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#307016 - 06/18/18 08:01 PM small (SMR) and very small (VSMR) nuclear reactors
jgw Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 05/22/06
Posts: 2153
Loc: Port Angeles, WA
A couple of years ago I think I posted something about SMR's They are, in theory, small and impossible to melt down (VERY safe). They can be buried and are utterly safe. I was under the impression that there were a couple being tested at one of the fed power places but, now, one has passed most of the testing and is foraging ahead. Then there are the very small nuclear reactors being developed by the military too. I remain convinced this will be the major source for power going forward. They can be produced in factories and delivered to sites. Canada, for instance, is planning to distribute them to isolated communities and there are those, in Alaska with the same thoughts.

While not mentioned in any of the sites below its also interesting that there are actually plans for these that utilized the nuclear waste that we now plan to bury in the earth (a REALLY bad idea! (I think))

Here are some sites to take a look at (there are a LOT of these)

https://www.forbes.com/sites/gradsoflife...s/#5c9cf6c92e7b

https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/small-modular-nuclear-reactors-moment-of-reckoning

http://www.cnl.ca/site/media/Parent/Moore_ICCE14.pdf

https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2017/07/ve...plications.html

http://www.smartbrief.com/s/2017/02/no-major-problems-envisaged-defense-dept-vsmr-program

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#307049 - 06/22/18 05:45 AM Re: small (SMR) and very small (VSMR) nuclear reactors [Re: jgw]
Jeffery J. Haas Offline


Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/03/04
Posts: 13338
Loc: Whittier, California
I am all for it but I really would like for us to also explore THORIUM as well.
The links are very interesting.
Many thanks...I wish my father was still alive.
_________________________
"The Left ones think I'm Right, the Right ones think I'm wrong."
Leon Russell - Magic Mirror"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-H1iQ5Y6Eg

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#307050 - 06/22/18 08:13 AM Re: small (SMR) and very small (VSMR) nuclear reactors [Re: jgw]
pondering_it_all Offline
veteran

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 7997
Loc: North San Diego County
The main thing Uranium/Plutonium reactors have going for them is you can make bombs with the waste products. That's why the AEC stopped all Thorium research.

If you just want a clean energy source, the US has about 1000 years worth of Thorium. It is buried as a waste product of rare earth mining.

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#307054 - 06/22/18 07:40 PM Re: small (SMR) and very small (VSMR) nuclear reactors [Re: jgw]
jgw Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 05/22/06
Posts: 2153
Loc: Port Angeles, WA
here are a couple other sites. I think that China and India have already begun to build factories for these things and Canada is getting close. We too are working on it. These things are, in theory (and probably in reality) SAFE! Once they get factories built they will be able, again in theory, to compete against any other sources of electricity.

I remember a scifi story about somebody building diesel engine nuclear replacements. That allowed trucks to run forever and they had a setup that would mimic the sound of an engine so the truckers wouldn't get caught using them. Some of these design are claimed to be so small they would actually fit into a big truck!

I think that Hyperion is one of the oldest (now has a different name and still active)

https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2017/07/ve...plications.html
http://www.world-nuclear.org/information...r-reactors.aspx
https://analysis.nuclearenergyinsider.com/canada-edges-closer-smr-build-after-vc-funding-deal
http://www.uxc.com/smr/Library%5CDesign%20Specific/G4M%20(HPM)/Other%20Documents/Brochure%20Hyperion%20Module.pdf
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gen4_Energy
https://www.google.com/search?q=smallest...HTpvBKAQsAQItgE

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#307069 - 06/23/18 07:46 AM Re: small (SMR) and very small (VSMR) nuclear reactors [Re: jgw]
pondering_it_all Offline
veteran

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 7997
Loc: North San Diego County
Quote:
Some of these design are claimed to be so small they would actually fit into a big truck!


But you could never run that truck on the highway, because of all the radiation it would leak. These things are very safe but they are going to leak gamma rays and neutrons. You need to put them a dozen feet underground and a 100 feet from anyone's living or working area. What they do have is some failsafe designs so in the event of runaway because of several failures at once, the hot fuel melts a plug and all the fuel ends up in a safe reservoir under the reactor. For THAT to fail, gravity would have to fail.

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#307070 - 06/23/18 03:25 PM Re: small (SMR) and very small (VSMR) nuclear reactors [Re: jgw]
Greger Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 14366
Loc: Florida
Quote:
These things are, in theory (and probably in reality) SAFE!

