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Donger
08-26-2005, 01:10 PM
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050826/ap_on_sc/wave_research;_ylt=Au6YoUdAC2y_.EeJSL1G_dis0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA3MzV0MTdmBHNlYwM3NTM-

GARDINER, Ore. - As the price of a barrel of oil continues to surge, scientists are turning to the ocean as a possible source of alternative energy.

The potential for harnessing the power of waves has drawn serious study by Oregon State University, federal and state agencies, and communities along the Oregon Coast.

"There's a real good chance that Oregon could turn into kind of the focal point in the United States for wave energy development and I think that would be a boon to the economy," said Gary Cockrum, spokesman for the Central Lincoln People's Utility District.

Groups hoping to begin work on experimental technology are considering the International Paper mill site in Gardiner.

"We have a lot of momentum going for it, I think, but we still have to work out lot of details," said Alan Wallace, Oregon State University professor of electrical engineering.

The plan is to take over the site to make it a showcase for a "renewable ocean extraction system," he said.

Last Friday at the Port of Umpqua office in Reedsport, officials from Oregon Department of Energy, Oregon State University, Electrical Power Research Institute and other federal and state officials gathered to explain the fledgling project to more than 100 southern Oregon Coast residents.

"There is tremendous potential in the oceans to supply energy for the world," Annette von Jouanne, an Oregon State electrical engineering professor told the crowd. "A 10-square-mile wave power plant could supply the entire state of Oregon."

The electric institute and the Bonneville Power Administration identified the Gardiner site as the ideal place for the project in their feasibility study.

The former mill has an outflow pipe already in place — a structure that could reduce the cost of building a power plant. Electricity from the Gardiner site could be transmitted to other stations up and down the coast.

Money is the biggest obstacle. It will take about $5 million to complete the project's initial phases. But the recently passed federal energy bill could reduce much of that burden.

U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio (news, bio, voting record), D-Ore., who is visiting the southern Coast this week, called the project "intriguing." He added: "I would definitely be supportive."

At first, he was skeptical that a system could function along the Pacific Northwest Coast, famous for its rough seas. But he said he's seen a similar system operate successfully off the coast of Scotland.

How much energy could be generated from the water is still unclear, but those involved with the project say the possibilities could be limitless.

"I read something involved with this that said if 0.2 percent of the ocean's energy were harnessed, it could produce enough energy to power the entire world," added Cockrum, the utility district spokesman.

Mr. Laz
08-26-2005, 02:08 PM
maybe if we work on enough alternatives we can make a dent.

Hydrae
08-26-2005, 04:37 PM
Wow, this is weird. I was thinking only a week or so ago that tides might be a resource. I could not see a way to extract enough energy to be useful though. Of course, I am not a scientist either. :shrug:

BigOlChiefsfan
08-26-2005, 06:28 PM
Not energy related per se, BUT...could be very important. Cheap, easy nanotubes = quantum leap in certain technologies. batteries, heating, etc...not to mention skyscraper TV's ala 'Bladerunner', or elevators to space stations.

http://www.netcomposites.com/news.asp?3230

University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) nanotechnologists and an Australian colleague have produced transparent carbon nanotube sheets that are stronger than the same-weight steel sheets.
Carbon nanotubes are like minute bits of string, and untold trillions of these invisible strings must be assembled to make useful macroscopic articles that can exploit the mechanical and electronic properties of the individual nanotubes. In a recent edition of the Science journal, scientists from the NanoTech Institute at UTD and a collaborator, Dr. Ken Atkinson from Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), a national laboratory in Australia, report such assembly of nanotubes into sheets at commercially useable rates.

Starting from chemically grown, self-assembled structures in which nanotubes are aligned like trees in a forest, the sheets are produced at up to seven metres per minute by the coordinated rotation of a trillion nanotubes per minute for every centimetre of sheet width. By comparison, the production rate for commercial wool spinning is 20 metres per minute. Unlike previous sheet fabrication methods using dispersions of nanotubes in liquids, which are quite slow, the dry-state process developed by the UTD-CSIRO team can use the ultra-long nanotubes needed for optimization of properties.

Strength normalized to weight is important for many applications, especially in space and aerospace, and this property of the nanotube sheets already exceeds that of the strongest steel sheets and the Mylar and Kapton sheets used for ultralight air vehicles and proposed for solar sails for space applications, according to the researchers. The nanotube sheets can be made so thin that a square kilometre of solar sail would weigh only 30 kilograms. While sheets normally have much lower strength than fibres or yarns, the strength of the nanotube sheets in the nanotube alignment direction already approaches the highest reported values for polymer-free nanotube yarns.

