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Originally Posted By: VCH
Unfortunately dams don't get mentioned much when it comes to green energy.

One problem with hydroelectric is that there are only so many rivers that are good fits for dams. In the US, and I'd wager in many other industrialized countries as well, hydroelectric power has been around long enough that the best spots to put a dam already have a dam on them. There's not a whole lot of room for growth in those areas.

Another problem is that a lot of places in the world are already facing water shortages, and that's only going to get worse in the future. What happens when you get several years of drought and suddenly farmers, cities, and the power company are all fighting over what little water is left?

Dikiyoba.

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Famine and wars happen. Didn't we already go through that?

 

As far as hydroelectricty goes, what about placing turbines in sea currents? Would that be worth a shot?

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What about matter-antimatter reactors? Could we build a few of those once we find some dilithium crystals?

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Originally Posted By: Rowen
What about matter-antimatter reactors? Could we build a few of those once we find some dilithium crystals?


Of course not. There is only one way to solve the world's energy problems:

We must construct additional pylons.

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According to CIA World Fact book the European union uses about 2,906,000,000,000 kwh of electricity. So divide that number by the number of people in the European union (492,387,344) and you find that the average power consumption of a citizen of the European union is about 5901.8576kwh. Note this number isn't the amount of power that they using their homes this is the energy cost of one person on the European unions infrastructure.

 

By multiplying the number of people by 5901.8576 kwh you find out how much energy you need to raise the welfare of everyone on the planet to that of the European unions. That number is 44,263,932,177,753.13 kwh. Now the solar panel I looked up can provide 1kwh of electricity per 1m^2(in sunny weather in your lower latitudes). Due too nights its only going to average 0.5kwh. So to find how many m^2 your going to need you divide 44,263,832,177,753.13kwh by .5kwh and you find you need 88,527,864,355,506.26 m^2 of solar panels. To convert that number into km^2 you divide it by a million and you get 88,527,864.35550626 km^2 is how much area you would need to provide that much power, compare to 148,939,063.133 km^2 (the land area of the earth according to the cia world factbook).

So yes my originally number was off that is about 59.438 percent of the land surface you would have to cover with current solar technology.

 

To make solar panels viable you have to increase the amount of energy they harness by several hundred fold. That is far more of a super technology of tomorrow then my Helium-3 fusion reactor.

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Originally Posted By: Lord Safey
According to CIA World Fact book the European union uses about 2,906,000,000,000 kwh of electricity. So divide that number by the number of people in the European union (492,387,344) and you find that the average power consumption of a citizen of the European union is about 5901.8576kwh. Note this number isn't the amount of power that they using their homes this is the energy cost of one person on the European unions infrastructure.

By multiplying the number of people by 5901.8576 kwh you find out how much energy you need to raise the welfare of everyone on the planet to that of the European unions. That number is 44,263,932,177,753.13 kwh. Now the solar panel I looked up can provide 1kwh of electricity per 1m^2(in sunny weather in your lower latitudes). Due too nights its only going to average 0.5kwh. So to find how many m^2 your going to need you divide 44,263,832,177,753.13kwh by .5kwh and you find you need 88,527,864,355,506.26 m^2 of solar panels. To convert that number into km^2 you divide it by a million and you get 88,527,864.35550626 km^2 is how much area you would need to provide that much power, compare to 148,939,063.133 km^2 (the land area of the earth according to the cia world factbook).
There are several things here that don't seem right by just glancing over this.

1)Not everyone in the world is from Europe and uses the same amount of power europeans do. Using this for your equation is just not right. People use different amounts of energy in different parts of the world. I would expect (though I may be wrong) that third-world countries use less power than first-world countries, who, I think, would use considerably more.

2)That solar panel you looked up may not be the only solar panel in existance. Also, did the website say that the panel can get that 1 kw in 24 hours of sunlight? Or one day? They may have already tried to factor in the amount of energy that it would get in a day.