So perhaps they are safe. But are they necessary? Is there something they can do better and cheaper than wind or solar power?
_________________________
"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." Oscar Wilde

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#307073 - 06/23/18 06:33 PM Re: small (SMR) and very small (VSMR) nuclear reactors [Re: jgw]
pondering_it_all Offline
veteran

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 7997
Loc: North San Diego County
They can supply baseline power when the wind isn't blowing and the sun isn't shining. But probably geothermal could do that too, in some areas.

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#307074 - 06/23/18 07:34 PM Re: small (SMR) and very small (VSMR) nuclear reactors [Re: jgw]
jgw Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 05/22/06
Posts: 2153
Loc: Port Angeles, WA
They can provide power irregardless of weather, etc. I just spent a couple of hours reading about safety and radiation. It seems as if radiation is not even considered a problem. Even the union of concerned scientists seem to give it a pass. Canada seems to have decided that a 1000 foot buffer is good enough and is, as far as I can tell, there just to make people feel better.

Our own military, it seems, is going all out to develop vsmr's as are other countries. Russia, for instance, is very active in this stuff.

As far as I can tell nuscale will be building a 12 unit in Idaho in the near future. It will be interesting how that works out. I also noticed that nuclear is mentioned being used to smooth out the power generated by wind (wind power, a couple of years ago, came very close to destroying the entire grand coulee power grid due to the unevenness of supply for which it had never been designed to deal with).

If this stuff works out then the high tension lines from grand coulee to the rest of Washington, will, over time, become a thing of the past?

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#307076 - 06/23/18 11:22 PM Re: small (SMR) and very small (VSMR) nuclear reactors [Re: pondering_it_all]
Greger Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 14366
Loc: Florida
For the price of these reactors they can build storage facilities to even out the load. Scaling batteries up might be better than scaling nuclear reactors down...

I'm just not a big fan of nuclear energy.
_________________________
"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." Oscar Wilde

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#307098 - 06/25/18 07:17 PM Re: small (SMR) and very small (VSMR) nuclear reactors [Re: jgw]
jgw Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 05/22/06
Posts: 2153
Loc: Port Angeles, WA
Nobody actually knows how much these things are going to cost as nobody has, as far as I know, build a manufacturing facility to produce them. Apparently the costs will reduce dramatically once they are in production. Before that happens, of course, everything will need to be tested. Nuscale is now passed the major test and they say whilst there are several others to get through that process will actually take less time for all the rest as for the first one that is passed.

I think the plan is for nuscale to complete all tests, build a manufacturing facility and produce 12 of these units for a facility in Idaho. This also seems to be coming quickly so we might be able to see how they work and what the true costs are. The current speculations is that the costs are going to be competitive with current natural gas generation facilities. The real benefits are that these things can be put virtually anywhere and are delivered by truck. They last between 10 and 20 years, can be buried underground, and can be refueled without turning them off and there is minimum waste.

http://smrstart.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/SMR-Start-Economic-Analysis-APPROVED-2017-09-14.pdf

I should add that Canadam Russia, China, and India are also working pretty hard on these things.

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#307100 - 06/26/18 03:56 AM Re: small (SMR) and very small (VSMR) nuclear reactors [Re: jgw]
Greger Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 14366
Loc: Florida
And that's another thing....I've been hearing promises for years. Nothing ever comes of it.

The military runs boats with nuclear reactors. I wonder just how nasty THOSE things are...
_________________________
"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." Oscar Wilde

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#307102 - 06/26/18 08:23 AM Re: small (SMR) and very small (VSMR) nuclear reactors [Re: Greger]
pondering_it_all Offline
veteran

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 7997
Loc: North San Diego County
Submarine reactors are shielded very well. If you have to work right inside the reactor then you might get some exposure, but submariners in general get more REMs on their dosimeter if they take it home on leave than they get inside the sub! The flight crew on a nuclear carrier gets more exposure than the reactor crew, because of exposure to sunlight. Pilots get the most because of exposure to cosmic rays.

But distance from the reactor makes a huge different because the radiation spreads out by the inverse square law. The Canadian rule of 1000 feet is ridiculous. I bet you get down to "living in Denver" dosage levels in 100 feet.

The main problem (besides waste disposal) with nuclear power plants is that almost every single one is a new design! How much would cars cost if every one was designed from scratch and machined out of steel and aluminum billets? If some company can mass produce a "good enough" model then they get really cheap.

