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Earthquake/tsunami in Tohoku, North East Japan (11th March 2011)

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From his numbers, the world simply won't be getting an extra 8-10 thousand gigawatts of generating capacity by 2050, from any source.

 

I'm just looking at what can be done here in Japan, though. I think so far it has been demonstrated that we can, in fact, manage without nuclear power, since only 16 of 54 reactors are up at the moment. And that is just with conservation measures. Start putting solar panels on everyone's house (a stand-alone house in Japan can just about generate its own needs from solar panels on the roof, from numbers I have been looking at), and then one can start tapering off on the fossil fuel plants as well. And that is before ramping up other sources like geothermal, and developing energy storage for load-leveling.

 

Doesn't seem ridiculously impossible, at least.

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Originally Posted By: pie-eater
Originally Posted By: Metabo Oyaji
Originally Posted By: TubbyBeaverinho
although I can understand the scenery question, surely a power station doesn't NEED to be a blight on the eye, couldn't they actually think about how to hide the ugliness?


Now there's an idea. Perhaps put the whole thing underground? With some fans to stir the steam coming out to make it look natural?

I'm thinking pie-eater could come up with some good ideas here.
I'm on the case Metabo. Of course I work from a purely theoretical viewpoint not being fully conversant with all the science. I'll let you know my findings asap!


No problem, pie. We're counting on you to be the big ideas man. Practical details can be worked out later.

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Quote:
Start putting solar panels on everyone's house (a stand-alone house in Japan can just about generate its own needs from solar panels on the roof, from numbers I have been looking at), and then one can start tapering off on the fossil fuel plants as well. And that is before ramping up other sources like geothermal, and developing energy storage for load-leveling.


Not at night or in winter. Not economically. Read the full piece and look at Brook's numbers. Bear in mind he's a Green, so he's a renewable optimist. Each house generating its own needs (except at night time, when you are sitting in the dark with no heat) won't build Toyotas or Playstations. Exiting nuclear and fossil fuel power will simply export Japan's economy to China. That isn't going to happen.

Sitting in a cold house by candle light, and having to carry meltwater upstairs to flush the dunny is no fun. From personal experience. Renewable enthusiasts should try it.

I'll do some numbers, but that may take a couple of days.

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Originally Posted By: pie-eater
Originally Posted By: Metabo Oyaji
Originally Posted By: TubbyBeaverinho
although I can understand the scenery question, surely a power station doesn't NEED to be a blight on the eye, couldn't they actually think about how to hide the ugliness?


Now there's an idea. Perhaps put the whole thing underground? With some fans to stir the steam coming out to make it look natural?

I'm thinking pie-eater could come up with some good ideas here.
I'm on the case Metabo. Of course I work from a purely theoretical viewpoint not being fully conversant with all the science. I'll let you know my findings asap!


Make sure you leave a hole in the top, like any decent pie maker should know, to vent the steam. biggrin

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Originally Posted By: soubriquet
Quote:
Start putting solar panels on everyone's house (a stand-alone house in Japan can just about generate its own needs from solar panels on the roof, from numbers I have been looking at), and then one can start tapering off on the fossil fuel plants as well. And that is before ramping up other sources like geothermal, and developing energy storage for load-leveling.


Not at night or in winter. Not economically. Read the full piece and look at Brook's numbers. Bear in mind he's a Green, so he's a renewable optimist. Each house generating its own needs (except at night time, when you are sitting in the dark with no heat) won't build Toyotas or Playstations. Exiting nuclear and fossil fuel power will simply export Japan's economy to China. That isn't going to happen.

Sitting in a cold house by candle light, and having to carry meltwater upstairs to flush the dunny is no fun. From personal experience. Renewable enthusiasts should try it.


Done that, many times while growing up, just due to the spring line freezing up every year. I also know folks who live off the grid. It is quite workable. Would be even easier for them if they had a grid to sell back to and draw from (as would be the case for most people in Japan) rather than relying on their own batteries for load leveling.

Quote:
I'll do some numbers, but that may take a couple of days.


Here are mine:

Average insolation: 4.5 kWh/m^2/day, or 1640 kWh/m^2/year
Solar panel efficiency: 20% (Sharp claims 32% now, but will assume last year's model)
==>Available electricity: 330 kWh/m^2/year

Electricity usage per capita: 8,000 kWh/year

==>Solar panel area needed per capita: 24 m^2 = 15 tatami mats = 7.5 tsubo

==>For a 3-person household, needed solar panel area = 3*7.5 = 22.5 tsubo

...which is about the footprint (or roof area) of a typical house.

This covers all electricity per person, including that person's share of the electricity used by Toyota, the person's employer, and the pachinko parlor down the road.

If one only wants to cover the residential part -- the part used by the house itself -- one only needs to cover 1/3 of the area. (I note that extrapolating from my electricity bill yields about a similar number.)

Yes, this is not constant, but it doesn't have to be as long as there are base load installations (or storage, either private or grid-based) to take up the slack.

