in life "nothing comes for free" and if we do it wrong we pay in one way or another... and usually at the cost of our environment ....
Hydro-Electric power and some forms of Solar (Light , Radio Freq. and Biomass) ARE very good at reducing our footprint some seem to be but are simply not ...
When ever you change from a conventional to an alternative power source, try hard to look at ALL the pro's and con's .... TY Ladies and Gents for your ears and time
With Love Respect and Devotion .... Dave OXOXO
 
Dave Turpin
Posts: 112
Location: Groton, CT
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think it is fairly obvious that if your heating requirements have not changed and your heating type has not changed, then you will use at least as much energy as you did before.

But who would replace an electric resistance heater with another electric resistance heater? Instead a smart person would replace the inefficient resistance heater with a heat pump and at least quadruple their efficiency, or spend that money on insulation and thus reduce their heating requirement.

You are correct in that you need to calculate the lifetime energy usage of a system, including its manufacture, and the source of the energy, to determine if it is "clean" or not.

One "bad" example are hybrid cars. It can be shown that the additional energy needed to manufacture the Lithium-Ion or Nickel-Hydride batteries MORE THAN OFFSETS the energy savings that the cars provide over their entire life.

One "good" example are solar cells. Doped Silicon takes very little energy to produce and will then produce electricity for 50 years or more. Silicon is the most common element near the surface of the planet. We will never run out. The problem then comes from storage... Until we can get past that requirement by either putting the solar cells in space and microwaving the energy to Earth, or until someone invents a room-temperature superconductor.
 
David Williams
Posts: 133
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Dave Turpin wrote:I think it is fairly obvious that if your heating requirements have not changed and your heating type has not changed, then you will use at least as much energy as you did before.

But who would replace an electric resistance heater with another electric resistance heater? Instead a smart person would replace the inefficient resistance heater with a heat pump and at least quadruple their efficiency, or spend that money on insulation and thus reduce their heating requirement.


For those who have the financial resources to do so , yes your 100% correct , Unfortunately a lot of ppl with the right attitude and the wrong information DO tend to fall into those aforementioned traps....
and i have witnessed it first hand on many occasions , hence me taking the time to post

In regard to "PV solar" .... is one classic example , Yes Silica is one of the most abundant elements on Earth, Unfortunately the amount of "PV grade" usable Silica isn't, requiring a lot of processing, transporting, chemical treating, cleaning, refining and packaging to keep it from external damage and to make it perform well....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAufbqbUS6k here is a link that shows the worlds biggest manufacturer of crystalline PV solar cells, do you think this factory runs on solar ? the trucks that ship the silica 1000's of km being EV? do you think they use all they produce from what they refine ? where do the etchants , solvents, mined silica, silver, copper, and aluminium come from that are incorporated in it's production? the protective plastics and resins ? until all these are made utilizing solar power... it's not "clean energy" , these are the questions we NEED to ask ....

"More than 98% of semiconductor-grade polysilicon is produced by the trichlorosilane (SiHCl3) distillation and reduction method. The trichlorosilane is manufactured by fluidizing a bed of fine pulverized metallurgical-grade silicon (MG-Si), which is more than 98% silicon, with hydrogen chloride in the presence of a copper-containing catalyst. The MG-Si, which costs about US$1/kg, is produced by the reduction of natural quartzite (silica) with coke (carbon) in an electric arc furnace. This method of polysilicon production is very energy intensive [13], and it produces large amounts of wastes, including a
mix of environmentally damaging chlorinated compounds. About 80% of the initial metallurgical-grade silicon material is wasted during the process."
just a short extract from http://www.nrel.gov/docs/legosti/FY98/23902.pdf

A solar cell does last for 30-50 years converting 14-20% of the radiation that hits it , 1 litre of petrol is equivalent to 470KG of lead acid batteries in energy output .. how many hours does your solar cell take to charge 1/2 a tonne of car batteries ? and how many litres were burnt in transport and manufacture of that PV ? be it diesel, coal, petrol ... not just for the PV itself , but for all it's inputs ...
Solar is VERY viable, but not in this form IMHO

Yes i know the document was made in 1998, but the process remains the same today, and a lot of it is made from wastes used in IC manufacture (recycling, something i do like)
Also ALL China based PV manufacturing companies are under government subsidy (hence the cheap cost to end user)

There are many forms of solar energy that can be captured and utilized far more efficiently.... hydro-electricity and wind can be made using existing parts with small tweeks that have already been manufactured (rewinding electric motors ect) getting more use from the carbon already spent..... Using the heat from the sun in solar cookers / heat exchanges, Using the most efficient solar panel (plants) and using it's biomass in digesters or gasifiers, even from utilizing the heat inherent in decomposition, Capturing RF radiation from the atmosphere.... Solar chimney's and harnessing convection (wind).
The BIGGEST change we need to see, is a change of global thinking and values.... i feel this has to be done with a 3 pronged approach 1) Awareness and Education through Discussion 2) Non malicious Force as in Lobbying and Boycotting 3) Leading by example .... And lastly , i think this has to be done in the form of "Community" it wont happen through a corporation , government or any formal institution... EACH of us need to be a beacon , vocal and actively pursuing it... This forum is one of the MOST important stepping stones on this path.... and the creators , moderators and participants should be revered for their actions
 
Andor Horvath
Posts: 91
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
check out builditsolar.com for a sheetload of info and how to/DIY projects;
conservation/insulation is usually your best bang for the buck/most effective way to save the planet...
search for paul's video on how to heat the person, not the house....shows up often in the header...
read BIS for a few days (weeks), and then peruse the links I offered under the "links" area to find more of the 'techie' discussion boards etc....

hope this helps,

Andor aka mechartnik
 
David Williams
Posts: 133
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've spent a few days looking over the site ( www.builditsolar.com ) and it has some wonderful inspirational ideas , you'll notice when i say "Solar" i also include wind, hydro and many other forms, often getting unusual responses .... especially from "fossil fuels are solar energy" lol ... After looking over internet sites i haven't seen some of the idea's i have come up with ( or things close to it )... so when i get the chance (and some advice) i will post them up exclusively on Permies.com, some of which i might have to patent so others don't control the principles, allowing for better distribution of the tech .... i have been skilled and employed in welding manufacture (boilermaker), conventional mixed farming and operations as well as a export meat inspection ... so these are more than likely the skill set and line of pursual for most of my idea's, and will try to post schematics, diagrams with data and hopefully a few photo's / video's too ... Living in Australia with high summer temps 50 C / 122 F and winter lows of -7 C / 19.4 F post not only some challenges but also opportunities ... as we are a sun rich nation , would make a ideal proving ground for such idea's..... and since IMO ALL forms of energy on this planet are a derivative of solar in some form, will post them as" carbon neutral or carbon negative" .... KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK GUYS AND GIRLS !!!
 
Hey! Wanna see my flashlight? It looks like this tiny ad:
Permaculture Playing Cards by Paul Wheaton and Alexander Ojeda
https://permies.com/wiki/57503/digital-market/digital-market/Permaculture-Playing-Cards-Paul-Wheaton
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!