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For the record their are people seriously considering doing this. As in putting serious money behind and no its not NASA.

Of course you make not take him seriously but here he is: http://spectrum.ieee.org/aerospace/space-flight/mining-the-moon and http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/bill_stone_explores_the_earth_and_space.html

 

For the most part energy is the issue. It takes energy to make the fertilizer package and ship to the farmer, it takes energy to pump the water to water his crops. It takes energy to harvest those crops and ship them off the factory. Of course it takes energy to package them and ship them of to the store. If you don't have enough energy to power this, very bad things happen. More energy allows you feed, cloth and house more people.

 

As far a helium-3 reactor being speculative. I would put forth any technology the plans on replacing fossil fuels is speculative but stills need to be developed.

 

As to how I how I would have the twenty billion dollars spent. If my sole concern is overpopulation I would spend that 20 billion dollars for developing space travel hands down. 20 billion in space travel will help us raise the upper limits of how many people we can support were as 20 billion to raise the standard of living for poor people, will bring us closer to the upper limit of what can support.

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Originally Posted By: Lord Safey
20 billion in space travel will help us raise the upper limits of how many people we can support


overpopulation is not primarily about a shortage of physical space to put people

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Originally Posted By: Lilith
Originally Posted By: Lord Safey
20 billion in space travel will help us raise the upper limits of how many people we can support


overpopulation is not primarily about a shortage of physical space to put people


never said it was

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Electrolysis. Best energy ever. Takes water, splits it, gives 2H and O, then burns for 4x the BTUs of gasoline. The exhaust is water vapor. The only issue is it takes energy to start the process.

 

Note: This is not a perpetual motion machine. It uses water as fuel and is aided by a solvent. It combines on its own, but the solvent needed for the split is consumed.

 

Note2: I used to have this supplement my car. My father refused to upgrade from peanut butter jar, even though we were getting 3-5 mph more than ever before. A peanut butter jar cracks a lot, so I got tired of fixing it every week.

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Originally Posted By: Txgangsta
Electrolysis. Best energy ever. Takes water, splits it, gives 2H and O, then burns for 4x the BTUs of gasoline. The exhaust is water vapor. The only issue is it takes energy to start the process.

Note: This is not a perpetual motion machine. It uses water as fuel and is aided by a solvent. It combines on its own, but the solvent needed for the split is consumed.

Note2: I used to have this supplement my car. My father refused to upgrade from peanut butter jar, even though we were getting 3-5 mph more than ever before. A peanut butter jar cracks a lot, so I got tired of fixing it every week.


hydrogen is a way of storing energy, not a way of producing it. you will always get less energy out (in the hydrogen-burning step) than you put in (in the water-splitting step)

also hahahahahaha you fell for a HHO scam

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Originally Posted By: Lilith

hydrogen is a way of storing energy, not a way of producing it. you will always get less energy out (in the hydrogen-burning step) than you put in (in the water-splitting step)

also hahahahahaha you fell for a HHO scam


Did I tell you about my energy generation system? You see, time is really cubic, and because Earthrotates through a 4-corner day every 24 hours, it's possible to feed energy through a vertex of this "time cube" to create a riftlooping into the others. As Earth passes through these rifts, energy is generated in massive amounts, since it's actually being drawn from the future. Furthermore, due to this harmonic cube wisdom, no energy is being drawn from the future, because the future is drawing energy from it's future! It's brilliant! Truly I am the wisest human to ever live!

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Originally Posted By: Dantius
It's brilliant! Truly I am the wisest human to ever live!


All hail Lord Kure-I mean Dantius!

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I think you mean:

Originally Posted By: Triumph
Originally Posted By: Dantius
It's brilliant! Truly I am the wisest human to ever live!

 

All hail Gene R-I mean Dantius!

 

I, for one, am not going to believe in this amazing new idea, however, until I see a demonstration of how it leads to a new, more elegant mathematics which eliminates 1-corner singularity biases towards positive like -1*-1=1.

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Originally Posted By: Niemand
I, for one, am not going to believe in this amazing new idea, however, until I see a demonstration of how it leads to a new, more elegant mathematics which eliminates 1-corner singularity biases towards positive like -1*-1=1.


That is because you are EVIL EDUCATED STUPID, of course! 1-corner singularity proves cubic wisdom!