The nanotube sheets combine high transparency with high electronic conductivity, are highly flexible and provide giant gravimetric surface areas, which has enabled the team to demonstrate their use as electrodes for bright organic light emitting diodes for displays and as solar cells for light harvesting. Electrodes that can be reversibly deformed over 100 percent without losing electrical conductivity are needed for high stroke artificial muscles, and the Science article describes a simple method that makes this possible for the nanotube sheets.

Since the nanotube sheets strongly absorb microwave radiation, which causes localized heating, the scientists were able to utilize a kitchen microwave oven to weld together plexiglas plates to make a window. Neither the electrical conductivity of the nanotube sheets nor their transparency was affected by the welding process - which suggests a novel way to imbed these sheets as transparent heating elements and antennas for car windows. The nanotube sheets generate surprisingly low electronic noise and have an exceptionally low dependence of electronic conductivity on temperature. That suggests their possible application as high-quality sensors – which is a very active area of nanotube research.

“Rarely is a processing advance so elegantly simple that rapid commercialization seems possible, and rarely does such an advance so quickly enable diverse application demonstrations,” said the article’s corresponding author, Dr. Ray H. Baughman, Robert A. Welch Professor of Chemistry and director of the UTD NanoTech Institute. “Synergistic aspects of our nanotube sheet and twisted yarn fabrication technologies likely will help accelerate the commercialization of both technologies, and UTD and CSIRO are working together with companies and government laboratories to bring both technologies to the marketplace.”

The breakthroughs resulted from the diverse expertise of the article’s co-authors. Dr. Mei Zhang and Dr. Shaoli Fang, NanoTech Institute research scientists, first demonstrated the nanotube sheet fabrication process, and this result was translated into diverse applications by the entire team. The other team members include Dr. Anvar Zakhidov, associate director of the NanoTech Institute; Christopher Williams, Zakhidov’s graduate student from the UTD Physics Department; Dr. Sergey Lee and Dr. Ali Aliev, research scientists at NanoTech Institute, in addition to Atkinson and Baughman.

The applications possibilities seem even much broader than the present demonstrations, Baughman said. For example, researchers from the Regenerative Neurobiology Division at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, Dr. Mario Romero, Director, and Dr. Pedro Galvan-Garcia, Senior Researcher Associate, and Dr. Larry Cauller, associate professor in UTD’s neuroscience program, have initial evidence suggesting that healthy cells grow on these sheets – so they might eventually be applied as scaffolds for tissue growth.

Baughman said that numerous other applications possibilities exist and are being explored at UTD, including structural composites that are strong and tough; supercapacitors, batteries, fuel cells and thermal-energy-harvesting cells exploiting giant-surface-area nanotube sheet electrodes; light sources, displays, and X-ray sources that use the nanotube sheets as high-intensity sources of field-emitted electrons; and heat pipes for electronic equipment that exploit the high thermal conductivity of nanotubes. Multifunctional applications like nanotube sheets that simultaneously store energy and provide structural reinforcement for a side panel of an electrically powered vehicle also are promising, he said.

UTD researchers began collaborating with their counterparts at CSIRO last year. In November 2004, the organizations achieved a breakthrough by downsizing to the nanoscale methods used to spin wool and other fibers to produce futuristic yarns made from carbon nanotubes.

The latest research was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, an agency of the United States Department of Defense, the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Texas Advanced Technology Program, the Robert A. Welch Foundation and the Strategic Partnership for Research in Nanotechnology.

The image shows a micrograph of how researchers stretch the nanotube forest into a long strip by lightly pressing a piece of tape to the nanotube trunks and then gently pulling.

Earthling
08-30-2005, 12:02 AM
Both the nano-tubes and the wave harnessing are fascinating. I wish I could see what technology will be like in a hundred years...The stuff of fantasy coming true.

trndobrd
08-30-2005, 12:51 AM
Finally! A solution to the energy demands of Kansas.

Saggysack
08-30-2005, 03:48 AM
Finally! A solution to the energy demands of Kansas.

ROFL

BigOlChiefsfan
08-31-2005, 01:38 PM
http://www.betterhumans.com/News/4548/Default.aspx

BigOlChiefsfan
09-02-2005, 07:41 PM
http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/003285.html

A new agreement was just signed by Southern California Edison to guarantee 20 years' purchase of electricity from a new 4,500 acre solar farm to be built near Victorville, California. The farm will initially be designed to put out 500 megawatts, but can be expanded to 850 megawatts. This will represent the largest solar power facility in the world, and will put out more electricity than all other US solar projects combined. Funny thing, though -- it won't use a single photovoltaic cell.

Instead, these solar power generators will use a nearly 200 year old bit of technology: the Stirling Engine.