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Ah, ues, that's what I forgot! I didn't yet count how much energy 7.5 billion people would use if all had same level of wellfare western europeans do.

 

Okay, 442639.32 TWh is the goal. This is per year, right? That's the problem here - I'm fairly certain that .5 kWh for solar panel is how much it produces in an hour. A panel constantly putting out .5 kW each hour during a year would actually have yield of 4380 kWh.

 

Which would mean we'd only need 10105.90 km^2 covered in solar panels to make it happen. That's... 100 km * 100 km area.

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Both numbers were given in kilowatt hours. However I seen that same number given the kilowatt hours/year. I think that number is more of an average of how much electricity they use per hour, although to be honest I'm not entirely sure. For the solar panel it said in sunny conditions. As far as other models of solar panels, I would look at others if I was planing on doing a paper on but for proving a point on a forum I beleive it is sufficient.

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Throwing out ideas here because I don't have time for research.

 

Solar panals in space? Use the space elevator to not only move people up and down, but transfer electricty as well? I'm not sure how efficient it would be, but there is no night time.

 

Wind farms in some places would be more efficient than solar panels. I found 2 graphs over wind speeds in the oceans.

 

http://www.desmogblog.com/wheres-the-best-place-for-wind-power

 

I don't know if geothermal will be better than it is now. It seems to be only useful at very specific places in the world.

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People are getting confused about kilowatts and kilowatt hours.

 

Kilowatts are a measure of power. I'd expect figures about how much power you get from a square metre of solar panel to be in this - can people throwing around numbers please link to sources?

 

Kilowatt hours are a measure of energy. It's the amount of energy produced/used in an hour by something that produces/uses a power of 1 kilowatt. The CIA World Factbook is giving energy consumption for a year in kWh. 2,906,000,000,000 kWh/year is an actual power of 332GW (you need to divide by the number of hours in a year).

 

This page says the mean power density of solar panels is 170W/m^2, so it doesn't seem unreasonable to suppose that good ones can get the 500W/m^2 people have been (possibly) suggesting for the sahara desert project. At that efficiency, to supply europe, we'd need 332GW / 500W/m^2 = 664 million m^2, = 664km^2, or a square 26km x 26km.

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I was going to lecture you about differences between watts and watt hours, but Khoth beat me to it.

 

Lets tackle this from another direction. According to Wikipedia, average USA citizen requires 11.4 kW of power. So, if we supplied 7.5 billion people with that much power, it'd require 85.5 Tera Watts. In a year, that'd amount to 748,980,000,000,000 kWh.

 

To create that much energy solely with .5 kW solar panels (each producing 4380 kWh in energy each year), we'd need an area of... 171 000 km^2, or 414 km * 414 km.

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Originally Posted By: CRISIS on INFINITE SLARTIES
there's wayyyyy too much bad math flying around in this topic


Bad engineering and bad physics, too.

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True. But if you know better, would you please point out where we're wrong (besides gross oversimplification), instead of being snarky. tongue Or would that be so work heavy you can't be bothered to do that unless we pay you?

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Mathematics (bad or otherwise) aside, it is the Earth itself that decides what the human population limit shall be. We are in the infancy of energy production, harnessing and efficiency. Humans are really good at making mistakes and, I guess, learning from them. Unfortunately we ruin a lot of stuff in the process - we are only just learning that it's not a good idea to cut down all the forests!! We are guests on this planet - we don't own the place.

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Originally Posted By: waterplant
We are guests on this planet - we don't own the place.

No, see, this is backwards. If we were guests, we could afford to treat the Earth like a hotel room. Unfortunately, we own it.

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Originally Posted By: Sarachim
Originally Posted By: waterplant
We are guests on this planet - we don't own the place.

No, see, this is backwards. If we were guests, we could afford to treat the Earth like a hotel room. Unfortunately, we own it.


We do treat the Earth as a hotel room. We trash the place and expect someone else to clean up the mess so we can go on enjoying the place tomorrow.