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Originally Posted By: Lord Safey

For the most part energy is the issue. It takes energy to make the fertilizer package and ship to the farmer, it takes energy to pump the water to water his crops. It takes energy to harvest those crops and ship them off the factory. Of course it takes energy to package them and ship them of to the store. If you don't have enough energy to power this, very bad things happen. More energy allows you feed, cloth and house more people.


We're talking past each other slightly again. Half of my point was that we can generate enough energy down here, on Earth.

I've read we produce food for about 23 billion people already. Okay, so we have something like 7.5 billion. Massive amounts of people are still suffering. So what's the problem?

The problem is infrastructure and distribution. Just having enough of something isn't sufficient, if there isn't political and economical will to use to an end.

Originally Posted By: Lord Safey
As to how I how I would have the twenty billion dollars spent. If my sole concern is overpopulation I would spend that 20 billion dollars for developing space travel hands down. 20 billion in space travel will help us raise the upper limits of how many people we can support were as 20 billion to raise the standard of living for poor people, will bring us closer to the upper limit of what can support.


If we can stabilize or lower human population, we don't need to raise upper limit of people we could support. Population growth demonstrably begins to level and even decline once a certain treshold of wellfare is achieved. Meanwhile, spending 20 billion $ for this would remove famine and disease from the lifes of many people.

Spending 20 billion $ for pace research will undoubtedly produce something interesting or allow us to use new forms of energy, but unless something else is done to distribute the new wellfare to poor people, we're just making new toys for the rich elite.

People who are planning space travel generally belong to the rich elite. Any inventions they make are likely to benefit the rich elite first. But rich people are well of already, in fact, population is already declining in richest countries.

Overpopulation is the biggest problem in poor countries. Lack of infrastructure, income differences and a lot of desperate people in one place cause tension instability in society. This increases changes of violent conflict escalating from the mess. Unless rich countries deliberately work to prevent these problems, chances are we won't soon have to take care of 7.5 billion humans, because half of those lived in poor countries and killed themselves of in a war or died in a famine.

Why is important to support an arbitrarily large population of humans anyway? What does Earth crammed full of humans achieve? It'd be easier to provide a happy life for a smaller population, spread on a smaller area. It'd be easier to account for environmental and aesthetic values in such an environment.

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Originally Posted By: Niemand
I, for one, am not going to believe in this amazing new idea, however, until I see a demonstration of how it leads to a new, more elegant mathematics which eliminates 1-corner singularity biases towards positive like -1*-1=1.


Ha! What you didn't realize was that I have twenty ranks in Knowledge (Mathematics), and took Feat: Epic Obfuscation last level! Watch and learn:

Given:

u = ai + bj + ck
v = ai + bj + ck

u × v = (ubvcvbuc)i — (uavcvauc)j + (uavbvaub)k

Let u = 0i + 1j + 0k
Let v = 1i + 0j + 0k

Substituting then yields:

u × v = (1*0-0*0)i — (0*0-0*1)j + (0*0-1*1)k

which simplifies to

u × v = 0i + 0j — 1k

Hence,

j × i = -k

Now, just taking the magnitude of the vectors (work is trivial), we get:

1 × 1 = -1

Q.E.D.

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If you were saying that both +1*+1 and -1*-1 are equal to -1, then you are claiming that there is a bias towards negative. Thus, you are claiming that negative and positive are inequal opposites. I am not denying negative numbers, rather I am stating that negative and positive are as equal opposites, in concordance with the principle of opposites.

 

Academicists convolute everything and make it seem more esoteric than it really is. But with wisdom, we realise that the truth, indeed, is simple. A superior mathematics is one that is not logically flawed, and one that describes the reality of the universe. Only the Cubic mathematics meets those criteria.

 

For example, if you have 5 apples, that is -5 for the source and +5 for you. Then if I take two away, you get -2 and I get +2. +5+2 = 7--that is to say, it is a cycle towards you and then away from you.

 

That cycle is indeed one of the perspectives inherent to that transaction-situation. This oscillation is a 4-corner cubic cycle. Similarly when a pendulum swings, it oscillates in Cubic 4-corner style. If you use 1-corner maths, then you're blocked from that perspective. You're limited to less than the full, real truth.