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#307106 - 06/26/18 07:20 PM Re: small (SMR) and very small (VSMR) nuclear reactors [Re: jgw]
jgw Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 05/22/06
Posts: 2153
Loc: Port Angeles, WA
I have always been amazed with nulear power on a number of different fronts. When we started with nuclear power gov, in its infinite wisdom, decided that we needed an agency to deal with it and the best people to put in charge were our "energy' experts. At the time our experts for energy came from, basically, the fossil fuel industry (oil and gas).

So, we put the oil and gas folks in charge of nuclear which, basically, threatened the existence of their own industry! (you can look this one up). The decisions made, during the beginning, we still live with today as those decision were not all that great and the results did an absolutely great job of scaring the crap out of everybody. I can remember, for instance, when we actually developed a nuclear engine for airplanes! Yep, we were on top of that one! But, can you imagine? A nuclear airplane engine? This one basically scared the hell out of EVERYBODY! (it was abandoned with fanfare)

Anyway, we developed a bunch of reactors, some for weapons and some for energy. I think, for instance, that there is still one of the first reactors still running, at the University of Chicago, in the middle of Chicago! As far as I can tell they were ALL dangerous and remain so to this day. On the other hand we now have SMR's (Small Modular Reacors). One of the main points of this generation is that they are, intrinsically safe. They cannot, for instance, "melt down" and they also produce a LOT loess waste. There are actually designs that can use existing nuclear waste as fuel.

The problem with SMR's is that the fossil fuel industries still hate Nuclear and Nuclear itself has been completely demonized by any number of groups, experts and doubters. Given the Anti-science of this time, its a wonder we are still actually talking about it. My own, wishful, thought is that we can get over nuclear fear and hate and deal with it. Nuclear is, I believe, the least invasive of all energy resources. I have been a fan for a very long time and I still have hope but along with all that hope is also a realization that its unlikely to succeed - unfortunately.

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#307107 - 06/26/18 07:48 PM Re: small (SMR) and very small (VSMR) nuclear reactors [Re: jgw]
Jeffery J. Haas Offline


Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/03/04
Posts: 13338
Loc: Whittier, California
In the beginning there was the Thorium fuel cycle and the Plutonium/Uranium fuel cycle.
Th was dumped in favor of Pl/U because Pl/U could be used for weapons (proliferation) and Th could not, and the government was only going to invest in one of them.
_________________________
"The Left ones think I'm Right, the Right ones think I'm wrong."
Leon Russell - Magic Mirror"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-H1iQ5Y6Eg

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#307108 - 06/26/18 08:18 PM Re: small (SMR) and very small (VSMR) nuclear reactors [Re: jgw]
Greger Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 14366
Loc: Florida
Quote:
Nuclear is, I believe, the least invasive of all energy resources.

Less "invasive" than wind and solar? Okay...?

Face it guys, it's pretty much a dead end street.
_________________________
"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." Oscar Wilde

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#307109 - 06/26/18 08:33 PM Re: small (SMR) and very small (VSMR) nuclear reactors [Re: jgw]
Ujest Shurly Offline
newbie

Registered: 10/16/16
Posts: 362
Loc: Sterling Heights, MI, USA
What you save during its life, you pay for in its death, storage and maintenance.

Fission is a not good, Fusion at least shuts itself off if it all goes sideways.

Renewables, are the solution and are far more friendly to us and the environment. Nuclear is the way for space, until we find something better.


Edited by Ujest Shurly (06/26/18 08:34 PM)
_________________________
Vote 2020.

Life is like a PB&J sandwich
The older you get, the moldery and crustier you get.

Now, get off my grass!

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#307126 - 06/27/18 07:02 PM Re: small (SMR) and very small (VSMR) nuclear reactors [Re: jgw]
pondering_it_all Offline
veteran

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 7997
Loc: North San Diego County
Quote:
Nuclear is, I believe, the least invasive of all energy resources.


Coal plants actually release far more radiation than a normal nuclear power plant. All that C14. It's unavoidable.

Not to say that nuclear plants can't have idiotic designs like Fukashima or idiots running them like Chernobyl.

