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    Everyone and his/her mother has heard of at least one method of alternative fuel, be it Solar, Wind, Nuclear, Geothermal, etc. However, the concept of creating a meaningful thread, where intellectuals can purposefully and earnestly discuss the scientific and logical backings of each source, has yet to reach tsr. I thought that I'd do the honors, and get this rolling.

    The most basic and simple argument that exists to the bane of alternative energy innovators is the practicability of their field of science, in terms of usefulness to the average individual. In short, your great and marvelously complex machines that extract heat from the wavelengths of light or from running water count for nothing unless GM or Ford can manage to transport them into a sedan, since greenhouse gas admissions are like, 85% from cars.

    That being said, a smorgasbord of counterpoints exist for most of the other forms of alternative energy, along the lines of;

    Hydroelectric, Solar, and other such methods of energy are relatively easy to implement and have a solid level of energy output.
    Except that they are all heavily environmental, as the United States is just geographically incapable of littering windmills and dams across the map.

    Nuclear Energy is incredibly efficient, almost 4 times that of most other energy sources, and unlike the previous source, is adaptable to fit anywhere in this nation.
    Yet they pose a relatively moderate sense of danger, and an appropriate method of eliminating nuclear waste has yet to surface.

    Ethanol is...
    ... an energy source that has been ludicrously overfunded, to the billions, and has yet to be used efficiently.

    Alternative energy sources are just unfunded
    Because, unfortunately, they are terribly non-cost effective. Terrible cycle, I know.
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    (Original post by WarmEye)
    In short, your great and marvelously complex machines that extract heat from the wavelengths of light or from running water count for nothing unless GM or Ford can manage to transport them into a sedan, since greenhouse gas admissions are like, 85% from cars.
    This is simply not true. One example would be http://www.tetracom.ca/transtalk/wp-...2_emission.png

    The way forward appears to be a bit of energy efficiency and the odd renewable source here and there; but only it is only nuclear that has the ability to replace oil/gas as our main source of energy, pending further research into fusion.
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    They are nescessary, cost-effective or not.

    but we simply cannot to even start trying to use them to match our current energy consumption. We are never going to be able to drive around in cars, sit at a computer all day and watch TV in a well-lit house all evening, by renewable sources alone.

    To make them effective, we need to drastically cut the demand. If the demand is cut by 50% then we will have a much greater chance of fully implementing renewables (and nuclear is not renewable).

    Technology alone cannot tackle climate change. We need social change for a sustainable future.
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    Nukes.

    [/Debate]
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    Solar is going to be the key into the futuer for alternative energy as it is less intrusive than others such as wind and can be used on a localised grid.
    However a blend of technology is the best solution.

    The developments in technology occur at such a rapid pace that someting that seems impossiable (eg solar providing large amounts of power) could be realistic within a decade. Such as the current developments of incorporating solar cells into windows
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/sc...ls-865592.html
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    It seems to me that this issue is basically about property damage. Certain activities impose a financial cost on others for which they cannot be made to pay compensation under the present legal system. If this were changed, then the full cost of these activities would be made payable by those individuals carrying them out.

    Once that is in place, choosing which type of powerplant to build &c. is decided naturally by the market. The cheapest system that provides the desired service will be selected either by enlightened forward planning on the part of the energy companies or else by outcompeting those energy companies that chose wrongly.

    Based on the evidence, I doubt any 'alternative' sources would be built in such a regime, in favour of a mix of fossil fuels with carbon sequestration and nuclear, but that's by the by.
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    Nothing will ever approach fossil fuels. The advantage of fossil fuels is their sheer efficiency. They are capable of compacting huge amounts of energy into a relatively small amount of fuel. Nature is amazing really. A drop of petrol provides far more energy than a drop of alcohol, just as coal provides more energy that wood.
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    (Original post by SolInvictus)
    Nothing will ever approach fossil fuels. The advantage of fossil fuels is their sheer efficiency. They are capable of compacting huge amounts of energy into a relatively small amount of fuel. Nature is amazing really. A drop of petrol provides far more energy than a drop of alcohol, just as coal provides more energy that wood.
    And a drop of trituim supplies far more energy than a ridiculously sized lump of coal. Fusion power ftw!