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Soub: Look forward to it. thumbsup

 

Originally Posted By: Chriselle
Seriously though, is the actual radioactive water they are recirculating hot due to it's radioactivity or what? If so, what kind of temperatures and for how long? You'd assume so due to the effort to get the de-contamination thingy working right. Curious..

 

The water is not heated (thermally) to any appreciable extent by its radioactive contamination. As far as I understand, they are decontaminating the water before recirculating it in order to keep all the plumbing from getting more radioactive than necessary, which preserves their ability to remain on site and fix things when needed.

 

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Originally Posted By: soubriquet
Quote:
Start putting solar panels on everyone's house (a stand-alone house in Japan can just about generate its own needs from solar panels on the roof, from numbers I have been looking at), and then one can start tapering off on the fossil fuel plants as well. And that is before ramping up other sources like geothermal, and developing energy storage for load-leveling.


Not at night or in winter. Not economically.

Incorrect statement. Economy is based on the time required to payoff your investment (solar installations, etc). But we are talking here about a bigger picture. We can actually design and build residence to capture energy. So it is better to look at the house from ground up - I am hoping that the Japanese tsunami victims have the opportunity to exploit new building and energy technology.
Before I go off in a tangent -as usual-
Solar power IS effective in winter. Yes. I am talking about Solar how water systems. Canadian company has a patent that effectively can heat up water in Canadian winter.
You can have a system that adjust the norm angle of the panel toward the sun depending on the season. But not compulsory.

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Lots of big words there.

 

On the subject of "Step 1" being complete. They seem to be stretching the meaning of the word "complete" there! The Niigata newspaper shows a list of the things in Step 1 and most of them seem to be triangles rather than lovely round circles to denote done.

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Originally Posted By: Metabo Oyaji
Soub: Look forward to it. thumbsup

Originally Posted By: Chriselle
Seriously though, is the actual radioactive water they are recirculating hot due to it's radioactivity or what? If so, what kind of temperatures and for how long? You'd assume so due to the effort to get the de-contamination thingy working right. Curious..


The water is not heated (thermally) to any appreciable extent by its radioactive contamination. As far as I understand, they are decontaminating the water before recirculating it in order to keep all the plumbing from getting more radioactive than necessary, which preserves their ability to remain on site and fix things when needed.


Gotcha...that makes more sense.

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just saw a snippet on the news about Bento's on the Shinkansen being contaminated with Caesium.....when I turned back though the snippet was finished....anybody know how widespread the contamination in the food chain is at the mo?

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I think cesium is going to be the most used word for years to come. Scandals-o-plenty.

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Originally Posted By: Man_In_Japan
Originally Posted By: pie-eater
Originally Posted By: Metabo Oyaji
although I can understand the scenery question, surely a power station doesn't NEED to be a blight on the eye, couldn't they actually think about how to hide the ugliness?


Now there's an idea. Perhaps put the whole thing underground? With some fans to stir the steam coming out to make it look natural?

I'm thinking pie-eater could come up with some good ideas here.
I'm on the case Metabo. Of course I work from a purely theoretical viewpoint not being fully conversant with all the science. I'll let you know my findings asap!


Originally Posted By: Man In Japan
Make sure you leave a hole in the top, like any decent pie maker should know, to vent the steam. biggrin


That's a really good idea, Man In Japan, and oh so true. You beat me to that one!

I have given this some thought though...

I would suggest making "backdrops", like they have in the movies. You know, like great big massive paintings of lovely scenery and pretty nature scenes. They would have to be really really big though. In reality behind the lovely painting there would be a great big horrid dirty smelly power station like this:

businessdesk__1234438087_oil_refinery.jp

So might need some air freshner too.

I can see it taking quite a while for the artists to make the paintings though, so it would be a big job. They could actually make the scenery prettier than it is in real life though which is another plus.

If they had enough money, they could perhaps go the next step and cough up for some big screen displays, again like in the movies. So the idea is that these big screens show all the lovely nature being natural, fooling people into thinking that there's lots of lovely nature.

But in reality, there's a great big horrid dirty smelly power station like this:

businessdesk__1234438087_oil_refinery.jp

That would be very expensive though, so might not be practical. The moving images though would be a big advantage though and go some way to fooling more people.

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Good work, pie man. thumbsup

 

I am thinking the smell should be ok, since the steam from a geothermal plant comes from the bowels of the earth, which is what onsen towns smell like already. Could even be a selling point: "Now, with more authentic onsen-y smell!"

 

As for the "backdrop" (or "frontdrop," as the case may be here?)... Maybe something like a giant set of kami-shibai flip-cards, with a different picture for each season? Maybe a picture of a volcano, to cleverly disguise the source of the steam coming out?

 

 

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My numbers

 

"In 2008, Japan ranked third in the world in electricity production, after the United States and China, with 1.025×10^12 kWh produced during that year."