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Quote:
Yea, and there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us.


Hey, I'm going to be dead by the time consequence calls, so I don't care.

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Originally Posted By: Rowen
Hey, I'm going to be dead by the time consequence calls, so I don't care.

But what will you do when someone invents an immortality treatment and suddenly you can be alive when the consequences call?

Although come to think of it, Dikiyoba would be more worried about getting beaten to death by angry children.

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waterplant predicts that things (environmentally) will get worse before they get better but things will get better - maybe even to the point where humans get to live life rather than work at crappy jobs all the time like most of us have to. waterplant believes this will be but will leave the mathematics to someone qualified.

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Originally Posted By: waterplant
Mathematics (bad or otherwise) aside, it is the Earth itself that decides what the human population limit shall be.


Nope! This was true up until about 1850, when the Industrial revolution gave us the ability to artificially inflate carrying capacity beyond natural limits. It because really untrue during the Green Revolution, when the carrying capacity was increased by many, many billions. It will continue to be untrue as we continue to increase the carrying capacity by shaping our environment (instead of the other way around).

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What you say is true apart from one crucial word - artificially. Us clever clogged humans have evolved to the point that we were ready for the industrial revolution. The processes involved have always existed but have been dormant until some species developed enough to utilise them.

 

 

I maintain that the planet will have the last say.

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Originally Posted By: waterplant
What you say is true apart from one crucial word - artificially. Us clever clogged humans have evolved to the point that we were ready for the industrial revolution. The processes involved have always existed but have been dormant until some species developed enough to utilise them.

It seems fairly pointless to make the distinction that it was possible for steam engines and fungus resistant wheat to exist before they actually did. Of course what happens is limited by the bounds of possibility, but this doesn't say very much if we don't actually know what those bounds are.

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Yep, that's kind of my point. Humans might think they are somehow in control or outside of the laws of nature but we are merely a vehicle that exercises the potential that already exists - hugely pointful imho to make this distinction. Seeing ourselves as separate from the rest of the planet would lead to some rather unpleasant consequences but that seems to be the line we are walking.

Human advancement will stretch the bounds of what's tolerable (as it should) but to live as this planet is an endless gravy train to be used and abused is, in a word, perilous.

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The laws of nature have very little to say about carrying capacity and acceptable standards of living.

 

—Alorael, who doesn't think nature's wrath adds much here. All it can do is start breaking the solar panels that you're going to have to add to your hat by next Tuesday.

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Quote:
Humans might think they are somehow in control or outside of the laws of nature but we are merely a vehicle that exercises the potential that already exists

The planet, however, has nothing specific to do with the argument you're making; the possibility of steam engines does not require the earth. You could argue that all of this potential stems from the Standard Model lagrangian (or a more complete lagrangian which takes into account things we haven't yet figured out), but so what? That has no direct bearing on how we should choose to use scarce resources. (Although it does fundamentally cause resources to be scarce, in some sense, because of the conservation laws which arise from its symmetries.)

Quote:
Seeing ourselves as separate from the rest of the planet would lead to some rather unpleasant consequences but that seems to be the line we are walking.

We can still see the need to avoid wasting our resources, even if we view existence as being sharply divided into ourselves and resources we can exploit. If I exploit all of resource X today, I will have no more to exploit tomorrow.

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Originally Posted By: Frozen Feet

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.


that's assuming the panels last for 10 years; the sahara is not exactly what one would call a hospitable environment

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you would probably be better served by just putting a solar panel on everybody's house. The thing with power things is the less distance you have to transport the energy the better.

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Only if we're not using superconducting wires, which we really ought to be. You know, as long as we're using the technology of the future.

 

—Alorael, who also assumes that weather engineering will provide for calmer conditions and perfect sunlight over the Sahara. Of course, at that point climate change won't be high on the list of priorities, as it will be necessarily solved, but the aesthetics of kilometer after kilometer of glittering solar panel (note: probably actually matte black) will appeal.