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#307137 - 06/28/18 03:26 AM Re: small (SMR) and very small (VSMR) nuclear reactors [Re: pondering_it_all]
Greger Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 14366
Loc: Florida
So maybe nuclear is cleaner than coal. That aint saying a lot.
_________________________
"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." Oscar Wilde

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#307145 - 06/28/18 03:29 PM Re: small (SMR) and very small (VSMR) nuclear reactors [Re: Greger]
Greger Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 14366
Loc: Florida
And for you nuclear fans, there is a sort of a silver lining...Donald Trump is propping up the nuclear industry along with the coal industry.
_________________________
"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." Oscar Wilde

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#307149 - 06/28/18 04:08 PM Re: small (SMR) and very small (VSMR) nuclear reactors [Re: Greger]
pdx rick Offline
Member
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/09/05
Posts: 41049
Loc: Puget Sound, WA
Originally Posted By: Greger
And for you nuclear fans, there is a sort of a silver lining...Donald Trump is propping up the nuclear industry along with the coal industry.

Republicans love the idea of a "glow in the dark" base. smile
_________________________
Contrarian, extraordinaire



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#307160 - 06/29/18 06:33 AM Re: small (SMR) and very small (VSMR) nuclear reactors [Re: jgw]
pondering_it_all Offline
veteran

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 7997
Loc: North San Diego County
IF we would do something reasonable with nuclear power plant spent fuel rods, then nuclear power would be pretty good in terms of low pollution. The system we have now is to store them at every reactor site, which is the height of idiocy. Almost every other country that has power reactors also has reprocessing facilities.

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#307162 - 06/29/18 03:07 PM Re: small (SMR) and very small (VSMR) nuclear reactors [Re: pondering_it_all]
Greger Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 14366
Loc: Florida
Quote:
IF we would do something reasonable with...


Yeah, that's the problem. We never do anything reasonable with anything.
_________________________
"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." Oscar Wilde

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#307165 - 06/29/18 06:15 PM Re: small (SMR) and very small (VSMR) nuclear reactors [Re: jgw]
jgw Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 05/22/06
Posts: 2153
Loc: Port Angeles, WA
A very long time ago I wanted to get some nuclear waste to supply heat. At the time I had a business that used a boiler and I could have used the waste to pre-heat the water. I could have also supplied heat to the entire block. Nuclear waste is physically hot. It is also possible to get the heat without the radiation. I had several universities interested as well as others. I would have, basically, stuck the waste in a lead block and transferred the heat out with, if I remember correctly, something called a heat pipe. Apparently it would have worked.

The feds stopped that one cold. its interesting. If you have a constant source of heat you can do all sorts of stuff like just using the heat of the waste for heat, using the heat to drive a generator (sterling cycle), etc. Instead the main plan seems to be to sink it into the earth one way or the other or just store it until the holding tanks start to leak and then put out big contracts to fix it (think Handford disaster).

My point is that I tried to do this years ago and got shot down. At the time, however, I had several experts that thought it might actually work. I was shut down not because it wouldn't work but because gov didn't like it - they never said why, incidentally.

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#307166 - 06/29/18 06:27 PM Re: small (SMR) and very small (VSMR) nuclear reactors [Re: jgw]
pondering_it_all Offline
veteran

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 7997
Loc: North San Diego County
It's because handing out nuclear waste to a bunch of people is a good way to get dirty bombs. They would have to spend more on security checks and monitoring than you would get in heat. It IS possible to build your own reactor: Just get a bunch of smoke detectors, take the Americium out, and combine all those pieces in a small space. Voila! It's been done by a High School student. Not much heat, but lots of radiation. The government had to send in guys in hazard suits to confiscate his shed.

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#307168 - 06/29/18 08:08 PM Re: small (SMR) and very small (VSMR) nuclear reactors [Re: jgw]
Greger Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 14366
Loc: Florida
Quote:
A very long time ago I wanted to get some nuclear waste to supply heat.


I may be the first to point this out to you but up in the sky every day is a big shiny fusion reactor which is readily available to supply hot water. You may not believe this but there are actually companies that sell solar hot water heaters. No nuclear waste required, free hot water.

Shocking, I know...it can also supply free electricity. So why exactly do we need nuclear power?
_________________________
"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." Oscar Wilde

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#307173 - 06/29/18 10:02 PM Re: small (SMR) and very small (VSMR) nuclear reactors [Re: jgw]
jgw Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 05/22/06
Posts: 2153
Loc: Port Angeles, WA
When its winter, and the sun doesn't shine, and its cold there is a little problem with sun power. This is particularly true in the northern reaches of the continental United States.

A central water/steam based heating solution is not unknown and there are some still operational in the big cities.

If you have the heat its pretty easy to circulate hot water and also very cheap to do. There are pumps, for instance, that run on a difference of temperature (so you don't even need electricity to circulate the hot water. They don't pump huge amounts but it doesn't take huge amounts of water to keep the water hot - as long as its circulating.