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_in_Japan

 

"Estimating Solar Electric (PV) System Size: Area of Solar Panels

 

On average (as a general "rule of thumb") modern photovoltaics (PV) solar panels will produce 8 - 10 watts per square foot of solar panel area. For example, a roof area of 20 feet by 10 feet is 200 square-feet (20 ft x 10 ft). This would produce, roughly, 9 watts per sq-foot, or 200 sq-ft x 9 watts/sq-ft = 1,800 watts (1.8 kW) of electric power.

 

Converting Power (watts or kW) to Energy (kWh)

 

One kilowatt-hour (1 kWh) means an energy source supplies 1,000 watts (1 kW) of energy for one hour. Generally, a solar energy system will provide output for about 5 hours per day. So, if you have a 1.8 kW system size and it produces

 

for 5 hours a day, 365 days a year: This solar energy system will produce 3,285 kWh in a year (1.8 kW x 5 hours x 365 days)."

 

http://www.solar-estimate.org/?page=solar-calculations

 

My numbers look like this:

 

electricity required: 1.025×10^12 kWh

typical installation (USA): 3,285 kWh per 200 square feet rolleyes

 

(1.025×10^12) kWh / (3,285 kWh / 200)

 

= 62.4x10^9 ft^2 (area to generate required electricity in feet squared)

 

62.4x10^9 * (0.0929 / 10^6) (Convert to km squared)

 

= 5,797.4 km^2 (area to generate required electricity in km squared)

 

 

Kanto plain is approximately 17,000 sq km (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kant%C5%8D_Plain)

 

So, about 1/3 of Kanto should do the trick, as long as we accept electricity for about 5 hours per day. I'm glad it's not going to happen here, because everyone's roof is covered in snow for 3 months of the year. Who's going to climb on to every roof every month to clean them?

 

Pie eater: You do know that that white stuff coming from the stack is water vapour, don't you?

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Originally Posted By: soubriquet
My numbers
[...]
= 5,797.4 km^2 (area to generate required electricity in km squared)


I get 127 million people * 24 m^2/person = 3,000 km^2.
So within a factor of two, we agree.
I'd call it good.

Quote:
I'm glad it's not going to happen here, because everyone's roof is covered in snow for 3 months of the year. Who's going to climb on to every roof every month to clean them?


Ok, you guys can be in charge of wind power. smile

The problem, though, is going to be energy storage. Japan apparently has about 25 GW of pumped storage capacity (see Wikipedia, "Pumped-storage hydroelectricity"), though I don't know how long that would last if used continuously. Hours? Days? Weeks? Probably not months, I would (ignorantly) guess. In any case, this is only 10% of pre-3/11 peak generating capacity (250 GW), or 20% of pre-3/11 average usage.

Also, disappointingly, it looks like Japan only has about 23 GW of theoretical geothermal potential (several sources on the web). So even combined with pumped storage, we're only up to 1/5 of pre-3/11 peak capacity.

What would be really nice is a way to store energy for months. Lots of promising technologies out there, but no clear winner yet that I see.

Or, a nuclear reactor design that doesn't depend on continuous cooling, even of used fuel, to avoid spewing all over the place. Know of any such design?

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Originally Posted By: Metabo Oyaji


What would be really nice is a way to store energy for months. Lots of promising technologies out there, but no clear winner yet that I see.



Sanyo-Eneloop.jpg

Works fine for me...

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They're only good for 1500 charge-discharge cycles though, right?

 

I think we do have enough renewable resources to be self-sufficient in Japan, if we solve the large-scale, long-term storage problem. And even if we aggressively start building out our renewable generation capacity now (covering every roof, parking lot, and other available space with solar panels, plus windmills, geothermal, etc.), it will be quite a while before we are limited by storage issues.

 

I'm actually quite optimistic about the prospects.

 

 

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Originally Posted By: soubriquet
Pie eater: You do know that that white stuff coming from the stack is water vapour, don't you?


Nope.

Still smelly dirty factories though. The one in the photo is Stanlow. And smelly and dirty it most certainly is!

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Originally Posted By: pie-eater
Originally Posted By: soubriquet
Pie eater: You do know that that white stuff coming from the stack is water vapour, don't you?


Nope.

Still smelly dirty factories though. The one in the photo is Stanlow. And smelly and dirty it most certainly is!


It's water. That's why the vapour is dispersing, rather than creating a plume.

Close refineries down. How's your summer trip back to the UK going? Is your aircraft going to be solar or wind powered?

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I'm still in Japan, but will be going back soon.

 

Aircraft? Dunno, but I suspect it has a great big dirty engine. Or maybe more!

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just get a giant elastic band, enslave some Chinese strongmen to pull it back and then launch from Tokyo.....surely London is reachable?!

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Metabo

 

You can scale down your calculations because without mass immigration, there won't be 127 million people in Japan in 2050. Most projections say there will be around 100 million. Even the most likely immigration, low paid grunt work harvesting fruit, packing fish, working on production lines etc., won't bring in people with high consumption.

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