The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Discussions about serious topics, for serious people
Post Reply
User avatar
Martin_B
Snowbonk
Posts: 508
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:20 pm
Location: Perth, WA

Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Martin_B » Wed May 13, 2020 9:15 am

bjn wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 8:33 am
Martin_B wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 2:41 am
basementer wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 2:24 am


Yes, they stopped needing to do that a couple of seasons ago.
Shows how long since I last watched then, doesn't it! Watching Formula 1 is difficult enough over here, Formula E is close to impossible. If it's not V8 Supercars then it's un-Australian :roll:
A suped up Holden Commodore does not count as a supercar.
So you're a Ford man, then!
"Don't tell me that the sky's the limit when there are footprints on the moon"

User avatar
bjn
Catbabel
Posts: 654
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:58 pm

Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by bjn » Wed May 13, 2020 10:37 am

Martin_B wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 9:15 am
bjn wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 8:33 am
Martin_B wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 2:41 am

Shows how long since I last watched then, doesn't it! Watching Formula 1 is difficult enough over here, Formula E is close to impossible. If it's not V8 Supercars then it's un-Australian :roll:
A suped up Holden Commodore does not count as a supercar.
So you're a Ford man, then!
Falcons suck as well.

User avatar
Grumble
Catbabel
Posts: 985
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:03 pm

Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Grumble » Fri May 15, 2020 3:41 pm

Air fuelled plasma thruster proof of concept
https://phys.org/news/2020-05-fossil-fu ... n-air.html

This is an extension of work done for high altitude/space thrusters AFAICS. They claim an equivalent thrust to a jet engine, but which jet engine I’m not sure and in any case I’m not sure that you can scale like that. Still, it’s an exciting proof of concept and who knows, maybe a fully electric jet engine only propelled by air plasma is on the cards in the future.
I know this is vitriol, no solution, spleen venting, but I feel better having screamed, don’t you?

User avatar
jimbob
Dorkwood
Posts: 1458
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:04 pm
Location: High Peak/Manchester

Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by jimbob » Sat May 16, 2020 4:57 pm

bjn wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 10:37 am


Falcons suck as well.
A Falcon took my Mum and three friends round the world in a couple of years in the 1960s.

The first two times she came to the UK was (mostly) by road.

She was a New Zealander.
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

User avatar
bjn
Catbabel
Posts: 654
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:58 pm

Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by bjn » Sat May 16, 2020 6:22 pm

jimbob wrote:
Sat May 16, 2020 4:57 pm
bjn wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 10:37 am


Falcons suck as well.
A Falcon took my Mum and three friends round the world in a couple of years in the 1960s.

The first two times she came to the UK was (mostly) by road.

She was a New Zealander.
We had a burnt orange Ford Falcon 500 in the 70s and 80s. Horrid beast of a thing.

User avatar
jimbob
Dorkwood
Posts: 1458
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:04 pm
Location: High Peak/Manchester

Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by jimbob » Sat May 16, 2020 8:06 pm

bjn wrote:
Sat May 16, 2020 6:22 pm
jimbob wrote:
Sat May 16, 2020 4:57 pm
bjn wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 10:37 am


Falcons suck as well.
A Falcon took my Mum and three friends round the world in a couple of years in the 1960s.

The first two times she came to the UK was (mostly) by road.

She was a New Zealander.
We had a burnt orange Ford Falcon 500 in the 70s and 80s. Horrid beast of a thing.
Now imagine living in one foe 24 months with 3 others
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

User avatar
bjn
Catbabel
Posts: 654
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:58 pm

Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by bjn » Sat May 16, 2020 10:32 pm

Back on topic. Interesting article on cost projections for solar power. Empirically, the learning curve gives you a 30-40% cost reduction per doubling, which is insanely huge. The result has been costs have dropped far faster than even the biggest renewable fanbois have predicted, let alone various official agencies. We are something like 50-100 years ahead of where the IEA expected solar prices to be. Naam says there is no strong reason to believe this wont continue for a quite a few doublings yet. A range of scenarios have been modelled where overbuilding of renewables and curtailment, with some short term storage, can viably replace a huge amount of existing non renewable generation.

Image

User avatar
jimbob
Dorkwood
Posts: 1458
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:04 pm
Location: High Peak/Manchester

Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by jimbob » Sat May 16, 2020 11:22 pm

bjn wrote:
Sat May 16, 2020 10:32 pm
Back on topic. Interesting article on cost projections for solar power. Empirically, the learning curve gives you a 30-40% cost reduction per doubling, which is insanely huge. The result has been costs have dropped far faster than even the biggest renewable fanbois have predicted, let alone various official agencies. We are something like 50-100 years ahead of where the IEA expected solar prices to be. Naam says there is no strong reason to believe this wont continue for a quite a few doublings yet. A range of scenarios have been modelled where overbuilding of renewables and curtailment, with some short term storage, can viably replace a huge amount of existing non renewable generation.