    I highly doubt that wind power will ever amount to anything since (unless the technology has advanced a lot since i did GCSEs) each turbine produces a miniscule amount of electricity compared to what a fossil fuel plant can churn out. Wind and solar are pretty good for small scale applications though; theres dozens of funny looking lamp posts round where I live that have a few solar panels and a turbine on top. From the looks of things, they're attached to those car counting strips on the road, but its possible that they could be used for things like traffic lights. And that would cut down on the infrastructure needed to transport the energy to where it is needed.
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    (Original post by Gourdman)
    And a drop of trituim supplies far more energy than a ridiculously sized lump of coal. Fusion power ftw!
    We are as close to fusion power as travelling at warp speed. Such things only work in Star Wars.
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    (Original post by WarmEye)
    Yet they pose a relatively moderate sense of danger, and an appropriate method of eliminating nuclear waste has yet to surface.
    I recall that theoretically it's reasonably easy to eliminate nuclear waste. Normal fission reactors rely on unsupported fission but nuclear waste can be fissioned given a suitably powerful neutron source. It will even give out energy for anything of greater atomic mass than iron-56, though this isn't necessarily more than you put in.

    The concept is rather dramatically called an energy amplifier but probably won't ever be built as the high cost of constructing (it would require a synchrotron or such) would be unlikely to be payed off by any electricity generated.

    So a method does exist, but its not really currently feasible as a commercial project and isn't necessary enough to be funded solely to reduce waste.

    Also, Google is pushing for geothermal power in America
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    (Original post by SolInvictus)
    We are as close to fusion power as travelling at warp speed. Such things only work in Star Wars.
    Like hell we are.

    We already have fusion reactors, we've been making fusion occur for decades. And we can get energy out of it. Admittedly, this works out as a loss overall as we get out less than we put in (i think JET's record is 60%)

    Admittedly we're still 50 years off from using it as a wide-scale powersource (They said that 50 years ago, but this time, they MEAN it) but make no mistake: its possible, its feasible, and it's coming.


    The world needs to get over its fear of nuclear power, it's not as dangerous as claimed, and produces a lot less waste than is commonly depicted. The problem is that they take a long time to build (about 10 years from "Lets have a power station" to "Here, have some electricity")
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    (Original post by Gourdman)
    Like hell we are.

    We already have fusion reactors, we've been making fusion occur for decades. And we can get energy out of it. Admittedly, this works out as a loss overall as we get out less than we put in (i think JET's record is 60%)

    Admittedly we're still 50 years off from using it as a wide-scale powersource (They said that 50 years ago, but this time, they MEAN it) but make no mistake: its possible, its feasible, and it's coming.


    The world needs to get over its fear of nuclear power, it's not as dangerous as claimed, and produces a lot less waste than is commonly depicted. The problem is that they take a long time to build (about 10 years from "Lets have a power station" to "Here, have some electricity&quot
    You are confusing fusion with fission.
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    (Original post by SolInvictus)
    You are confusing fusion with fission.
    No he's not.
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    (Original post by SolInvictus)
    You are confusing fusion with fission.
    Like hell I am.

    I even gave you an organisation name in my post (JET - Joint European Tokamok) that you could have checked if you were so sure of yourself. And I talked about fission power LATER in my post, as an entirely SEPERATE thing, how could i be confusing them? Have you not heard of ITER? It was all over the news last year.

    I've been to JET. It's in Culham, just a few hours away. It's next to a giant coal power station. It uses a whopping 1% of the national grid when switched on. If they do it during high demand they can BREAK the national grid and get fined hundreds of thousands of pounds. It has two giant flywheels (bout 300 tonnes ecah) to store electricity as kinetic energy so that they can slowly take energy off the grid.

    Would you like me to go on? Shall I explain about the magnetic containment for the half-gram of plasma? The sheeting they use to catch the nuetrons released? The giant transformers and lasers used to heat the plasma to HOTTER THAN THE SUN?

    http://www.iter.org/index.htm

    Read, digest. Actually do some ****** research before throwing accusations of stupidty at people.
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    (Original post by SolInvictus)
    You are confusing fusion with fission.
    Not with his mention of JET. I don't know how long we've been building fusion reactors, but research has been progressing for a long while (just looking at the binding energy curve makes fusion frighteningly obvious, even when you discount the negative side-effects of fission).

    At the moment, many of our problems seem to be engineering based, e.g. a requirement for better steels and the like. Hopefully it'll all be soluble.
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    (Original post by Gourdman)
    Like hell I am.