Pretty much every time we post something about solar concentrators or home cogeneration or somesuch, we get a series of comments about the neglected beauty of Stirling Engines. Admittedly, Stirling Engines -- first invented in 1816 by Scottish clergyman Robert Stirling -- are quite elegant. Here's the Wikipedia entry on how they work:

The Stirling engine works by the repeated heating and cooling of a sealed amount of working gas, usually air or other gases such as hydrogen or helium. The gas follows the behaviour described by the gas laws which describe how a gas' pressure, temperature and volume are related. When the gas is heated, because it is in a sealed chamber, the pressure rises and this then acts on the power piston to produce a power stroke. When the gas is cooled the pressure drops and this means that less work needs to be done by the piston to recompress the gas on the return stroke, giving a net gain in power available on the shaft. The working gas flows cyclically between the hot and cold heat exchangers.
The working gas is sealed within the piston cylinders, so there is no exhaust gas, (other than that incidental to heat production if combustion is used as the heat source). No valves are required, unlike other types of piston engines. [...] The ideal Stirling engine cycle has the same theoretical efficiency as a Carnot heat engine for the same input and output temperatures. The thermodynamic efficiency is higher than steam engines (or even some modern internal combustion and Diesel engines).

Stirling Energy Systems has been working on solar power generation units for 20 years, but this is the first serious implementation of the design. The SES website has a particularly useful visualization of how the systems work (screen capture to the left), and it's one of those systems that seems almost too good to be true. If it's so simple, so straightforward, why hasn't it been done before? Parsing through the Stirling Energy Systems website, it seems the answer is cost; until recently, putting together reliable, functional systems able to produce utility-scale amounts of power remained simply too expensive.

If all goes well, the 20,000 dish system should be fully online by 2010. However, because of the modular nature of the units, the farm will start generating power as soon as the first unit is plugged into the grid. The cost of the project wasn't mentioned in the stories, but I saw a so-far unconfirmed report that power from this system is expected to run ~$.06/kWh, making it competitive with most other sources.

Mr. Laz
09-02-2005, 09:14 PM
could they just build a huge dam like structure out in the middle of the ocean where the tides are strong?

wouldn't it create a lot of electricity that way?

BigOlChiefsfan
09-03-2005, 07:38 AM
Shell Oil - Oil Shale

http://ww2.scripps.com/cgi-bin/archives/denver.pl?DBLIST=rm05&DOCNUM=20000

Since 1981, Shell researchers at the company's division of "unconventional resources" have been spending their own money trying to figure out how to get usable energy out of oil shale. Judging by the presentation the Rocky Mountain News heard this week, they think they've got it.

Shell's method, which it calls "in situ conversion," is simplicity itself in concept but exquisitely ingenious in execution. Terry O'Connor, a vice president for external and regulatory affairs at Shell Exploration and Production, explained how it's done (and they have done it, in several test projects):

Drill shafts into the oil-bearing rock. Drop heaters down the shaft. Cook the rock until the hydrocarbons boil off, the lightest and most desirable first. Collect them.

Please note, you don't have to go looking for oil fields when you're brewing your own.

On one small test plot about 20 feet by 35 feet, on land Shell owns, they started heating the rock in early 2004. "Product" - about one-third natural gas, two-thirds light crude - began to appear in September 2004. They turned the heaters off about a month ago, after harvesting about 1,500 barrels of oil.

While we were trying to do the math, O'Connor told us the answers. Upwards of a million barrels an acre, a billion barrels a square mile. And the oil shale formation in the Green River Basin, most of which is in Colorado, covers more than a thousand square miles - the largest fossil fuel deposits in the world.

Wow.

They don't need subsidies; the process should be commercially feasible with world oil prices at $30 a barrel. The energy balance is favorable; under a conservative life-cycle analysis, it should yield 3.5 units of energy for every 1 unit used in production. The process recovers about 10 times as much oil as mining the rock and crushing and cooking it at the surface, and it's a more desirable grade. Reclamation is easier because the only thing that comes to the surface is the oil you want.

And we've hardly gotten to the really ingenious part yet. While the rock is cooking, at about 650 or 750 degrees Fahrenheit, how do you keep the hydrocarbons from contaminating ground water? Why, you build an ice wall around the whole thing. As O'Connor said, it's counterintuitive.

But ice is impermeable to water. So around the perimeter of the productive site, you drill lots more shafts, only 8 to 12 feet apart, put in piping, and pump refrigerants through it. The water in the ground around the shafts freezes, and eventually forms a 20- to 30-foot ice barrier around the site.

Next you take the water out of the ground inside the ice wall, turn up the heat, and then sit back and harvest the oil until it stops coming in useful quantities. When production drops, it falls off rather quickly.

That's an advantage over ordinary wells, which very gradually get less productive as they age.

Then you pump the water back in. (Well, not necessarily the same water, which has moved on to other uses.) It's hot down there so the water flashes into steam, picking up loose chemicals in the process. Collect the steam, strip the gunk out of it, repeat until the water comes out clean. Then you can turn off the heaters and the chillers and move on to the next plot (even saving one or two of the sides of the ice wall, if you want to be thrifty about it).