Image
Yes, it's the investment in manufacturing capacity as much as the technological improvement.

And the cycle is working to increase the market applications. The oversupply part of the cycle forces the price down, which makes more applications economical and increases the overall market. The manufacturing equipment is still available, even if the company goes under - it's just then sold cheaply by the receivers.
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

User avatar
Bird on a Fire
Stummy Beige
Posts: 3514
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:05 pm
Location: nadir of brie

Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sun May 17, 2020 12:03 am

I find it impressive how much of this has happened through pure market forces, despite wealthy governments continuing to subsidize fossil fuels and despite well-funded misinformation campaigns from the fossil companies themselves.

We might actually be able to make the necessary transition to net zero by 2030, especially with a bit of leadership.

The details of the coronavirus bailout are going to be crucial.
Born at 356.32 ppm CO2 #ShowYourStripes

User avatar
bjn
Catbabel
Posts: 654
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:58 pm

Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by bjn » Sun May 17, 2020 7:56 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 12:03 am
I find it impressive how much of this has happened through pure market forces, despite wealthy governments continuing to subsidize fossil fuels and despite well-funded misinformation campaigns from the fossil companies themselves.

We might actually be able to make the necessary transition to net zero by 2030, especially with a bit of leadership.

The details of the coronavirus bailout are going to be crucial.
Not totally pure market forces. Renewable subsidies helped kick off the virtuous cycle of cost reductions. The initial build outs of solar and wind wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

User avatar
Grumble
Catbabel
Posts: 985
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:03 pm

Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Grumble » Sun May 17, 2020 7:58 am

Local political considerations notwithstanding, if we can build a cable from the U.K. to Norway we can build a cable from the Sahara to Europe. There must be very cheap land and generation costs there. It does have the disadvantage of having our energy supply subject to the whims of local dictators and warlords though, so possibly not ideal. We should probably learn our lesson from having our fossil fuels coming from Saudi.
I know this is vitriol, no solution, spleen venting, but I feel better having screamed, don’t you?

User avatar
jimbob
Dorkwood
Posts: 1458
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:04 pm
Location: High Peak/Manchester

Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by jimbob » Sun May 17, 2020 8:19 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 12:03 am
I find it impressive how much of this has happened through pure market forces, despite wealthy governments continuing to subsidize fossil fuels and despite well-funded misinformation campaigns from the fossil companies themselves.

We might actually be able to make the necessary transition to net zero by 2030, especially with a bit of leadership.

The details of the coronavirus bailout are going to be crucial.
Yes, there's a concept of "grid parity" for a renewable to be as cheap as the grid electricity. Even by 2012 it was cheaper in some remote areas.

Also there's the advances around sone of the enabling technologies, for example in solid state switches at the 650V rating, where Silicon is fighting it out with Silicon Carbide and Gallium Nitride (which is also used in white LEDs).

If you can get the efficiency of your 1kW power inverter from 95% to 99%, then the heat loss has gone from 50W to 10W and you can use passive air cooling rather than use a fan. This means you can now make it far more reliable, and maybe able to withstand immersion, meaning you have opened more applications for solar power units - sandy environments, perhaps.
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

User avatar
jimbob
Dorkwood
Posts: 1458
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:04 pm
Location: High Peak/Manchester

Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by jimbob » Sun May 17, 2020 8:20 am

bjn wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 7:56 am
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 12:03 am
I find it impressive how much of this has happened through pure market forces, despite wealthy governments continuing to subsidize fossil fuels and despite well-funded misinformation campaigns from the fossil companies themselves.

We might actually be able to make the necessary transition to net zero by 2030, especially with a bit of leadership.

The details of the coronavirus bailout are going to be crucial.
Not totally pure market forces. Renewable subsidies helped kick off the virtuous cycle of cost reductions. The initial build outs of solar and wind wouldn’t have happened otherwise.
Yes, like many technological innovations, there is a hump to get over, which is where governments can really help, with reducing the initial barriers.
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

User avatar
bjn
Catbabel
Posts: 654
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:58 pm

Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by bjn » Sun May 17, 2020 8:50 am

jimbob wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 8:20 am
bjn wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 7:56 am
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 12:03 am
I find it impressive how much of this has happened through pure market forces, despite wealthy governments continuing to subsidize fossil fuels and despite well-funded misinformation campaigns from the fossil companies themselves.

We might actually be able to make the necessary transition to net zero by 2030, especially with a bit of leadership.