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Originally Posted By: Only Poets and Logicians
The laws of nature have very little to say about carrying capacity and acceptable standards of living.

Maybe you should have a chat to someone who's village has starved because of some drought or those who's village disappeared in a landslip because they cut all the trees down. There are ways to do it better but not everyone has the luxury of best practice.

Originally Posted By: Niemand
the possibility of steam engines does not require the earth.
(Although it does fundamentally cause resources to be scarce, in some sense, because of the conservation laws which arise from its symmetries.)

If I exploit all of resource X today, I will have no more to exploit tomorrow.


The Earth is the source (a source, our source) for steam engines, etc.
Abundance of resources is neither economically desirable or feasible. The question is 'do we have the capability?' rather than 'do we have the money?' I believe there is plenty for a good standard of living for everyone (but it somehow costs too much money(???)) however our current methods of living are damaging the ecosystem of which we are part of. The Earth has it's checks and balances and while humans are not exempt from these there is room for us to tweak stuff to our advantage to some extent.

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Quote:
The Earth has it's checks and balances and while humans are not exempt from these there is room for us to tweak stuff to our advantage to some extent.


It is ridiculous to be so arrogant as to think our entire 5 billion year-old world can be effected in a mere 150 years by people. Can we effect parts? Obviously; we had no ozone not too long ago. But can we truly effect the entire system that scientists say has been around for 10,000 years (last ice age)? While we can effect it a little, our sphere of influence does not currently exceed that of the globe.

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An idea was let known to me, if we build a space elevator, how much electricity can we gain from simply having that giant metal wire drag through our magetic field?

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Originally Posted By: Txgangsta
An idea was let known to me, if we build a space elevator, how much electricity can we gain from simply having that giant metal wire drag through our magetic field?


One of my friends goes on and on about how Canada should develop it own space programme and launch solar panels into space, then use microwave beams to transmit the power to Earth.


As for dams, yes they wont work everywhere. But when they can be used they should be. Solar panels have a very short lifespan compared to a big block of concrete. It doesn't have to be a traditional dam either we could use small turbines positioned to the side of rivers connected by pipes to the water source. The environmental impacts of dams are overstated in my opinion.


Another option nobody has mentioned is using people to generate electricity, for example by running on a treadmill. I think there's even clothing that generates power.


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Originally Posted By: Txgangsta
Quote:
The Earth has it's checks and balances and while humans are not exempt from these there is room for us to tweak stuff to our advantage to some extent.


It is ridiculous to be so arrogant as to think our entire 5 billion year-old world can be effected in a mere 150 years by people. Can we effect parts? Obviously; we had no ozone not too long ago. But can we truly effect the entire system that scientists say has been around for 10,000 years (last ice age)? While we can effect it a little, our sphere of influence does not currently exceed that of the globe.

In case Thuryl wasn't clear, I'm not sure what makes you think it can't or shouldn't be affected. Meteor strikes can drastically alter the biosphere in far less time. Nuclear war could as well. Climate change, road-building, and electricity may be less impressive, but they're no less likely to produce large-scale ecological changes.

—Alorael, who doesn't think people-power will ever catch on. People just aren't terribly efficient. You'd need a huge number of people to produce appreciable power, and then you'd have to pay for time and, well, energy.

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Originally Posted By: Only Poets and Logicians

—Alorael, who doesn't think people-power will ever catch on. People just aren't terribly efficient. You'd need a huge number of people to produce appreciable power, and then you'd have to pay for time and, well, energy.


They tested this in a fitness club where the energy generated by people while exercising was used to help power the place. It's not enough to fully replace what they needed to run the place.

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Originally Posted By: Txgangsta
It is ridiculous to be so arrogant as to think our entire 5 billion year-old world can be effected in a mere 150 years by people. Can we effect parts? Obviously; we had no ozone not too long ago. But can we truly effect the entire system that scientists say has been around for 10,000 years (last ice age)? While we can effect it a little, our sphere of influence does not currently exceed that of the globe.