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Originally Posted By: Niemand
If you were saying that both +1*+1 and -1*-1 are equal to -1, then you are claiming that there is a bias towards negative. Thus, you are claiming that negative and positive are inequal opposites. I am not denying negative numbers, rather I am stating that negative and positive are as equal opposites, in concordance with the principle of opposites.

Academicists convolute everything and make it seem more esoteric than it really is. But with wisdom, we realise that the truth, indeed, is simple. A superior mathematics is one that is not logically flawed, and one that describes the reality of the universe. Only the Cubic mathematics meets those criteria.

For example, if you have 5 apples, that is -5 for the source and +5 for you. Then if I take two away, you get -2 and I get +2. +5+2 = 7--that is to say, it is a cycle towards you and then away from you.

That cycle is indeed one of the perspectives inherent to that transaction-situation. This oscillation is a 4-corner cubic cycle. Similarly when a pendulum swings, it oscillates in Cubic 4-corner style. If you use 1-corner maths, then you're blocked from that perspective. You're limited to less than the full, real truth.


Without incorporating cubist thought into multifaceted 4-cube life, WORD mathematics is less useless than 1-sided triangle. Incorporation of light-dark dualism withing 4-corned mathematics required 4-set solutions for one-dimensional problems. -1 * -1 result must be four-fold in 1, -1, i, and -i to maintain harmonic cubic wisdom.

Your claim on -5 from source and +5 for you contradicts harmonic quadratics. With two cubed systems present, only one fourth cubed possibilities extant- there must be four-space interaction in simplest cubes problems.

Source description of -5 + 2 oscillation is bias towards reality- fourth corner mathematics create solutions outside set- fourth root of 16 generates cubic set of solutions: 2, -2, 2i, and -2i. Without harmonic resonance between solution, cubic interchangeability breaks down and cube-function collapse irrevocably destroys harmonic information.

Without transitional oscillation, the destruction of cube mathematics breaks down, leading to wisdom collapse and loss of cubism. Hence, harmonic oscillation predict appearance of extraneous-intraneous solutions fluctuating inside and outside the solution set as cube field rotates.

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Originally Posted By: Micawber
This topic went insane remarkably quickly.


It only took four posts, too! Yet another proof of EARTH 4-CORNER TIME-CUBE!

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Ok if your goal is to decline the earths population to something more manageable is by relying on the trend of 1st nations to have declining populations. I tried to figure out how much power the world currently consumes and how much it would consume if every nation had a level of welfare that its population growth would either flat line or decline.

 

So I took the amount of power the European union consumed (since a lot of its nations declining population). I then divided that number by the number of people in the European union. I next took that number and multiplied by the 7.5 billion people who reside on this world. That comes to about to about 48,166,856,048 MW*h/yr. Current consumption is about at 17,109,665,000 MW*h/yr. I'd like to point that this info (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_electricity_consumption).

 

So I'm going to ask you, were are you going to get the energy to raise the welfare of every person on earth to the point the Earth's population would decline naturally. Also keep in mind the nations with declining populations still seem to have an increasing demand on resources.

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Originally Posted By: Txgangsta
Electrolysis works. Here is a basic very easy to read explanation of what you have to do so that you gain energy.

http://witcombe.sbc.edu/water/chemistryelectrolysis.html

Like I said, you need a solvent. Otherwise yes, you are using more energy than you are getting out.

1. This assumes 100% energy conserved. That is ridiculous.

2. The website design is screaming "SNAKE OIIIIIILLLLL!" at me. Inherently distrust a website that uses MASSIVE GREEN AND BLUE LETTERS.

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Originally Posted By: Eld
They're really not that massive.


The text body is larger that 12pt. That's too large.

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The problems are in two paragraphs:

 

Quote:
Using Energy to break water to form hydrogen to combine oxygen to form Energy - in this way is rather circular. In fact, because of the laws of thermodynamics, you can't break even in this exchange of energy. However, there exist better ways to disassemble water - namely using CATALYSIS.

The first two sentences are correct. The third sentence is correct but essentially a non-sequitur.

 

Quote:
Catalysts work by lowering the energy barrier between the reactants and the products. In this case:

 

2H2O + ENERGY = 2H2 + O2

where it normally takes a tremendous amount of energy to convert reactants to products - the addition of a catalyst can decrease the amount of energy required and therefore speed the reaction up!