    I even gave you an organisation name in my post (JET - Joint European Tokamok) that you could have checked if you were so sure of yourself. And I talked about fission power LATER in my post, as an entirely SEPERATE thing, how could i be confusing them? Have you not heard of ITER? It was all over the news last year.

    I've been to JET. It's in Culham, just a few hours away. It's next to a giant coal power station. It uses a whopping 1% of the national grid when switched on. If they do it during high demand they can BREAK the national grid and get fined hundreds of thousands of pounds. It has two giant flywheels (bout 300 tonnes ecah) to store electricity as kinetic energy so that they can slowly take energy off the grid.

    Would you like me to go on? Shall I explain about the magnetic containment for the half-gram of plasma? The sheeting they use to catch the nuetrons released? The giant transformers and lasers used to heat the plasma to HOTTER THAN THE SUN?

    http://www.iter.org/index.htm

    Read, digest. Actually do some ****** research before throwing accusations of stupidty at people.
    oh dude, sorry. Been on hold with Lloyds TSB, and that ridiculous song of theirs has been playing till hell, giving me a headache.

    The Joint Torus is hardly the epitome of commercial or pragmatic viability. It hasn't produced the Q ration necessary (IIRC) and it has only been able to at peak produce the energy of a few locomotives.

    This, like the JT-60 is still a giant laboratory. Commercial quantities aren't even close to being tested, and we are still waiting a a decade before the ITER will be completed, and then lord knows how many years after that for it to be set up for use.

    I seriously question whether we will ever be able to take this beyond the experimental level any time within this century.

    EDIT: Oh yea, and DEMO, the first viable source of power on any level is at least 20 years away from the completion of the ITER experiments and data.
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    (Original post by jacketpotato)
    This is simply not true. One example would be http://www.tetracom.ca/transtalk/wp-...2_emission.png

    The way forward appears to be a bit of energy efficiency and the odd renewable source here and there; but only it is only nuclear that has the ability to replace oil/gas as our main source of energy, pending further research into fusion.
    While fusion is a possibility, it is not in the forseeable future to be a dominant energy source, and furthermore, you can't put it into cars because it does have some radioactivity, albeit less then fission reactors.

    A problem with current reactors though is safety. Sure, it has enough redundant securities around it like concrete, but it does produce nuclear waste, which has to be transported somewhere. Using a rocket to shoot it into the sun is unsafe, expensive and prone to more accidents. Using trucks requires several inches, if not feet of concrete to protect the radiation within it, and is prone to terrorist attacks. Keeping it in the ground under the power plant is also unsafe and prone to accidents.

    Ray Kurzweil, one of the leading futurists made a prediction that at current rates, we will be totally dependent on Solar and Nano tech in 20 years. (Or by 2020, I forgot which it was...)
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    (Original post by Sephirona)
    While fusion is a possibility, it is not in the forseeable future to be a dominant energy source, and furthermore, you can't put it into cars because it does have some radioactivity, albeit less then fission reactors.
    Why does that mean you can't put it into cars? They have nuclear powered submarines where the men can be locked in with the reactor for up to 6months at a time. I appreciate submarines and cars are a bit different, but the fact that it's mobile and has people in it - and "has some radioactivity" doesn't mean we can't have nuclear reactors powering them. Perhaps a problem with minaturisation does, but the radioactivity doesn't.
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    It would be incredibly expensive.

    More likely the energy from fusion in large powerstations would be used to produce hydrogen and methanol industrially for use in cars.
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    (Original post by DanGrover)
    Why does that mean you can't put it into cars? They have nuclear powered submarines where the men can be locked in with the reactor for up to 6months at a time. I appreciate submarines and cars are a bit different, but the fact that it's mobile and has people in it - and "has some radioactivity" doesn't mean we can't have nuclear reactors powering them. Perhaps a problem with minaturisation does, but the radioactivity doesn't.
    It's great for powering cars, the nuclear reactor engine wouldn't have to be refueled for five to ten years. "The only problem is that it would kill the driver, the passengers, and perhaps bystanders." (Stanford professor John McCarthy) Other then that, its great.

    Cars cannot be compared to submarines. Submarines are huge machines that weigh several tons and can protect the nuclear reactor engine with feets of thick concrete. Cars are small little machines that weigh about one ton.

    By "some" radioactivity from fusion, I meant the half-lifes are significantly shorter. It's only high level waste for 50 years.
 
 
 
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