The details of the coronavirus bailout are going to be crucial.
Not totally pure market forces. Renewable subsidies helped kick off the virtuous cycle of cost reductions. The initial build outs of solar and wind wouldn’t have happened otherwise.
Yes, like many technological innovations, there is a hump to get over, which is where governments can really help, with reducing the initial barriers.
Capital doesn’t like to invest in obviously money losing ventures and is generally risk averse. So no way would that initial build out have happened without government interventions. Using regulations to move societies between valleys in the economic landscape is an important thing when it results in broad benefits. The problem is some powerful folk like the valleys they are currently in (eg coal miners) or want to move us into valleys that are not good for most people (Brexiters).

User avatar
bjn
Catbabel
Posts: 654
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:58 pm

Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by bjn » Sun May 17, 2020 9:10 am

Grumble wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 7:58 am
Local political considerations notwithstanding, if we can build a cable from the U.K. to Norway we can build a cable from the Sahara to Europe. There must be very cheap land and generation costs there. It does have the disadvantage of having our energy supply subject to the whims of local dictators and warlords though, so possibly not ideal. We should probably learn our lesson from having our fossil fuels coming from Saudi.
China have built a 3,300 km, 1,100kV, 12 GW HVDC power line. That’s over twice the distance from Tunis to Munich. We have the technology to link up Europe and Africa now, well the Chinese do anyway. Even if we judge northern African countries too unstable to rely on for power generation, there is southern Spain and Italy.

tom p
Catbabel
Posts: 625
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:14 pm
Location: the low countries

Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by tom p » Sun May 17, 2020 2:03 pm

bjn wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 9:10 am
Grumble wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 7:58 am
Local political considerations notwithstanding, if we can build a cable from the U.K. to Norway we can build a cable from the Sahara to Europe. There must be very cheap land and generation costs there. It does have the disadvantage of having our energy supply subject to the whims of local dictators and warlords though, so possibly not ideal. We should probably learn our lesson from having our fossil fuels coming from Saudi.
China have built a 3,300 km, 1,100kV, 12 GW HVDC power line. That’s over twice the distance from Tunis to Munich. We have the technology to link up Europe and Africa now, well the Chinese do anyway. Even if we judge northern African countries too unstable to rely on for power generation, there is southern Spain and Italy.
Doesn't even have to be southern Spain. Central plains in the country are largely desert.
Much of Spain is dirt-poor, and I bet that deserty land is dead cheap

User avatar
Bird on a Fire
Stummy Beige
Posts: 3514
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:05 pm
Location: nadir of brie

Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sun May 17, 2020 2:52 pm

tom p wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 2:03 pm
bjn wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 9:10 am
Grumble wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 7:58 am
Local political considerations notwithstanding, if we can build a cable from the U.K. to Norway we can build a cable from the Sahara to Europe. There must be very cheap land and generation costs there. It does have the disadvantage of having our energy supply subject to the whims of local dictators and warlords though, so possibly not ideal. We should probably learn our lesson from having our fossil fuels coming from Saudi.
China have built a 3,300 km, 1,100kV, 12 GW HVDC power line. That’s over twice the distance from Tunis to Munich. We have the technology to link up Europe and Africa now, well the Chinese do anyway. Even if we judge northern African countries too unstable to rely on for power generation, there is southern Spain and Italy.
Doesn't even have to be southern Spain. Central plains in the country are largely desert.
Much of Spain is dirt-poor, and I bet that deserty land is dead cheap
Portugal seems to have a whole bunch of solar farms going up, despite having very little capital in the country for investment. Domestic solar installation is subsidised by the (nationalised) energy provider too.

The world's fourth biggest wind energy company is a spin-off from the state energy co. Though for some reason it's now based in Spain after becoming independent - something tells me Portugal isn't a competitive place to start a business.

But yeah they've got a long Atlantic coastline and the most sunshine in Europe so perhaps not a surprise they're doing well for renewables. Add in the cheap cost of labour, high educational attainment and moderate unemployment and I'd expect it to be a promising growth area. God knows the country needs it now that tourism's f.cked.
Born at 356.32 ppm CO2 #ShowYourStripes

tom p
Catbabel
Posts: 625
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:14 pm
Location: the low countries

Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by tom p » Sun May 17, 2020 3:24 pm

Aye, if I was in the Spanish or Portuguese governments I'd be trying to stimulate the economy by investing/stimulating investment in renewables massively.
Short-term boost to the economy that will generate long-term profits and exports, manufacturing and maintenance in the country. What's not to like?

AMS
Fuzzable
Posts: 304
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 11:14 pm

Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by AMS » Sun May 17, 2020 4:28 pm

I remember looking out the window of a flight to Lisbon a couple of years back a noticing the huge number of wind turbines along every ridge. That bit of Portugal's coast is basically hilly terrain facing out into the Atlantic, directly into the prevailing winds.