No. A catalyst can decrease the energy of activation, or the amount of necessary energy input to get the reaction going, but not the total change in energy in the reaction. 2H20 + Energy <-> 2H2 + O2. That energy isn't changeable, and thanks to entropy the amount of useful energy acquired by running the reaction to the left is less than the energy lost by running it to the right.

 

—Alorael, who doesn't even think entropy needs to be invoked to make this clear. Just go with energy conservation. You can't make energy out of nothing, and you can't make a hydrogen fuel cell perpetual motion machine.

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I have to agree. They aren't massive, and I don't see what screams snake oil about the website. The text certainly goes out of its way to say things like "and that's a big if."

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Originally Posted By: CRISIS on INFINITE SLARTIES
I have to agree. They aren't massive, and I don't see what screams snake oil about the website. The text certainly goes out of its way to say things like "and that's a big if."

Yeah, snake oil was the wrong term. The word I'm looking for is.. ah, whatsit...

"Green ink", that's it.

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Originally Posted By: CRISIS on INFINITE SLARTIES
The text certainly goes out of its way to say things like "and that's a big if."

If we can find a way to suspend the laws of physics (and that's a big if), the method described will work.

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Originally Posted By: Sarachim
If we can find a way to suspend the laws of physics (and that's a big if), the method described will work.


That's all? I'm sure our dread sovereign lord Dantius has already taken care of it. laugh

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Originally Posted By: Triumph
Originally Posted By: Sarachim
If we can find a way to suspend the laws of physics (and that's a big if), the method described will work.


That's all? I'm sure our dread sovereign lord Dantius has already taken care of it. laugh


Niemand and I are working on it as you speak. We've gotten up to
Code:
import antigravity
on Python, but Heisenberg's principles are a bit of a roadblock.

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Originally Posted By: Dantius
2. The website design is screaming "SNAKE OIIIIIILLLLL!" at me. Inherently distrust a website that uses MASSIVE GREEN AND BLUE LETTERS.


it's a .edu site you goof, it's probably made by a student with no web design experience

but yeah, electrolysis works as a way to produce hydrogen, but not as a way to produce energy. you can't "use water as a fuel", because water is what you get when you burn fuel -- it's already in about the lowest-energy state it can be in

note that the process described requires constant energy input in the form of sunlight to actually produce hydrogen from water. this is because, even with a catalyst, you are climbing up an energy gradient when you electrolyse water.

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Originally Posted By: Lord Safey


So I'm going to ask you, were are you going to get the energy to raise the welfare of every person on earth to the point the Earth's population would decline naturally. Also keep in mind the nations with declining populations still seem to have an increasing demand on resources.


I've said it already - Solar energy alone would, theoretically, be enough. Solar energy combined with geothermal energy and nuclear fission could be enough. Of course, it will only happen if there's concentrated effort behind it, and several technological innovations would be required - but same is true, perhaps even more, of space travel. Are you still convinced it'd be better to direct all the money to space research instead of focusing it directly on the problem at hand?

While it's true some declining nations seem to have increasing demands of resources, part of this is an illusion, caused by excess resources flowing to areas that are already well off. Back to the example about food: we produce food for way more people than there'd be to eat it, but much of it goes to a wrong place.

Also, there's conceivably a point where decline of population starts to cancel out increasing resource demand per capita. If one person requires three times the energy than before but there's only fourth of mankind left, we've reduced our energy consumption as a whole by 25%. (Ie., if we've cut from 100 people to 25 people, those 25 people still only use as much energy as 75 people before. We're winning there.) Getting to that point while averting large scale disaster is the hard part.

About electrolysis: some plans I've seen of covering Sahara with solar panels utilizes the phenomenom to transfer energy more easily from one place to another: electricity created by the panels is used to separate hydrogen and oxygen from seawater, and those are then transferred by long pipelines or containers.

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Originally Posted By: Frozen Feet
some plans I've seen of covering Sahara with solar panels utilizes the phenomenom to transfer energy more easily from one place to another: electricity created by the panels is used to separate hydrogen and oxygen from seawater, and those are then transferred by long pipelines or containers.


No. That is not possible.