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#307174 - 06/29/18 10:40 PM Re: small (SMR) and very small (VSMR) nuclear reactors [Re: jgw]
Greger Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 14366
Loc: Florida
I'll grant you the fact that the sun doesn't shine all the time. But we already have ample natural gas facilities to take up the slack after dark. As battery technology improves more and more free solar electricity will be stored for the dark hours and we will use less and less gas. And let's don't forget wind and other resources that can be tapped for even more free energy.

If we treat Our Lady Gaia right and use a little common sense she will provide all we will ever need to live. Feck with her a little bit and she'll kill us all without remorse. Just ask the dinosaurs...
_________________________
"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." Oscar Wilde

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#307184 - 06/30/18 08:28 PM Re: small (SMR) and very small (VSMR) nuclear reactors [Re: jgw]
pondering_it_all Offline
veteran

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 7997
Loc: North San Diego County
We have a very long way to go to make batteries feasible for storing enough energy to supply the nation during the night and cloudy days. If you want to do it for your own home, the batteries will cost you much more than the solar panels!

We could give everybody solar thermal systems, which store a bunch of very hot water. But that is very bad at generating electricity! Good for hot water and house heating though.

Maybe the best idea is to do everything: Solar thermal for hot water and home heating. Photovoltaic panels for lighting and computers with smaller batteries so you run them at night. Enough PV panels to run AC, washers, and driers when the sun shines. You can even run a cooler that makes ice during the day, and then blow air over that ice to cool your house at night. Storing heat and cold is very cheap and easy.

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#307222 - 07/02/18 05:42 PM Re: small (SMR) and very small (VSMR) nuclear reactors [Re: jgw]
Jeffery J. Haas Offline


Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/03/04
Posts: 13338
Loc: Whittier, California
It's a fact that literally everything in a modern home that doesn't use a heating filament, or a compressor or a motor, runs on either 5 or 12 volts DC.
I understand why we have high voltage transmission and distribution, and I understand why our last mile is 600/220/110 etc but I don't understand why we're not just supplying modern homes with site wide 5 and 12 volt via Class 2 wiring, and why manufacturers aren't offering the option to just provide that kind of switch on products that have their own internal power supplies. So much of what we use right now is also dependent upon even more wasteful "wall wart" outboard supplies which are "always on" even when the product isn't.
And much of that is due to the fact that it is cheaper to design products which are actually on "STANDBY" instead of "OFF".

A few modern homes have "USB" built into every outlet.
I think we need to take the next step and just supply 5 VDC and 12 VDC at every outlet, make the outlets "smart" and switchable and do away with the wall warts.
We would also be able to make lighting much simpler then as well, and solar could bypass a lot of the inverter stages.

Computer internals have this figured out already. High powered graphics cards demand two (4 pin, six pin and 8-pin) 12 volt supply plugs from the motherboard, so for high current 12 volt devices, just do the same thing externally and do USB for all the 5VDC products.

(Computer 12 volt connector)



(These are 4-pin but are also available in 6-pin and 8-pin)

We'll still need the 120 volt AC for all our power tools, vacuum cleaners, blenders, toaster ovens, microwaves and the like but so much of what we use simply isn't running off 120 volts AC and never even did in the old days. It's just that it had a transformer, rectifiers and filter capacitors internally.

In the early 80's I still had a great big 1974 Dodge Tradesman 300 van and I stuck a Pioneer SX-838 stereo receiver in the back along with a cassette deck and speakers.
I bypassed the internal power supply and ran it direct off 12 volts and that worked for almost five years. All I had to do was go directly to the great big red and black wires on the main board and voila.


_________________________
"The Left ones think I'm Right, the Right ones think I'm wrong."
Leon Russell - Magic Mirror"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-H1iQ5Y6Eg

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#307231 - 07/02/18 10:59 PM Re: small (SMR) and very small (VSMR) nuclear reactors [Re: pondering_it_all]
Jeffery J. Haas Offline


Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/03/04
Posts: 13338
Loc: Whittier, California
Originally Posted By: pondering_it_all
We have a very long way to go to make batteries feasible for storing enough energy to supply the nation during the night and cloudy days. If you want to do it for your own home, the batteries will cost you much more than the solar panels!


The battery industry is not sitting still.

My good friend Robert Rapier is reporting on a new type of Li-Ion battery design that address the twin demons of energy density and fire danger.
_________________________
"The Left ones think I'm Right, the Right ones think I'm wrong."
Leon Russell - Magic Mirror"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-H1iQ5Y6Eg

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