Most of the best territory for this astonishing process is on land under the control of the Bureau of Land Management. Shell has applied for a research and development lease on 160 acres of BLM land, which could be approved by February. That project would be on a large enough scale so design of a commercial facility could begin.

The 2005 energy bill altered some provisions of the 1920 Minerals Leasing Act that were a deterrent to large-scale development, and also laid out a 30-month timetable for establishing federal regulations governing commercial leasing.

Shell has been deliberately low-key about their R&D, wanting to avoid the hype, and the disappointment, that surrounded the last oil-shale boom. But O'Connor said the results have been sufficiently encouraging they are gradually getting more open. Starting next week, they will be holding public hearings in northwest Colorado

penchief
09-03-2005, 08:01 AM
Of course, I am not a scientist either. :shrug:

But your name is Hydrae.

If anyone should be an authority on water it would be you.

By the way, is that short for hydraemia?

Earthling
09-03-2005, 08:28 AM
Shell Oil - Oil Shale

http://ww2.scripps.com/cgi-bin/archives/denver.pl?DBLIST=rm05&DOCNUM=20000

Since 1981, Shell researchers at the company's division of "unconventional resources" have been spending their own money trying to figure out how to get usable energy out of oil shale. Judging by the presentation the Rocky Mountain News heard this week, they think they've got it.

Shell's method, which it calls "in situ conversion," is simplicity itself in concept but exquisitely ingenious in execution. Terry O'Connor, a vice president for external and regulatory affairs at Shell Exploration and Production, explained how it's done (and they have done it, in several test projects):

Drill shafts into the oil-bearing rock. Drop heaters down the shaft. Cook the rock until the hydrocarbons boil off, the lightest and most desirable first. Collect them.

Please note, you don't have to go looking for oil fields when you're brewing your own.

On one small test plot about 20 feet by 35 feet, on land Shell owns, they started heating the rock in early 2004. "Product" - about one-third natural gas, two-thirds light crude - began to appear in September 2004. They turned the heaters off about a month ago, after harvesting about 1,500 barrels of oil.

While we were trying to do the math, O'Connor told us the answers. Upwards of a million barrels an acre, a billion barrels a square mile. And the oil shale formation in the Green River Basin, most of which is in Colorado, covers more than a thousand square miles - the largest fossil fuel deposits in the world.

Wow.

They don't need subsidies; the process should be commercially feasible with world oil prices at $30 a barrel. The energy balance is favorable; under a conservative life-cycle analysis, it should yield 3.5 units of energy for every 1 unit used in production. The process recovers about 10 times as much oil as mining the rock and crushing and cooking it at the surface, and it's a more desirable grade. Reclamation is easier because the only thing that comes to the surface is the oil you want.

And we've hardly gotten to the really ingenious part yet. While the rock is cooking, at about 650 or 750 degrees Fahrenheit, how do you keep the hydrocarbons from contaminating ground water? Why, you build an ice wall around the whole thing. As O'Connor said, it's counterintuitive.

But ice is impermeable to water. So around the perimeter of the productive site, you drill lots more shafts, only 8 to 12 feet apart, put in piping, and pump refrigerants through it. The water in the ground around the shafts freezes, and eventually forms a 20- to 30-foot ice barrier around the site.

Next you take the water out of the ground inside the ice wall, turn up the heat, and then sit back and harvest the oil until it stops coming in useful quantities. When production drops, it falls off rather quickly.

That's an advantage over ordinary wells, which very gradually get less productive as they age.

Then you pump the water back in. (Well, not necessarily the same water, which has moved on to other uses.) It's hot down there so the water flashes into steam, picking up loose chemicals in the process. Collect the steam, strip the gunk out of it, repeat until the water comes out clean. Then you can turn off the heaters and the chillers and move on to the next plot (even saving one or two of the sides of the ice wall, if you want to be thrifty about it).

Most of the best territory for this astonishing process is on land under the control of the Bureau of Land Management. Shell has applied for a research and development lease on 160 acres of BLM land, which could be approved by February. That project would be on a large enough scale so design of a commercial facility could begin.

The 2005 energy bill altered some provisions of the 1920 Minerals Leasing Act that were a deterrent to large-scale development, and also laid out a 30-month timetable for establishing federal regulations governing commercial leasing.

Shell has been deliberately low-key about their R&D, wanting to avoid the hype, and the disappointment, that surrounded the last oil-shale boom. But O'Connor said the results have been sufficiently encouraging they are gradually getting more open. Starting next week, they will be holding public hearings in northwest Colorado


This process was going on here in Grand Junction, CO in the early 80's
and led to a massive bust when Shell determined that it was cost prohibitive and pulled out. I think their extraction methods have improved and coupled with the higher cost of petroleum they have determined that now is a good time to bring it back into this valley.
I'm expecting to see a huge boom in our local economy as a result.