1. Resources: there are not enough of them
2. Manpower: How are you going to feed, clothe, house, or even get enough people to do that?
3. Logistics: ...would be a living hell. I can't even...
4. Cost: Prohibitory, and even if no; who would pay for it? The UN? The US? China?
5. EROEI: hahahahahaha!
6. Designs: The entire Sahara desert? A millions square miles?
7. Sovereignty: Last time I checked, there are quite a few sovereign nation inside or partially inside the Sahara desert. How would they feel?
8. Engineering: Impossible. It would be the biggest anything ever by orders of magnitude.

So no; impossible.

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Ah, but with sufficient advances in solar cell design, robotics, and (why not?) superconductors, the plan becomes quite feasible. Pick your future tech!

 

—Alorael, who sees fusion happening first. Sure, nobody is sure how to fix it or even if it can be fixed, but it sure seems like a smaller list of problems than blanket solar panels.

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Originally Posted By: Do not resurrect
Ah, but with sufficient advances in solar cell design, robotics, and (why not?) superconductors, the plan becomes quite feasible. Pick your future tech!


No. Not even then.

EDIT: You'd have to contend with:
Originally Posted By: Dantiu
4. Cost: Prohibitory, and even if no; who would pay for it? The UN? The US? China?
5. EROEI: hahahahahaha!
6. Designs: The entire Sahara desert? A millions square miles?
7. Sovereignty: Last time I checked, there are quite a few sovereign nation inside or partially inside the Sahara desert. How would they feel?
8. Engineering: Impossible. It would be the biggest anything ever by orders of magnitude.

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yeah, if you just look at the physics independent of engineering considerations, covering the sahara in solar panels could provide for the world's energy needs. but to actually do it you'd basically need photosynthetic grey goo, which would create its own problems even if it existed

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Once solar energy is cheaper than oil/coal/natural gas, they will build it. It doesn't matter what it costs, economics still says their will be a profit.

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Originally Posted By: Txgangsta
Once solar energy is cheaper than oil/coal/natural gas, they will build it. It doesn't matter what it costs, economics still says their will be a profit.

I mean, there'd be a huge profit in instantaneous teleportation, were it invented. That doesn't mean that it will be invented just because there's a profit motive.

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Originally Posted By: Dantius

1. Resources: there are not enough of them
2. Manpower: How are you going to feed, clothe, house, or even get enough people to do that?
3. Logistics: ...would be a living hell. I can't even...
4. Cost: Prohibitory, and even if no; who would pay for it? The UN? The US? China?
5. EROEI: hahahahahaha!
6. Designs: The entire Sahara desert? A millions square miles?
7. Sovereignty: Last time I checked, there are quite a few sovereign nation inside or partially inside the Sahara desert. How would they feel?
8. Engineering: Impossible. It would be the biggest anything ever by orders of magnitude.


This list is missing something.

Oh, wait, you covered that afterwards...

Originally Posted By: Dantius, later.

huge profit


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Originally Posted By: Txgangsta
It doesn't matter what it costs, economics still says their will be a profit.

economics do not work this way

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Originally Posted By: Sarachim
Originally Posted By: Txgangsta
It doesn't matter what it costs, economics still says their will be a profit.

economics do not work this way

You're not going to start going on about revenue are you? Geez, you sound like those people who wouldn't invest in the dot-com bubble.

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Current solar panel technology isn't even close. A modern solar panel 1 m^2 can put out 1000 watts per hour under ideal conditions. Through out the day it will only be gathering power half the time so lets make that number 500 watts per hour. That is .0005 megawatts. So a km^2 contains 1 million square meters, so a km^2 worth of solar panels will produce, in good weather in sunny climes, 500 megawatts hours of electicty.

 

Divide that into 48,166,856,048 and you find you would need 96333712.096 km^2 of solar panels to provide every person on the planet with the same amount of electricity that your average citizen of the European union. The area of all the continents (even those not very well suited for such) is 149428500 km^2. You would need to cover 155% of the continental land mass with solar panels to power all of that and, you thought going to moon was silly.

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Originally Posted By: Lord Safey
Current solar panel technology isn't even close. A modern solar panel 1 m^2 can put out 1000 watts per hour under ideal conditions. Through out the day it will only be gathering power half the time so lets make that number 500 watts per hour. That is .0005 megawatts. So a km^2 contains 1 million square meters, so a km^2 worth of solar panels will produce, in good weather in sunny climes, 500 megawatts hours of electicty.