Last time I checked, humanity is and was and will remain the only... thing... capable of wiping out the entirety of Earth's biosphere at will. That's hardly a "little" sphere of influence.

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Originally Posted By: Dantius
Originally Posted By: Txgangsta
It is ridiculous to be so arrogant as to think our entire 5 billion year-old world can be effected in a mere 150 years by people. Can we effect parts? Obviously; we had no ozone not too long ago. But can we truly effect the entire system that scientists say has been around for 10,000 years (last ice age)? While we can effect it a little, our sphere of influence does not currently exceed that of the globe.


Last time I checked, humanity is and was and will remain the only... thing... capable of wiping out the entirety of Earth's biosphere at will. That's hardly a "little" sphere of influence.


You're not because I wont let you.

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Originally Posted By: Dantius
Last time I checked, humanity is and was and will remain the only... thing... capable of wiping out the entirety of Earth's biosphere at will. That's hardly a "little" sphere of influence.

Humans are hardly likely to be able to kill off all life, considering how hard we've been trying to eradicate certain species for centuries and still haven't succeeded.

Dikiyoba.

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Originally Posted By: Dikiyoba
Originally Posted By: Dantius
Last time I checked, humanity is and was and will remain the only... thing... capable of wiping out the entirety of Earth's biosphere at will. That's hardly a "little" sphere of influence.

Humans are hardly likely to be able to kill off all life, considering how hard we've been trying to eradicate certain species for centuries and still haven't succeeded.

Dikiyoba.


Did you know that malaria has killed more humans than anything ever, in all of history? And despite knowing how to cure it and how to prevent it, we still can't stop it?

That said, I highly doubt mosquitoes could survive a nuclear detonation. Or tens of thousands of nuclear detonations.

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I'm sure we could destroy things if we tried. Nukes do plenty do eradicate the atmosphere and kill most life. That's their purpose. Can we destroy the world? Yes. Will we? No. If people were to one day disappear from the earth, how long would it take for the world to show almost no trace of our existence?

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Originally Posted By: Dantius
Did you know that malaria has killed more humans than anything ever, in all of history? And despite knowing how to cure it and how to prevent it, we still can't stop it?

That said, I highly doubt mosquitoes could survive a nuclear detonation. Or tens of thousands of nuclear detonations.


I would bet my life that we do have the ability to stop it. Its just that we don't care about it enough to try.

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So if we could change the biosphere if we tried, why is it so hard to believe that we could do it without trying? We're not going to eradicate all life instantly by accident, but it's already looking like we're in the middle of an anthropogenic mass extinction event.

 

—Alorael, isn't surprised at all by malaria. Firstly, it's rather hard to deal with. Secondly, it's much easier to deal with humans killing humans and nobody has managed that either despite the fact that the means are available.

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Originally Posted By: Txgangsta
I'm sure we could destroy things if we tried. Nukes do plenty do eradicate the atmosphere and kill most life. That's their purpose. Can we destroy the world? Yes. Will we? No. If people were to one day disappear from the earth, how long would it take for the world to show almost no trace of our existence?


for all our buildings to collapse and be overgrown by wilderness? probably a couple of centuries, although some structures would survive longer

species that we've driven extinct ain't comin' back, though

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I was thinking that the computations earlier in this thread regarding European living standards, although ballpark figures anyway, don't count for the technological advancement in efficient use of energy. 'Developing' regions have an advantage in that they (could? should?) can be building all facets of infrastructure using far more efficient techniques and materials than countries whose structures, power and transport systems are outdated.

Again cost is the biggest retarding factor to best practice energy use.

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Originally Posted By: waterplant
'Developing' regions have an advantage in that they (could? should?) can be building all facets of infrastructure using far more efficient techniques and materials than countries whose structures, power and transport systems are outdated.


tell that to china

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