User avatar
bjn
Catbabel
Posts: 654
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:58 pm

Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by bjn » Sun May 17, 2020 8:53 pm

Some folks in Norway have done modelling for West Africa. They came to the conclusion that the cheapest generation mix to meet growing demand would be based around unsubsidised solar.
Under their “best policy scenario” leading up to 2050, they foresee solar PV potentially fulfilling 81–85% of total energy demand by 2050.

bmforre
Fuzzable
Posts: 303
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:15 pm
Location: Trondheim

Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by bmforre » Sun May 17, 2020 9:47 pm

bjn wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 8:53 pm
Some folks in Norway have done modelling for West Africa. They came to the conclusion that the cheapest generation mix to meet growing demand would be based around unsubsidised solar.
Under their “best policy scenario” leading up to 2050, they foresee solar PV potentially fulfilling 81–85% of total energy demand by 2050.
Some folks in Finland, not Norway.

And they assume that West-African nights will run on batteries.

User avatar
bjn
Catbabel
Posts: 654
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:58 pm

Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by bjn » Sun May 17, 2020 10:30 pm

bmforre wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 9:47 pm
bjn wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 8:53 pm
Some folks in Norway have done modelling for West Africa. They came to the conclusion that the cheapest generation mix to meet growing demand would be based around unsubsidised solar.
Under their “best policy scenario” leading up to 2050, they foresee solar PV potentially fulfilling 81–85% of total energy demand by 2050.
Some folks in Finland, not Norway.

And they assume that West-African nights will run on batteries.
Sorry, Finnish.

And yes, yes they do, along with interconnects and hydro.

User avatar
jimbob
Dorkwood
Posts: 1458
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:04 pm
Location: High Peak/Manchester

Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by jimbob » Mon May 18, 2020 1:28 pm

bmforre wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 9:47 pm
bjn wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 8:53 pm
Some folks in Norway have done modelling for West Africa. They came to the conclusion that the cheapest generation mix to meet growing demand would be based around unsubsidised solar.
Under their “best policy scenario” leading up to 2050, they foresee solar PV potentially fulfilling 81–85% of total energy demand by 2050.
Some folks in Finland, not Norway.

And they assume that West-African nights will run on batteries.
That is probably reasonable. A colleague* was telling me that is a market for EV batteries after their end of life jn cars. Basically, because the current** drain is so much lower, the battery lifetime in domestic applications is very long.

*Our site designs and develops power semiconductors and my colleague is one of the application engineers, developing demo systems and supporting customers with their designs using our parts.



**I think it is current rather than power.
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

User avatar
Bird on a Fire
Stummy Beige
Posts: 3514
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:05 pm
Location: nadir of brie

Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Bird on a Fire » Mon May 18, 2020 1:53 pm

When I was in rural Guinea Bissau last year, the only power in the village was from solar panels and batteries (other than the health clinic, which had a petrol/diesel generator).

Most houses had no power at all. The panels were on buildings run by local government and an NGO, but they let people charge their mobile phones there (the only electric device most people have). Nights were powered by the moon and wood fires.

Guinea Bissau has one of the world's lowest HDIs, but in my (admittedly pretty limited) experience of rural Africa it's not atypical for there to be no paved roads or other large-scale long-distance infrastructure. A bunch of panels and an old motorbike battery is a lot easier to set up than any large centralised solution.

We were moving around a lot, and just had a foldable panel around 1.5m^2 and a battery, which was enough to run a fridge for samples, my boss's laptop, a device for centrifuging and analysing blood samples, plus various phones and tablets and gubbins. Most people in the area have much less than that.

Plus, most demand can be timed. Charging phones happens in the day, as does listening/watching football on the radio/tv and office work for government and NGO workers. That's about it.

Bit of a rambly anecdote sorry, but I do think it's an entirely reasonable suggestion for meeting current demand (a few panels per village) and easily scalable for future decades (probably eventually reaching one or more panels per house).

I'm not as familiar with urban power sources (though I think that's still less than 50% of the region's population) but my impression is that there's a lot of dependence on generators as centralised schemes are unreliable. It's probably easier to swap generators for panel+battery than fix the larger-scale grid.
Born at 356.32 ppm CO2 #ShowYourStripes

User avatar
dyqik
After Pie
Posts: 2231
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:19 pm
Location: Masshole
Contact:

Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by dyqik » Mon May 18, 2020 4:52 pm

jimbob wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 1:28 pm

That is probably reasonable. A colleague* was telling me that is a market for EV batteries after their end of life jn cars. Basically, because the current** drain is so much lower, the battery lifetime in domestic applications is very long.

*Our site designs and develops power semiconductors and my colleague is one of the application engineers, developing demo systems and supporting customers with their designs using our parts.



**I think it is current rather than power.
Yeah, I'm pretty sure it's current. Current tends to be the big issue with batteries - for a given chemistry, the voltage is pretty much constant, so to get MOAR POWER!! you have to source more current. Stacking batteries to get high voltages does something, but then you are stacking the source resistances internal to the cells as well.

Post Reply