Divide that into 48,166,856,048 and you find you would need 96333712.096 km^2 of solar panels to provide every person on the planet with the same amount of electricity that your average citizen of the European union. The area of all the continents (even those not very well suited for such) is 149428500 km^2. You would need to cover 155% of the continental land mass with solar panels to power all of that and, you thought going to moon was silly.


so basically all we need to do is cover the entire surface of the world's oceans with solar panels

well, that's doable

but seriously you did the division the wrong way round in that last step there, not that it matters

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Quote:
Current solar panel technology isn't even close. A modern solar panel 1 m^2 can put out 1000 watts per hour under ideal conditions.

This doesn't make sense, a watt is already a unit of power. Even if you just meant watts, 1 kW/m^2 is the value I've heard for a good rough estimate of the amount of power in sunlight reaching the earth's surface on a clear day, so you would still need to account for the panel having an efficiency markedly less than 1. (Also, other funny things appear to happen to your units later in that paragraph.)

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I'll confess to being very tired will doing this. I'll look it over a bit more morning. Feel free to tear me a new one until then.

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The solution is not to replace oil and coal with one energy source. The solution is to diversify our energy sources. Solar has a role to play in that (duh), as does nuclear, as do a few other methods.

 

The basic pattern of demographic transition has been the following: 1) high birth rates and high death rates, so population is more or less stable; 2) death rates plummet due to improving food supply, medicine, etc., which causes population booms; 3) birth rates plummet due to empowerment of women, rising costs per child and more careful family planning, etc., which causes population decline (sometimes more and sometimes less marked). There are several reasons that getting the rest of the world (other than Europe, the U.S., and a few other areas) to the final stage sooner makes things easier to handle once we get there, and in the long term, this might be a significant factor in what the solution for our consumption/energy needs might look like.

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Hydro-electric is about as green as it gets for energy production. Land gets flooded but one large dam can provide a lot of power. The province I live in is almost entirely powered by dams and run of river. Unfortunately dams don't get mentioned much when it comes to green energy.

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Dams are bit iffy they can provide a lot of power but creating a lake were their was none puts a lot of stress on the environment, as fish have to relearn out how to get down stream. They do have significant impact on the environment though. There about as many successful dams are their are failures.

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Originally Posted By: VCH
Unfortunately dams don't get mentioned much when it comes to green energy.
This is partly due to how situational green energy is -- hydro works great if you live in B.C., or by the Niagara Falls, but it's not that useful on the prairies. But that's fine, because places like southern Alberta are invested in wind power, and so on. Another example -- Halifax has 196 foggy days per year on average, so solar is out of the picture. The Bay of Fundy, however, has one of the biggest tidal ranges in the world. Like Kelandon said, there's no silver bullet and diversification is needed.

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You left out the China syndrome of building dams which create massive lakes pressing down on the earth's crust and increasing the chances of earthquakes.

 

There really isn't one size fits all solution.

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Originally Posted By: Dantius
Originally Posted By: Frozen Feet
some plans I've seen of covering Sahara with solar panels utilizes the phenomenom to transfer energy more easily from one place to another: electricity created by the panels is used to separate hydrogen and oxygen from seawater, and those are then transferred by long pipelines or containers.


No. That is not possible.

1. Resources: there are not enough of them
2. Manpower: How are you going to feed, clothe, house, or even get enough people to do that?
3. Logistics: ...would be a living hell. I can't even...
4. Cost: Prohibitory, and even if no; who would pay for it? The UN? The US? China?
5. EROEI: hahahahahaha!
6. Designs: The entire Sahara desert? A millions square miles?
7. Sovereignty: Last time I checked, there are quite a few sovereign nation inside or partially inside the Sahara desert. How would they feel?
8. Engineering: Impossible. It would be the biggest anything ever by orders of magnitude.

So no; impossible.

1)Judging from recent development of solar technology, the panels themselves could be made completely of materials like iron and silicon, which we aren't going to run out of any time soon. If you refer to oil and other easy forms of energy we might need to move stuff around, yeah, that's a problem. Hardly insurmountable though.

2) Oh please. How do you get people to build any powerplant? With 7.5 billion people running about, manpower is not the problem. This is a matter of someone telling them "hey, lets do this!"

3) Admittedly, a problem, but much less so than you make it to be in the context of the project (see below). The logistics required would be roughly equivalent to any other form of power plant being build to Sahara. So what knowledge makes you consider this so unfeasible?

4) Solar power is getting cheaper every passing moment, and the interest to actually pay for it is growing with nearly equal speed. There are already groups within EU planning co-operation with countries of North Africa to create an energy network of green energy. Whether these plans will translate to action is another thing, but I'd say they're ahead of any plans to mine the moon, in comparison. wink

5) Yes, EROEI of the process would suck big time. In the context of the project, they calculated this would be offset in 5 to 10 years by Sun being practically inexhaustible energy source. Wasted "fuel" is simply sunshine, and we aren't going to run out of that in billions of years.

6) Now this is the most important question, and I'm surprised you shot the general idea down so quickly with so litte insight.

While they hinted that eventually, the whole Sahara could be covered, their actual plan was to build lots of smaller powerplants to most easily reachable regions of the desert, with combined surface areas of the plants measuring in several square kilometres. According to safey's calculations, one km^2 of modern solar panels in ideal conditions (which Sahara has) produces 500 MWe of energy, which is exactly half of what a good modern nuclear reactors produce (1000 MWe).

So, this potential project is not about producing all of world's electricity, no. It's simply about how to utilize solar energy in the near future. Estimated costs are comparable to building new nuclear power plants.

7) Considering such a project would inject massive amounts of wealth to said nations, I think most of them would consider it rather nice. tongue

8) ... they actually have blueprints for the sorts of facilities they would build. They're mostly just waiting for the price of solar panels to drop to a reasonable level, something that is estimated to happen during next 5 years. Constructing pipelines for transferring hydrogen from place to place would be exactly similar to how common gas pipes. Why is this so darn impossible again?

---

In the context of recent developments of technology, I'm astonished you consider it so unfeasible. -_o Could you please expand on why you're so skeptical of the presented process? What's wrong with the premise of using solar energy to power electolysis for extracting hydrogen to be used as fuel?

Originally Posted By: Lord Safey
Current solar panel technology isn't even close. A modern solar panel 1 m^2 can put out 1000 watts per hour under ideal conditions. Through out the day it will only be gathering power half the time so lets make that number 500 watts per hour. That is .0005 megawatts. So a km^2 contains 1 million square meters, so a km^2 worth of solar panels will produce, in good weather in sunny climes, 500 megawatts hours of electicty.

Divide that into 48,166,856,048 and you find you would need 96333712.096 km^2 of solar panels to provide every person on the planet with the same amount of electricity that your average citizen of the European union. The area of all the continents (even those not very well suited for such) is 149428500 km^2. You would need to cover 155% of the continental land mass with solar panels to power all of that and, you thought going to moon was silly.


Wait, what is that division? What is 48,166,856,048 supposed to represent? What am I missing here?

Anyways, small gripes about your calculations. First, you're proposing space travel as an alternative, and nearly all technologies for that are hypothetical. I trust you can see the problem with comparing solar panels of today with theoretical super techonolgy of tomorrow. wink Solar panels are improving, and fast.

In any case, your math might be off. Our current need of energy is about 16 Tera watts. In ten years, it's estimated to rise to 20 (and to 50 in 40 years, but that's another thing). Sun shines down 120 000 Tera watts of energy on land masses alone. (Source: this article. I tried and failed to find it in English. Sorry.) According to Wikipedia, land surface area is 148 940 000 km2.

After dividing our precious 120 * 10^15 watts with 148 940 * 10^9 square metres, I'm getting ~806 watts per m^2. Lets get pessimistic here - lets suppose our cheap solar plants suck so much we only get 20%, or ~161 watts output per m^2.

One km^2 would thus produce 162 GW. To get out precious 20 TW, we would need 123 456.8 km^2. That's .08% of continental surface area.

So, would you please explain your math better, or point out if I'm missing something crucial here. smile

EDIT: 123 456.8 km^2 would be a rectangle of 351 km * 352 km. Huge, but remember, once they get cheap enough, solar panels can be put pretty much everywhere, including structures (like houses) that we'd be building for other purposes anyway. This is significant edge over nuclear power, which requires special measures and waste management.

I'm not saying nuclear power is bad; it's currently our best form of producing new energy. What's important is that it fills a different structural niche than solar energy. As such, these two form of energies complement each other well.

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